Friday, September 30, 2011

Hot Cocoa for a cold night, cuddled up with a good book.

This is currently my favorite Hot Cocoa.  I love the Dark Chocolate flavor, milk chocolate is too light for me.  This is tasty, warm and for the price the taste cannot be beat.  Walmart sells this in 8 packets single serve for around $1.50.  My local grocery story does not carry this flavor.  Terrific deal, I have to admit this is not my kids favorite...they enjoy a good cup of milk chocolate cocoa with mini-marshmallows.

So if you like to read cuddled up with warm socks, a blanket, a scented candle and hot cocoa, this may be the cup for you.

Quotes of the month

'Classic.' A book which people praise and don't read.
Mark Twain - Except in school.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.
Groucho Marx - also I might add that as we get older it is too dark to read most places we used to read just fine.  I think I may need glasses soon.

What are some of your favorite quotes about books and reading?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Review - The Triple Agent: The Al-Queda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA - Joby Warrick

The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA
Title:  The Triple Agent: The Al-Queda Mole Who Infiltrated the CIA

Author: Joby Warrick

ReviewI have never read a book like this before, I have read so many books of fiction and Non-Fiction about the CIA but never one on the current decade.  It starts off with the Bomb blasting of the Khost CIA outpost in Afghanistan.  As mentioned in the book several times it was the darkest day for the CIA because so many CIA officers were killed and it could have been prevented had they taken the proper steps to protect themselves, instead of worrying about protecting an asset they had never met. The CIA station chief was Jennifer Matthews and the only reason she took the job was because she wanted to move up in the CIA.  By taking the post in Afghanistan for one year, it was compared to working for the CIA state side for four years.  She had no proper training, was unprepared and she just wanted a promotion which is never a good reason to do anything, my personal feelings on the subject.

The author writes with such passion about the topic and in so much detail that I never once felt lost in the story.  He explains everything in terms, that if you follow the news, you will completely understand.

He writes about each of the different men and woman who were killed by interviewing family and coworker and I feel that gives the reader a real connection to the individuals who were murdered for no reason. In the middle of the book there are several pictures  putting a face to those who lost their lives that day.

The author also interviewed the family of the Al-Qaeda mole and you feel how much they didn't know about their son and husband.  He was a doctor healing people in a free clinic and one day he entered an Al-Qaeda chat room and became famous by calling all those who read his words to war.  At one point he mentions in his chats how the American Barbie dolls will one day wear burka's.

The author explains how the police are able to properly identify the suicide bomber at the blast site.  He also write in detail about what happened after the bombing and the doctors who attended to the men and woman.  You can almost feel the pains a doctor felt seeing the young woman Elizabeth Hanson enter his operating table with hopes of survival only for her to die minutes later.

I still do not realize why the Al-Qaeda hates what Americans stand for and how a man who was trained to save lives could takes lives instead. By reading this book I have found myself more interested in learning about Islam without the extremes and what separates them from Al-Qaeda.

Review by Guest Blogger Heidi…thanks Heidi for you imput.

Publisher: Published July 19th 2011 by Doubleday

ISBN: 9780385534185

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 304

Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It:  It caught by eye at the bookstore.

Where I Obtained the Book: Bought it at the bookstore.

Synopsis: For most of the world, Humam Khalil al-Balawi didn't exist until he strapped a bomb to his torso on December 30th, 2009 and detonated it at a Afghanistan meeting with Americans agents, killing himself and seven CIA operatives. What emerged from that wreckage was an astonishing story of changing loyalties; from Islamic extremist to Jordanian double-agent to al-Qaeda infiltrator to anti-American suicidal terrorist. Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Joby Warrick renders the ideological shifts and swerves of one politicized Middle Easterner and what they mean for our struggles abroad. Editor's recommendation.
Author Biography:  JOBY WARRICK covers intelligence for the Washington Post, where he has been a reporter since 1996. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and has appeared on CNN, Fox, and PBS.

