The Neurotic Fishbowl

Book Reviews

I am a voracious reader and frequently read a couple of books a week. Since I love talking about books, I thought I would share my feelings with you on all the books I've read since the beginning of 2002. These reviews are very much a thumbnail since I would hate to post a spoiler and ruin a book for someone. If you would like to discuss a book or suggest one for me to read, please .

List last updated on January 16, 2003 at 3:58 p.m.

.: Jemima J by Jane Green: another quick read that I polished off in half a day. It's the story of a sad, fat girl that longs to be thin but doesn't really have the willpower to do it. However, she gets on the Internet and meets a hottie from California (she lives in London) who wants to meet her. Of course, she's told the guy that she's thin and gorgeous, so now the pressure is on. It was a good book with a pretty interesting twish at the end. I enjoyed it.

.: Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich: a very quick read (started it at lunch and then finished it in bed on the same day), but still pretty good. This story is a little more weird than your classic Plum novel, but in Stephanie's world, anything is possible, so it's not that far a stretch to buy into it. Stephanie Plum novels are always fun, and this one was no exception, though it was not as good as a full-length novel in the series typically is. Still, at 50% off on the bargain table, it's a great buy.

.: October Dreams: A Celebration of Halloween by Richard Chizmar (Editor) and Robert Morrish (Editor): A Halloween anthology with a twist. Not only do you get grat Halloween stories, but authors and illustrators recall their favorite Halloween memories as well. I particurally loved Jack Ketchum's memory - what a wonderful idea! Some of the better stories include ones by Jack Ketchum, Dean Koontz, and Peter Straub.

.: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor by Bruce Campbell: I knew I was going to like this book, but I had no idea how much I was going to love it. I enjoyed this book thoroughly for so many reasons, the biggest one being that Bruce Campbell is just so damn cool. After reading this, he became my personal hero. Even if you haven't seen any of his movies or tv shows, you'll still probably enjoy the book. The stories of him growing up with his brothers and setting off with his friends to make The Evil Dead are everything from funny to inspiring. He's liberally sprinkled pictures with hilarious captions throughout the book and I found myself stopping co-workers and friends and making them look at them too. Wonderful book. Highly recommended.

.: American Gods by Neil Gaiman: I cannot rave about this book enough. The book revolves around one premise: old gods (such as Odin) don't just stop existing when they begin to lose their followers, rather they become, in a strange way, like the rest of us. They take jobs, they become con men; the do whatever it is to survive. There is going to be a war between these old gods and the newer gods (those of tv, the Internet, credit cards), but there is so much more to the book than that. It's filled with interesting characters and a storyline that is always moving and reshaping itself. There was a hypnotic, dream-like quality to the writing and I loved feeling like I was being sucked in every time I opened it. While I liked Neverwhere, this book was so much better and has hooked me as a Gaiman fan.

.: The Collection by Bentley Little: I read Bentley Little's The Walking about two years ago and was very disappointed. It received hype all over the place, but I could just never get into it. I picked The Collection up on the off-chance that maybe his short stories would be better and they definitely were. I was impressed with almost every story in the book and it was well worth the $3.50 I paid for it in a used bookstore. Favorite stories from the book include Bob, Life with Father, The Sanctuary, and my favorite, The Washingtonians.

.: Narcissus in Chains by Laurell K. Hamilton: tenth book in the Anita Blake series. This book had me on the edge of my seat and I couldn't figure out where Hamilton was taking the series. As always, the writing was excellent, though it was strange to see Anita departing from her usual ways due to a big change in the book. Also, while the ending was good, I found it really sad and wished that things could have been different. I really enjoyed it, but now I'm annoyed that the next book doesn't come out for another five months and I'll have to wait about a year on top of that for the paperback version.

.: From a Buick 8 by Stephen King: while I started out really enjoying the book, by the time it ended, I felt like I still wanted something else. While that is a point in the book itself that is made, I could have just used more. It's still a good read, but not on par with some of his other works, Bag of Bones for example.

