Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Simon Says by Lori Foster

Simon Evans is an ex-fighter turned trainer for SBC ultimate fighting. After his girlfriend of five years cheats on him, Simon decides to return to the ring. Dakota Dream is "hired" by her stepfather to find Simon because it turns out Simon is his son that he walked out on when Simon was a baby. When Simon and Dakota meet, sparks fly. Dakota has a hard time persuading Simon to meet his dad and after getting to know Simon she decides to stop. But a threat from her past may destroy her relationship with Simon and end her life.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Levitation by Jim Ottaviani and Janine Johnston

Using a graphic format, Levitation discusses the history behind one of the greatest magical illusions: the levitation act.

The idea of levitation started with the British magician, John Neville Maskelyne, who invented the gooseneck. The gooseneck was an apartus that allowed a magician to pass a hoop through the body, giving off the illusion that a person is actually floating in mid-air. Fascinated by his work, Harry Kellar tried to buy the secret from Maskelyne, but Maskelyne refused to sell his tricks.

Determined to bring this magical illusion to the United States, Kellar sat in the audience of several shows studying Maskelyne's technique, and through deception Kellar finally obtained the secrets to the act. Many years later, he passed the secrets along to his successor, Howard Thurston. Thurston was credited for "ruining" the magical act by allowing audience members to come up on the stage where they were able to see the techniques employed.

Although brief, this book packs a lot of information in 70 pages. If you have any interest in magic, you will find the history absolutely fascinating, and the illustrations only enhance the experience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Next to Die by Marliss Melton

Penny Price has had a crush on her neighbor, Joe Montgomery, forever. Joe is a Navy SEAL. He has just returned from a horrific mission in which he was the only survivor. He is not handling it well. After one too many drunken nights, Penny butts in and tries to help Joe. Joe is reluctant to talk but slowly opens up to Penny.
Penny's sister Lia has moved in with Penny after getting some disturbing crank calls. Five years ago their dad had died in a car accident and just recently they found his journal indicating that it may have been murder. Lia takes their suspicions to the FBI. After leaving the FBI, Lia rear ends another vehicle. Broke, Lia agrees to take the man she hit out to dinner instead of paying for the damage. Of course, she stands him up because she has no clue who he is. But it turns out Vinnie is a Navy SEAL and very interested in Lia.

Action, romance, and a conspiracy, Next to Die, is a thrilling book. This is the fourth book in the Navy SEAL series by Melton. This book can be read without reading the other three books, but if you are like me and need to read books in order then Forget Me Not is the first book.

The Night I Got Lucky by Laura Caldwell

Chicago advertising executive Billy Rendell is unhappy with the status quo, both personally and professionally. No matter how hard she works, Billy is unable to get the recognition she thinks she deserves by being promoted to vice president, her husband Chris seems to be emotionally distant and hasn't been intimate with her in a long time, and her office crush, Evan, just sees Billy as one of the guys. And then there is her coworker, Alexa, who is always dumping her responsibilities on Billy, and her mother who is always butting into her life. Furthermore, she is still struggling with the fact that her father left her mother and two sisters when she was only a child, never to be heard from again.

In an attempt to deal with her unhappiness, Billy has started therapy with Blinda. Just when Billy needs her the most, Blinda leaves for a trip to Africa, leaving Billy with a small jade frog, for good "luck." Before she knows it, Billy suddenly seems to be getting everything she wanted. She is now the new vice president at her PR firm, Chris can't seem to keep is hands off of her at home, and Evan is more flirtatious than ever.

Although her new life seems perfect at first, she soon discovers that getting everything she wants has its own sets of problem. Can Billy restore her former life before things get out of control?

Who hasn't thought life would be perfect if they could get everything they wanted? The Night I Got Lucky is a different spin on the classic "grass is always greener on the other side" notion. Any chick lit reader should enjoy this one.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Last Summer (of You & Me) by Ann Brashares

For as long as they could remember, sisters Riley and Alice have spent every summer on Fire Island, a small secluded island off of the coast of New York, and each summer they reunite with Paul, their next door neighbor and friend. Being a perpetual tomboy, Riley instantly attracted the friendship of all the boys, especially Paul. Alice, on the other hand, was always the younger sister who tagged along on Paul and Riley's adventures. Paul always treated Riley as his best friend and Alice as his younger sister, teasing and tormenting her as only siblings can do.

Now as adults, Riley and Alice still return to Fire Island where Riley works as a lifeguard. Paul is back this summer too, trying to finish his final philosophy paper so that he can graduate college. However, he is quickly distracted by Alice, his childhood friend who he realizes he has always loved. Alice and Paul's friendship blooms into a passionate romance, leaving both wondering what will happen once summer is over. An emergency concerning Riley forces Alice to leave the island without saying goodbye to Paul. Unaware of the dire situation concerning Riley, Paul mistakenly takes Alice's abrupt departure as rejection.

Back in the city, Alice puts off law school because of her concern for her sister's failing health. Meanwhile, Paul continues his studies and grows angry at himself for still loving a girl that has wounded his heart. What will the future hold for Riley? Will Paul and Alice ever be able to restore their friendship? Can a misunderstanding between soulmates really prevail over true love?

