How do I write a review about a book that tugged, actually, YANKED at my heart strings as much as this book did and give it the credit that is due? I...moreHow do I write a review about a book that tugged, actually, YANKED at my heart strings as much as this book did and give it the credit that is due? I am not sure but I will do my best.
The children of the streets of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon, Vietnam) are the heart and soul of "Dragon House". Tam, a child who is dying from Leukiemia, and her grandmother Qui beg on the streets just so Tam can have medicine to ease her pain. Mai and Minh held under the "protection" of Loc, an Opium addicted, cruel man.. or I would rather refer to him as a pimp, he may not sell the children's bodies for sex but he pimps them to sell their goods. Minh doesn't speak since Loc beat him for saying the wrong thing and Minh only has one hand. He plays foreigners in games of Connect 4 for money. Mai who is his voice sells fans but mostly helps Minh obtain players.
The key adult players are Iris, whose father an American veteran of the Vietnam war who wasn't around to raise her as he was battling the internal scars from the Vietnam war. When her father died, he left her the center he was building in Vietnam for street children. Noah, a childhood friend of hers who lost the lower portion of his leg in Iraq and who is battling his own scars, joins her at his mother's begging. Thien, Iris' father's assistant, a beautiful Vietnamese woman inside and out, finds beauty in each and everything she can. Then there's Sahn. He is also a survivor of the Vietnam war and has a disdain towards Americans after losing his entire family in the war but as a Police office with failing sight, he was to save the future of Vietnam.
Every single one of these people save each other in more ways then one. They find their futures, their souls, their lives, hope, family and love.
John Shors paints a vivid picture of survival, anger, cruelty, beauty and redemption throughout this entire book. He brings to life the trauma that the children who have to live and survive on the streets of Vietnam. Many of which never get another life off of the streets. Post war Vietnam is not a pretty place, don't ever expect it to be. There are horrific injuries sustained to victims of Agent Orange, street girls become prostitutes, opium addiction, and the same. There are many organizations out there trying to do what they can for the Vietnamese children, one of which is Blue Dragon Children's Children Foundation. (Here's the website: http://www.bdcf.org/)(less)
This book begs the question, do opposites attract and if so, can it work? That seems to be the theme of this book. Or is it, do two lonely people who...moreThis book begs the question, do opposites attract and if so, can it work? That seems to be the theme of this book. Or is it, do two lonely people who are completely opposite fall for each other just out of need?
Frankly, I loved this book. It was a fast read, passionate and left me wondering about Benny and Shrimp's relationship. I wasn't sure what I wanted from them. I wanted Benny to find a wife. I wanted Shrimp to be that wife. However, at the same, I didn't want Shrimp to be that wife. Contradictory, huh? On the other hand, I wanted Benny, the lovable farmer, to enjoy the culture that Shrimp wants to share but at the same time I wanted Shrimp to adapt to farm life. Sigh. Tis love, I guess.
Sometimes books that were popular in their native language, doesn't translate well into English but that doesn't seem to be an issue here. From Swedish to English, the point, the prose and the love came across. Give this a chance, I am disappointed I didn't sooner. This is definitely one I will read again.(less)
**spoiler alert** A werewolf! In New Orleans! Organized crime! Ravaged murders! A werewolf in New Orleans as the muscle behind the success of organize...more**spoiler alert** A werewolf! In New Orleans! Organized crime! Ravaged murders! A werewolf in New Orleans as the muscle behind the success of organized crime leader Jimmy Legere. The book begins hard and heavy beginning with a loser leaving his wife to a buddy of his to have fun with for a few dollars so he can gamble and shortly after their savaged bodies are found and the wife and baby are gone. Cue Detective Charlotte "CeeCee" Caissie on the case. Charlotte has a deep seeded hatred towards Legere as he had her and her best friend kidnapped and tortured as a teenager to get to her dad, a detective himself but is later murdered. First stop in the investigation? Legere's. Now cue Max Savoie. Sexy. Lethal. Loyal. A dangerous triad. Now cue love. Sounds like the making of a GREAT story, right? Wrong! The author goes off from what begins as a great story right to a horrible love story and kind of throws the rest in as an after thought. CeeCee who is supposed to be tough, strong, and in control cries. A lot. Entirely too much for a strong woman. Not saying strong women aren't supposed to cry but every other scene (or so it feels is too much) and Max the loyal "dog" that he is, defies his "father" for love at first sight? Oh and let's not forget about STUPID, STUPID, and more STUPID acts by a supposedly intelligent detective who knows HOW she maintains her job while wearing Max's Armani, openly stands up for him at the police department, openly sleeping with him and cohorting at the compound? Come on! Seriously? She is supposedly "trying to get close to him" and not once did the police chief say a thing to her, but her partner does? Really??? It's just a very weak story.
