Sunday, 26 September 2010

Book Fiction By Amy Bloom : Where the God of Love Hangs Out

Where the God of Love Hangs OutBook Review Where the God of Love Hangs Out By Amy Bloom
Where The God Of Love Hangs Out, the latest collection from the reliable Amy Bloom, is surprisingly uneven. Perhaps the book relies too heavily on some of Bloom’s favorite tricks. Nearly all its stories are about 98 percent expository setup that seems as though it will never have a point, and then a final 2 percent that creates an absolutely horrifying sense of emotional clarity, of the ways people sometimes damage each other without realizing. Bloom is also fond of taking large leaps through time, then filling in the details in a rush between interconnected stories or sections within the same story. When these techniques fail, the construction becomes too self-evident. But when they work, the stories are deeply devastating jewels. Fortunately, most of God Of Love falls into the latter category, but it’s a closer call than in other Bloom collections.

The biggest problem is how much God Of Love relies on pieces previously published in prior collections. The central quartet of stories—tracing the lives of a mother and her stepson over 30 years—starts off with three of Bloom’s earlier pieces that have been slightly reworked, mostly to make the chronology make sense. The final story in the set has almost too much riding on it, as the family at the stories’ center gathers for one last holiday together, and it can’t live up to the desire for emotional catharsis that the preceding works create.

That said, Bloom specializes in realistic anticlimaxes, and when she does them well, her stories are among the best by anyone working in the form right now. Take “Permafrost,” which is less than 15 pages long, but dances through nearly that many years of history in tracing a social worker’s failed attempts to get her life started, viewed through the prism of her work with a teenager felled by flesh-eating bacteria. Bloom works in lengthy discourses about the fates of polar expeditions in the early 20th century and the complicated histories of two whole families before she’s done, and it all adds up to a final three paragraphs that stun with how deeply they convey a gaping sorrow that can never be filled.

The collection’s opening four stories—tracing the lives of old friends William and Clare, who become lovers, even though they’re married to other people—land among Bloom’s best work. Here, the liberal jumping through time works for Bloom, as she skips years between stories, and her characters are so well-drawn that the desire to find out what happened in the ensuing time is exhilarating rather than enervating. Bloom takes on several points of view—the lovers, their spouses, their children, a disapproving uncle—but she never loses the thread, which is enormously difficult in stories this brief.

William and Clare’s quartet and “Permafrost” are more than enough to recommend Where The God Of Love Hangs Out, especially to those with no prior experience with Bloom, who may find more of value in the central quartet of stories. The other three stories are a mixed bag, but all contain at least one or two paragraphs of evocative writing. Bloom perhaps over-relies on tiny moments that crystallize long-held emotions, which can make her stories feel too self-consciously important and literary. But it can also create exceptional power and beauty.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Read Book Review " The Widower's Tale : A Novel " By Julia Glass

The Widower's TaleThe Widower's Tale By Julia Glass
In a historic farmhouse outside Boston, seventy-year-old Percy Darling is settling happily into retirement: reading novels, watching old movies, and swimming naked in his pond. His routines are disrupted, however, when he is persuaded to let a locally beloved preschool take over his barn. As Percy sees his rural refuge overrun by children, parents, and teachers, he must reexamine the solitary life he has made in the three decades since the sudden death of his wife. No longer can he remain aloof from his community, his two grown daughters, or, to his shock, the precarious joy of falling in love.

One relationship Percy treasures is the bond with his oldest grandchild, Robert, a premed student at Harvard. Robert has long assumed he will follow in the footsteps of his mother, a prominent physician, but he begins to question his ambitions when confronted by a charismatic roommate who preaches—and begins to practice—an extreme form of ecological activism, targeting Boston’s most affluent suburbs.

Meanwhile, two other men become fatefully involved with Percy and Robert: Ira, a gay teacher at the preschool, and Celestino, a Guatemalan gardener who works for Percy’s neighbor, each one striving to overcome a sense of personal exile. Choices made by all four men, as well as by the women around them, collide forcefully on one lovely spring evening, upending everyone’s lives, but none more radically than Percy’s.

With equal parts affection and satire, Julia Glass spins a captivating tale about the loyalties, rivalries, and secrets of a very particular family. Yet again, she plumbs the human heart brilliantly, dramatically, and movingly.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Book Review : Freedom : A Novel By Jonathan Franzen Read Now!

 Freedom : A NovelNew Book By Jonathan Franzen : Freedom : A Novel
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; but a family is rarely just a family. Not in novels, anyway, where families tend to become metaphors for something else, something bigger: for the society in which they live, or perhaps for human relations in general. The Berglunds, the family at the heart of Jonathan Franzen’s sweeping yet intimate new novel, seem at times to stand for America itself—or, more specifically, for what Franzen refers to as “the American experiment of self-government, an experiment statistically skewed from the outset, because it wasn't the people with sociable genes who fled the crowded Old World for the new continent, it was the people who didn't get along well with others.”

