Saturday, February 27, 2010

Second Sight by Amanda Quick

Second Sight is the first book in the Arcane Society series. There are seven books so far, some written under Jayne Ann Krentz's "Amanda Quick" pen name, and the others are written under Jayne Ann Krentz. The Amanda Quick books are all historical romances, and Second Sight is set during the late 1800s in Victorian England.

The book begins with Venetia Milton photographing artifacts at the Arcane Society's museum. She has been hired to document the Society's collection, and is shown around the museum by Gabriel Jones. She also decides that this job provides her with a unique opportunity to have a fling. Venetia is unmarried and has no plans to marry, and is the sole provider for her family. However, she wants a night of passion to remember, and Gabriel Jones seems to be the perfect candidate.

When it later appears that Gabriel has died in a fire at the museum, Venetia decides to take his name under her new guise as a widow. Being a widow offers her freedom and respectability as she sets up a photography gallery in London. She immediately begins winning awards and acclaim for her photography, and her business thrives. However, when Gabriel reappears as her long lost husband, she must go along with the charade while they try to figure out who is after the Society's secrets. Someone is determined to find a secret formula that the Society's founder created, and is willing to murder to obtain it.

Venetia and Gabriel are strongly attracted to one another, and they both have paranormal abilities that they hide. Venetia can see auras which aids her photography, while Gabriel is a preternatural hunter. Gabriel decides that Venetia is the woman he wants to marry as soon as he meets her, but Venetia has no intention of marrying. Slowly, they reveal themselves to each other as they hunt down the murderer, and it become evident that not only is there attraction, but they also respect one another's abilities and strengths.

I prefer Krentz's contemporary romances, but I enjoyed reading this, and learning more about the Arcane Society, since the first book in the series I read was actually the fifth in the series. However, this is not a series that needs to be read in order, since the stories bounce between contemporary and historical settings. All in all, this was a good, but not great read.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Worst Case by James Patterson

In this third book in Patterson's Michael Bennett series, widowed detective and former hostage negotiator Bennett has transferred to NYPD's major case division, which investigates high profile murders. He is already on a new case when a Columbia University student, who is also the son to a multimillionaire, is abducted on campus. The influential father even calls in the feds, so Bennett, much to his chagrin, is forced to partner with FBI agent Emily Parker. Fortunately, Parker's good looks and smarts makes her easier for him to accept in his jurisdiction.

Francis X. Mooney, the man responsible for the crime, contacts the police to inform them that he is putting his victim through the ultimate exam. He is testing the kid's social consciousness. What the police don't know is that the wrong answer will cost the victim his life. Mooney sends Bennett and Parker on a wild gooses chase thinking that there is still a chance they can save this kid, but when they arrive on the crime seen, they are too late.

Before Bennett and Parker can even begin to examine Jacob Dunning's case, another girl goes missing. In fact, it seems as there are a rash of abducted college students where the killer follows the same patterns by putting them through some kind of test. Aside from the fact that they are all rich, there seems to be very little in common between the victims. Bennett is baffled at why the victim's financial situation is even relevant since Mooney isn't demanding ransoms in exchange. And if he has no demands, how will they stop ever be able to negotiate the victim's release?

The last Micheal Bennett book was a bit disappointing, but Worst Case is definitely a stronger offering in the series. Added to the thrills is a subplot involving Bennett and a romantic interest in both Emily Parker and his live-in nanny, Mary Catherine. Readers must not read the books in order to know what is going on. Michael Bennett should gain many new fans in Worst Case, and I can't wait for the next book!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 2/23/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
Big Girl by Danielle Steel
Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison
Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb
Hard Rain by David Rollins
Heresy S.J. Parris
The Infinities by John Banville
Money to Burn by James Grippando
Requiem by Fire by Wayne Caldwell
The Secret of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn
Split Image by Robert B. Parker
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney
World of Warcraft Stormrage by Richard Knaak

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Care and Taming of a Rogue by Suzanne Enoch

Captain Bennett Wolfe is dead. Or so David Langley says. According to him, the adventurer has died in Africa. But to everyone's surprise that information is incorrect. Bennett Wolfe is alive and very angry. David left him for dead and stole his journals. Now he has written a book using Bennett's journals and twisted everything. The book makes Bennett's previous two books look like they might be made up. David has cast himself has the great hero and Bennett as the bumbling fool.

Lady Phillipa Eddison was devastated to learn of Bennett's death. Having read his two books and then the one by David, Phillipa knew something wasn't right. And when Bennett shows up and shows and interest in her, she couldn't be happier.

Bennett can't stop thinking about Phillipa. She has made him even consider giving up his life of adventure to be with her. She even believes him about the truth of David's book. Now he just has to prove he is right and David is the liar. With the help of Phillipa, his friend Jack and a new ally, the Duke of Somerset, Bennett will find a way to restore his name.

