Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kitt Pirate: Snaggletooth's Treasure, by Ben Oliver

Kitt Pirate: Snaggletooth's Treasure

Captain Kitt may be young, but he surely does not lack wisdom or courage.  He and his crew are seeking the treasure of Captain Snaggletooth, thanks to a map the Kitt has.  After being at sea for so long, the crew finally reaches Caverock Island, home to the treasure.  What further adventures await once they reach the land, and will Kitt and his crew really find the treasure?

This book is, in a word, splendid.  Intended for a middle grades audience, I found the book to be a fantastic story, perfect for enticing children to read.  The story was well developed, full of action and adventure, without being violent or gory.  I loved the illustrations, which will really help a young reader better envision the story while reading.  I thought the action moved at an appropriate pace, given that readers of this age can still be intimidated by some chapter books.  

The characters were fantastic; character development in a children's book is tough.  I think we learn just enough about Kitt and his crew to remain interested and invested in the story, without overwhelming they young reader with information.  

Good middle grades books are hard to come by, particularly those that entice kids who are not big fans of reading.  I think this book is perfect for that audience, particularly young males who would typically be more interested in video games.  The fact that this book is available as an ebook might help entice skittish readers as well, allowing them a chance to get used to ebook technology.  

I would be remiss if I did not add that I sincerely hope Kitt has continuing adventures.  With the recent success of pirate themed movies, I think more of these books would do really well. 

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

The Help
Skeeter is not like most of the other women living in 1960's Jackson, Mississippi.  She is unmarried, holds a college degree, and sees the racial injustice all around here.  She dreams of becoming a writer, and enlists the hired maids of her friends to write a book detailing what it is like for black women to work for white women in the South.  At first the black women fear their own safety, since they are breaking integration laws by meeting with Skeeter, but as the nation's political climate reaches a boiling point, the women begin to trust Skeeter, and many begin to consider her a friend.  The white society women feel the stirrings of change, headed by Hilly, seek to ostracize Skeeter and further racial divisions.

I am ashamed to admit that I bought this book nearly two years ago, and it has sat on my bookshelf, unread.  I always knew I would get around to it, and when I learned of the film adaptation being released, I was determined to read the book, in order to best enjoy the movie.  I am saddened that I waited so long to read why will forever be one of my favorite modern American novels.  I found the story to be full of heart.

I loved so many of the characters, those we learn of from their first person narratives especially.  And while I hate to admit it, I loved Hilly.  She was a fantastic villain, and subtle in her villainy.  I was happy to learn she got her, shall we say, just desserts.  I thought both the characters and the story were well developed, and literally felt transported to another time and place while reading.  It was no surprise to me that it took me a little under 32 hours to read the whole book.  It was just that compelling to me.

I see many reviewers calling racism and getting upset about the use of certain dialects in the book, but to me, it had a similar feel to The Color Purple.  Perhaps it is me wanting to see the best in the author's intent, but I really did not find anything about the book intentionally racist; I felt the author did her best, within the scope of her intention to write a fictional novel, to show the way things may have been (notice I said may have been, as opposed to definitely were) in a particular time and place.  Since the characters and story are in fact fiction, the author has all rights to write as she pleases.  Calling it racist is, in my opinion, claiming Harry Potter novels include prejudicial language regarding non-magical persons.  In short, I find it, within the scope of fiction, a non-issue.

This book is from my personal library.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Egyptian, by Layton Green

The EgyptianDominic Grey returns in this second book in the series.  This time, Grey is working as an employee of Viktor Radek, and he embarks on a case involving biomedical technology.  But what seems a clear cut case of corporate espionage and theft quickly reveals itself as something more.  Veiled hints at immortality through the elixir of life, purported mummy sightings, and the possibility of a newly established cult based on ancient principles are enough to keep any man busy; add to this a gorgeous woman and a bit of heartbreak and you will see why Grey ends up wrestling with many kinds of demons.