With so much metaphorical weight to bear, it is no wonder that the Berglunds bend under the pressure. Admittedly, they started out strong. “Walter and Patty were the young pioneers of Ramsey Hill,” we learn on the novel’s first page, “the first college grads to buy a house on Barrier Street since the old heart of St. Paul had fallen on hard times three decades earlier.” Gifted with healthy doses of American pluck, reinforced by a coating of Midwestern (specifically, Minnesotan) reserve, these Volvo-driving, Whole Foods-shopping petit bourgeois will, within a few years, transform their neighborhood into an enclave of genteel civility.

And yet: we are made aware early on that the Berglunds are heading for a fall, or rather, a series of increasingly embarrassing and painful falls. Walter, we learn in the novel’s second sentence, will move from St. Paul to Washington, where he will endure a professional embarrassment significant enough to be reported in the New York Times. (His failure, it is later revealed, relates to his efforts to save threatened North American songbirds and derives from a fatal combination of good intentions and imperfect judgment, the same combination that will make his employment of his young and beautiful assistant, Lalitha, a marital catastrophe waiting to happen.) Their son Joey, meanwhile, will find himself drawn by his business partner—“ a bush-league sociopath who would end up in jail or in Congress soon enough"—into a scheme to sell rusted out and entirely useless truck parts to the U.S. military for use in Iraq. As for Patty, a former star athlete with a wrecked knee, an overzealous appreciation for wine, and too-intimate relationships both to Joey and to Walter’s best friend Richard Katz, it is perhaps sufficient to observe that a considerable portion of the book is comprised by her confessional memoir, "Mistakes Were Made: Autobiography of Patty Berglund by Patty Berglund. (Composed at Her Therapist's Suggestion.)"

Like Franzen’s previous novel, the National Book Award-winning The Corrections, Freedom is a big, ambitious, somewhat baggy book that goes slack in places and is, at times, a bit arid. But it is hard not to admire the ambition; and the good paragraphs tend to outweigh, and make one forget, the insufficiently polished and hurried-through. Franzen is one of a relatively small number of contemporary novelists who can work successfully on this sort of scale, and who is able to create characters of genuine complexity and emotional depth.

For me the most satisfyingly complex character is Richard Katz, the Berglund’s family friend (and, at times, worst enemy). A punk-rocker turned alt-country musician, Richard is intelligent but suspicious of the uses to which intelligence can be put, irresistible to women but increasingly disgusted by the shallowness of his relations with them, and so thoroughly destabilized by the success of his new band (whose music is, to his horror, nominated for a Grammy and played on NPR) that he refuses to record a second album with them, fleeing instead into a life of reclusiveness and manual labor. My favorite moment in the book finds Richard standing on the roof of a building in lower Manhattan faced with an attractive young woman, the latest in a long series of attractive young women he has flirted with and, more often than not, bedded: “Katz felt very, very tired. To be unable to bring himself to play for even ten seconds the game that Caitlyn was interested in playing with him was to understand the allure of death. To die would be the cleanest cutting of his connection to the thing—the girl's idea of Richard Katz—that was burdening him. Away to the southwest of where they were standing stood the massive Eisenhower-era utility building that marred the nineteenth-century architectural vistas of almost every Tribecan loft-dweller. Once upon a time, the building had offended Katz's urban aesthetic, but now it pleased him by offending the urban aesthetic of the millionaires who'd taken over the neighborhood.”

To excessively desire the approval of others makes one a slave to their opinions. But to fear and despise one’s fellows’ approval, as Katz does, is no more liberating: the burden of others’ ideas of us weighs as heavily in the one case as in the other. In the end, freedom is a paradox, and perhaps an unattainable ideal. And because it understands this, Freedom is, in the end, a fine, impressive, and memorable novel.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

New Book Review The Confession : A Novel By John Grisham

The Confession : A Novel

“The secrets of Grisham’s success are no secret at all. There are two of them: his pacing, which ranges from fast to breakneck, and his Theme—little guy takes on big conspiracy with the little guy getting the win in the end.” —Time magazine

“The law, by its nature, creates drama, and a new Grisham promises us an inside look at the dirty machineries of process and power, with plenty of entertainment” —Los Angeles Times

“With every new book I appreciate John Grisham a little more, for his feisty critiques of the legal system, his compassion for the underdog, and his willingness to strike out in new directions.” —Entertainment Weekly

“John Grisham is about as good a storyteller as we’ve got in the United States these days.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Grisham is a marvelous storyteller who works readers the way a good trial lawyer works a jury.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“A mighty narrative talent and an unerring eye for hot-button issues.” —Chicago Sun-Times

“A legal literary legend.” —USA Today

Only a guilty man can save him.
For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed.

Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.

