Monday, December 31, 2012

A Life in Parts

On an ordinary winter day, Loretta Goebel was wrapping Christmas gifts in her basement when the doorbell rang. She rushed to answer it and, in her haste, she banged her hand on the banister as she ran up the stairs. This seemingly innocuous injury resulted in the amputation of both her legs, her left hand, and most of the fingers on her right hand. While suffering through several rounds of amputations and painful prosthetic parts, she had to adapt to life without fingers or feet. Fiercely independent, she refused to succumb to life as an invalid. Even the simplest things seemed insurmountable at first, but with the support of her family and friends, she relearned how to do everything-from feeding and dressing herself to driving a car. Loretta's adjustment and recovery led to a friendship with Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, also an amputee. Heather helped Loretta find comfortable and attractive artificial legs that allowed her to regain her confidence and to feel feminine again.Through all her pain and loss, Loretta never gave up, and her story of triumph is a testament to anyone who is struggling to adjust to difficult circumstances.(Synopsis and cover image from Netgalley).

My Thoughts:


Two thoughts came to mind as I was reading this book:

A quote I just recently saw on Facebook "What looked like a setBACK could've actually been a setUP for God to do something greater in your life!!". For all the negatives and difficulties the author faced, she ultimately chose a path of being positive and working hard to make her life the best possible under her circumstances.

The book also reminded me about how life can turn on a dime. The story is a good example that we should live each day to the fullest and to be thankful for what we have, because we never know when everything could change.

Thank you to Stonebrook Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: October 8. 2012.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

White Horse (White Horse #1)

by Alex Adams


Thirty-year-old Zoe leads an ordinary life until the end of the world arrives. She is cleaning cages and floors at Pope Pharmaceuticals when the president of the United States announces that human beings are no longer a viable species. When Zoe realizes that everyone she loves is disappearing, she starts running. Scared and alone in a shockingly changed world, she embarks on a remarkable journey of survival and redemption. Along the way, Zoe comes to see that humans are defined not by their genetic code, but rather by their actions and choices. White Horse offers hope for a broken world, where love can lead to the most unexpected places(synopsis and book cover from Netgalley)

My Thoughts:

I quite enjoyed this book. Zoe is a strong main character and the story revolves around her life both pre and post apocalypse.

White Horse is the term given by the media for a Pope Pharmaceutical experiment gone terribly wrong - the result of an attempt to cure cancer that ends up decimating humanity. Most everyone dies, some are immune and then there are the horrible mutations who know doubt wish they were dead.

A wonderful debut by Ms. Adams. Fast paced, lovely prose, a well written good vs evil. A strong outing for the first book of a trilogy. I am anxiously awaiting the next two. At this point, I would say I am not interested in being a post - apocalyptic survivor. I am curious to see how the author continues to handle this story line and whether I will change my mind.

Thank you to Atria/Emily Bestler Books and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: December 18. 2012.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Little Wolves
by Thomas Maltman
A tragic act of violence echoes through a small Minnesota town

Set on the Minnesota prairie in the late 1980s during a drought season that’s pushing family farms to the brink, Little Wolves features the intertwining stories of a father searching for answers after his son commits a heinous murder, and a pastor’s wife (and washed-out scholar of early Anglo-Saxon literature) who has returned to the town for mysterious reasons of her own. A penetrating look at small-town America from the award-winning author of The Night Birds, Little Wolves weaves together elements of folklore and Norse mythology while being driven by a powerful murder mystery; a page-turning literary triumph (Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads).
My Thoughts


I picked this up to just read a few chapters to get a feel for the book and see if I thought I would like it. Before I knew it, I was half way thru and did not want to put it down.

The author’s writing is so lyrical and descriptive. There is that undertone of evil that really drew me in and the pages just flew. This was one of those books where you tend to block out everything that is going on around you. I got so wrapped up in the story that I feel like I just came back from a mini vacation for my brain. Hot dog!

This is Mr. Maltman’s second book. I have no doubt that I will be reading his first and watching for  new releases.