Once again, Layton Green blows readers away with a story that is both thrilling and relevant.  I myself know very little about biotech and various scientific advances, yet Green makes the topic understandable captivating by weaving it into a story that may or may not have supernatural ties.  I love that you are never completely sure about Green's stories.  Is there a rational explanation, or is there a bit of a mystical element at work?  It is open to interpretation, which I find completely fascinating.  Could these stories really happen, do they in fact really happen to some degree?  One is never quite sure.

I really enjoyed learning more about Dominic Grey as a character.  We revisit his past, and see its impact on his current life.  This is a man clearly engaged in an internal struggle far more taxing than any physical opponent he faces.  I like the addition of a new female character, and I hope in the future Grey is caught in a web between the two women he has encountered.

As with the first novel in the series, this book is extremely well researched.  Readers can tell that a lot of time and effort went into creating a quality story.  The writing helps propel the story, but the fiction and facts used to create the plot dance in delicate symbiosis to create something truly brilliant.  Once again, I am impressed with Green's ability to create a story that will appeal to both male and female readers, and fans of various genres, in subtly different ways.

I anxiously await the next Dominic Grey novel.

Note: The author is having a special on this book, as well as the first Dominic Grey novel The Summoner, each on sale for Kindle for 99 cents.  Today is the last day of the sale so be sure to get them now!

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grave Expectations, by Sherri Browning Erwin

Grave ExpectationsGrowing up an orphan, being raised up by hand thanks to his much older sister, getting accosted by a convict, and falling in love with the most unattainable girl he knows, all of these things would make life tough.  Add to this the fact that you are a werewolf, and, well, you have Pip's lot in life.  After an odd encounter with a convict werewolf, Pip's life becomes a serious of curious encounters, including the vampire Miss Havisham, the slayer Estella, and a mysterious benefactor who is determined to make Pip into a gentleman werewolf.  What does the future hold for Pip?

I am a sucker for dark and gloomy novels, so one would think I would adore Dickens, but oddly enough I do not.  I do not actively dislike Dickens, I just find him difficult to read.  So thank goodness for Sherri Browning Erwin.  Her gothic revision of Great Expectations made me love this story.  Once again, she proves that literary mashup genre can be something magical when done correctly; sadly, few authors are as adept at the genre as she.  I had not read the original story since high school, so picking up this book was like walking down a somewhat familiar path that has grown dark and shadowy.  I loved that feeling.

Sherri stays true to the heart and soul of the Dickens classic, but I really love the liberties she has taken with the characters.  I love the juxtoposition of werewolves, vampires, and of course the slayer Estella.  I liked seeing Pip struggle with his wolvish nature, it added a bit of latent sexuality into an otherwise completely chaste tale.  

Clearly, there is a huge theme of transformation in the novel.  The wolves transform, not only due to the moon but due to their own passions.  Pip is being transformed into a gentleman, while Estella into a slayer.  Miss Havisham was transformed into a vampire, and a broken woman.  Dead people are transformed into zombies.  And a dusty literary classic is transformed into a riveting supernatural novel.  

And I, dear readers, was transformed into a Dickens fan.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Leave Me Alone, by B.E. Hewson

Leave me alone: Memoirs of an Exmormon

Poetry, prose, and short stories comprise this book about the author's struggle through life and relationships.  Childhood pains are delved into, including dealing with her religion.  The author deals with being stuck and not really belonging, having left the church, but still not a part of the world as a whole.

I have to admit, the subtitle "Memoirs of an Exmormon" is what drew me to download this free book.  Having become fascinated with the LDS church, I really thought this book would have some perspective on LDS doctrine, and why the author defected.  I was sadly disappointed that very little is discussed about the church.  In fact, very little of anything is discussed.

