books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
Christy
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents


Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, #9

Seeing a Large Cat (Amelia Peabody, #9) Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book begins with Ramses, David and Nefret more as young adults than mid teens which they really are. In Egypt, they mature early and in this book, they begin to take a more active role.

The mystery centers around a mummified woman who turns out to be a contemporary corpse even though she is mummified. Emerson finds the body and the authorities don't seem to pay too much attention to it, leaving the mystery to them. There are 2 men who are possibly the murders and the reader is bounced between them.

In this book, Ramses emerges as a young man who becomes something of a T. H. Lawrence character. He and David have spent the summer with a Sheik of their acquaintance and returns with a beautiful Arabian horse and a talent for disguise. He and David make use of these disguises to follow Nefret and the various suspects.

One of the new characters is a woman who is pretending to be a medium who has an old friend under her spell. She develops nicely and hopefully will return in future books.



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Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, #8

The Hippopotamus Pool (Amelia Peabody, #8) The Hippopotamus Pool by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is another great mystery starring the every unflappable Amelia Peabody and her curmudgeonly husband, Radcliff Emerson. They have found a tomb that appears to have the burial chamber unmolested by grave robbers. But nothing is ever smooth. The discovery of the tomb brings out all the villains in the antiquities trade.

There are several threads in this mystery and a new character, an engaging Egyptian boy named David. I like this new character and hope she will continue with him. Ramses and Nefret have grown a little and come with some teenage angst to enliven things. There is also an added thread which involves the Hippopotamus Goddess herself and lends a little more exotic atmosphere.



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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7

The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog (Amelia Peabody, #7) The Snake, the Crocodile and the Dog by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a little convoluted and the ending was a surprise, but all the action and quirky characters that we expect from Elizabeth Peters are there. She and Emerson go to Egypt leaving Ramses and Nefret with Emily and Walter. I admit I was a little disappointed at first since he is such an engaging character, but we hear from him in some very entertaining letters and he seems a presence throughout the book.

The twist in this book is that Emerson is hit on the head and has amnesia and can't remember that he is married. This allows for some romantic tension which adds a great deal to the book. Emerson is his curmudgeonly self throughout the book and seems set on getting himself killed. Amelia has to keep him from danger without letting him know of their relationship. That little bit keeps the reader spellbound throughout the book as every scene holds potential disaster. All in all, this is one of her better books in this series.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The_Echo

The Echo The Echo by Minette Walters


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I found this to be interesting, but rather convoluted. A homeless man was found in a rich woman's house, dead from starvation while lying beside a full freezer. The woman seems to have no connection to the man, but a series of connections appear as the plot winds on. Some of the characters are engaging and well drawn, but others never quite develop and the reader has to keep flipping back to the front of the book to identify them. There are elements in the plot which are really good, especially when the homeless boy comes to live with the reporter, but others, like Barry, never come to any full conclusion.

The main premise of the books is suffering and repentance, but it is presented in a vague and convoluted way. The evil deed in Billy's life is hard to bring into focus and, like others, I can't figure out who the woman in South Africa was. She is like a character from a play who keeps wandering in and out of the set of an unrelated performance.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6

The Last Camel Died at Noon (Amelia Peabody, #6) The Last Camel Died at Noon by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This time Amelia and her husband, Radcliffe Emerson, are digging in the Sudan with their son, Ramses, who is 11 in this adventure. The have been asked to find out what happened to archeologist Willoughby Forth. Willoughby's father and his son need to know what has happened to him when he and his wife disappeared 14 years earlier. There exists a map to guide them in the wretchedly hot and featureless desert, but is it an accurate map? When the last of their camels dies, stranding them in the middle of the desert, things literally begin to heat up.

This books is even more exotic than the others with a mysterious village hidden in the mountains and preserved from the passage of time. As archeologists, they are thrilled to see the ancient peoples as living beings and not just detritus from the past.

I liked this book better than the rest and while I was reading, I thought that it would make a good Indiana Jones movie. There is enough danger, mysterious people and customs, and great last minute rescues to thrill movie goers everywhere. I can even see Radcliffe as Indiana Jones!



