The Astral by Kate Christensen

The Astral
By Kate Christensen
Doubleday, $25.95














Publisher's summary: 
The Astral is a huge rose-colored old pile of an apart­ment building in the gentrifying neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For decades it was the happy home (or so he thought) of the poet Harry Quirk and his wife, Luz, a nurse, and of their two children: Karina, now a fer­vent freegan, and Hector, now in the clutches of a cultish Christian community. But Luz has found (and destroyed) some poems of Harry’s that ignite her long-simmering sus­picions of infidelity, and he’s been summarily kicked out. He now has to reckon with the consequence of his literary, marital, financial, and parental failures (and perhaps oth­ers) and find his way forward—and back into Luz’s good graces. 
Harry Quirk is, in short, a loser, living small and low in the water. But touched by Kate Christensen’s novelistic grace and acute perception, his floundering attempts to reach higher ground and forge a new life for himself become funny, bittersweet, and terrifically moving. She knows what secrets lurk in the hearts of men—and she turns them into literary art of the highest order.
I have to be honest and tell you that I walked away from this book. I've tried for two months to read it and was never able to engage with the story or the characters.   So I won't review it. I searched the net and there are a lot of fine reviews out there.   So to be fair to you the reader, the author and the publisher I'm including a   great review from Kirkus Reviews.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book, I did pass it on so someone else could enjoy it.

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison

The Very Thought of You
By Rosie Alison
Washington Square Press, $15.00















Why is it that sometimes the summary of the book sounds wonderful and then you start to read the book and  realize that it's not even close to wonderful?   I don't expect an answer as we all have different expectations, but golly, this one sure took me down a different path than I had expected or anticipated.

Summary from the publisher:
England, 31st August 1939: The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic, childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unraveling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair with unforeseen consequences. A story of longing, loss, and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love.

Where do I start?  This book was shortlisted for the UK's Orange Prize!  I was hyped. I was excited!  I love stories just like the one described. BUT,  I struggled to finish this, and almost wish I hadn't stuck with it. I wanted the voice of Anna as the main storyteller, but for me there were too many points of view, coming from too many directions. For me Anna's voice was lost and that's the one voice I wanted to align with. For me the story rambled and then fell apart.

You get what I am trying to say. I didn't love it. I am sure, since it was shortlisted for the Orange Prize that some people must have loved it. I'm just not one of them.

I cautiously give this 2 stars.  Maybe 1 1/2.  Yeah, that's closer to it for me.

This review copy  was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Vault by Sam Sarkar

THE VAULT #1 (of 3)
Story by Sam Sarkar
Art by Garrie Gastonny
Color by Sakti Yuwono
Cover by Bagus Hutomo

Image Comics, $3.50


Synopsis:  A small team of treasure hunters struggles to excavate a dangerous and legendary treasure pit before a massive storm hits Sable Island, the "Graveyard of the North Atlantic".Equipped with all the latest technology, the scientists believe they are prepared against all of nature's fury, but nothing can prepare them for what they are about to unleash from The Vault.

The Vault is the first of the three part series written by comic book trendsetter Sam Sarkar.  Sarkar's first smash series was Caliber: The First Canon of Justice, where he smartly put a new twist on the centuries old Arthurian legends by placing the story in the wild west days of the Pacific Northwest.  Sarkar's clearly a gifted storyteller and is in his element in the comic book genre where words are at a premium, and are weighed and measured carefully for their worth. The reader can see Sarkar's continued love and respect of legends and myths in The Vault as you can't help but feel a Pandora's box inspiration.  


In The Vault, you are quickly drawn into a dangerous and suspenseful multi million dollar dig at the treasure pit of Oak Island, Nova Scotia.  Sarkar and Gastonny are brilliant at bringing historical legends, as well as true to life history to The Vault  with small, but appreciated details, such as including the band of Sable Island horses that some believe were shipwreck survivors from the 1700s.


The Vault reunites Sarkar with Caliber's artistic visionary Garrie Gastonny, where Sarkar's story line is again translated into stunning artistic visions that not only give you a vision to align with the written word, Gastonny gives you a sense of what else the story teller is saying by use of gorgeously drawn images.


