Sunday, October 25, 2009

Simple Genius by David Baldacci (2007)

Needing to get my mind off my tenure folder, this was another of my escapism books. We see Michelle Maxwell lose it, pick a fight with a big guy in a bar, and almost kill him. She ends in a psych hospital - and she is definitely not a talking therapy kind a gal. She ends up reluctantly talking to a psychiatris and solving a problem at the psych place. But she really just wants to get back out working with Sean King. Sean is down and out financially, so he takes a job through and old flame Joan, which lands him in a super-secret think tank, which is right next door to a CIA facility. A couple of people have lost their lives, so he investigates and gets involved with much larger issues.

Hot Ice by Nora Roberts (1987)

I just reread the first Nora Roberts book I ever read - from a freebie shelf at a library I worked one night a week. I remember being thrilled by the constant chase and the fact that the location was Madagascar, a place about which I know nothing. I haven't run into any other Roberts' books with such an exotic setting - most are in different parts of the U.S., some nice detailed settings in Ireland, and an occasional mini-novel in Greece. I don't know how accurate the author's description was of the countryside, the people, their cultures, but I felt I got a sense of them. I have missed seeing more exotic locales in her books. The thrill ride was still as exciting as I remembered it. Douglas Lord is a professional thief and is going after a mother-load of jewels, supposedly from the days of Marie Antoinette. He inadvertently involves wealthy and bored Whitney MacAllister. I did find Doug's constant reiteration that he wants to find the jewels so he can settle down in luxury to be tedious. The main characters were a bit too stereotypical, the plot twists too improbable, but hey, it was fun. I did enjoy watching the spoilt rich girl become more aware of the rest of the world.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Blue Notebook by James A. Levine (2009)

This was very hard to read, as the child sex slave in India shares her miserable life, but at times in the most beautiful language. She has a wonderful way of looking at the world and there are bright moments, as when she learns to read and write in a hospital as a child. She was raised in a normal family, but her father sells her into slavery, and she doesn't even realize it. It is incredibly hard to read as she gets deflowered by man who has payed well for the priviledge. This moment is described eloquently - not grotesquely, not sensually, but we do feel the horror of it. It is amazing that this is written by a British-born male doctor from Mayo Clinic. I understand he wants to raise awareness of this issue and the world still has a long way to go.