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Monday, March 15, 2010

Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody, #4

Lion in the Valley (Amelia Peabody, #4) Lion in the Valley by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amelia and her husband, Emerson, are looking forward to this season's dig as they return to the Black Pyramid in Dashur which taunted them the previous season. They return with their precocious son, Ramses, who seems to be a walking disaster as well as a talking encyclopedia.

The season has hardly begun when Ramses is kidnapped and mysterious things begin to happen at the dig. Always aware of the villager's superstitions, Emerson is trying to make light of the bad luck and danger that seems to haunt the dig. Even Emerson has to come to believe in the Master Criminal, an interesting character who seems to have a peculiar interest in Amelia.

I read parts of this book again, as it is confusing. The reader should be aware that the Master Criminal is a genius of disguise and he appears in several guises throughout the book.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3

The Mummy Case (Amelia Peabody, #3) The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Amelia and Emerson have wanted to take their son, Ramses, to Egypt for the season and at 5, he is ready to go. He is unbelievably pompous and precocious and adds a great deal of energy to the book. Barbara Rosenblatt's narrations in the audiobook gives him character and charm.

Radcliffe, in his egocentric way, has waited to get a permit for digging too late and they end up with late burials and mounds of rubble for the season. This is especially galling since they are almost in the shadow of Dashur. However, an antiquities dealer is murdered after Amelia has gone to visit his shop and a master criminal seems to be behind it. Amelia is tempted by a bit of papyrus she wants to get for Walter and finds that it is connected with their dig. She isn't the only one who wants the papyrus. Besides this, there are mummy cases which seem to appear and disappear leaving the reader wondering.

This one is a little confusing because of the identity of the "master criminal" that Amelia believes in and Emerson does not. He seems to not only be a genius of crime, but also a talented master of disguise. The reader is kept wondering who he is right to the very end.


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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2

The Curse of the Pharaohs (Amelia Peabody, #2) The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Amelia Peabody and her now husband, Radcliffe Emerson have been staying in England pursuing scholarly reports and lectures and caring for their gifted son, Ramses. They are enticed back to Egypt by Lady Baskerville, who wants Emerson to finish the dig which costs her husband his life. With mixed emotions, they leave Ramses with Walter and Emily and head for Egypt with renewed zest.

Lady Baskerville has surrounded herself with a large cast of characters including the wealthy American, Cyrus Vandergelt, the photographer, Arthur Milverton and the eccentric/mentally ill Madame Berengaria and her daughter, Mary. Almost immediately there is a body and archeology turns into the true crime which Amelia has such a knack for.

Amelia is such a wonderful character and one has to admire her pluck and self confidence. She is fearless as she pursues her mysteries amid her daily archeological study.

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, #1

Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, #1) Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I haven't read this in years, but have decided to read the series again. All of the other books are fun and interesting, but this will always be my favorite. I think the interaction among the characters is best in this book. I love the spunky Amelia Peabody and it has always pleased me that some one as irascible as Emerson could be loved and admired.

The story starts with the indomitable Amelia beginning on a trip to Egypt to explore the antiquities. Her companion is unable to continue setting the stage for the employment of Emily. While in Egypt, the two women become involved in exploring a site where the Emerson brothers are excavating. Strange things start to happen...mummies, a cousin suitor for Emily's hand and Egyptians whose superstitions make them behave in unpredictable ways and a clash of temperments between Peabody and Emerson. This is a great read.

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Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody, #5

The Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody, #5) The Deeds of the Disturber by Elizabeth Peters


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I haven't read any of Elizabeth Peters books for a long time and I really enjoyed this one. I've about decided to go back to the beginning of the series and read them again. As with all of her books, they interactions between the main characters is just as interesting as the mystery. In this book, Peabody's unpleasant brother, James, has foisted off his children on her. As the book proceeds, the boy and girl make Ramses life miserable and the reader is waiting desperately for Amelia to see through them.