Here's an example Gastonny's first image for us:






I'm just at a loss for words to describe Gastonny's work.  But paired with the well chosen words of Sarkar, The Vault takes the reader on a fabulous, mysterious adventure. You've got lead characters  named for Archangels and a team member named Jesus.  Throw in what appears to be a Russian bad guy and I'm in for the series. I can't wait for the next chapter in the series!


I'm including a couple of the images from The Vault just so you can see what's ahead for you when you read this story. 








It's on sale today, go buy it at your neighborhood comic book store. Never been to a comic book store...go on, step over to the wild side. You'll be amazed at what's there to catch your eye. Comic books aren't just for kids anymore. Trust me on this one.   But more importantly, trust Sarkar and Gastonny. THEY won't let you down. 


I give The Vault a big old 5 out of 5 stars!  And you all know that's rare for me!


About Sam Sarkar:Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sam Sarkar is a 23-year veteran of the entertainment industry. He began his career as an actor and was one of the leads on the long-running, syndicated television series Neon Rider. Following the series, Sam decided to pursue writing and worked for the hit television series Beverly Hills 90210. Stemming from his work on the show, he also co-wrote a television pilot for Spelling Entertainment under the direct guidance of TV legend Aaron Spelling. Deciding then to embark on feature films, Sam took some chances, following a varied path of writing screenplays and working as a sound technician. In 2004, after working on several films with actor Johnny Depp, Sam was asked to help run Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil, headed by Christi Dembrowski. As Senior VP at the company, he continues to serve the varied needs of Hollywood as an executive, producer and writer.


About Garry Gastonny:
Having worked as a comic book artist and illustration lecturer, Garrie Gastonny now mainly focuses on illustration to avoid getting beaten up. Garrie also serves as Senior Artist at Imaginary Friends Studios. His credits include Warren Ellis’ Supergod, Caliber: First Canon of Justice and Lady Death. For more information about the artist, please visit http://thegerjoos.deviantart.com/.




All images copyright Image Comics.


This e-galley was provided for me by the publisher and in no way affected my review. 
 

Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

ADRENALINE
By Jeff Abbott
Grand Central Publishing
$24.99
















Synopsis: 

First novel in the Sam Capra Series

“If you knew this was our final day together, what would you say to me?”
“Anything but good-bye. I can’t ever say good-bye to you.”
Sam Capra is living the life of his dreams.
He’s a brilliant young CIA agent, stationed in London. His wife Lucy is seven months pregnant with their first child. They have a wonderful home, and are deeply in love.
They have everything they could hope for…until they lose it all in one horrifying moment.
On a bright, sunny day, Sam receives a call from Lucy while he’s at work. She tells him to leave the building immediately. He does…just before it explodes, killing everyone inside. Lucy vanishes, and Sam wakes up in a prison cell. As the lone survivor of the attack, he is branded by the CIA as a murderer and a traitor.
Escaping from the agency, Sam launches into a desperate hunt to save his kidnapped wife and child, and to reveal the unknown enemy who has set him up and stolen his family. But the destruction of Sam’s life was only step one in an extraordinary plot—and now Sam must become a new kind of hero.

Holy smokes!  Where do I start with Adrenaline?  This is the type of thriller I really enjoy. Not so complicated that I need a spread sheet to keep track of the characters and plots, but with enough twists and turns that I stay riveted to the read.  I have to say that I thought the level of violence was pretty much necessary to make the story lines and plot believable. I liked  Sam and the very pregnant Lucy from the beginning and was easily roped into their struggles.

We all know that Sam's no traitor and Abbott knows that readers like to be tricked a bit, or the twists wouldn't be any fun.  I did find some slow moving bits towards the "third act" of the story and I got a bit bogged down for a while, but not so much that I didn't want to finish the book.

I have to say that Abbott's addition of  the Mila character into Sam's quest was a huge hit with me. As with all books, some parts work better than others and I really enjoyed this character and how she and Sam interacted.

