Monday, September 12, 2011

The Shattering, by Karen Healey

What can I say about The Shattering by Karen Healey other than I love this book. I love how Ms. Healey writes using the voices of each of the main characters, and I love all three of them, Keri, Janna, and Sione.

Keri and Janna are friends who had grown apart (like a lot of friends do), but they reconnect when Keri's older brother commits suicide, just as Janna's had years ago.  They meet up with Sione, who's older brother had also taken his own life and they come to believe that there is a pattern and that their brothers were, in fact, murdered.

As they embark on their journey to try and find the murderer, they realize that there might be something more sinister at foot.  The Shattering captivated me from the first page... it is full of suspense, with well written characters who I found myself rooting for until the end.

I would definitely recommend this book and I give it four and a half out of five.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

I was pleasantly surprised by Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin. This book is about promises, family, friendship, loss, betrayal and, ultimately, self discovery and love.

When Phoebe Rothschild starts the new school year late due to a severe asthma attack, she finally gets to see Mallory Tolliver, the new girl in school everyone has been bad-mouthing.  Phoebe is immediately taken with the disheveled, improperly dressed Mallory, and risks losing all of her friends to take the strange new girl under her wing.

Phoebe and Mallory's friendship blossoms... until Mallory's brother Ryland moves back home and turns everything upside down.

Again, I don't want to say too much and run the risk of ruining the surprising twists and turns of Extraordinary.  When I first started reading the book and it went from Phoebe and her friend Mallory, to Mallory and her true life, I was put off a little bit.  But as the story progressed I wanted to find out more - find out what was truly going on.  I was pleasantly surprised by this heartwarming story of friendship and love, and would give it a three and a half out of five.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan (second in the trilogy)

Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan starts off two months into Nastasya's stay at Rivers Edge, a sort of rehabilitation home for wayward immortals.  Nas has overcome some major obstacles and she is starting to allow herself to get close to all of those around her when things start to go horribly wrong.

The more Nas discovers about herself at Rivers Edge, the more she starts fearing that she is a child of dark magick and that she is the cause of everything that is going wrong.  Nas starts pulling away from everyone and after one horrific evening she ultimately runs away from Rivers Edge. 

While in the middle of the woods surrounding the farm, who should come upon Nas but her old friend Incy, the immortal she came to Rivers Edge to get away from in the first place.  Not only that, she has been having recurring nightmares about him recently, but Incy is being so sweet and kind, she begins to second guess her reasoning for running away from him in the first place and leaves with him.

Nastasya is happy to be living a luxurious life full of fun, fabulous clothes and gourmet food with Incy, especially after spending months at the farm doing menial tasks and only eating what they harvested.  Underlying all of this though is her nagging suspicion that maybe she should have stayed at Rivers Edge.  Her thoughts keep going back to River and Reyn, but she brushes it all aside talking herself into believing in Incy.

Big mistake!  I couldn't put this book down - I kept thinking Run Girl!!  I am telling you - read Immortal Beloved and pre-order Darkness Falls, which I give a rating of five out of five!

Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan

I read Immortal Beloved last year, and fell in love with Nastasya and the wonderful way in which Cate Tiernan wrote her, piece by piece, allowing you to learn about Nastasya as she was learning about herself.

Nastasya, Nas to her friends, is an immortal born in 1551 who realizes that the friends she has spent the last hundred years or so with aren't healthy for her anymore.  She knows she needs to get away from them when she remembers River, another immortal she met 80 years ago who had invited her to come to Rivers Edge, her home in Massachusettes.   Nas knew she couldn't just tell her friend Innocencio (Incy) that she was leaving, so she sneaks away to Rivers Edge, which ends up being a rehabilitation farm for immortals.

Nas really doesn't want to be there, but her life was tumbling out of control and she really does want help.  The first person she meets when she gets to Rivers Edge is Reyn, and I love her first impression of him, "A Viking god had tapped on my window, was looking at me with concern—or suspicion. His golden handsomeness was breathtaking, as if a mythical figure had come to life, had warm blood flowing through his veins." (Yikes - we all should be so lucky to have someone that gorgeous tapping on our windows!)

While at Rivers Edge Nas takes lessons in magick and learns more about herself than she probably ever wanted to.  She also discovers that she and Reyn have a connection that goes back to her childhood before she ever knew she was an immortal.  Needless to say that connection isn't cause for a joyful reunion.

