Friday, August 28, 2009

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

A family destined to be in the record books in Egypt. But when the Pharaoh dies, Nefertiti must be married to the younger son of the two. Her family doesn't think it is a good idea but Nefertiti is determined to see that it works. But the one caught up in it all is her sister Mutnodjmet. Her life is taken away from her as she serves her sister. She'd do anything for Nefertiti but as time goes by, she wonders what kind of queen Nefertiti wants to become.

Ms. Moran has definitely done her research. Yeah a few things were changed but this is fiction after all. The story swept me up and it was written very well! Ms. Moran certainly knew how to place a scene before you and keep you turning pages. The characters evolve at a good pace. There is a lot of the history I wasn't sure about but I was able to follow the story line in spite of it.

Mutnodjmet is a wonderful character. I grew to really like her and wish she was real. She had her head grounded and she'd help her family in any way she could within reason. Her knowledge of herbs was phenomenal for that time. Nefertiti started out knowing what she was to become. Yet along the way, I felt she didn't care what others thought. At first, it wasn't a bad thing but over time, I felt she needed to be a little more open. Now mind you, I don't know what it is like to be a first wife. I've never had to really vie for my husband's attention. So this situation wasn't something I could relate to all that well.

A powerful debut by this author and I am curious to see where the next book in the series goes. I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it but I plan on it eventually. This author explains herself in the back of the book with some of the things she changed. I understood why she did but before then I had no clue that she had really changed anything. I was pleased with her writing style and how the characters unfolded in the story. This is definitely a new author to me and one that I'll pick up with each new book.

Michelle Moran/New Author/ Egypt/ Historical Fiction/ 462 pages/ 3.5 out of 5

I plan on starting The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane sometime today but have a few things I need to get done around here first. :)I hope it lives up to all the hype I've heard about it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Calli has not spoken since she was four years old. Watching her mother lose her baby was enough but someone whispered words in her ear. Now her best friend Petra talks for her. But when both girls disappear, questions arise if something more sinister has happened in this small Iowa town. Now it's a race for time to find them and hope that they can catch whomever is behind it all.

Ms. Gudenkauf has a fantastic emotional roller coaster on her hands. Between the emotions and old ties between two of the characters and the desperation felt by the parents, you just cannot put the book down. Ms. Gudenkauf captured small town life so well. I was enthralled with not only the process that they had to follow to do a search but how it was broken. Emotions were running high and all the points of view presented in the book flowed so well.

Between Ben (Calli's brother), Antonia (Calli's mom), Sheriff Louis, Martin (Petra's dad), as well as Calli herself, you got a good glimpse into what was going on. There is a lot of drama going on in this small town. Calli gets swept up into it.

This is one book that captured my attention from the beginning. For being a debut, it was amazing! There were twists and turns that just kept me turning pages. The idea behind it all made me curious to see how it would play out. I was never quite sure who the suspect was from the beginning. Something didn't add up but I wasn't able to figure things out till the end. Definitely cannot wait to see what this author does next!


Okay so I am a little behind in posting. I just finished a book this morning so not sure when I'll post the review.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White

Being a white collar criminal, Neil White gets sent to Carville, Louisiana to a Hansen's Disease colony. He has to serve time for one year. Yet when he enters, he is determined to just muddle through. But after meeting some of the patients there, things look completely different. He must find a way to get through his time served and he has an idea to write this book.

Mr. White truly looks at things and is very honest about a lot of the situations that happened. He shows that everything is not as it appears on the outside. The phobias we have in society are not always founded in truth. There is a lot more underneath the skin than what we may first think. He also shows how he got to the colony and what happened. But his main focus was his time spent on the inmate side of the colony.

I'm at a loss for words since this book was not only well written but opened up my eyes. I never knew that such a place existed in America. But they truly do try to make the patients comfortable and I was blown away with the care that they do have in the colony. If you are looking for something different to read, this is it. It not only makes you think but makes you grateful for what you do have in life.

Neil White/ New author/ Non-fiction/ Louisiana/336 pages/ 5 out of 5
I've got a lot on my mind so may not start anything new to read till tomorrow. Here is another review of this book. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In the Dark by Brian Freeman

Jonathan Stride thought that he had battled all his demons. An old friend of Cindy, his now dead wife, Tish comes to town focused on solving the murder of Laura. It's a case that has been unsolved for over thirty years. There are secrets that just should not come to light. Someone is determined to keep it that way. But will Tish be able to?