I thank Soho Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 8, 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Killer in the Wind

byAndrew Klavan

Three years ago, working vice for the NYPD, Dan Champion uncovered a sex slavery ring run by a kingpin known only as the Fat Woman. Obsessed with bringing her down, Champion infiltrated a world of sexual obsession and perversity. He broke the case, but the case also broke him. He started taking drugs and soon began to form hallucinations…a dead child prowling the streets of New York…a beautiful woman named Samantha who would have given him the love he always wanted—if she’d only been real.

Now Champion is a small town detective, chasing burglars and juvenile delinquents, hanging out at the local tavern where he is romancing a waitress. The ghosts and hallucinations are finally behind him as he begins to rebuild his life. Then one night Champion is called to examine the body of a woman who has washed ashore. Yet when he looks at her face, he sees that it’s Samantha, the woman he dreamed about long ago...a woman who doesn’t exist.

Suddenly, Champion is haunted again, only this time it’s by a team of expert killers who want to make sure he never finds the truth: the truth about the dead child who wanders through his imagination; the truth about the lover who inhabits his dreams; and the truth about a killer who has been on the run — in the wind — for a lifetime. The ghosts of the dead are all around him, and Champion has to find out who murdered them, fast, or he could become one of them himself. (Synopsis and book cover from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

What a roller coaster ride this was. My heart is still pounding from the last 50 pages. I thought the author did a great job of writing a fast paced, twisted mystery. Quite different from anything I have read recently and I am looking forward to reading more from this author. I love it when I find books like this that are from authors who are new to me.

Congrats Mr. Kravan!

Thank you to Grove/Atlantic, Inc. and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 8, 2013.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Too Bright to Hear Too Loud to See

A studio executive leaves his family and travels the world giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he's been forced to hide for 20 years.

In her tour-de-force first novel, Juliann Garey takes us inside the restless mind, ravaged heart, and anguished soul of Greyson Todd, a successful Hollywood studio executive who leaves his wife and young daughter and for a decade travels the world giving free reign to the bipolar disorder he's been forced to keep hidden for almost 20 years. The novel intricately weaves together three timelines: the story of Greyson's travels (Rome, Israel, Santiago, Thailand, Uganda); the progressive unraveling of his own father seen through Greyson's eyes as a child; and the intimacies and estrangements of his marriage. The entire narrative unfolds in the time it takes him to undergo twelve 30-second electroshock treatments in a New York psychiatric ward. This is a literary page-turner of the first order, and a brilliant inside look at mental illness.(synopsis and book cover from Goodreads)

My Thoughts


When I first started this book. I had difficulty getting into the rhythm of the writing. Honestly, I put it down after reading about a fourth and really had no intention of picking it back up.

I am soooooo glad I did!

For some reason, when I picked it back up - it all started to make sense. Some of the things the main character thinks while in the midst of his craziness made me laugh out loud. Some of his thoughts were profound. And then, of course, some thoughts were just - well - crazy!

And all along the way, I’m thinking - how will this end? I can’t tell, but it was enough to make me cry. All in all - this really was an amazingly beautiful story.

Many, many thanks to Soho Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: December 26, 2012.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Into the Desert: Reflections on the Gulf War

by Jeffrey Engel (Editor)

In the decade following the first Gulf War, most observers regarded it as an exemplary effort by the international community to lawfully and forcefully hold a regional aggressor in check. Interpretations have changed with the times. The Gulf War led to the stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia, an important contributing cause of the 9/11 attacks. The war also led to a long obsession with Saddam Hussein that culminated in a second, far longer, American-led war with Iraq.
In Into the Desert, historian Jeffrey Engel has gathered an all-star cast of contributors to reevaluate the first Gulf War: Michael Gordon of the New York Times; Sir Lawrence Freedman, former foreign policy advisor to Tony Blair; American Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan Ryan Crocker; Middle East specialist Shibley Telhami; and Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations. Engel and his contributors examine the war's origins, the war itself, its impact within the Arab world, and its long-term impact on military affairs and international relations. All told, Into the Desert offers an astute reassessment of one of the most momentous events in the last quarter century (synopsis and book cover from Goodreads).

