Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reader's Thumb: The Eleventh Victim

Reader's Thumb: The Eleventh Victim: "By Nancy Grace, The Eleventh Victim is a gripping story that had me up all night! Murder mysteries and Psychological thrillers are my favor..."

The Eleventh Victim

By Nancy Grace, The Eleventh Victim is a gripping story that had me up all night!  Murder mysteries and Psychological thrillers are my favorite reads and this one was a killer.  I was on my way to work and realized I had forgotten the book I was reading at home, Wicked.  I hate it when that happens!  As my job could have serious lulls of over an hour of no business, a good book is the answer to eternal boredom.  I stopped at Target of all places.  Who knew they had books?  I did not, but took a chance.  They do have a book section and I even picked up an Americana at Starbucks on my way out.  

When the initial rush was over at the job, I flipped open the book and was instantly involved.  Serial killer stories have always fascinated me.  I also identify with the main character, Hailey Dean to some degree.  Of course, she is a brilliant lawyer and I am just a brilliant comedienne, so there are some obvious differences, but I could have that.  This story has twists and turns in it that come from out of the blue and all affect the case.  Her killer uses the most unlikely weapon which made me cringe.  She also details the murders in such that you engulf all of the feelings of the victim as well as the murderer. 

What does this say about me?  Why am I fascinated by this type of story?  I am literally gasping with my hand over my mouth and yet, I cannot put it down!  Perhaps it is just non-comprehension.  Abberated people have always confused me and somehow, it is interesting to see how they operate.  It is bizarre and intriguing at the same time.  Perhaps it is just the mystery of them.  I don't know for sure, but I know I like these novels.

The Eleventh Victim, although I enjoyed it profusely and am on my way to the store to buy Nancy's other book, Objection!, left some questions unanswered at the end.  It was a bit unsettling and I am curious to see if there will be a sequel to tie up the loose strings.  I certainly hope so.  This is a great book from a fantastic writer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reader's Thumb: Without a Clue...

Reader's Thumb: Without a Clue...: " Usually I read. It's just what I do. However, I am also a movie buff and do enjoy a good film. I am in SAG and therefore often revie..."

Without a Clue...

     Usually I read.  It's just what I do.  However, I am also a movie buff and do enjoy a good film.  I am in SAG and therefore often review movies to vote on them when the Oscars are on the horizon.   Recently, while at work in a little boutique in Los Feliz, a friend, slash customer of mine came in.  We got to chatting about movies and I don't remember how it began.

     I think she asked me how I was doing.  I had a bit of a rough summer for reasons best left un-blogged.  Is that a word?  It is today.  In any case, she inquired about my well being and then recommended I see Eat Pray Love.  She isn't the first person to say I should see that movie and I admit, it was on my agenda.  Of course, I will be more likely to read the book first and then go see the flick if it is still in theatres.  Otherwise, I'll buy it later.   She had heard mixed reviews about the movie, which starts Julia Roberts as a woman who after suffering a terrible loss in love goes abroad to travel.  She has money as she has sold a book.  So some people have been criticizing the film as how did this woman get all that money to travel?  Many people have enjoyed the movie, though. 
     I have not seen it yet, but I will comment that during my own time of tribulation, I recall distinctly thinking of this fabulous movie called, Under the Tuscan Sun.  This one starred Diane Lane, whom I love, and she'd been recently divorced.  She played a writer who was able to leave the marriage with a great deal of money.  This does not mean she was not hurt.  My favorite line from the script is when she says (as I don't remember is exactly, I'll give you the gist of it)  something along the lines of, "It's amazing that it doesn't actually kill you."  (Talking about the pain of the divorce and that her husband had left her for another woman.)  I understand this viewpoint.  When faced with terrible, humiliating loss, it as though it would have been easier to just die.  Instead, you live on in the face of it.  I am not saying it is more right to die, but that is certainly what a person suffering could be contemplating.  In this film, she winds up in a foreign country where she purchases an old home and recreates a life there.  That's all I will say as for those of you who have not seen it, I don't want to spoil it for you.  It is not a recent film, but who knows what my readers have seen?