.: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: this book was so very Alice in Wonderland on crack, but I really liked it. I've read Gaiman's short stories in several anthologies before, but since this was his first full-length novel, I wasn't sure how good it would be. While it will never be one of my favorite books of all time, it was very entertaining and enjoyable. I look forward to starting his newest novel, American Gods.

.: A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton: second book in the Merry Gentry series. While I liked this book, I just don't enjoy this series as much as I like the Anita Blake books. There seems to be no real danger and I just can't bring myself to care about the characters as much as I would like to. Lots of sex, but not a lot of heart.

.: A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton: first book in the Merry Gentry series. In the beginning I didn't think I was going to like this book. Since I read it right on the heels of all the Anita Blake books it was so very different to have a heroine that wasn't a bad ass like Anita and it took me a little while to adjust. I started off thinking that Merry was a bit of a wuss, but eventually I began to appreciate Merry for Merry. This book didn't have as much substance as the Anita Blake books (I felt the characters weren't as in depth), but I liked it for a bit of lighter reading. Be forewarned, though, this book has lots and lots of sex, a marked difference from her other books.

.: Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton: ninth book in the Anita Blake series. This book featured one of the most interesting, and mysterious, people in Anita's life - her friend Edward. I loved how we got to learn more about his life and who he really is. Very exciting and very interesting.

.: Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton: eighth book in the Anita Blake series. Great book focusing on the unfinished business that Anita has with her ex. I was glad to see where this book went, but when it ended, it only increased my uncertainty on how things can end with the three major characters.

.: Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton: seventh book in the Anita Blake series. This is definitely the best book to date in the series. It starts off with massive amounts of trouble headed for Anita and doesn't let up until the very end. This book was so good, it was all I could do to put it down. The most action (and sex) filled yet. Absolutely a must-read.

.: The Killing Dance by Laurell K. Hamilton: sixth book in the Anita Blake series. Another winner in the series, but this book was a little bit different that the ones before it. All the books's sexual tensions come to a head and the ending of the book was no where near what I would have expected. I couldn't put this one down either. Read these books now.

.: Bloody Bones by Laurell K. Hamilton: fifth book in the Anita Blake series. Really good book where the tension between the leads is getting even more intense. I literally could not put it down I wanted to find out what was going to happen so badly. I am getting more and more into these books with each one and can't decide how they're going to end up. Wonderful, wonderful books.

.: The Lunatic Cafe by Laurell K. Hamilton: fourth book in the Anita Blake series. Yet another excellent book in the Anita Blake series. So far, each book I've read has been better than the last. This one threw some great tension between characters in, really letting you focus on the people in the story. I can't recommend these books enough.

.: Cross Dressing by Bill Fitzhugh: wonderful book. The story is about an ad executive who's twin brother, a priest, pretends to be him to receive the ad exec's insurance, but dies. The ad exec must then avoid the various and assorted people that are after him while trying to be a priest and falling in love with a nun. Fitzhugh's books are always hysterical and fun to read and this one provides the same sarcastic humor and wit that I look forward to in his books.

.: Circus of the Damned by Laurell K. Hamilton: third book in the Anita Blake series. This book has, so far, been the best of the series. It deals mostly with Anita's struggles with a very powerful vampire (I won't say more and give it away.) I finished it in about a day. I guess you could say I devoured it.

.: The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton: second book in the Anita Blake series. This book starts off pretty much right after the second one and is even better, giving a hell of a climactic ending.

.: Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton: first book in the Anita Blake, vampire hunter, series. My friend Jeanna gave it to me for my birthday knowing how I like both horror novels and mysteries. I enjoyed it immensely, reading it in two days. The series is about an animator, a woman who can raise the dead, and who also happens to kill rogue vampires. The only thing I wish these books would do is give me the background information on why and how vampires became accepted in society.

.: Night of the Avenging Blowfish: A Novel of Covert Operations, Love, and Luncheon Meat by John Welter: very funny book about a love-sick, caustic secret service agent. Several parts of the book were just laugh-out-loud funny and I just found Doyle so endearing. The style reminded me a lot of Christopher Moore. I am going to take a look at getting his other books too.