I think Abbott has  penned a fun, exciting book with Adrenaline and I look forward to reading Sam's next adventure.

I happily give this book 3 1/3 stars out of 5!

Find it at a bookseller!! 



This review copy  was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Radiance by Louis B. Jones

Radiance
By Louis B. Jones
Counterpoint, $24.00













From the publisher:

"Death – not some spooky or religious or abstract idea of it but just the
practical everyday ingredient in nature – is everywhere close, everywhere
a comfortable cool medium to thrive in, right against the skin as it is.
At an age that struck him as premature (fortytwo), a certain nondescript,
unremarkable ordinary person (named Mark Perdue, an academic physicist who
happened to be visiting Los Angeles) was having this surprisingly serene
commonplace realization, that when death does come – if not right this
minute, then someday – it will turn out to feel rather like the solution
at the end of an old math problem."

Thus begins RADIANCE with an introduction of Mark Perdue––a once-lauded
physicist, now a self-proclaimed "has-been"–– tired of his life, or as he
calls it, "the universal unavoidable business of being, or seeming,
'happy'." Mark hasn't produced a new idea or published a paper in twenty
years. At home his wife avoids him after a recent late-term abortion and
there's no longer any doubt that he's losing his mental faculties to a
case of chronic Lyme disease. Elected to accompany his ambitious teenage
daughter Carlotta to Los Angeles for the weekend to attend an American
Idol-inspired "Celebrity Singing Vacation" (musical talent not required,
promises the brochure), Mark silently hopes for a heart attack. But in the
whimsy of events that unfold during this fateful weekend trip, Mark ends
up in jail and finally glimpses a hint of what he really needs to be
happy.

Author Louis B. Jones was new to me. I'd not heard of his other works or read anything by him. Radiance has changed that for me.  What a fabulous discovery!

All of the "action"  takes place during  the span of a weekend. Or,  more literally, the characters are at "life altering" crossroads during the book's weekend time frame. With much attention to the details of minute to minute life, author Jones is a true wordsmith. He breathes life into every carefully chosen word.

And that's the only double-edged sword that I found in Radiance. I wanted Jones to just get on with Mark's story.  I soon realized that the words and phrasing that Jones used were as much a part of the story as his interaction with each and every character.

I liked this book  and enjoyed seeing Perdue's California as the backdrop for his truly messed up life. I liked the way Jones wove the stories together,   I cared about Mark, Lotta and Blythe! I wanted to see what was going to happen to them.

 I gave it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I like a bit more "action" to my stories, I wanted a bit more story. BUT if that's the only fault, then it's a good read.

This review copy  was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
BORDERS

You will be missed.

My favorite book store will be closing. I hate that. Now I have to drive about 30 miles to a real book store. Now mind you, I will pass three B&N stores to get to the closest indie store around that sells a variety of books.  

Yes, I could shop at any of those stores, but they've never been helpful or friendly. They always acted like they were doing me a big favor in helping me locate anything in their stores. The BORDERS people, on the other hand were friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Why they are out of  business is beyond my comprehension.

It never failed, I'd often stop into Borders to get a magazine or a cup of coffee and I'd always walk out with a book or two. Ones I would never have found on the net.

What a shame. 

What a shame no one was able to reorganize a good book store for readers and authors.  And they were always really "author friendly" too. As opposed to that other chain...who could  not have cared less if an author was in the neighborhood and stopped by and offered to sign books.  They could not be bothered.  They were too busy looking bored and superior.



The Trailer for "HUGO" is out!

The Newberry Award winning book's title is "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and is one of the most unusual childrens' book that I've seen in a while.  The title for the movie has been shortened, but it seems the heart of the film is still as  big as the book by Brian Selznick!



Invention of Hugo Cabret website


Books to Movies Monday - The Night Circus

For today's "Books to Movies Monday" selection, let's have a look at Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus!



Last fall, Doubleday picked up the book!!  THEN  Summit Entertainment acquired the world rights!!  How much fun is that for any author?  Now consider that this is Morgenstern's debut novel!