I, for one, don't care to read another one in this series. Too many authors are just pumping out fantasy/paranormal romances just to fill the shelves without even "trying". They are just getting the elements in, a weak story line, a cover with a sexy hero/heroine and fill it up with a horrible romance. Sigh
The first book of the "Horngate Witches" series, Bitter Night is full of bloody, gruesome, and high flying adventure. I can almost say, this isn't for...moreThe first book of the "Horngate Witches" series, Bitter Night is full of bloody, gruesome, and high flying adventure. I can almost say, this isn't for those with weak constitutions. Some of the injuries Shadowblades and Sunspears endure are pretty gruesome and the author is very sadistic.. in a good way! LOL. For the first book right out the gate of this series, I have to say, not bad. Not bad at all. I definitely wouldn't say fantastic or anything but not bad. There were a few nuances with the changing in viewpoints I thought was odd and there was some inconsistency with the shifting of the viewpoint that caused me to backtrack a little bit to reconfirm who's view it was. Sometimes first books in a new series can be slow with attempting to build the characters, the scenery, back stories and so forth, Bitter Night definitely didn't lull. I could easily have read this in half the time it took me if I didn't have to eat, take a shower, feed the kid, shower her, put her on the potty, ya know.. all those responsibilities and believe me, breaking away was hard for me to do.
I really like Max's character. I felt we didn't get enough of the other Sunspears and Shadowblades to decide if I liked them or not. Akemi, Oz and Niko seemed cool. I am on the fence about Alexander, he was borderline weak and kind of grated my nerves. I don't see he and Max in a romantic relationship. I can't wait to find out what's next with the Horngate, the witches, the angels, and the war..
Sooo.. Diana Pharoah Francis, when's book two coming out? :D (less)
The premise and idea was interesting. Spellbound wine in a world in which there seems to be three major groups: Vinearts (who control the wine, the sp...moreThe premise and idea was interesting. Spellbound wine in a world in which there seems to be three major groups: Vinearts (who control the wine, the spells, and answer to no one), the Princes (who think the Vinearts and the Washers should answer to them but understand the command) and The Washers (who seem to be priestly beings ensuring moral behaviors and that the Sin Washer's commands are upheld). Very creative, a fantasy about magical wine. I love it! As a person who loves wine.... I was game!
Sadly, this book didn't maintain my interest and I REALLY had to force myself to finish it. It isn't because it is badly written, it's not at all. It's because it seemed dry, dull, and I felt absolutely ZERO connection to any of the key characters until the last quarter of the book. The first half of the book was so disconnected to the characters that when Jerzy and Master Malech start working together, I could care less that the Slave was being primed to become a vineart due to his natural skills. The characters had nearly zero personality, except for near the end. I have an idea that the next book in this series will have more focus on Jerzy, the student Vineart, Ao, the trader, and Mahault, the daughter of the lord maiar who wants to be a soldier, as a trio.
I can not say I glowingly recommend this book, however, I also can't say I don't recommend it. I am very indifferent. The author's writing style is beautiful and descriptive and I believe that the Vineart War can definitely grow into a magical series. I certainly am willing to try the second book when it comes out with hopes it will have much more intrigue and less blandness then it's premiere. (less)
Strange Neighbors was a fun and entertaining read. Not a lot of depth or really much of a story line. I really am not sure WHAT the point of the book...moreStrange Neighbors was a fun and entertaining read. Not a lot of depth or really much of a story line. I really am not sure WHAT the point of the book was... Jason & Merry's relationship which went from landlord to sex to "I love you" within 4 meetings (rolls eyes), solving the ghost Chad's murder, Merry's biological father coming out of the woodwork (literally), Jason's "secret" or Merry's independance. Still haven't figured it out. There were some funny moments (the witches are phone sex operators) and lots of sex (obviously this writer has written some erotic romance)
In one word to describe this book: Fun. Just a good, fun read. Definitely not one I would re-read and seriously doubt if this author continues on with this series that I would read the second book but it really was good fun. (less)
Can science and religion co exist? "Coils of the Serpent" takes the reader through a scientific and Biblical debate like no other.
Three friends: Dan,...moreCan science and religion co exist? "Coils of the Serpent" takes the reader through a scientific and Biblical debate like no other.