     As I was saying, during my own upsetting time, I remembered this movie.  I thought, why is it that in the movies, the woman always seems to have money and she can just move to a foreign country and get over it?  In Something's got to Give, she lives in the Hamptons.  Although she is suffering, she has a beautiful beachfront property and plenty of space and money and not to mention, Dr. Reeves to take her mind off of her loss.  Don't misinterpret me, these are two of my favorite films and I own both.  However, in life, that doesn't necessarily happen.  The woman does not have a successful career and tons of money and can't just get on a  plane to Paris and ease the bite of it.  It is more likely that she has to stay in the same environment where the loss occurred and trudge through a job where she is underpaid and over qualified and continue on that path until age and stress consume her or she somehow decides to live and gets on with it.  

     With that tangent in mind, my friend and I got to discussing movies.  I told her about what is positively my favorite comedy of all time.  Rare Birds.  Starring William Hurt, it is truly a gem.  If you have never heard of it, it was probably under promoted and never a blockbuster. If you like very dry humour, you simply must see it.  After mentioning this to my friend, she told me about several others  I should check out, one of which was Clue.  Based on the board game, it stars Tim Curren.  

     As I do take advice from friends sometimes and I was in need of a something to watch and take my attention off of other momentary distractions, I bought Clue on E-bay.  The music in the beginning made me laugh out loud.  It was absolutely ridiculous.  The setting was incredibly like a very bad high-school play.  The characters, oh, dear, were beyond over acting.  Beyond Jim Carrey over acting.  And that is saying something.  I believe it's called "indicating" in Directorial Terms.  The plot, if there actually was one, was never thickening.  Instead, it was spreading out in every direction like a box of dried spaghetti that just flew off the refrigerator in a six point nine earthquake.  There were so many murders in so odd a fashion, it completely suspended my suspension of disbelief.  Even the costumes were horrible.  In fact, I think I am almost annoyed that I watched it.  It was that bad.   It was so bad, that I almost want to watch it again just to prove to myself that it was really that bad.  Kind of like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  It is so bad, it is almost good.

     I am normally not a critic.  I do admire any art and I so dislike to say bad things about other artist's work.  I pray to the Critique Gods above that I do not get struck by a thunderbolt.  But, it was bloody awful!  Save Howard the Duck and The Crow, which are the only two movies I have ever walked out of, this was the worst movie in the history of movies.  Except for one small thing.  That thing is that when something is honestly that bad, it is almost funny.  I mean, the laugh I got out of just discussing it with a different customer today in the store, whom I mentioned it to, made it worth seeing. We howled.  It was just too amusing.  She sooooo thought it was just as awful as I did.  And of course, I feel terrible for saying it out loud and now worse for actually putting it in writing publicly, but not really.  Well maybe a teensy bit. I seriously do not think it is o.k.  to criticize another's work and if I go back and watch it again, I am sure I will find something good about it to communicate.  Or not.

The good news is that despite the fact that I will not get those two hours back of my life, at least I did not spend them pondering the past and evil thoughts of what not.  I was too busy staring in absolute awe of how incredibly silly this film actually was.

From me to you, dear reader: Unless I have piqued your curiosity to a fever pitch, then trust me,  If you don't have a Clue-Don't get one.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reader's Thumb: Decaffeinated Corpse

Reader's Thumb: Decaffeinated Corpse: " By Cleo Coyle, National Bestselling Author of Murder Most Frothy, this one is a gem, too! If you are a murder mystery caffeine addict,..."

Decaffeinated Corpse

     By Cleo Coyle, National Bestselling Author of Murder Most Frothy, this one is a gem, too!  If you are a murder mystery caffeine addict, pick up a copy.  This delightful little book has a ton of all the right stuff.  There is the ex, the daughter, the new love interest, the tattooed coffee barista, the exotic friend from a foreign country, and of course, there's the dead body.  

