Books Recently Read

Saving Grace, possibly one of the most humiliating free recommends I have ever let slip past me.  The basic story (not a spoiler, this part is pretty much in the description of the book) is that a tough but honest cop, Ray, is drowning his sorrows in a whisky bottle one night when he gets a call from a pal on the force- Ray’s wife Grace has totaled her car in a bad accident and is at the hospital.  Ray has to go to the hospital, being her husband and all. Problem is, she was out driving so late at night because she’d just told her husband that she loved another man and was off to start a new life with him.  Nobody else knows this and Ray doesn’t know the man so he can’t tell him to go fetch Ray’s errant wife.

He gets to the hospital and learns that his wife is banged up and sore, but the only other sign of her injuries is that she has some swiss cheese style amnesia.  She thinks she was on her way home from an interview for a story she was doing with the paper, but that interview was a week ago.  She has no memory of telling her husband she was leaving him for somebody else. She thinks they are madly in love.

Not knowing what else to do- she is too stiff and sore to take care of herself, and Ray doesn’t know what else she might have forgotten- he takes her home, figuring the boyfriend will show up to fetch her sooner or later or her memory will return and she will finish leaving him.  But then things get really complicated, and somebody is trying to kill them and implicate him as being a dirty cop, so they have to go on the lam while they try to figure out where their relationship is going, why Grace was leaving him, who is trying to kill them.

All of that was a great story. It was interesting, engaging, and the writing was good.  However, about half the book was a good deal too much detail about the intimate side of the couple’s lives.  This book was way too steamy for my taste, so steamy that I would not have recommended it had I realized.

The writer is a very good writer and plotmaker, and I liked the characters.  That’s part of my problem with too much detail.  I feel like I’m peeking in on a friend’s hot night with her husband and it’s seriously embarrassing. Once I figured out that’s what kind of book this was and could spot the signs, I was able to skip through reams of material and get back to the suspense part.

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Johnny Came Home (A John Lazarus Adventure)

This was a free book. The genre is YA, Christian, Fantasy/Sci Fi in the super-hero category. John Lazarus is a teen-age boy who has super-powers.  His home-town has a lot of secrets.  He ran away from home when his adoptive parents died in a house-fire years ago, but now he’s back, and he wants to uncover all those secrets.  It was a fun, engaging read.
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An Accidental Honeymoon

A short, spiffily perfectly silly romance from the early 1900s. Here’s a couple of excerpts:
The girl fell silent, and seated herself upon a chintz-covered sofa. Fessenden scanned her more closely than the dusk outside had permitted him to do.
Her hair was gathered in a shining braid that hung quite to her waist, a girlish and charming fashion. Her blue eyes watched him demurely from beneath a broad, low forehead. The sailor suit of yesterday had given place to a simple white frock—Fessenden noticed that it came fairly to her ankles, now discreetly slippered and stockinged.
At the moment of seating themselves at table, they were joined by Uncle Landis, a middle-aged farmer whose preternaturally-shining face and plastered hair, not to mention a silence unbroken throughout the meal, gave plain proof of recent rigorous social instruction on the part of his help-meet.
The memory of that supper has always been a delight to Fessenden. The omelet was all golden foam; the puffed potatoes a white-and-brown cloud. The spiced cantaloupe and brandied peaches reminded him of the wonderful concoctions his Grandmother Winthrop had made—she who would never allow any one but herself to wash the glass and silver.
The hot Maryland beaten biscuits were crusty to the smoking hearts of them, withstanding his teeth’s assault just long enough to make their crumbling to fragments the more delicious. The chocolate, in blue china cups not too small, was served as the Spaniards serve it and as it ought to be served—of the consistency of molasses candy when poured into the pan.
And then came the creamy rice pudding for dessert, whereupon Fessenden won Mrs. Landis forever by asking for the receipt and gravely jotting it down in his notebook, in spite of Betty’s laughing eyes.
Betty’s talk flashed and sparkled to his sallies. She showed a self-possession remarkable in a farmer’s daughter who was encountering a man of the world for what must have been the first time in her life, as he fancied. Once or twice he felt that she had led him on to talk of himself and to expand his own ideas to a degree unusual in him.
[...]
“Harry Cleborne and May Belle think two are company,” said Mrs. Dick.
“Are they engaged?”
“Oh, I imagine there’s only an understanding.”
“Do you think that sort of arrangement is dignified?”
“What a funny way to put it! No, I don’t think so, now that you put it that way. Madge Yarnell, now—Charlie Danton and she had only an understanding—everybody took it for granted they’d be married some day—and look how it’s turned out.”
“But I understood their falling-out was due to outside influence—wasn’t it?”
“Partly, of course. But a regular engagement would have had more dignity about it, just as you say, and they would have had to be more careful.”
“No doubt.”
[...]
“I had just time to see that it was Madge before she pushed me inside—into the inner room—and slammed the door behind me. It locked with a spring.”
“She was outside?”
“Yes, in my room. I was inside that.”
“I understand.”
“Precisely. I fancy I don’t need to tell you much more. I was a prisoner in my own yacht, and that yacht headed full speed down the bay, my men acting upon what they thought were my own orders. A lovely girl was in my room. I was as much separated from her as if I were in the moon, but my own crew couldn’t know that, and neither could the world.”
“She’s a heroine.”
“She is—the most adorable in the world! She talked to me through the closed door. What she said—well, that’s only for her and me. I saw at last what a mad fool I’d been. Then—then she threw herself on my mercy.”
“You seem to have played the man.”
“She’d make a man of a snake! I saw myself in my true light at last; and I understood her at last. God bless her!”
“Amen!”
“We ran on down to Old Point Comfort, and the chaplain at the fort married us that same night.”
The two men shook hands.