Other Reviews:
Deadline Live with jack Blood

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review - Silent Girl - Tess Gerritsen

The Silent Girl (Rizzoli and Isles Series #9)
Title:    The Silent Girl                      

Author:  Tess Gerritsen

Review:  Another winner from one of my favorite authors.   The characters in this book are some of my favorites in any series.  I think I could be friends with Rizzoli, but Isles not so much.  Rizzoli says it like it is and she doesn’t try to sugar coat anything.  She is tough and yet has problems, especially family related, like the rest of us.  Isles is aptly referred to as Queen of the Dead and you can see that in her character especially how she acts around those who don’t know her well.  I do like the way that the author has made her more human as the series has developed.  But, I still do not see her and Rizzoli spending any time together outside of work, they are so different in their values and beliefs.  The new detective is interesting and I hope to see him in upcoming books.  I wish she would write these faster, but then again Freaks was awful, so maybe not.

This story lets you follow the characters through a recent murder which is related to one decades ago.  You meet many interesting people who pull you into their lives and losses.  The story has great flow and intrigue.  I loved the fast paced mystery along with the wondering of Who Dunnit?  Great mystery and one that I didn’t want to put down.  I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys police procedural and mysteries.   They just keep getting better and better.

I recently visited Chinatown in Boston and so the book really came alive for me with the name of the streets and the places that the author referred to.

Publisher:  Published July 5th 2011 by Random House Publishing Group (first published 2011)

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  336 pages

ISBN:  9780345515506

Quick Review:  4 Stars out of 5. 

Why I Read it:  I love this author.

Where I Obtained the Book:  David requested this at the library.

Synopsis:  Reality can be more astonishing than fiction.

While my novels may appear to have unlikely elements, I draw inspiration from the truth. In THE SILENT GIRL, I introduce a character who seems far-fetched, a middle-aged female martial arts master whose lethal skill with a sword makes her a prime suspect in a Chinatown murder. A woman swordfighter? How realistic is that?

The character of Iris Fang is, in fact, based on a real woman: a wushu grandmaster who decades ago introduced Chinese martial arts to Boston. Although I have never met Master Bow Sim-Mark, I've met several of her students, who all speak of her fighting skills with awe and reverence. Yes, this woman does exist.

But in the household where I grew up in, sometimes it was hard to separate fact from fantasy. My mother is an immigrant from China, and she told me stories filled with supernatural wonders about weeping phantoms and sword-fighting monks and holy men who walked on water. In China, she said, such things really happened.

Among her stories was the ancient legend of the Monkey King. Born from a rock, this mischievous creature grows into a fierce warrior who hunts monsters and defends the innocent, an unlikely hero who stands on the side of justice. In China, Monkey's many exploits have inspired TV shows and movies and operas.

Now, the Monkey King has inspired my new thriller, THE SILENT GIRL

On a Chinatown rooftop, a nightmarish sight greets detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. A woman's body has been nearly decapitated by an ancient sword and strange, silvery hairs cling to the victim's clothing. When the crime lab identifies the strands as monkey hairs, Jane begins to wonder if the Chinese legend has sprung to life and is now lurking in the dark alleys of Chinatown.

Although I'm Asian American, this is the first time I've woven so much of myself into a story, and I'm thrilled to introduce two Chinese-American characters: Detective Johnny Tam, who is every bit as fierce and determined as Jane Rizzoli, and Iris Fang, the swordmaster who knows a secret that could doom her.

After another victim falls under the killer's sword, Jane must delve deeper into the myth of the Monkey King. And when Jane herself glimpses the shadowy creature, even she cannot be sure of that line between truth and legend.

 Tess Gerritsen
Author Biography:  Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.

While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift", which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.

Tess's first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), and The Bone Garden (2007). Her books have been translated into 31 languages, and more than 15 million copies have been sold around the world.

As well as being a New York Times bestselling author, she has also been a #1 bestseller in both Germany and the UK. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon.) Critics around the world have praised her novels as "Pulse-pounding fun" (Philadelphia Inquirer), "Scary and brilliant" (Toronto Globe and Mail), and "Polished, riveting prose" (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the "medical suspense queen".

