Thursday, October 6, 2011

Two for the Price of One

    First let me say I had a hard time deciding on my Wild Card Wednesday choice, so hard that I didn't get it out on time.  Never fear, though, I now have a book for review for Wednesday and one for Thursday"s deadline.
     We are in the process of packing for the winter migration and all my wonderful books are packed away for the next three weeks.  I really, truly hate trying to review a book I read but don't have sitting next to me.  It is like treating a patient over the phone with his daughter as a go-between. It can be done but you are never sure if you are doing it justice.
   So my book pile is limited and I always want to bring you books that are 3 star (I liked the book and I think you won't be disappointed), 4 star (I like the book, I want others to read it, and I think you will be glad you read this) and 5 stars (I loved the book, I want to promote it, and Oh, my goodness, I think you really ought to read this book!). While I don't give actually ratings, most can tell by what I say where the book likely stands. Any of you that don't on a particular book, can drop me a note here and I will get back to you.

First up is our Thursday's book.
Just Fun; More Information

Mercury Falls
By Robert Kroese
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Pages 350

From Amazon: While on assignment in Nevada, Christine Temetri isn’t surprised when yet another prophesied Apocalypse fails to occur. After three years of reporting on End Times cults for a religious news magazine, Christine is seriously questioning her career choice. But then she meets Mercury, a cult leader whose knowledge of the impending Apocalypse is decidedly more solid than most: he is an angel, sent from heaven to prepare for the Second Coming but distracted by beer, ping pong, and other earthly delights. After Christine and Mercury inadvertently save Karl Grissom—a film-school dropout and the newly appointed Antichrist—from assassination, she realizes the three of them are all that stand in the way of mankind’s utter annihilation. They are a motley crew compared to the heavenly host bent on earth’s destruction, but Christine figures they’ll just have to do. Full of memorable characters, Mercury Falls is an absurdly funny tale about unlikely heroes on a quest to save the world.

About the book: 
    We meet Christine Temetri just as her last assignment covering an end of the world cult ends in a whimper. When her boss, Harry, wants her to cover one more cult headed by Mercury, she demands another assignment not another crackpot. Her boss sends her to the Middle East where her actual destiny begins and it lands her right back in California and in the home of (drum roll) Mercury. After a divine intervention is the form of a pillar of fire, the two of them are off on an adventure that takes Christine from a planeport (on a different plane of existence) to the bowels of hidden caverns under Anaheim Stadium to the Redwood Forest. Meanwhile we met angels, demons, and minions who all have their own agenda for the end of the world.

My take: 
     I laughed, I laughed out loud, I read it out loud so others could laugh.  In short, I found the book adorably funny. 
    In the vein of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Christine is taken for a serious ride for several days with little or no control over what is happening. Mercury, who seems to want to stay out of things, is always in the middle of things. Most of the rest of the characters in the book are just backdrop. If you read the story for serious character development, you will be disappointed. It is not that sort of book.
    Mercury Falls seems to be a social commentary (at least to me) and reminded me a lot of Mark Twain's writings. There were times, particularly in the beginning, where the humor gets a little heavy handed. Some is good but too much is like drinking a bottle of syrup, a bit tastes sweet, too much makes one nauseated. Be aware that the few bad comments about this book on Amazon often referred to the style of humor and overuse of dialog. Some say the writer is no Douglas Adams. For me, I couldn't get through the Hitchhikers Guide, so while I can't comment on others, I will say that maybe you have to be interested in the topic that is being made fun of and are familiar with the references.
    The book is thick with dialog but I read and enjoyed Asimov, so this does not bother me but the reader should be aware of this aspect.
   Kroese makes references to things of the day: we have the demon Kate who writes YA books somewhat similar to the Potter series; there is a chain of fast food burger joints making use of the Antichrist to open their stores; there are scenes of bureaucracies that make no sense and make no decisions; there is a mention of layer after layer of bosses. Even Kroese's glass apples of mass destruction reminded me of a recent book, Heir to Power (Healing Crystal Trilogy), where the Crystal is said to be powerful, though for good or evil, no one knows AND the picture on the cover shows a crystal apple. (The second book is called Fall of Eden). 
  I would recommend this book to anyone but suggest you read a few pages before you buy. The humor is not for everyone.

Uppity Women of Medieval TimesWednesday Wild Card.

Uppity Women of Medieval Times
By Vicki Leon
Publisher MJF Books
Pages 230 without apendex

From the Back of the book: 
     200 Daring Damsels who dazzled the dark ages and rocked the renaissance. From blacksmiths, bankers, plague-ridders, and sheep thieves to secret agents, pirates, holy women, and holy terrors, medieval women around the world used wits, wiles, patrons, and  networking to make a winning hand of their lives.

About the book: 
     Short vignettes fill this book with tidbits about different women throughout a history covering more than just the medieval times.

My take:
   The book does contain interesting bits about different women throughout history. The writing style is very light, bordering on slangy. One might wish the stories were more complete.  Uppity Women is more of an appetizer than a full meal. One might also wish the book contained something of a bibliography so a reader could further research a woman of interest. I certainly found several women I want to know more about.
   Basically this is a fun book, not meant to be read as a novel or as a history. I did like many of the snippets in the book but I suggest taking the book a little at a time like reading "Life in These United States" in the Reader's Digest, a page or two is fine, a whole book at one sitting, not so much.

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