I enjoyed this novella as much as the preceding story. I loved the storyline of the battling chefs in the Chopped/Iron Chef competition and r...more3.5 stars
I enjoyed this novella as much as the preceding story. I loved the storyline of the battling chefs in the Chopped/Iron Chef competition and romantic tension that brackets it. Like other readers noted, I would loved to have seen a more extensive ending.(less)
The Chase is the first in the Nick Fox/Kate O'Hare series I've read. There is a book ahead of this one, but I did not feel lost reading the second ins...moreThe Chase is the first in the Nick Fox/Kate O'Hare series I've read. There is a book ahead of this one, but I did not feel lost reading the second installment. The story moves quickly and you get to know the main players and all their quirks and talents (all of which would make for an explosive John Woo film).
O'Hare is an FBI agent pulled away occasionally for special assignments with Nick Fox, a career criminal allowed loose by the FBI by virtue of his expertise. Kate and Nick enjoy roundhouse kicking enemies, breaking into museums, and flirting a la 80s Cybill and Bruce. In The Chase they are charged with stealing back a priceless sculpture from Carter Grove, a former White House Chief of Staff turned elite security CEO (and art thief), and returning it to the Chinese government. It's a simple job (to them) that turns deadly and personal when Nick decides to twist the proverbial knife into Carter's gut with too-tempting bait.
I think I enjoyed The Chase more than I anticipated because it isn't a Stephanie Plum novel. I haven't read a Plum book since nine or ten, and I hadn't read Goldberg until now. The Chase is a high-octane, at times over the top, thriller with the right amount of verbal thrust and parry between Kate and Nick, entertaining supporting players, and moments of humor. I'm reminded a lot of Carl Hiaasen's work here.(less)
Short-take about a millionaire adult toy maker seducing a client's assistant. Hot scenes bracketed by moments of telling instead of showing. Not a bad...moreShort-take about a millionaire adult toy maker seducing a client's assistant. Hot scenes bracketed by moments of telling instead of showing. Not a bad diversion.(less)
I tried to read The Hours once several years ago, perhaps just after the movie had come out. For some reason I put the book down and never revisited i...moreI tried to read The Hours once several years ago, perhaps just after the movie had come out. For some reason I put the book down and never revisited it until now. It's not an impossible book to read, and as I haven't read Mrs. Dalloway, the book with which this story is entwined, I can't confirm that the style is intentionally similar. It's the story of a single day, played out in three very different years, of the lives of three woman.
Virginia Woolf, author of Mrs. Dalloway, mentally sketches out the progress of the book she's begun to write. The day brings a surprise visit from her sister (technically a surprise - while it was planned everybody shows up early), and Woolf agonizes over Mrs. Dalloway's fate.
Clarissa, christened Mrs. Dalloway by her friend Richard, goes through the motions of planning a party for him. Minute details like flowers and guests to invite take up the most space in her mind, as she contemplates what could have been in her relationship with her friend.
Mrs. Brown, a housewife in 1949, is reading Mrs. Dalloway and preparing a cake for her husband. The time alone with her young son seems almost suffocating as she struggles to create a perfect cake and battles guilt over wanting more time for herself.
The connection of these three goes quite deep, but I won't spoil more than what I have. Cunningham takes great pains to detail everything in this story - scents, sounds, the slightest flinch of a character reacting to somebody's speech. Characters seem to strive for perfection and internally question their motives - Virginia wants the perfect tea, Clarissa regrets a casual invite to a potentially unwanted guest, Mrs. Brown finds fault with the shape of an icing Y on the cake. Reading something like makes me realize I either don't devote enough time to minutiae or else I have it pretty good.
Nonetheless, it's one of the more vivid novels I have read so far on this journey.(less)
15-year-old Laila comes to Washington, DC with her mother and younger brother following the deposing and assassination of her father, an unnamed dicta...more15-year-old Laila comes to Washington, DC with her mother and younger brother following the deposing and assassination of her father, an unnamed dictator of an unnamed Middle Eastern country. Moving from the grandeur of a luxurious palace to a cramped apartment with bare cupboards takes some adjustment, but Laila comes to adapt to life in an American high school while young Bastien dives headfirst into cartoons and toys. Life remains restless, however, with a CIA agent shadowing the family during clandestine meetings with people from her country - who may or may not be allies. Laila's mother carries her regal air and drinks as though disillusioned with this new life, but Laila suspects her mother is more enterprising than she lets on.