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

Other Reviews:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book Review - Flash and Bones - Kathy Reichs

Flash and Bones (Temperance Brennan, #14)
Title:      Flash and Bones                 

Author:  Kathy Reichs

Review:  This is an author that I count the days until her next book.  I love the writing, the mystery and the suspense, even with all the professional jargon.  The murders are explained after finding the bodies, letting the bones do the talking.  It’s amazing that our bones can tell so much about us, I don't know how anyone gets away with murder now days.  I learn something new with each book and the personal relationships make the reading all the more enjoyable.

I love the TV series ‘Bones’ which is based on her books, yet hardly anything like the characters in the books.  This is a series for everyone to read and enjoy.  I missed Ryan a bit in this book, he was there but not for much time.  In Spider Bones he played a much larger part.   If you like police procedurals and mysteries you will love this author.  Great writing, good flow and a mystery to keep you guessing.

Publisher:  Published August 23rd 2011 by Scribner

Copyright: 2011

Pages:  278 pages

ISBN:  1439102414

Quick Review:  4 Stars out of 5. 

Why I Read it:  I love this author.

Where I Obtained the Book:  Requested it from Bookswap on Goodreads.

Synopsis:  Just as 200,000 fans are pouring into town for Race Week, a body is found in a barrel of asphalt next to the Charlotte Motor Speedway. The next day, a NASCAR crew member comes to Temperance Brennan’s office at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner to share a devastating story. Twelve years earlier, Wayne Gamble’s sister, Cindi, then a high school senior and aspiring racer, disappeared along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette. Lovette kept company with a group of right-wing extremists known as the Patriot Posse. Could the body be Cindi’s? Or Cale’s?

At the time of their disappearance, the FBI joined the investigation, only to terminate it weeks later. Was there a cover-up? As Tempe juggles multiple theories, the discovery of a strange, deadly substance in the barrel alongside the body throws everything into question. Then an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes missing during Race Week. Tempe can’t overlook the coincidence. Was this man using his lab chemicals for murder? Or is the explanation even more sinister? What other secrets lurk behind the festive veneer of Race Week?

A turbocharged story of secrets and murder unfolds in this, the fourteenth thrilling novel in Reichs’s “cleverly plotted and expertly maintained series” (The New York Times Book Review). With the smash hit Bones about to enter its seventh season and in full syndication—and her most recent novel, Spider Bones, an instant New York Times bestseller—Kathy Reichs is at the top of her game.

Author Biography:  Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.

Other Reviews: 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday in my Mailbox and Happy Birthday Lisa

Happy Birthday Lisa!!!

ReamdeHaving fled to British Columbia decades ago to avoid the draft, Richard Forthrast then amassed a fortune transporting marijuana over the border to Idaho. Now he spends his time playing a power-wielding online fantasy game and his money buying viral gold and other necessaries from Chinese gold farmers and, finally, launching his own techie start-up. Alas, one of the gold farmers sets off a virtual war for dominance that could be the end of Richard. Sent for review.
The Lost Angel
New York Times bestselling author Javier Sierra returns with a heartpoundingapocalyptic thriller about mankinds most ancient desireand the modern evil some will unleash to obtain it.Every religion has a story for how our species came to mix with yours and was doomed to this planet. We are the sons of exiles. Cursed. Even man condemned us, blaming us for all the evils of the world. On the one hand you worshiped us, these beings who brought knowledge from the heavens. But you also feared us for what we might want in return. . . .”
In approximately seventy-two hours, a little-known Middle Eastern terrorist group plans to bring about the end of the world. Convinced that they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven. Central to their plan is the kidnapping of Martin Faber, an undercover American scientist whose research has led him to an extraordinary secret.
Martin’s only hope for survival is his young wife, Julia Alvarez—a woman born with a rare psychic gift. But she must find the courage to save her husband, all while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.
Sierra takes readers on an adventure across the world, from the summit of Mount Ararat to the high desert of New Mexico, from the monuments of Washington, DC, to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Sierra spent years investigating scientific and historical mysteries related to mankind’s efforts to engage directly with the Almighty.

