Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul

Ryan McIntyre had a hard time as it was with losing his dad in Iraq. Now his mom had met a new guy and he was not too happy about it. Things only seemed to get more unusual when Ryan goes to St. Isaac’s. Father Sebastian has just joined the school and it seems two boys have come to tragic ends. And there seems to be a lot of disturbing thigns going on and so Ryan wonders what is really happening. Then Ryan gets to find out firsthand by spending a lot of time with Father Sebastian. He witnesses the transformation a couple of his fellow students go through and tries to fight it. Supposedly Evil is being cast out but slowly Ryan comes to see that it is being called forth. That ritual has not happened since the Inquisition and starts to draw the eye of the Vatican. It may finally bring Hell on Earth.

Ryan keeps thinking about his dad and the crucifix that was given to him. He hopes things will go well for him. He knows his mom is just looking out for him but he is afraid to leave her because he thinks her boyfriend will move in then. Even though Ryan just lost his dad, he is just not ready for a whole lot of change. Once he gets to know some kids it seems to go better. Though there are a lot of weird things going on and he just hopes to study and do well. He has no idea how wrapped up in it all that he will become.

Of the ones I have read so far by John Saul this one creeped me out the most. Not just it became close to home but that the whole controlling of others part was too believable. I could see something that happening in real life. I was pleased with how well in depth Mr. Saul put things together. It was scary but I knew going into this book that it would most likely be high on the creepy scale for me. Yet his writing style keeps me coming back for more. That is why I give this a 5 out of 5. I can’t wait to read more of his books.

368 pages/ John Saul/Thriller/ 5 out of 5

Okay so I have not posted in awhile but things have been crazy! I hope to read some more soon. Having a three year old and the terrible threes is stressful! lol Well off to read books for review. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thistle and Twigg by Mary Saums

Jane Thistle is a widow who has come to Tullulah, Alabama looking for a home. She has no idea what she will find. Her new best friend Phoebe Twigg is also a widow, who has lived in Tullulah all her life. Both ladies stumble across a dead body on a walk in the woods behind Jane’s house. It seems that someone is threatening Jane’s neighbor who is a recluse. He cares more about the land than the inhabitants. Then things get worse when a firebomb goes off in Phoebe’s kitchen. Jane and Phoebe are determined to figure out what is going on and so partner together to work on it.

Mary Saums has written wonderful characters in this book. Now even though the town of Tullulah does not exist, it is a wonderful place to be and live in. There is a lot of history and you get to see it through the lives of the people in the town. It is rather remarkable how Ms. Saums can weave the story and pull you into it. It is fun to learn about other cultures and just the way she presents them on the page.

Jane and Phoebe are two wonderful women. They are at times complete opposites from each other. Jane, who is the most recent widow of the two, is working on getting out there and building a new life. She sees Cal Prewitt and accepts him while getting to know him. Phoebe, since she has lived all her life there, is unable to see how Cal could be innocent of any crimes. She just is too close to the situation to see otherwise. Cal Prewitt is quite the character. He is set in his ways but wants to preserve his land and not see it taken apart by developers.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was full of laughter, small town life, and a good mystery to boot. I was not sure I would enjoy the book because I could not really relate to the main characters. But those ladies were very interesting and I had to find out if they could clear the name of the accused. I hope there are more to come because I would love to see what Jane and Phoebe try to solve next.
279 pages/Mary Saums/Mystery/New Author/ 5 out of 5

Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward

Nadine Morgan travels all the time as a journalist. Tragedy and regret was all she found in Cape Town. So she has decided to never go back. Yet the death of an American, John Irving, pulls at her heart and she decides to go back to South Africa. As she goes on the journey, she is overcome with memories of when the pull to adventure and intrigue left her with a broken heart. She hopes to lose herself in the case but starts to goes close to John’s mom as well as the mother of one of the killers. Yet there will be consequences. Nadine finally has to face long buried demons and come to terms with the pieces of her own past. Learning to love and forgive is something she has to do.

Ms. Ward puts new themes to the page that just come alive. Her way with words can truly touch your heart. It is very clear how passionate she became for forgiveness. I also admired the way she showed that it is not always easy to ask for it either. But when it is done that you’ll be better for it.

Nadine truly felt that the further she ran, the better it would be for her or so she thought. Her life had changed and she was not the type to just sit still. Yet I kept wondering if she could settle down if only for the right reasons. Her best friend Lily was one to tell her that she was making mistakes and to get her head on straight. Nadine just couldn’t picture any different life than the fast pace one she loved to live. It was going to take a lot to change her mind.

