Thursday, August 28, 2014

(47) Tantric Coconuts

Title: Tantric Coconuts by Greg Kincaid
Publisher: Crown
306 pages
Genre: spirituality/ romance/ religion

I received a free e-copy of this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair review.

Synopsis: Free spirit Angel Two Sparrow—artist and musician extraordinaire—is having trouble making ends meet.  On the verge of desperation, she inherits her crazy Aunt Lilly’s bookmobile and half-wolf named No Barks, and dreams up yet another life plan. Painting her business card on the side of the van, Angel and her trusty companion set off on a pilgrimage across America hoping to jump-start her new profession: Native American Spiritual Consultant.

Traveling in the other direction, Ted Day and his trusty Irish Terrier-mix Argo are on a much needed vacation (and in need of spiritual nourishment). When he leaves Kansas, Ted can’t image how far from his sleepy law office that old silver and black Winnebago 32RQ Chieftain will take him.

Two lives (four if you count the canines) collide (literally). Once the dust settles, Ted and Angel find themselves enamored. Sensing that something bigger and more profound has been set in motion, the couple embarks on a wild road trip, detouring into some rarely traveled corridors of the human soul. Very soon, it becomes clear that nothing will ever be the same for these travelers, their dogs, and, heck, the world at large, too.

Review: This book seems like religion or spirituality 101 -If you ever wanted to know a little bit about different religions and how they all fit together, this book is for you.  Its like taking a bunch of different self help/spirituality books mashing them together and throwing in a love story.  I really struggled through this book.  Maybe because I have read most of those books individually and the definitions and discussions of different philosophies was a little too rudimentary for me but I also just felt it plodded along.  I think some people will find it fascinating and a good primer, and others will find it tedious and boring, some will find it offensive and others will put it down after a few pages.  I'm somewhere in the middle. I thought it was good although I struggled with staying awake through information that I feel has already been told to me by the writers that are quoted or annotated in the book.  If you are looking for something and don't really know what it is this might be the book for you, otherwise you may want to take a pass.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

(46) Into the Dark

Title: Into the Dark: A Novel of Suspense (Brenna Spector Novel) by Alison Gaylin
Publisher: Harper Collins
384 pages
Genre: Suspense, Mystery

Synopsis: Can a stranger share your memories?
That's the question that haunts Brenna Spector when she first sees footage of missing webcam performer Lula Belle. Naked but hidden in shadow, the "performance artist" shares her deepest, darkest secrets with her unseen male audience . . . secrets that, to Brenna, are chillingly familiar.

Brenna has perfect memory, able to recall in astonishing detail every moment of every day of her adult life. But her childhood—those carefree years before the traumatic disappearance of her sister, Clea—is frustratingly vague. When Brenna listens to the stories Lula Belle tells her audience, stories only Brenna and Clea could know, those years come to life again in vivid detail. Convinced the missing internet performer has ties to her sister, Brenna takes the case—and in her quest for Lula Belle unravels a web of obsession, sex, guilt, and murder that could regain her family . . . or cost her life

Review: This is the second book in the Brenna Spector series and I found this one more enjoyable than the first.  Maybe because I knew the characters or maybe because it just creeped me out.  Who is this mysterious shadow of a girl and why does she have Brenna's memories? Could it be her missing sister Clea? You sort of get answers at the end but yet you are still left with lots of questions as well.

I would not consider this great literature or anything like that but it is a good story that keeps you guessing, keeps things moving and keeps you entertained.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

(45) The Dead Will Tell

Title: The Dead Will Tell: A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillo
Publisher: Minotaur books
317 pages
Genre: Mystery, Amish

Synopsis: Everyone in Painters Mill knows the abandoned Hochstetler farm is haunted. But only a handful of the residents remember the terrible secrets lost in the muted/hushed whispers of time—and now death is stalking them, seemingly from the grave.

On a late-night shift, Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of an apparent suicide—an old man found hanging from the rafters in his dilapidated barn. But evidence quickly points to murder and Kate finds herself chasing a singularly difficult and elusive trail of evidence that somehow points back to the tragedy of that long ago incident. Meanwhile, Kate has moved in with state agent John Tomasetti and for the first time in so long, they're both happy; a bliss quickly shattered when one of the men responsible for the murders of Tomasetti’s family four years ago is found not guilty, and walks away a free man. Will Tomasetti be pulled back to his own haunted past?