Immortal Beloved is a book filled with suspense and you never know what might befall Nas and whether the catastrophies that await her are coming from within her or from an outside force.  Nas is flawed, but you root for her nontheless.  Definitely give this book a four out of five ranking!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

I actually bought The Magicians by Lev Grossman after reading a review of the second book in the series, The Magician King, which received a lot of praise.  First let me say, I hate it when book reviewers compare one authors work with another, so I was almost turned off by reviews that compared Mr. Grossman's books to Harry Potter.  I understand what they are trying to get across to readers when they say that The Magicians and The Magician King are Harry Potter for adults, but hey - most adults who enjoy the genre loved the Harry Potter series.  I guess what I am trying to say is, comparing Mr. Grossman's books to J.K. Rowling's books doesn't do him any justice because, so far, The Magicians stands on it's own.

Mr. Grossman has created a very interesting world for Quentin Coldwater, a young man who never really felt like he fit in anywhere, even in his parents' home.  His one escape from his mundane life are the books about the enchanted world of Fillory that he grew up reading.

As Quentin is trying to transition himself from high school to college, he unexpectedly gets accepted into Brakebills Academy, where he will be educated in magic.  For the first time in his life he feels as if he might fit in, making friends and falling in love.  Unfortunately, over the course of his five years at Brakebills, Quentin continues to feel as if he doesn't belong anywhere and when he and his friends find out that Fillory actually exists.. things change forever.

I don't want to give too much away.  Just trust that The Magicians stands on it's own.  Mr. Grossman doesn't try to write like J.K. Rowling (a question my sister asked me) and the world he has created is new and exciting.  I can't wait to read The Magician King.  If I were to give a rating to this book - I'd give it a four out of Five!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Beautiful Darkness - Couldn't put it Down

Beautiful Darkness is the second book in a series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  As we are pulled into Lena's possible self destruction, Beautiful Darkness truly lives up to it's name, because it is so much darker than Beautiful Creatures.  Lena can't forgive herself for what happened on her sixteenth birthday, and she begins pulling herself away from Ethan and everyone else who loves her.

Lena sets off with her cousin Ridley and a newcomer to town, John Breed, and Ethan realizes that he has to find her and save her before the Seventeenth Moon, even if she doesn't want him to.  With the unlikely assistance of others, Ethan, Link, Liv and Lucille Ball (a very interesting cat) take to the Caster tunnels to find Lena, knowing that they might never return.  The discoveries that Ethan makes along the way will change the way he looks at himself and those around him forever.

After finishing Darkness, I am so looking forward to October 18, 2011, the date Beautiful Chaos is released.  Again, I would totally recommend this series... great summer reading!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Beautiful Creatures - Another book to read this summer

I just finished reading Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and absolutely loved it.  Yes, I am behind, but I started reading Beautiful Darkness the second I finished it, and have pre-ordered Beautiful Chaos, because it was that good.

Ethan Wate's life has been filled with loss.  First the death of his mother, and now his father has shut himself away from the world in his study writing.  Amma and his best friend Link have been the only constants in his life.  Although Ethan has spent his entire life in Gatlin, South Carolina, all he looks forward to is graduating and getting out.  That is, until the girl he's been dreaming about (or maybe I should say "having nightmares" about) shows up in town.  Once Ethan and Lena meet, everything that he has known about Gatlin and its people is turned upside down.

Ms. Garcia and Ms. Stohl have woven a story filled with strong characters who have secrets, along with towns people who mistrust and fear those who are different, making life difficult for both Ethan and Lena.  As they get to know each other, Ethan and Lena enter into a journey that may save them from a fate that neither of them are willing to face.

If you enjoy a mystery, mixed in with a bit of the magical - I highly recommend that you read Beautiful Creatures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Problem with Weiner

So, Anthony Weiner has resigned, and I don't know how I feel about it.

As a woman, I am happy to see him put his tail between his legs and leave the limelight. As a woman, I feel sorry for his wife -- for the pain and embarrassment she must be enduring because her husband was foolish enough to think that he could become sexually intimate with strangers on line and never get caught. As a woman/mother/grandmother/sister, I have absolutely no respect for Anthony Weiner and the women he engaged with on Twitter and Facebook.