The Lost Angel bears all the hallmarks of Sierra’s erudite yet fast-paced brand of storytelling, combining historical fact and fiction with dazzling narrative feats. Sent for review.
When Cancer Hits: Your Complete Guide To Taking Care of YOU Through Treatment
When Cancer Hits is your complete guide to navigating all the changes you ll experience between the doctor s office and everyday living. Whether your future includes surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, you ll need to know how to best manage your side effects, stress, and home recovery and how to sustain positive energy during treatment and beyond.  Sent for review.
There You'll Find Me
Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She's witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.
She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will's travel journal. It's the place he felt closest to God, and she's hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.
Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She's the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.
Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?
Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she's been looking for has been with her all along?  Sent for review.
Shinju (Sano Ichiro, #1)
When beautiful, wealthy Yukiko and low-born artist Noriyoshi are found drowned together in a shinju, or ritual double suicide, everyone believes the culprit was forbidden love. Everyone but newly appointed yorikiSano Ichiro.
Despite the official verdict and warnings from his superiors, the shogun's Most Honorable Investigator of Events, Situations, and People suspects the deaths weren't just a tragedy; they were murder. Risking his family's good name and his own life, Sano will search for a killer across every level of society determined to find answers to a mystery no one wants solved. No one but Sano...
As subtle and beautiful as the culture it evokes, Shinju vividly re-creates a world of ornate tearooms and guady pleasure-palaces, cloistered mountaintop convents and dealthy prisons.
Part love story, part myster, Shinju is a tour that will dazzle and entertain all who enter its world.  Goodreads bookswap request.

Say it with dance! This gorgeous collection will enchant young dancers with stories from eight cultures, including the Polka in the Czech Republic, Limbo in the West Indies and the Waltz in Germany. Book with CD editions include stories read by actress Juliet Stevenson.  Blog Hop Win 
The Seduction of Scandal (Scandals and Seductions, #5)
It’s never wise to blackmail a highwayman. Lady Corinne, rebellious daughter of the duke of Banfield, refuses to marry Lord Freddie Sherwin. Yes, he’s the catch of the season and the man her father chose for her. He’s also the most despicable male of her acquaintance. With her wedding only weeks away, she runs away and finds herself a prisoner of the notorious Thorn! The rich and powerful tremble at the highwayman’s name, while England’s villagers rejoice in his bold exploits. His identity is a secret; his life a mystery--until Lady Corinne tumbles into his arms. If the Thorn wants her silence, he must hide her until her wedding day passes. It’s a devil’s bargain and one that can only lead to a hangman’s noose. Corinne believes it the perfect plan--until her highwayman reveals a passionate lover’s heart, and she realizes that in the seduction of scandal, she may have found the hero she’s been waiting for her whole life.    A blog hop win.

What is in your mailbox this week?  What did you read this week?  Thanks 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Book Review - The Dog Who Knew Too Much - Spencer Quinn

Author: Spencer Quinn

Review: If you have ever owned a dog you begin to develop a theory of how their mind works. Chet, partner with Bernie in the Little detective agency, is the perfect representation of all dogs I have ever met. He is a blend of innocence, curiosity, ADHD, optimism, and blind loyalty. All these traits and more come out in his narration of the Chet and Bernie mysteries.

With Chet leading us through the investigation we are led through a whole lot of tangents and shifting of thought gears (without the clutch), often humorously, as they close in on the culprit. Each little side story and link to the events Chet encounters often provide little clues that allow you the reader to move right along with investigation without giving it all away. Typically Chet has moved on to thinking about something else when the full story comes out, so we must persevere to get the big picture.

For example, at one point Bernie is questioning someone when they say a suspect is a piss poor person. So we find out the suspect has problems but before we hear the rest of the interview Chet’s brain is off. Piss poor? I like that. I must be a piss rich guy, I can always go. Speaking of which; Chet the Jet! They don’t call me that for nothing. And then he works himself back over to Bernie to start listening again.

