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DIG TWO GRAVES: Suspenseful Mystery ~Kim Powers

Monday, December 7th, 2015

DIG TWO GRAVES came at me like a ton of bricks and I wasn’t ready.  I knew from the title that it was going to be about a murder but I did not figure out it was about lots of murders, a kidnapping or two, and a series of trials/tasks which needed to be completed to save a child’s life. The mystery begins right after the birthday party opening and father – daughter disagreement, we were dropped into the kidnapping scenario and the book was relentless with puzzles and actions, which needed to be solved and completed.

I had to put the book down several times as I could fall into the feeling the emotions of having a daughter kidnapped and of not being able to figure out the puzzle or meaning of the poem.  I was not familiar with the trials of Hercules although the main character was a teacher of ancient history and Greek Mythology at a college and that connection made it very interesting and piqued my curiosity a number of times.

Ethan Holt had done the Decathlon in the Olympics and won the gold.  He father had pushed and pushed him to compete and win.  After the win and being on the Wheaties Box, Ethan was allowed to disappear into his own life and he got his degrees in Ancient History and began teaching, he married and shared life with a child.  His life was full of loss as his parents died in a house fire and years later his wife was killed in a car accident, leaving Ethan to single parent his daughter “Skip”.

At thirteen, Skip was confident but going through a number of disagreements with her father that included her upset with a girl friend recently arrived in their lives.  Wendy is the new vet at the zoo.  Ethan and Skip go running early one morning to resolve a recent disagreement and when Ethan arrives home after work, he discovers that Skip has been kidnapped.  The kidnapper arranges a series of trials for Ethan to complete to keep his daughter from death and each involves more and more danger and brings into plain view another aspect of his life.

What is it that we learn from Ancient History and Mythology that teaches us in the present context of our life?   What has been abandoned or forgotten along the way and yet is relevant and important?  What is the truth of our past and how does it apply to our future?  Are we strong and will we survive?  Lots of questions posed within this story and the feelings are on high alert.   We all know someone who will find this read fascinating and the book hard to set aside.  The writing is steady and not complicated and it truly touched my emotions on several levels.  An intelligent read – interesting.

TLC Book Tours sent me the e-copy of this book for review and it was quite the read.

About the author: (From the cover)

“Kim Powers is the author of the novel Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story as well as the critically acclaimed memoir The History of Swimming, a Barnes and Noble ‘Discover’ Book and Lambda Literary Award finalist.  He is currently the senior writer for ABC’s 20/20, and has won an Emmy, Peabody, and Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence ruing his time at ABC News and Good Morning America.  A native Texan, he received an MFA from Yale School of Drama, and also wrote the screenplay for the indie-favorite film Finding North.  He lives in New York City and Asbury Park, NJ, and may be reached at kimpowersbooks.com.”

Related:
The Shock Doctrine
Freedom
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
A Dual Inheritance

THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS: a Novel ~Catherine Ryan Hyde

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

“And that, I realized, is the worst price we pay for living in a dearth of true communication.  We go through our whole lives thinking it’s only us.  And that has to be the deepest, most bone-chilling definition of the word ‘alone’.  You can have a crowd around you, a circus, but they can’t spare you from that brand of loneliness.” (from location 92%)

From Amazon the story description:

“From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of the heartbreak and healing power of family. New to a small town, Jackie and Paula envision a quiet life for their kids: a young adopted son and two teenage foster children, including the troubled Star. However, they quickly butt heads with their neighbor, Clementine, who disapproves of their lifestyle and is incensed when Star befriends her spirited horse, Comet. Haunted by past tragedy and unable to properly care for Comet, Clem nevertheless resents the bond Star soon shares with the horse. When Star disappears with Comet, the neighbors are thrown together—far too close together. But as the search for the pair wears on, both families must learn to put aside their animosity and confront the choices they’ve made and the scars they carry. Plumbing the depths of regret and forgiveness, The Language of Hoofbeats explores the strange alchemy that transforms a group of people into a family.“

This is one of the nicest stories of family bonding I think I have ever read.  I believe readers from middle school to 100 would enjoy this story.  For me it has a special appeal of an adoptive/fostering family finding their connections and working through the hard stuff – finally together.  The ending was not as comfortable as one would imagine in a traditional story, and yet it was finding a happiness which shined forth. I liked how the difficult neighbor assisted everyone in finding their own voice and not being afraid to say, “I don’t like this.”  Lots of learning to problem solve and communication happening in the LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS.

I received an advanced unproofed, uncorrected copy of this book from TLC Booktours  for review and I feel it was a privilege to be able to share this story with you.  I am grateful for the opportunity and think this would make a lovely gift.  I curled right up on a 19’F sunny morning and read it beginning to end and I will add it to my Holiday reading shelf.  THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS is a gem.

Know any teenagers who are moody?   Know someone who needs a happy ending? Concerned about children and their welfare?  Have a troublesome neighbor? Need a sense of belonging?   I do recommend THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS

Here’s what it says about the author at the end of my e-read:

“Catherine Ryan Hyde is the bestselling author of twenty-four novels, including the 1999 smash hit PAY IT FORWARD, which has been translated into more than two dozen languages, and was made into a major motion picture starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment.  In addition to her novels, Hyde is the author of more than fifty short stories and is founder and former president (2000-2009) of the Pay It Forward Foundation.  During her years as a professional public speaker, she addressed the National Conference on Education, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with President Bill Clinton.”

Catherine Ryan Hyde Website
Catherine Ryan Hyde Blog
Catherine Ryan Hyde Twitter
Catherine Ryan Hyde Facebook

I just wanted to tell you every detail of the story – but I hate reading reviews that spoil or tell too much.

