Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talulla Rising
(The Last Werewolf #2)

By Glen Duncan


Overview from Goodreads:
When I change I change fast. The moon drags the whatever-it-is up from the earth and it goes through me with crazy wriggling impatience . . . I’m twisted, torn, churned, throttled—then rushed through a blind chicane into ludicrous power . . . A heel settles. A last canine hurries through. A shoulder blade pops. The woman is a werewolf.
The woman is Talulla Demetriou. She’s grieving for her werewolf lover, Jake, whose violent death has left her alone with her own sublime monstrousness. On the run, pursued by the hunters of WOCOP (World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena), she must find a place to give birth to Jake’s child in secret. The birth, under a full moon at a remote Alaska lodge, leaves Talulla ravaged, but with her infant son in her arms she believes the worst is over—until the windows crash in, and she discovers that the worst has only just begun . . .
What follows throws Talulla into a race against time to save both herself and her child as she faces down the new, psychotic leader of WOCOP, a cabal of blood-drinking religious fanatics, and (rumor has it) the oldest living vampire.

My Thoughts:
As much as I liked the first book of this trilogy, The Last Werewolf, I absolutely loved Talulla Rising. I had a rollercoaster of emotions for Talulla. I was sad for her, happy for her, and cheered for her. Often I was frightened for her. I felt like I was watching the really scary part of a movie, when you put your hands over your face because your too scared to watch - but then you just have to peek through your fingers because you really do want to know what happens.

Talulla is very smart. Even though the Wulf in her is strong, she uses some of those werewolf traits to help when she is in her human form. She meets up with, and is helped by some very interesting characters.

All in all, this book was excellent. The author left me anxiously waiting for book three to see how he decides to end this fun tale. I do want to say this, Mr. Duncan. If something dastardly happens to Talulla in book three, I will be very miffed.

The publishing date for this book is June 26, 2012.

Thank you to Netgalley and Knopf-Doubleday Publishing for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

My Rating: *****

Sunday, May 13, 2012

One Breath Away

by Heather Gundekauf

Overview from Goodreads
On a bitter March day, as a sudden snowstorm envelops the small town of Broken Branch, Iowa, an unknown man with a gun enters the town’s only school and takes a classroom of children hostage. As awareness of the situation spreads, the panicked community is ready to do anything to protect their children, but can only watch and wait.
As a teacher with a long career behind her, Evelyn Oliver is ready to enjoy retirement with her loving husband. But now, faced with a crazy man armed with a gun, terrorizing her classroom, she’d rather die than fail to protect any of her students. But why is he doing this? Evelyn’s been scouring her mind but doesn’t recognize the intruder. Maybe one of the students is the key
Holly Thwaite left Broken Branch and her family behind without a word eighteen years ago, vowing never to return. But after a debilitating accident leaves her recovering in a hospital in Arizona, she’s forced to send her children to her hometown to be looked after by their grandfather, the man she never wanted them to meet. Will Thwaite never understood why his estranged daughter, Holly, ran away all those years ago. But now that her children are in his care, he refuses to fail his daughter again. One way or another, Will is going to get his grandkids, P.J. and Augie, out of that school safely even if he has to go in and get them himself. What Will doesn’t know is that thirteen-year-old Augie is just as determined to rescue her little brother from the killer and help her classmates, even if it means putting herself in the crosshairs of the gunman.
Police officer Meg Barrett wants to know who the intruder is and why he’s doing this. Whoever it is, there’s no excuse for this. Meg should know. She’s had plenty of hardships herself. But with innocent lives at stake, Meg is prepared to risk her own life to save these hostages, although it means disobeying orders and taking on the gunman face-to-face.
As the standoff progresses and the snowstorm rages outside,
anxiety and frustration start to build to dangerous levels. But everyone knows how precarious the situation is. One wrong move, even a breath, could have the most devastating of consequences.