But as a Democrat, I am heartbroken. Anthony Weiner was such a force in the Democratic Party. He was a man who wasn't afraid to say exactly what needed to be said. As a Liberal, I am crushed. We have lost someone who stood up to Republicans and who fought the good fight on behalf of the middle class and poor. As a Liberal/Democrat/Progressive, I have lost respect for Anthony Weiner because he put his desire for the sexual validation of strangers ahead of his desire to do the job he was elected to do - fix our Country.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Summer Reading Recommendation

I just finished reading Original Sin, A Sally Sin Adventure by Beth McMullen, and highly recommend this book for your summer reading.

Lucy Hamilton is a seemingly normal stay-at-home mom with a past she wants to keep secret from everyone, including her husband and young son. Unfortunately, she gets pulled back into her old life as the spy, Sally Sin, by the Government Agency she use to work for and by her old nemesis, Ian Blackford.

I love how Beth McMullen weaves Sally Sin's past into Lucy Hamilton's current life, and how we get to see her thought process while she tries to solve a mystery. Lucy/Sally is a fun character who isn't much different than any of us (well, except for her ability to get herself into and out of extraordinary adventures). She's definitely someone I could see myself hanging out with.

After finishing the book, I believe (hope) that this is going to be the first in a series, and I can't wait for the next one. Lucy Hamilton/Sally Sin is my new hero.

If you like a book that is full of intrigue, suspense, love, and laughter... Original Sin should be on your Summer reading list. It won't be released until July, but it's available for pre-sale. Go ahead, order it... I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Great Reads

I've been reading a lot lately. Loved Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo started out slow, and I was wondering why so many people raved about it, but I pushed myself through the first couple of chapters and ended up being hooked. If you haven't read them, you really should... and I'd suggest you read them before you see the Swedish films because, although they are well made, I feel that they leave out too much of what made the main characters, Lisbeth Salandar and Mikael Blomkvist, so captivating.

I also read some of the books I got when I attended the Library Association Conference, (those wonderful advance copies). I bought Kimberly Pauley's Sucks To Be Me since it was first in the series before Still Sucks To Be Me. They were both fun, quick reads. I would highly recommend them for younger readers who like the whole Vampire genre, but are a little too young to read Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse, Southern Vampire Series. Speaking of Sookie, I held off reading Dead in the Family until it was closer to the release of Dead Reckoning, (which came in the mail yesterday). Dead in the Family didn't disappoint. Charlaine Harris has created such a interesting world and I can honestly say I have enjoyed reading every one of her books. I also am crazy bout the HBO Series "True Blood." Even though they don't stick strictly by the books, they change it just enough to keep me surprised. Sadly, I've heard that the Sookie books will be ending soon... that will be like losing a good friend.

The last book I recently finished was A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It took me a while to read, but that's because I do most of my reading at night before I fall asleep. I absolutely loved this book and hated to finish reading it. Yes, it's a Novel about witches and vampires, but the main witch, Diana Bishop, is a scholar at Oxford, and she meets her 1,500 year old vampire, Matthew Clairmont, (currently a geneticist), at the Bodleian Library. A Discovery is a suspenseful book that has magic, history, science and romance. Ms. Harkness lets you get to know the characters slowly, and she pulls you into their world as they are pulled into each others. This isn't a book for people who are only looking for light reading (via Twilight), but I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a book that makes you think.

I am now on to reading an advance copy of Original Sin, A Sally Sin Adventure by Beth McMullen. I love the main character, Sally Sin. She's a new mother being pulled back into a world she thought she left behind - that of a Spy. I'll post more about it when I am finished, but I am half way through it now and would definitely recommend it for summer reading - it will be released on July 12, 2011... I'd pre-order it now if I were you. : )

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Writer's Block

I don't know why it has become so hard for me to write. I love to talk, I can tweet up a storm, but when I sit down to write on my blog, my brain becomes a blank. I think it's because when I am talking, its to people I know and they respond and the conversation flows. When I am tweeting, its within 140 characters, usually about some political issue, short and sweet. But, when I sit down and open up my blog, I stop...

I stop because I am afraid of what I might say if I just let my fingers flow. Will I write about the ten books I have read since my last post, or how much I worry about my granddaughter? Will I rave about the latest albums I love by The Black Keys and Adele, or will I tell you how disillusioned I am with the Maryland Judicial System and their total lack of continuity in Family Court cases? Should I tell you how angry I am at the GOP for totally messing up this country that I love so much, or do I tell you about the anguish I feel for my son, who has lost so much in these past few days?

The big question is: do I write about the things that exist around me, or the those things that make me who I am?

I haven't figured it out yet, but when I do, I'll let you know.