Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bloodline by Felix Francis

Mark Shillingford is happy in his life as a race commentator.  Most of all he loves getting to call races in which his sister is one of the jockeys riding a speedy Thoroughbred.  All that comes to an end with the apparent suicide of his twin.

Race fixing, blackmail, affairs, threats, betting, and a behind the scenes look at what goes into producing a seamless racing program for the live television audience.  All things combine for a face paced read that will make you gallop through the chapters.

This is the first novel I have read by Felix Francis and he does a good job of continuing the legacy of his father Dick Francis.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Killer by Jonathan Kellerman

Child psychologist Alex Delaware is offered what looks like an easy case in a child custody dispute between two sisters, with one saying the other is not a fit mother.  Of course being a mystery novel nothing is ever simple.

Dr. Delaware has his life threatened, there is a murder, and Milo Sturgis, friend and LAPD detective becomes involved. 

Medium paced novel that gets the reader to think, always a positive.  The ending is interesting as all of Kellerman's books tend to be and leaves you wanting just a few more pages. 

Part of a series but the books do not have to be read in order.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City starts with a dangerous escape from a secluded island that is being bombed by the Germans and things go downhill from there. 

Miss Peregrine's loop has been invaded, the house is bombed, she is stolen, recovered, and off the children go looking for another loop and help to save Miss Peregrine. 

Once again the vintage photographs make the story much richer, making the reader pause to pursue the pictures and enhance the story line. 

A real page turner that leaves the reader wanting more.  I just hope that Riggs is not taking vacations and is glued to the typewriter, or more likely computer, working on more peculiar novels.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

By. The. Angel!  Okay, Magnus might not like that but this is an amazing collection of stories through a great period of time.  Filled with Downworlders, Shadowhunters and even a few mundanes are there to tell the story of an adventures life.  The glimpses into characters lives, past and present is very well done.  Great job ladies!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Roman and Greek demigods are working together before Gaea, the Earth Mother can awaken.  It is a good thing as the gods are confused and are at war with themselves, struggling between their Greek and Roman aspects.

You know the drill, a quest, fights against giants, monsters, etc.  The best part though is the character development and the way things end for Nico made the book perfect. Pick it up and read it but of course it is better read in order of the series. ;)

Amber House by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, and Larken Reed

Sarah Parsons has never visited her grandmother's home but upon the death of her mother's mother she does.  As with many good stories strange things begin to happen fairly soon.

Sarah "sees" things that have happened in the past, she is encouraged to "find the diamonds" and as always, there are two young men that seem to be after her.

A tale of despair, hope, paranormal events, and the fact that money does not solve everything. Very good reading enjoyable to the young adult reader and the older adult that still believes.

Mirror Sight by Kristen Britain

Karrigan G'ladeon, Green Rider, has a lot of strange things happen to her but this is the strangest.  Awakening in a vault which is being opened by a side show in her future.  Swallow that and you will have your taste buds set for a very strange tale indeed.

As with all time travel there is paradox but the way this is settled is very interesting.  Best of all Karrigan has some closure concerning a great many things on a personal level although in the end she has another great loss and sadness.

If this ends the tales of The Green Riders it is in a place that as a reader I am okay with it ending although I would hope that Kristen Britain continues to follow Karrigan as she rides for the King.

Dark Souls by Paula Morris

Another book that I have been remiss in reviewing.  Not exactly a ghost story but it has a nice paranormal feel to it that moves the story along very well.  A bit of mystery, danger, adventure on the side, it was an entertaining novel that makes me want to find other novels by the same author.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Magisterium The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

From the authors of the Spiderwick Chronicles and the Mortal Instruments comes a new series.

Fantasy readers will love this fast paced series that is filled with intrigue, magic, second guesses, and a hero with faults.

Geared a bit more towards the younger Young Adult crowd it is still pleasing to this adult.  A halfway orphan, misunderstood by all, powerful, evil powers lurking in the background, a friendly wolf with issues, you know, all the good stuff. :)

This is the fist of a proposed five books so if you have a fantasy reader buy it now so you have something to buy later.

Poison by Ed McBain

Life in the 87th is never dull.  When Carella and Willis catch a murder involving nicotine poisoning things get even a little more interesting.  Then when a potential suspect makes a play for Willis things get complicated.

Fast paced, just enough complicated, and bare bones makes for an interesting read.  I will admit I wanted to just shake Willis a couple of times and there were pages that I wanted to skip because they were disturbing because they really could happen that way.

Not having read one of the series in a long time I was glad to see that the 87th will still make you think.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Tell-Tale Horse by Rita Mae Brown

Filled with a winter season of foxhunting and the details of the hunt will make you wish you had the money to be a foxhunter, or at least cap for a few days each year.  Of course there is the requisite murder, affairs, lies, and drama to move things along.

A light read, enjoyable, and well written enough to read a second time several years apart.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ammie Come Home by Barbara Michaels

A séance may awaken more than you thought and you should never play with darkness.  A Georgetown mystery with a bit of paranormal.  Excellent use of suspense and history all mixed together.  Well written and fun to read.

Mama Day by Gloria Naylor

Life is not always easy and sometimes the most obvious things are not the things we chose to do.  A story of a low country family, a man from New York, a bit of conjure work, love, loss, and struggle.

This was the right book at the right time for me, thank you Lara for sending it.