I found this book terribly confusing; I felt like there was no real cohesiveness to it, it skipped around a lot, and I am still a little confused as to whether is this an actual memoir, or if it is just a book of stories and poetry with an incredibly misleading title.  It seemed to me like the book tries to hard to be hip, and beatnik, and anyone who does not "get" the book is surely uptight and unsophisticated.  But I will freely admit, I just did not get it.

I think there is potential here, however.  With a bit more material, and substance, not to mention a good editor, I think something really interesting could me made of this work.

This book is from my personal library.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Treasure Me, by Christine Nolfi

Treasure Me

Her whole life, Birdie has depended on her street smarts to make it.  Living on the streets at times, picking pockets to survive, and being used by her own mother in flim flam jobs, Birdie knows no other way, and has no real sense of family.  In an attempt to find a secret family treasure, Birdie finds her self living a somewhat normal life, finding her place in the world, and connecting to people.  But is it real, can it last, or will she once again just run away?

I really enjoyed this book.   The underpinnings are that of a small time heist or treasure hunt for something material, when the real treasure is the people and relationships met along the way.  That theme can seem a bit trite, but I think Nolfi handles it beautifully.  While the book is set in the midwest, to me, it had a very southern feel to it, with them emphasis on family, history, propriety, and redemption.  

I really enjoyed the characters in the book, particularly Birdie.  She is not an easy woman to love, but you do none the less, and find yourself rooting for her.  I also loved the setting and characters of The Second Change Grill, and I feel like there are a lot more stories to tell about these women (ahem, a series perhaps?).  Some of the connections between characters seem a little confusing at first, but by the end of the book I think readers have a very clear picture of how everyone fits together.

All in all, this is a great book with a bit of something for everyone; history, action, intrigue, romance, strong female characters, and humor.  What's not to love?

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl, by Sandra Beasley

Don't Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life
Sandra spent her entire life with severe food allergies.  Severe and extensive food allergies.  She never got to enjoy a cupcake for a classmate's birthday, and a cheeseburger is simply not within the realm of possibilities.  Frequent reactions and illness due to food reactions, sometimes resulting in trips to the emergency room, became a normal part of life for her.  In this book, she discusses the impact of food allergies on her own life, and how society as a whole can be better informed and help make the world safer for those with such intense and life limiting allergies.

As someone who has never experienced a food allergy, I was really ill informed about how allergies impact daily living.  Sure, I have allergies to some medications that cause issues, and a bit of lactose intolerance, and I, like many others, have noticed allergy warnings and heard the urban legend like stories of people dying after kissing someone who ate an allergen laced food.  But by and far, I was completely in the dark, and this book really helped shed some light on the subject of food allergies.  A lot of good scientific information was presents, as well as Sandra's personal life experiences.

Many people have criticized this book, saying it does not take the issue seriously enough.  I disagree.  I think Sandra approached her situation like a lot of people would, what teenager or young adult does not try to push boundaries, thinking they are immortal?  What person would not once in a why be cautiously optimistic and try a food?  Even foods that were safe in the past ended up causing a reaction later down the road, so I feel like her approach to life was an attempt at normality that is completely understandable.

I felt like this book really helped enlighten me to the danger of food allergies, and helped me consider points of view I other wise would not.  It is a good place to start for someone who has a friend, family member, or partner with food allergies, or for someone looking to learn more about food allergies in general.  While Sandra's life may not be typical to one with severe food allergies, I believe it still has a lot to teach us.

I received a review copy as part of the Amazon Vine program.

Hooking Up, by Jessica L. Degarmo

Hooking UpHeartbroken by the ending of her long term relationship, Caitlin takes advice from a magazine and has a one night stand.  But the man she hooked up with wants more.  He relentlessly pursues her, until she has no choice but to give in and see where it goes.  Never in her wildest dreams did she think her life would turn out the way it does, as she finds out shocking truths about the people she thought she knew, including herself.

