Thursday, March 31, 2011

Absolute Power by David Baldacci

A beautiful wealthy man's wife lies dead, victim of an apparent burglary-murder.  But things aren't as they seem.  The burglar, far from being the murderer, had watched in horror from concealment as she was killed.  Even worse was the manner of her death.  The woman had been involved in an illicit affair with the President of the United States, and he was responsible for her death.

Afterwards, the coverup begins.  The Secret Service heads up the conspiracy of silence; their loyalty bought by the fact that the bullets that killed her came from their guns when she attacked the President while defending herself.  The President's staff was in agreement with the concealment as their jobs depended on the President remaining in power.

That left the discovery of the truth to others.  Luther, the burglar, had plans to reveal the truth while staying safe.  He trusted one man, Jack Graham, a former public defender who had been engaged to his daughter.  Kate, his daughter, had grown up to be a prosecuting attorney, due in large part to her reaction to having a criminal for a father.  Helping the team was one lone policeman who didn't quite believe the trail of manufactured evidence left behind by the experts.

This was David Baldacci's first novel, and as that alone, is well worth the read for fans of his work.  The suspense that characterizes his work is in evidence here, and the plotting is complex.  This book is recommended for thriller/suspense readers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Murder Takes The Cake by Gayle Trent

Emotionally exhausted after her escape from an abusive marriage, Daphne Martin moves back to her hometown and opens a cake-baking and decorating business.  Things are starting to look up and she is getting orders when bad luck strikes.

Daphne has landed an order from the town gossip, Yodel Watson.  If she can impress her, the word-of-mouth will insure lots of business coming her way.  But when she goes to Yodel's house to deliver the cake, she finds her dead body.  Worse, the police believe Yodel was murdered.  Much worse, Yodel was poisoned.

Reaction is immediate.  Orders drop off.  The local grocery has to remove Daphne's business card in order to sell her cakes.  As Daphne runs errands around town, she picks up gossip, about her and her cakes, and about her family.  Desperate not to fail, Daphne decides she must take an active hand in solving the murder.  To do so, she has to face the possibility that her family's deepest darkest secrets will be revealed.  Can Daphne solve the mystery of Yodel's death?

Gayle Trent has created a likeable main character and a cozy murder story that isn't too precious, as some cozies can be.  The setting and family relationships are believable and realistic, and the plot unfolds satisfactorily, keeping the reader's interest.  This book is recommended for mystery lovers who are looking for a new series to get involved with. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dead Head by Allen Wyler

Dr. Russell Lawton has just completed an objective he's spent years working toward, making a speech and sharing his research at a prominent conference for neurosurgeons.  Lawton's research is in the field of brain-computer interfaces, and his work shows promise.  He has been able to have monkeys move robotic arms with their brain waves. 

Flush with success after the talk,, he relaxes and then, his world changes.  He is kidnapped by terrorists.  Worse, they inform him that they have kidnapped his daughter and will kill her if he doesn't do what they want.  What they want is for him to help them communicate with another of the men in their network.  The terrorists are planning a major attack on American soil, but this man, who plays a key role, has been involved in a car accident and is not expected to live.

Their plan is to have Lawton take custody of the patient, and if he shows signs of not being able to survive, to use his research to help them extract the knowledge they need.  If the body dies, they want to sever the head and keep it alive, with Dr. Lawton using his research to translate the brain waves into speech.  Is this possible? 

Lawton is caught in a vise.  Either help the terrorists destroy his nation, or refuse and lose his daughter to murder.  Faced with her death, he agrees to help the terrorists.  But when the FBI find out about his daughter's abduction and come to question him, he establishes a line of communication with them.  Can Lawton keep the patient alive long enough to save his daughter and for the FBI to foil the terrorist attack?

This book is recommended for thriller readers.  The action starts immediately and each chapter rackets up the suspense.  The reader is taken along on a careening journey, unsure how it will all work out.  The author is a surgeon himself, so the medical terms and procedures are correct and logical.  Readers won't be disappointed if they are reading for a thrill--this book packs a powerful punch.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Horns by Joe Hill

A year ago, Ignatius Perrish, Ig, had a perfect life.  His long-term relationship with his girlfriend, Merrin, was moving along well, and they were talking marriage and kids.  He had just landed a job in London and after six months apart, Merrin would be moving there and they would live a successful life.  He has great friends who are becoming successful in their chosen fields, and a supportive loving family.  What could go wrong?

Unfortunately, everything.  After a stupid bar fight, Ig leaves Merrin and drives off drunk to sleep it off.  He heads for the airport, only to be arrested in line, discovering that Merrin has been raped and violently killed.  While there isn't enough evidence to take him to trial, he remains a 'person of interest'.   Everyone in town is sure he committed the murder and he is shunned and reviled daily.

On the day after the anniversary of Merrin's death, Ig wakes up to find something has occurred.  Something else horrible.  During the night, he has sprouted horns; yes, horns.  As he tries to make sense of this, he comes to realise that the horns give him the ability to read people's secret thoughts, and their most despicable desires.  Shocked by what lies in the heart of everyone he meets, it still gives him the ability to solve the mystery of what really happened that night it all went wrong.

This book is recommended for readers who love thrillers and horror.  Once started, it is almost impossible to put this one down.  The reader is drawn along, repulsed by what Ig discovers but unable to stop reading about his journey.  The ending is cathartic and by then the reader is totally engrossed in Ig's story.  Hill intersperses horror with interesting backstory, taking the reader back through Ig and Merrin's childhood and teen years, building the suspense of watching these perfect lives fall apart.  This is Hill's second novel and readers will be ready for his third.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

British Babes Book Brigade-Interesting Book Site!

Check out this new opportunity!  Sourcebooks is launching a Facebook Fan Page: The British Babes Book Brigade—giving you an all access pass to connect with the most beloved British female authors, who are now published by Sourcebooks!
To celebrate the launch of the Facebook page, they are offering a number of British Babe eBooks for only .99 Cents from March 22-March 28. Here’s a link to our eBook Specials page, and where you can also sign up for a newsletter that let’s you know about our eBook deals on a regular basis:

Books on sale include:

· The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
· The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick
· Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine
· Amelia O’Donohue Is So Not a Virgin by Helen FitzGerald
· Miranda’s Big Mistake by Jill Mansell
· Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley
· Willoughby’s Return by Jane Odiwe
· The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
· Mr. Darcy Vampyre by Amanda Grange
· Beautiful People by Wendy Holden
All week, we’ll have great giveaways and the authors will be stopping by to chat with everyone as well. Don’t forget to check out the Discussion Boards! And as things continue to build, we will add more regular features, as well as opportunities for more great prizes J We’re looking forward to bringing you closer to our Fabulous British authors.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deed So by Katharine Russell

Haddie Bashford has lived her whole life in the Tidewater region of Maryland.  Now in the 1960's as Haddie becomes a teenager, everything seems to be changing along with her change from a child to a young woman.  She has retained the same friends, but she's starting to notice boys, and they are starting to notice her back.  Haddie struggles against the mindset of her small town, and tells everyone she can't wait to grow up and leave.

Big changes are happening in this area of the country.  The young men are leaving town, going to war in a strange place called Vietnam, some never to return and some to return changed forever.  Relations between the races are changing.  The changes cause rifts between neighbors and even members of the same family as each person attempts to deal with the changes and how the town is becoming something new.

In this year, very bad things are changing.  There is a killing, some call murder, some call justified.  Perhaps in retaliation, or perhaps as a result of protesters who are in town to attend the murder trial, there are fires.  At first the fires are not that serious; an old barn, a field.  But soon the arsonist draws blood, and the deaths associated with the fires cause even more tension.  Haddie and her family are drawn into the events as town leaders, and what occurs will insure that nothing will be the same again.

Katherine Russell grew up in the country that is the book's setting, and she gets the descriptions and the feel of the Tidewater exactly right.  Readers who lived in this area or those who lived elsewhere but in this time period will recognize the settings and the events that changed the entire nation.  This book is recommended for readers who are interested in mystery, and who are interested in how a town changes and adapts over the years. 


Coming of age in the 1950s, Roiphe, the granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, grew up on Park Avenue and had an adolescence defined by privilege, petticoats, and social rules. At Smith College her classmates wore fraternity pins on their cashmere sweaters and knit argyle socks for their boyfriends during lectures. Young women were expected to give up personal freedom for devotion to home and children. Instead, Roiphe chose Beckett, Proust, Sartre, and Mann as her heroes and sought out the chaos of New York’s White Horse Tavern and West End Bar.

She was unmoored and uncertain, “waiting for a wisp of truth, a feather’s brush of beauty, a moment of insight.” Salvation came in the form of a brilliant playwright whom she married and worked to support, even after he left her alone on their honeymoon and later pawned her family silver, china, and pearls. Her near-religious belief in the power of art induced her to overlook his infidelity and alcoholism, and to dutifully type his manuscripts in place of writing her own.

During an era that idolized its male writers, she became, sometimes with her young child in tow, one of the girls draped across the sofa at parties with George Plimpton, Terry Southern, Doc Humes, Norman Mailer, Peter Matthiessen, and William Styron. In the Hamptons she socialized with Larry Rivers, Jack Gelber and other painters and sculptors. “Moderation for most of us is a most unnatural condition . . . . I preferred to burn out like a brilliant firecracker.” But while she was playing the muse reality beckoned, forcing her to confront the notion that any sacrifice was worth making for art.

Art and Madness recounts the fascinating evolution of a time when art and alcohol and rebellion caused collateral damage and sometimes produced extraordinary work. In clear-sighted, perceptive, and unabashed prose, Roiphe shares with astonishing honesty the tumultuous adventure of self-discovery that finally led to her redemption.

Giveaway Rules.
You MUST, MUST, MUST leave your email address in order to be entered!

1, The giveaway starts Sunday, March 20th and ends Saturday, March 26th, at midnight. Two winners will be chosen by random number.

2. For one chance to win, leave a comment with your email address. Entries without email addresses will not be considered, sorry!

3. For additional chances, link this to your Facebook or Twitter pages and send me the link in your comment.

4. Winner must live in the United States.  No P.O. Boxes, sorry!

Good luck!  I think this will be a fascinating book!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Suck On This Year by Denis Leary

In this book, Dennis Leary, who most people know both as an actor on FX's drama Rescue Me and as a comic, collects his tweets on various subjects and people into a book.  Those who know Leary's work know that this book is not PG-13, but those unfamiliar should be aware that there are sexual situations and strong language.  That being said, as with most of what Leary produces, the reader will walk away entertained.

He got the inspiration from his reactions to various stories in the news.  In the past, he would make a comment about situations at work, and unless he was collecting material for a comedy tour, these comments would be lost.  Leary decided to use the new media, and Twitter in particular, to put these comments out for his audience.  Each page of the book has the story he is reacting to followed by his Tweet.  Many also have images of the people being discussed.

Some of my favorites include, "Lettuce recalled in 23 states" "Experts fear it could affect up to 5 Americans."  "Elena Kagen would become the 3rd Jewish Supreme Court Justice" "May mean nothing to you but it's killing Mel Gibson"  "Study: younger siblings take higher and much more dangerous risks" "I'm praying there's not a Betty Winehouse"

This book is recommended for readers looking for witty comments on current events.  Part of the sale price of each book goes to Leary's charity, The Leary Firefighters Foundation. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011


A routine cake delivery becomes a culinary nightmare when a small-town baker discovers her first client’s dead body in this irresistible new mystery series.

It’ll take more than a little sugar to convince folks Daphne Martin’s freshly baked spice cake was not to blame for the mysterious death of town gossip Yodel Watson. Getting her new cake decorating business, Daphne’s Delectable Cakes, off the ground is hard enough now that Daphne’s moved back to her southern Virginia hometown, but orders have been even slower since she found Yodel’s body. She soon realizes, however, that just about everybody in town had a reason to poison the cantankerous busybody, from the philandering pet shop owner, to Yodel’s church potluck nemesis, to the Save-A-Buck’s cranky produce manager-turned-bagger. Now, to help prove she’s no confectionary killer, Daphne recruits her old flame, Ben Jacobs, editor of the local newspaper, and quickly stirs up a long-hidden family scandal that just might hold the secret ingredient she needs to solve the case. All she’s got to do is roll up her sleeves and get her hands a little dirty before the real culprit decides that taking sweet revenge on Daphne will be icing on the cake.

Giveaway Rules.

You MUST, MUST, MUST leave your email address in order to be entered!

1, The giveaway starts Sunday, March 13th and ends Saturday, March 19th, at midnight. One winner will be chosen by random number.

2. For one chance to win, leave a comment with your email address. Entries without email addresses will not be considered, sorry!

3. For additional chances, link this to your Facebook or Twitter pages and send me the link in your comment.

4. Winner must live in the United States or Canada. No P.O. Boxes, sorry!

Good luck! This should be a great book!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You Don't Love This Man by Dan DeWeese

You Don't Love This Man follows Paul on the day of his daughter's wedding.  His daughter is marrying Paul's former best friend, Grant, and the engagement was the reason the two men are no longer friends.  Paul is a bank manager, and as the day progresses, he looks back over his life trying to decide if his relationships and his career choices have been the correct ones.

Many of Paul's relationships seem tentative, or muddied by emotions that he can't decipher.  Paul is divorced from Sandra.  Theirs was not a marriage that dissolved in passion and anger; it just died from boredom and familiarity.  He loves his daughter, Miranda, but she is incomprehensible to him; he has no map that tells him why she does the things she does, or what she might do next.  He worries that this marriage, to a man his own age so obviously old enough to be her father, is a bad life choice, and is frustrated that he doesn't seem to have any input into her decision.

There are other characters.  Grant, the groom, is a confident wealthy man who has always acted as a mentor to Paul, although they are peers.  He met Grant the day he was robbed and beaten by a bank robber.  Grant was dating Paul's ex-girlfriend, Gina, and he wasn't sure how he felt about that.  Paul had just started dating Sandra and the couples were close for a while.  Grant remained a part of Paul and Sandra's circle over the years, and Miranda ended up as an adult working for Gina.

You Don't Love This Man is recommended for readers interested in a book that makes one consider their life choices and the consequences that flow from each decision.  It also brings up the concept that what happens to us, good or bad, affects our lives for many years in both good and bad ways; the connection to events that becomes more and more clear as one ages.  DeWeese has given the reader an entrance into Paul's thoughts, hopes and desires in a way that books rarely do.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Two American Boys by Michael Bauer

Two American Boys is a memoir of growing up in Virginia Beach in the late 1950's and 1960's.  Mike and Rick were best friends.  They spent their days playing in the fields and water of the area, playing baseball, learning to shoot guns, and learning about nature, both the animals of the region and the girls around them who were turning into women.  They went to school but it was never a major focus for them, just another duty children had to survive.  Their loyalty was to each other, their families, and the area they were growing up in.

As the boys grew up and were ready for high school, Rick was moved to California by his mother.  She was a single mother and needed to move where the jobs were.  As is common, they kept in touch for a while, then contact dwindled. 

As Mike finished school, he continued to love baseball and had some athletic accomplishments playing it.  As was common with boys in the '70's, he was drafted into the Army as Vietnam was heating up and the Army needed more men than were volunteering.  After basic training, Mike was sent to Korea.  While there, he learned that Rick was in Vietnam and he had a bad feeling about Rick not coming home.

After the service, Mike went to work for the post office.  He became a father himself, and went through several marriages.  For years, he attempted to find Rick, though the Internet and other methods but was unsuccessful.  Finally, after years of trying, he found his childhood friend and was reunited with him.

Readers who grew up in the 1950's and 60's will find this book interesting.  Bauer has a real ability to remember the details of a childhood of that era.  Readers will find themselves nodding their heads in agreement as he relates how life was for most Americans in that time.  He grew up loving family, sports and country, and the book reflects that.  This book is recommended for readers who are nostalgic for their own childhoods, and for those who had a best friend who they lost and then refound.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Staying At Daisy's by Jill Mansell

Daisy, after a failed marriage, finds herself back at home.  Home, in this case, is her father's hotel, and Daisy is managing it.  Managing a hotel is easy; managing relationships are not.  She thought her marriage to Steven was a dream come true, but his infidelity put an end to their love.  Before they divorced, Steven was killed in a car accident.  Now Daisy isn't sure she can trust any man, although there are several around.  Dev is a famous national sports star, and he seems interested, or is he?  Josh is a former boyfriend who has popped back up and into her life.

As tough as love is for Daisy, she is not alone.  There is Barney, who comes to the hotel to thank Daisy for donating her husband's kidney to him and finds exactly what he has been looking for his whole life.  The problem is that what he has found is the woman who was involved with Steven.  Then there is Tara, Daisy's best friend, who can't seem to catch a break with men, and always gets taken for granted.  Even Daisy's father has a mystery love affair that may or may not work out.

Reading a Jill Mansell book is like settling on the back porch with a glass of ice tea, while the flowers bloom and the wind whispers.  Her characters are recognizable, and written with charm and wit.  Humor and a refusal to let life defeat them is a mainstay, and this is a wonderful change from the tragic books that abound in the marketplace.  Readers will laugh out loud, and cheer for the characters who manage to resolve their life issues.  This book is recommended for readers ready for a light-hearted book that carries a powerful message.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Redemption by Laurel Dewey

Jane Perry has left the Denver police department.  Battered by the successful murder investigation she has completed, but still tormented by her personal demons, she has started her own private investigation agency.  After having a drug sting go wrong and her work co-opted by the FBI, she is at loose ends when Kit Clark approaches her.

Kit's granddaughter was kidnapped and murdered fourteen years ago.  The man who committed the crime was convicted but has been released due to questionable evidence and the personal sponsorship of a fundamentalist leader who vouches for him.  Kit knows that the man, Lou Peters, was guilty, and is determined to get him back in jail.  Now there is a new reason to worry; another girl from Peters's town is missing.

Fourteen years ago, Peters waited fourteen days while he raped and tortured his victim before killing her.  This victim is twelve, so Kit and Jane believe there are twelve days for them to find her before she is killed.  Can an avenging grandmother and a fledgling private investigator without her police force resources find the girl before time runs out?

Laurel Dewey has created a memorable protagonist in Jane Perry.  Haunted by her upbringing by an alcoholic, abusive father, she trusts no one.  She is fighting her own alcohol issues and trying to find peace in her personal life.  The book is full of other characters such as the fundamentalist, Jane's brother, a TV talking head whose mannerisms are instantly recognizable, and Jane's former boss who refuses to give up on her.  This is the second book in Dewey's series about Jane Perry.  Her first in the series, Protector, is available for Kindle and Nook free through March 11th, 2011.  This book is recommended for mystery readers and those interested in strong female characters.