My Thoughts

Very Educational.

I do have this fascination with the working of the Middle East. I enjoy reading the ins and outs of politics and policy-making. This book was excellent in explaining the background of the Gulf War. Early in the book, there were two passages that I felt clearly explained it’s intent:

“This book examines the Gulf War anew. It’s goal is to explain, within the broad categories of history, strategy, politics, military affairs and public opinion, what the initial war over Kuwait meant to participants at the time; what it continues to mean to journalists, scholars, and policymakers still engaged in the region.......”

Then, with regards to the writings of the different contributors:

“Collectively, their purpose is to inform readers unfamiliar with these events why they mattered .....”

When I read that second passage, I thought - that’s me! I am one of those readers unfamiliar with the events that lead to the Gulf War and I really did find this book to be fascinating and informative.

Many thanks to Oxford University and Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for an unbiased review.

Publish date: December 3 2012.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Ireland 1963. As the Irish people prepare to welcome President John F. Kennedy to the land of his ancestors, a German national is murdered in a seaside guesthouse. Lieutenant Albert Ryan, Directorate of Intelligence, is ordered to investigate. The German is the third foreigner to die within a few days, and Minister for Justice Charles Haughey wants the killing to end lest a shameful secret be exposed: the dead men were all Nazis granted asylum by the Irish government in the years following World War II.

A note from the killers is found on the dead German's corpse, addressed to Colonel Otto Skorzeny, Hitler's favorite commando, once called the most dangerous man in Europe. The note simply says: "We are coming for you."

As Albert Ryan digs deeper into the case he discovers a network of former Nazis and collaborators, all presided over by Skorzeny from his country estate outside Dublin. When Ryan closes in on the killers, his loyalty is torn between country and conscience. Why must he protect the very people he fought against twenty years before? Ryan learns that Skorzeny might be a dangerous ally, but he is a deadly enemy (synopsis and book cover from Goodreads).

My Thoughts


I have decided that I like Irish authors and this book is a perfect example why. There so much history to draw from. This book had it all - murder mystery, plot twists, back stabbing.....what more could a reader ask for?

Thank you to Soho Press and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: January 1, 2013

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Keeper of the Night (The Keepers: L.A. #1)
By Heather Graham
In their new Keeper roles, these extraordinary women must balance the fate of the world with their desires…

New Keeper Rhiannon Gryffald has her peacekeeping duties cut out for her—because in Hollywood, it’s hard to tell the actors from the werewolves, bloodsuckers and shape-shifters. Then Rhiannon hears about a string of murders that bear all the hallmarks of a vampire serial killer, and she must confront her greatest challenge yet. Together with Elven detective Brodie McKay, they head to Laurel Canyon, epicenter of the danger, where they uncover a plot that may forever alter the face of human-paranormal relations.

My Thoughts

Traditional Heather Graham.

As we know from the synopsis, this book is about Rhiannon, who is keeper of the vampires. It’s her job to keep everyone on the straight and narrow. Easier said than done, especially in L.A. Plus, she is new to the job and is being tested to see if she can handle her new responsibilities. There are two cousins who are also keepers - Barrie, Keeper of the Shapeshifters and Sailor, Keeper of the Elven.

It’s nice to have a go-to author for when I want to read some thing I know will be light and fun. This book did not disappoint! It was fast paced - a mystery with some romance on the side. In the hands of Ms. Graham - this story line is always entertaining.

Here’s what is really cool. Ms. Graham has joined with Harley Jane Kozak and Alexandra Sokoloff to write what is to be a four book series. What I do know, is the next book is called Keeper of the Moon by Ms. Kozak, an author I have never read, so I am looking forward to this book.

If Keeper of the Night as any indication of what is to come, I think this series is going to be a blast!

Thank you to Harlequin and Netgalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: December 18, 2012