In the course of raising money to expand our library, reading as much as I can and getting ready for my daughter's wedding, I have neglected this blog for quite a while. Well, things are settling down, I am still doing all of the above, but I have been trying to carve out the time to write reviews or comments about the books that I really enjoy reading.
I think it is so important to spread the word about authors we enjoy. I follow quite a few of my favorites on Facebook and I am getting a picture of how much effort goes into writing, editing and getting their books out to the public. I see on FB that they have re-writes and publisher meetings, cover decisions and so much work that has to be done before we readers get the book.
So many times I have read a book and really enjoyed it. I usually go into the library and tell other people about it and add it to the order list if it isn't already there. The nice thing about blogging is that I can share my opinion with more people. I usually use the same review I have given to Amazon, B&N, Goodreads and Librarything. I am always thrilled when I get feedback that my review was helpful to someone or an author liked my review. I enjoy that as much as when a patron tells me that they really enjoyed a book I recommended.
If you are reading this blog and you are reading a book you enjoy, please go to one of online sites and give it 4-5 stars and maybe even a line or three about why you liked the book. By doing so, you help make sure that the author you enjoyed can get future books published. I am going to devote time every week to do the same so I can continue to escape into my favorite fictional places .
Monday, May 13, 2013
The further Ms. Humphreys gets into this series, the more interesting it becomes. In this book, purebred Amoveo Marianna discovers that human Pete is her mate and worries about how that will complicate both their lives. The chemistry between them is hot! The war between the Purists and the more inclusive Amoveo, like Marianna and her brother, really ratchets up in this book. The Purists take their nastiness to a whole new level and in a way that ensnares Marianna. Both Pete and Marianna have some surprises in their road to mating and there is an game changing twist in the end. There are also enough loose ends to make the reader anxious for the next book to see what happens.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Monday, September 3, 2012
Meg Brennan Roberts is a successful publicist, faithful wife, and doting mother who prides herself on always making the right decisions. But years of being "the good woman" have taken a toll and Meg feels burned out and empty, more disconnected than ever from her increasingly distant husband. Lonely and disheartened, she attends the London Wine Fair with her boss, ruggedly handsome vintner, Chad Hallahan. It's here, alone together in an exotic city, far from "real" life, that Chad confesses his long-standing desire for Meg. Overwhelmed, flattered, and desperately confused, Meg returns home, only to suddenly question every choice she's ever made. Fleeing her responsibilities—with consequences as reckless and irreversible as they are liberating—Meg must decide whether being the person everyone needs is worth losing the woman she was meant to be. (synopsis from www.janeporter.com)
Trade paperback, Berkley Trade, 368 pages
On the surface, Meg Roberts has it all. She has a loving husband, three children and a job she loves doing PR for an area winery. But Meg is feeling as though she is missing something, that her life lacks some essential thing that she can’t put her finger on. She and her husband Jack have been married for seventeen years but she feels as though they are losing the connection between them. Meg discovers that her charismatic boss Chad has been harboring feelings for her and drifts into an affair which causes the disintegration of her life as she knows it.
Meg is an interesting character. She has always been the good girl, the good wife, the good mother and she has a strong sense of loyalty and a need for structure. This story looks at how someone who has been so tightly controlled all of her life finds herself doing something that she knows is wrong and also knows could ruin her life. The book does not make excuses for her behavior or paint her husband in a terrible light. Yes, he is sometimes distracted and may be a little selfish in the marital bed, but does that excuse adultery? Meg’s family is an old school Irish Catholic one that is having issues of its own. Her sister Kit is getting over the breakup of her long term relationship. Her sister Sarah is married to a professional athlete who cheated on her in the past. Needless to say, Sarah is not sympathetic to Meg’s situation. Meg’s parents are supportive but unhappy with what she has done and they are dealing with their own problems as well. The story weaves all of their lives into Megs and gives the reader a variety of viewpoints of Meg’s situation.
When I started the book, I was concerned about the theme because I wasn’t sure I could relate to a character that cheats. However, the way the topic was handled in this book made it relatable and not uncomfortable. The resolution of the situation is handled realistically and appropriately. Ms. Porter did not take the easy way out for the character.
This is the first book in the series about the Brennan family. Based on the characters from this book it looks like they will all be pretty interesting. The next book is due out in February, 2013.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
When Madeline's life is threatened, Izzy is suddenly asking a more troublesome question: Who wants the gallery owner dead?
As the case spins out of control, there's only one person who makes Izzy feel safe—Detective Damon Vaughn. But getting close to her former nemesis is full of surprises. Astonishing truths about the glittering Chicago art scene will introduce Izzy to the deadliest art of deception. (Synopsis from lauracaldwell.com)
Paperback, Harlequin, 320 pages
I got my first taste of the Izzy McNeal series when I went to BEA ( Book Expo America) and got autographed copies of the first two books in the series. After voraciously reading them in my hotel room, I was ready for the next one and ran to the bookstore to get it when it came out shortly after. False Impressions is book number six in this excellent murder mystery series.
Izzy is taking a break from detecting after she has lost one fiancé and a serious boyfriend through involvement in previous cases. She decides to concentrate on her legal career when n her old friend Mayburn asks her to take on another case as a favor. Izzy finds herself in the middle of the art world in Chicago trying to find out who has been targeting Madeline Saga and her art gallery. It's a heady world that Izzy finds herself in and she has to work to keep her wits about her. Madeline is focused on her art collections and mentors Izzy in the appreciation of it. Madeline vacillates from friendly and focused to aloof and disoriented. Izzy finds out that there are many possible suspects, old lovers, competitors and customers who unknowingly purchased fakes. There are plenty of red herrings in the book and a final twist that works perfectly.
