She was discovered covered in mud on the banks of the Thronscalle River, a mere child not more than "two seasons", according to Krawg, a Gatherer. HeShe was discovered covered in mud on the banks of the Thronscalle River, a mere child not more than "two seasons", according to Krawg, a Gatherer. He and his partner, one-eyed Warney, discovered the mysterious child while investigating the ruckus produced by a flock of crows. Their unexpected find puts them in a bind. They are Gatherers, outcasts from House Abascar, forced to live outside the protective walls of kingdom until their criminal sentences have been repaid and grace is granted to them by King Cal-marcus. If the two known as the "One-Eyed Bandit" and the "Midnight Swindler" turn her over to a duty officer, they'll be accused of kidnapping, with punishment in the dungeons to follow. But if they leave her where she is, which they have ascertained is within a large footprint, one of the toes to be exact, then a duty officer will ride over top of her and "stomp her into the ground". So the two old thieves do the only thing that is left. They take the baby back to the Gatherers' village and hide her. That one small act is like a pebble thrown into a pond. As the ripples emanate outward, they will grow in strength, changing the Gatherers, House Abascar and reaching into the Expanse.
"River Girl" is the first moniker bestowed upon the orphan by the Gatherers. But a typical Gatherer child she is not. As she grows, she spends more and more of her time away from the village, exploring the Expanse and learning its secrets. She balks at her guardians' expectations she'll follow the traditions of House Abascar, especially the Rites of Passage. A free spirit, she can't fathom life within the kingdom's grim walls. But there is more to the river child, now called Auralia. She has a talent unknown to the Gatherers, or to any in Abascar. Her nimble fingers weave vibrant colors into whatever she touches, bringing joy and hope into the drab lives of her fellow villagers. An act that defies the laws of House Abascar.
Only the king is allowed to possess color. Years ago, Queen Jarlamine issued a proclamation declaring all colors the property of the palace. Citizens sacrificing the most during Abascar's "Winter" would be greatly rewarded at the time of its "Spring." But before the "spring", the Queen had vanished, leaving House Abascar and its lands trapped in perpetual "winter." Now word of the mysterious girl and her talent has spread. Will the king be able to maintain his rule over the people as Auralia's colors begin to awaken the memories of promises made, but never fulfilled?
Auralia's Colors is the strong, well-crafted debut novel by Jeffrey Overstreet. This is a story about loss and of hope, of the conflict that ensues when self-preservation and self-interest collide with self-sacrifice. Mr. Overstreet's talent shines on these pages. His poetic way with words brings his characters alive on the pages, within a world vivid enough the reader forgets its fiction. This book has earned a place on my keeper shelf, with enough space reserved for the rest of the series.
Cyndere's Midnight continues the same excellent standard set in Auralia's Colors.
This novel shifts from House Abascar to House Bel Amica and heiressCyndere's Midnight continues the same excellent standard set in Auralia's Colors.
This novel shifts from House Abascar to House Bel Amica and heiress to the throne, Cyndere. Last in line to the throne, Cyndere is never left alone, lest something should happen to her. Even in a crowd, she leads an isolated life until Deuneroi. In him she finds a kindered spirit and someone to share her dream of rescuing the Beastmen, a wretched, violent race of people that live outside Bel Amica's lands. But when Deuneroi is killed by the very people he sought to help, can Cyndere continue with the dream? Her first opportunity comes when she meets Jordam.
Jordam is a Beastman, but he knows there is a better way--Auralia's colors. But she's gone, and his old nature is reasserting itself. It craves the Essence--the elixir that controls Jordam and his fellow Beastmen. Jordam and Cyndere meet beside an old well, and Jordam recognizes the pain that Cyndere carries--a pain he carries himself. The two traditional enemies form a cautious bond, but will it survive those more interested in destruction than restoration? Jordam is torn between the world of the Beastmen--one of violence and destruction--and of a better way.
This novel also raises more questions than it answers regarding the Keeper and the Northchildren. The ale boy is back as well as King Cal-raven and the survivors of House Abascar.
One thought that kept occuring to me as I read this book was we never know of the impact our lives, no matter how lived, will have on those we may or may not meet. A central character's influence from the first book is profound throughout the second. Even though not physically present, that influence touches and affects people and events near and far.
It's a thought that has stuck with me, long after finishing the book. Now I'm impatiently waiting for the third book in the Auralia Thread series.
I started reading this morning and didn't do much of anything else but read this book. I finished it this evening.
I'm not going to say much, becauseI started reading this morning and didn't do much of anything else but read this book. I finished it this evening.
I'm not going to say much, because I'm afraid I'd say too much and spoil the unexpected plot twists and turns that kept me reading most of the day. :-). Suffice it to say, "Merciless" ratchets up the pace and tension set in "Relentless" and "Fearless." The storytelling in "Merciless" also takes on a new format throughout the book, giving the reader a unique vantage point throughout the story. Very cool.