The Night Circus will be released in September, and I'll be reviewing it here!  I can't wait!

Here's the publisher's synopsis:


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. 
But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 
True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 
Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.


Cover image; DoubleDay/Random House
Erin's website:  http://erinmorgenstern.com/






  

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner

Then Came You
By Jennifer Weiner
Atria Books, $26.99














Synopsis: 
Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior with a full scholarship, acquaintances instead of friends, and a family she's ashamed to invite to Parents' Weekend. With the income she'll receive from donating her "pedigree" eggs, she believes she can save her father from addiction.
Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother to two boys. After years of staying at home and struggling to support four people on her husband's salary, she thinks she's found a way to recover a sense of purpose and bring in some extra cash.
India Bishop, thirty-eight (really forty-three), has changed everything about herself: her name, her face, her past. In New York City, she falls for a wealthy older man, Marcus Croft, and decides a baby will ensure a happy ending. When her attempts at pregnancy fail, she turns to technology, and Annie and Jules, to help make her dreams come true.
But each of their plans is thrown into disarray when Marcus' daughter Bettina, intent on protecting her father, becomes convinced that his new wife is not what she seems… 
With startling tenderness and laugh-out-loud humor, Jennifer Weiner once again takes readers into the heart of women's lives in an unforgettable, timely tale that interweaves themes of class and entitlement, surrogacy and donorship, the rights of a parent and the measure of motherhood.  
I'm a fan of Jennifer Weiner's!  Her In Her Shoes and Good in Bed are two of my favorites!  So imagine my surprise when I eagerly jumped into Then Came You and quickly jumped right back out. I soon realized that I didn't like the characters at all. sigh

Bettina was probably my favorite, at least I understood her, but Jules and  Annie just left me...cold. I tried very hard to like them and feel their frustrations. But they were just unlikable for me. India seemed so shallow. I had hoped this would be endearing and heart warming. The struggle to conceive and bring a baby into a family.

While I can't fault Weiner's writing style, as she does weave together plots lines and interacting characters well. I just couldn't warm up to what turned out to be nothing at all heartwarming to me.

So...all things considered. I give it 2 stars out of 5. I just didn't like it.

I'll look forward to Weiner's next book, hoping she recaptures me as a reader, I've loved her books so much.

This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, and in no way affected my opinions and review



The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons

The Summer Garden
By Paulina Simons
Wm Morrow
$16.99









The Magnificent Conclusion to the Timeless Epic Saga.
Through years of war and devastation, Tatiana and Alexander suffered the worst the twentieth century had to offer. Miraculously reunited in America, they now have a beautiful son, Anthony, the gift of a love strong enough to survive the most terrible upheavals. Though they are still young, the ordeals they endured have changed them—and after living apart in a world laid waste, they must now find a way to live together in postwar America.
With the Cold War rising, dark forces at work in their adopted country threaten their lives, their family, and their hard-won peace. To regain the happiness they once knew, to wash away the lingering pain of the past, two lovers grown distant must somehow forge a new life . . .or watch the ghosts of their yesterdays destroy their firstborn son.

For me, the hard part about reviewing the last book is a trilogy is trying to be fair to the history of the series and the characters. I found that I had the same issues with Alexander and Tatiana before that I have now. This book is over 750 pages and I was hoping to find a great epic ending. The fabulous finish for these people who have been through so much heartache, betrayal and struggle.

I think, for me, that author Paullina Simons gave us too much, I felt like the story was over stuffed with bits and story arcs that weren't necessary for a satisfying ending. I found myself skimming too much and flipping the pages too quickly.

I was mesmerized by Simons' descriptions of what we now call "post traumatic stress disorder" and thought the struggles between the couple were spot on.  Watching them age and move from spot to spot, always struggling with the same issues was probably, in my opinion very true to life, but I wanted more from these lovers.

I am sure that others love this story and devoured every page. For me, not so much. It was as much of a struggle for me, as it was for Alexander and Tatiana.

All things considered, it wasn't want I wanted and more importantly I think, it wasn't what I had expected and envisioned in my "mind's eye."