Both heart-wrenching and hopeful, The Last Summer (of You & Me) is a beautifully written story about the blurring lines between childhood and adulthood and between love and loss. Brashares is the bestselling author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, and The Last Summer (of You & Me) is her first novel for adults.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Run by Ann Patchett

Coming in October!
This is a novel about a unique, blended modern-day family in Boston. Bernard Doyle, a former mayor of Boston, is raising his biological older son and the two adopoted black sons he and his wife adopted shortly before her untimely death. The story unfolds over a 24-hour period of time yet weaves stories of the past and present seamlessly. Two families from two very different classes collide, changing everyone's lifes forever. It's a novel about secrets, lies, the lengths parents go to protect their children and unexpected love.

Lost in the Forest by Sue Miller

When tragedy strikes in a small California vineyard town, divorced father of two, Mark, receives a phone call from his eldest child requesting that he come pick them up because their stepfather was hit by a car and killed. Each family member grapples with the loss in a different way: mother Eva sinks into a deep depression, three-year-old Theo thinks his Dad is flying, eldest daughter Emily takes on the caretaker role, and middle child Daisy seeks comfort in a sexual relationship with a much older man. During this tragic time, Mark begins questioning his feelings for ex-wife Eva and Duncan and Daisy's affair enters dangerous territory.

Interestingly, critics describe Daisy as a "heroine" and that the affair with Duncan had contributed to Daisy's coming-of-age. However, readers will most likely see Duncan's sexual interest in Daisy as bordering on pedophilia.

Miller is known for writing literary fiction centering around family dysfunction. Although not one of her best, the controversy surrounding the central plot in Lost in the Forest brings up many topics for discussion. Read the book and join the debate.

Blood Red by Heather Graham

Lauren, Deanna, and Heidi are in New Orleans for a fun filled bachleorette vacation. While there they decide to visit a fortune teller. When Lauren takes her turn, a man appears in the crystal ball. It seems he has been waiting for Lauren. Mark is a vampire hunter. He has been hunting a vampire who killed his fiancee. When he runs into Lauren at a bar, he notices that she looks exactly like his dead fiancee. He realizes that Lauren will be the vampire's next target.

With her two best friends acting different, a man who believes in vampires and the feeling of always being watched, Lauren doesn't know who to trust. Eventually, Lauren starts to believe and begins to fight back. With the help of Mark and some new friends, Lauren will do anything to survive.

Blood Red is part of a series. However, it can be read as a standalone book. The first book is Beneath a Blood Red Moon by Shannon Drake which is Heather Graham's pseudonym.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver

Agent Kathryn Dance faces a psychopath by the name of Daniel Pell. Pell escapes from a maximum security prison and terrorizes the people he left behind. Nicknamed "The son of Manson", Pell murdered an entire family, missing one young girl who hid amongst her dolls and thus escaped his murderous rampage. Now he is free and looking for the family of followers that betrayed him, killing all who stand in his way. Kathryn Dance must capture the vengeful Pell before he kills again.

Set in the beautiful hills and beaches of California, Jeffrey Deaver captures both the determination of a talented investigator and the total depravity of a homicidal maniac.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Summit by Kat Martin

Autumn Sommers is having dreams. It is the same one over and over. The dream shows a little girl being kidnapped. When Autumn was a teenager, she had a recurring dream about her friends dying in a car accident. It came true. This time around, Autumn will do everything in her power to find the little girl.
Ben McKenzie's little girl was kidnapped six years ago. The owner of a chain of sporting good stores, Ben has dedicated the last six years to making his stores the best and trying to forget the tragedy. When Autumn realizes who the little girl is, she approaches Ben and tries to explain about her dreams. At first Ben is very upset and will have nothing to do with Autumn. Eventually, he starts to listen and begins to hope again. With race against the clock, Ben and Autumn follow the clues and their hearts, hoping for a happy ending.

Kat Martin writes historical, contemporary and now paranormal books. All her books are excellent and I highly recommend her.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Year of Living Famously by Laura Caldwell

While visiting Sin City with guy pal Bobby, clothing designer Kyra Felis has a run-in with a very minor celebrity, Declan McKenna. Back in New York, totally smitten Kyra receives a phone call from Declan while he is in town filiming. What starts as casual dating turns into a whirlwind romance, and the couple are married within the year.

Although struggling to sell her designs, Kyra is enjoying her first year of marriage, but all that is about to change. After Declan becomes a full-blow celebrity for his roll in the film Normandy, the couple purchase a multimillion dollar home on Mulholland Drive which becomes full of agents, bodyguards, managers, and assistants.

Kyra's former private life becomes very public, almost too much for her to bear: she can no longer leave her house without being mobbed by a throng of paparazzi, Declan receives creepy letters from an obsessed fan, and Kyra has to fight the urge to believe the tabloids that suggest Declan's infidelity. Kyra misses her old life and questions whether her love for Declan is strong enough to survive a year of living famously.

The Year of Living Famously is the perfect book for our celebrity-obsessed culture. Readers will get a glimpse of stardom from the other side, and despite their fame, will see Kyra and Declan as sympathetic characters. With six chick lit books under her belt which are more than the usual fare, Caldwell has established herself as an adept writer in the genre, and I hope she keeps them coming.