Monday, March 31, 2008

BLACK by Ted Dekker

Thomas Hunter lives in two worlds, but he has no idea which is real and which is dream related. In Ted Dekker's BLACK, new earth is the product of earth after a global catastrophe. In new earth, animals talk, reason, and interact with all species. While transitioning between the two worlds, Thomas tries to prevent the destruction of the first earth.

Having loved Mr. Dekker's other work, I couldn't wait to read this series. However, I could only make it to the middle of the book and had to stop. For me, Thomas' endless pursuit of proof dragged on way to long. Come on, halfway into the story and no one believes you? (The sister doesn't count.) At this point in the story, I want to be riveted.

Mr. Dekker's writing style is great, but I'm disappointed with the way the story floundered.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

SOUL IN HIS EYES by Christine London

In SOUL IN HIS EYES by Christine London, actor Erik Bartholomew receives hundreds of fan letters, but one from Christine Rose intrigues him. In her letter, she talks to Erik the man, not the actor. Erik and Christine sense a connection and begin a ‘letter affair’.

Miss London has created characters that are as real and endearing as your best friend. Although I was surprised with the speed and depth of Christine and Erik’s relationship, I was in there with them, rooting for it to flourish. The beginning of the book is very detailed but hits a quicker pace as the story progresses. A few times, I thought the story would go in a predictable way, but I was pleasantly surprised with the author’s direction.

This was an enjoyable story.

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Jeanne Foster for winning a copy of COST OF FREEDOM on the Unusual Historicals website.

Friday, March 28, 2008

FOX AND HOUND by Amber Leigh Williams

Jewel thief, Todd Orso has penetrated the Louvre’s security systems and is less than a hair’s breath away from the Hortensia diamond when the gem is stolen from beneath his fingertips. He spends the next three years in prison thinking of the green-eyed thief who stole his diamond. In FOX AND HOUND by Amber Leigh Williams, museum thieves put the thrill of ‘the game’ on hold while they seek revenge against a master thief who played them.

Miss Williams does a wonderfully job of taking the reader into the world of high-risk jewel thieves Celestia Armstrong and Todd Orso. Her style of story telling is brisk and clean, giving enough details to place you in the scene without bogging down with wordiness or excessive description. While head hopping was present throughout the book, it wasn’t jarring. The play-by-play scenes did tell the action more than show but not so much that it interfered with the story.

I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

B&N

My husband and I ran out to Target to get a few odds and ends. On the way home, he asked, "Do you want to go by the bookstore?" *blink, blink* "Yeah!"

My eyes glazed over as we entered the second set of doors. When I came to, I had three books in my hand and was crouched in front of the "E" authors in the mystery aisle.

My poor husband looked at me with the same expression the little boy had on his face at the end of Old Yeller.

I snatched Evanovich off the shelf and tried to collect myself. "Okay, I'm ready. This is enough." I eyed a few more spines and promised to return.

So, my take:

Deanna Raybourn SILENT IN THE GRAVE
Janet Evanovich TWO FOR THE DOUGH
Scott Westerfeld UGLIES

I did put THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES back on the shelf. Gotta have an enticement to return, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ARCHANGEL by Sharon Shinn

Gabriel, a future Archangel, has been told the name of his bride. He is to go to where she is enslaved, bring her home, and marry. Rachel, his intended, is not crazy about the idea but concedes. This is the basic plot in ARCHANGEL.

Miss Shinn does a great job building her world in which the book is set, but I found myself offended with some of her liberties. Setting that aside, I focused on the characters. Rachel and Gabriel were annoying and as easy to embrace as a cactus. They fought throughout the entire book and were constantly finding reasons to be apart from each other. As much as I tried, I never reached a point where anything about them endeared them to me.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Interview

If you get a chance, go over to Unusual Historicals and take a peek at my interview for Cost of Freedom.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

THR3E by Ted Dekker

Kevin Parsons is being tormented by a mad man who leaves riddles as clues and bombs as consequences for failure. The attacks seem to be focused on something from Parson's past and he will have to rely on his best friend Samantha to help him unravel the mystery. Sensing this could be connected to an earlier case, FBI agent Jennifer Peters steps in to help reveal the stalker.