My Thoughts:
This is my first Heather Gudenkauf book and oooooh - what a dandy. The story is fast paced and hooked me from the very first page. I like the way the story unfolded from five different viewpoints: Augie, Will, Mrs. Oliver, Meg and Holly. Not only did we move forward with each charcter, but also backwards to get an understanding of each individual and what lead them to this fateful day.

Ms. Gundenkauf writes a well organized, fast paced story. I always like that I have to get to the very end before finding out “who done it”. I guessed and guessed and guessed - but nope - I got it wrong. Having two nieces who teached, I particularily fell in love with Mrs. Oliver, the 3rd grade teacher who’s class was held hostage.She loves her students and her actions are otivated by her feelings of responsibility to them.

I have always heard good things about this author’s books and now I know them to be true. I will definately be checking out her two earlier books and looking forward to more.

The publishing date is June 19, 2012.

My Rating:  *****

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Last Werewolf (The Last Werewolf #1)

By: Glen Duncan

Overview from Goodreads:

Then she opened her mouth to scream—and recognized me. It was what I’d been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “It’s you.”

Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.
Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.
Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.

My Thoughts
I somewhat backed into this book, as I first discovered Talulla Rising (The Last Werewolf #2) and thought I would read The Last Werewolf (Book #1) to understand the storyline better.

So, I read the first 20 - 30 pages of The Last Werewolf and think - hmmmmm - not to sure this is for me. I put the book down. I pick the book back up, read another 20-30 pages and think - gosh, I'm just not sure I'm going to want to finish this book. I put the book down. I pick the book back up.
I have to tell you, I am so glad I stayed with The Last Werewolf. It turned into such a good story. It is so intelligently written. Yes - an intelligently written book about a werewolf. The main character, Jake, is funny, smart and cynical - tired of his life and thinking he is the last werewolf on earth. But then he meets Talulla and everything changes for Jake.
This was the first I've read by Mr. Duncan and I am looking forward to the next book.

My Rating:  ****

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

House of the Hunted

Overview from Goodreads:House of the Hunted

Mark Mills, bestselling author of Amagansett, The Savage Garden, and The Information Officer, is renowned for blending riveting history, rich atmosphere, and thrilling suspense. Now, in House of the Hunted, Mills deftly unfolds a story of betrayal, love, and the inescapable pull of the past as an ex-spy finds himself drawn back into his treacherous former life.

Côte d’Azu

Côte d’Azur, France, 1935: As Europe moves inexorably toward war, Tom Nash feels pleasantly removed, pursuing a quiet writing career on an idyllic stretch of the French Riveria. A former intelligence operative for the British government, Tom now finds refuge among the lively seaside community of expats and artists, hoping to put the worst deeds from his job—and memories of the woman he once loved—far behind him. But Tom’s peaceful existence is shattered when an unknown hit man tries to kill him in his sleep. Tom is sure that somebody knows his secrets, and that this attempt on his life won’t be the last.
Relying on his instincts for self-preservation, Tom suspects everyone of double-dealing, even people he considers his friends: the Russian art dealers from Paris, the exiled German dissidents, even his former boss and closest confidant. And as he plunges further into his haunted past, Tom feels himself turning into the person he used to be—a dangerous man, capable of anything

My Thoughts: 

This is one of those books I really struggle with.  The beginning was excellent.  The ending was interesting, and certainly seems to leave an option for another book about Tom Nash.  I struggled, because the middle was what I had a difficult time with.  There were several times I found myself thinking – what does this part have to do with anything?  I just felt there was too much time spent on character exchanges and scenarios that did not do much to build tension or suspense toward the ending. 

That being said, I would be interested in trying another book by this author.  Some of his writing was beautifully descriptive.  I would not want this book to be my first and last book by Mr. Mills. 

Thank you the Netgalley and Random House Publishing for allowing me to read this book for my unbiased review.

Publish date: April 3, 2012.
My Rating: ***