Seeker by Jack McDevitt

An archeological mystery set way, way, way in the future.  This is light sci-fi but reads well and as all good sci-fi should questions a moral standpoint.  Not my usual reading but I am glad I read it.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

An excellent blend of novel and black and white photographs that tell a story of children and adults that have unusual abilities which must be hidden from the world.  The storyline is well thought out and moves at an even pace but it is the pictures that add the spice to the telling.

Very enjoyable and I am looking forward to the next in the series.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Hearing voices is not a good thing for anyone and being sent to a mental hospital for the summer is no ones idea of a vacation.  Evie Greene also experiences visions of the world ending on a regular basis. What she really wants to worry about is her jock boyfriend and spending time with her bff but that is not to be.

Then there is the Flash, most people are killed, plants and water disappear, and zombie types roam the world.  The voices pickup and she finds she has a few strange powers herself.

A teen book the writing is pretty good but there are some issues with chains of events and even fantasy should have rules and some of the rules are bent a bit to far.  An enjoyable book for a summer read.

Green Rider by Kristen Britain

The first novel by Kristen Britain Green Rider offers adventure, a bit of magic, bad guys, good guys, and everything in between.  Karigan G'ladheon is just trying to leave school when she comes upon a green rider, a messenger of the king, with a fatal injury.  With a bit of luck and a lot of stubbornness she is able to deliver the message to King Zachary.

That sets in motion a life changing time which finds her struggling with a decision about what to do as she fights the Rider call.

A very good book with a strong main character that has many doubts and fears which make her more believable to the reader.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Ballad of Tome Dooley by Sharyn McCrumb

The song made famous by the Kingston Trio actually has a bit of fact to back it up.  Of course it is not all true starting with it was Tom Dula and not a straight out murder that he hung his head and cried for.

Post  Civil War times are hard and none of life is easy.  Some people seem to just make life more difficult though.  Tom Dula loves Ann Melton, how happens to be married.  He will also sleep with two of her cousins who also sleep with other men.  It seems there are lots and lots of lose morals about.  Eventually there is a killing and Tom Dula goes to trial.

Zebulon Vance is the lawyer and he is always appealing, even when he knows he is not the best person for the job.

The rest of the characters are hard to like and at times I had to stop reading, sometimes for weeks, because they ticked me off so much.

The novel is well written, researched, and has a lot of flavor, I just spent the time disliking the characters so much I wanted to reach in the book and give them a good slap upside the head.  It can be said the characters evoke strong emotion.

Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb

Sometimes the layers of time are not so far apart and an innocent event can lead to the stirring of old events. 

Following several characters in two different times the book is a well paced page turner that leaves the reader wanting to know more about the North Carolina mountains, Zebulon Vance, and Malinda Blalock.

Reading Ghost Riders after reading The Ballad of Tom Dooley and The Ballad of Frankie Silver makes those two novels even better.

Take some time to visit another time.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Being the new kid is always tough. Being the new kid that is being hit on by the school bully is worse.  Roy just wants to get along and be left alone and then one day he notices the running boy.

Following the boy becomes his focus which leads him to a new friend, trouble, and an environmental issue.

A fun read about burrowing owls in Florida which is presented with the usual Hiaasen wit and humor.  If I taught an environmental science class this would be on my required reading list.

I read this when I bought it in 2004 and still enjoyed it again, always the sign of good writing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

The final installment in the Divergent series really makes you think.  Several parts reminded me of A Clockwork Orange, some of the Hunger Games, and a few of 1984.   In other words, it had all the components of a very good novel.

The ending was not as I had expected it to be but it was perfect after a bit of thought.  Life does not have a happily ever after finale so it is fitting that books do not either.

I know I will read this series again at some point, simply because it makes me ponder society.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb

This is one of the first of the Ballad novels that I read by Mrs. McCrumb and it still my favorite.  All stories to not have happy endings and sometimes things fall apart, but that is the way of life.

An escaped convict, a graduate student searching for answers to this dissertation on Katie Wilder, a lady that sees more than most, a new deputy, relationships, new, broken, and found again, the threads are all interwoven and connected well.

I really love the excerpts from the Tennessee Methodist Hymnal which fit each chapter so very well.

The best part of any Ballad novel is they stand alone but in many some of the same characters appear so it is like meeting old friends.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Disney At Dawn -Kingdom Keepers II - by Ridley Pearson

To be a Disney Interactive Host, DHI, seemed a simple enough endeavor but as we learned in the first novel the Magic Kingdom is never simple.

During a parade in the Magic Kingdom Amanda's sister Jess disappears.  There are also wild monkeys running around and things are leading to the Animal Kingdom.  Finn is contacted by Wayne, the imaginer that helped the DHIs previously, who tells them they must fight the Overtakers in Animal Kingdom.

Good character development, fast paced, and enjoyable.  Another good read for the upper elementary reader, or anyone going to Disney Parks.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

The third in a series of a tale concerning Archangels, Fallen Angels and Nephilim. 

In this latest installment Nora Grey awakes in a cemetery with no memory of the last five months and holding a black feather.  As she searches to get her life back together she runs into a man named Jev that seems familiar, her mother is dating Hank Miller which she knows is wrong, and her best friend Vee seems to have no memory of anything that puzzles Nora.

The first two books, Hush, Hush and Crescendo were entertaining.  Character development, action, and left you wanting more.  This novel seems to be more of a "we sold a bunch of the other ones so will just throw out another one" deal.  Characters were flat, situations contrived, and the lying by Nora to everyone around her got very old.

It ends as if there will be a forth book in the series but I will pass.