During her investigation, Izzy finds herself attracted to a gallery customer involved in a messy divorce and also having run-ins with CPD's Damon Vaughn that seem to be leading down an interesting road. She also discovers an wild side of her that she has not let loose in a long time, and finds that she enjoys letting go sometimes. She also meets a quirky group of artists and art lovers that help her add to her new self-awareness.
One of the things I like about this series is that Izzy learns from her mistakes and listens when her experts give advice on her cases. She has learned the hard way what can happen when you rush in unprepared. She mostly follows the law and doesn't do anything egregiously wrong. She has a difficult relationship with her father and brother and it doesn’t get whitewashed or neatly resolved.
Even though this is the sixth book in the series, it can stand alone so new readers don't need to be afraid to jump in. I suspect that you will like it so much you will go back and read all of the prior books. Enjoy them!
Saturday, August 25, 2012
But when the renowned choir director is murdered, the lock on the monastery’s massive wooden door is drawn back to admit Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and Jean-Guy Beauvoir of the Sûreté du Québec. There they discover disquiet beneath the silence, discord in the apparent harmony. One of the brothers, in this life of prayer and contemplation, has been contemplating murder. As the peace of the monastery crumbles, Gamache is forced to confront some of his own demons, as well as those roaming the remote corridors. Before finding the killer, before restoring peace, the Chief must first consider the divine, the human, and the cracks in between. ( synopis from www.louisepenny.com)
Publication date 8/28/12 Hardcover, Minotaur, 373 pages
If I could rate this book 10 stars I would. When I finished the last page, all I could think was that I can’t wait for another year to see what happens with the story. When I first started reading the book and realized that it all takes place in a monastery with no Three Pines interaction, I wondered how the emotional pull in all of Ms. Penny’s books, would happen in this book. No worries on that score!
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his second in command Jean-Guy Beauvior have been sent to the monastery of Saint-Gilbert-Entre-les-Loups to investigate the murder of one of the monks. The monastery is a closed one and the monks follow the vow of silence. Hundreds of years before the monks fled France and the Inquisition and had supposedly disappeared as an order. Two years prior to the murder, the monks had released a recording of them singing Gregorian chants and “blown their cover”. No-one is allowed into the monastery and the resultant fame from the recording has caused dissention among the monks. Gamache and Beauvior have to work through the stories of the men living in a closed environment and find the truth about the murder. The isolation of the location and the certainty that the murderer is one of the monks adds to the eeriness of the situation.
The recurring theme of the book seems to me to be that the men who have come to live there regard it as their own slice of Eden. They live for love of their God and the music. They lead simple but fulfilled lives and the music recording meant to raise money for repairs and to maintain their way of life has actually introduced the serpent in the garden. Gamache and Beauvior find a group living in harmony with a common bond but they also find the cracks and need to find out what was the issue that led one of the monks to kill. There is also an overlapping theme about the nature of the chants and the history of written music as it relates to Gregorian chants that is quite interesting.
Gamache and Beauvior have put the trauma of two years before behind them and are seemingly in a good place. Beauvior has become free of his addiction to pain killers and is secretly dating Gamache’s daughter Annie. He is happy with his life. Gamache still carries the physical and emotional scars from that time as well but he has made a sort of peace with it. The two men are forced to re-evaluate their feelings when their own personal serpent arrives at the monastery and begins to spread his poison. The ending of the book is heart wrenching and will leave the reader hungry for the next installment in the series. Ms. Penny does a wonderful job of putting the reader into the minds of the characters so that their hurts become our hurts and we really care about what happens next.
Monday, August 13, 2012
Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption, but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose. ( synopsis from juliegarwood.com)
Every one of Julie Garwood’s FBI themed books has been a great read and this one continues the streak. The book opens with a look back at the Four Pips, young girls all undergoing a highly experimental treatment for a life threatening illness. The girls, Samantha, Jane, Collins and Olivia, have banded together to survive the grueling treatment and Olivia is the ringleader of this band of pranksters.
Twelve years later, Olivia is having lunch with smarmy CEO, Eric Jorguson ostensibly to talk about a position with his accounting firm. She is worried about her current position as there is talk of cutbacks and she is the new kid on the block. When she tries to steer the conversation away from her famous financier father, she triggers Eric’s suspicions and he rips her blouse thinking she is wearing a wire and trying to trap him. Olivia responds by punching him and breaking his nose, only to be set upon by his thug bodyguard. Keep in mind this is all happening in full view of the other diners in the restaurant but when other people try to help the thug pulls a gun and then backhands her. All of a sudden the man is on the ground being cuffed by an FBI agent. Apparently Olivia has accidentally gotten into the middle of an FBI operation and disputed months of planning. The best line of the book occurs when the Agent in charge threatens “I could make your life a nightmare.” He put his hand in front of her face and unfolded three fingers as he said. “I’m F...B…I.” She smiled. It wasn’t the reaction he expected. “You want to talk nightmares?” she said. She put her hand up to his face and unfolded her three fingers. “I’m I…R…S.”
Olivia meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid at this lunch debacle and the chemistry sizzles right off the page. Unfortunately, Olivia is up to her neck trying to get evidence to prove her father is a crook and it is consuming her life. Her family is distant and disapproving with the exception of her maternal aunt. She is also getting death threats. Grayson has problems of his own. He is raising his nephew and watching out for his ailing father. He is also still trying to connect Jorguson to a serious crime.
Circumstances throw the two together and romance blooms. There is a lot going on in this book with death threats, attempted murder, recurring illness of one of the Pips, and lots of other mayhem. This book cannot be put down once you start it! The story is fast paced and the relationship between Olivia and Grayson makes your heart beat faster. There is the sense that some of the other Pips might be featured in future books, I really hope so. Write fast Ms. Garwood, please!