But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Book review : Bearers of the Black Staff By Terry Brooks

Bearers of the Black StaffBook Reviews by Terry Brooks : Bearers of the Black Staff
Bearers of the Black Staff is…well…a Terry Brooks novel. But what does that mean you ask? Well, simply put, if you liked Terry Brooks before, you’ll likely enjoy this first book in the Legends of Shannara series, and if you haven’t read Brooks before, then this is very much indicative of what you can expect from the pen of this New York Times bestselling author in his latter years. But for the discerning fan of epic fantasy, you’ll leave this volume wondering why you spent a chunk of change on so many words where nothing exciting happens.

Bearers of the Black Staff begins 500 years after the boy Hawk and his followers had moved into a secluded and protected valley to escape the ravages of the world devastation wreaked by our current technological society. (see the Genesis of Shannara series for their story) But whatever it is (not explained in this book) that has been maintaining the grey cloud that kept outsiders out and insiders in is failing. The world outside, and whatever mutants or horrors survived the last 500 years is about to enter the secluded valley that had protected the humans, elves, spiders and lizards that are the comatose and complacent descendants of Hawk’s followers.

The story followers three characters primarily. The first is the Gray Man, Sider Ament, a solitary person charged with bearing the black staff and patrolling the wall, waiting for the day it fails. There is Panterra Qu, a scout paired with the girl Pru who is driven by fierce loyalty and who is the child become a man character that is part and parcel of every Terry Brooks novel. And there is Phryne, the elven princess who is brash and reckless who becomes a woman that is indicative of every Terry Brooks novel. It is these three, with the help of some others, who must protect the land from being conquered by an army of trolls from outside the valley.

In this novel, Brooks has not overexerted himself in his writing. Though there is character development, the characters come across as flat, not emotionally connected to the reader. Sure, the reader may appreciate their successes or dangers, but as far as getting excited about them, it is rather hard to do with the way Brooks writes. It is like looking at an abstract work of art when you have no frame of reference for appreciating it. You know it should be good, or that you should feel something about it emotionally, but all you can do is look at it and say: Huh? This is usually the end effect of writing archetypes rather than characters, something Brooks has always done to some extent, but which is made so painfully obvious here.

The plot follows a pattern that he has perfected, following a young person (or several persons) as he or she find himself or herself in the trials and tribulations presented by their environment. It is not even resolved by the end of the novel, being left to the sequel (or sequels) to do. And cliffhanger in no way left me gasping to read more. The characters move in and out of the valley, sometimes in bizarre ways, and Brooks will change perspective in odd places, and add meaningless sequences just to ensure that he mentions things like elfstones and other Shannara specific elements. The novel has some action and adventure in it, and certainly has suspense (though none that really makes the reader feel it, except perhaps for Pru’s near death experiences there at the end). Yet undoubtedly, those who have been long time readers of the Shannara series will appreciate the addition to the cannon uncritically.

Read Book Review Towers of Midnight By Robert Jordan Now!

Towers of Midnight
The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One's prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel'aran'rhiod and find a way--at long last--to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways--the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn--have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men's lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

This penultimate novel of Robert Jordan's #1 New York Times bestselling series--the second of three based on materials he left behind when he died in 2007--brings dramatic and compelling developments to many threads in the Pattern. The end draws near.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Read Book Online: Dark Peril By Christine Feehan

Dark Peril

Dark Peril (Dark, book 21) by Christine Feehan

'Carpathians are an immortal race of beings with animal instincts and the ability to shape shift. Every Carpathian male is drawn to a life mate: a woman - Carpathian or human - able to provide the light to his darkness. Without her, the beast within slowly consumes the man until turning into a vampire is the only option.' In Feehan's latest, lose yourself in one man's gripping battle to save himself and his search for the one woman who will answer all his well as satisfy his desire.

Read Book By Chloe Neill Best Series Twice Bitten

Twice BittenNeill and Merit Continue to Impress
There are a plethora of kick-ass urban fantasy series with kick-ass heroines out there today. The genre is rockin' and sockin' like a frat house on a weekend bender after a football championship win. Every author has created a slightly different world, with slightly different mythos, slightly different characters, etc...the emphasis on slightly. That's not a criticism; it's more like a statistical probability. I believe the key is finding those authors and series that present a world or mythos or characters that appeal to your personal tastes. As urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and I have a very eclectic palate for it, I read a lot of UF series. Some set themselves apart, some don't. Few make it to my "Oh my release?? Get it! Get it! Get it NOW!!" category.

Chloe Neill is, in my opinion, utterly unique in that she's created a series that, arguably, isn't the most original in location (the awesome city of Chicago) or in world building (vampires have come out of the to humans and are working a wicked PR campaign to keep themselves from being turned into crispy critters and other supernaturals are eying them intently, concerned about the potential power shift and threat), or, honestly, in mythos (not really sure what the vampires' origins are, but they've had their fair share of genocidal cleansings that sound quite a lot like witch trials of old and of the inquisition), yet Neill has managed to catapult herself and her series into that category I mentioned. Yes, I actually have an "Oh my release?? Get it! Get it! Get it NOW!!" category. I never said I was well balanced. Moving on...

