Archive for June, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: The Sorceress

Posted on June 24, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

The SorceressThe Sorceress by Michael Scott is a fantasy on the level of C.S. Lewis. All three of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series have not been afraid to delve into mythology, archeology, and folklore. The results are a book with momentum requiring no less than completely riveted attention. The Sorceress picks up with Sophie and Josh in England. Of course, all the old and vicious immortals hang out in this country. Nicolas and Perenelle are still in danger of dying from old age as they cannot use the Codex to brew more youth potion. Dr. John Dee is hunting the twins and marshalling his forces of baddies. Sophie and Josh are on a quest to find Gilgamesh to learn the third elemental magic of water.

It is especially engrossing to read of how Perenelle uses her wits to keep out of harm’s way on Alcatraz when the basement of the prison is stocked with every living horror imaginable. The highlights of this book were when a pair of figures from the past take sides in this battle for the salvation of earth as we know it. It is also great fun to see Machiavelli and Dr. Dee brought low when all their best laid plans crumble and they find themselves in danger of losing their own immortality. It is also a big question what happens to Excalibur and Clarent as the evil Dr. Dee has Excalibur and desires Clarent.

The Sorceress is even better than the first two books. However, they all complement each other to make a pleasing whole. I was kept up reading late wondering what is going to happen next. I would definitely read any of these books more than once and they should be crowd pleasers. This book comes highly recommended to children and adults.

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BOOK REVIEW: Last Light Over Carolina

Posted on June 24, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

Last Light Over Carolina
Last Light Over Carolina by Mary Alice Monroe is a salty sea tale of Bud Morrison, a longtime captain of a shrimp boat, and his wife of over 30 years, Carolina Brailsford on the day he suffers a debilitating injury at sea. Over the course of the day, memories of Bud and Carolina reveal the heady first years of their marriage interspersed with the prime of the shrimping industry. As the day unwinds, so does their marriage as the shrimping business takes a hit for the worse with the influx of foreign shrimp.

Carolina is portrayed as intelligent, hardworking, and committed to her marriage. Bud seems to be drawn ever farther away with the Miss Carolina just to make ends meet. Bud and Carolina seem to be a team that thinks it is working together only to be drifting ever farther apart. But through it all the beauty of the ocean and their love for each other will eventually lead them to safe shores.

By the time divorce is considered, I alternately wanted to cheer for Carolina and conk some sense into Bud. The ending is all encompassing and painted on the broad South Carolina shores. I had a big lump in my throat and tears in my eyes with the most satisfying conclusion. There had to be a majestic ending for a story that just gets bigger as it goes along.

Last Light Over Carolina can proudly sit on your shelf with Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Mutiny On The Bounty, and Moby Dick. The story is involving, gritty, dramatic and altogether well written. It is highly readable and memorable and gets my big thumbs up.

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BOOK REVIEW: Words Unspoken

Posted on June 13, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

words unspokenWords Unspoken by Elizabeth Musser is a multi-plot brilliant gem of a story that will keep you turning pages. The main plot concerns Lisa Randall who was planning on Ivy league college until a horrible automobile accident claims her mother’s life. The memory of this is preventing Lisa from being able to drive. She learns about Ev MacAllister’s driving school which starts the plots of all the secondary characters. I counted seven different plots at one point.

At first it seems like a bunch of unrelated vignettes about people needing to find God in their lives but the further you read the more clear it becomes that all these random events that are happening actually have purpose and are not so random.

I like that the story is called words unspoken because it ties Lisa’s dreams and the voices in her head to the words that Ev MacAllister wants to say but is unable to in the conventional sense all together. Then the story becomes more about what is not being said versus what is communicated and makes you aware of the characters on multiple levels.

This story explains the grief and anger when tragedy happens and God seems to be absent. It also shows how God can show up when you least expect him. I wanted to kick butt more than once in this story so I give this book a thumbs up for how involved it made me feel. The characters leaped off the pages and the emotions were vivid.

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BOOK REVIEW: Gifts Of War

Posted on June 8, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

Gifts of WarGifts Of War by Mackenzie Ford is a love story that begins during the Christmas Truce of 1914. A German gives a British soldier a picture and an agreement is struck. Hal, the British soldier promises to find his enemies English girlfriend, Sam, and to let her know her fiancé is alive and thinking of her. When Hal suffers an injury to his pelvis and is discharged, he goes to Stratford-upon-Avon to deliver the photograph. However, he finds himself falling in love with Sam. When Sam shares her secret, that her son is German and that this could ruin her reputation and cause her to lose her job as a schoolteacher, Hal holds tight to his secret.

