Monday, October 3, 2011

Jack Be Nimble: Gargoyle Book One by Ben English

The boy came to her out of water, unexpected. He was smart and strong and goofy, as boys are meant to be, but peculiar - he remembered everything.
In the span of a single summer, she made him fearless.
Now, even as Mercedes Adams is at the height of her career, forbidding changes loom over the world. That night, in the hushed calm of a spring evening, two plain-faced killers watch her home, waiting to make their approach.
A few hundred miles away, a brilliant technologist returns to his childhood town in order to begin a descent into darkness . . . in London, a military game theorist finds himself pursuing kidnappers . . . outside Prague, a hacker and a thief stumble upon plans for a weapon unique to the world . . . an FBI agent faces an unpredictable fugitive in Chicago, while in Germany, a sniper-turned-schoolteacher finds reasons to take up his ancient calling . . . and a sitting United States Senator finds his life and his work invaded to terrifying conclusion. In Paris, a widowed man begins to recognize the hints and patterns of a greater puzzle that will bring them together . . . or kill them all.
Mercedes Adams is about to find herself at the center of a vast, tightening knot of mystery, intrigue, and globe-spanning terror borne of her family's legacy. Rising to her aid is a small group of specially-trained men and women. And at their center?
A man who remembers everything

I was emailed by the author asking for a review in exchange for a free copy of the book. As I mostly review young adult books I centered on the part of the email that indicated that it was "firmly PG13" and would appeal to both adults and young adults.
After only a few chapters in I really could not see an appeal for young adults and thought that it was more of a PG 16 if I were to put an age range on it. But that really has no affect on the fact that I really enjoyed the story. There is an appeal to those young adults that like reading about more adult things like work, family life and advances in technology and science. But on with my thoughts on the actual story. Sorry about the intro.
Characters: My favorite character was Mercedes. As a woman myself I found her more appealing and interesting to me. I found that during some of Jack's parts that I became distracted and my thoughts wandered as I read. Alonzo was very interesting for me as well and almost as interesting as Mercedes. You would think that the most appeal of the book would be Jack as he is the crime-solver and a very popular actor. The contribution of several characters to the story I found was very beneficial for me. If this story were just told from one perspective I feel that it would not have turned out as well as it did.
Story: I thought the story was great, I did not think that it slacked at all as I have read in other reviews. For me I liked the whole idea presented right in the beginning of the novel of being able to inject a person with something and have microscopic technology inside your blood stream to have a higher connection to your feelings and body. I know that I am not going to make sense to people who have not read the story because I am not a writer and cannot express it as well as it's written in the book.
Overall the book had just as much appeal to me as the Dan Brown books I have read. International settings with scientific technology and a mystery to solve. Very interesting combinations of characters and it's a pretty lengthy novel as well. For the $2.99 kindle price it's well worth the money and I would encourage you to give it a try. It's the first in a series so if you like it there's more to come.
Book reviews like this make me wish I were better at expressing things. Sometimes as a reviewer I am at a loss for the right words to help explain such a detailed and well researched story. 
I highly encourage you to read the first 30 pages here

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M Auel

Description from :
In 1980, Jean Auel began her Earth's Children series with her novel The Clan of the Cave Bear. Now, more than 30 years and 45 million copies later, she brings this six-volume Ice Age epic to a reassuring conclusion with The Land of Painted Caves. In this evocative, carefully researched fiction, Cro-Magnon shaman Ayla and her heroic mate Jondalar struggle with environmental upheavals, and threats from wild animals and hostile hunters. Transcending difficulties, this loving, loyal couple find peace and respite in unexpected places and move resolutely towards a more secure future. (P.S. There is good reason why this novel is so eagerly anticipated: The Land of Painted Cave is the first Earth's Children installment in nine years.)

I did not know that there was even going to be another book after so many years. But when I did hear the news I let my expectations rise for what I really wanted to see happen in this book. All of my expectations were met, but I felt drained after reading this book. There was so much repetition throughout the book that unfortunately I became very bored with their story and it took me a couple of months to get through reading the story, which has never happened with me and this series. 
The book was divided into sections, it was nice to see Jonayla as an infant and in the 2nd half of the book as a child. The acceptance of Ayla into the 9th cave is as expected after leaving off in Shelters of Stone. More so in the first half of the book than the last half when she pushes the people to develop more intelligent ideas regarding family life and the Great Mother. How people should be interacting with each other and the beginning signs of what a society has become today.
My main disappointment in the last book was the constant repetition of things we have already discovered in the other books. As a book that is so far into the series, the constant badgering of the past events was painful for me to read. It was not only that the people retold the story to each other to introduce the new people to Ayla, but you would find the same stories repeated over and over throughout the book several times. I think I can count 4 times about Ayla teaching the people of other camps the hand signals and the concept behind them. As a reader of the whole series I felt that really one reminder of why it is significant here in the last book was more than sufficient. There were several other concepts that were done the same way. Ayla would explain to the 1st something, then she would explain it to somebody else and have Ayala again back up the story with another example and on and on. 
So as the final book in the series all of my questions and desires were met. I just wish it would have been done in a shorter more precise way. I did not find it necessary to re-hash the whole series into one book. If you have not read this series and decided to just pick up this book, you would get all of the main points in the previous books given to you without having to have read them at all. It was a little long winded and I personally found all the additional reminders overwhelming and exhausting.
But of course I would not recommend that. Earth's Children has always been on the top of my list of favorites and I still highly recommend this series today.  And I am still giving this one 4 stars because it's a beautiful series and end to a fantastic series.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead by Paul Elwork

Description from
The innocence of childhood,
the unknown of adulthood,
and the search for forgiveness . . .

Emily Stewart is the girl who claims to stand between the living and the dead. During the quiet summer of 1925, she and her brother, Michael, are thirteen-year-old twins-privileged, precocious, wandering aimlessly around their family's estate. One day, Emily discovers that she can secretly crack her ankle in such a way that a sound appears to burst through the stillness of midair. Emily and Michael gather the neighborhood children to fool them with these "spirit knockings."
Soon, however, this game of contacting the dead creeps into a world of adults still reeling from World War I. When the twins find themselves dabbling in the uncertain territory of human grief and family secrets- knock, knock-everything spins wildly out of control.

I found myself pacing this read. I would put it down faster than any other reads, but also found myself picking it up again faster, wanting to know what happens. The book is split into sections and we learn about several different families and the way the war/death/sickness and daily lives have impacted them. The majority of the book we are following twins, Michael and Emily who have decided to spend their long summer days tricking their friends into believing that Emily can talk to the dead. By usuing her angles she can pop them to send off a loud/soft/short or long sound into the air as so noboy can figure out where the sound had come from. She originally played this trick on her brother, who then decided to trick their friends. The tea house they say gets a better ghost reception is where they invite their friends. But this room only provides for a more acoustical sound to arise making it harder to tell where the knocks come from. After a success tricking their friends,
They venture into meeting up with older neighbors whom are wanting to talk to their deceased loved ones and as their (the twins) rules state Emily is "Sprit Knocking" so they can only ask yes or no questions and would hear a knock in return. Many people came away from those meetings with different ideas of what's happening but overall everybody believs because they cannot figure out how she is doing it.
The other sections in this book are family history. The families that shared the land, or the family of the spirits they were trying to contact and what was going on in the war during this time. And how the war effects the families at home.
While I found the writing amazing, and it really kept me coming back, the story made me feel at a loss. Some questions never answered. Some of the families stories never quite completed. It was very compelling but left you in a state of sadness maybe or melancholy.
Emily and Michael are always up front with the reader through the well written pages that these are schemes, they are plotted and studied and they put on a show for their neighbors. Although the neighbors for the majority have some kind of reasoning to not believe them. The comfort they feel in the thought that their loved ones just might really be close even beyond death it still a comfort to them.
A book about sad people, wrong decisions, inability to push through grief, but content with maintaining it to certain levels. And a story about two twins that one summer maybe had just a little too much time on their hands. Trying to escape their own bordom, greif and melancholy

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Connects: Based on a true Ghost Story By Katrina Rose

Description from
Connects is based on a true ghostly haunt, a nineteen year secret thought to be buried, until Abigail Morrison began to dream of the woman of the past. A woman found dead at the railroad tracks. Through Abigail's dreams and ghostly encounters, she pieces together what could have happened to this woman, and along the way she learns about a drug dealer,an over dose, and the neighbor's dirty secret.
Amazon Link          Smashwords Link

Highly reminiscent of the Ghost Whisperer and Medium. Fantastic read I would recommend to anybody who likes detective stories with some supernatural aspects. Even though I had downloaded this awhile ago, when I sat down to read it, I read it through in one day. Completely engrossing and worth the money. The story was very addicting and never boring. I saw that Amazon had a physical copy for sale and have purchased this for my friend who I agree is going to love it.
As Abigail moves into a new house with her new husband she begins to see things and have weird dreams. She decides to follow her hunches and begins following the clues that may have lead to the girls death. The girl she found out died on her property. To only find out there was more than one death. With several different people (including the police) that become suspects in her book. The addition of drugs

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Discovery of Witches By Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches
Description from
A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series-with an extra serving of historical realism

I have to agree with this last statement, the romance aspect was very twilight-esk because the vampire goes out in daytime, he's educated, more human than animal, cautious and fragile-like.
Diana is a great main character, I liked her very much, her development and growth was very well paced throughout the novel and somebody you'd really like to meet.
The romance and plot is very slow moving, snail like and gets a little hot and heavy towards the end, but those scenes still felt like they missed something.
These two main characters are smart, educated, sophisticated and you really feel like you learn a lot about history in this book. But I have to say that there is so much of this background building that I had to force myself to read the middle 150 pages hoping that the ending would be worth my time, instead of just giving up completely. And if this is not the first in a series (and it better be) but just a stand alone novel, it's worth checking out at the library first.
I was amazed that Amazon had the kindle priced the same as the hardback copy $16.00 because I think that is an outrageous price for a ecopy of a book. And if your not into history this book may bore you immensly through a good 400 pages.
The middle of the story focuses on the romance and Matthew's history as a vampire, so lots of stories, very little real action. But then finally around pg 400 something happens and then it's like a roller coaster ride because HUGE event and HUGE decisions happen in a matter of pages and I finished the book going "there are way too many loose ends...and where did that twist in the plot come from?"
A lot of action and then it just ends...?
This book took me about 4 times longer to read than my normal novels. So nevertheless it kept me busy for many hours and unless this is a series, I would recommend checking out your local library before you shell out your money. And if this is a series, I bet book two is gonna rock because all the filler details had to of been shoved into this first book. For now I am rating this book as a three star, but believe me if the story continues book 2 could possibly earn a 5 star review