What Chloe Neill has managed to create that is unique and appealing, is Merit, Sentinel of Cadogan House and kick-ass heroine of a kick-ass series. Bright, independent, stubborn, maturing Merit is one of my favorite UF heroines in any and every series I'm reading or have read. I absolutely love her. She's a novitiate vampire, new to the world and the House, and she's been forced into positions as both political pawn and weapon for her liege and master Ethan Sullivan, yet she remains relatively poised and strong willed as she grows within her House and her position as Sentinel. I am completely appreciative of a heroine that I can relate to and admire and, frankly, not want to strangle...because there are so many other UF heroines that I'd like to take a two-by-four to for so very many reasons, even when I like the series they're in (annnnd we're right back to the unbalanced issue...moving on). The Chicacoland Vampires series is told from Merit's perspective in a smooth, contemporary, first person narrative that is at turns humorous, griping, and caustic with sharp wit. Twice Bitten: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel in particular shines with zippy dialogue and internal monologues, and Merit is almost solely responsible for that fantastic aspect of the book.

In Twice Bitten, which picks up mere days from the events of the second book in the series, Friday Night Bites: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, and just a few months from the first, Some Girls Bite: A Chicagoland Vampires Novel, Merit is still dealing with the potential threat of Celina Desaulniers, former Navarre House Master and total power hungry wingnut, still training with Ethan, and still exceptionally drawn to him. The fireworks between them are incendiary and in this book,, yeah. So anyway, the shapeshifters are on their way to Chicago for a convocation concerning their next move as a species and the Apex of NAC pack, Gabriel, is tentatively willing to extend a paw to Cadogan House and Ethan and Merit in particular. The foresight-gifted shifter has seen a future that includes pack and House affiliations he's not too specific about, but one that features Merit heavily. Ethan is practically salivating for the opportunity of an alliance because...well, because he's a politics junkie, for one, but he's also very aware that a war is brewing and the only hope of survival of both species against a planet of humanity may be joining forces with a past nemesis. Unfortunately, not all of the pack agrees with its progressive thinking Apex, and soon politics turns to bloodshed and death and assassination attempts. Will any tentative hope for an alliance go up in flames or will two races at odds be able to unite against a common threat? The cost for misstep will be paid in blood.

The political and sociological structures of shifters and vampires are brilliantly written here, and while the plot is both less an more than most end-of-the-world-or-some-other-similar-catastrophe UF series, it's fascinating and poignant, and there's a lesson to be learned about the crippling nature of bigotry and prejudice. This book (and series) is far more subtly written than others in the genre, allowing for some truly fantastic character development for a larger contingent of characters than most UF books. Through Merit's eyes we see how similar to humans in some ways, and how spectacular in others, vampires are as we get a deeper and broader view of the people and personalities that make up Cadogan House. Other than a brief and a bit bitter trip to Morgan at Navarre House, we don't see any of the other House vampires (I'm ignoring Lacey on purpose), so the aspect of internal vampire politics is much muted here, to its benefit, I think - too much vampire posturing and politicking gives me a headache. Instead we get a chance to see Cadogan vampires in a more relaxed and natural setting, allowing a more intimate relationship with them as people, and I very much enjoyed that. I've grown quite fond of Lindsey and Luc and the rest of Merit's growing circle of friends.

I did have a few moments where I got a bit troubled with the plot, though. I can't say I totally bought into the motivations and actions of the players surrounding the main conflict and climax of the story. It seemed a little too neat and perhaps a bit cliched. Admittedly, I was more frustrated because the rest of the book had made a lot of excellent strides in laying groundwork for a positively Machiavellian development...though, I suppose I could be looking at it from a more vampiric perspective. That race does sort of epitomize Machiavellian. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there were also moments in the book that I felt attained a sort of sublime truthfulness, most notably with Merit and the guy in the library. There was a scene that pointed out in unapologetic detail that for some, atrocity isn't history - it's memory, and should be respected as such. Humans surely aren't immortal, but atrocity isn't limited to history, either, and the message was a poignant one that struck a chord with me.

As much as I hate to be one of those readers who clamors for more from a favored author, with pleas to write faster or produce more quickly, I have to admit, I'm less than thrilled that Neill is currently writing two books a year and one of them is for her Dark Elite series Firespell . Very unfortunately, that means no more Merit for another year. That's more than a little disappointing. Still, I have to say, Merit...and the Chicagoland Vampires worth the wait.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Fantasy Book Critic:Fever Dream Read Book Review

Fever DreamFever Dream By Douglas Preston
At the old family manse in Louisiana, Special Agent Pendergast is putting to rest long-ignored possessions reminiscent of his wife Helen's tragic death, only to make a stunning-and dreadful-discovery. Helen had been mauled by an unusually large and vicious lion while they were big game hunting in Africa. But now, Pendergast learns that her rifle-her only protection from the beast-had been deliberately loaded with blanks. Who could have wanted Helen dead...and why?