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Wodehouse’s retelling of the William Tell story:

“Gessler began to mock him once more.

“You see now,” he said, “the danger of carrying arms. I don’t know if you have ever noticed it, but arrows very often recoil on the man who carries them. The only man who has any business to possess a weapon is the ruler of a country–myself, for instance. A low, common fellow–if you will excuse the description–like yourself only grows proud through being armed, and so offends those above him. But, of course, it’s no business of mine. I am only telling you what I think about it. Personally, I like to encourage my subjects to shoot; that is why I am giving you such a splendid mark to shoot at. You see, Tell?”

Epilogue
  Some say the tale related here
    Is amplified and twisted;
  Some say it isn't very clear
    That William Tell existed;
  Some say he freed his country so,
    The Governor demolished.
  Perhaps he did. I only know
    That taxes aren't abolished!

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A shortish collection of essays in pidgeon English purportedly written by seven Chinese girls as a gradutation exercise, commemorating their time together in an English conversation class. It was lightly amusing, but I couldn’t believe in it, and I forgot to make a note of the title.

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CLOCKWISE (The Clockwise series Book 1)
This one is still free from Amazon. It is the first in a series of YA novels about a time traveling teen. The authors do the readers the courtesy of actually completing the story within this book while still giving just enough loose ends about some side characters that you know there’s more to the story, but you don’t feel like you’ve been snookered by a free book that wasn’t a completed story. I really appreciate that- it’s a delicate balance.

Casey is a teen-aged girl who is awkward and one of the outcast kids at school. She also time travels from time to time without warning. She accidentally takes the jock she has been crushing on with her on one of her jumps.

I liked this. It’s not stellar literature, just a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours on a lazy afternoon. It doesn’t demand much from the reader. It’s clean, although there is a lot more kissing than I generally like in a teen book, albeit a lot less than I actually did as a teen-ager.

It’s not an ‘issue’ book, but the story does lightly touch on issues of adoption, race relations, slavery and the Fugitive Slave Law, changing expectations as to what is and is not appropriate behavior for women, and advances in medical care. Mostly, it’s just a diverting story. Other books in the series are:

CLOCKWISER: the sequel to Clockwise (The Clockwise series Book 2) is 3.99 Here Casey accidentally brings her brother Tim back with her, right in the middle of the Civil War.

Like Clockwork: a companion book to Clockwise (The Clockwise Series 3)2.99. This is Adeline’s story- we briefly met Adeline in the first book. From the reviews (and the first story), it seems to me that Adeline’s book can basically stand alone, and if you just want Casey’s story, you don’t need Adeline’s.

CLOCKED: a novella companion to Clockwise (The Clockwise Series Book 4)
2.99, a novella. This is Nate’s point of view of some of the events in the first two books (not all of them).

Or you can get the boxed set of all four of the above for 7.50: Clockwise Series Boxed Set

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One Comment

  1. Kirsten
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Haha! I read the Saving grace book after you had recommended it and I couldn’t believe you had while I was reading it. Finally I went back and realized you hadn’t read it, only mentioned it was free. So relieved! I was a bit worried about your taste. But yes, the suspense was good, the intimate scenes… A bit much :)

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