This is the first book in a new series by Suzanne Enoch called the Adventurers' Club. And what a great way to start a series with romance, adventure and even a monkey! The next book due out in April is A Lady's Guide to Improper Behavior.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch

The 13 Hour starts with chapter twelve, in which Nick Quinn is sitting in a police interrogation room being grilled by detectives Shannon and Dance for the murder of his wife Julia. Still in shock over her death, no one seems to believe he is innocent. What's more is that they have a murder weapon, a jeweled encrusted rare gun which Nick has never seen before, with his prints.

A man claiming to be Nick's attorney interrupts the interview and hands Nick an antique pocket watch with a letter that states that he has 12 hours to save Julia. The next thing he knows is he's back at home and had just discovered Julia's body in the mudroom shortly have being shot in the head. Still perplexed by what this all means and realizes this is no longer a cruel joke, Nick has hope that Julia can still be saved and won't let this opportunity pass him by.

And thus, at the end of every hour, Nick is whisked back in time to the beginning of that hour all the way to the beginning of the day. Therefore, the chapters continue in descending order until we reach the last hour. In every hour, Nick gains a little bit more information regarding his wife's murder and tries to alter those events so that they can change the future.

The person who is framing Nick is involved in a large burglary of one of Julia's most important clients. To make matters worse, over 200 people died earlier in the day because of plane crash, which may have a connection to Julia's death. With the involvement of a corrupt police department, the only one Nick can trust is his neighbor Marcus. Now he is in a race against time to prevent Julia's death and to get his life back.

The 13th Hour is a different twist on what would have otherwise been a routine thriller. I hope that the time travel element doesn't turn away some readers, as it was very well done and made for an exciting read.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 2/16/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Boulevard by Bill Guttentag
Dirtier Than Ever by Vickie Stringer
Eyes Like Leaves by Charles Delint
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
Hester by Paula Reed
Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers
Horns by Joe Hill
Last Nocturne by Marjorie Eccles
Last Snow by Eric Van Lustbader
The Last Surgeon by Michael Palmer
A Night Too Dark by Dana Stabenow
Ruby's Spoon by Anna Lawrence Pietroni

Saturday, February 13, 2010

What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

What I Did for Love is a fast, funny, and engaging read by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Phillips often writes books featuring heroines who are edgy, strong-willed, and even selfish, and not your run-of-the-mill damsels in distress. However, her heroine in this story, Georgie York, is a sweet, loyal, former child actor, who has definitely been taken advantage of by her ex-husband.

Phillips takes the public's fascination with Brangelina, and puts her own spin on it. Georgie was in a Hollywood picture perfect marriage to the man she thought was the love of her life. So she was devastated when Lance left her for his sexy do-gooder costar, Jade. The story starts months later, when the paparazzi confront her with pictures of Jade's ultrasound. Georgie is taken by surprise, and can't hide the fact that she is distraught over the coming baby. Soon the pictures of her teary face are splashed everywhere. To make matters worse, this moment was witnessed by Georgie's former costar and nemesis, Bramwell Shepard.

Bramwell is a bad boy who truly did some reprehensible things to Georgie and to others on the set of their former show. She has good reason to hate him, and Bram knows this. He also can't stand Georgie's good girl image, and doesn't think very highly of her maturity or independence. While Bram has matured since his days of starring with Georgie, he does his best to hide it from her, and from the public eye.

Phillips gives us two characters who can't stand each other, and we watch them grow into people who are a match for one another, and who help each other realize their dreams. Georgie York and Bramwell Shepard are interesting and layered individuals, and the side characters are fascinating, from Bram's cranky punk housekeeper, to Georgie's overbearing father. There's a good deal of screwball humor in the situations that occur, but the heart of the story is a warm and believable love story.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

True Confections by Katharine Weber

Alice Ziplinsky, nee Tatnall, has been asked to sign an affidavit in which she is required to tell the history of the New Haven, Connecticut business, Zip's Candy factory. The reader does not yet know the reasons for the affidavit but can assume that she is involved in some sort of legal action with the family.

The history of Zip's, then, is told through Alice's eyes and experiences, as an employee of thirty-three years and a naturalized family member, with little dialogue between characters. Alice reveals that she started working for Zip's in the mid-1970s, shortly after high school. Her college enrollment had been postponed due to the house fire she started at her friend's parent's house, which was completely destroyed, with one feline causality. She responded to the ad on a whim and was hired by the Sam, the son of the founder. It was at Zip's where she met Howard, ten years her senior, who became her husband after just three short months, much to his mother's chagrin.

From what Alice knows from Sam and the 19 journals she kept where she recorded their weekly lunch conversations, Zip's was started by Sam's father, Eli, a Hungarian immigrant who had a misguided admiration for Little Black Sambo, which inspired Zip's three primary candy lines: Little Sammies, Mumbo Jumbos, and Tigermelts. How her husband Howard eventually came to stay in the family business, however, has been something of a secret hidden from her by his parents.