Three friends: Dan, an easy-going agnostic scientific genius whose father was a theology professor who mysteriously died 25 years ago. John, a self made financial whiz who found his rock in Christianity after battling substance abuse issues. Lastly, Shannon, a biotechnology grad student who was raised Catholic but retreated from religion due to conflicts with her scientific beliefs, evolution and the subservience of women by the church. These three friends met through a book club and built a relationship where they gathered weekly at a coffee shop. Until a mysterious "homeless" man shows up and asks them "Does the book of Genesis teach about DNA?" That question takes these friends on an adventure while wrestling with the foundations of their belief systems, extremists, political corruption, intrigue, murder, and their personal feelings.
Russ Hall, an FBI agent assigned to a missing person case of a troubled teenager named William Freeman. Freeman was sent to the Pacific Institute of Theology for Youth after running into some trouble and was though to be progressing quite well until he just "disappeared". This wasn't Agent Hall's first run in with the PIT (Pacific Institute of Theology), his first missing person's case was that of Dan's father, George Stanfield, 25 years ago when he was a new agent.
Mr Lutz' thorough research and ability to explain the complexities of DNA makes this book an enjoyable read and I feel like I learned so much about DNA. I was hooked! I enjoyed the reeducation of the book of Genesis, the Gospels, Jesus, and the Crusades. The plot is amazing, I felt connected to the characters, and my imagination soared. I salivate at the thought of being able to sit it on a discussion of the magnitude Dan, John and Shannon had. As an evolutionist myself, I definitely questioned my beliefs. I ended this book exhilarated and ready to research. I only have one complaint, though, what about Mrs. Freeman? Although, we already "know" about Will, I would like to have read about Agent Hall following up with her.
Raymond Clark Lutz' "Coils of the Serpent" will take you on a wild, scientific thrill ride of DNA, the book of Genesis, extremists and political corruption. I definitely recommend this book if you are open minded! (less)
First and foremost, King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, Avalon, The Holy Grail, Dragons, shapeshifters, Space travel, future, hot, steamy love sc...moreFirst and foremost, King Arthur, Knights of the Round Table, Avalon, The Holy Grail, Dragons, shapeshifters, Space travel, future, hot, steamy love scenes, paranormal romance.. all in one book? In "Lucan" it's all there! Susan Kearney has woven an exciting, action packed, thrill ride and love into "Lucan". I loved the Arthurian Legend being mixed in with Science Fiction and Fantasy. This book was 325 pages of pure excitement. I loved that there wasn't any huge lulls or any word padding. I could visualize Cael's dragon form, the pounding of her multiple hearts, and the telepathic connection between Cael and Lucan. Admittedly, I developed a fangirlish crush on Rion. I seriously could not put this book down and can't wait for her to give us more of Lucan, Cael, Rion, and the future of Earth. I think I have found another new author to add to my list of must reads!(less)
"Wild Blue Under" is the second book of author, Judi Fennell's Mer Trilogy, and the first of hers I have read and definitely won't be the last, either...more"Wild Blue Under" is the second book of author, Judi Fennell's Mer Trilogy, and the first of hers I have read and definitely won't be the last, either! I will definitely going back and buying book #1 "In Over Her Head" which is about Reel, Rod's brother. However, "Wild Blue Under" didn't suffer at all as a stand alone.
I will say first and foremost, I totally giggled at the Tritone's names, dad's name is Fisher, sons Rod and Reel. I have to throw that out first. I love it! Imagine a world with Atlantis still being under sea, thriving and being ruled by the Mers, well Judi Fennell was able to create this world and mixing in the concerns current today about the environment, and an elite military style group of birds and dolphins. On top of that, throw in the unbelievably sexy Rod and the gorgeous Valerie and some hot, steamy scenes which are hot enough to raise the oceanic temperature and make me wish I had my own real life princely Mer Rod Tritone.
"Wild Blue Under" had action, political coup attempts, jealousy, love and be still my beating heart, Kansas. Judi Fennell included Kansas in her book. Why do I care? I am a Kansas girl, myself and am a little partial to Kansas and will always be a Kansas girl. I just wish, though, she would have added a little more locale detail but even without it, this book was A+ in my world.
Once again, this book was such a fun, delightful read. I love the talking birds, Maybelle and Adele, those two added something special as they thwarted the cowbirds with their feminine charms. Like I always say.... girl power :) (less)
Arissa Illahi is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, Pakistani, American, and Muslim. When the United States, and consequentially the world, was r...moreArissa Illahi is a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, Pakistani, American, and Muslim. When the United States, and consequentially the world, was rocked by the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Arissa's life is turned upside down. Her husband, Faizan, was working at a restaurant in one of the towers and lost his life. Reeling with the loss of her love, Arissa is left struggling and trying to make sense of it all. She is also pregnant with a baby who is destined to have severe special needs and alone. She also becomes a victim of prejudice when attacked because she is wearing her veil. She sheds her veil and goes on a journey of heartbreak and empowerment all the while healing from being abandoned by her mother and building a beautiful relationship with Faizan's parents.