SO to be fair, I'm giving this 3 out of 5 stars, knowing that others will read this with their own expectations and will be thrilled.

This review copy  was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.


French Lessons by Ellen Sussman

French Lessons
By Ellen Sussman
$15.00, Ballentine Books













GoodReads synopsis:  A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.
Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world. 
As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.

The following warning duly posted:  this book contains graphic sex scenes.

There, with that out of the way, I really liked this story. It's an engaging premise - having the entire story unfold over the course of one day, and that's what attracted me to Ellen Sussman's French Lessons to start with.  What kept me reading was the well drawn characters. With only the happenings of a day, Sussman beautifully and sensitively managed to evoke the feelings of these students and their tutors in short order.

I thought the story moved quickly and easily, Sussman really did a fine job of weaving the three stories together. Don't get me wrong, the characters are not fully developed or exposed to the reader, but I don't see that as a negative point. You can only tell so much about six people in one day. But oh what a day Sussman has given us!

French Lessons is a delight, what a great look into a day in Paris!

I liked French Lessons a lot, it's not for everyone,,,, and that's OK. I'm looking forward to reading more from Ellen Sussman.

 I give it 4 out of 5 stars!





A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Books to Movies Monday - Deathly Hallows Part 2

Well you knew what book it had to be today, the final chapter in the ten year Harry Potter phenomenon!

I'll be there Friday....will you?


 

That's a great promotional poster...it cuts right to the point of the film.   


Book cover Scholastic, poster Warners

Mistress's Revenge by Tamar Cohen

Mistress's Revenge
By Tamar Cohen
$15.00, Free Press (SimonSchuster)














For five years, Sally and Clive have been lost in a passionate affair. Now he has dumped her to devote himself to his wife and family, and Sally is left in freefall.
It starts with a casual stroll past his house, and popping into the brasserie where his son works. Then Sally starts following Clive’s wife and daughter on Facebook. But that’s alright, isn’t it? These are perfectly normal things to do. Aren’t they?
Not since Fatal Attraction has the fallout from an illicit affair been exposed in such a sharp, darkly funny, and disturbing way: The Mistress’s Revenge is a truly exciting fiction debut. After all, who doesn’t know an otherwise sane woman who has gone a little crazy when her heart was broken?


Ok, I'm always honest with you all.  When I like something I tell you. And when I don't, I tell you too. I abandoned this book. I tried over and over to read this. I didn't like or care about Sally or Clive. Rarely does this sort of thing happen to me.


I've put off writing this review as I couldn't figure out another way to say this.


So I just wrote what I felt.


Nothing.






Since I didn't finish the book, I can't give it any kind of rating.

This e-book was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review, I did my best.

Stagestruck by Peter Lovesey

Stagestruck
By Peter Lovesey
$25.00, Soho Press


















Clarion Calhoun is a fading pop star wanting to launch an acting career. The audiences at her debut at Bath’s Theatre Royal are expecting a dramatic   evening, but what they get is beyond their wildest imagination. When Clarion is rushed to hospital with third-degree burns, rumours spread through the theatrical community and beyond. In the best theatrical tradition, the show goes on, but the agony turns to murder.

The case falls to Peter Diamond, Bath’s top detective, but for reasons he can’t understand, he suffers a physical reaction amounting to phobia each time he goes near the theatre. As he tries to find its root in his past, the tension at the Theatre Royal mounts, legends come to life and the killer strikes again.





Stagestruck is the eleventh Lovesey mystery in the Peter Diamond series. It is my first. And while I enjoyed it, I have to say that I suspect that I would have enjoyed it all the more if I had more background or some sort of prior knowledge of Lovesey's Diamond series.  Don't let me mislead you, I did enjoy the book, but think that I was missing some of the background that may have made the subplot more important or make more sense. 


That being said up front, I thought the plot was great, and the behind the scenes action at the theater was fun to read. I pretty much had the mystery solved, but I enjoyed the read enough to finish the book just to see if I was right. Some times for me, a book is like a trip, just because you know where you are going, doesn't mean the ride isn't a fun adventure!




