American Widow is a graphic novel revealing the story of Alissa Torres who was left widowed at seven months pregnant by the tragedy of 9/11.
The story includes that fateful day up to the one-year anniversary with alternating flash backs including scenes of Eddie at 10-years old, his life before meeting Alissa and their courtship, marriage and pregnancy. In chapter one alone, my arms were covered with goose bumps. 9/11 was just Eddies second day at his new job with Cantor Fitzgerald. Included is Alissas deeply frustrating struggle with several assistance agencies and the government plus you see how different friends and family react to her circumstances.
The story exposed shows us just a glimmer of what surviving family members endured that I would have never imagined. When Alissas private thoughts are shared you get a sense of how difficult and confusing this time in her life was and you cant help but be affected by this deeply personal story.
As you've probably heard by now American Wife is loosely based on the life of Laura Bush. We are given a look into four distinct times in the life of Alice Blackwell. From Alice as a third grader to a significant day in her life as First Lady the story draws you in.
Alice Lindgren was an only child raised by her parents and paternal grandmother in a small Wisconsin town. With no extended family to grow up with she was a quiet, reserved child with a great love of reading books. A terrible accident occurs when Alice is seventeen and it changes her life forever.
The next period in her life covers the time when Alice is in her early thirties. She's become an elementary school librarian who doesn't lament not having a husband or starting a family. Just then Charlie Blackwell walks into her life and after first turning Charlie away she's swept into a whirlwind romance that leads to the next period in the book.
Charlie was raised the exact opposite of Alice; with wealth, privilege and plenty of family around to encourage his loud and boisterous teasing. Charlie becomes obsessed with his legacy and brings Alice into a world where she doesnt feel that she belongs.
Lastly, we get a look into Alice's life in the White House. This period covers just one day however Alice flashes back on some of her thoughts up to this point in her life and the decisions she's made that have ultimately come down to this day and the effect it can have on Charlie's presidency.
I loved the idea that this book was based on Laura Bush's life. It opened my eyes to seeing politician's wives in a different light and it made me more interested in learning about our current First Lady.
The characters are endearing and the writing so real the events in Alice's life really touched me and left me thinking about American Wife long after the last page was read. The one downside to the book was that some of the stories seemed to drag on longer than was necessary. I honestly feel that the book wouldn't have suffered if the writing was condensed a little more. Other than that it was a great read that lived up to the hype and my expectations. I recommend this book to all general fiction lovers.
Former policewoman Elizabeth Phoenix once used her unique skills as a psychic to help fight injustice. But when her partner was killed Lizs guilt forced her to leave the police department and work as a bartender. While working one afternoon Liz heard a voice shout Leave and followed the inner feeling to rush to her foster mothers home. Liz finds Ruthie viciously murdered gets knocked unconscious at the scene. When Liz wakes up her whole existence is turned upside down.
Ruthie has passed on a gift and Liz has now become a powerful seer. Teaming up with her a former lover who once betrayed her is Lizs only option to learn the truth about Ruthies killer. Jimmy opens Lizs eyes to a supernatural war that has raged since the dawn of time in which innocent people are hunted by evil beings disguised as humans. But Jimmy has a secret that will rock Liz to her core and put the survival of the human race in peril.
Im very new to the urban fantasy genre and Ive read other reviews of this book that knocked it down a lot but I loved this book. I can agree with more than one reviewer on the one aspect that takes my rating from a 5 to a 4. There are too many evil beings in the book. If Handeland would have kept it to 2-3 different types of beings I feel the book would have benefitted more. Other than that I loved the writing and the interaction of Liz and the two other main characters. The storyline was a lot different than I guessed it would be from the synopsis, prequel short story and the opening chapters. I recommend this book to both long-time urban fantasy fans and newbies like me.
The action in Arivaca started out from almost the very first page but once Jesse was sent to the boy's ranch it all came to a screeching halt and I struggled to continue reading. The religious relic part of the story is what kept me going and thankfully towards the last third of the book, the action picked up again.
Another reason I didn't get sucked in were the characters. With her poor attitude, initially it was really hard for me to like Cedar and Jesse wasn't very appealing either. He was too bland for my liking and there wasn't anything to make me feel invested in what happened to Jesse until the very end. The only characters I really liked were a couple of the boys in Jesse's posse and the ranch hand, Paco. The added some much needed lightness to the story earning a good chuckle here and there.
