Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

The Lost Symbol


Dan Brown

Front Flap: "As the story open, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object - artfully encoded with five symbols--is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation...one meant to usher its recipient into a long lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon--a prominent Mason and philanthropist--is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept his mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never before seen locations -- all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

Dan Brown just happens to be one of my favorite authors. The very first book I read back in 1998 was Digital Fortress. I was looking at books by Dale Brown, another favorite author who writes techno thrillers and picked up the book thinking it was by him. I bought the book and realized after a bit, his voice seemed totally different and looked at the front. Dan Brown. Hmmm! I went on to read all his books, including Da Vinci Code. I read Da Vinci Code twice. The second time after hearing all the hype and doing a bit of research. Which brings me to The Lost Symbol.

I thought this part was especially cool since I've been taking Art History.

The fresco of the "Apotheosis of Washington" by Constantino Brumidi in the Capitol Rotunda mentioned in the story. That slightly sidetracked me from the story, when I went on the internet and started exploring the history and art section of The Architect of the Capitol's website. Wow! Now I want to go there.

Anyway. According to the amazon critics I must have bad taste, because I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It is a non stop, analytical, symbol ridden, action packed ride. This is one book you cannot put your mind on hold and let it entertain you. It makes you think. The villain is very interesting, very evil and determined to get what he wants. He gives Langdon a run for his money. If you like psychological, intellectual thrillers, if you are into symbolism and puzzles, then this a book for you.

Pages: 528
Publisher: Doubleday
Released: September 15, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009



"The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver
(from inside flap)

The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it--from garden seeds to Scripture--is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in post colonial Africa.
The novel is set against one of the dramatic political chronicles of the twentieth century: the Congo's fight for independence from Belgium, the murder if its first elected prime minister, the CIA coup to install his replacement, and the insidious progress of a world economic order that robs the fledgling African nation of its autonomy. Against the backdrop, Orleanna Price reconstructs the story of her evangelist husband's part in the Western assault on Africa, a tale indelibly darkened by her own losses and unanswerable questions about her own culpability. Also narrating the story, by turns, are her four daughters--the self-centered, teenaged Rachel; shrewd adolescent twins Leah and Adah; and Ruth May, a prescient five-year-old. These sharpe observant girls, who arrive in the Congo with racial preconceptions forged in 1950s Georgia, will be marked in surprisingly different ways by their father's intractable mission, and my Africa itself. Ultimately each must strike her own separate path to salvation. Their passionately intertwined stories become a compelling exploration of moral risk and personal responsibility.

MY THOUGHTS: This book has been on my TBR(to be read)list forever. I have heard about it and all the people who have told me about this book said it was really good.
It is a fairly long book, 546 pages, but if so full of info on Africa and history that it keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens. The book starts out with Orlenna telling her story from Sanderling Island, Georgia. The book is put into sections like the bible. The first one is Genesis. As the family goes through their stay in Africa, of their trials and tribulations, they describe their life and all that happens to them. They each in turn have their own version of Africa. But of all the girls telling the story, Leah and Adah are the ones I like the most. They seem to have a better understanding of what's going on there in Africa. The political upheaval, the petulance, and the diseases that can wipe out whole villages. If you haven't read this book, put it on your list and read it. It's a truly awesome book!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication - John Steinbeck

The Short Reign of Pippin IV is one of the few Steinbeck titles I don't own and had never read. It's not his greatest work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be looking for a copy to add to my collection. The setting and subject matter stray far from the Steinbeck classics with which most people are familiar, but his detailed character studies and analysis of the human condition are just as spot on.

The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication is the story of an average, middle class man with few aspirations and simple dreams who is suddenly thrust into the spotlight and seat of power when France's arguing political parties suddenly decide to reinstate the monarchy. Of course the political parties desire a pawn rather than a ruler and each has a different design on how a king will play into their party's favor. Pippin, who is chosen for the crown because he is a descendant of Charles Martel, does not wish to be king. His desire is to continue living his simple middle class life in peace, and his only ambition is to be allowed to gaze at the stars from his rooftop each night and perhaps one day be elected into the Academy for his celestial discoveries. His response to being forced to take the throne is one of shock and confusion.
Pippin was in a state of shock for a long time. He said to himself in wonder and in fear, "I am king and I don't even know what a king is." He read the stories of his ancestors. "But they wanted to be kings," he told himself. "At least most of them did. And some of them wanted to be more. There I have it. If I could only find some sense of mission, of divinity of purpose."
p. 73
Though he did not desire the position, Pippin feels a responsibility to carry out the duties of his office, just as soon as he can figure out what they are. At first he is met by an insistence on tradition and ridiculous excess. This is not the simple life he prefers and he sees that it is not in the best interest of his beloved France. Pippin sees through the scheming of the nobles and political parties to their true intentions and wants no part of it. Instead he seeks that sense of mission and divinity of purpose which will best serve his nation and his people, if only he can get past the nobles and politicians and palace guard to search out the needs of the common citizens of France.