My only wish for the book--a list of characters and their particular power to refresh my memory. :-). With months between books, it's easy to forget and harder to remember the characters and the particular roles they inhabit.
If you've ever felt like you're being watched, but no one is there take a closer look. It could be, you aren't alone. Someone like Lucas could be lurkIf you've ever felt like you're being watched, but no one is there take a closer look. It could be, you aren't alone. Someone like Lucas could be lurking behind that wall or above the ceiling tiles, observing you as you go about your daily tasks or your job.
That's what Lucas does. He watches people when he's not working as a dishwasher at a local Washington DC restaurant. He's an urban explorer, as familiar with Washington's underground network of tunnels and abandoned buildings, as most people are with city streets and their homes and places of employment.
Lucas does this because he longs for human contact, but doesn't know how to make and keep that contact. He's a man with no past; he can't remember his childhood or ever having a family. All he can recall is the line "Humpty Dumpty had some great falls."
So Lucas spends his days spying on people with normal lives, making up stories in his head about who they are and how they spend their days. Lucas is also a petty thief, not above swiping tokens from his unknowing subjects, and using them to build precise shrines in whatever place he currently calls home.
Then he discovers the Creep Club, a group of urban explorers just like him, he thinks. At last the contact he's longed for. But his sense of connection is short-lived when he realizes this group of people takes their spying farther than his moral code will allow. They delight in watching and filming the dark side of human nature--plans for a murder, a husband abusing his wife.
But when Lucas tries to stop the murder, he finds himself the prime suspect. He also becomes one of the watched and finds himself drawn into events he can't control. He wants to flee, but knows there is no where to go. Those that pursue him have already proven they can and will find him no matter where he goes. He's forced to play a game in which he doesn't have the winning move and has no way of playing a winning move.
Even though some parts of the book left me a little murky as to what was going on, the rest of the novel forced me to read to the end of the book.
"The Unseen" raises some disturbing privacy questions, especially regarding government and how far it may go in the name of security.
So the next time you feel like someone may be watching, but you're fairly certain you're alone, look again. Push aside the ceiling tiles or look for a small hole in the wall of the janitor's closet that faces the main room. Or not, if you'd rather not know.
House of Wolves is a fast-paced book; sometimes a bit too fast. Some details are dropped off in the action or loose ends left untied. Decent entertainHouse of Wolves is a fast-paced book; sometimes a bit too fast. Some details are dropped off in the action or loose ends left untied. Decent entertainment. ...more
Three years have passed since the final chapters in DragonKnight. Sir Bardon, an o'rant and emerlindian knight in Paladin's service, has married KaleThree years have passed since the final chapters in DragonKnight. Sir Bardon, an o'rant and emerlindian knight in Paladin's service, has married Kale Allerion, a wizard and Dragon Keeper. When the novel starts, they are standing in the remains of a village destroyed by fire dragons, flying weapons of warfare. Bardon has his hands full as he tries to prevent Kale from entering the partially destroyed inn. But Kale feels the pull of her DragonKeeper talent towards the crumbling building. After Bardon forces her to think through a plan, she enters the decrepit structure. Accompanying her is Ardeo, a white and grey minor dragon that glows in the dark and Pat, a chubby brown minor dragon whose talent is repairing things. They make their way to the inn's basement, Ardeo lighting the way and Pat slowing Kale's headlong rush into the rickety remains.
But greater danger lies outside. When Kale exists the unstable building, Bardon is gone. Dibl, another one of the DragonKeeper's minor charges, informs Kale via mindspeaking about a small group of bisonbecks that entered the inn's yard while she was inside. By the time she locates her husband the fight is almost done. Bardon has downed two of the bisonbecks and the minor dragons with him have blinded another one with the caustic spit. She flattens one of the two remaining fighters and Bardon knocks out the last bisonbeck. Kale uses a vine to immobilize the only conscious prisoner and Bardon begins to interrogate him. The bisonbeck, a soldier in Crim Cropper's army, gives Bardon some useful information, but not much. The husband and wife duo head on their way, determined to carry out their original task—finding Regidor and his wife, Gilda, rare meech dragons. Gilda is dying from an evil spell and Bardon and Kale think they've found the cure. But will they reach their meech friends in time? And what has happened to the outside world while they've lived in isolation in the bogs? From the devastation left by the fire dragons, they suspect war will soon come to Arama. A war whose outcome will determine if their homeland lives free under Paladin and Wulder, or falls to Pretender and his forces.
DragonFire is the fourth book in the DragonKeeper Chronicles and continues the high standards set in the previous three books. Award winning author Donita K. Paul has built a complex storyworld for this series, populated with dragons, wizards, kimens, bisonbecks, emerlindians, mordakleeps and knights, just to name a few. All the characters, from the most powerful wizard to the tinest dragon, have personalities that crackle and snap across the pages. So much so that I really missed some of my favorite characters from the earlier books-a librarian named Librettowit and the wizard Fenworth. He's a hoot!