THR3E grips you from the very start and races ahead of you leaving you breathless as you try to match wits with the author and the characters. Each time you think you have the mystery solved, Mr. Dekker whips you around another corner filled with surprise and suspense.

This book kept me riveted and turning the pages faster than normal. The tension and suspense continued to build with nice plateaus to catch my breath while I evaluated the recent clues. The characters were wonderful, very strong and intelligent. The writing was nicely done. I enjoyed the changed style and pov when the author permitted the reader inside the thoughts of the antagonist. Very chilling. There were no cheap tricks or convenient story-telling theatrics.

Hands down, this is the best book I have read in a very long time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

ONE FOR THE MONEY by Janet Evanovich

In ONE FOR THE MONEY, Stephanie Plum is out of work, out of money, and out of choices. Six months behind on her Miata payments, she begs a repo man to give her until the morning before he confiscates her car. It's that or be stuck at her parents' house all night. Given the reprieve, she scrounges enough cash, along with a few kitchen appliances, to buy a Nova that lives up to the meaning of its Spanish name. If that isn't humiliating enough, she is forced to beg a job from her cousin Vinnie as a bounty hunter. With no experience, she stumbles into her new profession.

I've heard about these books for several years. Although there were sections that were a little thick to wade through, this was an enjoyable read. The characters were great and well drawn. I laughed out loud several times and gasped when a few things occurred that were unexpected.

Miss Evanovich's writing style is enjoyable and easy to read, very similar to another author that I enjoy a great deal. I love the side comments that Stephanie gives. It helps the reader connect to the character. The setting and situations are very believable with secondary characters that are a riot. Gotta love grandma.

Overall... This was a very good read.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

THE BOOK THIEF is the story of a young girl, Liesel Meminger, who is sent to a foster family in pre-Nazi Germany. On the way to her new family, her brother dies, giving the reader their first glimpse of what is ahead for Liesel.

Mr. Zusak uses a very unique approach to his story-telling. Told from an omniscient, narrative point of view, Death tells the story. I found myself looking forward to Death's humorous interjections, especially when he tells the reader that he doesn't wear a long, black cape and hood unless he's cold. How can a character like that be scary?

The characters and setting are well drawn and easy to visualize. I can see why it has received such acclaim. However, to be honest, I wish I had not read this book. It is very depressing. We are told what happens from the time the tragedies occur until the end of the book, yet it seemed a bit abrupt. I felt like I had been smashed in the face and given a tissue for first aid.

Overall, nice story, but not for me.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Easy. HA!

As a side thought to Scott Westerfeld's BLUE NOON...

Based on my experience while reading BLUE NOON, I am thoroughly convinced that I CANNOT write YA. I applaud and admire those of you who do write in this genre with what comes across as flawless ease. As a writer, I know that good writing never comes easy and the proof is in the finished product. The easier it is to read, the more work the author put into it. I dare you to prove me wrong.

As for why I recognize my limitations...

When writing YA, an author is met with the challenge of writing on an intelligent level while keeping in mind the emotional roller coaster that is called teen years. There was one point in BLUE NOON where the characters were acting petty. My thought was, come on. I stopped and realized, teenagers ARE petty. No offense, but well, hopefully it won't last long.

A YA author also has to keep in mind attitude, fads, lingo, peer pressure, hormones, rules, behavior, styles, fashion, rituals, 'it', music, parents, siblings *big breath* plus, the ever present knowledge that not every teen enters and exits these stages at the same time. One teen is mature while the other is a moron. The trick is to make it all feel comfortable and acceptable to the reader without making it look like they are ridiculing this uncomfortable, yet impossible-to-avoid, time in everyone's life.

Talk about a juggling act. Okay, I didn't even like this period in my life, but a good YA author makes me enjoy the visit while I read their book.