Over all, I liked it!  Fans of the Diamond series will be thrilled with Stagestruck!  I'm going to read Lovesey's first Diamond book now just to get an idea of the Diamond character.


Buy it!


3 out of 5 stars!


This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.



Misconception by Christy Hayes

Misconception
By Christy Hayes






Suburban Atlanta stay-at-home mom, Pace Kelly, finds out she’s pregnant three years after her husband Jason’s vasectomy, her once happy marriage is pushed to the breaking point.  Forced to put his dream of opening his own architecture firm on hold, Jason Kelly tries to get excited about another baby. But a trip to the urologist leaves him staggered. Despite Pace’s insistence that she hasn’t cheated, Jason is left to wonder if his blueblood wife has finally grown tired of his humble background and their middle class lifestyle. Unable to chalk it up to an error, Jason does the unthinkable.  But the truth he discovers is a heavier burden to carry than the innuendo that was eating him alive. Now the tables are turned and he’s left holding a smoking gun.  An innocent wife. A desperate husband. A no-win situation. When the smoke clears, will their marriage survive?

What's a wife to do? The doctor says she's pregnant, her hubby's had a vasectomy and there's no chance he's the father. She's not unfaithful. What happens  now?


Author Christy Hayes has written a thought provoking story of a family in turmoil. An unexpected impossible pregnancy for Pace, as well as a shocking revelation about her father, the senator, turns this average American family upside down.   Hayes has written believable people in believable situations in Misconception. You feel the anguish and pain that Pace and her husband Jason are going through. These are likable characters and you ache for their uncertainty and frustration. Hayes puts just the right amount of suspense needed to keep the story evolving and the anxiety at a high level.  


Misconception, as a title, has a duality to it that becomes apparent as you reach the fulfilling end. It's a well chosen title!  This is a great summer read, a meaningful tale of trust, distrust and assumptions wrongly placed. I liked the way the multiple plots wove together in a methodical and brilliant ending!  


You won't be disappointed with Misconception. I read it over two days, it's a fast read, but that doesn't mean it's to be taken lightly.  Hayes reminds us how important the simple things are to us, family, trust, love and the truth. Simple concepts...that are often lost in our own misconceptions.


I give it 4 out of 5 stars!   


Because this is an e-book and can't be found on your brick and mortar store shelves I'm including the link to the author's website for purchasing info.  http://www.christyhayes.com/mybooks.html

This e-book was provided to me by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

NovelChatter now open for comments!

I was just asked if this blog had the "comments" option enabled.  Uh...no, I didn't know anyone would want to comment.  Go figure!  So,  yes, we are now open for comments.  Thanks so much for stopping by!


Look for my followup interview with award winning author Tim Powers up next!!

                                            Photo property of Tim Powers



No Rest for the Dead by Sandra Brown, R.L. Stine, Lisa Scottoline and Jeffery Deaver, et al

No Rest for the Dead
By: Sandra Brown, R.L. Stine, Lisa Scottoline and Jeffery Deaver. 


With contributions by: Jeff Abbott, Lori Armstrong, Sandra Brown,Thomas Cook, Jeffery Deaver, Diana Gabaldon, Tess Gerritsen, Andrew F. Gulli, Peter James, J.A. Jance, Faye Kellerman, Raymond Khoury, John Lescroart, Jeff Lindsay, Gayle Lynds, Philip Margolin,
Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Palmer, T. Jefferson Parker, Matthew Pearl, Kathy Reichs, Marcus Sakey,  Jonathan Santlofer, Lisa Scottoline, R.L. Stine, Marcia Talley

Introduction  by David Balducci
Simon and Schuster, $24.99








More than twenty New York Times bestselling authors team up to create a first-rate serial novel -- a collaboration that combines the skills of America's greatest storytellers to produce a gripping, spellbinding mystery. 
When Christopher Thomas, a ruthless curator at San Francisco's McFall Art Museum, is murdered and his decaying body is found in an iron maiden in a Berlin museum, his wife, Rosemary, is the primary suspect, and she is tried, convicted and executed. Ten years later, Jon Nunn, the detective who cracked the case, is convinced that the wrong person was put to death. In the years since the case was closed, he's discovered a web of deceit and betrayal surrounding the Thomases that could implicate any number of people in the crime. With the help of the dead woman's friend, he plans to gather everyone who was there the night Christopher died and finally uncover the truth, suspect by suspect. Solving this case may be Nunn's last chance for redemption … but the shadowy forces behind Christopher's death will stop at nothing to silence the past forever. 