Forgive me is a poignant story that will leave you knowing both sides. I really liked the fact that she never picked a side that was right. She let us see the whole picture of what is still going on even today. I was swept up in the emotions and truly felt I was listening to a story of a friend. So I give it a 5 out of 5 because it makes you look at the reasoning of others. It is a book that I will not soon forget.

Amanda Eyre Ward/Fiction/South Africa/236 pages/ 5 out of 5

I would have got this online sooner but we had a power failure this past weekend so I am slowly catching up. :)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Dead Room by Heather Graham

Leslie MacIntyre is still getting over the loss of her fiancé one year later. She loves her job as an archeologist. But she still is learning to come to terms with the fact that she now sees the dead. Now she has come back to Hastings House, where her fiancé Matt died. She is looking at uncovering the past at an old burial ground. The ghosts in the house can tell her secrets about the past as well as the present where women are disappearing at an alarming rate and never being seen again. Matt comes to her in dreams only but his cousin Joe can help her now and hopefully keep her safe. But she knows that she has to face the evil around her and not even the men she loves can help her then.

This one pulled at me more than most of Heather Graham’s books ever have. The idea of a lost love and secrets are something that keeps me turning pages. I had to find out who was behind the disappearance of all the women as well as who had it out for Leslie. I also liked the fact that she brought back some characters from a previous book. The setting for the story was so perfect because there truly is a city under the city. It really gave it a depth of believability that I find lacking sometimes in other authors. But not with this author’s stories!

I really loved Leslie as a character because she had to know the truth even if it was not a good. She just had to know and lay the past to rest. Joe, Matt’s cousin, was there for her every step of the way once they met. Joe seemed to be falling for her and was not sure that was such a good idea. He was going to be protective of her no matter what cause he could tell there was something going on that was pure evil. I also really liked Greta the woman who kept watch over the Historical society in New York. She became very helpful and I truly enjoyed her. She was a sweet woman who wanted to protect the historical buildings.

This book was so good. I enjoyed it as well as the past characters coming back. It was quite the page-turner. This paranormal story was a good one and full of secrets and history. I can’t say that enough. I give this story a 5 out of 5 because it truly held my interest and kept it for the entire run. I do have to say I didn’t like the ending. But well you never truly get satisfied sometimes. Endings are never the same for books and that is what makes each one unique. I cannot wait to read more of her works.

379 pages/Heather Graham/Suspense/Ghosts/ 5 out of 5
The books I recommend to read are not in a series but do have recurring characters. The books should be read in this order Haunted, Ghost Walk, The Dead Room. Well no off to read two books to read and review.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

High Noon by Nora Roberts

Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara found her job in life when her mom was dating a man who became violently unstable. Now she is a top negotiator for Savannah, but someone has a beef for her. She has her hunches who it could be but she really has no clue. She protects her family as best she can. With Duncan Swift by her side, she has a lot of help. He watched her talk one of his employees off the roof and completely fell head over heels in love with her. She wants to keep him at a distance but Duncan won’t let her do that for long. Phoebe has no idea how to deal with an opponent who won’t look her in the eyes.

Nora Roberts keeps bringing out these books faster than I can read them. But they are always very good. These characters pull you in and don’t let you out till the book is done.
She brings situations that people read about in the news to real life in a book that makes is captivating.

Phoebe had been though so much. I could understand why she wanted to shelter her daughter. They both had been though so much so didn’t want her daughter to get her hopes up. Duncan was a total sweetheart but would not back down easily. He wanted to talk things through and make sure he was heard. He didn’t go after something that he wanted without true intentions. That is what I loved about him the most. He was honest, he knew what he wanted, and went after it slow and steady if that is what it would take to convince Phoebe.

This book had me from the beginning and even from the very first sentence. I was very impressed with it. I give it a 5 out of 5! I hope to read more by her soon! I loved the characters and was cheering for Phoebe and Duncan the whole way through the entire book!

Nora Roberts/Romance and Suspense/ 5 out of 5/ 467 pages

Now off to The Dead Room by Heather Graham. Then 2 books to review.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Mademoiselle Victorine by Debra Finerman

Victorine Laurent comes to Paris to join the Opera Ballet. She expects to be the mistress of a wealthy man. That is the only way she can survive in the city. When the artist Degas introduces her to Manet, her live changes forever. She agrees to pose for him and the result is a painting that shocks Paris. Eventually she becomes the favorite of the Duke de Lyon. But he wants her undivided attention and so bans her from seeing Manet. And things go from bad to worse when she finds out a secret about her past that could bring her world crashing around her.