It would seem that Steinbeck made an unusual choice in setting his novel in post WWII France, but I think it was a stroke of genius. By setting the story all the way overseas and reinstating a form of government which this country has never known since its independence from England, Steinbeck perhaps had more freedom to explore corruption and dysfunction in our own political system. I doubt he was in danger of angering the French by setting the plot on their soil. Just to be sure, the title makes clear that this story is a fabrication, practically a fairy tale. Surely the French were also able to see through this misdirection to the overstretching truths presented, that they could easily apply to any government, and most likely were a reflection of the author's own. The astute reader will doubtless recognize the failings of his own government no matter where he lives because those faults, as well as the basic needs of common citizens, are universal.

Truth is sometimes easier to grasp, as well as more palatable, when wrapped in a good story. We can see the vain motivations, evil intentions, and ridiculous failures of the story's characters and laugh or smile because at first it is only a story. Truth settles in more slowly as we see that what we took for mild amusement and entertainment is really a parable. And it is about us as much as any fictional monarchy in a foreign land.

For anyone seeking a good story as well as light-hearted commentary on societies and governments, I highly recommend The Short Reign of Pippin IV

Week 38 - Book 39

Today is the start of Week 38 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 39. We are two-thirds of the way through the year and towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

This is where I would like to be

2009 National Book Festival

Wednesday, September 23, 2009



"The Stone Diaries" by Carol Shields
(from inside flap)
The Stone Diaries is one ordinary woman's story of her journey through life. Born in 1905, Daisy Stone Goodwill drifts through the roles of child, wife, widow, and mother, and finally into her old age. Bewildered by her inability to understand her place in her own life, Daisy attempts to find a way to tell her story within a novel that is itself about the limitations of autobiography.
Her life is vivid with incident, and yet she feels a sense of powerlessness. She listens, she observes, and through sheer force of imagination she becomes a witness of her own life; her birth, her death, and the troubling misconnections she discovers between. Daisy's struggle to find a place for herself in her own life is a paradigm of the unsettled decades of our era.

MY THOUGHTS: As I followed Daisy's life in this book, I was amazed at how much this resembled my mother's life. Daisy's mother dies the day she gave birth to Daisy. So Daisy doesn't have a mother to help her along the path. But she does have a good friend of her mother's, Clemitine, who takes Daisy to raise. When Daisy is 11 years old her father comes and gets her and they move to Bloomington, Indiana. Daisy is a smart girl and goes to college, which very unusual in the 1920's. Daisy also marries but her husband falls out a window on their honeymoon and dies. So Daisy is left wondering what to do with her life. She goes back to Canada, the country of her birth place, and meets and marries the son of her "Aunt" Clemintine. Has her children and raises them up. I don't want to give too much away so am stopping here. A really good book!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Intertwined by Gena Showalter



Gena Showalter

Front Flap: There's something about the new guy at Crossroads High....

Most sixteen year olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time travel.

One can raise the dead.

One call tell the future.

and one can possess another human.

With no other family and a life spent in and out of institutions, Aden and the souls have become friends. But now they're causing him all kinds of trouble. Like, he'll blink and suddenly he's a younger Aden, reliving the past. One wrong move, and he'll change the future. Or he'll walk past a total stranger and know how and when she's going to die. He's so over it. All he wants is peace.

And then he meets a girl who quiets the voices. Well, as long as he's near her. Why? Mary Ann Gray is his total opposite. He's a loner, she has friends. He doesn't care what anyone thinks; she tries to make everyone happy. And while he attracts the paranormal, she repels it. For her sake, she should stay away. But it's too late....

Somehow, they share an inexplicable bond of friendship. A bond about to be tested by a werewolf shape-shifer who wants Mary Ann for his own, and a vampire princess Aden can't resist. Two romances, both forbidden. Still, the four will enter a dark underworld of intrigue and danger -- but not everyone will come out alive..."