Hal and Sam’s love affair is set among the bristling energy and change occurring while England is at war. The fates of men and women caught up in the war are expertly depicted. Hal also does his best to expose Sam to as much of England as the war will allow. His newfound job as an intelligence officer lends drama and suspense to the tale.

Gifts Of War is supremely readable, fast paced, full of the rifts and make-ups of family, and puts its finger on the pulse of The War. The tragic final paragraphs will ensure that this story lingers long after the final page. I give it a big thumbs up and proclaim that this book is one that should not be missed.

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BOOK REVIEW: Highland Obsession

Posted on June 6, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

Highland ObsessionI was looking forward to the heights of romance but did not expect to be enmeshed in the action, triumphs and tribulations of the main characters, yet with this book, that is exactly what happened. I eagerly await the sequel and not just for romances sake. Hike thee off to a book emporium and allow yourself to sink into this delightful saga. I promise you will not be disappointed. The setting is the Scottish highlands., October 1715. Two warriors who are heretofore friends, come into conflict with their passion for the same woman.

Sorcha MacDonald is a delightfully feisty as a heroine with deep convictions and little life experience to prepare her for the love of two men. My personal favorite is Grainne, a red-headed whore who helps Alan and Cam discover just what it is they are looking for in a woman. This struggle for heart and soul takes place against the backdrop of battle between the Duke of Argyll, who has England’s backing and the Highlanders.

I felt sympathy, concern, anger, repulsion and romance in one very heady mix. This book deals with the loss of love, the desire for truth, the struggle to be honest with those you love and all with a pinch of faith thrown in. It is very readable and quick read that begs you to go back and start again from page one with more to be gleaned at each reading. It was more than I hoped for which is wonderful and gets a big thumbs up.

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BOOK REVIEW: The Jewel Box

Posted on June 4, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

The Jewel BoxThe Jewel Box by Anna Davis is an informative leap back through time to the year 1927. Diamond Sharp aka Grace Rutherford is a witty girl of the moment, or “it“ girl. She is flapper by night and career girl during the day. She gives us a window into what it was like to be a women during this year of fast moving change. The story hinges on her involvement with two handsome American men who are authors.

Diamond Sharp is portrayed as being selfish and covetous of her sisters beaus. Grace Rutherford is just a career focused daughter and sister seeking true love. It is riveting reading discovering how these two sides of Grace work together while seemingly at cross purposes to help Grace mature and find the happiness she has been searching for.

The format of this book is narration interspersed with personal letters and columns from Diamond Sharp’s weekly social commentary on all that is new and fashionable. It is also a story within a story as the American authors comment on the book they wrote together, The Vision. Because of this I would even give the book a second reading right after the first. There are multiple love stories to untangle as well as following Grace’s capitulation between her two love interests and understanding what role The Vision plays in all of this.

This book is faced paced immersion into the life and times of a 1920‘s woman. It is worth waltzing through more than once. You will be informed and entertained simultaneously. You will feel you just danced a Charleston by the story’s conclusion. Because I wanted to be fascinated and was not let down in any way, this book gets my big thumbs up.

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BOOK REVIEW: Cemetery Dance

Posted on June 2, 2009. Filed under: 1 |

Cemetery DanceCemetery Dance actually has nothing to do with cemeteries or dancing per se. It does, however, involve people being brutally murdered and then showing up from the dead to throw New York City into chaos. The lead characters are Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta and Special Agent A.X.L. Pendergast, Vincent’s charming foil. They are charged with solving the gruesome murder of William Smithback Jr. and also the safety of his widow, Nora Kelly, who was also the victim of attempted murder. The case seems open and shut. However, the meat of this story begins when nothing is as it seems.
Immediately, it seems that the person who murdered Mr. Smithback has been legally dead for ten days prior to the murder. How can a dead man commit a gruesome murder? Also, how can all the witnesses and the security camera in Nora’s apartment building be wrong? They all say the guilty party is one Collin Fearing who lived in Nora’s apartment building. The story picks up steam from there.

Lieutenant Vincent plays the part of a very skeptical and bungling New York cop who somehow gets the job done when unavoidable obstacles crop up. Nora Kelly plays the damsel in distress who tries to solve her husband’s murder herself. It is a joy to watch Vincent stumble and Pendergast pick up the pieces.

The charm of this story is that is seems to be the plot of a B movie when it is leading in an entirely different direction. I don’t want to give away details, but just when you think you see where this story is heading, you will be wrong. It is a lot of fun to get taken in and given this thrill ride of a story to enjoy.

This book was a fun, gripping, fast read. It kept me entertained the whole time and gripping my seat at other times. If you like detective stories and/or the undead this is a gripping story made to order. I would say Preston and Child have created a winner here and it gets my big thumbs up.

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