When I receive pre-approval for this title on NetGalley, I didn't expect The Tyrant's Daughter would be marketed as YA. It's a riveting story about a young woman, an Invisible Queen of another land who learns how others have viewed her life and people from afar. Laila is not shunned by her new peers but earns sympathy despite her heritage. I enjoyed the work right up to the ambiguous ending - we may not know Laila's definite future in a country where her younger brother may last in a puppet regime, but we sympathize with her desire to take control of her life.(less)
One day teenager Gyda is abducted from her school and forced into a brutal sexual slavery that batters her body and her mind. When she is finally able...moreOne day teenager Gyda is abducted from her school and forced into a brutal sexual slavery that batters her body and her mind. When she is finally able to escape she continues to carry the scars, and brings with her a few extra personalities (the Beast, and Sixteen) to help her wield a special power used to exact vigilante justice on predators. Gyda's abilities attract the attention of the Order of Themis, who wish to guide her to a better place in life.
Brit is attracted to all of Gyda - her strengths, frailties, and passion. From the first moment they meet the fire sparks and smolders until Gyda is finally able to trust another person not within her mental circle. Clashes with the OT in terms of handling Gyda's volatile behavior place a strain on Brit, which is only soothed by his desire for this woman.
Touched by Lightning is a gritty paranormal with a slow to burn romance, but once Gyda and Brit get together readers will enjoy the interaction. It is a dark story, be aware, with a tease toward more stories about the OT to come.(less)
Read with the little one. She seemed to enjoy this one more than TLTWATW. The story seemed to move slower for me, though. It might be because much of...moreRead with the little one. She seemed to enjoy this one more than TLTWATW. The story seemed to move slower for me, though. It might be because much of the story is a flashback of Caspian's youth and the trek from Cair Paravel to Aslan's How takes forever. The action is rather slow for a book about war, in a sense.(less)
In post-WWI Damascus, aviatrix Evie Starke receives mysterious missives that clue her to the possibility that her husb...moreARC received from the publisher.
In post-WWI Damascus, aviatrix Evie Starke receives mysterious missives that clue her to the possibility that her husband Gabriel wants to connect with her again. It's odd, considering that Gabriel died after the sinking of Lusitania, leaving Evie to her own devices (and flying skills) to survive. The transcontinental trip in her private plane with her adventuress aunt, planned for global publicity and income, is set aside indefinitely until Evie determines exactly who is "stalking" her.
The search for answers leads her to a entirely different adventure: the search for a holy relic, skirmishes with thieves, and a second chance at love. I have read Raybourn previously (A Spear of Summer Grass), and while I enjoyed parts of that first book I was a bit reluctant to try again until I saw the premise of this one. I'm glad I decided to give it a read. City of Jasmine is adventurous and witty with a smart heroine. The romantic elements are lightly threaded throughout the story and don't overshadow the action. Overall, a great story and one I'd recommend to anyone who reads historical fiction.(less)
For me, Like Jazz reads almost like two books meshed together. The story begins in the present day with Cazz Ryan, working...moreARC received from NetGalley.
For me, Like Jazz reads almost like two books meshed together. The story begins in the present day with Cazz Ryan, working undercover to expose fraud within a non-profit organization, discovering an unresolved issue from her past facing her. A lengthy flashback builds up the awkward relationship between shy, military brat Cazz and perfect prom queen Sarah Perkins. By virtue of their good grades and athletic prowess, the two are together often in high school, with Cazz silently wishing for more than friendship. One tense, uncertain moment, however, cannot be resolved as the two are separated.
Years later, Sarah is back on Cazz's radar as she investigates wrongdoing, all the while fighting and succumbing to her feelings for the girl left behind all those years ago. Readers might be frustrated with the back and forth, the question of whether or not Sarah is perceptive of Cazz's feelings, but I found Like Jazz well-written and strong. It's not really a romance and not necessarily a thriller, but a hybrid story that kept me reading.(less)
I should know more about The Allman Brothers Band than I do, which (until I read this) isn't much. I've lived my entire life south of Mason Dixon - with half of that spent in areas still affected by Allman influence. Indeed, while reading Ms. Allman's biography it surprised me to find so many coincidences:
The author and I share a birthday (August 25), though we're separated by a few years. Her uncle Gregg received a liver transplant at the Mayo Clinic right around the time my father did. She lived eleven years in Jacksonville, FL. I lived there for 22. Duane and Gregg Allman lived very briefly in Virginia Beach as children, not far from where I live now. In the book's prologue, Ms. Allman talks about finding a Rolling Stone with her father on the cover in an Athens, GA thrift shop. I lived in Athens for a time, and I have a good idea which store she mentions. Spooky, eh? Maybe the last two tibits are a stretch, but seeing the birthdate was pretty wild. I also share the day with Gene Simmons and Gopher from The Love Boat.