Intertwined by Gena Showalter is the 2nd offering in Harlequin Teen's new line up. The story is intriguing, very well done and the characters endearing. Poor Aden, he has four souls living inside him who talk to him constantly. He can never get away from their chatter except for when he turns on his ipod full blast and tunes them out. However, when he gets lost in the music he doesn't watch where he is going and that's when the trouble starts. All he has to do is step one foot inside a graveyard and the dead rise to take him on.

He is in the midst of battling one of the dead, when Mary Ann walks by the graveyard. Both he and Mary Ann are hit in the chest with a weird wind and neither understand why. Fortunately she didn't see what Aden had been doing and walked on. But Aden followed her, because the souls inside him were suddenly quiet when she appeared. He finds out what high school she attends and arranges (with some difficulty and the help of his souls) to go there. It's supposed to be a small town normal school but for a small school, there is a curious amount of "strangeness" to it. Throw in shape shifters, werewolves, ghosts, vampires, witches and a whole assortment of other characters and the story takes an interesting turn. Very well done and well worth reading. A sequel called "Unraveled" will be coming out in 2010. Thank you to Harlequin for providing me with a copy of the book.

Pages: 448
Released: September 1, 2009
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Young Adult paranormal romance

Other thoughts:

The bookworm on Au Courant:
Intertwined ran from the beaten path of common love triangles and replaced it with unexpected romances, mutual untrusting tolerance, sibling-like caring, and ultimately… friendship. It was very refreshing to have characters who knew what they wanted and weren’t afraid to chase after it… even when everything went downhill."

Doug the SciFiGuy
"Intertwined is a solid offering for its intended young adult audience - fast-paced, interesting characters, chock full of action and lots of urban fantasy goodness."

Steph of Hey! Teenager of the Year:
"I felt this novel was well-executed. Though I went “What?” when more mythical creatures started to appear, my interest didn’t dwindle, the story was gripping. This will inevitably appeal to readers of paranormal romance, and if that’s you, it’s well worth checking out."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Soul To Take - Rachel Vincent

My Soul to Take


Rachel Vincent

Back Cover: Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh. She doesn't see dead people, but....

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next....

This year Harlequin launched Harlequin Teen and their first two releases are paranormal romances: "My Soul to Take" by Rachel Vincent and "Intertwined" by Gena Showalter. Ask and you shall receive, I discovered and Harlequin sent me courtesy copies of both books. They will be releasing
a third title "Elphame's Choice" by P.C. Cast September 29th.
I've never read anything by Rachel Vincent before and have to say she has earned a new fan.

"My Soul to Take" is excellent, with 3 dimensional characters and a story that grips you from the very beginning and keeps you reading. Kaylee can sense death, see shadows around people about to die. The urge to scream is undeniable and she can't speak, can't open her mouth, can't warn them. Otherwise the only thing to come out will be a scream and people will think she's crazy. Nash, the most popular guy in school, suddenly (or so it seems) takes an interest in her and has a way of calming her down. The story is full of surprising twists and turns and that's about all I can tell you without giving away spoilers. This is one of those ya novel that even adults will enjoy. I highly recommend it and look forward to "My Soul To Save" coming out in 2010.

Pages: 384
Released: July 28th, 2009
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance

Other Thoughts:

Doug the SciFiGuy:
(Contains spoilers - proceed with caution)
Aside from the death’s, My Soul To Take is refreshingly free of physical violence. The battles fought here are mostly metaphysical but the threat of dying at any time is real and sustains a tremendous level of tension and drama. Friends and family are placed in jeopardy and beyond and several key scenes are heart-stopping."

Melissa of Melissa's Bookshelf:
Thankfully, though this is the first in a series, My Soul To Take is not a cliffhanger. We are simply left knowing that Kaylee is going to learn even more about herself in the next two books. My Soul To Save is the second book and is due out in January 2010 and I can't wait to read it! I'll definitely be checking into Vincent's other books to hold me over until then."

Bonus Giveaway

That's right - I want to share - it is too good to keep to myself. I'm giving it away to some lucky person who has just been dying to read Rachel's "My Soul to Take" or someone like me that enjoys exploring new authors.

To enter this contest, please click here and leave a comment on mytwoblessings blog along with your name and email address. The contest will remain open for the rest of the week and ends at midnight September 18. Winners will be picked using Random.org and notified via email. Contest open to U.S. residents only.