.: Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore: for the first half of the book or so I didn't like the character much and couldn't get into the novel. Towards the end, though, she became more human to me and I started liking the storyline. I actually liked it once I got past the first eighty pages or so. Not sure if I would try other books by this author, but I think it was her first novel, so others by her might be better.

.: The Best of Cemetery Dance: Volume II by Richard Chizmar (Editor): another collection of short stories from the magazine Cemetery Dance. Pretty good, but not as good as the first collection. The best of the collection are "Eater," "Vacation," "A Taste of Blood and Altars," "Almost Never," and "Comes the Night Wind, Cold and Hungry." Interesting side note, but the page numbers actually start where the first collection left off. I hadn't seen that before.

.: The Best of Cemetery Dance: Volume I by Richard Chizmar (Editor): a great collection of short stories from the magazine Cemetery Dance. I had always wanted to subscibe to it, but before I started making real money, couldn't afford to. This book made me go over to their website and sign right up. Excellent stories, especially "Chattery Teeth," "The Box," "Haceldama," "The Pig Man," "Weight," "The Rabbit," and "Savior."

.: Casual Rex by Eric Garcia: another great Vincent Rubio (a velociraptor private investigator). It's actually a prequal to Anonymous Rex, so we get to meet Vincent's partner Ernie who died at the beginning of the other book. If you like mysteries or stories that are clever and funny, these books are for you.

.: Necroscope IV: Deadspeak by Brian Lumley: another installment in the Necroscope series. This book had some interesting twists in it. Plus, it was set in Greece (my boyfriend is half Greek), so I enjoyed the new location for the book. I liked this one better than the second book, but the third book, so far, has been the best of the sequels.

.: The Death Artist by Dennis Etchinson: some good stories (The Dog Park, for instance, has always been a favorite of mine), but for the most part I found too many of them to be kind of vague and I didn't really like them. While I don't mind an ambiguous story every now and then, a whole book full of them wasn't really to my taste.

.: Nightmare at 20,000 Feet : Horror Stories by Richard Matheson: another collection of Richard Matheson's short stories with an introduction from Stephen King. I had most of the stories before, but there were some good ones in there (The Holiday Man, Wet Straw, and The Children of Noah) that I hadn't read before.

.: Freezer Burn by Joe R. Lansdale: interesting book. Lansdale has one of the most distinctive voices with some of the most interesting phrases. Moral dilemnas abound and the story is always captivating.

.: Necroscope III: The Source by Brian Lumley: third book in the Necroscope series. It introduces some new characters and a very interesting therory as to where vampires come from. I liked it quite a bit.

.: Necroscope II: Vamphyri! by Brian Lumley: second book in the Necroscope series. Not as good as the first one, but it was worth reading.

.: Everything's Eventual by Stephen King: King's latest collection of short stories. Includes some really great one (The Man in the Black Suit, Everything's Eventual, The Little Sisters of Eluria, The Road Virus Heads North. 1408 has got to be one of the scariest stories I've read in a long time. Unfortunately, I had read most of these in other sources, but it was nice to have them all in one place.

.: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson: excellent collection from on the great horror writers. The title novella is especially good.

.: Seven Up by Janet Evanovich: the latest adventures in the Stephanie Plum series. The whole series is highly recommended.

.: The Poet by Michael Connelly: great, edge-of-your-seat thriller involving a reporter and a serial killer. I need to read the rest of his books.

.: The Red Tent by Anita Diamant: absolutely amazing book about Dinah from The Bible. It's a fictional account and has nothing to do with religion. Instead, it's about the relationship between Dinah, her mother, and her aunts. It's both fascinating and touching and I feel completely in love with this book.

.: Necroscope (Necroscope Series, Volume 1) by Brian Lumley: first book in the Necroscope series. Very interesting book about Harry Keogh, a necroscope or one who can talk to the dead. This is a classic in the horror genre and I really liked it.

