Archive for November, 2006

Face the Fire by Nora Roberts

November 30, 2006

From Library Journal:When Sam Logan returns to Three Sisters Island after an 11-year absence, he has two goals in mind: revitalizing the family hotel and reclaiming Mia Devlin, the woman he loved as a teenager and then deserted. However, the wary Mia is not the na ve girl he left behind; as one of three powerful witches charged with saving the island from an ancient curse, she is not about to let Sam hurt her again or interfere with her task. But Sam has a part to play in the final confrontation with the evil that threatens the island-and the people he loves. Fast-paced, beautifully sensual, and filled with three-dimensional characters readers would want as friends, this concluding volume of Roberts’s trilogy (which includes Dance upon the Air and Heaven and Earth) rewards fans with a well-told tale that neatly ties up all the ends with a fiery climax that reaffirms the power of love over evil. A best-selling writer and member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, Roberts lives in Keedysville, MD. Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
My thoughts:
This was my favorite of the trilogy and took me the longest to start. Mia is all any woman has ever wanted to be. Confident, unbelievably gorgeous, independently wealthy, owns a fabulous bookstore and everyone is in love with her the minute they set eyes on her. She’s just a little too unreal sometimes but I wouldn’t mind being Mia when I grow up.

The Wiccan chanting and spells play a larger roll in this book and while I take it with a grain of salt, it plays off as a tad hokey. “No one who passes now need fear. You can do no more harm here.”

That being said, it was a fun read. I enjoyed the characters and adored Three Sisters Island. If only such a place existed, I would enjoy regular visits. The relationship between Mia and Sam was a slow burn as he worked hard to rekindle love. Which of course is directly linked to saving the island under a 300 year curse. His determination paid off in the end and it the book ends in action and fireworks and all too quickly. I’m not one for traditional romance novels, but this book has a lot more going on then love in the afternoon.

Personal Note:
It took so long for me to pick up this trilogy because it reminds me of my Grandma. We shared books a lot, and she loved this series and anything Nora Roberts put to paper. When she was in the hospital, I chatted with a housekeeper there who loved the series as well. There was a book sale going on downstairs and I picked up the first in the series that sparked a lively conversation. One of the few Grama was up to having while she was hospitalized.
After Gram passed away, I didn’t have much interest in bringing back memories. I still grieved. I loved sharing books with her (she actually did most of the sharing) and felt a connection with her. I suppose after finally starting this series, it took me the longest to read this one because the connection would end. But I still have the memories.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

November 19, 2006

From Publishers WeeklyIt’s been years since there’s been a thriller debut as original as this one by Lindsay, who takes a tired subgenre-the serial-killer novel-and makes it as fresh as dawn. Lindsay’s premise alone is worthy: narrator Dexter Morgan, a blood-spatter specialist for the Miami cops, is also a serial killer. But all his life, Dexter has followed the rules set down by his cop foster father (who knew of Dexter’s proclivities), to indulge his passion only by slaying other serial killers. What makes this novel zing, though, is the narration-humorous, self-deprecating, smart and sometimes lyrical, it’s a macabre fun ride (“I thought about the nice clothes that I always wore. Well of course I did. I took pride in being the best-dressed monster in Dade County”). The story opens with Dexter at play, kidnapping and killing a priest who has murdered a number of children, then moves on to the main plot, a series of gruesome killings of prostitutes by an unknown madman. Dexter’s foster sister is a Miami Vice Squad cop working on the killings, so Dexter decides to help her solve the case. This puts him in conflict with a dumb but ambitious female homicide detective as well as, soon enough, the killer himself, whose approach to serial killing mirrors Dexter’s own, uncomfortably so. Might Dexter himself be the culprit? The answer feels a bit contrived, but will surprise most readers, and it’s a minor flaw in a gripping, deliciously offbeat novel that announces the arrival of a notable new talent. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

My thoughts:
I saw a preview of the new Showtime series called “Dexter”. I was horrifically entranced. A serial killer who only kills bad guys? A serial killer who is so likableI begin to question my own morality. Almost.

Clever of the publishers to release this book again with the premiere of this series. I saw the book and had to have it. Imagine my excitement to discover it’s actually a series! Fantastic.

The plot really moves and Lindsay has a gift for voice. Dexter’s voice. It’s charming, funny, and homicidal. As I read the book, I worried that it would spoil me for the series. For anyone with the same concern, don’t worry your pretty little head. After chapter 11 or so, any similarities to the series ends. You won’t be spoiled. At least as of last Sunday’s episode.

Interesting twist to make a serial killer a good guy. He’s tragically devoid of human characteristics, but pretends really well. He tries so hard to fit in with the rest of us, and amuses us as he does. I find it so interesting that he actually has a moral compass. He clearly knows right from wrong and makes choices as to who to unleash himself upon. I shouldn’t love him, but somehow, I can’t help it. He’s Dexter the Dark Avenger.

I can hardly wait to pick up Dearly Devoted Dexter and in summer of 2007, comes Dexter in the Dark. Thank you, Jeff Lindsay for giving me a very guilty pleasure!

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

November 17, 2006

From Booklist
After Harper Connelly was struck by lightning as a teenager, she developed an unusual ability–she is able to locate bodies and see how the victims died, although she cannot identify the murderers. Harper and her stepbrother, Tolliver Lang, are at Bingham College doing a demonstration for a class, identifying bodies and causes of death in an old graveyard, when Harper finds the body of Tabitha Morgenstern, a kidnapped young girl she had failed to locate months ago. To clear their names–the police consider Harper and Tolliver suspects in the crime–they set out to find the real killer. Harper and Tolliver are likable, well-developed characters whose unhappy past binds them together as they care for one another and work together. Harper craves normalcy as she wonders whether her talent is a gift or a curse. The supernatural elements are integrated believably into the plot in this engrossing mystery, the second in a series. Sue O’Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

My Comments:

I am so glad that Harper Connelly became a series! I was engaged by the first book and the second is even more enjoyable. The characters are fully flushed out and there is no feeling of weak, immaturity that you can find sometimes with a new series.

Sookie Stackhouse still remains my favorite, but Harper is a very close second with Lily Bard taking a tight third. There is a paranormal aspect to this series, but it is more matter of fact then with Sookie and her vampires and were’s. I enjoy the suspense and the book iscategorizedd as “crime” for whatever that is worth.

It’s a fast read, but not asophomoricc one that lacks depth. It’s fast because it’s paced to be that way, but it’s not rushed. Maybe because the characters Southern charm slows you down just enough to enjoy the ride your being taken on.

The only disquieting thing about Harris’ books in general is they tend to make a sudden jump. Harper comes to some conclusion about something, but you’re not sure of what it is and suddenly you’re taken to a new place where everything has come to a head. I’ve found myself more then once turning back a few pages to scan what I’ve read to make sure I haven’t missed anything. But that’s one way the author keeps me on my toes. I like being kept on my toes.

I look forward to meeting Harper and her brother, Tolliver again very soon.

The Keeper by Sarah Langan

November 12, 2006

From the Publisher
Some believe Bedford, Maine, is cursed. Its bloody past, endless rain, and the decay of its downtown portend a hopeless future. With the death of its paper mill, Bedford’s unemployed residents soon find themselves with far too much time to dwell on thoughts of Susan Marley. Once the local beauty, she’s now the local whore. Silently prowling the muddy streets, she watches eerily from the shadows, waiting for . . . something. And haunting the sleep of everyone in town with monstrous visions of violence and horror.
Those who are able will leave Bedford before the darkness fully ascends. But those who are trapped here-from Susan Marley’s long-suffering mother and younger sister to her guilt-ridden, alcoholic ex-lover to the destitute and faithless with nowhere else to go-will soon know the fullest and most terrible meaning of nightmare.

My thoughts:
I bought this book around Halloween time. I was in Barnes and Noble, and the simple stack of them caught my eye by the register. I turned away from the book once. Then twice, but on this day I thought what the heck and bought it. The back of the book sounded interesting, compelling even. It had a rave review by Peter Strauss! That should have been a warning to me, not an encouragement.

I started out reading it slowly, chapter by careful chapter. Then I finished Between Sisters , and decided to start reading it in earnest. It didn’t take long before I couldn’t put it down. The characters were so sad, and empty and I couldn’t learn enough about them. The author had a way of telling you what happened to these people without really telling you. It was enough. Then about 167 pages into the book, I couldn’t read anymore. I wanted to, but it was too dark out. My husband was sleeping fitfully next to me. And I remembered what reading a horror book was really all about. This wasn’t my Mama’s old copy of Interview With A Vampire that I tried to sneak peeks of when I was a child. This was what Stephen King was when Carrie and Salem’s Lot came to be. And finally all the things the author eluded to… the things she conveyed without details, the things we understood, were written clearly and with shocking detail. The things my imagination had protected me from were thrust in front of my eyes by the author. And it was more then enough.

I didn’t have a moment to read the next day, but the uneasy feeling of the book stayed with me. Today, I had to be finished with it. I had to read it by the light of day and be done with the thing. I couldn’t leave it undone.

The author is brilliant. What a debut! It was a merry go round ride I couldn’t get off because it kept spinning too fast. I felt sick. The Unease never went away, and didn’t go away with the final page (382, thank you very much). I don’t think I’ll be reading horror again for a while. Dean Koontz seems tame in comparison. I think Horror has found a whole new definition.

I searched for the author and found her website. When something scares me, I like to find out as much about it as possible. Of course another book is coming out in April. Another book tying into the town that was Bedford. Where nothing can live and nothing can die. I wonder if I’ll be able to stay away? I wonder if I’ll want to sleep again if I don’t?

Between Sisters by Kristin Hannah

November 10, 2006

From BooklistHannah returns to a minor character, Meghann, from Distant Shores [BKL My 1 02], and explores her life in-depth as she and her sister confront the past in order to have a better future relationship. They share a bitter childhood and find it difficult to trust each other, but for Meghann it goes deeper as her inability to trust anyone leads to a dangerously promiscuous lifestyle. Both sisters feel betrayed by the other, and now lead very different lives. Meghann, a shark of a Seattle divorce attorney, has been in therapy for years. Claire leads a simple, small-town life, and now tells her sister that she’s getting married. Meghann initially tries to save her sister from what she believes will be a disaster since she doesn’t believe in love, only in prenups, but eventually she adopts a more positive attitude and takes the first step toward healing the rift. Then Joe arrives, a wanderer with his own issues. Change comes gradually but with such finesse that the reader will enter the characters’ relationships and make them her own as Hannah transcends the mundane in this gratifying, five-hankie story. Patty EngelmannCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

My thoughts:

A friend recommended this to me in an effort to encourage me out of my paranormal rut I was in. I’m glad she did. I was up past 2AM last night because I had to finish it. Fair warning, when you get to a certain point, there is no way you can put it down. Floods, avalanche, Aunt Bessy paying a surprise visit, nothing.

The author connects all the dots, and ties everything up with a nice little pink bow, and that’s just the way it should be. With all the drama and trauma in life, it seems only fair, but the road is bumpy along the way. I cried tears of incredible sadness that morphed into tears of joy.

Kristin Hannah is now an author I will seek out. I found my way out of my paranormal rut and into women’s literature. Thank you, Lori!

Lover Awakened by JR Ward

November 8, 2006

Editorial Reviews
From BooklistDeeply scarred without and within, vampire warrior Zsadist believes that he is unworthy of either compassion or true love. One night a glimmer of hope crosses his path, embodied in the young civilian Bella; yet, true to form, he pushes her away. But when the enemy of their race kidnaps Bella, Zsadist can’t rest until he finds her, and once he does, he faces his biggest threat to date as fate grants him one last chance at peace. Ward spins her take on Beauty and the Beast into a raw, gritty tour de force, creating an array of ugliness and beauty, pain and pleasure in a tale that sparks enough plot stunners to keep readers fascinated for years to come. Not for the faint of heart–strong sexuality and stronger language rule here–this genre-bending third novel in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, following Lover Eternal (2006), is a perfect fit for those who like fast-paced urban fantasy rich in both fury and poignancy. Nina DavisCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Terri’s Thoughts:

This is the third in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and has been a big favorite at my book group. It has become my favorite as well. They aren’t light reads, like say Mary Janice Davidson or Janet Evanovich, but they go just as fast because you simply don’t want to put it down. The Brothers are a compelling lot.

Zsadist story held the least interest for me when I initially heard about it. In the previous two books, he was characterized as an animal. A woman killer. Dangerous to everyone he was in contact with. By the end of the second book, I started to feel differently. There was a story there. An important story worth telling. And I’ve always had a burning desire to find out why people do the things they do. Especially why “evil” people do the things they do. And I saw Zsadist as evil. How the worm had turned. And how talented JR Ward is for creating a character I hated into the most sensitve and beautiful.

As I read a series, some authors have a turn of phrase that get annoying as they are over-used and I have a feeling that could start to happen for me here if I’m not careful. The use of language is a huge thing for me. With Ward I think it’s less the common use of phrase rather then her voice she uses in this world. Sometimes that voice is odd for me. The forced urban music references, “shitkickers”, and the tough guy speak is just a nitpicky thing for me and the only thing I can find that I don’t like about the series. Which amounts to nothing!

I love this series and look forward to future books. Butch’s story is next, which I wasn’t expecting but I’ve yet to be disappointed. The Brothers interest me the most, but they are alluding to Butch becoming more then Vishous’ roomie. I like seeing how Butch has evolved, but I enjoyed him the best in the first book, Dark Lover. Wrath is still my favorite Brother, but I’m curious about Vishous and Torment. We have a lot to look forward to with the Brotherhood.