Archive | May, 2009

Who Gets The Apartment by Steven Rigolosi

25 May

 

who gets

 

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It all started with a newspaper ad.

Corrine Jensen’s life it about to change. And not for the better.  Facing eviction from her current home because she can’t afford the condo fees, she wonders if she will end up homeless and on the streets.

Untill she reads a classified ad on the “Bulletin Board” of the Clarion, a community newspaper published on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. At first Corrine can’t believe her eyes; a luxury apartment for $600 a month? There had to be some sort of mistake. Corrine contacts the rental agent, Andrew Weisch, who assures her that there is no mistake. The apartment can be hers for first and last month’s rent.

Corrine can’t believe her luck. She pays Weisch first and last and he hands her the keys to apartment 18D. He tells her she can move in on the first and Corrine is overjoyed and believes that her luck may finally be changing.

Until she goes to move in.

When she arrives at apartment 18 D, she finds that the apartment has also been promised to three other people: Ollie, and up and coming artist, Venice, an assistant district attorney and Ian, a computer expert. They’ve all been promised the apartment and each has paid first and last months rent. They’ve all been duped.

They examine their leases and find that each one of them is a legally binding document. But now the question remains: Who gets the apartment? Each of the four has no place to go, they’re all essentially homeless; and each of them wants the apartment very, very badly. So who gets the apartment? But more importantly…

….what is each of them willing to do to get it?

Be warned before you start reading: this is not your average run of the mill mystery. Who Gets The Apartment? Is a serious mind trip that just gets better with each page. A quick prologue gives you the impression that you are in for a wild ride but you have no idea what’s coming.

What sets this novel apart from other mysteries is that you are given four possible scenarios, each more puzzling than the last, and you have no idea which one is the real outcome of the situation until the very end. It’s almost like a choose your own adventure except you’re shown each outcome and the story won’t let you go.

I absolutely loved this book. It gives the mystery genre something to be immensely proud of. Rigolosi has crafted four very different scenarios of guile, suspense and pitch perfect humour that the novel moves forward at break neck speed.

The characters are unique and far from the usual cookie cutter talking heads that populate normal mysteries and you would swear you know someone exactly like them. Rigolosi is really an expert in studying the human mind and uses this to great flair within the pages of Who Gets the Apartment?

I haven’t had so much fun reading a mystery in eons. Who Gets the Apartment? is perfect for a day at the beach, a ride on the bus. It’s good for anywhere you want to be entertained because one thing is for sure: Once you start Who Gets the Apartment? you won’t want to put it down until the very last page.

Circle of Assassins by Steven Rigolosi

25 May

Circle

 

Revenge is Sweet

Every day we are brutalized by those who hurt us, take advantage of us, steal what is ours, mistreat our loved ones, destroy our property, terrorize us psychologically, criticize and condemn us, or trample our self respect. Enough is enough! It’s time to turn the tables. Write to A care of Box 270. (For entertainment purposes only) 

 

When five people answer the above ad, they have no idea that they have started a chain reaction that will result in the ultimate revenge: death. Each answers the ad in hopes to rid their life of an unwanted person. Someone known only as “A” offers to help them, if they kill someone else.

The deal is simple: Five strangers each assigned a letter and a colour. Each will receive details in the mail about the person they are to kill. Each of them must be careful to leave no paper trail and to destroy any and all communication.

Coordinated by “A”, they are each sent letters, pictures and address information in order to more effectively murder the person their contact has chosen. But why must these people die? There are all sorts of different reasons for someone to die; maybe this person is a drug dealer. Maybe he is a pedophile. Maybe he is not who he seems on the surface.

They become a circle of killers, a circle of assassins. Their identities are hidden, even to themselves. But, as with most secrets, something goes horribly wrong.