It is so different to have such a positive and optimistic character in a mystery story; no dark and brooding detective here. It is these exact traits that make the book delightful. Chet makes me feel good and more hopeful, but thank goodness dogs can’t talk because I think it would wear me out in real life. Kind of like the Matrix were they added negativity to stop all the batteries from dying. But in control doses, like this book, it is wonderful.

If you want a fun mystery told through the eyes of every dog you have ever met, and will make you laugh, then the Bernie and Chet mysteries are for you. There are four books in the series so far and I know I am going to be reading all of them.

Publisher: Atria Books

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 308

ISBN: 978-1-4391-5709-1

Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.

Why I Read it: Love mysteries

Where I Obtained the Book: The publisher sent it to me for review

Synopsis: The fourth entry in the irresistible New York Times bestselling mystery series featuring canine narrator Chet and his human companion Bernie—“the coolest human/pooch duo this side of Wallace and Gromit” (Kirkus Reviews).Combining suspense and intrigue with a wonderfully humorous take on the link between man and beast, Spencer Quinn’s exceptional mystery series has captured widespread praise since its New York Times bestselling debut, Dog on It. The Dog Who Knew Too Much marks the duo’s triumphant return in a tale that’s full of surprises.Bernie is invited to give the keynote speech at the Great Western Private Eye Convention, but it’s Chet that the bigshot P.I. in charge has secret plans for. Meanwhile Chet and Bernie are hired to find a kid who has gone missing from a wilderness camp in the high country. The boy’s mother thinks the boy’s father—her ex—has snatched the boy, but Chet makes a find that sends the case in a new and dangerous direction. As if that weren’t enough, matters get complicated at home when a stray puppy that looks suspiciously like Chet shows up. Affairs of the heart collide with a job that’s never been tougher, requiring our two intrepid sleuths to depend on each other as never before. The Dog Who Knew Too Much is classic Spencer Quinn, offering page-turning entertainment that’s not just for dog-lovers.
Author Biography: Spencer Quinn lives on Cape Cod with his dog Audrey, and is hard at work on the next Chet and Bernie adventure. Spencer Quinn is a pseudonym of author Peter Abrahams.

Other Reviews:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Book Blog Hop Giveaway

One Winner wins: a $5 dollar gift certificate to Amazon
great for a Banned Kindle book or five.
This is from one of our visitors...  Thanks
The American Library Association website for banned/challenged books--short list for classics only--includes To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; 1984, by George Orwell; A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway; Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell; and Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron. The first four were required reading in my school days.
Gone with the Winds and 
To Kill a Mocking Bird are some of my favorite books ever.

We try to keep up with the latest banned books and read them.  See some of our past posts, more modern banned books.   We have a copy of TTYL on goodreads swap.

Enter this contest by Following this blog: any of these GFC, Twitter, Network Blogs.
and commenting with contact info like: lisapeters at yahoo dot com. This is the first entry.

Extra entries include. You must be a GFC follower or a Networked Blog follower first
 and then add additional ways of
following for extra entries:
Add to comment all the ways you follow

for extra entries, if you have the time, not mandatory.
Follow on Twitter on the side bar =+2
Comment on any post=+1

Thanks and Good Luck to you all, ends October 1 at midnight.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review - Michael Vey The Prisoner of Cell 25 - Richard Paul Evans

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25

Review: This was an interesting book. Michael is a normal teenage boy despite his Tourette’s and his special super electric powers that his mother and best friend know about but that he is supposed to keep a secret. Trouble seems to find him whether he provokes it or not. Not only are the bullies at school out to get him, but the principal is just plain awful. He says things to him like: "Mr. Vey, you cannot be stuffed into a locker without your consent." Dallstrom said, which may be the dumbest thing ever said in a school. "You should have resisted. That's like blaming someone who was struck by lightning for getting in the way.”