Brian Freeman sure knows how to get you in this fourth novel. The series moves along at the right pace. The surprises in this plot are outstanding. He hooks you from the first page. The depth of his characters will only make you want to read more. This is an author who doles out the clues one at a time. He also weaves in some local history that amazed me.

Having this case resurface is difficult for Jonathan. Serena is by his side supporting him through it all. I could see how things weren't always easy for her. But she was in it for the long haul. I was glad to see Maggie back as well. She has grown a lot since the last book. The characters in the series are evolving and expanding so that you feel like you've been visiting with friends.

I can't wait for the next book in the series. It's well worth it. But this mystery is full of violence and secrets. Someone was murdered so that they would keep quiet. This is one book that won't be easy to read at night. All in all, I was pleased with the twist at the end of the book. I never saw it coming. Once again, Brian Freeman outdid himself!

Brian Freeman/Minnesota/ Mystery/ Murder/ 357 pages/ 4 out of 5

I am now working on a non-fiction a friend recommended. I am really liking it and hope to be done soon. :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Stalked by Brian Freeman

Jonathan Stride is settled at home in Duluth, MN with his girlfriend Serena. The case Stride is working on will affect his personal life when he gets a call from his partner Maggie about her husband being shot. Serena also feels like she is being watched but by whom? Can they piece everything together to figure out what is really happening or will it be too much to handle?

Brian Freeman is a genius! The twists and turns in this book had me wanting to keep reading even though I had things to do. I had to force myself to put the book down. It had creepy thrilling moments and the dark undertones that ran through out the book were balanced right. The story never seemed over the top and the sub plots all ran smoothly with the main plot line.

Jonathan is stepping into a new area with Serena. He is trusting her implicitly as well as finding how they fit together. Serena's past is coming back to haunt her. Yet she always makes sure to let Jonathan in on what is going on for the most part. They even had a way of discussing things together that they had to keep secret because of the cases they were working on till things were solved. Maggie was always there for the two of them. Even though she lost her husband, she wanted to find out who was behind it and why. She is a very determined woman.

Brian Freeman definitely will hold your attention. If you like Harlan Coben, this author writes in a similar style. I cannot wait to read the next one in the series to see where things keep going. Some loose ends from another book were tied up at the end of this one. I never would have seen it coming. This is one author that I read every time!

Brian Freeman/Mystery/360 pages/ Minnesota/ 4 out of 5

Off to the next one in the series and then some non-fiction.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

Wart, or Arthur, is training to be a squire under the eyes of Sir Ector's watch. Sir Ector's son Kay will become a knight. When in the forest going after a lost hawk, Wart meets Merlyn. Merlyn becomes the new tutor for Wart and Kay. The adventures range from fun to mind boggling. Wart has much to learn and Merlyn is there to help him. There are also things of that time period, jousting and such that must be found time to learn as well. Will Wart be able to take his place at the new king?

Mr. White created a world that took some time to get used to. Having not read a children's classic in awhile, I had to get used to the vernacular all over again. Once I was able to follow it, the stories unfolded and I couldn't get enough. Mr. White truly knows how to get you to step into another world with ease. He takes all different kinds of characters and historical people to make this story work. I was truly pleased.

The Young Wart, Arthur, was shy at first. He knew what his station in life would always be due to the fact that he didn't know who his parents were. Sir Ector was kind enough to take him under his wing. Yet there were certain things Wart knew he'd never do. Or so he thought. Merlyn was a fantastic character! I loved seeing a new take on Merlyn. The other characters of King Pelinore, Sir Ector, Madam Mim and others brought the cast to a completion. The range of their personalities were fun to watch unfold.

The adventures were so much more fun than the Disney movie. I was truly impressed with how much was followed yet the things that were left out were my favorites. The beginning dragged for me but by the end, I was sad to see it end. This was a fun romp in period fiction and I am curious to see what else was written by this author. I wouldn't read this to anyone under the age of 10 only since there is some coarse language used. There were times I was surprised I didn't burst out into song with all the bits of songs that were part of the story!