Summer 2008 brings the series to a close with DragonLight, the final book in the DragonKeeper Chronicles. While I'm sorry to see this series end, I'm looking forward to visiting Arama and its inhabitants once again.
Russell Fink is a man with many issues. He’s a hypochondriac. He sells office products for a living, a job he loathes. He’s engaged to a controlling aRussell Fink is a man with many issues. He’s a hypochondriac. He sells office products for a living, a job he loathes. He’s engaged to a controlling actress wanna-be he's dated since high school. His mom is an alcoholic, his father a disgraced faith healer looking to re-enter the ministry and his brother has money problems, due to his gambling.
But the crux of Russell’s problems is the guilt he carries for the death of his twin sister years before and the anger he harbors toward God and his father, since neither one of them healed Katie. The grief over Katie’s death isn’t really buried in this family, but has wormed its way into their lives in destructive ways that still reverberate years later.
The only bright spots in his life are Geri, an old college friend he has secretly loved for years and his aging basset hound, Sonny. Both are two things Russell knows he can depend on in his chaotic world. But even those relationships change in drastic ways that leave Russell floundering to keep some sort of footing in his shifting world. Will he find solid footing once again or loose the only things that matter to him in this world?
This is the debut novel from author Michael Snyder and it’s a strong novel. He writes quirky characters with an off-kilter sense of humor. Some plot points and characters seem to evaporate as the book rollicks on, leaving the reader to wonder a bit about what happened, but not much.
My Name Is Russell Fink is a good debut novel and I look forward to reading more from this author.
A missionary family looks forward to a vacation in a magnificent lodge high in the North Carolina mountains. Life as a missionary is difficult under tA missionary family looks forward to a vacation in a magnificent lodge high in the North Carolina mountains. Life as a missionary is difficult under the best circumstances, but for the Millers it has begun to split their family apart. Haunted by the circumstances under which they left Papua New Guinea, things don't get much better when they arrive home, especially for wife and mom, Stephanie.
Nightmares have begun to haunt her sleep. Dreams become confused with memory, which meld with reality and she begins to doubt her sanity. Her husband James, fears for her as well and the rest of his family. The isolated surroundings are just what they need to re-connect with each other. Stephanie looks forward to seeing her brother, Paul and his help with some of her frightening memories.
But the lodge holds its own dark secrets and instead of a restful retreat, the Millers find themselves in the middle of a nightmare from which they can't escape.
Isolation is a fast-paced read with a plot line that twists and turns throughout the book. ...more
Allie Fortune is a female private eye in 1947 New York City. Her reputation as one of the best has earned her the nickname "P.I. Princess" from her coAllie Fortune is a female private eye in 1947 New York City. Her reputation as one of the best has earned her the nickname "P.I. Princess" from her counterparts. But as good as she is, she can't find the answer to the question that haunts her life--what has happened to her fiance, David Rubeneski? Listed as "missing" in WWII, she doesn't know if he is dead or alive. So she keeps busy with cases, not knowing if she is to grieve or rejoice over David's fate.
Her new partner may hold a clue to David. Jack O'Conner is a special agent with the FBI and now, Allie's partner. Mary Gordon, Allie's newest client, has attracted attention from the FBI. Mary has also become a person of interest to East German and Russian spies. She is suspected to be a member of a ring that has stolen part of an ancient treasure. She is unaware of the value of her stolen goods; but others are not and will do whatever it takes to get what she has.
Sara Mills' first novel is a well-written book. The characters are well-developed and play out a plot line that moves along quickly, but not too fast. Secondary plots are also well-developed, with some good hooks to draw a reader into the second novel of the series--a book I plan on reading. ...more
Raleigh Harmon, is a forensic geologist and an special agent with the FBI. A disciplinary transfer moves Raleigh, along with her mother, from their hoRaleigh Harmon, is a forensic geologist and an special agent with the FBI. A disciplinary transfer moves Raleigh, along with her mother, from their hometown of Richmond, Virginia, to Seattle, Washington, a move she's having trouble adjusting to in more ways than one.
When a hiker goes missing on Cougar Mountain, the Issaquah police department puts in a request for an assist. Raleigh is sent to collect any forensic evidence, which isn't much. Her training agent, Jack Stephanson, tells her to file case when she's done because there isn't a case to investigate. But the missing hiker is Courtney VanAlstyne, daughter of wealthy parents who are convinced their daughter has been kidnapped. Without any evidence, the FBI can't get involved, until the VanAlstynes call their senator. The case that wasn't a case lands on Raleigh's desk. The determined FBI agent, driven by the memory of her murdered father, begins to sift through information. Bit by bit, clues begin to emerge that tell a story that clashes with the VanAlstynes story. An unmistakable piece of evidence appears and the case takes on life and death dimensions.
I become hooked on Sibella Giorello's writing in her first book, The Stones Cry Out. The subplots involving secondary characters are as engaging as the plot that drives the book, giving the story depth and bringing life to her characters. As a journalist, her work was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the ability has carried over into her novel writing. I'm planning on reading more of her work. ...more