     I discovered these "Coffeehouse Mysteries" when I ran out of "Cat Who" books to read.  Funny how I must go in search of new books.  I'm a coffee drinker.  Mine is high octane espresso or cappuccino with heavy whipping cream where I can get it.  By the way, there is no half and half in all of France.  Just a side note, but I went there earlier this year with visions of sipping cappuccinos at street cafe's and people watching.  One ounce of espresso was nice euros and they only have milk!  I was astonished.  However, you can get what is very close to half and half in the grocery store and carry it with you.  That is exactly what I did.  Call me crazy.  I like my cream in my coffee.  Actually, if coffee is done right, I like it black, but just the fact that I could not have any half and half had me carrying it with me just to spite the place.  Shame on me.  Typical American!

     I enjoy these books as they go into detail about coffee.  Every aspect of coffee comes to light at some point.  There are even coffee recipes in the book for your own use.  You will not only have a great mystery read, but you'll learn that humidity affects the grind and there's a plant somewhere in Africa that may produce naturally decaffeinated beans.  And, and, and!   There's a lot to know about coffee and I find the descriptions fascinating.

     Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 30, 2010


     Back from San Pedro, Ports o' Call Village.  I sell balloons and temporary tattoos there on weekends throughout the Summer.  Interesting day.  It's been sizzling hot all week long and then today cooled off to a chilly sixty-eight degrees with a wind chill factor of fifty-five.  

     So it was a strange weekend.  It seemed like it would be a money maker, but in the end, it was a lot of people walking around asking questions with no intention of whipping out their wallet.  Yesterday, I arrived at approximately one-thirty pm.  I stayed four hours with a pounding headache only to earn fifteen dollars.  Why?  Because, I own the business and that's just how it goes.  Fortunately, I could actually leave after four hours whereas in a Mall, per say, one must remain open the entire day within the range of hours a mall is open.  Otherwise you are fined or lose your space.  That could happen to me in San Pedro, but it's highly unlikely as the landlord is a bit lax.  He knows the area and when the sellers are likely to split.  

     Today, I was there from one o'clock to seven o'clock.  A little better, but not really worth the drive.  It happens.  It was windy and that beats up the balloons.  I have a canopy with screens and the other vendors take the Mickey out of me and call it Tajmahal.  It kind of looks like a tattoo harem as opposed to a vendor spot.  That's fine by me.  I like it.  What will they think of next at K-Mart?  It's a pop up and everything.

     The good news is that I found an M.C. Beaton book I had not read at Borders!  I found two, actually and the title of one I do not yet own, but will be searching for on E-bay inevitably.  I opened up Kissing Christmas Goodbye and was greeted with my favorite character's in the Coswalds.   Ms. Bloxby was a treat and Sir Charls Fraith and Roy Silver made Agatha's Christmas party a night to remember.  I'm also suddenly intriqued by Hemlock...

     Read it and find out why I love these little mystery novels.  Their inexpensive and an absolute must for anyone who likes Lilian Jackson Braun's The Cat Who.. Series or Cleo Coyle's Coffee Murder Mysteries. 
If you grab one, I would love to hear how you enjoyed it!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


     To complete a novel.

Is there a greater feeling?  Probably, but it's still in my top five!  It's a sort of Ahhh, and then an Awww, I wish it wasn't over.  

I actually only got through page 701 before my eyes got droopy and I nodded off.  Upon awakening, I picked up the book and sped through the last twenty odd pages.  The ending of Careless In Red is rewarding and cliff-hanging and some things get wrapped up and others don't.  It is actually a very good ending as it is so much like life and in that sense, the story was quite believable.  
I have heard that Elizabeth George has other novels and I wonder if Sir Thomas Finley will appear in any of them.  I am definitely off to the book store to catch whatever else out there I can find from this author.  

Any recommendations?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Oh...If it's British, I really Like it!

     As I have completed all M.C. Beaton novels available, (Boo Hoo!)  I had to go investigating.  I feel like Alexander the Great...I wept, for there were no more books to read!  Alas, a browse through Borders Vine & Sunset thoroughly disabused me of that idea.  I am back in business and loving it.