Overall I did like the way the book came together in the end and thought the cliff hanger ending was well done but not enough for me to want to read the next installment in the series.
Just a week after she was fired and learned that her magical powers are finally coming into existence, Tammy Jo Trask learns that she has a new set of problems. It seems that the World Association of Magic found out shes been using her powers without their permission and she can be in some big trouble for it.
Theyve set up a challenge for her to pass so that she can become a level one witch. The problem is that Tammy Jo still has no control over her power and the one person she can ask for help, Bryn, is forbidden to assist and warned to stay away. Instead the WAM sends two wizards to train her, one a weak wand-wielding warlock and one a ruthless killer who can command fire with a flick of his wrist.
When a spell the two warlocks use to learn the truth behind last weeks trouble leads to a magical mishap, pixie dust is released throughout the town and the residents of Duvall begin running amok. Torn between training for the challenge, helping the townspeople and tracking down her pawned and accidentally sold family jewelry Tammy Jo runs into even more trouble when she casts a spell that makes all the plant life in Duvall have a years worth of growth in just a couple hours. Soon shes dodging fireballs, fairy spells and plants that rival Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors.
You know that saying that if it wasnt for bad luck Id have no luck at all? Well it could have been invented for Tammy Jo. This poor girl gets into more trouble that she can handle all in just a few days. Shes got maniacs chasing after her and shes still caught in a love triangle with her ex-husband Zach and the super rich Bryn. The good thing though is that through it all she has her pet ocelot Mercutio to help her through these trying times. In fact the cat is so smart Im wondering if in later books in the Southern With series we learn that hes a human trapped in the wild cats body. Hhhhmmm??
The beginning of the book was a little scattered with a whole lot going on but the good thing was that I just finished reading Would-Be Witch a few days ago so it was easy enough to catch up. I would recommend reading book one first but it does stand alone if you missed out on the laughs in that one. This is a must read if you love zany and light paranormal books.
Okay ladies, and guys for that matter, this book is a must! It was a quick one night read and I learned a lot of great techniques for better sex with my husband. Mullen spent years learning about every last nerve in the female bodyand every sex toy under the sun. She interviewed sex educators, doctors, and therapists. The book features tips such as how to find the elusive G-spot, how to feel sexually stimulated from head to toe, how to tell your partner exactly what turns you on in bed, how to achieve knock-your-socks-off orgasms whenever you want them and so much more.
What I also liked about the book was that Mullen shares stories from different women that I could definitely relate to. The writing is witty and clever and the information, diagrams and pictures are not at all crass or offensive. Ive already been reaping the rewards of picking this book up and you should too.
San Francisco Homicide Inspector Clemson Yao and realtor/police reservist Angie Strachan are put to the test when Angie discovers the body of a young girl at one of her real estate listings. The two, along with a few side characters, are drawn into a desperate race against a twisted serial killer, who refers to his murders as messies.
The murderer is identified as Mathew. An abused boy who grew into a monster that researches and documents the some of the most bizarre methods of killings throughout history. Clem and Angie are frustratingly always one step behind the madman but are able to identify two potential victims. They work against odds to save these two lives but Matthew has put a lot of time and thought into his crimes and it seems no one can stop him.
I have to say that the subtitle really hits the mark. This is a macabre novel of suspense. From Matthews research to the recounting of Clems nightmares White really creeps me out and I love it even though I can attribute one really bad nightmare to the book. I look forward to reading more from Thomas White and recommend this book to all suspense and horror lovers.
The first time Jim Nagol is left in charge of his infant daughter, tragedy strikes and he and his daughter are both severely burned when he accidentally leaves a stove burner on with no flame. His daughter Annas burns are so severe, doctors are not at all sure shell make a recovery.
Now seven months later Jims wife, Sharon, has left her husband and is living alone in an apartment two hours away. Sharon cannot forgive Jim for the accident and is struggling to make ends meet by working for Prescott Incorporated as an accountant.
When two of the companys top executive both make unwanted passes at Sharon she knows that if she now reveals that she found some unexplained company expenses during a recent audit her findings would be seen as retaliation. She has no choice but to stay quiet and work on how best to reveal the embezzlement to the proper authorities.
But driving home one night shes forced off the road in a hit-and-run accident and when the police investigate there is more than one suspect including the two company executives and her husband Jim with whom she had an explosive argument with that same day.
Burned alternates from the present and Sharons troubles and back to the time of the accident and the weeks following it. I like this approach because as soon as the story gets good it skips in time and youre left with a major cliff hanger for the next few chapters when you pick up again but get another cliff hanger with the second story line.
Nevling does a great job of keeping the suspense going and laying out the perfect mystery. My only disappointment with the book is the dialogue between most of the characters. There were more than a few times when I would think to myself, Who talks like that? Otherwise the book is a recommended read for all mystery and suspense readers.
Where were you the night Princess Diana died? I was at a baseball game but Jack and Robin Firestone were in a taxi in Paris driving by the accident that tragically took the life of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.
Chasing Diana is a fictional account of the behind the scenes look into the deaths with just enough truth thrown in to make you wonder. Cleverly written as a screenplay, the story kept me riveted to the pages. We learn how Dianas death and the media frenzy that follows does, affects a family thats already experiencing personal turmoil. Throughout the whole book I wondered exactly how much was fiction and how much was reality.
This was the first screenplay style novel that Ive read and it easy to read. I recommend this book to anyone who had any interest in Princess Diana and those who want a speedy one or two day read.
Amy Dodge owner of a West Highland White Terrier named Carlie and author of the bestselling childrens book series, Run, Carlie, Run! has a dilemma. She has a major case of writers block. All she can think about is how different life is from what her plans were when she optimistically moved to New York from Colorado over 10 years ago. Shes divorced, she still hasnt started writing the next Great American Novel and every guy she dates she compares unrealistically to the dashing (but fictional) Scottish explorer staring in her Carlie books. Now Carlie is offered a starring role in her own television show and Amys world takes a surreal turn.
Soon Amy finds herself getting cropped out of Carlies many photo opportunities and she cant get the image of her Scottish explorer out of her head. Plus the city she once loved begins to lose its appeal. Amy must figure out what needs to happen in order to change her life and take her and Carlie exactly where they need to be.
I completely judged this book by its super cute cover and was a little let down with the results. The story just didnt catch my interest and I almost didnt finish the book. The story is told in three voices; Amy, Carlie and Robert Maguire (the fictional Scottish explorer). In my opinion it would have been better off with just Amys and possibly Carlies but with Roberts thrown in it just didnt work for me and I cant exactly pinpoint why. I did however like the way the book ended and consider it the only thing that saved the book from being too bad.
With 1,836 lives lost due to the hurricane and subsequent flooding, Hurricane Katrina was one of the five deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States and the costliest in terms of property damage. City of Refuge is the story of how the hurricane affects two very different families living in New Orleans.
SJ Williams, his sister Lucy and her son Wesley were all born and raised in the Lower Ninth Ward. New Orleans is their place and they are proud to have made lives there. The widowed SJ owns his own carpentry and repair business, loves to read and cook while watching over his family. Lucy struggles with drug and alcohol dependence while scraping by working odd jobs where she could find them. Nineteen year old Wesley is at the point in his life where hes no longer a boy but not yet a man. He feels smothered by his Uncle SJs subtle pressure to become more than just another thug in the neighborhood.
Craig Donaldson is married with two small children. He and his wife Alice are both New Orleans transplants. Nobody had ever had more of a crush on New Orleans than Craig. As editor of Gumbo Magazine he reveled in the rich musical history and the characters found in neighborhoods throughout the city. However more and more lately his wife is feeling a restlessness coming from giving up her own painting and teaching career to the increasing violence and decaying infrastructure of the public school system. Now once again faced with packing up and evacuating the kids Alice is more convinced than ever that its time to leave New Orleans and doesnt hesitate to make this clear to Craig.
From a few days before the hurricane to first Mardi Gras celebration six months after the devastation Piazza documents the lives of both families with raw emotion and genuine feeling. During the first night of the storm SJ is prowling the house checking rooms sealed up like tombs to the raging outdoors and you can feel the worry coming off the pages. While staying with relatives in Chicago, Alice has made the decision that Craig himself cant come to terms with. Its time to leave New Orleans and make a new life for their family. You get a true sense of Alices need to protect her family while still feeling the anguish thats pulling Craig in two directions.
The book is a true homage to the authors love of the city and I enjoyed getting to know these characters and be a part of their lives. I would recommend this book to book clubs who will have much to discuss about the book, the city and social differences of the characters.
After completing an interview giving her thoughts on the latest misbehaving celebrity, handwriting expert Claudia Rose received a call from a potential new client. Baroness Grusha Olinetsky owner of Elite Introductions would like to hire Claudia to analyze the handwriting of her wealthy clients to ensure good matches.
The Baroness quickly gets Claudia on a plane to New York from California and once she starts reviewing the client files, Claudia sees more than a few red flags that cause her concern. After a close friend was recently murdered, Claudia is hesitant to be drawn into anything even remotely dangerous but the Baroness pleads for her help.
Still unsure that anything serious is going on Claudia agrees but she quickly learns that several members of the dating service have died in the past few weeks and although each death appears to be natural or accidental, Claudia tries unsuccessfully to cut all ties with the Baroness. Now Claudia is right in the middle of the feuding playboys who are her number one suspects and on top of that, her relationship with her boyfriend back home is on very shaky ground.
Dead Write is book three in the Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting Mystery series however it does stand alone. There are a few references to the events in books one and two but you can jump right into this story without missing a beat.
What I especially like about this book is the plausible storyline. Claudia isn't stumbling over dead bodies and jumping in to investigate the murders like in most cozies. It's a more realistic scenario where she even tries to run away from any sign of trouble.
I also love the unique premise of Claudia's work as a graphologist. Sheila Lowe has over 25 years of experience in this field but the book doesn't get too technical with the details. She makes it interesting enough that I want to get my own handwriting analyzed along with my husband and co-workers.
There is a pretty good cliffhanger at the end of Dead Write that leaves me anxiously awaiting the next book in the series which will hopefully be along soon. All three books in the series are a must read for all cozy and mystery lovers.
I'm sure there are a few people out there that have had experiences with a neighbor who makes you want to put a note in their mailbox that says, "Dear neighbor, drop dead." This is exactly what Mindy Sherman did to her horribly mean neighbor Beth Diamond.
Mindy is an average overweight wife and mom of three who juggles work, carpooling the kids and the stress of just barely managing not to drown in debt while ducking and dodging mean comments from Beth. Beth and her husband seemingly have it all; new cars, a huge immaculate house and two perfect kids. But all is not as it seems... Beth's marriage is about to fall apart at the seams and she has no real friends to turn to. Suddenly she's apologizing for treating Mindy bad in the past and looking for a shoulder to cry on.
Meanwhile Mindy's own family drama is escalating and they've just learned that Mindy's stepson is coming for a visit which eventually turns into a permanent stay. With everything flipping upside down around her, Mindy channels Oprah and Dr. Phil to help make everything right again.
Dear Neighbor, Drop Dead is a funny madcap look into the life of a soccer-mom. Just when you think things might be looking up for Mindy, Beth and their families another bad thing happens and you can't help but laugh. I enjoyed reading this book but the ending was just too "storybook" for me to rate it higher. Its a quick two/three day read that I do recommend reading if you have the chance.
Dewey is the story the small-town library cat who touched the world. The story begins on the morning after the coldest night of the year. Library director, Vicki Myron, checked the book drop box only to find that someone had dropped an 8 week old kitten into the slot. With temperatures reaching minus fifteen degrees plus the added factor of spending the night in a metal box with the lid propped open, the kitten was a scared, frozen mess. After a hot bath and some TLC that kitten became Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa.
For nineteen years Dewey greeted library patrons at the door, made people laugh, brought shy children out of their shell and wormed his way into the hearts of many people. With a sixth sense he could always tell who needed an extra bit of loving and he never failed to make people feel better after visiting with them. Visitors would come from near and far to visit the famous Dewey. He even stars in two documentaries; one featuring library cats and even one in Japanese. Along with Deweys adventures and antics Myron shares in heartfelt detail her family struggles and tells of life in a small town.
Im a cat lover but I dont think Im being biased when I say that Dewey was a truly incredible cat. From life with such a cruel beginning its amazing to read what a trusting a sensitive cat Dewey became. Vicki Myron and Dewey will do for cat lovers what Marley and John Grogan did for dog lovers. I had to keep the tissues handy while reading this one and I recommend it to all animal lovers.
Bank teller/restaurant manager/amateur sleuth Anne Capshaw has finally taken the plunge. She's given up her safe and secure job at the bank and traded it for a full time position at her boyfriend Jim's restaurant, Bellywasher's. Things are heating up nicely for Jim and Anne outside of the kitchen when in walks Anne's ex-husband, Peter. Anne used to dream that Peter would come back begging for a second chance but now she has Jim.
So not only does she have Peter to deal with, she's hip deep an investigation. There's been a murder at the chic gourmet shop Très Bonne Cuisine and its owner Monsieur Jacques Lavoie is missing. As Annie jumps into the investigation with the help of her best friend Eve, she learns some startling facts about Monsieur Lavoie that lead everyone to question who he claims to be. Getting to the bottom of it all just might mean more trouble than Anne bargained for.
Dying for Dinner is book four in the Cooking Class mystery series but also stands alone. There wasn't as much action and intrigue in this installment as there was in the previous three books but it was still pretty cute.
Anne is good at putting two and two together and along with Eve they make a great pair of investigators. What's especially refreshing is that the handsome Scotsman Jim is falling in love with the "cute" Anne instead of the "sexy" Eve. It makes her character that much more endearing. When you add in the fact that she absolutely can't cook yet works at a restaurant and dates a chef there's a lot of fun in reading this series.
Also included are nine delicious recipes. I recommend this one for all cozy lovers and I hope that another book in this series is in the works as there was a major cliff hanger at the end.
Fifth grader, Escapade Johnson, is in for an adventure. His class will be going on a five hour hike up Mount Moosilauke. From the moment the class steps onto the bus to the top of the mountain Escapade and his pals Jimmy, Benny and Davy face one mishap after another some of which include bear poop, a poisonous belt, teddy bear underwear and a peanut butter sandwich that saves the day.
I loved this Escapade Johnson adventure just as much as I loved The Coffee Shop of the Living Dead. It's a cute story that would appeal to both girls and boys that read on a 4th-7th grade level. This was actually book one in the Escapade Johnson series but it there isnt any disconnect from reading them out of order.
Flora's Dare is the sequel to Flora Segunda and although there are quite a few references to book one, this book is a stand alone. Flora is a typical teenage girl living in the Magikal city of Califa. Her parents expect her to follow the family tradition of joining the Califa army when she comes of age however Flora's secret goal is to become a Ranger. To do this she has to master the Magikal language of Gramatica. Flora is determined to find a teacher so that she can become as powerful as her Ranger hero Nini Mo.
Flora's plans are all changed as she's attacked by tentacle that comes up through the plumbing while attending a concert with her best friend Udo. She narrowly escapes the tentacle and figures out that the creature in the plumbing is the Lolgia monster trapped under the city long ago by a woman threatening to overthrow the government by unleashing the monster. Now Flora has to team up with Lord Axacaya who promises teach Flora Gramatica. Together they can free the monster and save the city. As the story unfolds Flora loses her best friend, gets grounded for passing curfew, travels in time, gets betrayed by someone close to her, discovers the truth about her family and of course saves the city.
At first I was hesitant about reading this book. It's second in a series that I hadn't read and it is 511 pages. However once I started it was hard to put down. Wilce writes a funny story that is great for both YA and adult readers of fantasy books. The magikal city of Califa is very believable and Flora's daring adventures keep you turning pages until the end. I will definitely be reading book one and eagerly awaiting book three in the sequel.
In this book you will find 101 things NOT everyone should know how to do including my favorites:
How to. . .
hack an elevator
complain and get results
start an urban legend
Who couldn't use a little more danger in their life? A little more edge? A little more fun? With Forbidden Knowledge, you will get it all.
This was a fun one-day read. Most of the information is just for entertainment but I did get a kick out of trying to convince my co-workers to let me perform open-heart surgery on them. The introduction includes a disclaimer which states certain sections deal with activities and devices that would be in violation of various federal, state and local laws if actually carried out or constructed so read this book with a grain of salt. Its perfect reading for the 20something crowd.