Alice peppers the Ziplinsky's sordid family history, including the Malagasy side, with factoids about chocolate, the candy-making process, and stories of some of Zip's biggest competitors (i.e. Peter Paul and Hershey's). My biggest complaint with Alice is that you are so intrigued with a teaser she mentions, but she doesn't get back to it until pages and pages later, or until much later in the novel. Instead of going off in various tangents, no matter how interesting, I wish she had stayed more on track. This might discourage some readers. Although not a quick read (the entire book consists of Alice's narration without any dialogue between characters), I really enjoyed this quirky, fascinating, and humorous novel.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 2/09/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani
A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
Devils in Exile by Chuck Hogan
False Convictions by Tim Green
Life As I Know It by Melanie Rose
The Midnight House by Alex Berenson
Model Home by Eric Puchner
Poor Little Bitch Girl by Jackie Collins
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett
The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens
The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A House in Fez by Suzanna Clarke

As a fan of true-life adventures of people setting up homes in foreign lands, I just couldn't resist this title. Morocco is one of those countries that is so fascinating, so different and intriguing that I've always wanted to visit but have been too timid to actually do it. I could hardly imagine purchasing an ancient home and tackling a renovation in a land so far away like the author of this memoir did.

Suzanna Clarke and her husband Sandy, an Australian couple vacationing in Morocco, fall in love with the vibrant, exciting Medina-the Old City in Fez-and bravely decide to take on the challenge of owning an ancient riad in desperate need of restoration. Their journey into Moroccan customs, culture, languages and the people makes for an intriguing read. I found myself amazed at their bravery, patience and fortitude. They manage to restore their riad to its former glory and to make life-long friends in the process.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

Mr. Mason is fed up with his son, Reginald. Lately, all he does is gamble and rack up debts that he excepts good ole dad to pay. Well no more. He did not make his fortune in coal for his son to lose it all. Reggie will marry and Mr. Mason will pick the lucky lady.

Lady Annabelle Ashton has just caused a scandal. She has run away with a footman only to be discovered. Now she is disgraced and her fiance has broken up with her. Her parents are upset. They were hoping to use the advantageous marriage to restore their fortune. But now that won't happen. Or will it? Mr. Mason, swore enemy of the Ashtons, has just offered then a way out. Make his son marry their daughter. That way the Mason family finally gets respect and the Ashtons get their wealth.

Reginald and Annabelle have no say in the matter and are suddenly engaged to each other. Not complete strangers for as children they used to secretly meet by an oak tree and play. Maybe they can make this marriage work. And maybe it will work because there is a secret they aren't telling.

This was such a great story. It goes back and forth from Annabelle and Reggie's childhood to the present. It had such an inventive ending. I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Fiction Released the Week of 2/02/2010

Here is a sampling of new fiction released this week. Please click on the title to place a copy on hold through the Library's catalog.

Able One by Ben Bova
Conspirata by Robert Harris
Eight White Nights by Andre Aciman
Flirt by Laurell K. Hamilton
The Information Officer by Mark Mills
Live Free or Die by John Ringo
The Lost Books of the Odyssey by Zachary Mason
One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Point Omega by Don DeLillo
The Puzzle Lady vs. the Sudoku Lady by Parnell Hall
Requiem in Vienna by J. Sydney Jones
Secrets of Eden by Christopher Bohjalian
Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
Wake Up Dead by Roger Smith
Wild Penance by Sandi Ault
Winter Garden By Kristen Hannah
Worst Case by James Patterson

Monday, February 1, 2010

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Meet twelve year old Cecelia Honeycutt, an outcast in her small town of Willoughby Ohio. While her neglectful father is away on business, CeeCee is left taking care of her mentally ill mother, Camille, who parades around town in smeared lipstick and various prom dresses because she is convinced she is still Georgia's Miss Valdalia Onion beauty queen. Her mother's actions have prompted ridicule from her classmates. Fortunately, CeeCee can seek solace in her elderly neighbor and only friend, Mrs. O'Dell, and her favorite pastime, reading.

One afternoon when Camille leaves the house on a trip to Goodwill for more prom dresses, she is struck by a milk truck, thrown out of her red high-heeled shoes, and killed instantly. CeeCee's father, not wanting to take care of his daughter alone, sends CeeCee to Georgia to live with her grandaunt, Tootie Caldwell. This means CeeCee will leave the only world she has ever known.

Despite her reservations, CeeCee's life is about to take a turn for the better when she is brought into Tootie's large, welcoming house complete with a dream garden. In addition to befriending Oletta, the housekeeper, CeeCee meets a whole cast of eccentric characters including neighbors Miz Goodpepper, who teachers her about karma, Miz Hobbs, a busy-body who is sleeping with a married police officer, and a sprightly elderly aunt, Sapphire. After a series of misadventures CeeCee eventually learns to let go of her troubled past and embraces her new family.

Set in the summer of 1967, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is a humorous and heartwarming story about a young girl's chance to start over . Readers who like the mystical southern novels of Sarah Addison Allen will fall in love with CeeCee Honeycutt