Week 37 - Book 38

Week 37 - Book 38

Today is the start of Week 37 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 38. We are two-thirds of the way through the year and towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

Here's your last chance to win some free books. I am giving away

Saturday, September 12, 2009


"A Mercy" by Toni Morrison
(from back cover)

In the 1680's the slave trade in the Americas is still in its infancy. Jacob Vaark is an Anglo-Dutch trader and adventurer, with a small holding in the harsh North. Despite his distaste for dealing in "flesh," he takes a small slave girl in part payment for a bad debt from a plantation owner in Catholic Maryland. This is Florens, who can read and write and might be useful on his farm. Rejected by her mother, Florens looks for love, first from Lina, an older servant woman at her new master's house, and later from the handsome blacksmith, an African, never enslaved, who comes riding into their lives.
A Mercy reveals what lies beneath the surface of slavery. But at its heart, like Beloved, it is the ambivalent, disturbing story of a mother and a daughter--a mother who casts off her daughter in order to save her, and a daughter who may never exorcise that abandonment.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a good book. It is told from the view of all the characters in the book. Jacob and his wife Rebecca, Lina, Sorrow, and Florens the slaves at the farm, and the indentured men loaned out to Jacob, Willard and Scully. This is also the time of church controlling the people, their thoughts and lives. Witchcraft and demons are also abundant. Lina is the more sensible of all the slaves. She is the oldest of them. Sorrow is a young girl coming into womanhood. She is attracted to the blacksmith. Which leads to her having a child. Florens is a very troubled child not knowing what is to become of her. And also The Pox is prevalent at the time. Which is thought to be the work of the devil. Babies and children die at a high rate. Rebecca has lost 3 infants and her oldest child dies from a kick from a horse. Which is believed that all these deaths are due to the children not being fully immersed in water and baptized. The last chapter of the book is Florens mother telling her why she let her be taken by Jacob. This is the last paragrah of the chapter, to me it tells the whole story. This is Florens mother talking.

It was not a miracle. Bestowed by God. It was a mercy. Offered by a human. I stayed on my knees. In the dust where my heart will remain each night and every day until you understand what I know and long to tell you: to be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominon of yourself to another is a wicked thing.
Oh Florens. My love. Hear a Tua Mae.

Friday, September 11, 2009

From the Query to the Call by Elana Johnson

From the Query to the Call


Elana Johnson

If you are a writer or an aspiring writer,or like some people like to say prepublished writer, like me, then do I have the book for you.

"From the Query to the Call" is a great e-book written by Elana Johnson coming out on Monday, September 14th. Elana gave me a sneak peek of her book and I found it to be very insightful and educational and very concise. It's a great little book at 63 pages, which I printed out, because it chockful of information and I wanted to put it in a notebook so I can refer back to it time and again. It also has the personal touch with Elana's personality shining through.

I'm still in the middle of rewriting my first book and have be wondering "what will I do when I'm done? What is so important about this query letter I keep hearing about?" It seemed from all I had heard about writing a query, it is like writing a resume for employment. I've written a few resumes over the years and generally you just gear it to the company you are applying with. Easy enough, if you know anything about the company. So how is writing a query letter different? Evidently, a lot! Reading "From the Query to the Call," showed me I know absolutely nothing about writing a query. I have picked up a few books, but ended up glossing over those sections that explained the query because it all just sounded Greek to me. "From the Query to the Call" simplifies the process and spells it out easily enough with plenty of examples to show you the way how to write that killer letter that will gain the interest of an editor or agent.

The book is broken down into two parts: 1) Writing a Killer Query and 2) Entering the Query Trenches. The first part is full of examples as she walks you through writing your query including how to hook the reader and get their attention, describe your character and setting, establishing the conflict and the consequences for your character. She takes you step by step through writing a killer query and what will grab an agents attention. The second part walks you through researching agents, sending out your killer query and responding to requests, revising for an agent and that so important part, fielding "the call." There are internet link to online resources such as querytracker and rally storm to name a few.

Also included interviews with several agented author on how they handled "The Call" which are all quite interesting and amusing. Elana takes the fear out of the query process, with her step by step approach and practical advice on how to best write a query. I really enjoyed reading the book and learned a great deal. I highly recommend it.