Poetic and moving, the story of Arissa Illahi's heartbreak and strength comes alive in Shaila Abdullah's "Saffron Dreams". This novel is written in a memoir style, taking you deep in to Arissa's heartbreak and inner struggles. Attempting to bring forth what it must be like to be a victim in so many aspects due to the terrorist attacks. Imagine what it must be like to be in the shoes of a follower of Allah and have the world blame you for what you yourself is a victim of also. Shaila Abdullah's book is multifaceted, we are given a treat of reading beautiful words, a moving story and we are also educated at the same time. Although this is a work of fiction, Arissa's heartbreak is real. Her experiences are real. Her struggle with removing her veil and blending in with an America that is reeling and scared. Her surviving when Faizan did not, her decisions to continue with his novel, and the choices and struggles with raising their special needs son. I was moved to tears several times during this book, my heart ached for Arissa and I also found myself cheering her on as she and her son found their footing and moved through their lives, never forgetting who they are: Wife, Mother, Daughter, Son, Pakistani, American and Muslim.
Shaila Abdullah's "Saffron Dreams" is a must read.(less)
"Field of Blood" is the first book of Eric Wilson's trilogy, Jerusalem's Undead and boy, was it an exciting premiere to what looks like it's promising...more"Field of Blood" is the first book of Eric Wilson's trilogy, Jerusalem's Undead and boy, was it an exciting premiere to what looks like it's promising to be an amazing trilogy. The book is a mix of symbolism, history, growth, pain, faith, evil, survival, vampires, action and hope.
The book begins with the death of Judas at the Akeldama (Aramaic for Field of Blood) then goes right to the Collectors inhabiting the bodies of 18 members of two different families who are buried in the field of blood. Collectors are essentially vampires, as they feed off the blood of humans. However, they do have a weakness: Those Who Resist. The blood of the Nazarene pumps strongly through their veins.
There is discussion about the Nistarim. Nistarim who are the 36 righteous people. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. They carry the pain, the sorrow, the indignation, and all. The Collectors want to destroy the Nistarim. Here is some information from Wikipedia on the Nistarim http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tzadikim...
We are introduced the Gina on the eve of her 12th birthday and finds the mark of the "Tav" on her forehead. Gina has a traumatic childhood spent with a controlling mother who still practices old Jewish traditions of bloodletting. Releasing the sins committed through her blood. Gina is taken from Romania, to the Ukraine and off to the United States as unbeknown to her, she is being chased by the Collectors. Throughout the book, Gina grows. She matures. She suffers heartache over and over again and she becomes a sarcastic, bitter, cynical and angry. Gina is young and has several obstacles to overcome and grow. She also has a special ability, and well that's for you to learn :)
I liked Gina from the beginning. Maybe I connected with her and her heartaches and being a strong woman. I can't wait to read the next book, The Haunts of Jackals. I am betting Gina has a lot more in store.
Another strong character in the book is Cal Nichols. Or just Nickel. He actually has brief moments, but his presence is so strong that he stays ingrained in your memory. Who IS Cal Nichols? Who IS he to Gina? There are so many unanswered questions about him but yet, there is enough near the end that has you saying "Hmmm.. that's what I was thinking but... " Yeah, exactly. Seems like Cal is going to be on the forefront next book.
I really enjoyed Mr. Wilson's writing style. The dialogue is realistic. Gina's cynicism and sarcasm come off the pages and literally makes you think of the annoying angsty teenagers. However, I think that's his point, she is angry, angsty and important. The action jumps from page one and keeps running at a perfect pace throughout the book. If I can actually VISUALIZE the characters, the scenes, and the events, then that, in my book, is good writing. I was able to close my eyes and see Gina, see Cal, see Benyamin, Dov, Lord Ariston, Erota, I could see the battles, and the scenery of Tennessee. There were so many things that I had to look up, let me tell you, that's NOT a bad thing. This book had me doing side reading afterwards, from the online bible to just plain googling. I read it in two days. I wish I didn't have to put it down, not even for one minute.
I suggest picking up the "Field of Blood" and giving it a chance. Eric Wilson gives a new twist on an old subject. I find it refreshing and unique. This book goes to the top of my favorite books list. (less)