Ms. Finerman is a fabulous writer. She really takes a society and brings its decadence to light. She also is able to take great creative license with the people of that time and present it like it is true. I found the story enchanting cause a lot of it I could see really happening. Her take on the little bits of history were captivating. A deeper look at society was weaved wonderfully in this book.

Victorine was not a woman just out for fortune but she wanted to find security as well. The truth she came to believe would shatter around her and it would be interesting to see how she would deal with all of it. I loved her friend André Montpelier. He was beside her side throughout all her conquests and relationships. He was a true friend to her. The other characters famous like Georges Bizet. Edouard Manet, Monet, Louis Pasteur, and Empress Eugénie just to name a few were fun to read about and see how she painted them. They often did not have much of a roll in the book except for Manet and the Empress but just the mention made me smile.

This book was full of history and life. I was enthralled with the characters from the very beginning. Though at times Victorine did irritate me, she did seem to get her head out of the clouds eventually. It was not an easy time to live in for some aspects but the frivolous spending upset me. I forget how the royalty and other celebrities spend their money. But it was very true to things are even now. If you love history and love seeing how art could have been created than I highly recommend this book.

4/5/ New Author/ France/ Historical/Debra Finerman/304 pages

I really liked this book. Now off to go to a park! later gators!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

By The Sword by Richard Cohen

This comprehensive history of Fencing was amazingly done. I knew nothing about fencing at all before I read this book. I learned about dueling and what fencing means to people. It is interesting how there used to be crafters who would make the sabers and other types of swords. Now they are pretty much manufactured all in one place. Which is a bummer but that is how things progress. It also surprised me like any other sport there is scandals in the world of fencing. But that is life.

Richard Cohen told about his personal experiences as well as how the world of fencing started. That was so interesting and how it spread throughout the world. He told things very well and I found myself laughing a few times at certain instances in the book.

There is a lot of information in the book so it is one you need to savor. I had only a short amount of time to read it so I hope to pick it up again. It was a wonderfully written book and I recommend it for not only the history aspect but also how fencing has affected almost everything today.
Richard Cohen/519 pages/Fencing/ Non-fiction/ 4out of 5

Unfortunately the copy I had obtained from my library was missing pages. I made sure they knew when I took it back. All in all it was pretty good.

My July Stats and Reads

145. The Mars Imperative by Mark Terence Chapman 07-01-07 A
146. The Distant Shore by Debora M. Coty 07-01-07 A+
147. Tides of Time by Sonya Kate Childers 07-02-07 through 07-03-07 A+
148. The Diary by Adriana Kraft 07-03-07 A
149. I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark 07-03-07 through 07-05-07 A
150. Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber 07-06-07 A+
151. Dead Connection by Alafair Burke 07-06-07 through 07-08-07 A+
152. The Alibi Man by Tami Hoag 07-08-07 through 07-09-07 A
153. Yours Truly, Goldilocks by Alma Flor Ada 07-09-07 A+
154. A Nail Through The Heart by Timothy Hallinan 07-09-07 through 07-11-07 A
155. Bungalow 2 by Danielle Steele 07-11-07 through 07-12-07 A
156. Journey to Forever by Carol Steward 07-12-07 through 07-13-07 A+
157. A Promise of Grace by Bonnie K. Winn 07-13-07 through 07-14-07 A+
158. Cross My Heart by Carly Phillips 07-14-07 through07-15-07 A
159. The Suicide Club by Gayle Wilson 07-15-07 through 07-16-07 A+
160. Brides and Bouquets by Laura Hamby, Deb Kinnard and Lynne Kingdell 07-16-07 A
161. Evening by Susan Minot 07-17-07 through 07-18-07 A+
162. Whoever Fights Monsters by Iryna Bennett 07-18-07 A
163. The Manny by Holly Peterson 07-18-07 through 07-20-07 A
164. Ladies of Class by Marjorie Owens 07-21-07 through 07-22-07 A
165. Eliza’s Hope by Vicki Gaia –7-22-07 A+
166. Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr 07-22-07 through 07-25-07 A+
167. Settling by Joan L. Cannon 07-26-07 B
168. Scandalous Profession by Elaine Lowe 7-26-07 through 7-27-07 A
169. On Writing by Stephen King 7-27-07 through
170. The good guy by Dean Koontz 07-28-07 through 07-30-07 A+

Total Books Read: 25
New Authors: 19
Fiction: 25
Books Reviewed: 14
From the Stacks:
Books I bought:
Books Sent To Me:
Books I won:
Total Pages Read: 7012

I didn't get By The Sword finisned in time. Oh, well. I would have posted these yesterday but I was glued to the TV due to the collapse of the bridge of 35W in Minneapolis. We are okay.