 But when a particular cheerleader finds out his secret, they end up on a whirlwind adventure discovering why he is the way he is. They find there are more kids like him and there are bad people in the world that will do anything to find him.  It was refreshing to have the hero of a book have Tourette’s because it makes him more relatable. He may be tall and good looking, but he still has his extra trials and personal things he tries to keep in check. 

Once you got into the book it was hard to put down, the story really gets going and you want to know if in fact he can save those he loves. This book is definitely set up for a series, just as you felt you were getting somewhere, it ended.  I enjoyed it though, and will be reading the rest of the series. Richard Paul Evans isn’t my favorite author of all time. While I enjoy his books, I’m not a big fan of the way he writes. I do believe that children 10 and up would enjoy this super hero boy next door who is trying to save the day by making difficult ethical decisions.    I think my son will enjoy this book when he is a little bit older. It has a great theme of standing up for what is right especially when it is difficult; or even life and death. 

Thanks go out to our guest blogger Heather for this great review...thanks Heather.

Publisher: Published August 9th 2011 by Mercury Ink (first published August 2011)

ISBN: 9781451656503

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 326

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Why I Read It: I first heard about it while listening to Glenn Beck on the radio. There was a lot of hype about how it was supposed to be the “next Harry Potter” meaning that school aged children are really into it despite not being big readers. It isn’t like Harry Potter as far as synopsis.

Where I Obtained the Book: Purchased from Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: My name is Michael Vey, and the story I’m about to tell you is strange. Very strange. It’s my story.

To everyone at Meridian High School, Michael Vey is an ordinary fourteen-year-old. In fact, the only thing that seems to set him apart is the fact that he has Tourette’s syndrome. But Michael is anything but ordinary. Michael has special powers. Electric powers.

Michael thinks he's unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor also has special powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up this way, but their investigation brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric children – and through them the world. Michael will have to rely on his wits, powers, and friends if he’s to survive.
Richard Paul Evans
Author Biography: When Richard Paul Evans wrote the #1 best-seller, The Christmas Box, he never intended on becoming an internationally known author. His quiet story of parental love and the true meaning of Christmas made history when it became simultaneously the #1 hardcover and paperback book in the nation. Since then, more than eight million copies of The Christmas Box have been printed. He has since written eleven consecutive New York Times bestsellers. He is one the few authors in history to have hit both the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists. He has won several awards for his books including the 1998 American Mothers Book Award, two first place Storytelling World Awards, and the 2005 Romantic Times Best Women Novel of the Year Award. His books have been translated into more than 22 languages and several have been international best sellers.

Other Reviews:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review - Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger

Review: I came to this really wanting to like it because it featured several things that I look for. A mystery series with an extended backlist taking place in Minnesota. I was hoping for Riley Spartz or Lucas Davenport; or somewhere in between. I even dug around my want to read pile (about 80 books) and found one of the earlier books in the series, Thunder Bay. So I took both books with me on vacation to read – I actually took 7 books with me and got them all done.

The positives. There was a lot of fantastic Northwoods Minnesota description and action. That alone gave my rating a boost. Plus Krueger writing style is very easy to read with a very nice flow to it. It all proceeded forth without any hiccups or dry moments, constantly moving the plot forward in an orderly fashion. Honestly I was able to get through these books quite fast without any holdups. And most importantly the mystery was quite good, though the premise was a little extreme (whacky survivalist religious cult run by a crazy person is a little overdone for my tastes). But the bones of the mystery were solid, in both books.

The negative for me was the character development. All of the principles in the series seemed a little too perfect, as if they hadn’t found their voice yet. Typically a solid mystery hero will be flawed in a very human way – think Wallander or Rebus. They struggle along figuring themselves out as much as they solve the crimes as time goes by. Anotherwords they grow as a person with each successive book. The characters here seemed liked they were assigned their personality with book one and have never changed, and they are unrealistically bonded with those traits come hell or high water.