Related:
The Pact
The Dragon’s Pawn
The Sowing
ANTS or Automatic Negative Thinking

2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS: A Novel ~Marie-Helene Bertino

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

“GIRLS, thinks Ben.  Flutelike, gauze-filled, late-afternoon sunshine.  Rainbow bracelets on the carpet.  They use their tongues to wet their lips. Girls.  They pretend to like each other.  Dotting their i’s with hearts, arching their backs, manipulating their confusing hair with flat irons, curling irons, glisten, extra, ultra hold, hold my purse, hold me close, no duh, bubble gum, gym socks, tube socks, tubes of gloss, tube tops, purrs, pert collars, full hair, full tits, just the tip!  Their sound, the upper notes of an xylophone.  Their legs, downed in fur, Girls.

“The one from Ben’s Advanced Lit class says, ‘That dress is vintage.  You can totally tell.’”  (From location 66% on unproofed Kindle Copy- highlighted)


2 A.M. At the CAT’s PAJAMAS is a unique and driving debut novel that I am sure will capture your imagination and turn the pages not “even” fast enough for your desire of finding out what happens next.  Do not even think about speed reading this book, because you will miss the magic and delight captured within every word on the page.  It is wonder FULL and does not miss a beat, you will be sorry if you do not know this book; you will want to share this with you friends right away even if the speed confuses you – I am sure you will read it again to capture the whole experience.

Philadelphia on Christmas Eve Eve at 7am in the morning, we are introduced to nine year old Madeleine Altimari practicing her shimming and heading off to her last day of school before the holiday.  Madeleine is an amazing little girl and her mother has recently died of cancer; her father has given up and just sits in a chair listening to music. Madeleine just wants to sing, she is anticipating making and tasting her first caramel apple at school  and that which starts out as an okay day goes from cockroaches to worse, until the most amazing experience  of a lifetime becomes hers.

Serina Greene is Madeleine’s fifth grade art teacher and she has just moved back to Philadelphia after a divorce. She is re-connecting with high school “friends” this evening for a dinner party. She is apprehensive about the event when she discovers Ben her high school prom date will be attending.  Serina’s father has abandoned her also just a few days before that prom.

Lorca is the current owner of the CAT’s PAJAMAS the second best jazz club in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia.  He has just a few hours to come up with $30,000 to pay off the fines against the club and keep it open.  He is having troubles with his 16 year old son who wants to play jazz guitar with the Cubanistas the current band of the establishment.

The quirky and interesting other characters in the story just keep arriving at the correct moments in time and then are all pulled together by “all that jazz!”  The reader will want to get to know each and every one.

2 A.M. AT THE CAT’S PAJAMAS is a unique and sparkling novel which will refresh and release your spirit.

Marie-Helene Bertino Blog   
Marie-Helene Bertino Facebook

You and I will have to discover Bertino ourselves…She is winning awards and Oprah approves of this book!

TLC online book tours ent me an unproofed copy of this book for review on my Kindle.  Wow, am I very happy that they did – What a sweet treat.  Thank you

Please Share – Thank you

Related:
Mr. Penumbra’s 24- Hour Bookstore
Coincidence
The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend
The Element 

INAMORATA: a Novel ~Megan Chance

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

“Inamorata: a woman with whom one is in love or has intimate relations; to inspire with love.”  (dictionary)

“Succubus: A demon assuming female form to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep” (dictionary)


The artist’s muse has always been an important mythology and particularly during the 1700s in Italy.  Who inspired the great works of poetry, music, sculpture and paintings?  It could not just be the artist themselves, it had to be a god or a demon which freed the spirit and produced the fame and fortune of their work.  I personally believe this idea has been around for all the ages and I hear writers speak of it now and entrepreneurial spirits also.

INAMORATA is just one of those stories with some nice twists and turns to increase the historic romance qualities.  The beauty, sex, and expectations are all centered around Venice during this interpretation of the story because a stunning Courtesan is living within the city – Odile’ Léon.   Nicholas has figured her out and all the dead bodies floating by and is going to reveal her true nature to the world to cause her destruction.

Young twins arrive in Venice, one an artist the other a storyteller, to find fame and fortune and make a name for themselves.  They are intensely attractive and talented.  They were orphaned as children and only have each other to depend on for their livelihood.  Nicholas is trying to shield them and connect them to the proper sponsors and Léon is trying to find them to perpetuate her life.

One of my most favorite twists in INAMORATA is the Odile’ Léon, after 350+ years would like not to just give artists fame and fortune before she sucks the creativity out of them, she herself wishes for fame!    She has all the fortune she needs, yet she wishes to have her own abilities to remain a part of history and the mythology.  This tale gives her name to the world, but does the demon muse still live on today?

The demon muse theme has come to my attention numerous times in my studies and where as I love the romantic concepts it inspires I now see more where the theme brings along so much destruction of the human spirit and may even block a great mind in the current technological generation.  Steve Jobs comes to mind, his eating pure, meditation, and clean lifestyle allowed creativity to flow in huge bounds of energy release.

INAMORATA is definitely a good read if you like romantic historic fiction and it will capture your attention. I would recommend this book to young adult readers and creative people. How does your muse assist you in your success?

“Megan Chance is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author of historical fiction.  Her novels have been chosen for the borders Original Voices and IndieBound’s Booksense programs.  A former television news photographer and graduate of Western Washington University, Chance lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.”  (from press release)

Megan’s Official website
Also by Chance: Susannah Morrow, An Inconvenient Wife, The Spiritualist, Prima Donna, City of Ash Bone River

tlc logo TLC Online Booktours sent me an unproofed PDF copy of this book for review and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to read this book

Related:
The Forever Man
Painting Juliana
The Quick   
The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend