Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

THE BLURB

Travel to Exeter, Massachusetts, where old grudges, buried secrets and lifetime regrets haunt the residents of this small town – and sometimes trip up unwary newcomers.

In Bones of the Past, Ellie learns some old secrets lurking underneath the small town peace.

Step back 10 years in Thrown Out as Chris must decide if he’ll let old scars come between him and what he’s building with Dan.

F.X. O’Leary can see something is very wrong with his grandchildren, but he must enlist Riordan’s help for an End Run when his son Joe won’t let him help.

Finally, in the 40 years they’ve known each other, Becca and Riordan have perfected this Intricate Dance between them.

 

WHAT I THOUGHT

Jennie Coughlin has created a town which seems real enough to perhaps be the one next to your own.  This small book spans a few decades with its four short stories.  It’s about everyday life for the people of Exeter, complete with problems, trivial and large.  I felt like I was looking at the town through a window, getting a little glimpse at the goings on and getting to know the characters.  It was like being given a sneak peak at what was to come – which is good because I have heard there are more stories about Exeter in the works.

Can I pick a favourite?  Nope, I can’t.  Even though they are four short stories it still seemed like more of a whole to me than four parts, they interwove and it was great.  It gave me the feeling that I had known the town for more than just the ‘time at the moment’. 

An easy to read pocketsize book with engaging characters and good storylines.

 

I must say thank you to Jennie for providing me with a copy of her book – thanks, Jennie!

Read Full Post »

Over the last few weeks I have received quite the handful of new arrivals and thought I had better post about them before the list gets even longer.  My most recent additions are below and I shall take this opportunity to say thank you to all for sending them through to me 🙂

Family Pieces – Misa Rush

What do you do when your once charmed life falls to pieces? Karsen Woods’ life seems charmed from her hunkalicious boyfriend to her picture-perfect midwestern roots. Away at college, even the necklace she wears serves as a constant connection home – a family tradition created when her grandfather handmade each immediate relative an interlinking charm. Each piece crafted in the shape of a puzzle piece, each one interlinking perfectly together. But when the unexpected death of her mother turns her world upside down, she discovers there is a missing piece of her treasured family tradition and her life as she once knew it may never be the same.

Addison Reynolds resides in her posh Manhattan condominium and wraps her personal identity around running Urbane, the magazine empire built by her father. In a moment of haste, Addison divulges her deepest secret to her closest friend Emily – a secret she never intended to disclose.

Could one choice, one secret, bond two unlikely women forever?

 

The Slave – Pauline Montagna

Aurelia Rubbini, the only child of a rich merchant in fourteenth century Italy, has been raised to be a dutiful daughter, wife and mother, but she longs for something more than the restricted life intended for her. Then one day, her father brings home from a buying trip an Asian slave boy, Batu, who will reshape Aurelia’s destiny.

Aurelia and Batu are inexorably drawn to each other, but their relationship is forbidden as Aurelia is destined for an arranged marriage to further her father’s political ambitions. When Aurelia marries Lorenzo de Graziano, a nobleman with a dangerous reputation, Batu insists on going with her for her protection. But Batu’s presence arouses violent passions that Aurelia, in her innocence, can never understand.

Goodbye Lullaby – Jan Murray

In September 1971, 181 numbered marbles roll around in a barrel while families all over Australia hold their breath.

Sixteen year-old Caroline ‘Miki’ Patrick confides to her best friend — the outspoken, smart-mouthed Jude — that she’s pregnant. After a failed abortion attempt, Miki finds herself in the iron embrace of St Anthony’s home for wayward girls, with the scheming Sister Angela in her ear. But Jude convinces Miki they can raise the child together, and they take to the road.

But neither of them is prepared for the hardships they face — and after one particularly difficult night, Jude walks out. Alone, poor and scared for her baby’s welfare, Miki struggles on, but a year later, she decides the best solution is to surrender Dominic for adoption.

Years later, Miki is a dangerous woman, and she’s on the run. A vocal anti-war activist who assists draft dodgers, Miki is hiding from the Federal Police and never stays in one place very long. That is, until Dominic’s birthday is drawn in the conscription lottery, and Jude returns.

But neither of the women has forgotten ‘their’ son – and Miki and Jude will stop at nothing to be reunited with him. 

The Last English Village by James Ignizio

On 22 December 1943 the Susan Rae, an American B17 Flying Fortress, is lost. The aircraft is reported to have crashed into the English Channel. There are no survivors and no bodies are recovered. Records of the incident mysteriously go missing. The Susan Rae and its crew vanish, committed to the dustbin of history.

On the day the Susan Rae disappears, the English village of Lower Friththingden is the scene of several remarkable events. Two Rolls-Royces are seen parked near the village church. The entourage has paused to listen to the sound of the village children’s choir. Overhead a German parachute mine floats down, heading directly toward the church. Inside are most of the village inhabitants, including a young girl rumored to be the illegitimate child of Winston Churchill.

More than a half-century later two men, an embittered American and a reclusive Englishman, have their lives altered as a consequence of the disappearance of the Susan Rae. Vince Collesano, ill, depressed, and alone, travels to England to satisfy his wife’s final request. Seconds before her death she had pointed to a painting of an English churchyard and asked to have her ashes buried there – in the country where she had been born and raised.

Unfortunately, Vince has no idea as to just where in England that particular churchyard is located. The promise cannot be kept without the help of his late wife’s cousin, Albert “Bertie” Ambrose, a sad little man who hasn’t ventured outside of London for more than thirty years.

Despite Vince’s intense dislike of Bertie, and all things English, the pair team up for what Vince believes to be a search for his wife’s final resting place. Given an ample supply of Marmite, they just may succeed.

The Spanish Revenge: A Craig Page Thriller by Allan Topol

Craig Page, the bold and daring EU Director of Counterterrorism, becomes the focal point of an effort to stop the feared terrorist Ahmed Sadi, whose goal is to provoke a Muslim uprising in Western Europe. Ahmed, a Muslim fanatic born in Paris to parents who emigrated from Algeria, calls himself Musa Ben Abdil, after a Muslim hero from the Fifteenth Century War with Spain. Page teams up once again the resourceful Elizabeth Crowder, a newspaper reporter who has also become his lover.

Ahmed’s plans become far more menacing when he is joined by Chinese General Zhou, who had been exiled to France for his devious actions in The Spanish Revenge. With Zhou’s assistance, Ahmed’s plan is to launch a horrific attack on the heart of Christianity. At the same time, Ahmed wants to retake militarily for Islam a portion of Southern Spain. He relies upon a medieval parchment he claims to have uncovered, in which Queen Isabella on her death bed in 1504 ceded a portion of Southern Spain to the Muslims in perpetuity. His one main obstacle: Page himself is hot on his trail, determined as ever to save the world from a master criminal. From Spain to Morocco, and beyond to Italy, Page and General Zhou renew their battle, even as Ahmed plots his deadly revenge.

Reverberation The Novel by V.B. Holmes

April 18, 1828. A wealthy farmer, Jacob Hicks, dies. His friend, Squire Richard Holt, testifies that, on his deathbed, the deceased named his only son as his sole beneficiary.  In a naive attempt to invalidate the questionable will, two disgruntled family members fire consecutively at the squire. Only one shot finds its mark, but the lives of the two shooters and those around them are changed forever.

Reverberation is a story of love and friendship, greed and survival set amid the changing social, religious and philosophical mores of antebellum America.

‘one accord’ Volume I One Mind, One Body, One Team by Bridgette Brown

B.L. Brown is the CEO and Founder of Halo-Orangees, LLC and the P-S-T (Parent-Student-Teacher) brand. She is a strong, proud African-American divorcee that is fortunate to parent five amazing children who are unique in every way. The genesis of Halo-Orangees, LLC Brand: Helping Advocate Longevity of Organizations by Obtaining Objectives through Redefining Above-Board New Generational Guidelines for Employer Employee Standards was inspired, developed, and birthed from her reaction to an unethical manager with whom she had the pleasure of working for and whose style of supervision made her stronger. The vision for Halo-Orangees’ Parent-Student-Teacher Brand is to empower all children to be self-defined rather than “people” defined, self-directed, and self-driven. The P-S-T brand embodies the message that all children have a purpose and can rise above any situation and/or circumstance as long as they remain true to themselves.

In a one-on-one meeting with this executive director, he made the statement that another employee, who held the same title as B.L. Brown, was better than she was. In response, B.L. Brown informed him that this employee was not better than her nor was she better than the employee. From that one statement, she instantly realized her true purpose in life. Reckoning her experience with a newfound belief, the foundation of Halo-Orangees, LLC emerged. The first and most important reason for creating Halo-Orangees, LLC is to empower all human beings. This book embodies the message that all human beings have a purpose and can rise above any situation or circumstance as long as they remain ethically true to themselves. Halo-Orangees’ goal is to change the environment of employment for all human beings that fosters a system that demands that they be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. The mission of the P-S-T brand is to eliminate the ever-growing educational viruses of gang involvement, drugs, bullying, suicide and immobility that our students are facing daily. In addition, this book will challenge humans, who work in complex working conditions to grow mentally and spiritually.

Read Full Post »

I know it seems like I went on a book buying splurge not that long ago but I really couldn’t resist my latest attendance at a book sale.  It was the weekend, it was pouring down with rain, I was visiting the ‘fix my car’ shop and on my way there I saw a sign by the side of the road saying ‘book sale’ and of course I just had to drive to the address supplied and have a look around.  I am very glad I did.  I didn’t know what to expect and thought if the address looked a little dodgy I would just drive on by.  No need to worry, it was in a little house (I think) behind a small church and there was a fantastic selection of books, most in great condition. I walked away with the following for $31 plus an extra $1 donation:

Just Take My Heart – Mary Higgins Clark (a long time ago I used to read all of her books so I was happy to find this one)
Chasing Harry Winston – Lauren Weisberger
South of Broad – Pat Conroy
A Year in the World – Frances Mayes
Every Day in Tuscany – Frances Mayes
Skinny Legs and All – Tom Robbins
Sex and the City – Candace Bushnell (currently watching the series – didn’t watch it when it was on TV)
Nights in Rodanthe – Nicholas Sparks (loved this movie)
Bad Dogs Have More Fun – John Grogan (loved Marley and Me)
Almost French – Sarah Turnbull (loved, LOVED the cover of this one)
Lord John and the Private Matter – Diana Gabaldon
A Breath of Snow and Ashes – Diana Gabaldon

And I bought The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown – which I already have – oops!

I really could have walked away with five times the amount of books but I had to stop myself, you know, practice some self-restraint.  One of the ladies running the sale mentioned they have a few a year and would I like to go on their mailing list – well, I wrote my email address down just as quick as I could because I definitely want to visit when the next sale happens, which should be in February which is also my birthday month – coincidence – I think not!

Now, I know I’ve been a little absent of late and I have a million (okay, I might be slightly exaggerating there!) reviews to post but I have been super busy and haven’t really had any free time.  I am hoping this dies down soon but then I also know it is the festive season so perhaps it won’t be a little more calmer until next year.  Either way, I hope to get to everything just as soon as I can.  Thanks for continuing to read my blog and for your support 🙂

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. To protect herself, she’s forced to assume Aura’s identity. But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and when Kit learns the truth about Aura, she knows she has to get out before the storm breaks. There’s only one problem: escape isn’t an option.

Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot harder.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Katie Robison’s Downburst was just what I needed.  I was in a bit of a reading slump, reading a few books at the same time but nothing really grabbing my attention.  I wanted to read a book which whispered to me, ‘Go on, read some more, you know you want to, don’t put me to bed yet.’  So the search was on, which book should I pick up next?  I actually thought my odds of choosing the ‘right’ book quite slim so I didn’t have high expectations.  I read a few reviews for a few books waiting on my shelves and after reading some good reviews for Downburst I decided to give it a try.  Boy did I pick the right book!!

Downburst is Katie Robison’s debut YA novel and it is set to be a great series – The Windstorm Series.  I completely agree with many others who have said this series will rival The Hunger Games.  Now, I need to be careful not to give too much away here.  I can say that although the blurb sounds quite exciting enough in itself it most certainly does not even come close to illustrating just what this book is about……..oh, the last line is pretty good!  You will be surprised, just know that.

Katie Robison has obviously given thought to how she was going to present the world in Downburst as the details are such that it makes this make-believe fiction setting seem real.  I certainly could picture in my mind the environment/setting for the story, the descriptions were more than sufficient to open up that creative part of my brain and conjure up a picture that fit.  The characters were an interesting bunch but I know we’ve just scratched the surface with some of them; hopefully there will be more to come in the following books.   I did like seeing snapshots from Kit’s past and of course can’t wait to see an even bigger picture for the future!

The storyline was great, started off with a bang and ended with a………well let’s just say it ended leaving a definite want for more!  Right from the start I didn’t want to put this book down and that continued all the way through and when I did happen upon that last page I still didn’t want to put it down!  Unfortunately, try as I might, I couldn’t conjure up even just another 100 pages, let alone the 300 I really wanted.  I just love when a book leaves you feeling like that!  Well done, Katie Robison!

Fantastic start to the series!  Loved the ending of the first book!  Can’t wait to see what will happen next!

Word of advice – get your hands on this one if you haven’t already 🙂

Many thanks to Katie Robison for providing me with a copy of Downburst – thank you, Katie!

Read Full Post »

Oh wow, what a great few days it has been, new arrivals left, right and centre, I am one lucky gal!  The latest two to arrive at their new home are Heavy Bags of Soul by K.D. Rose and Old Boys by Charles McCarry.  So, once again, two thank yous must go out at the same time – thank you, K.D., for a copy of your work and thank you, Katherine, of Duckworth Publishers for a copy of Charles McCarry’s work – thank you!

Heavy Bags of Soul

It is half past dark and we are in a graveyard orbit.  Travelers have lost their way.  Mankind is hard of hearing.  We have abandoned insight and revelation for commerce and merry-go-rounds of distraction.  But wonder is still in the palm of our hand.  Wisdom is everywhere when we pay attention.  We hold the key to orchards in camouflage and we are charged with the task of taking vision and making it into reality – beyond anything that exists and beyond what others say can be done.  Learning this is an absolute requirement to our survival.

Old Boys

Retired master spy Paul Christopher goes missing a day after a family dinner.

Months later a Chinese official delivers his ashes to the American consulate in Beijing, and a memorial service is held in Washington.  But the Old Boys of the CIA are not convinced that their ex-colleague is dead and embark upon a thrilling search that takes them from Xinjiang to Brazil, from Rome to Moscow and a secret more dangerous than any of them expected.

Read Full Post »

 

Yippee, it’s here, Playing Havoc by Steve Morris arrived safely and is now waiting for me to pick it up as soon as possible and get started on Steve’s first novel!

Regular readers of this blog would know I am a fan of Steve’s short stories and I was just so excited to receive an email from Steve saying he would like to send me a copy of his first novel.  Of course I said yes!  Of course I was excited!  When reading Steve’s short stories I (and many other readers) wished I could read beyond the end of the short story, get to see how the characters lived outside of the few pages they occupied.  Well, now I get the chance and I can’t wait to begin!

I must thank Steve for sending me a copy of Playing Havoc – thank you, Steve!

BANG! Lights out!

Just how would we cope in an event where every electronic device on our planet was rendered useless in an instant? If all electric power, industry, basic utilities, transport and the very communications that we all take for granted were zapped in a single moment, how would life carry on? What survival skills do we have to help us rebuild life from its very foundations?

Playing Havoc, partly based on fact, partly a black comedy, describes one small British Island’s battle to maintain some normality in the chaos after a coronal mass ejection through the eyes of one man who had only recently moved there with the very intention of getting some peace. A reluctant man with enough problems of his own to deal with finds that the longer the havoc goes on, more and more of the islanders turn to him for help.

Read Full Post »

I love when I get new books in the mail, it’s exciting to come home and find the package, rip into it and discover which book has made its way to its new home – this time I had double the excitement, two books in one day! 

Thank you to Erin McNichols of Meryl L. Moss Media Relations, Inc for providing me with a copy of The Line Between Here and Gone AND thank you to the team at Europa Editions for providing me with a copy of Three Weeks in December.

The Line Between Here and Gone

The man she loved is gone forever. The child she lives for could be next.

Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason’s newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin’s best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child.

Or was he?

One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin’s father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs.

Forensic Instincts is the one team up for the challenge.

A behaviorist. A former navy SEAL. A techno-wizard. An intuitive. A retired FBI agent. A human-scent-evidence dog. Together they achieve the impossible, pushing ethical and legal boundaries whenever the ends justify the means.

The manhunt is on for the elusive father. Yet the further FI digs into his past, the more questions are raised about whether the man Amanda fell in love with ever really existed at all.

Dark secrets. Carefully crafted lies. From the congressional halls of Washington, D.C., to exclusive Hamptons manors, there are ruthless people who would stop at nothing to make Forensic Instincts forget about the man Amanda desperately needs to find.

Little do they realize that once Forensic Instincts takes the case, nothing will stop them from uncovering the shocking truth that transcends The Line Between Here and Gone.

Three Weeks in December

In 1899 Jeremy, a young engineer, leaves a small town in Maine to oversee the construction of a railroad across British East Africa. In charge of hundreds of Indian laborers, he becomes the reluctant hunter of two lions that are killing his men in nightly attacks on their camp. Plagued by fear, wracked with malaria, and alienated by a secret he can tell no one, he takes increasing solace in the company of an African man who scouts for him.

In 2000 Max, an American ethnobotonist, travels to Rwanda in search of an obscure vine that could become a lifesaving pharmaceutical. Stationed in the mountains, she shadows a family of gorillas—the last of their group to survive the merciless assault of local poachers. Max bears a striking gift for communicating with the apes. But soon the precarious freedom of both is threatened as a violent rebel group from the nearby Congo draws close.

Told in alternating perspectives that interweave the two characters and their fates, Audrey Schulman’s newest novel deftly confronts the struggle between progress and preservation, idiosyncrasy and acceptance. Evoking both Barbara Kingsolver and Andrea Barrett, this enthralling fiction, wise and generous, explores some of the crucial social and cultural challenges that, over the years, have come to shape our world.

The engaging story and memorable characters make this fine novel an ideal book club selection.

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

Being hardheaded is a common character flaw, but most teenagers can’t crack a concrete curb with their skull. And while a skilled skateboarder appears to defy gravity, he can’t keep water from pouring out of an upturned cup. Unintentionally tapping into latent powers has brought Jayke Wolff to the attention of the Aduro, an ancient society plotting an apocalyptic new world order. He’s now their number one draft pick, and they’ve dispatched their most seductive member to close the deal. It shouldn’t take much convincing a hormonal teenage boy to turn his back on a cryptic covenant for a future of self-indulgence and unchecked power. But if Jayke can’t be tempted by pleasures of the flesh, the flesh can be influenced in less pleasant ways as well. Armageddon can’t wait forever. Killing Jayke will also work.

Not remembering your past and not believing in your future can make it hard to choose who you’re going to be. Jayke has to decide how much of his teenage life he’s willing to sacrifice for a greater good. After all, you’re only young once.

WHAT I THOUGHT

You would think only being able to remember the last 7 years of your life would be enough to try and deal with.  Well, Jayke Wolff has plenty more on his plate.  This is not the typical teenager coming of age story, there is so much more contained in The Buried Covenant and this aspect is what appealed to me.  Keenan managed to give Jayke’s story a feeling of realness, even if super powers are a thing of fiction. 

Jayke is a foster child ready to go out into the real world and go to school after previously being home-schooled and so this story begins.  All of a sudden he’s defying gravity and suffering no cuts when others would.  Jayke is left wondering what is going on?!  He gains some friends at school and feels the little butterflies in his tummy which may be attributed to female infatuation.  It almost seems as if he is learning to live a new way of life, not to mention that being a teenager is hard enough at the best of times.

I really liked the cast of characters who travelled along with Jayke through this story, they seemed very apt and just what the book needed to keep it real.  Having said that the Aduro, a group who want Jayke for his powers, are I guess portraying the unreality of the power side of things but at the same time bringing to the story further struggles teenagers may face in a group situation like this – peer pressure, bullying, violence, et cetera.  It’s not all doom and gloom though, there’s Ben and Tina, some of the best friends a guy could have and even Amber, fellow foster child, has her positive traits, just not when she’s using her recruitment skills.  There are quite a few other characters in the book, some of them fairly integral, but I shall comment no further as to do so may give something away.

The Buried Covenant is a book which includes many topics/issues relevant for teenagers including the usual trials and tribulations you go through, making and breaking friendships, infatuation for others, looking for answers, trying to find yourself, dating, power struggles, family life, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  It really is a quite all-encompassing YA novel.

I enjoyed the writing style and felt the humour was well-placed throughout.  It’s definitely set up well for a sequel  and by checking out Shawn’s website I see it could well be a sequel is penned at some stage in the future and I just know there will be a lot of happy teens out there who will look forward to that book hitting the shelves 🙂

I must say thank you to Shawn P Keenan for providing me with a copy of his book – thanks, Shawn!!

Read Full Post »

Okay, I wasn’t lucky enough to have Mr Postman leave me a package three days in a row but three days within a very short amount of time is nothing to complain about!  I must say thank you to Charlie Clouse for providing me with a copy of Poems that Might or Might Not Change Your Life – thanks, Charlie!

This ground breaking collection of poetry holds nothing back as it grabs you by the heart and doesn’t let go. Discover for yourself how poetry can transform your life.

Read Full Post »

Another present dropped off by the mailman, that’s two days in a row – I must be dreaming!  Nope, not dreaming, I really did receive Crack the Spine Spring 2012, it really is now sitting on my bookshelf with its brothers and sisters.  I must say thank you to the editor, Kerri Farrell Foley for sending me this lovely present – thanks, Kerri!

Crack the Spine. Go ahead, you know you want to. Just bend a fresh book until your hands meet beneath its stressed strings. Feel the weight of words snap free.

This anthology includes the best poems and stories from Crack the Spine Literary Magazine’s weekly publications.

“Forget arsenic, trains and Eros.  Flauberts and Tolstoys dipped their pens in black tongues and railroad tracks.”
– Alessandra Bava

“I am the recipient of a blown kiss from a friend and that is all I’m left with at that particular moment, standing on the sidewalk. There is a light on in the kitchen, one that I imagine will burn until end times.”
– Thomas Mundt

“When we kiss our eyeglasses clink like we’re toasting…”
– Alan Passman

“She collects books with questions of provenance, reads the inscriptions as if she were psychic as much as she reads the text…”
– Tobi Cogswell

Authors: Susan Adams, Suzanne Allen, Rosemary C. Anderson, Alessandra Bava, Rich Boucher, Valentina Cano, Tobi Cogswell, Kyle Hemmings, Steve Klepetar, Zack Nelson Lopiccolo, J.W. Mark, Peter Marra, Joan McNerney, Ben Nardolilli, Amit Parmessur, Alan Passman, Deana Prock, David Spicer, John Stocks, Les Wicks, Laura Bogart, Chris Deal, Lily Dodge, Len Kuntz. D.N.A. Morris, Thomas Mundt, M.Y. Pastorelli, Richard Peabody, Luca Penne, Eric Prochaska, George Sparling, Christi R. Suzanne

Read Full Post »

 

Oh, joy of joys, the mailman has been!  I just love when he leaves me little packages containing books!  Alison Wonderland travelled far and made it safely to her new home.  I must say thank you to Helen Smith for the new addition to my family – thanks, Helen!

 

‘I need some information. Can you help me get it?’

‘OK.’ I’m opening my post but I have a pen and pad ready.

‘I need some statistics about which part of the country babies are abandoned most often, what time of year, and where to find them – outside hospitals or police stations or under hedges or in phone boxes.’

‘Oh, OK. Yes, of course.’ I move the phone receiver into my left hand and hold it against my left ear so that I can make some notes. Mad cow, I write.

After Alison Temple discovers that her husband is cheating on her, she does what any jilted woman would do: She spray-paints a nasty message for him on her wedding dress and takes a job with the detective firm that found him out. Being a researcher at the all-female Fitzgerald’s Bureau of Investigation in London is certainly a change of pace from her previous life, especially considering the characters Alison meets in the line of duty. There’s her boss, the estimable Mrs Fitzgerald; Taron, Alison’s eccentric best friend, who claims her mother is a witch; Jeff, her love-struck, poetry-writing neighbor; and – last but not least! – her psychic postman. Together, their idiosyncrasies and their demands on Alison threaten to drive her mad…if she didn’t need and love them all so much. Clever, quirky, and infused with just a hint of magic, Alison Wonderland is a literary novel about a memorable heroine coping with the everyday complexities of modern life.

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

Local rock band Ragman is finally taking off. Stephanie Case’s flamboyant performances and scorching guitar work have started attracting crowds, and singer John Tsiboukas–aka Johnny Tango–is delivering the best performances of his life. After months of playing to dead rooms, it looks like success is at hand. The thing is, there’s something wrong with Johnny’s voice. Until just a few weeks ago, he couldn’t hit the right pitch if you painted a target on it and let him stand real close. Now he sounds amazing. . . and strange things happen every time he sings. Lights burn out. Whole rooms become cold and hushed. People get violent. For Johnny and Case, Ragman is a ticket out of a life of meaningless, dead-end jobs and one lousy gig after another, but as the weirdness surrounding Johnny begins to turn into outright nightmare, they find that the price of stardom might be higher than either of them could ever have imagined.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Oh boy, don’t read this one when you’re home alone at night. Joseph Garraty has created a world of horror populated by a string of characters who have their own demons to deal with – they don’t need their lead singer to turn into the devil to complicate their lives further but that is exactly what they get.

Say hello to Ragman – John/Johnny, his brother Danny, Stephanie Case/Case and Quentin. The band has dreams of making it big; little did they know they would have to go through hell to get there. John is the lead singer of Ragman, only problem is he doesn’t have a particularly good voice – okay, he has a pretty awful voice. Johnny, however, has a voice with the ability to put crowds into a trance, it is that good! Let me clear this up a little bit. John effectively does a deal with the devil, pardon the cliché, and Johnny Tango is born. Johnny has an awesome voice and he is THE MAN. Now that their lead singer is such a hit success is Ragman’s for the taking but there is a stronger presence at play here who will take more than success – lives are what this evil presence wants.

Garraty has set the music scene perfectly, it is completely believable. The descriptions of playing in not so hot locations, playing at bigger locations, the interactions between members of the band, the lows and highs of a band trying to make it – all these descriptions add to the realness of the book and invite you into the world of Ragman, both collectively as a whole and individually as band members. Frequently the voice in my head was asking how far will they go and what will the cost be? How much will they sacrifice, who will they hurt and will it bring success or failure? More often than not it was asking do I really want to know the answers to these questions? Yes, I most definitely did! I might have to read with one eye closed, sneaking a look at the page but scared of what I might find and okay, I might have to read with the lights on but I knew I wouldn’t be able to turn away and I had to know the answers, no matter what those answers might be. I could not stop reading this book, even when things got gory and spooky and strange I could not put it down. It was like I was now a member of Ragman, I was in for the journey whether I liked it or not.

This was without a doubt a page-turner for me. Before I dove in and started reading I wasn’t sure what to expect, or whether I would even enjoy it, but once I started that was it, I was hooked and I read it with a real hunger. I went through many emotions whilst turning those pages; I felt high, full of adrenalin and then I felt low, in a trancelike state, depressed, and angry. I loved it all, the characters, the actual story, the shocking and the gruesome parts – I loved the rollercoaster ride of it. This book has it all and I have to say Garraty has done a fantastic job fitting it all in without feeling rushed.

If you haven’t read this book yet I would suggest you seek it out and do so as soon as you can. It is well worth the read. Even if you aren’t sure if you will like it just give it a go and you might be pleasantly surprised, as I was, and then you will say a thank you to the writing gods for sending us Joseph Garraty and this horror story called Voice.

Thank you to Joseph Garraty for providing me with a copy of Voice, I very much enjoyed the ride – thanks, Joseph!

Read Full Post »

Woohoo – Mandy’s happy – the postman’s been and has left a present.  The latest addition to my bookshelves is In Leah’s Wake and to go with that a gorgeous In Leah’s Wake bookmark.

Thank you, Terri, for the book and bookmark!

The Tylers have a perfect life—beautiful home, established careers, two sweet and talented daughters. Their eldest daughter, Leah, is on track for a prestigious scholarship. Their youngest, Justine, more responsible than seems possible for her 12 years, just wants her sister’s approval. With Leah nearing graduation and Justine a seemingly together kid, the parents are set to enjoy a peaceful life…until Leah meets Todd, a high school dropout and roadie for a rock band.

As Leah’s parents fight to save their daughter from a world of drugs, sex, and wild parties, their divided approach drives their daughter out of their home and a wedge into their marriage, leaving Justine to observe her sister’s rebellion from the shadows of their fragmented family.

Read Full Post »

Okay, this is a not so new arrival – it actually arrived a few weeks ago but I have not been online in that time and so have not posted about it.

I do so now and must say thank you to Katie Robison for providing me with a copy of Downburst – thanks, Katie!

Kit’s only goal is to stay alive. Right now, that means dodging brutal gangs while peddling fake I.D.s on the back streets of Winnipeg. But things get complicated when Kit sells a license to a girl named Aura—a girl who could almost be her twin. Caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kit is plunged into an underground society with heart-stopping surprises at every turn. To protect herself, she’s forced to assume Aura’s identity. But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, and when Kit learns the truth about Aura, she knows she has to get out before the storm breaks. There’s only one problem: escape isn’t an option.

Suddenly, staying alive just got a lot harder.

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

Born a genius; education, wealth, and prestige came easy to Logan Richards. Actually, there wasn’t much that Logan couldn’t learn or acquire. However, he knew there was more to life than money and power. Logan was determined to find the woman who he’d dreamed of his entire life and know what it was like to love her before he died.

Amber Lewis, a waitress for a five-star restaurant in, Dana Point, California, was overworked, stressed, and wary of life since her sister, Heather, had passed away. Then, one evening while working she fell hopelessly in love with Logan Richards, a chivalrous man who felt deeply familiar.

For Amber, it was the beginning of a voyage of self-discovery and renewal. For Logan, it was the completion of life. For each of them it was the deepest sort of love.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I would like to see this as a movie is what I thought.

It’s what you dream about, isn’t it, love that is so strong it lasts for eternity. In this case love lasted and travelled across time. Logan had waited a very long time for his love to be realised and oh what a love that was. Logan was completely and utterly in love with Amber and after finding her it didn’t take long for his love to be reciprocated, romance to blossom and deepen and become one of those everlasting loves which makes the heart feel full and like it’s cloaked in soft red velvet.

Across Eternity is a beautiful love story. I admit to being lost in the romance of it all. It just had this whimsical, romantic, good vibe about it. Right from the beginning I thought this was a fantastic idea for a novel and I loved the storyline. As mentioned above, I think it would be great for a movie and I already have in mind who will play the lead characters (which I’ll keep in my mind so as not to put pictures in your head if you are going to read this one).

Speaking of characters, I found them completely likeable and equally so. There was a realness about them and speaking of that, I read this like it could happen – didn’t find anything strange about the storyline at all. I mean, who knows, perhaps these kinds of things do happen in a roundabout kind of way and if they don’t then I still don’t think it is that far-fetched. For a love story of this kind there didn’t seem to be anything too fantastical about it – it was just meant to be.

And now I feel I must also mention the following:

The editing was not up to scratch and it altered my reading experience. It seemed to get worse the longer I kept reading and unfortunately it did take away my good vibe feeling and I believe it took away from the story. It has been a while since I read Across Eternity and so I cannot be more specific other than to say the editing was poor and it left a lasting impression.

However, I contacted Aris to give the heads up about my editing comment and was advised that I was provided with an uncorrected proof. Aris very kindly provided me with a corrected proof. Unfortunately I have not had time to re-read the updated version which Aris sent me so I cannot compare.

I mention this because I must give a true account of the copy I did read but please remember it was not the finished product.

And lastly I would like to say Aris has been very patient. I have very limited time to read from my computer and it was roughly 6 months before I read Across Eternity and following that it has been a further few months before I have posted this review (I was thinking I could read the updated version but decided I just don’t have the time).

My thanks to Aris Whittier for providing me with a copy of Across Eternity and for being so patient – thanks, Aris!

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

Avin del Bors has a problem. His brother Drew has run off to fight in a war against the wolves, even though the wolves weren’t responsible for the vicious attack against the humans on the Free Plains. Avin’s companions—the warrior Ax, one-armed sorcerer Jocen, plucky owl Ulkia, drug-addled cheetah Summon the Wind and raccoon stand-up comic Onesso—all have their own reasons for accompanying him through the animal territories across the Bladebone Mountains. Their travels will take them from the highly regimented wolf cities, to the richesse and luxury of the Equine Commonwealth, all the way to the vertiginous tunnels of the serpents’ underground Net and across the waters of the Autonomous Dolphin Collective—to whatever unknown awaits them.

What neither Avin nor his companions yet understand is that the real force behind the Free Plains attack is neither canine nor feline, nor yet crocodile, insect, raptor, bear or shark. Far to the east, in the scorched wasteland known as The Barrens, lives the ragged clan that calls itself The Godless. There, Avin will confront his brother, his companions and himself, and discover two truths: one that changes everything he understands about himself, and another that threatens the balance of the entire world.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Impressive is what I thought.

Picture this – human beings have destroyed the earth, they stuffed up and put a huge dent in creation.  The gods (yes, plural, I will get to that in a minute) have decided all creatures should live separately and not seek dominance over one another, all are equal.  Separate territories are created for each set of animals and each territory comes with its own language, or way of speaking, and its own way of living.  Each territory also has its own god: there is a god of humans, a god of woodland animals, a god of swift-running predators, a god of hoofed animals, et cetera, et cetera, you get the point.  As well-intentioned as the gods are you just know this set-up sounds too good to be true, too good to last.  It seems early on that the humans are in a war against the wolves.  It seems that the plan is not going the way the gods thought it would.  It seems we have an adventure on our hands!

The beginning had me, I was in and I wanted more.  This idea of separate territories, different gods and a supposed order of the world was definitely intriguing. 

After the introduction it was time to meet the characters.  I loved how Maine did this, slowly but surely.  Rather than introduce all of the main characters in one chapter they were spread over several chapters.  I loved learning about each character’s society.  It really is like another world and Dave Maine has created this amazing world by providing the reader with all of the important details in such a way it seemed to me that every sentence was especially crafted.  In my opinion it definitely feels as though a lot of work has gone into this epic fantasy known as The Gamble of the Godless and although Maine is not usually known for fantasy work such as this, it certainly seems as though he is no stranger to the genre.  He knows what he’s doing!

The characters maketh the story!  I’m sure everyone who reads this book will have a favourite by the end of it.  I loved them all, even if they were ‘baddies’, and I loved the way they lived and how they talked, how law and order was practiced and how they viewed the world.  Whether your favourite be a human, a sorcerer, an owl, a cheetah, a raccoon, a horse, a snake or one of the other countless animals in this story there is no doubt your favourite is so because of the way Maine has managed to give him/her/it a ‘realness’ and has been able to   describe the character without the feeling of one dimensionality.  Don’t call me crazy – perhaps I shouldn’t say it, but I will – they felt like real people/animals, like they could seriously be living in the hills near my house.  Just goes to show what a way with words Mr Maine has.  Oh, and by the way, I will disclose that Ulkia the owl was my favourite – I’d love for her to land on my fence one day!

So many characters are joined together, so many happenings take place, so many reasons to keep this series going and so many reasons to read the next book!  If you haven’t read this one already you should.  Explore this fantasy world, let Maine’s writing explain to you the details and let it excite you!  Explore, explain, excite!

Many thanks to Dave Maine for providing me with a copy of The Gamble of the Godless – thanks, Dave!

Check out Dave’s author profile by clicking here

Read Full Post »

Thank you, Mr Postman, for making your delivery directly to me,

No need for me to go to the post office this time,

No need to restrain myself in the car from opening the package,

This time as soon as I walked through the door the package was all mine!

Thank you to Perry Martin for providing me with the newest addition to my book family – thanks, Perry!

Pretty Flamingo

You’ll be taken on an emotional journey with David Perry, the central character, as he unlocks the mystery of a part of his past he never knew existed – – – a past that’s been hidden from him for thirty-five years. As the lost memories unfold David discovers a love so powerful it transcended the purely physical; a loss so devastating that it changed his whole life. And a promise that, if he can keep it, will return to him all that he cared most about in the whole world.

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

Hidden (Marchwood Vampire Series) is a paranormal romance that spans the centuries from modern England to 19th century Paris and ancient Cappadocia. The novel begins in gritty urban reality, but soon descends into horror, romance and historical adventure.

Sixteen-year-old Madison Greene is in foster care until one day she inherits a fortune and a house with a cellar full of danger. Eighteen-year-old Alexandre Chevalier lives in 19th century Paris. On an archaeological expedition, he discovers a lost underground city where his life changes forever.

Their lives entwine, but someone is watching and waiting. The story ramps up to an explosive ending.

 

WHAT I THOUGHT

Phew, I’m glad I didn’t miss out on this one is what I thought.

I have not read many vampire books and admit they don’t hold a lot of appeal for me.  However, I am so happy I accepted to review Shalini Boland’s excellent book Hidden and am grateful for this reading experience I may not have otherwise had. 