Oh how I wish a book like this had crossed my path about 5 years ago.  How many women have found themselves in Caitlin's situation?  I know I had, at one point.  Which is why I think this book will speak to women everywhere.  Who has not had their heart broken?  Who has not done something somewhat stupid to cope with a heartbreak?  Who would not love for a perfect man to chase them?  Which is exactly why this book is so appealing, we have all been there, and we all still secretly long for a happy ending.

I really loved Caitlin's character.  She was open and vulnerable, not just about her romantic relationships, but with all the relationships, friend and family, in her life.  There is a little bit of Caitlin in all of us, I think, which is why we are so drawn to her.  And I love love LOVE her love interest, he is the kind of man most women dream of, and since we are a little like Caitlin, it is like we get the man as well.  It makes for a nice bit of daydreaming, for those who are so inclined.

While the book is sexy, and there is definitely sex in the story line, it is far from smutty.  Readers with more conservative values may be a tiny bit scandalized, but it is far from being gratuitous or profane.  I think the vast majority of readers will relate to the book, and enjoy it.  Some pretty heavy themes are covered, divorce, abuse, parental death, family secrets, things that so many of us have dealt with, which only adds to the book's appeal.  Brava Jessica, another spectacular novel.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cure for the Common Life, by Max Lucado

Cure for the Common Life

How many people go through life settling, hating their circumstances, and never reaching their full potential?  How would your life change if you found your true calling, your passion, your niche?  Take the steps to identify your unique gifts and talents, and apply them to your life in order to increase your potential for happiness and fulfillment.

I am a big fan of Max Lucado, so I was a little skewed going into this book.  But honestly, I found this book to be incredibly uplifting, and so helpful.  Who among us has not felt like we were merely going through the motions of life, not really doing what God created us to do?  So many of us have jobs, ones that are merely jobs, a way to pay the bills, and while I understand that a person has to do what a person has to do to survive, I do not understand people staying in jobs or fields that they hate.  This book really solidified the idea that we do not have to continue doing this.  So many people work jobs they hate, have relationships that make them crazy, and then abuse substances in order to cope with their unhappiness.  This book really helps people see that they can break these kinds of cycles and find a much more fulfilling life.

I really felt like I was able to apply a lot of these concepts to my life, and some of them I had already been employing for some time.  While this message and not new or earth shattering, Max is able to deliver it in a way that makes sense, and in a way that allows readers to make measurable changes to the way they approach life.  I felt like the book presented some great resources to implement the main ideas.

I have read other books like this that are written from a sales or self help perspective.  I loved that this book was written instead from a faith perspective.  As I anticipated, Max Lucado delivered yet another valuable book.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher.

I Don't Want to Be Crazy, by Samantha Schutz

I Don't Want To Be Crazy As if college is not stressful enough, Samantha is dealing with an anxiety disorder that can, at times, be crippling.  Dealing with family pressure, relationships with friends and boyfriends, and her classwork all can overwhelm her at times.  Therapy and medication help, but it is a constant struggle, which she finds out during a trip abroad.

As someone who also began to suffer from anxiety during young adulthood, I found this book so incredibly touching.  Samantha's depiction of the isolation caused by depression was spot on.  My heart ached for this young woman, and she opened her soul to the readers.  I think the struggles she has are common themes to many teens and young adults, but ones that are rarely talked about so honestly.  Yes, many books talk about the pressure of school, sex, drinking and drugs, and parents, but few couple those pressures with the constant presence of mental illness, and fewer still do it as honestly and adeptly as this book.

I am a big fan of books being written in verse form, so this was right up my alley.  While not quite as impactful as other verse writers, like Ellen Hopkins, I think that this book's intensity comes from the fact that the verse is not merely telling a story, it is telling a true story.  This is Samantha baring her soul for all the world to see; in that I find such strength and beauty.

This book is from my personal library.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

13 Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson

13 Little Blue Envelopes

Ginny knew her Aunt Peg was a free spirit, but she had no idea to what extent.   After Peg passes away, Ginny receives a series of letters that lead her overseas, to new and exotic places, putting her in situations of which she would never have dreamed.  Throughout her adventures, Ginny learns more about Peg, but she learns more about herself as well.

