Friday, February 12, 2016

Fast Into the Night by Debbie Clarke Moderow

Product Details

Fast into the Night: A Woman, Her Dogs, and Their Journey North on the Iditarod Trail

Feb 2, 2016 by Debbie Clarke Moderow

A captivating memoir of one woman’s attempt to finish the Iditarod, led by her team of spunky huskies with whom she shares a fascinating and inextricable bond

At age forty-seven, a mother of two, Debbie Moderow was not your average musher in the Iditarod, but that’s where she found herself when, less than 200 miles from the finish line, her dogs decided they didn’t want to run anymore. After all her preparation, after all the careful management of her team, and after their running so well for over a week, the huskies balked. But the sting of not completing the race after coming so far was nothing compared to the disappointment Moderow felt in having lost touch with her dogs.   
Fast into the Night is the gripping story of Moderow’s journeys along the Iditarod trail with her team of spunky huskies: Taiga and Su, Piney and Creek, Nacho and Zeppy, Juliet and the headstrong leader, Kanga. The first failed attempt crushed Moderow’s confidence, but after reconnecting with her dogs she returned and ventured again to Nome, pushing through injuries,  hallucinations, epic storms, flipped sleds, and clashing personalities, both human and canine. And she prevailed.   Part adventure, part love story, part inquiry into the mystery of the connection between humans and dogs, Fast into the Night is an exquisitely written memoir of a woman, her dogs, and what can happen when someone puts herself in that place between daring and doubt—and soldiers on






This was both a boring book to read and a very interesting one.  Boring in that I couldn't mesh with Ms Moderow and the race didn't feel real to me; interesting because I did learn a bit about Alaska and the race. 

But in the end, this is a  story of an ego-driven musher ( why did she REALLY need to take this second challenge, because she didn't finish the first time or because her son and husband both finished leaving her to be the lone 'loser'?) who comes from a privileged background where everything came to her too easily and without working for it.  the book  left me cold. (no pun intended) I too come from Connecticut and the author sounds like she comes from one of the older, 'tighter knit' towns and her life revolved around the pursuits of those with too much time on their hands.

I really would have loved to read more about the details of the race - who were the sponsors, how much did it cost to train and race, how did the family balance work with the race preparations,  what was it like to eat on the trail or go to the bathroom in so many layers of clothes -you know... the personal aspects of being in the race.

In the end it was, for me, simply a lovely story about a woman and her dogs, but I did not feel anything.  I should have been able to put myself into  her shoes, but unfortunately, I was unable to do so.
ARC supplied by publisher.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Product Details
Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on February 2, 2016.

Book Description


A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband's family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.
Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.



Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Clueless and Missing Almost Everything

Sarah’s husband of twenty years –Jack – has secrets…a lot of them. If it were not for the fact that they needed to go back to Jack’s hometown because of an accident in the family, we naturally wouldn’t know about these secrets and there would have been no book. (Sorry I couldn’t resist).

Now this apparent ‘accident’ turns into a case of murder and Sarah, who was an investigative reporter before she turned advice columnist, ends up suspecting everyone –though of course not the real murderer. Plus to add to this book –Sarah disregards actually CLUES that are sent directly to her.    She was supposed to have been an investigative reporter and missed something as obvious as these clues being sent to her???  Or am I missing something here?

The only reason I didn’t give up on this book at the ¾ mark was to see if my idea of who-dun-it was correct and it was.

This was a very slow moving book that seems to really miss the mark – on nearly every level and could have used an editor or at least a better one.  I could not warm up to any of the characters, none of them. Books that us the cliché of making everyone a suspect are usually spine tingling –this one just fell flat for me.  It was just a tad too obvious as to who really did it.

*ARC supplied by publisher.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Product DetailsNew York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new Study novel full of magic, danger and intrigue. 

Night Study (Study Series)

Jan 26, 2016
by Maria V. Snyder


Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  

Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.


 It took me forever to get through this book and that is just not like me.

I can't tell you just how unhappy this book made me. I am getting tired of never finishing all of the plot points. I can understand Ms Snyder wants us to keep reading to see what happens with Owen and the Commander. But this book took the cake.

For instance, we start out hunting down a particular plant growing in 'glass houses;-we are all hysterical about it and we really need to find it and figure out what it can do, but we find it, but we never come back to this issue. 

I am starting to appreciate the multi-person narrative, but I can't say that I love it. It does allow us to be in three or four places at one time...which bring me to another problem I'm having. I really hate the author's idea of separating Yalena from Valek to go on different 'missions', in these last few books.

