November 30, 2011

November 2011

Still reading far too slowly.  I only need to read 5 more books to finish one more of my personal challenges, but I will never finish the pages challenge this year since I still need over 15,000 pages to beat last year.  Maybe December will be better.  I read 6 books and a total of 2051 pages.

1. The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart  (4.5/10)
2. The zero Game by Brad Meltzer  (10/10)
3. Where the Road Ends by Tara Taylor Quinn  (6/10)
4. Final Target by Iris Johansen (6/10)
5. Stormwarden by Janny Wurts  (10/10)
6. Keeper of the Keys by Janny Wurts (9.5/10)

I read 4 Thrillers and 2 Fantasy.  My favorite book is easy.

Favorite book of the month:  Stormwarden by Janny Wurts

Keeper of the Keys by Janny Wurts

Title:  Keeper of the Keys
Author:  Janny Wurts
Format:  PB
Pages:  212
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Eos, 1999
ISBN-13:  978-0061073557
Series:  The Cycle of Fire, Book 2

Favorite Quote:  "Mortal fool.  I am the master of space and time.  Are you doubting my ability to safeguard simple timber and cloth?"

Synopsis (PBS):  'THE FIRELORD'S HEIR MUST BE HUNTED DOWN AND SLAIN!' — This is the cry of the Accursed as they sweep through the ruins of doomed Elrinfaer. Their prey is Ivainson Jaric, Keeper of the Keys, heir of the Firelord. The geas placed by the Stormwarden on Firelord has passed down to his son - and Jaric must guard the Keys that keep the Mharg-demons bound.

His blood gifts him with raw power - but not enough. Jaric had hoped to renounce his duty and pass the Keys back to their maker. But the Stormwarden sleeps within ice cliffs of his own making. Now, Jaric must become a Vaere- trained sorcerer land embrace the Cycle of Fire - the mastery of which consumed Firelord's soul, driving him to madness and leading him to betray his own people.

Will the same price be demanded of Jaric? Or can he master THE CYCLE OF FIRE ...?

Review:  Jaric and Taen are really growing on me.  I even like the Stormwarden, although I've barely gotten to know him.  The Vaere remain my favorite characters, especially the gnome-like Tamlin, but the Demons are quickly becoming another favorite.  They are deliciously evil....or at least most of them are.  The Llondian seem to be the exception to that rule.  Not that any of them are demons, since actually they are aliens.  I love it.  Old myths covering the actual scientific facts that need to be protected at all costs.  It's very original.

Rating:  9.5 / 10

November 18, 2011

Stormwarden by Janny Wurts

Title:  Stormwarden
Author:  Janny Wurts
Format:  PB
Pages:  264
Genre:  Fantasy
Publisher:  Eos, 1999
ISBN-13:  978-0061073557
Series:  The Cycle of Fire, Book 1

Favorite Quote:  The collar's legacy was misery; woe to the mortal who touched it, for his will would serve the powers of Kor's Accursed without hope to the end of life.

Synopsis (PBS):  SUMMON ME, SORCERER, AND KNOW SORROW... Written in the records at Vaere is the tale of the binding of the Mharg-demons by Anskiere, wizard of wind and wave. Anskiere was aided in this task by Ivain, master of fire and earth, for the skills of a single sorcerer were not enough against so formidable a foe. It is further recorded that at the moment of greatest peril, Ivain betrayed his companion out of jealousy. Nonetheless the demons were defeated, the wards sealed, and Anskiere survived to swear a powerful oath against his betrayer. So potent was the magic in the words spoken by Anskiere that sailors who have visited the site claim the winds there repeat them to this day: 'Your offence against me is pardoned but not forgotten. This geas I lay upon you; should I call, you, Ivain, shall answer, and complete a deed of my choice, even to the end of your days. And should you die, my will shall pass to your eldest son, and to his son's sons after him, until the debt is paid...'

Review:  I actually am reading the omnibus edition of The Cycle of Fire trilogy, but I will review each story separately.  It's been far too long since I read a really great Fantasy novel, and this is assuredly a great one.  I love every last bit of it.  The characters are wonderful, especially the Vaere, the supposedly mystical and mythical creatures that are actually futuristic machines, were great.  I loved it.

Rating:  10 / 10

November 11, 2011

Final Target by Iris Johansen

Title:  Final Target
Author:  Iris Johansen
Format:  PB
Pages:  387
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  Bantam, 2002
ISBN-13:  978-0553582130
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  "I believe that's crystal-clear.  But you went through a hell of a lot tonight.  Are you sure that you're able to judge ---"

Synopsis (PBS):  The President’s daughter... — The women determined to save her... — The man with the power to betray a nation... — Melissa Riley arrives at her sister’s isolated Virginia country home to find herself plunged into a deadly drama. There the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley is attempting to draw the daughter of the President of the United States out of a severe catatonic trauma. The last thing young Cassie Andreas saw was an organized team ruthlessly murder her nanny and the Secret Service agents sworn to protect her. But to free Cassie, Melissa and Jessica must trust a mysterious, charismatic man.

Michael Travis made his fortune in the international underworld. He risked everything to save Cassie during that terrible night of bloodshed. And he has entered into a secret bargain with the President. But is his show of concern all a treacherous charade? Melissa and Jessica have no choice but to accept Travis as their ally—and to follow a dangerous plan that will lead them into the world of a killer who’ll destroy anyone standing between him and the...Final Target.

Review:  Iris Johansen is one of my favorite authors.  All her books are good and this one is no exception.  I wasn't especially fond of any of the characters, with the exception of Galen, Michael Travis' partner in crime.  Unfortunately, he was only a secondary character and wasn't around much.  It didn't hurt the story though.  Even though none of the characters were all that likable, the story was good enough to make up for it.

Rating:  6 / 10

November 7, 2011

Where the Road Ends by Tara Taylor Quinn

Title:  Where the Road Ends
Author:  Tara Taylor Quinn
Format:  PB
Pages:  379
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  Mira, 2003
ISBN-13:  978-1551667065
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  Charles was not in the park.  He might have wandered away.  Might be in the vicinity.  But no one seemed to think that.  They were going under the assumption that the Wainscoat heir had been abducted.

Synopsis (PBS):  The difference between love and obsession isn't easy to define, but Amy knows that sometime in the last five years her son Charles' nanny, Kathy, had crossed that line. Almost a year ago Amy's husband, Johnny, had suggested letting Kathy go, but then Johnny was killed in a boating accident, and Amy didn't want to lose another person close to Charles. Now convinced it's for the best, Amy lets Kathy go, but soon afterward, while Amy and her young son are at an amusement park, Charles disappears. Even though a police investigation clears Kathy of any involvement, Amy knows Kathy is the key to finding Charles. After hiring private investigator Brad, Amy insists on becoming involved in the search. Skillfully conveying the guilt, anger, and despair that haunt her protagonist, Quinn smoothly blends women's fiction with suspense and then adds a dash of romance to construct an emotionally intense, compelling story of the changes one mother goes through as she searches for her missing child

Review:  This was a good book.  Not a great one, but quite good.  The story was easy to read and kept me guessing.  I didn't know who had done it until the very end, although I did begin to suspect. 

A child is abducted and his mother spends all her time trying to find him herself.  It was hard to read the parts about how little Charles was being treated, but other than that it was a really easy read.

Rating:  6 / 10

November 4, 2011

The Zero Game by Brad Meltzer

Title:  The Zero Game
Author:  Brad Meltzer
Format:  HC
Pages:  459
Genre:  Thriller
Publisher:  Warner, 2004
ISBN-13:  978-0446530989
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  "I'm serious about that chief of staff job, Harold," she calls out as her voice echoes down the long hallway.  "Only eighteen more years until I reach the age requirement.  I'll expect you there bright and early."

Synopsis (PBS):  The New York Times bestselling author of The Millionaires and The First Counsel returns to Wash-ington, D.C., with the story of an insider's game that turns deadly.Matthew Mercer and Harris Sandler are best friends who have plum jobs as senior staffers to well-respected congressmen. But after a decade in Washington, idealism has faded to disillusionment, and they're bored. Then one of them finds out about the clandestine Zero Game. It starts out as good fun--a simple wager between friends. But when someone close to them ends up dead, Harris and Matthew realize the game is far more sinister than they ever imagined--and that they're about to be the game's next victims. On the run, they turn to the only person they can trust: a 16-year-old Senate page who can move around the Capitol undetected. As a ruthless killer creeps closer, this idealistic page not only holds the key to saving their lives, but is also determined to redeem them in the process. Come play The Zero Game--you can bet your life on it.

Review:  Government conspiracies.  Killers for hire.  A 8,000 foot deep mine shaft.  From Washington, DC to South Dakota, this story has all these things and more.  It's fast-paced and exciting.  I never saw half of what happened coming and certainly didn't know who half the bad guys actually were. 

I finished this book in just over 24 hours.  It was an incredible read, probably one of the best this year.

Rating:  10 / 10

November 3, 2011

The Yellow Room by Mary Roberts Rinehart

Title:  The Yellow Room
Author:  Mary Roberts Rinehart
Format:  PB
Pages:  350
Genre:  Mystery / Thriller
Publisher:  Kensington, 1996
ISBN-13:  978-1575661193
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  "More beautiful women than you have sobbed on it," he said.  "But to hell with them.  You're my girl now.  Or are you?"

Synopsis (PBS):  A corpse -- somewhat charred around the edges -- has been discovered in the linen closet of the Spencers' fabulous Maine retreat. No one has a clue as to who she is or how she got there. Certainly not Carol Spencer, who has just arrived to open up her isolated family house for the summer. — Unfortunately, Carol seems to be the prime suspect, judging from the questions the police are asking. She has one advantage over the police: she knows she didn't do it. But now the servants have disappeared, all the telephones have been removed, and, as night rapidly falls, a dangerous killer is closer than she thinks....

Review:  This book was very old-fashioned.  It takes place during WWII so I expect the author was trying to make things as they would be in that time.  I got a little tired of the women being told to sit down and stop being hysterical though.

It was a good enough mystery though.  I thought I knew who done it and I was wrong, so that was a surprise.  This was really just okay, but it was a really fast read.

Rating:  4.5 / 10

November 1, 2011

October 2011

I'm still having trouble reading like I want to.  So many changes lately.  But, I did better than last month, though I doubt I'm going to meet my goal for number of pages read this year. 

I read 5 books and a total of 1932 pages.

1. Interest of Justice by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg (9/10)
2. The White Abacus by Damien Broderick  (5.5/10)
3. Once Upon a Summer Day by Dennis L. McKiernan  (9/10)
4. The Experiment by John Darnton  (8.5/10)
5. Nighteyes by Garfield Reeves-Stevens  (9/10)

I read one Thriller, three Science Fiction and one Fantasy.  I really liked all but one of them so it's hard to pick a favorite.  I think I'll have to choose the thriller this time though.  It really was good.

Favorite book of the month:  Interest of Justice by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

Nighteyes by Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Title:  Nighteyes
Author:  Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Format:  PB
Pages:  433
Genre:  Science Fiction
Publisher:  Spectra, 1990
ISBN-13:  978-0553285031
Series:  Stand Alone

Favorite Quote:  The stars burned through the aurora.  Something hid among them even now, she knew.  Is there intelligent life on other worlds? her father had asked.  Not anymore, her child had answered.  We won.

Synopsis (PBS):  After years of observing us, abducting us, and experimenting upon us, they have finally made their first mistake.As the sun sets on a lonely Connecticut farmhouse the shadows come, gliding through windows, sliding up walls, enveloping Sarah Gilmour as she searches frantically for her missing child. Then the shadows, with their dark, inhuman eyes, are everywhere, surrounding her as she sobs silently, realizing with horror that they have taken her daughter once again. And that now they have come back--for her.

Review:  Alien abductions.  Time travel.  A future Earth that cannot survive without returning to the past.  There were so many things I loved about this story.  What I loved the best was that I just didn't see it coming --- the aliens are us, humans, from the future, changed beyond all recognition by genetic engineering to survive in a world that we can't imagine.

This book was scary, thrilling, and full of great characters.  Highly recommended.  I actually finished this book yesterday, so it counts towards October.

Rating:  9 / 10
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