Coincidences aside, I still acknowledge I should know more about The Allman Brothers. While not a Jacksonville-based band like Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet, the ties the brothers had to the music scene there shaped the legend. Perhaps for a long time, Ms. Allman knew as much about her father as I do - she was only two when Duane Allman perished in a motorcycle accident in the early 70s, a few years shy of the mystically unlucky 27 that stalks troubled musicians and shortly after the band's grand commercial breakthrough. Please Be With Me is the culmination of her journey to meet a man everybody else (even strangers) knew and loved.
To complete the puzzle, Ms Allman relies on the memories of colleagues, family friends, and relatives to recount Duane's life story in vivid, lyrical prose. You can taste the salty air of Daytona Beach, where Duane picked up chords through his adolescence, and follow the scents of bougainvillea, whiskey, and weed all the way to Macon and back. When you read stories of rock legends, however, you wonder about the accuracy of detail when everything comes to you second and third-hand. One reviewer on Goodreads of this book voiced some skepticism that Ms. Allman's book holds 100% accuracy. I don't know if this opinion is based upon further research on Duane and the Allmans, or just conjecture. I say, sometimes an urban legend holds a kernel of truth. Did a brother really arrange to severely injure himself to get out of the draft? Were there tensions with the Grateful Dead and in Clapton's Layla sessions? Chances are, you'd learn of different opinions as these events happened.
I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Allman's book, which is partly a biography and partly a tribute not only to her father but the family that surrounded them. The strength of the narration carries you deep into the story that, for a moment, you almost forget the tragic outcome and want to remain where the music plays.(less)
Were this book not on my Pulitzer goal list, I likely would have read it on the recommendation of my husband, who had enjoyed it a decade prior. A Sum...moreWere this book not on my Pulitzer goal list, I likely would have read it on the recommendation of my husband, who had enjoyed it a decade prior. A Summons to Memphis is a solid definition of Southern literature - a study of characters who simultaneously deserve our sympathy and scorn, revealed to us slowly through the perspective of a semi-prodigal son who observes everything from a distance, as though the widened space protects him.
Philip Carver recounts in neat portions his life with his well to do Tennessee family - from their flight from Nashville to Memphis following a scandal to the various discreet yet seemingly cruel meddlings done presumably in the name of love. The latest "summons" sees Philip called back to halt the marriage of his elderly father to a much younger woman, but the story goes much deeper than that to reveal a series of offences committed that might lead one to believe recent actions are done out of revenge. You have to be patient with the story, but it is a satisfying read.(less)
Imagine what would happen if Romeo survived (physically, anyway) the double suicide that took away Shakespeare's famous star-crossed lovers. Imagine w...moreImagine what would happen if Romeo survived (physically, anyway) the double suicide that took away Shakespeare's famous star-crossed lovers. Imagine what might happen if a certain Danish prince with his own family problems steps in to assist the mourning Italian, all the while hoping to accomplish revenge on his father's untimely death. Jenny Trout's Such Sweet Sorrow takes two Shakespearean heroes out of their element and thrusts them on an otherworldly adventure to save Juliet, and ultimately to save themselves.
The core of this story reminded me a bit of the film What Dreams May Come, where Robin Williams travels the afterlife to retrieve his suicidal wife from her personal hell. Sorrow blends the Shakespearean lore with Scandinavian mythology, prophetic witches, and lots of swordplay. I don't want to spoil the story, but while it might not have the ending most would want (and it appears this may be the first in a probable series) Sorrow does end on a note of hope. I liked the paranormal twist to the stories and the characterization of the leads. Hamlet is appealingly arrogant, Romeo loyal to a fault, and Juliet is just kickass.
I can't say how Shakespearean purists will like this, but if you're looking for a good young adult fantasy it's worth the read.(less)