With Lieutenant Vincent D'Agosta's assistance, Pendergast embarks on a quest to uncover the mystery of his wife's murder. It is a journey that sends him deep into her past where he learns much that Helen herself had wished to keep hidden. Helen Pendergast had nursed a secret obsession with the famed naturalist-painter John James Audubon, in particular a long-lost painting of his known as the Black Frame.

As Pendergast probes more deeply into the riddle-the answer to which is revealed in a night of shocking violence, deep in the Louisiana bayou-he finds himself faced with an even greater question: who was the woman he married?

Read Book This Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel Review

An Inspector Lynley NovelThis Body of Death: An Inspector Lynley Novel By Elizabeth George
Take three young boys in London looking for – and finding – trouble, and a young woman found murdered in a London cemetery. Add an inexperienced detective superintendent who carries vodka pick-me-ups in her purse and makes rash, ill-advised decisions; a detective inspector who still mourns his wife’s untimely death; and assorted detectives with axes to grind or personal problems to sort out. Throw in a country park ranger with a missing sister, a questionable police superintendent, and a roof thatcher with a missing lover. Mix with an overbearing landlady, a female psychic, and a psycho musician, and you have Elizabeth George’s This Body of Death.

An excellent book but not without problems. The plot is good and characters are well defined, but there are so many of them as to cause confusion. The book could be used as a geography book for England and as a road map for London; deletion of this copious material would have resulted in a much tighter – and shorter – story. The first hundred pages are difficult to stay with, but after that you won’t want to put the book down; and everything gets neatly tied up in the end. A highly recommended read.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

New Book Game Over By Fern Michaels Book Review

Game OverNew Book Game Over (Wheeler Large Print Book Series)
With yet another successful assignment behind them, the ladies of the Sisterhood have enjoyed a relaxing break together and celebrated the wedding of Myra and Charles on Big Pine Mountain. But as soon as the newlyweds return from their shortened honeymoon, they are hit with some exciting yet unsettling news.

It seems their dear ally Lizzie Fox, recently ensconced as Chief White House Counsel, is rumored to be near the top of the short list for a soon to be vacated seat on the Supreme Court. While the Sisters are thrilled for Lizzie, they are concerned about her being ripped to shreds in the approval process, partly due to her connections with the Sisterhood. They also fear it will delay or even derail their long-awaited pardon promised to them by President Martine Connor. It will take a masterful plan, and loyal friends aiding them at every turn, for the Sisters to succeed in protecting Lizzie while securing their own freedom at last.

Reading a Book by Nora Roberts : The Search Book now

The SearchThe Search [Hardcover] By Nora Roberts Reading Book
To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle's coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescues. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare...

Several years ago, Fiona was the only survivor of the Red Scarf serial killer, who shot and killed Fiona's cop fianc? and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. But all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He's the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon's house, and he's at his wit's end.

To Fiona, Jaws is nothing she can't handle. Simon, however, is another matter. A newcomer to Orcas, he's a rugged and in-tensely private artist, known for the exquisite furniture he creates from wood. Simon never wanted a puppy-and he most definitely doesn't want a woman. Besides, the lanky redhead is not his type. But tell that to his hormones.

As Fiona embarks on training Jaws, and Simon begins to appreciate both dog and trainer, the past tears back into Fiona's life. A copycat killer has emerged out of the shadows, a man whose bloodlust has been channeled by a master with one motive: to reclaim the woman who slipped out of his hands...

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Read New Book The Rembrandt Affair By Daniel Silva

The Rembrandt AffairThe Rembrandt Affair (Gabriel Allon)
Gabriel Allon, master art restorer and assassin, returns in a spellbinding new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

Over the course of a brilliant career, Daniel Silva has established himself as "the gold standard" of thriller writers (Dallas Morning News) who "has hit upon the perfect formula to keep espionage-friendly fans' fingers glued to his books, turning pages in nearly breathless anticipation" (BookPage). But now, having reached "the pinnacle of world-class spy thriller writing" (The Denver Post), Silva has produced his most extraordinary novel to date-a tale of greed, passion, and murder spanning more than half a century, centered on an object of haunting beauty.

Two families, one terrible secret, and a painting to die for ...

Determined to sever his ties with the Office, Gabriel Allon has retreated to the windswept cliffs of Cornwall with his beautiful Venetian-born wife Chiara. But once again his seclusion is interrupted by a visitor from his tangled past: the endearingly eccentric London art dealer, Julian Isherwood. As usual, Isherwood has a problem. And it is one only Gabriel can solve.

In the ancient English city of Glastonbury, an art restorer has been brutally murdered and a long-lost portrait by Rembrandt mysteriously stolen. Despite his reluctance, Gabriel is persuaded to use his unique skills to search for the painting and those responsible for the crime. But as he painstakingly follows a trail of clues leading from Amsterdam to Buenos Aires and, finally, to a villa on the graceful shores of Lake Geneva, Gabriel discovers there are deadly secrets connected to the painting. And evil men behind them.