T.H.White/288 pages/Children's Fiction/New Author/4 out of 5

Off to a mystery, need a change of pace!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne

Bruno comes home one day from school to find his family's maid Maria packing up his belongings. Confused as ever, he goes to seek out his mother for answers. It all comes back to his Father's job for the Fury. The new house is not like the one in Berlin at all. Bruno has no friends to play with and his parents get a tutor so he can continue his schooling. His older sister Gretel can be very annoying. He's not sure he'll make it at the new house until he explores and meets this little boy Schmuel who wears stripped pajamas and lives on the other side of the fence.

Mr. Boyne did a fabulous job with the story line. You really get to see the world at that time through a naive child's eyes. The beliefs that were held at that time show through this book. The black and white way of life is again shown very well. I'm not sure how the writer was able to write this book but it was well done.

I'm not really sure what more to say since I don't want to give away the plot. After finishing it up, I couldn't pick up another book. It's an emotional roller coaster and I am so glad I finally read it. It's definitely a favorite of the year so far since it expounded on so much that I knew. To see the inter workings of the Nazi from a child's perspective was something that I haven't come across before. Bruno is a little boy who will stay with me for a long time.

John Boyne/New Author/ Holocaust/Adult Fiction/215 pages/ 5 out of 5

I was impressed with the bland cover because then you didn't have any preconceived notions about the book. I am curious to read his other works as well as to see the movie.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Lords of Corruption by Kyle Mills

Josh Hagarty gets a chance at a job in Africa helping a charity. He's not sure it's a good idea but it sounds like it pays well and they're willing to help send his sister to college. Once he arrives, he finds out the true reason for the last guy's death and things aren't as they appear. Yet he wonders if there is anything he can do. The organization threatens the life of his sister and the only help comes from a woman who works in Africa as well as a journalist. Josh isn't sure who he can trust. All he knows is that he has to try or he won't survive.

Mr. Mills has a fantastic thriller on his hands. He kept things moving at a good pace and didn't get too gory. Things that happened in the book weren't always pleasant but it was never in detail which helped me get through it. The bad guys in this book were truly horrible. They had ulterior motives and things were presented so that it could be followed. I was never confused with what was happening.

I felt awful for Josh. All he wanted to do was provide for his sister and give her the life he never had. Yet at every corner, there were obstacles in his way. He had to figure out what was more important and deal with some very moral issues. No one is perfect but Josh did try his best to stick with what he believed. Annika was a wonderful woman who had spent many years in Africa in a small village. She was a huge help knowing the language and got them out of some tricky situations. Yet it was never sure if their lives were safe.

To think that there are corrupt charities out there breaks my heart, yet I know not everyone has the right reasons when starting one. This book presented a very real picture and kept my heart pumping. There were times I wanted to put the book down but I kept picking it back up to find out what would happen next. Mr. Mills knows how to keep you glued to the book to the very end. The coarse language got annoying after all but I know authors must stay true to how the characters talk. I am definitely thinking about reading more of his works.

Kyle Mills/New Author/Charities/Thriller/ 320 pages/ 4 out of 5

Well off to start The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas and then hopefully onto something a little on the lighter side of things.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

July Stats and Reads

I was hoping to finish one more but that didn't happen. Sooo, here is my list of books and stats.

1.Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde 07-01-09 through07-04-09 A
2.Dating Games by Leigh Michaels 07-05-09 through 07-06-09 A+
3.One False Move by Harlan Coben 07-06-09 through 07-07-09 A
4.The Note by Angela Hunt 07-08-09 through 07-09-09 A+ (fav this year)
5.The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks 07-10-09 through 7-12-09 A+
6.The Great Influenza by John M. Barry 07-12-09 through 07-25-09 B
7.Austenland by Shannon Hale 07-25-09 through 07-28-09 A+ (Another fav)
8.Waiting to surface by Emily Listfield-DNF

Total Books I Read: 7
New Authors: 4
Non-fiction: 1
Chunkster: 1
Romance: 1
From the Stacks: 5
Books for Review: 1
Books I Bought: 0
Total Pages Read: 2, 173 pages

I rarely have a DNF or Do Not Finish but this one was just way too depressing and just didn't grab my attention. Other things to get done today. Just wanted to make a quick post!