This series is really starting to come off like two of my *former* favorite authors -J.R. Ward whose books had been wonderful until she decided to write a series of novella's under the guise of an entire book. The same with L.K. Hamilton -she decided to just keep adding people and power's to the protagonist's and to never really give a totally reasonable explanation for doing so. Again her book's ended up reading like a series of short stories than an entire novel.

I understand why the author is doing what she is doing; she want's us to buy the next book because we just have to know what happens to Valek, Yalena, the Baby, Onora, The Commandeer et al...yes the list is a long one.


YOU ARE BEING WARNED!!!!
SPOILER--------------SPOILER------------------ SPOILER------------SPOILER

We have to keep reading because of course Owen is still alive, the Commander is still nutso and Valek is going to have to learn to use his newly found (I use that term loosely) magic and we have to see if it is the baby that is making Yelena's magic disappear (unlikely right?) 

I have to admit that I do want to find out what is going to happen next, I will read the next book (which I hope is the last one on this particular journey) but I am not happy with the voyage getting to the end of the series.



*ARC Supplied By Publisher

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Product Details

Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard Book 1)
Kindle Edition
$1.99


Scarlett Bernard knows about personal space: step within ten feet of her, and anything supernatural is instantly neutralized—vampires and werewolves become human again, and witches can’t cast the slightest spell. Scarlett uses her status as a null to cover up crime scenes for Los Angeles’s three most powerful magical communities, helping them keep humanity, and the LAPD, in the dark.
One night Scarlett gets caught at the scene of a grisly murder by the all-too-human LAPD cop Jesse Cruz, who blackmails her into a deal: he’ll keep quiet about the supernatural underworld if she helps him crack the case. Their pact doesn’t sit well with Dashiell, the city’s chief vampire, who fears his whole empire is at stake. And when the clues start to point to Scarlett herself, it’ll take more than her unique powers to catch the real killer and clear her name.


This was a great  take on what is an over-whelmed genre. Although this book does deal with the typical monsters, i.e. vampires, werewolves and witches, the main emphasis on this story is the fact that our protagonist is a Null -someone who nullifies the magic in a specific radius around them.

Scarlett has been hired by the otherworldly community to be a cleanup person. She cleans up the messes that cannot be explained to the human community. She helps keep the `monsters' hidden.

*Light Spoiler* Scarlett also believes that she is the only one with this ability in this part of the country, but she comes to find out that she is wrong.  It will be interesting to see if and how this fact plays out in future books.

It took me quite a while to warm up to the characters in this novel and even after finishing it I am still not so sure I actually `liked' everyone I should be liking. I have no problems with the secondary characters. The author has done a wonderful job in letting me `see' them emotionally as how the author expects. It's this trio of Scarlett, Jesse (a human cop) and Eli the werewolf who is to be Scarlett's helper until another Null can be found, that I am having problems with.
These three characters come off, in my opinion as ineffective, not quite inept but darn close to it.

There are several interesting twists to this story. There is  maybe, a love/like triangle happening and something evil happening with a once beloved and trusted character that will set us up for the next book.

This was not a waste of time to read and I will be starting the next book in about 15 minutes so I can tell you I liked it enough to try the next one. However, I hope with the second book, I see some growth with the 3 main characters and that they become less passive.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fire Touched - Patricia Briggs

Product Details

Fire Touched: A Mercy Thompson Novel

Mar 8, 2016
Description
Mercy Thompson has been hailed as “a heroine who continues to grow and yet always remains true to herself.”* Now she's back, and she'll soon discover that when the fae stalk the human world, it's the children who suffer...
Tensions between the fae and humans are coming to a head. And when coyote shapeshifter Mercy and her Alpha werewolf mate, Adam, are called upon to stop a rampaging troll, they find themselves with something that could be used to make the fae back down and forestall out-and-out war: a human child stolen long ago by the fae.

Defying the most powerful werewolf in the country, the humans, and the fae, Mercy, Adam, and their pack choose to protect the boy no matter what the cost. But who will protect them from a boy who is fire touched?

*Library Journal
Possible Spoilers------->>> You have been warned------->Wow just Wow --- this book added a few new elements into the mix. An interesting yet a little dragged out story that makes if fairly clear that the series is winding down. There is a new character that looks like Mercy and Adam will be 'adopting', an unusual, unique little fiery boy (hence the title), their clan will be breaking (for now) from the werewolves as a whole and making new allies. Who would have thought we would ever see the wolves and the Fae as allies---I wonder against who (whom?)

