Sunday, January 08, 2012

My December Reads


I missed two books I read in November, so I'll start with those.  The rest were read in December.  Not as many mysteries as normal, but some good books.

All ratings are on a scale from 1 (bad) to 5 (great).

THE KINGDOM KEEPERS: POWER PLAY by Ridley Pearson - 5
The Kingdom Keepers have had a breather since the leaders of the Overtakers were arrested.  But a plot to free them finds our heroes in danger and making some shocking discoveries.  Those discoveries really helped make this book feel fresh and exciting and not just enough retread of a familiar plot.

FORMULA FOR MURDER by Diana Orgain - 4
New mom and new PI Kate Connelly is in a hit and run, and witnesses identify the car as belonging to someone from the French consulate.  The consulate denies it, but it leads to a case for Kate when she sees a reporter leaving and the reporter turns up dead two days later.  Was she working on a story on the French consulate that lead to her death?  I love the characters, and the story was interesting.  It did bog down a little in the middle, but it picked up again for a fun finish.

THE ANIMATED MAN: A LIFE OF WALT DISNEY by J. Michael Barrier - 4
I found this to be an interesting and balance biography of Walt Disney.  The author played media critic a bit too much, which bothered me, but in the end I walked away with a clearer picture of a true American success story.

THE END by David LaRochelle - 5
A fun picture book take on fairytales, this one starts at "Happily ever after" and works back to "Once Upon a Time."  Along the way, we get some surprises and laughs.  Highly recommended.

HIDDEN MICKEY by Nancy Temple Rodrigue, David W. Smith - 2
While on a MouseQuest at Disneyland, Adam and Lance find what they think is Walt Disney's diary.   A clue in it leads them on a quest through his life with a possible big prize at the end.  This book is an example of everything that can go wrong with self-publishing.  There are too many data dumps, the action is slow at times, and the characters are flat and unlikable.  I'm enough of a Disney geek to enjoy parts of it, but it needed a good editor before it saw the light of day.

KILLER ROUTINE by Alan Orloff - 3
Channing Hayes' is trying to help his almost sister-in-law begin a solo stand up comic career while he recovers from the accident that took his fiancee.  On the night of her big break, she vanishes.  Why?  Can Channing find her?  The characters were enjoyable, especially Channing, but the plot was a series of events with no real detective work involved.

IN SERVICE TO THE MOUSE by Jack Lindquist - 4
The memories of the man who rose from head of advertising for Disneyland in 1955 to become its first president in the late 80's and early 90's.  As a Disnerd, I loved this inside look at the park's history, although the writing style could have been a little better.

PETER AND THE SECRET OF RUNDOON by Ridley Pearson and Dave Barry - 5
The final chapter in their Peter Pan prequel trilogy is the best one yet.  Just be sure you read the other two first because you'll pretty much be lost by everything that is happening here.

2 comments:

Brian said...

Self-publishing is not a bad thing though, since it is essentially cheaper -- no agent required, no back-and-forth, etc. Nevermind the fact that it might be a tough sell, given that it is not authorized by Disney (like Kingdom Keepers).

However, these books apparently have already been picked up by a studio. The good thing is that as a film, they can just cut to the chase.

You are right though about the wordiness. Apparently, the one author is putting out his memoirs of being a CM and growing up in the shadow of Disneyland. Only about 200 pages, as opposed to 500 plus.

Mark said...

Self-publishing is not a bad thing if the author gets proper feedback. Many self-published authors don't take the time to properly revise their books and get honest feedback about what works and what doesn't. That was the problem here.