     While  perusing the Mystery Thriller section and actually not really finding anything interesting, I spotted Careless In Red, by Elizabeth George.  Nice cover.  Got to skimming the back of the book and I liked the concept.  I like red.  I liked the line, "He found the body on the forty-third day of his walk..." Got me.  Right there, it was more interesting than anything else I had picked up and in fact, before I happened across it, I had almost reluctantly given up my search.

     This is a fascinating tale.  It has everything I like!  Set in Cornwall near New Scotland Yard, handsome guy, evil women, surfers, suspense and a dead body.  What's not to like?  Well, it was, I must admit, a bit difficult to follow at first.  Some of the lines in the book are a little off my reality point.  I am speaking of the characters and how they talk to each other.  I am not quite sure they are believable.  I can stretch my suspension of disbelief however, as the story is good.  The descriptions are excellent and the suspense is riveting.  It seemed to jump around a bit at first, but I realized later the necessity of it as the background on the characters needs filling in.  I particularly like the outbursts of one D.S. Havers, a Chick-Cop who arrives on scene and wreaks havoc on unsuspecting suspects. It's this British dry sarcasm that I absolutely adore.  You'll just have to read the book and meet this lady.

     I am on page 627 of 725 and still interested.  So that debunks my unbelievable theory.   I stuck with it.  Not only this, but I enjoy a long book.  I love Stephen King for that reason.  His novels run long and fierce with stories within stories and this one goes long and I'm liking it.  I am sure to finish it tonight as less than a hundred pages will keep me up until I find out who did it at least!  I recommend this book.  I had it at work with me today in the boutique and a customer spied it.  She said she liked Elizabeth George and then recommended another author as well whose name I cannot remember.  I'll remember it though, and when I do, I'll be reading a book and reporting on it!

     It's 11:31 and it's been a long day.  The boutique was busy as usual and I have retail feet.  I've grabbed a late snack of sauteed vegetables and a toasted chicken taquito and I'm off to bed with the good book to get to the bottom of it.  Cheers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Reader's Thumb: More from M.C. Beaton

Reader's Thumb: More from M.C. Beaton: " My thumb really hurts today. I've been plowing through a book and both thumbs are sore. How cool is that? It's not, I just need to i..."

More from M.C. Beaton

     My thumb really hurts today.  I've been plowing through a book and both thumbs are sore.  How cool is that?  It's not, I just need to invent a thumb thimble or something to cover the tip with so my thumbs don't get raw. 

     M.C. Beaton, author of Death of a "insert Noun",  I discovered has a new series.  Well, it's new to me as I hadn't read them or heard of them yet.  Having slurped up every last Hamish MacBeth story, I mourned at Borders in front of the Mystery/Thriller B. section.  Until...I found that M.C. Beaton has another series written in a very similar style.  The Agatha Raisin novels are every bit as delightful at the Hamish MacBeth ones.  I am in love with them!  

     This series stars middle aged Agatha Raisin who sold her successful P.R. company in London and took early retirement in a small village  a little North.  She is abrasive and rude and somehow forgivably so.  (I just made up that word.  I hope you like it.Agatha is surrounded by an enterouge of terribly funny characters including an Asian Policeman, a possibly gay ex-employee, her sometimes drop-in sexual excursion-the younger, Sir Charles Fraith, and the ever lady-like Vicar's wife, Mrs. Bloxby.  I might add that Mrs. Bloxby is a surprising treat as on occasion, she does things completely out of character that make you laugh out-loud.

     Some of the Characters grow and others remain their idiotic selves,such as Agatha's love interest and eternal crush, James Lacey,  but that is all part of the fun in reading one of these amusing tales.  One begins to expect people to show up and/or disappear and yet, the suspense of the mystery itself never fades.  They are page turners, every one and I dare you to try to fall asleep while reading one. In addition to the trials and tribulations of murder and mayhem, Agatha is in the midst of middle age and not confronting it.  