In this innovative storytelling approach, each of these twenty-five bestselling writers brings their distinctive voice to a chapter of the narrative, building the tension to a shocking, explosive finale. No Rest for the Dead is a thrilling, page-turning accomplishment that only America's very best authors could achieve. 

Twenty six authors writing in collaboration to tell the story of an innocent woman wrongly executed for her husband's murder. Huh? Twenty six authors? One book? When I read the synopsis of No Rest for the Dead  and then looked at the list of contributing authors I knew that I just had to read this book. Could this work?  WOULD this work?  Yes it works just fine, thank you!   Each author writes one chapter, or story, labeled with their name so you do know who wrote what. But the "who wrote what" dynamic quickly gets back burnered.  Some of the writers aren't normally  favorites but in No Rest for the Dead, it didn't matter to me. Every chapter and every story was seamless, every word was brilliant.  What matters is that No Rest for the Dead is a great read and a great who-done-it.

As requested by the deceased  innocent Rosemary Thomas in her will, ten years after her execution, all who were present on the night of her her husband's murder are to be brought together again in a sort of memorial. A letter is to be read by Rosemary's best friend. I immediately expected a "Nick Charles" type of scene when I read that all of the suspects would be together in one room. Nope...didn't happen. And that's OK.  There's another, more interesting way that the facts are exposed and the mystery is solved.

No Rest for the Dead is a well told, well laid out and plotted mystery, I couldn't stop reading it. It's rather like a well designed quilt, all of the separate pieces are finally stitched together to make a solid piece. It's the fine stitching and the weaving of the threads that bind the pieces that make the finished quilt strong and sturdy. That's what you have in No Rest for the Dead. A strong and well crafted story.


Hands down, this is one of the best books I've read this year! The solution took me by surprise and no, I didn't see it coming. And I can usually figure these things out.

Buy it, read it, share it.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.


According to the book's official website:A brother-and-sister editing team, Andrew and Lamia Gulli have arranged to donate all proceeds from No Rest for the Dead (excluding contributor expenses) to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.






Books to Movies Monday - JAWS

The first and ultimate summer scary movie started out as a scary book by Peter Benchley!  JAWS

"We're gonna need a bigger boat!" is the line we all know and love!



                                                            Cover images Random House

                                                                         Universal

The Keys to the Kingdom by Bob Graham

The Keys to the Kingdom
By Bob Graham
Vanguard Press, $25.99

















Shortly after an explosive op-ed piece about the 9/11 investigation appears in the New York Times, its author, former Senator and Co-chair of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry Commission John Billington, is murdered near his Florida home. Enter Tony Ramos, ex-Special Forces operative and former aide to Sen. Billington and currently a State Department intelligence analyst. Billington, having sensed the danger he faced, has left Ramos detailed instructions for an investigation into suspected Saudi complicity in 9/11. Ramos, in conjunction with Billington's daughter Laura, uncovers a shocking international conspiracy linking the Saudi Kingdom to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Despite efforts to derail their investigation, whose scope encompasses Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, Ramos and Laura discover that the Kingdom has recently provided bin Laden and al-Qaeda with three nuclear devices, two of which are successfully detonated by the terrorists overseas. But they were just a warm up to the grand finale. The third device, Ramos learns, will be detonated off the California coast. Now Ramos and a team of Special Forces must race against time to prevent al-Qaeda from unleashing nuclear disaster on American shores, and beyond.


The Keys to the Kingdom is a political thriller cut from the cloth of all of the things I love to read!   It's got foreign intrigue, conspiracy,  a powerful lead character and a plot right off of today's world headlines.  