For more information and to see what others are saying about "From the Query to the Call," head on over to Elana's. She's hosting a contest and giving away 5 free e-books and she will have something special for the first 20 buyers of her book on Monday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 36 - Book 37

Week 36 - Book 37

Today is the start of Week 36 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 37. We are two-thirds of the way through the year and towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

The week of September 14th through the 18th, is Book Blogger Appreciation Week hosted by My Friend Amy. There are 1000 or more book bloggers participating, plus authors, writers and a whole slew of other folks. There will be many giveaways and contests. Lots of free books. I've donated the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer and The Restoration Series by Terri Blackstock to BBAW and they will be given away at the host site. I will also be giving away several books during the week at my blog. including


So head on over the BBAW and check out the fun. Some giveaways have already started.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

WEEKS 33, 34, 35

I'm not behind on reading, just behind on posting them. I totally forget about them and I've been sick for the last few weeks. Sinus infection and Bronchitis.

Week 33

"Ice Land" by Betsy Tobin
(from the back cover)

A Beautiful epic of love, longing, redemption, and enchantment


Warned by the fates of an impending disater, Freya embarks on a dangerous journey deep into the mountains to find a magnificent gold necklace said to have the power to alter the course of history. Meanwhile, the country is on the brink of war as the new world order of Christianity threatens the old ways of Iceland's people, and tangled amid it all are two star-crossed lovers whose destiny draws them together--even as their families are determined to tear them apart.

Infused with the rich history and mythology of Iceland, Betsy Tobin's sweeping novel is an epic adventure of forbidden love, lust, jealousy, faith, and magical wonder set under the shadow of a smoldering volcano.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a very magical book filled with the myths and legends of Iceland. Lots of Mythical persons from Iceland. While reading this I felt like I was there with them all. Ms. Tobin's writing allows your imagination to go along with the story. This is also a ARC of the book. It does not come out until August 25. I want to thank Mary Pomponio, Senior Publicist of Penguin/Plume for allowing me to review this book. You can pre-order this book from Amazon.com If you like Mythology, history and romance you will LOVE this book!!


"Dead Wrong" by J. A. Jance
(from the inside flap)
Juggling a family and a career is never easy--and it's becoming a real challenge for Sheriff Joanna Brady. Coping with the inpending delivery of her second child as well as a staff shortage, the last things Joanna needs are two serious crimes.
First, the body of an unidentified man is found in the desert, all of his fingers savagely severed. Following the scant clues, Joanna learns that the victim was an ex-con who had served twenty years in perison after confessing to the murder of his pregnant wife. During his last days he was seen following and photographing a young woman.
Then one of Joann's officers is brutally attacked and left for dead while on an unauthorized stakeout. Because the officer is one of its own, the department throws its resources into finding her attacker.
But the murder haunts Joanna. Being a sheriff is no longer an empty position she wats to hold--somehow it has become what she is. Her job is to avenge man's inhumanity toward man, and finding out who the victim was and why he is dead is what she has been summoned to do with her life. Strapping on a bulletproof vest, she'll risk everything to see that justice is done.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the second Joanna Brady series book I have read. The writing is very good. It stays on track and connects all the info together. It just all flows together until the end and then tidies it up with the little extra info you thing you won't get. Joanna is trying to link a 20 year old murder to the recent on of the man in the desert. As she starts digging she comes across a conspiracy that started 20 years ago with a grandmother and mother to be. To protect a child soon to born with the 50-50 chance of having HD, Huntington's Disease.

Week 35

This was a really short book. 170 pages, so read it pretty fast.

"Dancing With Ana" by Nicole Barker
(from the back cover)

Beth is a lucky girl....She comes from a loving family. She has three best friends. She loves to surf and lives five minutes from the beach. She also recently discovered that the boy she's grown up with has the most amazing green eyes...Beth has every reason to smile. Every reason to be happy. Every reason to feel blessed. Then why is she sticking her fingers down her throat?

MY THOUGHTS: This is a very short book and is very good. It gives insights into a why a person would want to loose weight and also gives you insights into anorexia. Beth is a typical teenager, best friends, going to the beach, and a new boyfriend. She is also suffering from losing her father to divorce. She starts the diet to loose a few pounds and it soon escalates into an out of control situation that she doesn't know how to stop or what's causing it. With the help of her friends, family and her new boyfriend she gets through this situation and learns to eat again.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Paris City of Night - David Downie

Paris City of Night


David Downie

Back Cover: "June 18, 1850: The blurry image of escaping Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann wells up in a CIA darkroom in pre-dawn Paris.