.: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) by J.K. Rowling: latest book in the wonderful Harry Potter series. This book had a darker, more adult feel to it. The relationships between the characters are becoming more complex as well. Wonderful book and I can't wait for the next one.

.: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella: I only read this one because I could borrow it from Christine. It was basically the first book all over again. I spent the whole time wanting to slap the main character and yell at her, 'Grow up, damn it! Stop being a victim and learn some discipline.' Avoid these books.

.: Shopgirl by Steve Martin: quick little read about a shopgirl and her relationship with two men. It was a touching book and I really liked it.

.: The Bear Went Over the Mountain by William Kotzwinkle: very tounge-in-cheek tale about a bear that finds a manuscript and takes off to New York to get in published where no one notices he's a bear. Totally loved it.

.: Anonymous Rex : A Detective Story by Eric Garcia: what can you say about a detective story where the main character is a velociraptor? In this series, dinosaurs really aren't extinct, but rather disguise themselves as humans. Very funny and interesting.

.: Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner: even though some of the book is a little far-fetched, I loved it and strongly rooted for the main character. It was a great book and I recommend it to all women.

.: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red by Joyce Reardon (Editor) and Steven Rimbauer (Afterword): kind of a prequel to the Stephen King six hour movie that came on ABC. I don't think it was written by King, and I really didn't find it as interesting as I would have hoped.

.: Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison, Dave McKean (Illustrator), and Karen Berger (Editor): dark graphic novel featuring Batman and some disturbing art by Dave McKean. Interesting.

.: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
.: Blindess by José Saramago
.: Bones by Jan Burke (need the rest of the series)
.: The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver
.: Forbidden Acts by Nancy Collins (Editor) and Edward E. Kramer (Editor)
.: Created By by Richard Christian Matheson
.: Fear the Fever by Jeff Gelb (Editor) and Michael Garrett (Editor)
.: Mystery Walk by Robert R. McCammon
.: A Grave Talent by Laurie R. King
.: To Play the Fool by Laurie R. King
.: With Child by Laurie R. King
.: Night Work by Laurie R. King
.: Collected Ghost Stories by M.R. James
.: Shadows of Fear by David G. Hartwell (Editor)
.: Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
.: The Marx Sisters by Barry Maitland
.: Dracula by Bram Stoker
.: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
.: The Bottoms by Joe R. Lansdale
.: Cain His Brother by Anne Perry
.: Weighed in the Balance by Anne Perry
.: Murder for Christmas by Thomas Godfrey (Editor)
.: After the Funeral: The Posthumous Adventures of Famous Corpses by Edwin Murphy
.: Big Trouble by Dave Barry
.: The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
.: A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
.: A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King
.: The Moor by Laurie R. King
.: O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King
.: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
.: Necroscope V: Deadspawn by Brian Lumley
.: Murder for Revenge by Otto Penzler (Editor)
.: The Physiognomy by Jeffrey Ford
.: The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith
.: Headcrash by Bruce Bethke
.: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
.: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
.: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
.: Storm Front by Jim Butcher
.: Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
.: Boy in the Water by Stephen Dobyns
.: Abarat by Clive Barker
.: Now or Never by Elizabeth Adler
.: State of Mind by John Katzenbach
.: The Awakeners by Sheri S. Tepper
.: The Riven Codex by David and Leigh Eddings
.: Digger by Joseph Flyyn
.: Galveston by Sean Stewart
.: Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan
.: Clive Barker's A - Z of Horror by Clive Barker
.: Greivous Sin by Faye Kellerman (need the rest of the series)
.: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
.: The Darker Side by John Pelan (Editor)
.: Undercurrents by Ridley Pearson
.: Seven Contemporary Short Novels by Charles Clerc (Editor) and Louis Leiter (Editor)
.: In the Presence of the Enemy by Elizabeth George (need the rest of the series)
.: The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
.: Messiah by Boris Starling
.: The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follet
.: The First Horseman by John Case
.: Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood
.: Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
.: Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
.: The Dark Fantastic by Ed Gorman


Copyright 2002 Kymberlie McGuire, All Rights Reserved.

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