To get my meaning think of your favorite sit-com that was on TV for a few years. Now go back and watch the pilot episode and the lack of character development just screams at you from the screen. The principles in this book seemed like they were still those Pilot episode people rather then what you would expect from the 11thbook in the series. For example, Cork’s daughter’s speech about motherhood and whether to keep the baby reminded me a lot of Mike Myer’s “Oscar” scene in Wayne’s World (way over acted).

In the end I wanted to like this book and I did, but not enough to work through the backlist. That said it was a quick read and entertaining for what it was, plus it has all the great Minnesota action you could want.

Publisher: Atria Books

Copyright: 2011

Pages: 320

ISBN: 978-1-439-15395-6

Quick Review: 3 Stars out of 5.

Why I Read it: Love mysteries

Where I Obtained the Book: The publisher sent it to me for review

Synopsis: During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm. Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl. She wasn’t killed by the storm, however; she’d been bound and tortured before she died. Whimpering sounds coming from outside the cabin lead them to a tangle of branches toppled by the vicious winds. Underneath the debris, they find a baby boy, hungry and dehydrated, but still very much alive. Powerful forces intent on securing the child pursue them to the isolated Northwest Angle, where it’s impossible to tell who among the residents is in league with the devil. Cork understands that to save his family he must solve the puzzle of this mysterious child whom death follows like a shadow...
Author Biography: William Kent Krueger is a multi award-winning American author and crime writer, best known for his Cork O'Connor series of books, which is mainly set in Minnesota. USA. In 2005 and 2006, he won back to back Anthony Awards for best novel - a feat only matched by one other writer since the award's inception.

William Kent Krueger has stated that he dates his desire to be a writer back to the third grade, when a story he wrote called The Walking Dictionary was so well received by teachers and parents that he was inspired by their praise. Throughout an early life that saw him logging timber, digging ditches, working in construction, and being published as a freelance journalist, he never stopped writing.

He attended Stanford University but his academic path was cut short when he came into conflict with the university's administration during student protests of spring 1970.

He wrote short stories and sketches for many years, but it was not until the age of 40 that he finished the manuscript of his first novel, Iron Lake. A book which went on to win the Anthony Award for Best First Novel, the Barry Award for Best First Novel, the Minnesota Book Award, and the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award.

William Kent Krueger lives with his wife and family in St Paul, Minnesota

Other Reviews:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review - The Tourist ...damaged goods - Jack Everett and David Coles

The Tourist
Title:    The Tourist               

Author:  David B Cole and Jack Everett

Review:   This is a well paced murder mystery that will keep you turning the pages.  I found the characters interesting, some endearing, some frightening and most of them multi-faceted.  The ‘copper’ Stewart is one I would like to read more about, along with Shelly, Flowers, and Alec.  The way the characters interacted with each other seemed real, making them people I would like to have as friends, co-workers, police officers in my town or neighbors.   

The murders are gruesome, but not out of line with the story or the plot.  Stewart is referred to as Sherlock and I think he does a great job solving the murders.  The author did not make him ‘Superman’ or special in anyway, thank heaven, he’s just an ordinary man with good hunches.   He’s young, smart and yet knows his place and doesn’t want to rock the boat on his new assignment.  I love his father and the relationship they have with one another, along with Pip.  I hope to see more books about this man and his police force. 

I love police procedurals and this one is a good one.    If you enjoy BBC murder mysteries or any mysteries for that matter, you will love this book.

Publisher:  Published August 5th 2011 by Acclaimed Books

Copyright: 2011


Quick Review:  4 Stars out of 5. 

Why I Read it:  The author was looking for reviewers to read his book.

Where I Obtained the Book:  Sent by the author.

Synopsis:  Robert Cleghorn was a good soldier, so good that he was first selected to join the Special Forces and following a head injury, was recruited by the CIA. A second head injury hospitalized him and psychiatrists rebuilt his memories from what they could recover.

He escapes from the hospital where he was a virtual prisoner and goes to find the love of his life: his brother’s wife and a typically English rose. Always on a knife-edge, Robert quarrels with and kills his sibling.