The Keys to the Kingdom is written by former Senator and Governor of Florida, Bob Graham.  The Senator's  insight  and knowledge are stellar.  This author's firsthand experiences lend credibility to the many plot lines and characters when writing about international terrorists and conspiracies in our post 9-11 world.  So of course the reader has to wonder where fiction ends and fact begins. What a great hook!  All those pieces, when put together, should make a great mystery puzzle. It's a solid story premise and is well written with lots of intrigue and suspense.


I was excited to receive this book to read and review. However, something just didn't click for me. I couldn't stay connected to the characters, and the romantic sub plot just didn't gel for me. I think there were too many threads that were left untied. I was glad that I stuck with Graham's  The Keys to the Kingdom as he tells an interesting story. I know that many readers will enjoy this book and its story.   But I just can't say that I loved it.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

This book was provided to me by the publisher and in no way affected my review.

Lady of Devices by Shelley Adina

Lady of Devices, a steampunk adventure novel (Magnificent Devices Series)
By Shelley Adina
Kindle edition reviewed,  $2.99
Paperback $9.99














London, 1889. Victoria is Queen. Charles Darwin’s son is Prime Minister. And steam is the power that runs the world. 
At 17, Claire Trevelyan, daughter of Viscount St. Ives, was expected to do nothing more than pour an elegant cup of tea, sew a fine seam, and catch a rich husband. Unfortunately, Claire’s talents lie not in the ballroom, but in the chemistry lab, where things have a regrettable habit of blowing up. When her father gambles the estate on the combustion engine and loses, Claire finds herself down and out on the mean streets of London. But being a young woman of resources and intellect, she turns fortune on its head. It’s not long before a new leader rises in the underworld, known only as the Lady of Devices. 
When she meets Andrew Malvern, a member of the Royal Society of Engineers, she realizes her talents may encompass more than the invention of explosive devices. They may help her realize her dreams and his . . . if they can both stay alive long enough to see that sometimes the closest friendships can trigger the greatest betrayals . . . 

Poor Lady Claire, seventeen and not giving a fig about presenting herself into Victorian society, she's such a frustration to her dear mother, but Claire could not possibly care less about the plans that her mother has for her future. Claire's more interested in blowing things up in the chemistry labs and learning to drive the family's Landau. Lady Claire longs to attend University to study engineering. She's certain that the future will be in steam driven engines and various other devices.  When Claire's father dies,  and his company goes bankrupt, the family comes to realize that their cushy live is now over. With Claire's mother and baby brother, the current heir apparent, fleeing to the country, that leaves Claire in charge of selling their London home and letting their servants go.

When a mob of angry investors in Claire's father's now worthless company decide to riot and burn the family home, Lady Claire is forced to flee the streets of London in the family Landau.  And that's where Claire's adventure begins for real. Accosted in Jack, the Ripper's Whitechapel area of London, Claire's relieved of her belongings and her beloved Landau. She's left unconscious on the street. That is, until a crew of young street urchins find her.  What comes next is a  wonderful story of trust, friendship and help the comes from the most unexpected places.

Shelley Adina's opened the door to the Victorian Steampunk world that fascinates us in today's 21st Century.  Lady of Devices, the first of Adina's trilogy in the Magnificent Devices series is full of wonderful characters from the Lords and Ladies to the charmingly drawn young gang of hoodlums that Claire falls in with. Adina manages to lure us into the steampunk era with joy and excitement. Her plotline is strong and the cast of characters are well interwoven, it's Adina's vivid descriptions of Victorian London that make you turn the pages.

This may have been written for the YA audience,  but it's certainly something I will follow and recommend. Adina manages to not only tell an engaging story, she also ever so sneakily weaves in some lessons in honestly, morality and what it's like to be a true and trusted friend.

I liked it and look forward to reading the next book in Adina's Magnificent Devices series.

Lady of Devices gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.

This book is from my own library, I happily purchased it in Kindle form with my own pennies. You should too!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...