Jul 17, 2011

Sunday Salon: Hot, hot, hot!

The Sunday Salon.comWelcome to the Sunday Salon. Click on the logo to join in!

I'm enjoying relatively cooler temperatures right now than back home, which will be 95 degrees tomorrow. I only hope my potted plants and flowers survive the heat onslaught.

Books I reviewed last week include
Killer Move, a psychological thriller by Michael Marshall,
County Line, a mystery by Bill Cameron, and
Overbite, a vampire thriller by Meg Cabot.

I've finished reading a couple of paperback cozies, one of which is Tempest in the Tea Leaves: A Fortune Teller Mystery by Kari Lee Townsend which I hope to review next week, and am planning to finish The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman for a TLC book tour in early August. I've ordered a copy of Pao by Kerry Young, which I should get in a few days.

My Kindle is filled with goodies which are both free downloads, amazon buys, and ebooks from authors. Am having a hard time pulling myself away from the print books with their gorgeous covers and picking up my Kindle. Anyone else having this problem?

My husband and I are listening to the audio book of The Postcard Killers, a thriller by James Patterson and Liza Marklund. It's pretty good so far!

What have you been reading? Keep cool, wherever you are!

Jul 16, 2011

Book Review: Overbite by Meg Cabot

Title: Overbite by Meg Cabot
Hardcover: 288 pages, Willliam Morrow
Publication date:  July 5, 2011
Source: Publisher
Objective rating: 4.5/5
Summary: The follow up to Insatiable is almost as good as the first book! Meena Harper has gotten over her ex-boyfriend, Lucien Anton­escu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But has she? She has been recruited by the Palatine Guard, a secret unit of the Vatican dedicated to hunting and destroying all vampires/demons. But Meena insists that Lucien, only part vampire because of his angelic human mother, still has the capacity to love. The rest of the vampire world is interested in Meena because they hope to tap into her ability to predict how everyone she meets will die.

Her partner in the Palatine Guard, Alaric Wulf, is not convinced, however, that Lucien is anything but pure evil. There are new threats from the vampire world, something unusual and more sinister that even Lucien doesn't know about. Father Henrique—aka Padre Caliente— has also been assigned to the case.

Meena tries to shield Lucien while she and Alaric hunt down these new and more vicious vampires that are unknown even to Lucien, the supposed head of all demons. Meena is torn between her growing attraction to Alaric and her lingering love for Lucien. The fight between the demon slayers and the new breed of vampires hunting both Meena and Lucien  comes to a head with a surprising twist.

Comments: Overbite is just as interesting and entertaining as the first book, Insatiable. I was hoping for a third in the series but it seems that may not happen, based on how the story ends. But read it for yourself and make that judgement!

Jul 15, 2011

Book Review: County Line by Bill Cameron

"What are you doing with Ruby Jane's phone?"
"It's complicated. Listen, I need to talk to you. Do you have a minute?"
"I can't hear you."
"Something's happened at Ruby Jane's apartment." (ch. 4)

Title: County Line by Bill Cameron
Hardcover: 300 pages
Publisher: Tyrus Books;
Publication date: NONE edition (June 21, 2011)
Genre: Thriller, mystery
Source: publisher
Objective rating: 4.5/5

Product Description: When the steadfast Ruby Jane Whittaker drops out of sight, dogged ex-cop Skin Kadash sets out to discover what drove the woman he loves to leave her life behind so suddenly and without explanation. The discovery of a dead man in her apartment followed by an attack from a mysterious stalker leads Skin first to California, then across the country on a desperate journey deep into Ruby Jane's haunted past—and toward an explosive confrontation which will determine if either has a future.

Comments: The flashbacks to Ruby Jane and her brother James' earlier lives worked well in this novel. The plot was interesting and unique and not at all predictable. I recommend it to all mystery readers as a good book to get into for good storytelling, writing, and plot. Ruby Jane is a compelling character and is the center of this novel. I'm looking forward to reading Cameron's previous books.

About the Author:
Bill Cameron lives with his wife and a menagerie of critters in Portland, Oregon. His stories have appeared in Spinetingler, Portland Noir, and the forthcoming First Thrills. He is a member of Friends of Mystery, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America.

Jul 13, 2011

Book Review: Killer Move by Michael Marshall

Title: Killer Move: A Novel by Michael Marshall
Hardcover: 368 pages. William Morrow
Publication date: June 28, 2011
Genre: psychological thriller.
Source: Publisher
Objective review: 3.75/5

Comments: An unusual thriller, noir, with a plot that involves a lot of high tech computer savvy. The book seems to be making a comment on how people can use computer technology to manipulate, change, and even destroy other people. A little frightening too, in this respect. A good read for those who like techno-thrillers and psychological suspense.