I really enjoyed this book.  I really loved both Ginny and Peg's character.  While we never actually meet Peg, we really learn a lot about her through Ginny's discoveries.  I think that Ginny is a highly relatable character.  She is shy and nervous, but she also takes this opportunity to really live life to its fullest, and I find this admirable.  I think a lot of young adult readers will really connect to Ginny.

I think the story is really sweet, and packed full of action.  I like that the story has settings all over Europe, it really kept things interesting, and, truth be told, made me more than a little jealous of Ginny.

The story does not end at the end of this book.  There is a nice little twist that leads to a sequel, which I have not read, but I think I am pretty likely to after seeing how much I enjoyed this book.  I think this book will really appeal to young adult female readers, who will be able to live vicariously through Ginny.

This book is from my personal library.

One Nation Under Gods, by Richard Abanes

One Nation Under Gods: A History of the Mormon Church

Joseph Smith founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the early 19th century, when the country itself was showing tremendous growth.  As the new Mormon movement gained popularity, it moved further and further west, finally settling in Utah.  With controversial tenets, including polygamy and blood atonement, the LDS church has been under scrutiny since its creation, yet somehow its membership grows and grows.  While some theological stances have been recanted or deemed out of date, the church still has a strong hold over its faithful members.

After reading another book on the LDS church, I quickly became fascinated with this mysterious denomination.  A friend of mine is an ex-Mormon, so she lent me this book to learn more about the history and beliefs of the church.  And boy howdy did I learn.  I think of the whole book, the most interesting to me was the early history of the founder, Joseph Smith, and how the church actually started.  It just seemed like there were so many holes in his testimony from the beginning, I am amazed he ever gained followers.

The book is long and heavy on the historical side of things, which I think is actually a strength.  There seem to be a lot of supporting documents regarding the information presented, which made me feel like the book was accurate, and well researched.  I would have like to have seen a bit more information on the current theology of the church.  I would like to see the updated version, to see if it includes information on the LDS influence on Proposition 8 in California, and the growing LDS presence in politics.

I am sure the LDS dislikes this book, as many of the poor reviews out there will show.  I cannot speak to whether or not this is an accurate book, as I myself am not a Mormon.  I can say that I felt like a lot of good information was presented, enough to make me want to continue research to form a more informed opinion.  Obviously, this book would not appeal to Mormon readers, but may appeal to those who have left the LDS church, or other Christians who, like me, want to learn more.  It would also appeal to historians and those interested in comparative theology.

This book was borrowed from a friend.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Unsaid, by Neil Abramson

Unsaid: A Novel

Helena was a lifelong animal lover, so much so that she became a vet.  But now that she has died, she is haunted by all the lives she, as a vet, had to take having had to euthanize animals.  Her guilt keeps her tied to this world, tied to her husband, and the animals she owned.  We see through her eyes how people adjust to her being gone, and the impact her life had on so many.

As an animal lover, and a pet owner, this book broke my heart.  I had to put it down for days on end, because I could not take hearing about animals being sick, or dying.  It was a tough read, but well worth sticking it out.  The story is a unique view of how a person can impact the lives of those around them (those that are 4 legged and those that are 2 legged) and how that person can change this world for the better without even realizing it.

It was sad to get to know Helena as a character, knowing she was already dead, and even her memories of life were being remembered through the eyes of a ghost.  But she is a powerful and compelling character.  I loved when she interacted with or talked about her husband.  It seemed so real, such a genuine portrait of how one grieves over the loss of a spouse.

The storyline is dramatic, and intense.  I imagine this would be a tough read for many animal lovers, or those still tender from the loss of a loved one, but that same demographic may also appreciate the book in ways most would not.  While this was a difficult read for me due to subject matter, it was a wonderful book, and I am glad I stuck it out to the end.  I found its frankness quite touching.

I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Juliet Immortal, by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal
Contrary to the romantic story spun by Shakespeare, Juliet Capulet did not sacrifice herself in the name of true love.  In reality her life was snuffed out by the one in whom she placed her trust and love.  Now, she is doomed to wander through time, helping secure the loves of soul mates while Romeo tries to tear them apart.  But this time, this pair of soul mates, well, everything is different.

I thought there was something darkly beautiful about this book.  I was skeptical at first, since I adore Romeo & Juliet, but I thought this interpretation was really original and delicately executed.  I love the melding of the characters of Juliet and Ariel, though I do wish we had a little first person interaction with Ariel before Juliet embodied her.  I felt as if Juliet's pain and longing was palpable, it literally jumped from the page.

My heart actually broke the most for Romeo, though for most of the book he is an unsympathetic character.  I think his situation and choices were open to interpretation, and who among us have not made poor decisions when it comes to love.  

I think that the message of love for one's self, as well as for others, is one to which young adult readers need more exposure.  This book delivers that message well, wrapped in the trappings of classic literary characters.  I would love to see more books that use traditional characters in modern ways, to help get young adult readers more interested in classic literature.  The darker aspects of the story will draw in fans of paranormal fiction; the story has potential to appeal to readers across genres.

I received a review copy of this as part of the Amazon Vine program.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


I am happy to announce that the winner of the Amazon Giftcard is......

Lisa, enjoy the giftcard, and I hope you get something fun from your wish list!

Thanks everyone for entering and reading Tiffany's Bookshelf!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


When it comes to books, I get just a little bit crazy.  Case in point: At the beginning of 2011, I set a goal for myself to read and review 200 books in 2011.  Secretly, I hope to exceed this goal, but we will see about that.

I am happy to announce that this morning, I posted my 100th review of the year.  This means I am halfway to my goal.  Since this is such a lofty goal, and I have worked so hard to get to the halfway point, I have decided to celebrate with a giveaway!

I have decided to giveaway a $15 giftcard to!

Now, here are the details of the giveaway:
  • The contest is open to EVERYONE.  Contest will end at 12:01 am on Saturday, August 13th.  That gives you more than a whole week to enter.
  • To enter, simply leave me a comment on this post with your name and email address.
  • For an extra entry, follow my blog, then leave me a comment telling me how you follow (GFC, Networked Blogs, etc.)
  • For an extra entry, follow me on Twitter, then leave me a comment with your Twitter handle.
  • For an extra entry, "like" my Facebook page, and leave me a comment telling me your Facebook name.
  • For extra entries, go to my  Amazon profile, and vote one (or more) of my reviews helpful.  Leave me a comment with the name of the review you voted helpful.  One extra entry for each review you vote on, up to 3.
So, that pretty much covers it.  You can get up to 7 entries.  So, what are you waiting for.  Remember, I must have your email address!

    500 Acres and No Place to Hide, by Susan McCorkindale

    500 Acres and No Place to Hide: More Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl

    We have all heard the old saying "you can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl", right?  Well, Susan pretty much epitomizes that saying.  After her husband convinces her to leave her well paying, prestigious job in New York, and move to a farm in Virginia, Susan has some trouble adapting.  She wears designer heels to do farm work, and deals valiantly with some serious family issues.  And she makes her life work for her as best as she can.

    This book was so funny, heartwarming, and endearing, I cannot imagine anyone not loving this book.  Susan had me laughing and crying.  She writes in a way that is very descriptive, but the descriptions are a little unusual, and it serves to keep the reader quite engaged.

    While the book is quite funny, there are some really serious issues with which Susan and her family deal.  She does so with levity, which makes them all the more heartbreaking.  It feels more like I am reading a very long email from a very good friend, than a book about someone I do not know.  Susan leaves every bit of her heart on the page.

    This book is a follow up to a prior book by the author, which I unfortunately have not read.  However, this book completely stands alone, as the author does a good job of summing up how her life ended up where it did.  I am sure the first book was great, but I did not need to read it to fully appreciate this one.

    I received a review copy from the publisher.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Does a Bear Sh*t in the Woods?, by Caroline Taggart

    Does a Bear Sh*t in the Woods?: Answers to Rhetorical Questions

    Rhetorical questions are, by their very nature, are not meant to be answered.  Things like "is the pope Catholic", "et tu Brute", and "Do you know the way to San Jose'' are such an accepted part of the rhetorical lexicon, no one ever intends to have such questions answered.  But what if someone went and gave us actual anwers to such questions?  No, that question was not rhetorical, and this book clearly answers it.

    I love books that are odd or unusual, that have an interesting gimmick, or is just a little offbeat, so this book was a perfect fit for me.  I found the writing to be very clever, and while I may not have been rolling on the floor laughing, more than one time this book got be chuckling and giggling.  The humor is very dry, so be prepared for that. 

    I will say that this is probably not a book you want to sit down and read in one sitting.  At some point, you may get a little overwhelmed with the rhetoric, and it may lose it's funny factor.  But this is a great book to keep around and read in snippits for full impact.

    If you have anyone in your family who likes sophisticated and smart humor, they would appreciate this book

    I received a review copy courtesy of the publisher.

    Monday, August 1, 2011

    A Touch of Revenge, by Gary Ponzo

    A Touch of Revenge (A Nick Bracco Thriller)

    Nick Bracco is back, and once again in danger.  Kurdish terrorists are after Bracco to avenge their leader's death, and will not stop until Bracco is dead.  The terrorists seem unphased by the death and destruction upon innocent people, and Bracco is determined to keep his family safe.

    The second installment in the Nick Bracco reacquaints readers with Nick, Matt, Tommy, and a few other characters.  I liked that we got to see a little bit more of Bracco's personal side, with a little more personal view of his marriage.   The plot was so fast paced, and full of excitement, I literally could not stop reading the book.  It was a little startling, the body count in the book, but the violence is not gratuitous, and it all helps further the plot of the book.

    The book opens with an action packed scene and things are rocking and rolling from the start.  It had been a while since I had read the first book in the series, yet within moments, I was back into Bracco's world, like no time had passed.  I loved it!

    I think this book will appeal greatly to fans of thrillers, crime dramas, and political dramas.  However, none of those tend to be genres I appreciate, and I still loved this book, which just goes to show that Ponzo's writing has mass appeal.

    I received a review copy courtesy of the author.

    Doctor Janeway's Plague, by John Farrell

    Doctor Janeway's Plague

    The Rev. Doctor Janeway appears to be middle aged, but appearances can be deceiving.  When his cousin Miriam shows up in Massachusetts to confront him about his past, he pulls her in to his web of deceit and manipulation.  People begin dying, golem like creatures roam the streets, a star in the heavens is sending out radioactive rays, and those investigating Dr. Janeway cannot fathom what they are finding out.

    I will be the first to admit, I am not a huge fan of science fiction, and I rarely read it.  I think my unfamiliarity with the genre actually served me well in the instance of this book, because I really did not know what would happen, and was compelled to keep reading at any cost.  I could not stop reading because I did not know where the story was going, and I wanted to see what would happen.  I really liked the plot; it seemed well researched and intense.  With the astronomical aspects of the plot, I was a little lost, as I know very little about astronomy.  However, readers can fully appreciate the story without having knowledge of astronomy.

    There are a lot of characters in the book, but I found them well developed, and all contributed to the furthering of the story.  Throughout the story there does seem to be actions and themes that at first may seem a bit repetitious but in the end, it does serve a purpose, and helps deliver a bit of a plot twist.

    All in all, I am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone and read a book from a genre I normally would not try.

    I received a review copy courtesy of the author.