What can I say?  It wasn’t what I expected.  I loved it.  I was completely sucked in and didn’t want to put it down.  One might say I was captivated. 

Now, I have to be careful here not to give anything away – I won’t be getting too specific.

Shalini’s writing is such that I truly felt like I knew the characters.  Wonderful writing filled the pages and really made an unreal story seem real, like it could be happening right next door and it wouldn’t surprise me at all.  It was like Madison and Alexandre were my friends and they were brought to life by the descriptions given to them and how they spoke, the language they used, which was appropriate for their lives/time.

There was a sense of adventure about this book.  I love the two different timelines and how they complement each other.  Each chapter is a switch between Madison and Alexandre and present time and past time.  At the end of each chapter something is left hanging and it made me feel quite torn.  While reading a chapter I would be thinking about the other character’s story and how I couldn’t wait to get back to it but then I was still immensely enjoying the current story as well.  Ah, what a dilemma!!  Well no, not really a dilemma because the answer is easy – keep reading as much as you can and as fast as you can so you can finish the book and find out how it all ends.

This is the first in the Marchwood series and I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for upcoming books. 

All in all, not much more to say apart from I loved it!!

Many thanks to Shalini for providing me with a copy of Hidden – thanks, Shalini!

 Check out Shalini’s author profile by clicking here

Read Full Post »

Oh the joy to receive the mail,

to find that piece of paper which indicates there is something for collection,

to drive to the post office, collect and resist opening until arriving home,

ripping open the envelope and voila, a new book to add to my collection!

Many thanks to Larry Closs for providing me with a copy of Beatitude – thanks, Larry!

Beatitude

New York City, 1995: Harry Charity is a sensitive young loner haunted by a disastrous affair when he meets Jay Bishop, an outgoing poet and former Marine. Propelled by a shared fascination with the unfettered lives of Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation, the two are irresistibly drawn together, even as Jay’s girlfriend, Zahra, senses something deeper developing.

Reveling in their discovery of the legendary scroll manuscript of Kerouac’s On the Road in the vaults of the New York Public Library, Harry and Jay embark on a nicotine-and-caffeine-fueled journey into New York’s thriving poetry scene of slams and open-mike nights.

An encounter with “Howl” poet Allen Ginsberg shatters their notions of what it means to be Beat but ultimately and unexpectedly leads them into their own hearts where they’re forced to confront the same questions that confounded their heroes: What do you do when you fall for someone who can’t fall for you? What do you do when you’re the object of affection? What must you each give up to keep the other in your life?

Read Full Post »

THE BLURB

As miraculous as our wired world may be, everything connected to everything else eventually shows its downside. A rumor, a virus, a financial crisis – these days, they all cascade throughout the world in record time. SIX CLICKS AWAY tells the story of a single ripple through a tangled web, and how one person can affect us all.

In Bonnie Rozanski’s captivating novel, the social network becomes a stage for six indelible, interconnected characters: a lonely writer in Toronto, pining for her lost love; an unemployed engineer in Seattle who finds himself working at the Pike Place Fish Market. There is a young collections operator in Bangalore, India, who can’t stop caring about the people from whom she collects; and a seedy real estate magnate who gets his just desserts. Finally, there is a down-on-his-luck actor, an old friend of the Dalai Lama, who finds enlightenment from a most unlikely source.

A chain of falling dominoes is set in motion when Jeremy and Rachel, an unlikely duo of a geek and a Jersey girl, contact a friend on Myface.com, the largest social network on the planet. That friend contacts another, and another, each link bringing the pair one step closer to the goal of reaching the Dalai Lama, their choice of exotic target on the other side of the world. What they expect is that their simple classroom project will demonstrate “six degrees of separation,” the idea that everyone on this planet is connected in six short links to everyone else. What they get, however, is a cascade of the unexpected.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Ah, technology these days is what I thought.

I suppose this story is quite fitting for this day and age. The fact that you can connect with someone on the other side of the world almost instantly is quite amazing really. If you were to be transported back in time when the phone wasn’t even invented yet and told about today’s technology you would think the storyteller was just that, a story teller, and mad to boot.

Myface.com is used to connect people all over the world but it brings with it some negative experiences and leaves some of the characters questioning who they really are. Six Clicks Away follows a few different people from across the world through their daily lives and shows how Myface.com affects them.

For one character in particular there is a certain greediness in regard to wanting more and more friends. It’s not about friends in real life who you would catch up with, share a coffee and perhaps gossip a little. No. It’s all about that number counter getting bigger and bigger with what are essentially names of people, complete strangers, who add to the total. In the end is it really better to have quantity over quality though? I would say no.

Some characters find out things they perhaps shouldn’t or at least wouldn’t have if communication was to be face-to-face or even by telephone. Connections are made, the past shows its face and the future appears foggy. Money is a problem, success is sought out and families are tested. It is quite the group of people and quite the handful of personal situations. A slice of life one might say. How technology plays a part depends on which character you’re referring to but I can say it does play a part and it’s not all pretty.

As an aside, technology does seem to take over life sometimes and it’s important to remain grounded and in the real world. Most important, remain true to yourself. I think I could discuss today’s technology for quite some time, good points and bad points, but best get back to Bonnie Rozanski’s story.

All in all I thought it was a good read but felt the ending was a bit rushed.

Many thanks to Bonnie Rozanski for providing me with an e-copy of Six Clicks Away – thanks, Bonnie!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »