Month: October 2015

Book Review: “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains” by Isabella Bird

Book Review: “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains” by Isabella Bird

I enjoyed this book so much more than I expected to! This is the collection of letters which Isabella wrote to her sister about her travels through the Rocky Mountains in the 1870’s. Isabella is travelling on her own; sometimes with companions she picks up along the way. She has a beautiful gift for describing what she sees and experiences along the way. Her reason for the journey is to see Estes Park. She travels from San Francisco to Colorado and then into the mountains. She tells her sister about all the people she encounters, a very motley collection of humanity. People that have been sent to the mountains by their doctors back East in an attempt to improve their health. People who are building ranches and farms and communities out of nothing. She meets desperadoes and dandies, devoted wives and their hardworking husbands, law-breakers and those trying to create law and order where none exists. Isabella gets to try her hand at herding cattle, climbing mountain peaks, slogging through blizzards, fording streams and rivers. It seems like she has the opportunity to experience every hardship the west has to offer but also all the beauty and glory that await in the Rocky Mountains.

This book was first published in the 1870’s but don’t let that put you off. If you enjoy stories of the Old West or travel books I think you will find this book worth reading. Isabella’s writing style is very approachable and not stuffy, as some books from the 19th century feel to today’s reader. Try something different today and pick up “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains”.

Happy Reading!

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Holiday Shopping

So I’m doing a little online shopping this morning and I found a whole section of Retro Toys on Amazon. I’m seriously tempted to buy myself a Spirograph which my sister and I just loved when we were kids. There’s lots of other good stuff as well. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Shop Amazon’s Holiday Toy List – Retro Toys

Book Review: “A Different Breed” by Mary Rowell

Book Review: “A Different Breed” by Mary Rowell

A vampire is a vampire, right? Not in this book! I’ve never been very interested in vampire fiction but I was asked to read this one and I thought I should at least give the genre a fair shot. I was not disappointed. Mary Rowell has created a compelling story about Kate, a young lady, who against her will, is experimented on with injections of vampire blood. The book tells the journey of Kate through her escape and her subsequent effort to build a colony where vampires can be safe. Along the way she learns of two different “breeds” of vampire, the Basques and the Carpathians. Kate wants to create a utopia for vampires.

A really liked Kate. What happened to her was not deserved but she shows amazing strength and resilience, and while she loses her innocence she keeps her compassion and her desire to help others. Along her journey she meets some other great characters, like Sarah and Jens, she is blessed with a mentor and develops lifelong bonds. Whether you like vampires or not this is a really good story and one which I readers of all ages will enjoy. A+ to the author for introducing me to another interesting world.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Broken Prey” by John Sandford

Book Review: “Broken Prey” by John Sandford

A little gruesome in places but nevertheless a great read! Lucas Davenport is an investigator in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In this story (no. 16 in the series), he is faced with a particularly grisly serial killer. There are few clues to follow up until the killer starts to call a local journalist. But this guy is clever and leads the investigation down several rabbit trails before Davenport can figure it out. Sloan is working with Davenport again in this one and Elle shows up a couple of times. Davenport’s wife, Elle, and their children are in London throughout the story.

This book is another winner from John Sandford. I especially enjoy the Minneapolis setting of the book since I am familiar with several of the locations mentioned. Davenport is definitely one of the good guys and by the time you get to this book in the series he is a well-developed character and a good friend of the reader. The plotline in this one is especially twisty, something I really enjoy. If you enjoy mysteries/thrillers, I think you will really like this book. I would not recommend this for younger readers due to the graphic nature of some of the scenes.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “High Profile” by Robert B. Parker

Book Review: “High Profile” by Robert B. Parker

Jesse Stone is such a heartthrob! I enjoy him more every time I read one of the books in the series. This one also features Sunny Randall who is another one of my favorite detectives.

There are two plotlines going in this story. First, a nationally known journalist is found dead in Paradise and a few hours later a young woman is found dead in a dumpster. Turns out the woman is the journalist’s girlfriend and Jesse has high profile murders on his hands. As the investigation begins, Jesse gets a call from his ex-wife Jenn, who now lives in Boston, claiming that she was raped. Jesse recruits Sunny to investigate Jenn’s story and protect her until the rapist is found. The story moves back and forth between the two investigations. The investigation into the murders starts off slow, but as usual, Jesse is dogged in his persistence. Meanwhile, Jenn’s story heats up as Sunny spots someone stalking her.

This is another great mystery from one of the masters of the genre. I highly recommend it!

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “The Beauty of You” by Jennifer Wenn

Book Review: “The Beauty of You” by Jennifer Wenn

This is the story of two hearts trying to come together. A romance for romance lovers. Sinclair and Charmaine are forced to get married after Charmaine plays a trick on Sin. Sin is over the top angry at Charmaine. She wants to explain herself, but due to circumstances must keep quiet about her motive for the marriage. In her heart she really wants to be married to Sin and is desperate to find a way past his anger. Just when there seems to be some progress in their relationship, life throws them another curveball. Will these two ever be able to truly come together as husband and wife? Will Charmaine ever be free of the threats that haunt her? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I really enjoyed the characters of Sin and Charmaine. I felt a great deal of sympathy for the dilemmas that each faced and the circumstances they were thrown into. Jennifer Wenn has crafted a very clever storyline which just keeps drawing in the reader. I think any lover of romance will enjoy this book.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “At the Sharp Edge of Lightning” by N. R. Bates

Book Review: “At the Sharp Edge of Lightning” by N. R. Bates

A complex and intriguing adventure! N. R. Bates has created a universe where four different worlds exist with little knowledge of each other. Then things start to go wrong in the Oceanlight world where the Sea Sprites live. Yalara is on a quest when she finds a Sprite village that has been destroyed and the inhabitants are either dead or have disappeared. Meanwhile, Helia, a forest Sprite from the Forestlight world, is sent to locate a Thinness, a weakening of the membrane that separates the worlds. Einion lives in the Humana world. He is a young man with hemophilia who is trying to make a life while being handicapped by his illness. Einion stumbles upon an Interface and finds himself in the past trying to save a dying girl.

I really enjoyed the characters in this story, especially Einion. His perseverance, even in the face of death, is a good example to readers of what the human spirit is capable of. He has no superpowers, and very little to offer in the way of physical ability, but he is a fighter who wants to do the right thing. The story is clever one, with 3 separate storylines but you just know they are linked together in some way. My only problem with the story was that none of the storylines came to a conclusion at the end. This book is the first in a planned series but even so, it would have been nice for at there to be more of a coming together in the end. This would be a good pick for a teenager or young adult as the characters are all young.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Bartleby and James” by Michael Coorlim

Book Review: “Bartleby and James” by Michael Coorlim

An absolutely delightful romp through Edwardian London! This was such a fun book to read. It’s categorized as Edwardian Steampunk which is a genre I’ve never picked up before so I had no idea what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised. This story is set in the early 1900’s, has a bit of a Sherlock and Watson feel and explores the scientific developments of the period in a fun way. The heroes are Alton Bartleby, an aristocratic son with a short attention span, and James Wainwright, an engineer who loves to invent new machines. These two guys are such good friends and so likable; the author has done a great job fleshing out these characters. They take on four different cases in this book ranging from automatons to spirits. This book is the first in a series and I am definitely interested to read the rest. There is some violence but no bad language or sex scenes so I think it would be suitable for just about any age. The book is on the shorter side, so a perfect lazy Sunday read. I hope you have as much fun with it as I did.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands” by Jorge Newbery

Book Review: “Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands” by Jorge Newbery

Feeling a little dragged down by life? Then you must read this book! Jorge Newbery will fill you with courage and inspiration with this story of his rise and fall and rise again in the business of real estate. I found the writing to be excellent and very engaging. The writing style keeps the story moving forward and does not get bogged down with too many details or ruminations. Jorge views difficult moments of life as burn zones and deftly relates how he confronted and worked through the burn zones in his own life. He takes the idea of a burn zone from his time competing as a bike racer and I think the correlation is a good one. I found this story so compelling that I couldn’t put it down. I highly recommend this book.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “A Field of Red” by Greg Enslen

Book Review: “A Field of Red” by Greg Enslen

“A Field of Red” is a mystery/thriller. Two young girls, one the daughter of a town councilman, have been kidnapped in broad daylight, just a block from their school. Frank Harper is a down-on-his luck, retired police officer, in town to try and reconcile with his estranged daughter. Chief King is the local police chief whose force is overwhelmed by the kidnapping. When Chief King learns that Harper is in town he seeks his assistance in finding the two girls because of Harper’s experience with kidnappings. But Frank is a drunk and extremely reluctant to get involved. Eventually the promise of a reward convinces him to help as a consultant.

This story is full of twists and turns, and the ending will definitely surprise. I really enjoyed this story because of the complexity of the mystery but more importantly for the way the author portrayed Frank Harper and his struggles. I could feel Frank’s desperation about his relationship with his daughter and his growing realization of his alcohol problem. The relationships in this book were quite touching and not just an afterthought, something you don’t always get in mystery/crime story. I would definitely recommend this book for readers of mystery and crime fiction. Thumbs up to Greg Enslen for this engaging story.

Happy Reading!

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