So, to all you YA authors...*cheers* whistle* thunderous applause*

BLUE NOON by Scott Westerfeld

In Scott Westerfeld's BLUE NOON, Bixby, Oklahoma has twenty-five hours in the day. However, the midnight hour is only enjoyed by five friends while the rest of the world is frozen in time. Defying gravity, mindcasting, and fighting darklings is all part of the midnight hour but when the phenomenon occurs unexpectedly during the day, the friends have to prepare for what has caused the shift.

Mr. Westerfeld's writing style is fantastic. This book moves at a quick pace and is easy to read. There are no slow or heavy spots that make a reader want to skim. The characters are very likable and the setting is believable. When I discovered these friends each had a superpower, I cringed thinking they would be cartoonish. This was not the case at all. They were very well done with each character's power fitting well into the story and with each other. I love how the one character tastes emotion.

As much as I enjoyed the book, I have to admit, I was confused throughout the first quarter of the story and then sporadically throughout the remainder of the book. Even with this, Mr. Westerfeld was able to keep this from being a problem for me.

I was totally unprepared for the ending. I'm not sure what I thought about it, but I can understand why he did it. Still, I have to wonder if it could have ended differently and had the same effect.

Over all...great author. I love his style and am so glad I read his book.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Celebrate

Bound by Honor is in my editor's hands. I have a list of books tucked in my pocket and plan to celebrate with a shopping spree.

Ides of March

After two days of cold showers due to a broken water heater, and schlepping laundry to the laundromat due to a disintegrated pulley, I'm ready. The upside is, this morning, one appliance was repaired and the other replaced. Hot showers tonight!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Silence, at last

Living within a twenty minute ride of the Daytona Speedway, yeah, lucky me, is bad enough, but when over half a million bikers, not to mention locals flood the area, it gets LOUD. From mid January (when Nascar arrives) until today, there is a constant hum. It drones twenty four hours a day. Yes, I can hear the speedway from my house. But the bikers like to make the loop of all the hotspots that are sprinkled all over town. A local's nightmare. I'm glad they had a good time, but am so glad they are on their way home.

Bullies

I remember walking into someone's house a few years ago when a young boy ran from the backyard crying. I asked the owner of the house what had happened. She explained that the boys he was playing with got a little rough and he couldn't take it. My thought was, why should he have to. This woman had placed the boy's outburst at his feet instead of the feet of the thugs who had caused it. That was several years ago, and the boys she defended have all become regulars with the police department. Enough said.

I bring this up because it seems that backyard bullies aren't always children. When it happens with adults, the inflicted person is told to get a tougher skin. To some degree, yes, but armor, no. What makes it worse is when the bully is defended.

I don't know if I have walked away with a tougher skin or a pricked conscience. Either way, I have reached a few minor decisions, with the major ones still in question.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

EVERLASTING by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

EVERLASTING is the last book by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Miss Woodiwiss' books were the first books that I remember enjoying as a teen, well adult books. I admit, I enjoyed some of her books better than others, and I have mixed feelings about this book.

From posts from her son, Miss Woodiwiss passed away before completing Everlasting. I don't know how much of the published book is her work, but her touches are missing. I would have loved to have seen what this book could have been had she lived. For that reason, although it isn't one of my favorites, it will still be enjoyed because it was her last. I'm glad her family allowed it to be released.

Delayed or derailed

I had planned to spend the day finishing the last of my read through. I have a small handful of chapters left and looked forward to finalizing it. But I can't get myself in the right frame of mind to do it. I'll still meet my deadline, one way or another, but not today.

My attention is focused on other things and to prevent myself from making a rash, and possibly regretful, decision, I need to shift my focus to something else. I think I'll take the day and just read. Maybe I'll have a nice review for you when I come back. ;)

Friday, March 7, 2008

A nice start to the weekend.

When I got home from work, after I waited for the rain to slack off, I found two books stuffed in my mailbox. What a treat. Hopefully, the third book will be here before I start my long, self-indulgent reading jag. I can't wait.

Monday, March 3, 2008