The mystery centers around some murders happening at the British Museum. Various people try to get the Emerson's involved, which they eventually do. After some trips to an opium den and a country manor house, Peabody and Emerson manage to get to the bottom of the mystery and, with Ramses help, unmask the killer.

Amelia Peabody Emerson is one of those characters that seem to take on a life of their own. Her matter of fact attitude in the face of danger and her fussy attention to detail are delightful. As a Victorian woman, she is refreshing in her no nonsense approach to life.

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Friday, March 05, 2010

Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon Mysteries, #6

Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon Mysteries, #6)Blind Descent by Nevada Barr

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Blind Descent is a wonderful title for this Nevada Barr mystery. From the moment claustrophobic Anna Pigeon goes down into the cave to answer the request of her trapped friend, the book is tense with suspense. Why does her friend, who knows she is claustrophobic, want her to go down into the cave? There must be a reason and Anna is alert for clues that are only too present, but equally mystifying.

I am not claustrophobic, but I found myself feeling the same fears as Anna. Barr is so good at creating a scene and the emotions that surround it. As all her books take place in National Parks, I am learning as much about them as being entertained by the mystery. Will Anna be able to hold it together and help her friend out of the cave? Who is it that her friend fears? Who is behind the mysterious coincidences? Who is determined that this rescue will be a failure?



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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Black Water (Tango Key Mysteries

Black Water (Tango Key Mysteries) Black Water by T.J. MacGregor


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I first realized that this book relied on time travel, I was leery. I generally don't care for such books and especially not a mystery, but this was very good. Mira's daughter, Annie, was abducted by am man who was able to travel back to 1968 where he was keeping her with another surviving child he had brought back. Shep, Mira's FBI boyfriend is in the present and trying to find Mira and Annie.

For most of the book, I was able to keep straight the ramifications of people from the present and their influence on the past when brought from their own time, but I thought that the reason for kidnapping the children was a little weak. That did not really detract from the book and it was a very good read.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Seizure

Seizure Seizure by Robin Cook


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
For a book that has no good guys, this was surprisingly good. Dr. Daniel Lowell has developed a procedure for using stem cells in curing Parkinson's disease which shows great promise in lab animals. The powerful Senator Ashley Butler is one of the foremost opponents of stem cell research, but has been diagnosed with Parkinson's. In a secret meeting, he has promised that the bill to ban stem cell research will not proceed out of his committee if Dr. Lowell will use him as his test subject. Both men are thoroughly self serving and amoral. They decide to do the procedure in an unlicensed infertility clinic in the Bahamas which is run by two doctors who are even more despicable than Lowell and Butler. Add in a couple of mobsters who have invested in Daniel's company and want their money to provide dividends and you have a thoroughly disgusting cast of characters. There are two women involved and they seem to have the only modicum of conscience in the book.

Cook has again written a book that is timely and complex. You are kept guessing up to the end of the book and at times, it seems impossible for the book to come to a satisfying conclusion. As with most of his books, the book is fast paced and believable.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Hallowed_Bones

Hallowed Bones Hallowed Bones by Carolyn Haines


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoy these books. P.I. Sarah Booth Delaney finds herself and her partner, Tinky, involved in helping a young woman from New Orleans who is accused of poisoning her severely disabled infant when she is found in Mississippi visiting the grave of her flamboyant mother. The young woman is a faith healer and seems to be a gentle and loving person incapable of harming her daughter.

The plot itself is very interesting, but the life of Sarah Booth and her "haint" Jitty adds a great deal to the story. Sarah Booth is torn between the man she feels she loves, the married sheriff, and a much more suitable suitor. The sheriff refuses to let the relationship develop because of the vows he made to his neurotic wife. You have to be rooting in the corner for the two of them, at the same time, you can't help but admire the decency of the sheriff. In the background is Jitty telling Sarah Booth that her biological clock is ticking away and that she has a duty to her ancestors to get married and produce offspring. The mystery is a bit light weight, but all in all, a very good, if light, read.

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