Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Five Men Who Broke My Heart," by Susan Shapiro

This is another example of the benefits I receive from working at the library. I get to see all the books other people are reading. Someone ordered this book, which I promptly ordered for myself.

Journalist Susan Shapiro's memoir is an account of a midlife crisis due to her approaching 40th birthday and infertility. When her ex-boyfriend Brad shows up, Shapiro begins reliving old memories and feelings. My favorite line as she's meeting Brad for lunch is, "Damn. I still love him." Then later she thinks, "Damn. I still hate him." So true.

Though happily married, Shapiro begins digging into her past, locating her top five biggest heartbreakers to interview them about their relationship, to find out their version of what went wrong. Yes, it's a little self-indulgent, but wouldn't we all like to confront and analyze at least one of our past relationships? We'd only hope to be this honest and funny about it.

4.5 stars

Saturday, March 17, 2007

"Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story," by Christopher Moore

After being attacked in an alley, Jody awakens two days later to find she has been turned into a vampire. She has to get used to her new lust for blood, incredible strength, and aversion to sunlight. Enter C. Thomas Flood, a small town boy in the big city for the first time. Tommy is a wannabe writer who gets a job on the night crew of a supermarket, where he and the other members bowl with frozen turkeys, drink beer, and shoot at pigeons.

Jody meets Tommy and convinces him to be her daytime protector. As if learning her new powers and needing security from sunlight weren't enough, Jody's creator, an 800-year-old vamp named Elijah, is playing a sick game. He's leaving dead bodies for the police to find, all seeming to lead back to Jody and Tommy.

It's not the most clever plotline, but I'm telling you...funny. I laughed a lot while reading this book. It's definitely a quick read (done in 2 days), and I know I'll be picking up the sequel soon.

4.5 stars (extra points for making me laugh)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Fangland," by John Marks

Fangland is unlike any book I've ever read, though it has been called a new take on Bram Stoker's Dracula. Forget the romantic vampire who seduces his victim before plunging his fangs into her neck. This book's dark villain uses a bucket and knife for his bloodletting, but it's his song of whispered places of the slain that drives to madness.

Evangeline Harker is an associate producer at the news show The Hour (think 60 Minutes). She is sent to Romania to scout the location and meet with crime lord Ion Torgu for a possible interview. Once there, she meets fellow American Clementine Spence, who travels with Evangeline to Transylvania, where she is scheduled to meet Torgu. After they part ways, Evangeline is abducted, not to be heard from again for months.

Now, the first third of the story was all Evangeline's to tell. And it was a creepy one, let me tell you. I could visualize it as a movie. I'm not usually scared by books, but this one was giving me goosebumps.

Then the rest of the book went back and forth between journal entries, emails, and so on. A virus infects the staff of The Hour, making editors and producers start losing their minds and, for a few, even their own lives.

I don't know how much I liked this book. It was definitely different and clever. There were some very spooky parts, which I liked. I think maybe if I had written this book, I would have stuck to one narrator. Possibly two. And I'm not sure exactly what thoughts the author wanted to leave the readers with, a sense of media as an outlet for the evils of the world? Or is it that we've become immune to the horrors out there, and by ignoring it, we're creating a greater injustice? Hmm... Deep thoughts.

4 stars