December 26, 2007: Madeleine Adelaide de Lafayette, celebrated resistance and free french hero, former CIA deputy chief of station in Paris, is found dead in her mansion fronting the Eiffel tower. Few know she was a key player in the misguided Allied effort to fight Communism by smuggling Nazis to freedom. So was William Grant, Madeleine's favorite operative, also recently deceased.

December 28, 2007: As the countdown to New Year's Eve flashes from the top of the Eiffel Tower, vintage photographer and Daguerreotype expert Jay Grant, "son of a spook," races to piece together a deadly picture puzzle. Why were Madeleine and his father William murdered--and whose side is the CIA really on? Someone is trying to kill Jay before he can crack a code embedded on a set of Daguerreotype plates and flush out terrorists plotting to attack Paris. Pursuing Jay through the menacingly dark City of Light are a shadowy recycled Cold Warrior, a sexy Homeland Security officer, and his father William's age, fanatic former colleague, a man whose mission is no longer beating the Commies but battling radical Islam, even if it means destroying parts of the city he loves..

Do you know what a Daguerreotype plate is? Daguerreotype is an old photographic process named after Louis Daguerre, invented in the 1830's. A picture is made on a light sensitive silver coated metallic plate. The plates can't be exposed to light prior to processing or all will be lost. Jay's father made several plates with a secret code on them, hide them away for Jay to find and it's up to Jay to develop these plates and figure out the code. The CIA and Homeland security are trying to figure out the clues and stop a terrorist attack. However, Jay doesn't know whether to trust them or not. He is kept on the run, sleep deprived and his life at risk from all sides as he tries to figure out what is going on. The story is fascinating and takes you through the darker, seedier parts of Paris.

When David Downie emailed me asking if I would like to recieve a copy of his book, I was intrigued.

He wrote: "The title tells much: Paris isn't the sparkling City of Light, but rather the City of Night, with its own sinister allure. Diane Johnson has called the novel, "a wild ride through the dark side of Paris." It's a shadowy place full of fraudsters, forgers, murderers, Homeland Security operatives and aging Cold Warriors. My anti-hero is Jay Anthony Grant, aka JAG, a tough but sensitive type in midlife crisis. He's color-blind in one eye but in no other way resembles me (he rides a BMW motorcycle, wears fancy suits, and appears to be upwardly mobile). OK, you're right, the midlife crisis stuff we share.

So, close your eyes, flip open the cover, and imagine the son of a nasty old dead spook, a guy with serious issues about his father's past, on his way to his beloved fiancée and a vacation in Paris. The past draws JAG into what a slick publicist might call a tangled Parisian web of intrigue: an orange alert is on, New Year's looms in the form of a twinkling Eiffel Tower, and a bunch of fanatics on both sides of the terror/fundy divide are out to make JAG's life unpleasant. I'll say no more."

I'm glad I accepted his offer. Thank you to David for the opportunity to read and review Paris City of Night. It's fast paced, suspenseful, action packed and the characters will capture your attention. I highly recommend it. Check out David's website of more information about him.

Pages: 213
Publisher: Schoenhof's Foreign Books
Released: June 15, 2009
Genre: Suspense Thriller

Other thoughts about Paris City of Night:

Bev of Merry Weather

"You know it's a good book when you finally come up for air and have that 'lost' feeling - like at the end of a really engrossing movie and the lights come back on- it's such a disappointment-you wish it could go on just a little longer-that's the way I felt about this book."

Gavin of Gavin's Book Log:
"David Downie, paints a vivid picture that sits well in your imagination. The tale itself is full of excitement - as a reader, you want to know what happens next, as the mysteries and intrigues keep building and building. "

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Week 35 - Book 36

Today is the start of Week 35 in the quest to read 52 books in 52 weeks and should have you starting book # 36. We are two-thirds of the way through the year and towards our goal of reading 52 books for the year.

Choose a Book based on its cover

Have you ever chosen a book based on its cover alone? One of the tasks I have for the Take a Chance Challenge is to choose a book based on its cover and write a post about what I think the book is about. Then, and only then am I to read the back cover or the book jacket, read the book and post if my assumptions based on the cover is correct. I tried going into the book store and picking up a book without checking to see what it about. I couldn't do it. The temptation is just too great. You pick up a book, say "Gee, this looks interesting" and the next moment -- you are reading the back cover, thumbing through the book, reading a few pages. So, what's a girl to do? I could stick with authors I know and just pick up one of their books, knowing that its a tried and true and I won't be disappointed. Or I could go onto Amazon and pick out a book off the bestsellers list based on its cover by an author I know absolutely nothing about and post what I think the story is about. Then - go to the bookstore or order it off of Amazon.