Each of them must reach deep down into their hearts, and their souls, in order to survive…

To tell you any more of the plot would be to ruin what is without a doubt the most engaging and ingenious mystery novel I have read in years. Make no mistake; this is not your ordinary mystery novel. Told in a series of letters, emails, book proposals, prose, newspaper articles and anything in between, this novel really makes you consider the question “What if?”

What Rigolosi has done is turn a mystery novel inside out. Through the correspondence, we get inside the characters’ heads. We know WHY they have chosen their particular person, what has driven them to such extremes. Normally, you don’t feel sympathy for a killer in a mystery novel. Circles of Assassins is the opposite of this; I felt nothing but sympathy for each of the characters driven to commit murder.

Because it’s told from each character’s point of view, you get to see them, really know them, and this makes Circle of Assassins different from anything you have read before. I found myself rooting for the murderers, hoping that their killings would go off without a hitch. Because you know the killers, you’re involved with them. It’s an emotional, page turning adventure that will leave you breathless.

Rigolosi has given us a case study of five people who are willing and able to commit murder. No other book I’ve read before has been able to see into the heart of a killer so effectively. He also shows us that even regular people, not just psychopaths, can be driven to kill.

What really threw me were the multitude of twists thrown into the novel. Nothing happened the way I expected it to, nothing went according to where I thought it should. And the twists are HUGE. I can’t tell you what any of them are but, suffice it to say, they will have you looking at the book in a new, frightening light.

This book is so good that I’m reading it for a second time, just to pick up everything I missed the first time. Circle of Assassins is an incredible read that sucks you in from the first page and then doesn’t let go until you’ve finished the last. If you haven’t read it yet, pick it up. It’s liable to be the best mystery you’ll read in years.

Billionaire Extraordinaire by Leanne Banks

18 May

Billionaire

 

I finished this book in a day and it was a sheer delight.

I’ve only read one other book by Leanne Banks and it was Hot Stuff, co-authored with Janet Evanovich. So I really had no idea what to expect when picked it up as I had never read a book written by Banks on her own. But I did have a vague idea that it would enjoyable.

Thankfully it was more than that. Billionaire Extraordinaire was a sheer, lovely delight from start to finish. And one of the better contemporary romances I’ve read in a while.

Emma Weatherfield is worried. She has been assigned as an Administrative Assistant to Damien Medici, a billionaire who has been chosen to reorganize Megalos-De-Luca Enterprises, the company she works for. And reorganization means cutting jobs.

She’s been asked by her two former bosses, Alex and Max, to spy on Damien and make sure that she reports all information necessary to protect the company directly to them. Emma knows that she can do this. All she has to do is fake it and she’s been faking it since she was six years old.

But she doesn’t count on Damien Medici being so incredibly good looking and handsome. Nor does she count on that little flare of desire that erupts inside of her every time she looks at him.

Damien has his own agenda as well: years ago, the Megalos-De-Luca family ruined the Medici’s, leaving them in poverty and Damien and his brothers in foster care. He sees this contract as the perfect way to settle an old score. And he will achieve this using whatever means necessary. Even if this means seducing Emma to gather information of his own.

What he doesn’t count on is falling for Emma Weatherfield.  Revenge is much more difficult when the heart, and emotions, are involved…

This is a fabulous read. It’s under 200 pages so it’s a quick one, but I wasn’t able to put it down and was hooked from page one. The writing is crisp and funny, the desire is full of fire and passion. It’s a great read whether your on the beach or you wish you were.

If you want a great romantic read, pick up Billionaire Extraordinaire; it will leave you breathless and wanting more!

Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

18 May

otherworld

 

I love the Otherworld Series by Kelley Armstrong.

That being said, I had never read the free novellas that she offered on her web site. I don’t know why this is. Part of it has to do with the fact that I love holding the book in my hand. The other part of it, I guess, was that I didn’t want to read anything outside the actual series of books.

I know, finicky but true.

But I was extremely excited to hear that most of the online fiction would be taken off of Kelley’s web site and published into a couple of collections, the first of which is Men of the Otherworld.

I was a trifle worried that it would read like a bunch of mismatched short stories that wouldn’t really flow together very well. However, I am happy to report that I was way more than wrong.

Men of the Otherworld consists of the tales Infusion, Savage, Ascension and Kitsunegari, the collection of otherworld tales actually reads like a novel. The book follows the progress of the men of the pack including Jeremy’s birth, Clay’s being bitten, his training and acceptance of his new life.

In fact, though these tales were written at the same time as the novels, because of how they are arranged, they make for a better read than some of the more recent Women of the Otherworld novels. Not because those novels were bad; far from it. More, I think, because there is an urgency to these tales, a need that burns off the page.

If you’ve never read Kelley Armstrong’s novels before, Men of the Otherworld is actually a great place to start as everything but the last story takes place before the series itself.

And with all of Kelley Armstrong’s proceeds going to World Literacy of Canada, you’re getting a great read and doing something good. How can you go wrong?

The Deadline Murders by Ron Morgans

18 May

The_Deadline_Murders

 

I am not really a big fan of mystery novels.

I find that a lot of mystery authors kind of move their characters around, try to surprise us with red herrings or twists in the plot that aren’t really twists as we can see right through them. The other problem mystery novels have is that they’re boring. I just flat out can’t read most of them.

There are a few mystery authors that I do like however: Agatha Christie, Minette Walters, Mo Hayder. I know that when I see their name on the cover of a book I can (usually) expect a great read from them.

However: Ron Morgans blows them all out of the water. Really, he does.

The Deadline Murders is the freshest and most fun mystery I have read in years. It’s heroine, Henrietta Fox, is a paparazzo, a celebrity photographer. She’s tall, lean and has flaming red hair to match her Irish temper. At the beginning of The Deadline Murders, she’s pissed that she’s at the Farnborough Air Show instead of photographing some sort of celebrity mess up.

That all changes when a plane, a prototype Sumxu military transport plane from China nosedives and crashes, bursting into flames. Henrietta captures this all on film, not realizing that she has just started events in motion that could mean her death.

She teams up with newspaper reporter Cass Farraday and, as the two begin to dig further into events, they realize that five reporters have each been murdered and Henrietta might just be the next in line…

This is an absolutely wonderful mystery. If you read one good book this summer, make sure it’s this one. The Deadline Murders is fresh, funny, fast and furious. It hooks you from page one and doesn’t let go.

I can’t wait to read the other books in the series. 

Italian for Tourists by Jo Lindsell

18 May

Cover-Front-Final

 

I have always wanted to learn Italian.

There are several reasons for this; but most of all because the language sounds so incredibly beautiful. I would listen to foreign films, to operas, to Italian music and think to myself: I wish I could speak in such a beautiful language.

I would wonder, though, what I would do if I ever travelled to Italy. I’ve looked at every phrase book, every guide book and found no help within their pages. They would talk of grammar, punctuation, places to visit, sites of interest. But none of them ever taught me how to speak Italian.

Until now.

Upon flipping through Italian for Tourists by Jo Lindsell, the whole book looked rather simplistic. After reading through the book several times, I realized that this was part of the books beauty.

What Jo has done is to take a language and bring it back to it’s basics, back to its beauty. She has made the impossible possible with Italian for Tourists: she has helped me to learn another language.

I often struggle with learning new languages and new phrases, but Jo makes it incredibly easy. Italian for Tourists gives you every bit of language that you could possibly need if you were on holiday in Italy.

Divided into seventeen sections, all a tourist has to do is skim the table of contents and skip to the correct section. Sections include hotels, sight seeing, food and drink, greetings and more. Even better, each word and each phrase comes with a pronunciation guide, helping you speak like a true Italian in no time.

I never knew that learning another language could be so simple, so helpful and so much fun. If ever you are going to visit Italy, this is the only book you will need!