If you have not discovered these little gems, run, don't walk,  to  your nearest bookseller and pick one up.  It's a lifetime of entertainment for those of you who enjoy mysteries and light reading.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Who Done it?

     Murder Mysteries are probably my favorite type of stories.  Although I enjoy complicated and serious novels, sometimes, one just wants a bit of interesting fluff.  M.C. Beaton has created exactly that with her Hamish MacBeth series,  all entitled:  Death of a (insert noun).  i.e., Death of a Nag, Death of a Dreamer, etc.

     I came across these wonderful books last January.  Typically, January is the slowest month of the year for retailers.  Most people are paying off their credit cards and not shopping.  This leaves salespeople bored out of their minds while chained to a store all day that no one enters.  There I was, working in a boutique in South Pasadena, surrounded by beautiful clothes and no customers.  It was pouring sheets of rain and there wasn't a chance in hell I'd have anyone come in in that weather.  I locked up the front door and made my way in the rain with no umbrella, to a small mystery book store on Mission Street.  The owner was there and recommended a little book called Death of a Witch.  I'd never heard of the series and was skeptical, but as I knew I had seven more hours of boredom to endure, I bought the book and sauntered off in the rain back to work.

     To my surprise, Death of a Witch was  a delightful story!  Centered in a small village in the Highlands of Scotland, the scene revolves around one Hamish MacBeth, local constable and layabout.  He's got flaming red hair and an amicable demeanor.  The tale was amusing and gripping simultaneously and I read the entire book in one sitting.  I enjoyed it so much that I went in search of more.  As of now, I have read somewhere along the lines of twenty from this series.  The characters are consistent and the camaraderie in the village almost makes me wish it were a real place I could go to live and the Hamish were a real man.  

     It became sort of a game in the boutique for my boss and me.  I left her one to read.  She read it and showed up the next week with another and left it for me.  They are just perfect little novels that beat television any day.  If you enjoy easy reading that is light, humorous and entertaining, then this will be a joy ride for you.  My only disappointment is that I have read them all and there are no more to read!  I hope  the author will continue to write. You can find these books anywhere books are sold and they are worth every penny.  They literally made me laugh out loud.  Get out your thumb thimble as you won't be able to put them down.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Reader's Thumb

     As a stand-up comic, I live in LA and work three day jobs.  Nights I spend either on stage at a gig I booked, seeking a new stage to be booked at, or working on material for my show.  I also have my personal enhancement time which may include studying subjects I enjoy, working out, dining with friends or relaxing at the beach.  There is one past-time however, that I do every single day.  That is read.  

     Before I close my eyes at night, I lay in bed, turn on my reading light, and settle in to what ever novel I am on that day.  This is how I came up with the name for the blog.  I noticed that my fingertips and particularly my thumbs began to hurt.  At first, I could not figure out what was causing it.  Then, just out of nowhere, it dawned on me that the holding of a book in my hand and the turning of pages was absorbing the moisture from my thumb.  Hence, Reader's Thumb.  It's my name for the strange sensation I feel in my thumb after hours of reading.  I also began searching for solutions to solve it as it was beginning to be painful.  I believe similar "injuries" occur with people who work in packing.  Some years ago, I worked in a Vitamin Supplement company wherein I took orders and then shipped them.  My hands were constantly dry from the packing materials and I suspect that is what is occurring in my thumb.  It is raw from reading.

Now, I coat my thumb with cocoa butter.  It works for me, but it does rub off onto the pages.  Another way of handling it is to switch hands.  I noticed I tend to hold the book in my right hand.  I started holding it in my left and alternating.  I also began holding the book with my thumb in the back and my fingers in the front.  It may  suffice to use a Thimble, which has crossed my mind.  If you have an idea to contribute, please comment here as I would love to hear it!

If you have experienced this, you are not alone! To all readers out there who have Reader's Thumb, I am with you and loving it.  It's a sign of a true book-worm.

Tomorrow, I will discuss some rather interesting and amusing books I have read of late.  Please join me.