Before he is done, Gabriel will once again be drawn into a world he thought he had left behind forever, and will come face to face with a remarkable cast of characters: a glamorous London journalist who is determined to undo the worst mistake of her career, an elusive master art thief who is burdened by a conscience, and a powerful Swiss billionaire who is known for his good deeds but may just be behind one of the greatest threats facing the world.

Filled with remarkable twists and turns of plot, and told with seductive prose, The Rembrandt Affair is more than just summer entertainment of the highest order. It is a timely reminder that there are men in the world who will do anything for money.

Read Book Review The Overton window Now

The Overton windowThe Overton Window By Glenn Beck
A plan to destroy America, a hundred years in the making, is about to be unleashed . . . can it be stopped?

There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It works by manipulating public perception so that ideas previously thought of as radical begin to seem acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country.

For Noah Gardner, a twentysomething public relations executive, it's safe to say that political theory is the furthest thing from his mind. Smart, single, handsome, and insulated from the world's problems by the wealth and power of his father, Noah is far more concerned about the future of his social life than the future of his country.

But all of that changes when Noah meets Molly Ross, a woman who is consumed by the knowledge that the America we know is about to be lost forever. She and her group of patriots have vowed to remember the past and fight for the future - but Noah, convinced they're just misguided conspiracy-theorists, isn't interested in lending his considerable skills to their cause.

And then the world changes.

An unprecedented attack on U.S. soil shakes the country to the core and puts into motion a frightening plan, decades in the making, to transform America and demonize all those who stand in the way. Amidst the chaos, many don't know the difference between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact - or, more important, which side to fight for.

But for Noah, the choice is clear: Exposing the plan, and revealing the conspirators behind it, is the only way to save both the woman he loves and the individual freedoms he once took for granted.

After five back-to-back #1 New York Times bestsellers, national radio and Fox News television host Glenn Beck has delivered a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller that seamlessly weaves together American history, frightening facts about our present condition, and a heart-stopping plot. The Overton Window will educate, enlighten, and, most important, entertain - with twists and revelations

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Read Book Review Undead and Unfinished

Undead and UnfinishedUndead and Unfinished (Queen Betsy, Book 9) By MaryJanice Davidso
Steadfastly attempting to forget the events that resulted in the deaths of roommates Antonia, a werewolf and her lover Garret, Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor is facing yet another dreadful Thanksgiving holiday. Betsy’s half sister Laura is facing a personal crisis of her own as she keeps blacking out with bizarre dreams. And then there is mommy dearest, Lucifer trying to arrange a family reunion in Hell. After Betsy’s husband Sinclair, force fed her some unpleasant truths and gave her the cold shoulder, Betsy gave into Laura’s request and the two set off for a date with Lucifer.

Lucifer hopes to convince Laura to embrace her heritage and take over the family business. Naturally, Laura needs to prove her abilities by embarking on a romp through history with Betsy in tow. As the two begin interacting with friends and family in the past, they are having unexpected impacts upon the future but only by untangling past lives will they be able to move forward and escape Hell.

The Book of the Dead plays a more prominent part in the ninth book of the Undead series as Betsy barters for the ability to read it without losing her sanity. While the assorted past life threads get a bit confusing at times, this is an entertaining read and the most complex of the series. Betsy and Laura gain some measure of maturity and insight which will be interesting to watch in future. This light, sassy paranormal tale takes a dark turn at the end when readers discover the origin of the Book of the Dead and catch a glimpse of Sinclair’s future.

Read Book That Perfect Someone Now

That Perfect SomeoneThat Perfect Someone By Johanna Lindsey
Nine years ago Richard Allen fled England when his avaricious father, the Earl of Manford, betrothed him to Julia Miller, the young daughter of London's wealthiest merchant. Having seen how his father's ambition ruined his older brother's prospects for happiness with an arranged marriage, free-spirited Richard takes to the sea determined to live his own life. In the Caribbean, he joins a band of treasure-hunting pirates and adopts the persona of a Frenchman named Jean Paul. When he dares to slip back into England to carry out an urgent task for his captain, Richard falls in love with a married woman, Georgina Malory. Despite Georgina's indifference to him and her husband James Malory's threats to harm him, Richard is smitten. His next attempt to woo Georgina at a masked ball turns out to be a terrible mistake because it brings him face to face with another beautiful woman.