 When a second man is found dead—also seemingly by his own hand—Kate discovers a link in the case that sends the investigation in a direction no one could imagine and revealing the horrifying truth of what really happened that terrible night thirty-five years ago, when an Amish father and his four children perished—and his young wife disappeared without a trace.

Review: All is well in Kate's world until 2 phone calls change everything.  The first telling her of a possible suicide, the 2nd telling her live in partner Will Tomasetti that one of the men responsible for raping and murdering his family was set free from prison on a technicality.  Will had crossed the line of the law once before, would he do it again? Kate isn't sure and while she worries about Will she is also engrossed in what turns out to be a murder investigation that may help solve the cold case of a dead Amish family.

There are twists and turns in this story, some that I could have predicted, some that were just too twisted for me to even see coming.  Then there is the curious case of Tomasetti...I'm not sure what to make of him. I feel like Castillo gives us glimpse of who this man is but not ever really letting us get too close.  But maybe thats how Kate deals with him too, although in this book it seems she realizes that she has let him closer than she thought she could or would.

This book definitely holds your interest and sometimes you find yourself even holding your breath. I found myself struggling to stay awake for "just one more chapter" on a couple of occasion.  Quick, easy, entertaining read.

Friday, August 1, 2014

(44) Bones Never Lie

Title: Bones Never Lie: A Novel (Temperance Brennan) by Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Bantam
336 pages
Genre: Mystery, Forensics

I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for a fair review. This book is set to be released September 23, 2014

Synopsis: Unexpectedly called in to the Charlotte PD’s Cold Case Unit, Dr. Temperance Brennan wonders why she’s been asked to meet with a homicide cop who’s a long way from his own jurisdiction. The shocking answer: Two child murders, separated by thousands of miles, have one thing in common—the killer. Years ago, Anique Pomerleau kidnapped and murdered a string of girls in Canada, then narrowly eluded capture. It was a devastating defeat for her pursuers, Brennan and police detective Andrew Ryan. Now, as if summoned from their nightmares, Pomerleau has resurfaced in the United States, linked to victims in Vermont and North Carolina. When another child is snatched, the reign of terror promises to continue—unless Brennan can rise to the challenge and make good on her second chance to stop a psychopath.

But Brennan will have to draw her bitter ex-partner out of exile, keep the local police and feds from one another’s throats, and face more than just her own demons as she stalks the deadliest of predators into the darkest depths of madness.

Review: Just when you think you have a lead in the case Kathy Reichs yanks the evidence away and gives you something unexpected.  Just like a real investigation you never know what will lie around the next turn.  I like that after all this time and after so many books they can still surprise me a little.  The characters remain the same in many ways but the stories and the incidents keep you guessing.  So it is a little bit like wearing your favorite sweater in a totally new place.  For the most part you are feeling comfortable but yet you still feel out of place.

I love the Kathy Reichs not only gives you a creepy story to follow but she also teaches you something new or at least reinforces something you may have already known about forensics along the way.  She doesn't really dumb down the process, she may dumb down some of the language but the process and science are all there.

Somewhere along the way I must have missed a book or two but it doesn't seem to matter, I was able to jump right back in and find my way through.  I don't know if that would still be the case had I never read any of the other books in this series but if, like me, you got lost somewhere along the way, fear not our faithful friends are still here and you can jump right in and be reunited.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(43) Bloody Mary: Book 1 The Summoning

Title: Bloody Mary, Book 1: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
256 pages
Genre: YA - horror

I received an e-galley of this book from the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for a fair review. This title will be released on September 2, 2014.

Synopsis: There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

Review: Who hasn't tried this when they were a kid? But what would happen if it actually worked? Shauna finds out quickly when Bloody Mary starts haunting her, following her with the smell of her blood, and terrorizing her and her friends. This book is everything I love in this type of YA book, creepy with some mystery and of course friendship drama.

Hillary Monahan has a way of making you want to cover the mirrors when you walk into the bathroom and double check all the shiny surfaces in your house.  But beyond the creepy stuff is the mystery of why is Mary so creepy and why is she stalking people. As Shauna and friends research her history to find a way out of the haunting and to keep more people from getting hurt the information they uncover points to murder, torture, wicked priests and jealousy.  I can't wait for Book 2!
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