Product description: A creepy, fast-paced thriller... Bill Moore's got a lucrative job selling condos in the Florida Keys, a successful wife, a good marriage, a beautiful house. He also has a five-year plan for super success, but that plan has begun to drag into its sixth year without reaping its intended rewards. So now Bill's starting to mix it up—just a little—to accelerate his way into the future that he knows he deserves.

Then one morning Bill arrives at work to find a card waiting for him, with no indication who it's from or why it was sent. Its message is just one word: modified. From that moment on, Bill's life begins to change.

At first, nothing seems very different. But when things begin to unwind rapidly, and one after another, people around Bill start to die, it becomes increasingly clear that someone somewhere has a very different plan for Bill's future. Confused and angry, Bill begins to fight against this unseen force until he comes to a terrifying, inescapable realization: Once modified, there's no going back.

Jul 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Eyes Wide Open: A Novel by Andrew Gross

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.

I was in the den, flipping through some medical magazines. Suddenly I heard screams, Sophie's. From outside. "Get off, Evan. Get off! Mom! Dad!
I bolted up.

 (ch. 7, uncorrected proof. Final version may differ).

Title: Eyes Wide Open: A Novel
Hardcover: 352 pages  by Andrew Gross
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication date: July 12, 2011
Source: Uncorrected proof from publisher

Product Description:
A horrible family tragedy that may not be what it seems . . .
A past encounter with an infamous killer turns deadly today . . .
An ordinary man must risk his own family to find the truth.

Jay Erlich's nephew has been found at the bottom of a cliff at Morrow Bay. It's all just a tragic suicide, until secrets from the past begin to rear up again. Did a notorious killer, jailed for many decades, have his hand in this?

Years ago, Jay Erlich's older brother, Charlie, a wayward child of the sixties, set out for California, where he fell under the sway of a charismatic but deeply disturbed cultlike figure. Tragedy ensued and lives were destroyed, but as the decades passed, Charlie married and raised a family and lived a quiet, secluded life under the radar. Yet the demons that nearly destroyed him never completely disappeared.

When Jay heads out west to help his grieving brother, he is pulled back into Charlie's past—and begins to suspect that his nephew's suicide may not have been that at all. With eyes wide open, Jay puts his own life at risk to uncover the truth, a quest that goes beyond the edge of madness and a family haunted by a secret past . . . and into the depths of evil.

About the author: Drawing on two real-life experiences from his own past, New York Times bestselling author Andrew Gross has crafted a richly personal, yet utterly terrifying tale of two brothers, one successful, one wayward, trying to bridge the gap of what tore them apart.

Jul 5, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.

Drawing Conclusions by Donna Leon, A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery

'No special friends?' Brunetti enquired.
'No,' she said instantly. 'Patients aren't  friends. She knew the danger of that.' (p.71)

Jul 1, 2011

Library Finds: Two Mysteries and a Memoir

I volunteer at the local library and so have a chance to review a lot of books on display. Here's what I've recently found, old and new...

Drawing Conclusions A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery
by Donna Leon.

Donna Leon and her shrewd, sophisticated, and compassionate investigator have been delighting readers around the world. For her millions of fans, Leon’s novels have opened a window into the private Venice of her citizens, a world of incomparable beauty, family intimacy, shocking crime, and insidious corruption. In Drawing Conclusions, the 20th in the series, an old woman’s body has been found in a Spartan apartment on Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio. Brunetti can’t shake the feeling that something may have created conditions that led to her heart attack, that perhaps the woman was threatened. With the help of Inspector Lorenzo Vianello and the ever-resourceful Signorina Elettra Zorzi, perhaps Brunetti can get to the truth, and find some measure of justice. (from Goodreads book description)

Grey Zone by Clea Simon

Product description: A Dulcie Schwartz feline mystery - When a student goes missing and a professor ends up dead, Dulcie Schwartz realizes that midterms are going to be worse than ever. She’s hard at work on her thesis, but present day concerns – including the destructive mischief of her growing kitten – keep dragging her back into a tangle of motive, misbehavior, and maybe even murder. If only Mr Grey, her beloved feline ghost, would lend a hand, at least with that rambunctious kitten . .

At Home in Japan: A Foreign Woman's Journey of Discovery by Rebecca Otowa.

At Home in Japan tells the true story of a foreign woman who has been, for 30 years, the housewife, custodian and chatelaine of a 350-year-old farmhouse in rural Japan. This astonishing book traces a circular path, from the basic physical details of life in the house and village, through relationships with family, neighbors and the natural and supernatural entities with whom the family shares the house. Rebecca Otowa then focuses on her inner life, touching on some of the pivotal memories of her time in Japan, the lessons in perception that Japan has taught her and, finally, the ways in which she has been changed by living in Japan. (Goodreads book description)

I've good more than my share of books to read over the long weekend. What do you plan to read?

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...