Here's a few that I came across that struck my fancy on the Hot New Releases list in Literature and Fiction. I know absolutely nothing about any of the authors or the stories. I didn't look at any of the write ups or reviews, just went on the page long enough to download the picture.

They all look quite intriguing, don't they. I'll have a hard time resisting buying all four which are now on my wish list. I think a trip to Borders may be necessary.

Using the eenie, meenie, minee, mo method and the random.org random integer generator, both methods coincidentally, I kid you not, agreed on # 2 -- Joseph Finder's Vanished.

What do I think the story is about? A mystery obviously. A woman vanishes in the middle of the city. Mississippi perhaps because the street looks like its paved in cobblestones. Did she run away from an abusive or mob type husband. Or was she spirited away by someone out to get back at her family or for more nefarious reasons. Oh boy...now I'm started to get very intrigued.

What do you think "Vanished" is about?

What about the other three books?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi

A Circle of Souls


Preetham Grandhi

Back Cover: The sleepy town of Newbury, Connecticut, is shocked when a little girl is found brutally murdered. The town's top detective, perplexed by a complete lack of leads, calls in FBI Agent Leia Bines, an expert in cases involving children.

Meanwhile, Dr. Peter Gram, a psychiatrist at Newbury's hospital, searches desperately for the cause of seven year old Naya Hastings's devastating nightmares. Afraid that she might hurt herself in the midst of a torturous episode, Naya's parents have turned to the bright young doctor as their only hope.

The situation confronting Leia and Peter converge when Naya begins drawing chilling images of murder after being bombarded by the disturbing images in her dreams. Amazingly, her sketches are the only clues to the crime that has panicked Newbury residents. Against her better judgement, Leia explores the clues in Naya's crude drawings, only to set off an alarming chain of events.

In this stunning psychological thriller, innocence gives way to evil, and trust lies forgotten in a web of deceit, fear and murder.

Excellent, excellent psychological thriller that totally captured my attention and I had a hard time putting it down. The author, Preetham Grandi specializes in child psychiatry and his experiences make the story very real indeed. Naya has started sleepwalking and her parents are scare she is going to hurt herself. She is admitted for evaluation and during conversations with Dr. Peter, reveals dreams she has had about the murdered child and shows him drawings of her dreams. The murdered child was found on land of Peter's uncle - Senator Thomas Bailey, who is also running for president. He wants the FBI investigation wrapped up quickly and quietly. In the course of the investigation Peter and the FBI agent Leia Barnes meet and he tells her about Naya. They work together to help solve the mystery and prevent any future deaths.

Thank you to author Preetham Grandhi for providing me with a copy A Circle of Souls. I highly recommend it. For more information about the book and Mr. Grandhi, check out his website A Circle of Souls.

Pages: 352
Publisher: Sweetwater Books
Released: June 15, 2009
Genre: Psychological paranormal Thriller

Other thoughts about the story:

Melissa of Melissa's Bookshelf

More than a crime novel, A Circle of Souls also has paranormal and spiritual elements, as a young girl's dreams end up being clues to solve a brutal murder of another child. Here, Grandhi turns to Indian beliefs in the role of the soul and predestination, among other traditions. It truly makes for a fascinating read and a bit of insight into the Indian culture."

Cheryl of Cheryl's Book Nook

"A Circle of Souls is a brilliant, psychological thriller that will leave you memorized. It will have you questioning legends from reality. All of the characters had really great dimension. I could connect with them all."

Britt of Confessions of a Book Habitue

"The story is wonderful. An interesting mix of crime thriller, psychological novel and paranormal story. Criminal Minds meets X-Files. What's not to love, right? It reminded me of Orson Scott Card's Lost Boys, which was fabulous."

The Atlantis Revelation by Thomas Greanias

The Atlantis Revelation


Thomas Greanias

Front Flap: "The adventure begins with the wreckage of a sunken Nazi submarine and a shocking legacy of Hitler's quest for Atlantis. Archaeologist Conrad Yeats discovers in the ruins of the Third Reich the key to an ancient conspiracy that reaches the highest levels of every major government. Suddenly Yeats is plunged into a deadly race across the Mediterranean, hunted by the assassins of an international organization that will stop at nothing to ignite global Armageddon and revive an empire. And only Serena Serghetti, the beautiful Vatican linguis he loved and lost, can help him save the world from the Atlantis Revelation.