Only Mercy (or maybe Anna) could get all these factions (Fae, Vamps, Wolves, etc )to cooperate - so whatever they are going to face in the end book should be frickin' amazing!



At least we didn't get a lot of Christy in this book...some but not a lot.

I can see how this will be one of the last books in this series--- a lot of winding up and winding down going on.

OH!!! And it was fantastic to see Adam be the one who 'dies' and needs to be brought back instead of Mercy for once. :-)

I'm going to do a re-read and write a proper review later! But this is a totally worthwhile if a little slow, book.

No need to do a re-read of "Night Broken" before you read this book (except that it was such a fun book)-there is just enough back-story in "Fire Touched" to keep you from getting frustrated but not enough to bore you.

*ARC - Supplied by publisher

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Death Before Decaf

Product Details


Perfect for fans of Janet Evanovich and Diane Mott Davidson, Caroline Fardig’s captivating new mystery novel takes readers behind the counter of a seemingly run-of-the-mill coffeehouse . . . where murder is brewing. After her music career crashes and burns spectacularly, Juliet Langley is forced to turn to the only other business she knows: food service. Unfortunately, bad luck strikes yet again when her two-timing fiancé robs her blind and runs off with her best waitress. Flushing what’s left of her beloved café down the toilet with her failed engagement, Juliet packs up and moves back to her college stomping grounds in Nashville to manage an old friend’s coffeehouse. At first glance, it seems as though nothing’s changed at Java Jive. What could possibly go wrong? Only that the place is hemorrhaging money, the staff is in open revolt, and Juliet finds one unlucky employee dead in the dumpster out back before her first day is even over. The corpse just so happens to belong to the cook who’d locked horns with Juliet over the finer points of the health code. Unimpressed with her management style, the other disgruntled employees are only too eager to spill the beans about her fiery temper to the detective on the case. Add to the mix a hunky stranger who’s asking way too many questions, and suddenly Juliet finds herself in some very hot water. If she can’t simmer down and sleuth her way to the real killer, she’s going to get burned.



Whoever thought to compare this author to Janet Evanovich or Diane Mott Davidson has surely never read a book by either one of these authors. I do have to admit though, that the similarities to Evanovich's books are eerily similar: a choice of two men, a crazy elderly woman, sarcasm... Need I say more?

I've made it (and with great difficulty) to the 50% mark. Though some readers think that this book gets better later on, I won't try to get any further. A book and its characters should attract you from the start or at least pique your curiosity and pull you in. This story line and the main characters did none of that for me.

I found the main character of Juliet Langley to be a whiny,immature, overly impulsive and fairly ignorant character. One with a loud and foul mouth who is trying too hard to act like she is 20 instead of a mature 30. She grated on my nerves from the very first full chapter.

In what I did manage to read, I found absolutely nothing humorous and nothing that compelled me to finish this book and to see who the murderer is.

ARC supplied by publisher.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald


Product Details

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend


Jan 19, 16by Katarina Bivald

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy's funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor -- not much else to do in a small town that's almost beyond repair. They just never imagined that she'd start a bookstore. Or that books could bring them together – and change everything.
There's a book for every person ... and a person for every book.



I really did enjoy this book, though at first it was a bit slow going for my taste. I understood the concept of one book-lover traveling many miles to meet other like minded bibliophiles -I have done this at least 4 times now though never outside of the USA.

This book resonates with me in another way -I am extremely tired of all the tab A into slot B sex scenes that seem to fill most books nowadays - this book had none of that. It was a gentle love story and the sex was gentle also.

The idea of having a book store in this town and the reasons for doing so was clever story-telling, although I would have liked to see more people getting interested in reading!

The idea of this being a "book about books" is apt but not 100% so. This is not only about books passion, but it is a fish out of water book, a making new friends book and a book looking at small town life; especially a small town that seems to be slipping through the cracks. This book has humor, in a twisted sort of way and the ending is truly a wonderful one.

One thing I am worried that I may have missed -was the reason why Amy died (besides being elderly) ever come out?

Seriously, the first few chapters had me thinking that I was going to end up with it being on my 'did-not-finish' pile, but something sucked me in and I am really glad I finished this. It most likely will end up on my re-read/comfort reads shelf very soon.