Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks

Product Description
After fourteen years, New York Times bestselling fantasy master Terry Brooks has returned to the magic kingdom of Landover. The remarkable realm of dragons, demons, wizards, and wonders that wove an irresistible spell in five classic novels throws open its gates at long last for a brand-new adventure featuring a dazzling cast of characters and creatures.
Ben Holiday, Chicago lawyer and mere mortal turned monarch of enchanted Landover, has grappled with scheming barons, fire-breathing beasts, diabolical conjurers, and extremely wicked witches. None of whom have prepared him for the most daunting of challengers–a teenage daughter. Sent by Ben and his beloved sylph bride, Willow, to an exclusive girls’ prep school, headstrong (and half-magical) Mistaya Holiday has found life in the natural world a less than perfect fit. And when her latest rebellious antics get her indefinitely suspended, she’s determined to resume her real education–learning sorcery from court wizard Questor Thews–whether her parents like it or not.
But back home in Landover, Mistaya’s frustrated father is just as determined that the precocious princess learn some responsibility, and he declares her grounded until she successfully refurbishes the long-forsaken royal library. Mortified by the prospect of salvaging a king’s ransom in moldy books–and horrified by word that repulsive local nobleman Lord Laphroig seeks to marry her–Mistaya decides that the only way to run her own life is to run away from home.
So begins an eventful odyssey peppered with a formidable dragon, recalcitrant gnomes, an inscrutable magic cat, a handsome librarian, a sinister sorcerer, and more than a few narrow escapes as fate draws Landover’s intrepid princess to the last place she expected to go, and into the thick of a mystery that will put her mettle to the test–and might bring the kingdom to its knees.

My Thoughts:
This book was ok. I am a big fan of the Landover series by Brooks, but this one did not have the same appeal as the others. The main focus of the book is the daughter of the 'high lord', Mistaya, whom has some significant issues including a dragon, nobleman, crow, and several other bizarre things. She doesn't fit in with the world of her father, she doesn't want to follow the rules her parents set for her in Landover, and she decides the only way to proceed is to run away and live her own life without their interference.
A lot of the characters you know and love from the first books of the Landover series are back but in limited ways as the main focus is the king's daughter and her struggles. Mistaya seems like a typical teenager, rebellious and coming across as annoyingly self absorbed most of the time. She does come out of that and do well with her life but the main drama in the book was from her not doing what she was told because she didn't want to. It was a little taxing to deal with the teenage drama of the book but overall it was a good addition to the series. Not to mention Brooks set it up perfect to continue the series!
Overall, I give this a 3/5. If you are a fan of the Landover books, it is worth the read. If you haven't read any of the series, this one could stand alone but you would probably get confused on some of the character interactions.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Payback by Fern Michaels

Book Description:
Meet the Sisterhood--seven very different women who found one another in their darkest days and formed an indelible friendship, strong enough to heal their pasts and bring laughter and joy back into their lives. In Myra Rutledge's beautiful VA home, amid hugs and fresh iced tea, shrimp fritters, and shell-pink tulips, the friends have gathered to embark on their second mission of sweet revenge for one of their own. Julia Webster's husband, a US senator, has used his wife's graciousness and elegance to advance his career even as he's abused her trust at every turn and left her dreams for the future in tatters. Now, on the eve of his greatest political victory, he's about to learn a serious lesson in payback. Because the senator crossed the wrong woman...and there are six more where she came from...

My Thoughts:
I am loving this series! Definately targeted toward an adult audience with the language and content, but such a fun read. Maybe its just that I love the bad guys getting what they deserve, even if it is by vigilante justice. In this story, Julia gets to exact her revenge on her cheating husband. He is a senator whom she has helped for years to gain and keep his position, but he has cheated on her MANY times and now has given her a deadly disease. I like that her revenge isn't limited to him but they tack on some other justice that is definitely well-deserved.
Overall, I give this book a 4/5. It is a great read, but you could definitely buy it at a used bookstore or maybe borrow it. There are still several more in the series and I intend to read them!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Once Wicked Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley

What happens when a family’s darkest secrets put lives in jeopardy? How far would you go for love?
Once Wicked Always Dead, answers these questions and more.
Molly Madison is unaware of the sociopath who is on the loose, creating havoc with a sense of their own justice. Her life is shattered by the sudden death of her beloved parents and the revelation of her husband Phillip's affair with another man. Molly leaves the life of country clubs and the luxury of city life and heads west to Montana, resolved to run the family ranch, and to move on with her life. Her attraction to Clayton Leatherbe, the ranch foreman, is instant, but before a romance can blossom, the ranch falls prey to sabotage by wealthy land developers determined to drive Molly out, and Clayton learns of a family secret that could put the ranch and Molly’s life in jeopardy. A sharp mystery that deals with the themes of family secrets, betrayal, love, and loss, Once Wicked Always Dead is a strong debut from an author with literary blood in her veins.

My Thoughts:
This book was ok. It is definitely aimed toward an adult audience with the language used and a few 'love scenes'. The main character, Molly, has so many things going on and going wrong in her life that you immediately feel sorry for her. Her parents die in a tragic car accident, her husband's gay lover tells her of their affair, there is a vigilante dealing her own justice to pedophiles, and there are family secrets that threaten to tear her already crumbling world apart!
I liked that Molly was portrayed to be strong and self sufficient. The main thing I disliked about the book was that it was predictable. I knew who the vigilante was long before the 'big reveal', so, the suspense really wasn't there but the storyline was enjoyable. It was a quick read that was entertaining!
Overall I give it a 3/5. If you want to read it, borrow it or buy at a used book store.
Disclosure: Thanks to Martha Ciske for the free review copy. I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and the opinions stated above are 100% mine.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Saint by Ted Dekker

Product Description
"We call you Saint."
The name ignited a light in Carl's mind. Saint. He'd been covertly recruited for Black Ops and given his life to the most brutal kind of training any man or woman could endure. He was here because he belonged here. To the X Group.
An assassin. The most effective killer in the world. And yet . . . Carl Strople struggles to retain fleeting memories that betray an even more ominous reality. He's been told part of the truth--but what's the rest?
Invasive techniques have stripped him of his identity and made him someone new--for this he is grateful. But there are some things they can't take from him. The love of a woman, unbroken loyalties to his past, the need for survival.
From the deep woods of Hungary to the streets of New York, Saint takes you on a journey of betrayal in a world of government cover-ups, political intrigue, and one man's search for the truth. In the end, that truth will be his undoing.

My Thoughts:
This was a good book. I didn't realize when I read it that it was the second in a series, but it stands by itself and explains everything you need to know without having read the first book. This was very different from any other Christian book I've ever read it was almost dark, but for the most part, I enjoyed it.
Carl is a trained assassin whose memory has been erased and he doesn't know who he can trust or what to believe. He is a very gifted individual and is helped along by his 'partner' Kelly. She is a part of the organization that has made him who he is but is also completely loyal to him. There are twists and turns, shadows and deception in this book. I would almost label it as a 'science fiction' book because of some of the 'gifts' the characters are given but I can understand how they could be Divine as well. There are some unexplainable parts and things you are just supposed to believe without any reasoning that I found difficult, but it still held my attention throughout.
Overall I give this book a 3/5. I liked it, the story was good but the ending just left me feeling a bit like something was missing. This is a good book for anyone who likes mystery or science fiction. It may be better to read 'Showdown' first, but if you get the opportunity borrow it or buy it at a garage sale, it will defiantly make you think.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Danger in the Shadows by Dee Henderson

Book Description:
Sara's terrified. She's falling in love. And if that's not bad enough, it's with former pro football player Adam Black, a man everyone knows. That fact could cost Sara her life. Sara has been invisible, hidden away in a witness protection program from the man who kidnapped her and her sister twenty-five years ago, who caused her sister's death, and who so traumatized Sara that she blocked out the memory of his face. But Sara knows that he's still doing everything possible to find her - and finish her off before her memory returns. Her only safety is in staying invisible, but Adam won't listen, or give up on what they can have together. Soon they're both caught in a chain of events that brings Sara face to face with terror - and with the sure knowledge that only God can save her and set her free from the Danger in the Shadows.

My Thoughts:
This is an AMAZING book! Sara is in hiding from a killer and her whole goal is to stay out of the spotlight. She meets Adam under unusual circumstances and though she tries hard not to be, is attracted to the former football star that is still always in the public eye. There is lots of suspense and mystery, not to mention romance! Henderson shows how God works in each character's life and I've not read a Christian book quite like this one before. It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through!

I give this book a 5/5. Go get it and read it! You might can find it in a sale bin or used somewhere because it isn't a new release, but it is worth just going and buying!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels

Book Description:
Nikki Quinn is devastated when her best friend Barbara is knocked down and killed by a hit-and-run driver who claims diplomatic immunity. But Nikki has her work and her lover, fellow lawyer Jack Nolan, to keep her going, whereas Barbara's mother, Myra, has nothing. Festering in a sea of recriminations and hatred, unable to gain a sense of perspective, Myra is lost...until one day she switches on the evening news and sees Marie Lewellen, mother of a murder victim, take matters into her own hands and stab her daughter's killer. An idea is born, and within months Myra and Nikki have drawn together a group of women who have one thing in common: they have been failed by the American justice system, they're down but they're not out, and they're ready to find their nemeses and make them pay. First up is Kathryn, a long-distance truck driver who was raped at a road stop by three motorcyclists as her paralysed husband watched, helpless. Banding together, the Sisterhood plot the ultimate revenge - but with dissension from inside the group and out, there's no saying if the plan will work until the moment of truth arrives.

My thoughts:
I loved this book! It wasn't a 'clean' read because of the language and some adult content, but it was definitely a FUN read. I greatly enjoyed the camaraderie between the women and the vigilante justice. Each woman has her own issues to deal with but revenge is the main thought behind all of it. Kathryn's story was so funny, inventive and memorable. I loved the way they came up with the 'justice' they dealt out, it was very fitting!
Overall I give this book a 4/5. It is a wonderful read, but there are already several more out in the series and it shouldn't be a problem to find used! I'm definately going to get the next in the series soon!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fearless, Dominion Trilogy Series #2 by Robin Parrish

Product Description:
Earthquakes, fire, disease, and floods pummel the earth, and its citizens watch in horror. But in the darkness there is anonymous but powerful hero whom the public dubs "Guardian" emerges from the wreckage. He is Grant Borrows, one a chosen few who walk the earth with extraordinary powers. They travel the globe, helping those in deepest peril and determined to uncover the secret behind this world-shattering cataclysm. But when signs of a dangerous ancient prophecy begin coming true, dark questions arise about secrets Grant might still be harboring.
The world teeters on the brink.
But some refuse to let it fall.
They are:

My Thoughts:
I very much enjoyed this book. It is the second in the Dominion series so it picks up where 'Relentless' leaves off. It continues Grant's story along with the other Loci. The destruction that began at the end of the first book, is continued as are the questions of whether the rings are good or evil, if the rings make the wearers evil, or if there is a way for Grant to avoid his destiny. There really isn't much, if any, mention of God in the book. There are vague references of there being a larger power, but nothing specific about God. Because of that, I'm not really sure how it is Christian Fiction but it is a clean book. The ending is annoying as there really isn't an ending, just a perfect set up for the beginning of the next book, but it is a great set up!
Overall, I give this book a 3/5. It is a good read but if you want to read it, you have to begin with the first book, Relentless, as this book could not stand on its own and commit to reading the third book to know how it all ends. I have every intention of reading book 3 soon!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Watcher of the Dead by J.V. Jones

Product Description:
The epic fourth novel of the Sword of Shadows fantasy series
In this powerful saga of redemption and renewal, J. V. Jones brings to vivid life the magnificent tapestry of a world at once desperately fighting for survival against supernatural monsters and rent by internecine warfare. The frozen land at the north of the world was once ruled by a legendary nation of superhuman warriors. But that age has passed, leaving ancient clans to struggle for dominance as supernatural forces beyond their control threaten their very existence.
Amid the chaos of world-changing violence, unlikely heroes emerge. An unwanted warrior, a forsaken woman of power, the betrayed widow of a slain clan chief: these are the heroes rising to claim what has been taken from them and to reshape the world.
In a sharply observed narrative that illuminates these riven lives, Jones has crafted a human drama full of the excitement, suspense, and sheer storytelling power that have made the Sword of Shadows a fantasy series that transcends genre to become a memorable tale of human striving and triumph that speaks to readers as have few others.

My thoughts:
I absolutely couldn't wait for this book to come out! I've been watching for it for what seems like forever now and since I've read it, I'm ready for the next one!!! This is the fourth book in a wonderful series. This book continues the journeys of Ash, Raif, Effie, and all their friends, families, and enemies! It introduces new characters, we lose track of some old characters, and there are some mystery characters! Jones weaves so many different story lines that it seems each chapter is about a different journey or person. Yet as you read, she shows how the stories are interwoven and each is key to understanding the whole story!

If you've read the series up to this point, I would rank this book a 5/5 get it now! If not, a 2/5 while I loved it, the book would make no sense until/unless you read the first 3 books of the series.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

An Eye for An Eye by Irene Hannon

Product Description:
After he accidentally shoots a teenager at a tense standoff, FBI Hostage Rescue Team member Mark Sanders is sent to St. Louis to work as a field agent and get his bearings while the bad press starts to settle. Just weeks away from returning to Quantico to resume his work on the HRT, Mark has a chance encounter with an old flame, Emily Lawson. But their reunion is cut short by a sniper. Now Mark must find the shooter before he tries to strike again. But what is his motive--and who was his intended target? Can Mark put the pieces together, keep Emily safe, and rekindle a long-dead relationship at the same time?

My Thoughts:
I loved this book. It is the second in Hannon's Heroes of Quantico Series and is about FBI agent, Mark Sanders, a character introduced in the first book of that series. You don't need to have read the first book to understand and love this book. Mark is having a hard time dealing with a shooting gone bad and is in St. Louis recovering from the ordeal when he runs into an old girlfriend, Emily Lawson. A sniper makes their reunion short and leaves them with more questions than answers.

Emily is a psychologist, Mark is an FBI agent and both have made enemies through the years. There are twists and intricate character interactions and I love the fact that Hannon shows how God is in every aspect of our lives through this story. Mark and Emily have many obsticles to overcome before their relationship can move forward, not the least of which is finding out which one is the target of the shooter and why. The suspense is intense in parts and the romance is very sweet. I give it a 4/5, it is definately worth finding and reading!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Her Only Protector by Lisa Mondello

Product Description:
Following a perilous journey to South America to rescue her kidnapped niece, Sonny Montgomery finally relaxes. But when a rugged bounty hunter named Gil Waite says he's tracking her brother and keeps Sonny from boarding her plane, she has no choice but to accompany him. Is his the heart of a mercenary---or a hero?
My Thoughts:
I liked this book. It was a quick, romantic, slightly suspenseful read. I connected with the main character, Sonny, from the beginning. When the bounty hunter, Gil, who is searching for Sonny's lost brother stops her from boarding the airplane with the baby, I felt her fear, anger and agony. The mention of God is all through the book, and I love how He seems to fit so easily in Sonny's life. Sonny has to make many tough decisions about her niece's well being and how much trust to put in Gil and Mondello uses those to show Sonny's relationship with God. Overall I give it a 3/5, definitely worth the read but wait and buy it used or borrow it.

Double Minds by Terri Blackstock

Book Description:
Struggling to succeed in the Nashville music scene, talented singer/songwriter Parker James finds the competition fierce -- even deadly. A young woman's murder, industry corruption, and a menacing stalker draw Parker into danger and intrigue. Nothing is as it appears, and unraveling the truth challenges everything Parker believes about her talent, her future, and her faith.

My Thoughts:
This book was so-so, it wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. A fast read, I finished it in a few hours, but very predictable. Parker, the main character, was trying to accomplish a life long goal and avoid a killer, which should have sucked me into the story line, but it just left me feeling like something was missing because of the predictability. The book introduces a large cast of characters but there isn't a lot of detail about any of them, including Parker. I loved the message of faith throughout the book and the closeness of Parker's family, but the suspense really wasn't there. I felt the book had no twists, surprises or real suspense. I also like that Blackstock doesn't shy away from some hard issues. Family problems, faith issues, and even eating disorders are discussed without hesitation. Overall I would rank this a 3/5, borrow from a friend or used bookstore.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Magician's Apprentice by Trudi Canavan

Book Description:
Taking place hundreds of years before the events of The Magicians' Guild, The Magician's Apprentice is the new novel set in the world of Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy.In the remote village of Mandryn, Tessia serves as assistant to her father, the village Healer. Her mother would rather she found a husband. But her life is about to take a very unexpected turn.When the advances of a visiting Sachakan mage get violent, Tessia unconsciously taps unknown reserves of magic to defend herself. Lord Dakon, the local magician, takes Tessia under his wing as an apprentice.The hours are long and the work arduous, but soon an exciting new world opens up to her. There are fine clothes and servants and - to Tessia's delight - regular trips to the great city of Imardin.However, Tessia is about to discover that her magical gifts bring with them a great deal of responsibility. For a storm is approaching that threatens to tear her world apart.
My thoughts:
I very much enjoyed this book. As a stand alone book, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed it as much as I did, but it answered many questions I had after reading the Black Magician's Trilogy. The main character Tessia is a very intriguing young lady. She taps into her magic when threatened and is a 'natural' so MUST be taught about magic and how to control it. This causes tension between her and another apprentice when his Master takes on her training.

It is a typical story of a social climb by amazing events. Tessia had been her father's, the village healer, assistant, which wasn't the lowest class but it was much lower than a magician. She has to figure out how to navigate the new social status she is given and learn how to function in a world she has only imagined setting foot in. She goes from being on speaking terms with the servants to being served by them and it is a very unsettling transformation for her.

In the midst of this transformation, a war is brewing between her home land and the former rulers, the Sachakan's, so her teacher is preoccupied and she enters a war zone with little training hoping to help her country keep its Independence. I would rank it a 3/5, borrow from a friend or buy used unless you are a Canavan fan then it is worth the money to answer the questions lingering from the Trilogy.

The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

Product Description:
She wrote the book--literally--on finding the right mate. But does she really understand what love's about?
Five hours before her Nantucket beach wedding--and on the eve of her big book launch--celebrity marriage counselor Kate Lawrence has everything in place.
Everything, that is, but the groom. She might not have a career, either, when her nationwide audience finds out their marriage guru has been left at the altar.
Enter Lucas Wright, who offers to stand in for the missing husband-to-be and marry her. Kate's desperate enough to agree--although she's sure this Mr. Wright is completely wrong for her. But can they pull it off? And why would Lucas marry her in the first place?
Could it be that "Dr. Kate" doesn't know the first thing about love?

My thoughts:
I really liked this book. It didn't really strike me as a spiritual or religious read, but a sweet, quick romantic read. There are some implied spiritual meanings, but I can see this being a book even a non-Christian fiction reader would enjoy. I loved the character Lucas, he is the type of man that every woman dreams of finding. Kate is an understandably shocked, jilted bride who makes a hasty decision to substitute Lucas as her fiance only hours before the wedding. I loved the character interaction, the story line was intriguing, and the writer made you feel the emotions the characters were feeling . Overall, I give this a 3/5. It is worth the read but you might want to borrow it or pick it up at a used book store.