I received Atlantis Revelation courtesy of Shelf Awareness and this is a first time reading anything by author Thomas Greneais. The story is interesting, fast paced and gets a bit convoluted at times. Most of the time you can't tell the good guys from the bad guys and the only constant is Conrad. Even though Serena works for the Vatican, she seems to be a triple agent. All the players knew each other and I found the story a bit confusing at times. Probably because I haven't read the first two books in the series which are Raising Atlantis and The Atlantis Prophecy. I'll have to go back and read the other two books, then reread this one. Perhaps, then I'll be able to decide whether I truly like the story or not.

Pages: 320
Published: Atria
Released: August 11, 2009
Genre: Conspiracy thriller

Other thoughts:

Ed Homa of Megalith
The Atlantis Revelation all-in-all was a fast paced enjoyable read. It might have been too fast; it could have been expanded on and been a bit longer. I wasn’t ready for it to end when it did. If you have been a fan of this series get this book and enjoy. If you haven’t been reading this series grab the first book and sit back and enjoy, watch the series and the writer develop and grow as you make your way throw the three books. I will be going back to get book two to read."

Jose of Daemon's Books:
"Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it to others who are into "artifact fiction," without reservation. It was a fun, quick read with an interesting plot and always moving action. Although Greanias has mentioned in interviews that this book was meant to be more of a stand alone and did not require reading the first two books in the trilogy, I think reading the first two books would help one enjoy the book more. I had not read the previous two books and had a few "What the ?" moments, especially when there are some references to Serena and Conrad's past. The good news is that the first two books have been combined into one volume called The Atlantis Legacy, to help readers catchup as quickly as possible."

Gil of Gil T's Pleasure:
"While this book does have some great action and some puzzle/mystery solving, it did not have the oomph of the first two books in the series. Don't get me wrong this book is a very fun, exciting romp through Europe and Ancient History, but the first two had more. Maybe because in the first two the main puzzle to solve was completely unknown, in this book the item (the Flammschwert) and the possible use was known as the thrills happened in the background."

Mini Reviews by My Two Blessings

Miller's Suspense Thriller "Side by Side" is full of twists and turns. A federal judge's daughter and grandson are kidnapped in order to force him to release a decorated military soldier who is also a violent criminal. Different government agencies get involved and an old girl friend/colleague from the FBI pulls Winter Massey out of retirement to help. Only he isn't aware she is playing both sides. Very good!!!

Watcher in the Woods, a young adult supernatural thriller by Robert Liparulo picks up where House of Dark Shadows ends. David and Xander want to get their mother back at all costs. However, the father as the new principle of the local school insists they start school as if everything is ordinary. The boys injuries caused by trips into the other worlds create concern among the community. A stranger wants their house and tries to get them kicked out of the house. Lots of action, suspense, mystery, supernatural occurrences to keep you entertained. Cliffhanger ended and story is to be continued in book 3 of the Dreamhouse Kings series - Gatekeeper.

Book 8 in the A.D. Chronicles series by Bodie and Brock Thoene, Eighth Shepherd follows the lives of Zachai, the tax collector whom everyone hates; Shimona, one of the many lepers who lived in the Valley of Makob that Yeshua healed; And Salmon, former nubian prince who is one of Zachai slaves. The stories of their lives and how they revolve around Yeshua and his followers. Excellent as always, bringing the characters of the bible to life.

Book 1 of 13 in the Ella Clah Mystery series "Blackening Song" by Aimee and David Thurlo is well written. Ella Clah is an Navajo FBI agent and her brother, a tribal medicine man. He is the prime suspect in a murder of their father. Between Ella's modern FBI investigative techniques and her brother's ancient tribal supernatural methods, they work together to prove his innocence, find the real murderer. The story totally immerses you in the lives and ways of the dineh'. Very well done and will be working my way slowly through the series.

After reading Angel's Game, had to read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's bestseller "The Shadow of the Wind." Very well done, rich in detail and interesting characters, but it is a dark story. Daniel, the young son of an antiquarian book dealer discovers a book called Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. Julian's life is a mystery and someone has been systematically destroying all published copies of his books. Daniel tries to discover what happened to the man and the story is full of twist and turns and leads down a dark path.