Finding his brother was about to go to England, Robert assumes the other’s identity and heads for the UK. Blithely unaware that the memories of his beloved are artificial, unaware of the mayhem about to erupt and the very astute English copper soon to be seeking him and unaware, too, of the Americans dogging his footsteps, Robert soldiers on.  The fun is about to start.

Author Biography: David began writing fantasy and science fiction far long ago than he can now remember. He designs and builds websites for friends.

He has co-written for many years with Jack Everett, and together they have explored the local stars, killed off a huge number of Roman legionaries, found out what happened to King Arthur and the Round Table, got the lowdown on how medieval lives were lived and hatched a few thriller plots.

He is proud to have attended workshops run by both of the UK writers, Terry Pratchett and the late David Gemmel; a process requiring late nights and copious alcohol. He is a founder member of the international Historical Novel Society where alcohol is optional.

He would like to be taller and possess more hair, he would like to be fitter and leaner, he would like to be richer but such things were not meant to be and by and large, he is content with the way things have worked out.

David lives with his wife and a pet laptop in God's own county - Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.

Jack Everett is author and co-author of a number of fantasy & science fiction, crime and thriller novels. Some are published, some are in progress and others remain between the ears. He is a Member of the Society of Authors and also of the International Thrillers Organization

Jack also hand crafts the most stunning snooker cues imaginable and modern objects'd'art from exotic and magnificently figured timbers. He collects books and playing cards though there is little space in a much overcrowded home.

He dreams of having a library with elastic walls.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Book Review - Invisible - Hugues de Montalembert

Title:  Invisible-A Memoir

Review:  This short book will make you think about life and how you are living it.  Are you waiting for something to happen before you actually get out there and live?  Blinded by two thieves this author learned to live his life to the fullest.  He had a full life before the blindness, but after he refused to let it change things.  He traveled and saw the world without the help of his eyes.  He met people who opened up to him because they couldn’t look into his eyes and see his judgments.  He learned that there are worse things that can happen in life then losing one’s sight.

Where do you fit in this world?  What do you have to give and what can others give you.  I loved this book and it took a bit over an hour to read.  My favorite few paragraphs are at the very end.  I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it made me think that life is full of people who need our compassion and help yet we don’t see them.  Who will see them if we don’t?  

Read this book, take an hour or two and really think about what the pages are saying.  This is a book for anyone and everyone.  This will change the way you see everyday life.  Beauty surrounds us, but do we really ever truly see it?  READ THIS BOOK!

Publisher: Atria Books (September 20, 2011) Paperback

ISBN: 1416593675

Copyright: 2010

Pages: 144

Quick Review: 5 stars (out of 5)

Why I Read It:  The publisher was looking for reviewers.

Where I Obtained the Book: Sent by the publisher.

Synopsis: Blinded in a senseless attack in his New York home in 1978, de Montalembert, then a filmmaker and painter, was violently forced out of his intensely visual world. In this raw memoir, more a brainstorming session than a narrative, he approaches his new life with stunning directness, navigating the environs of Manhattan and, not much later, Bali and Greenland, with precocious new confidence and ability. He's also painfully honest about the affects of his blindness, refusing the comfort of standard tropes about spirituality but finding wonder in the kindness of absolute strangers, isolation from those closest to him, and other un-thought-of moments of triumph and despair stemming from the way his condition affects his closest relationships. A French-born artist, de Montalembert will draw inevitable comparisons to Jean-Dominique Bauby (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), and de Montalembert's effort is certainly a more challenging read, stylistically: broken, brief, at times like a prose poem. It depends on the reader whether this approach makes for a cumulative impact, or just gets tiring. Still, de Montalembert vital, determined voice is worth attending.
Hugues de Montalembert
Author Biography:  Born in France, Hugues de Montalembert is a painter and photographer who was blinded during a violent assault while living in New York in 1978. He is the author of one previous book in English, ECLIPSE (1985). His story was also the basis of the acclaimed documentary film BLACK SUN (2007). He currently lives in Paris.

Disclaimer for all reviews sent by the publisher, publicist or author for review.