Archive | March, 2009

Tangled Roots by Sue Guiney

26 Mar

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There is something wrong with John.

He should be happy. He knows this. His niece, Amanda, has just married her fiancée. He is well off. He is a respected physics professor. He has money in the bank and can live comfortably for some time. He is good looking and women still find him attractive. He has money to spare and everything in his life is ordered and in it’s proper place.

But still, something is bothering him, something is eating away at him from the inside. John is obsessed with time. He calculates it, studies it, peers at it day in and day out. But he can’t control it. He can’t control his past, present or his future. His is angry at the world, furious for reasons he can’t put into words. But he knows that the trouble started in London.

That the trouble started with his mother.

John does not have fond memories of his mother. After a family tragedy, his mother was a different person. She was no longer his mother but someone more. She was different, her habits were different. And she no longer had time to be his mother. Though he is loathe to admit it, John still carries those scars of what he sees as her betrayal.

While John has one way of looking at things, his own secrets to hide, his mother has her own stories to tell. Grace remembers everything; every word, every occasion, every utterance. She tells her story, tells what really happened, her voice firmly rooted in the past.

She is a consummate storyteller, a spinner of tales with the occasional exaggeration thrown in for good measure. Through her eyes, we hear a different side of things and discover some incredible secrets about life itself.

And though John is loath to go back to London, where all the trouble with his mother started, he will have to go. And what he finds there may be his undoing…

There is no way that my meager plot summary can ever hope to do justice to Tangled Roots. There is so much substance, so much emotion and so much story tucked between the covers of this incredible novel that it would take me pages and pages to describe every delicious detail.

Tangled Roots isn’t a novel you read. It’s a novel you experience. Though at first the shifting of narrators is a bit jarring, it slowly grows to comfort you. You will be reading about John, absorbed in his troubles and turn the page to find Grace waiting for you like an old friend. Though John and Grace’s stories are incredibly different, one rooted in the present, one in the past, both stories are the same and grow from the same bond.

Part mystery, part education on physics, part family drama, part oral history, Tangled Roots is a novel that defies classification. It is also incredibly, wonderfully beautiful. Sue Guiney has written a novel of such beauty, such seemingly simple storylines that, before you know it, the roots of the story have grown into you and won’t let go until you finish the last page.

Sue Guiney has also written a novel that everyone can identify with. How many of us have had troubles with our mothers? How many of us have had trouble with our lives? How many of us struggle with the past that has made us as we are in the present? How many of us struggle with our present so our future is controllable?

Guiney has given us two distinctly different narrators, but we can relate to both of them. She has given us a story of physics, baseball and human nature and the power of story. John and Grace become friends, confidants when the book is done and I know that they will haunt me forever.

Tangled Roots is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I urge you, plead with you to read Tangled Roots. It will dip its roots into your imagination and you will never want it to let go.

Fury Calls by Caridad Pineiro

25 Mar

 

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Blake Richards is a vampire haunted by the past.

Four years ago, he was forced to either sire Meghan Thomas, making her a vampire, or risk having her die. So he did the only thing he could do and turned her…and lost the only woman he had ever loved.

Though he is still tortured by his love for her, Blake knows that he will have to make it up to her, somehow. And maybe then, she can forgive him…

Angry at having her life taken away from her, Meghan doesn´t want anything to do with Blake. She misses her former life, misses what she once was. She is fueled by anger at having her life taken from her, at having the decision made for her.

Meghan is also haunted by the past and can´t forget the attraction she felt for Blake, the attraction she still feels for him. Fury fills her every time she thinks of him and yet, she can´t stop herself thinking of Blake and the passion they shared.

Both of them must put aside their fury and anger when something threatens the vampire community. Bodies of vampires are found, ravaged beyond recognition.

Blake and Meghan come together to try and find out what is killing others of their kind. During the investigation, the attraction that they feel for each other starts to grow stronger until neither of them can ignore it.

But they are in a race against time. Though no one knows who has been killing the vampires, there are suspicions. And those suspicions begin to fall on Blake.

Meghan must put aside her fury and make a choice: Is Blake the man she could love? Or is he a killer?

If you haven´t read the other novels, there is no need to. Pineiro manages to make each novel stand alone as a complete and wonderful story.

The newest book in Caridad Pineiro´s amazing The Calling series is the best yet and is one of the best romances I have ever read. It has everything you could possibly want in a romance novel: a thrilling plot, amazing characters, and an incredible dark storyline.

But Fury Calls is so much more than that.

In Fury Calls, Piniero has given us a story of true, bittersweet emotion. She has given us a novel where the characters on the page are so alive, they seem to live and breathe off of the pages. She has given us the ultimate love story that pulls at your heart and your emotions. Not an easy feat to manage, but Pineiro pulls this off with style and grace.

Though this is the seventh full novel in The Calling Series, Pineiro manages to keep things fresh by giving us a hero and a heroine that we care about, that we become emotionally involved with. She also manages to keep the mythology of the vampire new and fresh by introducing different elements never before seen.

Fury Calls is also her darkest offering yet in The Calling series. There were several uncomfortable moments in Fury Calls, but Pineiro handled them with ease. Unafraid of taking the series to new, darker places, she forces the reader to confront the darkness within themselves and the world around them.

The Calling Series, though about vampires, is really the ultimate study in human nature. What drives someone to love, to hate, to kill? And though the characters that populate the series are vampires, Pineiro still manages to make them incredibly vulnerable, incredibly human. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Fury Calls.

Fury Calls is a dark, incredible ride and I didn´t want it to end. It´s a wonderful story of love, lust, murder and redemption that leaves the reader wanting more. It´s one of the most amazing romances that I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Do yourself a favor and read Fury Calls and experience true, exquisite passion.

Honor Calls by Caridad Pineiro

25 Mar

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Michaela Ramirez has always fought what she was. Literally.

A half vampire, she is a huntress in the night as she finds and then kills vampires who have no regard or respect for humanity. She is called by honor to defend others, driven by her past and by what she is to do the right thing.

Even if it means putting herself in the line of fire.

FBI Assistant Director, Jesus Hernandez, has always believed in what he can see and touch. He has seen a fair share of crime in his lifetime. He knows that evil lurks on the streets of Manhattan and that it is his job to protect its citizens.

Despite the darkness that Jesus has seen, his current case worries him. It feels different. Bodies left out in the open, their throats ravaged to a bloody mess.

Knowing that the killer may have left a trail, Jesus decides to stop by The Blood Bank, a popular Goth hang out, for clues. He knows that The Blood Bank caters to those who favor the darkness, who like the darker things in life.

Though he knows there are those who whisper of things going bump in the night, the rumors hold no credence for him. He is a man who needs truth, who is called by honor to uphold the truth and the law.

All that is challenged when he arrives at The Blood Bank. In an alleyway, he spies Michaela attacking what he thinks is a man. Then Jesus sees the glowing eyes of the beast and knows that the attacker is something different. Something not human.

Though his honor demands he uphold the law, he is drawn to Michaela by an incredible attraction. And though her honor is put to the test, something in Jesus pulls at Michaela´s heart, something dangerous.

As the attraction between them grows, both of them know that, in the end, they must heed the call of their honor; despite what it may cost them…

Honor Calls is one of the best romances I have ever read. Caridad Pineiro is well known for creating a thrilling story with great characters and a moving plot but she has outdone herself this time. Not only do we get thrilling danger and searing love, but her characters are beautifully flawed.

Jesus is so bound by what he can see and touch that, when he is confronted with something other than the ordinary, he struggles inwardly. Michaela is so bound by revenge that, when she has to stop and contemplate the attraction she feels for Jesus, the fear she feels if he should run for her, the worry is palpable.

Though a short read, what Pineiro has given us is really a study in human, and un-human nature. She has taken something that all of us deal with and given it a supernatural twist.

How many times have all of us struggled with something we wanted, though we knew that it might be bad for us? How many times has we denied ourselves pleasure, though our hearts and minds have called out for it?

Honor Calls is an incredible, wonderful read that will help you chase away an afternoon and leaving you craving more. Do yourself a favor and read Honor Calls.

Heed the Call and fall prey to passion…you won’t regret it.

Prelude to a Super Airplane by Brian Spaeth

22 Mar

 

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Almost everyone has flown on an airplane at least once in their lives. They are huge and intimidating, able to conquer the skies and the power of flight. Everyone has fantasized about being able to fly, about being able to fly through the clouds.

But none of us have flown on a super airplane: 47 floors high and able to fly at incredible speeds. But it is the people concerned with the airplane that are our focus here, the ones that think about airplanes constantly that draw our attention.

The year is 2012 and America is on the verge of Civil War. One side wants flying cars to be the main method of transportation; the other wants the new super airplane to be the only method of transport. At stake in this war? The entire future of transportation.

Our world as we know it will be forever changed…

Prelude to a Super Airplane is unlike anything you have read before. More literary experiment than a novel, Prelude to a Super Airplane is essentially one hundred and seven little stories about airplanes. Some follow the plot that you’ve just read above.

Others, well…did I mention that this was unlike anything you’ve read before?

Spaeth wrote Prelude to a Super Airplane over a period of seven days. And man what a ride! Though the book zooms along and sometimes you’re wondering who you’re reading about, it doesn’t matter.

This is a book with a sense of humour that never takes itself very seriously. It’s a quick, roller coaster of a ride that is anything but boring.

In fact, I laughed out loud several times and enjoyed every word. It really is unlike anything ever before attempted and this is part of the novels strengths.

Though sometimes the stories of the characters get lost amongst the more autobiographical portions of the book, you’re holding on for sheer life as the pages seem to flip themselves.

Even though Prelude to a Super Airplane is more literary experiment than a novel, it’s one hell of a good time. I’ve never had so much fun reading a book. From the first page, I was intrigued and, by the third page, I was hooked.

Prelude to a Super Airplane promises to be the first comedy-political thriller – mystery- drama-romance-action/adventure-science fiction-showbiz insider- horror-family energy drink- industry insider- holiday autobiography, Prelude to a Super Airplane is one hell of a great ride.

At times confusing, intriguing, hilarious, bizarre and all kinds of wonderful, Prelude to a Super Airplane is THE beach book for this summer.

Read it and feel like you’re flying.

The Circle of Friends Book I: Lori by L. Diane Wolfe

15 Mar

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What would you do if your life went in a direction you hadn’t planned? Would you charge on forward? Would you have the confidence to continue down an unknown path? Or would you crumble under your own self doubt?

Lori Anders lives the good life. She is the child of wonderful parents. She has incredible grades in school. She is popular and well liked by everyone. She is also an amazing swimmer who has dreams of swimming in the Olympics.

But, even with all sorts of good things going for her, Lori still feels empty. Though she puts on a good face to the world, always appearing happy and content, inside Lori is unsure of herself and extremely unhappy.

That all changes when she meets Jason Phillips.

When Lori is attacked after helping her friend deal with some bullies, Jason Phillips comes to her aid. He marvels at the fact that Lori is able to stand up to so much pressure, so much tension and still think positively.

Lori immediately tried to pull within herself, unsure as to why one of the most popular guys in school would even stop to help her. As Lori battles her self doubt and her lack of confidence, her relationship with Jason develops into something more than friendship.

Jason’s interest in her and their growing love help force Lori out of her shell and build up her confidence. But when something happens that tests her newfound confidence, will Lori give in to her old demons?

The Circle of Friends Book I: Lori is an absolute delight from start to finish. Never have I read such an emotionally charged wonderful book. Wolfe has succeeded in writing a book about people that matter, about people you can grow attached to. Real people.

What I found most interesting about The Circle of Friends Book I: Lori was its warmth. You can tell that the author has so much love for these characters that it is not possible to love them as well. It’s rare for me to become emotionally involved with a book but, while reading Lori, I was hoping and cheering right along with the characters.

It’s also rare for me to read a book with a message and not come away feeling as if I’ve had half a pound of sugar. Most books with a message usually hit the reader over the head from page one; but one of Wolfe’s strengths is that she doesn’t do that. She lets actions speak louder than words, lets the characters speak for themselves.

Wolfe manages to teach us some very wise advice while giving us an incredible story: never stop yourself from going after your dreams. Never give up on yourself. Never let lack of self-confidence stand in the way of achieving your dreams. It’s an incredible, inspiring message interwoven into one of the best novels I have ever read. Period.

If you want to read an incredibly well written novel that will change the way you see yourself, this is the book for you. Once you become a part of The Circle of Friends, you will never want to leave.

The Circle of Friends Book I: Lori is an amazing book that will leave you breathless for more.

The Circle of Friends Book II: Sarah by L. Diane Wolfe

15 Mar

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Everyone has self-doubt inside of them. We carry it around inside of us and, most of the time, we’re able to ignore it, to push it aside. But what would you do if you let self-doubt control your life instead of ignoring it? What if self-doubt began to take over your life?

Sarah Martin is heading for great things in life. She’s bold, smart, fun and a talented student in biochemistry at Georgia Tech. But Sarah is very good at hiding problems, at masking what she is really feeling.

Even though Sarah seems to have it all, she suffers from self-doubt, from a lack of self-confidence. It colours everything she does. Instead of confronting the doubts she has about herself, she tries to ignore them by acting out, by acting rashly.

Estranged from her father, envious of her best friend Lori’s perfect life, Sarah feels as if she will never meet the expectations of others. That all changes when she meets Matt.

Matt is friends with Sarah’s roommate, Heather. Sarah enjoys Matt’s visits, even if he doesn’t come to se her.

But then something begins to spark between them. Something that feels dangerously like love. This has Sarah wanting to run away, and fast.

Still suffering from self-doubt, and unable to love herself, Sarah can hardly believe that Matt loves her, that he finds her beautiful. What Sarah doesn’t know is that Matt has trouble trusting others and by loving her, by giving her his heart, he has made himself incredibly vulnerable.

They will both have to face their own demons so that their love will have a chance to bloom. Or they will lose everything they hold dear…

Words can’t describe how much I loved this novel. Out of all of L. Diane Wolfe’s Circle of Friends novels, The Circle of Friends Book II: Sarah is definitely my favourite.

There are several reasons for this. She has written a novel that has real people going through real ordeals. The warmth and love she has for her characters shines through on every page and the people within The Circle of Friends feel like your friends. It is as if you have known them for years.

Wolfe also deals with difficult and emotional issues. Where most authors would run screaming from writing emotional scenes that deal with difficult emotions and buried feelings, Wolfe manages not only to make the scenes emotionally charged and well written, she has also managed to show people as they really are without making it all seem like an after school special. Not an easy feat, I assure you.

But ultimately, it is my own personal reaction to the novel that has me loving it so much. I continually suffer from self-doubt. I continually battle that little voice inside the back of my head that tells me I’m too ugly, I’m too fat. I’m not smart enough, I’m not talented enough. I am continually fighting with that voice, who tells me there is no way anyone in their right mind could love me.

I connected with Sarah on so many levels mostly because it was as if she was living my life. I wanted to reach into the pages of the book and pull her close to me, wrap my arms around her to comfort her; and in turn, myself.

The message in this book is clear: Never let self doubt stop you from living your life. Don’t let self-doubt stop you from giving an accepting love. Do not let self-doubt stop you from really living your life. These are wise words from an incredible author.

Sarah: Circle of Friends Book II is, without a doubt, one of the most amazing and moving books I have ever read. Wolfe has written the impossible: a story of real people facing lifes real issues and she does this with style, grace and aplomb.

Anyone who has suffered from poor self-image and low self esteem needs to read this book. It will not only restore your faith in yourself but your faith in others.

The Great and Secret Show by Clive Barker

5 Mar

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In the dead letter room in the middle of Omaha, Randolph Jaffe has stumbled upon a secret. At first, the secret isn’t clear, just vague references to something called the Art. The Art begins to consume Jaffe, taking over his life. Its secrets continue to elude Jaffe until he cracks part of the code.

The Art are laws governing an alternate reality called Quididdty. Quididdty is the dream see, the dreamscape, the magic that runs through all our fantasies. Jaffe can think of nothing else except the Art and becoming a master of it. Quididdty is his for the taking.

Taking a scientist named Fletcher under his wing to further his growing evil, Jaffe hopes to get one step closer to mastering the Art. Fletcher creates a transforming drug they call Nuncio, which uses the principals of the Art. What they don’t realize is that it will become their undoing.

Fletcher realizes that Jaffe is evil and attempts to stop his plans by destroying the Nuncio. He knows that the drug is capable of transforming anyone into what ever they are most on the inside. Good becomes great. Evil becomes more so. Except, the Nuncio has other plans. It transforms Fletcher and then Jaffe into Demigods. Not content to let the other live, (after all, good must always triumph over evil) Fletcher and Jaffe engage in a battle that brings them to Palamo Grove, a small town and an ideal place to hide and rest in the earth while regaining the energy to continue fighting.

Years pass. Then something unthinkable happens. Four girls, dubbed The League of Virgins, become pregnant after swimming in a river that appeared on the edge of town. When the girls start talking of being raped in the river, gossip in the small town grows to an all time high. No one knows the truth, however, no matter how crazy the rumors.

Jaffe and Fletcher have impregnated four women in hopes of producing offspring to continue the battle they began so many years ago. Fletcher knows that he cannot allow Jaffe to gain access to the Art, to Quididdty; otherwise, it could mean the end of the world, and dreams, as we know it…

What Barker does here is create myth and he does so beautifully. It’s a difficult thing to create an epic myth from the ground up, but Barker does so in “The Great and Secret Show” with such skill and mastery that you know he has a gift. The plot mentioned above doesn’t even begin to describe the plot for this book. It is a big, wonderfully sprawling dive into wonderland.

What I love about books by Clive Barker is that they are usually character driven. This is also the case here. While there is a lot of focus on myth and legend here, Barker also focuses on the people filling his tale. It’s a good thing he does – there is a cast of hundreds here and we get to know almost all of them through out “The Great and Secret Show”. What’s wonderful is that this is actually the first novel in a trilogy, The Books of Art.

I devoured this book. Quididdty now floats through my dreams and haunts my waking hours. This is an amazing book. It’s a big one, but it’s worth it. An amazing piece of literature, a great beginning to an epic fantasy, any way you look at it, this is an amazing read.