I managed to squeeze in 4 books, last week--2 awful, 2 fun. As much as I would have loved to set everything else besides blogging aside, that was a "no can do". But, still . . . I'll summarize what I read, starting with the first two books and continuing with the other two in a separate post:
1. When Lightning Strikes by Kristin Hannah - My first book by Hannah and probably not the best choice, but it cost me a mere quarter in the library sale and kept hollering at me till I gave in. Labeled simply "fiction", it's definitely romance with graphic scenes that are not family friendly. Copyrighted 1994/370 pages.
Alaina Costanza ("Lainie" - unfortunately, one of the most overused heroine nicknames in romantic fiction) has grown jaded and no longer assumes someday she'll find the man of her dreams. Lainie ignores the noisy storm outside and types away at her next novel to preoccupy herself while her daughter is away. When lightning strikes her computer, she is thrown 100 years backward in time, into the setting of her own Western novel, where she discovers that the evil villain and setting are not quite right. The villain has a tiny bit of heart, the hero never does quite save the day, and she's not waking up from the very vivid dream that has sucked her back in time (or so she assumes). When Lainie realizes the truth, she must figure out how to return to the future and her child.
First comment: No idea where they came up with that cover. A porch swing and a sunny spring day? Weird. Lainie gets zapped into the desert, kidnapped by her villain, dragged to the hideout, and they fight with each other until he decides to give in to his desire. Oh, geez, not that, again. I skipped the sex scenes and focused on what I liked best. Unfortunately, the book had a decent premise -- that the heroine's novel was based on her previous life, back when she was named Emily and married to Killian (the ranger-turned-bad-guy of Lainie's novel). The idea was that Lainie's heart's desire pulled her back in time. Somehow, Lainie must figure out how to bring Killian to the future in order to return to her daughter and remain with her true love. But, the story never quite came together.
Most of the way through the book I kept thinking the same thing: Why doesn't she ask him for a change of clothing and the opportunity to bathe? I was so bent on that issue (with everyone sweating in the desert) that it overshadowed the romance-- which was weak, at best. Also, there was a wardrobe concern. Lainie just kept on wearing her bright red sweater, all the way through the novel. Nobody gave her a less conspicuous shirt, even after the bank robbery, as they were pursued on horseback by the law. Between that and never asking for a bar of soap? Well, I just didn't buy the story.
2. Night Train by Martin Amis - Police procedural, copyright 1997
According to a reviewer at Amazon, Night Train was based on a poem, Sunny Prestatyn. I've never read the poem, so I can't comment upon that, other than to say that all of the parallels noted do ring a bell as far as the book's content.
Night Train tells about the investigation of Jennifer Rockwell's suicide. Rockwell was physically perfect, intelligent, happy, apparently a much-loved woman with a charmed life. Her suicide is baffling, but forensic tests prove that there are no other possibilities. Her death is complicated by the fact that Jennifer was the daughter of a police chief. Detective Mike Hoolihan (a female) is assigned the job of clearing Jennifer's case. And, Mike has her own connection to Jennifer, who helped Mike through a rough detoxification from alcohol. Mike tells the story of her investigation into Jennifer's death.
I bought Night Train on a whim when, once again, I couldn't find a copy of London Fields (the one Amis book I'm interested in reading). I read about half of Night Train and set it aside, last year. This week, I decided I needed to finish the book so I can get rid of it. And, that's about how I feel about it. Finished. Glad to get rid of it. Although, I must say that the characters were so vividly drawn that a 3-month gap between reading the first half and the last was no problem at all.
Rating: Uncommonly depressing skipster with some graphic scenes.
But, don't worry . . . things improve, soon!!
Coming up next:
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson and
The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts and the Earthworm Tractor by William Hazlett Upson