Grown-up and sophisticated, Julia Miller, a friend of Georgina's, is charmed by the masked Frenchman Jean Paul until she discovers he's really her detested fiancé! Julia has hired solicitors to have Richard declared dead so she can free herself from their betrothal and move on with her life. But when the Earl of Manford learns his son has returned and can fulfill the marriage contract, he sets in motion a chain of events that places Julia on the high seas with her fiancé who is not merely an irresponsible nobleman but a seductive, adventure-loving pirate!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Read Book Review Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness

After the DarknessSidney Sheldon's After the Darkness [Hardcover]
Blessed with the face of an angel and the guileless, trusting nature of a child, Grace Brookstein is the prized wife of the king of Wall Street, Lenny Brookstein. A billionaire many times over, with estates around the world, a fleet of yachts, and a life that is the stuff of fantasies, the revered financial wizard made his fortune tending the nest eggs of ordinary people—the elderly, blue-collar workers, small charities, and working families struggling to make a better life for themselves and their children. The embodiment of America itself—ambitious, hardworking, generous, and warmhearted—Lenny is a fixture of the business pages and the society columns, where he and Grace are celebrated for their philanthropic contributions and their lavish annual fund-raising ball.

Despite the stock market's terrifying collapse, the Brooksteins' glamorous lifestyle of Palm Beach polo tournaments and G5 jets remains untouched—until the day Lenny goes sailing from their Nantucket beach estate and never comes home. When his abandoned yacht is found far out at sea, Grace is devastated. Lenny was her world. She has no idea that his disappearance is just the beginning of a dark, terrifying nightmare of murder, lies, greed, and betrayal that will shatter her life and destroy everything she has ever known. . . .

Before she can begin to grieve, the shocking news breaks that the $75 billion invested in Quorum, Lenny's hedge fund, is gone—and everyone believes that Grace has stolen the money. Overnight, the delicate beauty who was once the toast of moneyed society has become a reviled modern-day Marie Antoinette, alone and power-less to stop her infamous fall.

Grace is certain someone is framing her, and she'll do whatever it takes to prove it, even if it means taking the law into her own hands. Surrounded by enemies, with no one to turn to, Grace must learn to rely on herself—a bold, dangerous journey that will transform her in ways she never thought possible and lead her to a startling new life.

Filled with the passion, glamour, twists, and driving suspense that made Sidney Sheldon a bestselling legend, Sidney Sheldon's After the Darkness is an entertaining thrill ride that continues the grand tradition set by the master himself.

Read Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of the Game Online Now

Sidney Sheldon's Mistress of the GameSidney Sheldon's Mistress of the Game [Mass Market Paperback]
Beloved number one internationally bestselling author Sidney Sheldon introduced the glamorous, scheming Blackwell family and its unforgettable matriarch, Kate Blackwell, in his worldwide bestseller Master of the Game. Now a generation has passed, and as the world has changed, so too has America's own royal family.

Yet the intervening years have not lessened the Blackwells' drama or talent for manipulation, domination, and passion. Though Kate is long gone, the children of her beloved granddaughters, Eve and Alexandra, battle to carry on her powerful legacy. Each is determined to control Kruger-Brent, Ltd., the multibillion-dollar international corporation with holdings in diverse industries around the globe. But only one can reign supreme. . . .

Lexi Templeton is a ruthless competitor with the brains and beauty to match. Raised by her psychiatrist father, Lexi burns to follow in her great-grandmother's footsteps and become her own Mistress of the Game.

She is not alone in her ambitions. Her handsome and nefarious cousin, Max Webster, the son of Eve, will stop at nothing to own the prize of Kruger-Brent. Driven by hatred, jealousy, and blinding devotion to his bitter and twisted mother, he will seduce, betray, and even kill to succeed.

And there is another player with plans of his own: a little-known descendant of Kate's great-grandfather. Growing up in poverty in Aberdeen, Scotland, handsome and cunning Gabriel McGregor is determined to fulfill his destiny . . a quest that will lead him deep into the heart of the Kruger-Brent empire.

In a family rife with secrets—murder, hidden identities, perversions—and a depraved sense of honor, the player who wins the game may be the only one who will survive.

Full of the late master's trademark elements—remarkable characters, dazzling plotting, and a page-turning narrative style—this sizzling sequel vividly captures the master's voice and irresistible magic. Vintage Sheldon, Mistress of the Game will enthrall loyal fans and introduce his enduring brand to legions more.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Lover Awakened by J. R. Ward Read Book Online Synopsis

Lover AwakenedJ.R.ward:Lover Awakened (Book 2) review
In the eternal battle between the vampires and the Lessening Society only a small band of warrior vampires, known as the Black Dagger Brotherhood, stand between the vampires and the total annihilation of their species. The members of the Brotherhood are all terrifying warriors who live a violent existence whilst upholding their vows to protect civilian vampires.

Zsadist is the most terrifying of all the Brothers. Kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child the first hundred years of his life were a nightmare of abuse. Locked and chained in a dungeon as a blood slave to a female member of the vampire aristocracy he was subjected to physical, sexual and mental abuse on a daily basis.

Nearly a hundred years after his dramatic rescue by his twin brother Phury, Zsadist is still a ruined man. He may have left the dungeon and the torture behind but he has never gotten over the abuse. With a trigger temper, a hatred of all women (and most men too) he is a ticking bomb of violence that can explode with the slightest provocation.
When Bella, a beautiful and high ranking aristocratic vampire is kidnapped by the Lessening Society, Zsadist is the only one who doesn’t stop searching for her. In his own way he is obsessed with thoughts of her and finding her is his new mission in life. After her own family have given her up for dead, Bella is finally rescued from the torture chamber where she was being kept captive by a lesser who had developed an unhealthy obsession for her.

As Zsadist pulls Bella’s beaten body out of the hole in the ground where she was being kept prisoner, it is clear that he has a deep attachment to her. Bella herself has always had a fascination for Zsadist, ever since the first time she saw him before she was kidnapped and throughout her captivity she thought of him and hoped that he would rescue her. Now that she is free, it is down to her to find a way of helping Zsadist leave the prison of his past behind if there is to ever be a hope for him to have a future with her.

Dark Lover by J. R. Ward Read Book Online Synopsis

Dark LoverDark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) By J.R. Ward Review
Set in present day Caldwell, New York ‘Dark Lover’ is the first in a series of novels about the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The Black Dagger Brotherhood is an ancient order of warrior vampires who defend their race against the lessers, vampire slayers who have been recruited by the Omega (an evil supernatural being who wants all vampires destroyed.) There are six warriors in the Brotherhood and these warriors are all that stand between the civilian vampires and the extinction of the vampire species at the hands of the lessers.

In the Black Dagger novels the vampires are a separate species to humans, to be a vampire you have to have been born carrying vampire blood. At the start of their lives vampires seem like humans, they have no special strengths and can go out in daylight but they go through a dangerous transition to vampire hood in their mid twenties. Although vampires can drink the blood of humans it has little nutritional value for them and they need to drink the blood of other vampires (of the opposite sex) to survive. A human bitten or drained by a vampire doesn’t rise as a vampire - they are just dead.
The vampires are few in number due to the legions of slayers hunting them down over the centuries, high infant mortality and the rigors of the transition to vampire hood that not all vampires survive.

The story focuses on the romance between Wrath, the only pure blooded vampire left on the planet, and Beth a human/vampire half breed who is about to undergo the transition from human to vampire but isn’t aware of her vampire heritage.

There are a lot of obstacles in their path. Wrath hates humans and doesn’t want a mate. Beth finds it hard to believe in her vampire heritage and doesn’t want to need Wrath. That would make their relationship difficult enough without them being the prime target for the lessers who are hatching a new strategy for wiping the vampires off the face of the earth.

Monday, 7 June 2010

"Dead in the Family" By Charlaine Harris Book Review Now

Dead in the FamilyDead in the Family is the tenth book in Charlaine Harris's series.
SWith season 2 of HBO's "True Blood" hitting shelves May 25 and season 3 premiering in July, the much-awaited 10th book in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series has finally been released, and it is just as spectacular as the other nine.

"Dead in the Family" continues the story of Louisiana barmaid Sookie Stackhouse as told in first-person by Sookie herself. While each book in the series is basically a self-contained tale set in North Louisiana, there are many long-running plotlines that span all 10 books. I would advise new readers to read the series in order beginning with "Dead Until Dark" rather than hopping on the bandwagon with this book.

Also, fans of the "True Blood" series should be aware the show is based on these books and only loosely follows the storyline as there are many differences in characters and events.
Harris neatly avoids the trap of giving readers the same story over and over again by letting her plotlines grow and develop with each new installment and reveals a little bit more of each character throughout the series.

After the events of the ninth book, Sookie is understandably quieter and more subdued, as she comes to terms with what happened to her in previous books. The biggest change seems to be in her personality, but she regains some of her normal perkiness after realizing she actually does want to live.

One major change in Sookie is her view on murder, which throughout the series has been that murder is wrong. Now, after a threat to her and her vampire lover's happiness is threatened, her first thoughts are that it would be better if the person threatening them just died. She reasons, "It's not that I approve of murder - but some people just beg to be killed, don't they?"

It is a change to see the harder-edged Sookie, although it can be hard to say whether this change is a product of the events of the previous book or by the fact that she's been hanging out with supernaturals for so long. After all, most of the supernaturals in each book usually solve their problems with death and violence.

Harris introduces several new characters in this addition to the series, and since, as previously stated, most problems are solved with violence in the supernatural world of Sookie Stackhouse; several characters are lost.

Harris impresses me with her attention to detail, which some vampire story authors may leave out. She gives a history of several of the key vampire characters while summarizing the events that lead to a character becoming a vampire. She gives great details on the differences between each of the shifters and Weres and the politics of both sets of supernaturals.

Harris weaves romance, mystery, fantasy and horror into a story like none other. She includes details about Shreveport, Ruston, Monroe and New Orleans like only a Southern native can, and she makes references to both University of Louisiana-Monroe and Tech. Fans of both the show and the books will enjoy this newest addition to the series.