Monday, February 28, 2011

Book Review - Fired Up

Fired Up an Arcane Society novel
by Jayne Ann Krentz

A Trilogy within a Series?

Jayne Ann Krentz is getting pretty creative with her Arcane Series books and fortunately for her, "Fired Up" is a solid lead off novel for the Dreamlight Trilogy.
"Fired Up" introduces us to Jack Winters, a direct descendent of Nicholas Winters, the twisted alchemist and arch-enemy of Sylvester Jones, who were the original founders of the Arcance Society. Both Jones and Winters were consumed by creating a way to enhance paranormal abilities. Jones, by creating a (very) flawed formula and Winters by creating the Burning Lamp, which can only be activated by those in his bloodline. Because Nicholas experimented with the lamp on himself, a strange twist in his DNA (known as the Winters' Curse) was passed down to Jack. Now Jack must find the lamp and (according to the legend) a female dreamlight talent to help him alter the curse and prevent him from losing his sanity and potentially his life. Jack hires Chloe Harper, a private investigator (and dreamlight talent) to help him locate the lamp and use her talent to alter the Winters' curse.
I thought Krentz hit her marks with this installment. The historical intrigue of the Arcane Society, it's nemisiss Nightshade and two hot sensitives. It's all there. I love the fact that she is going back to the origins of both the Arcane Society as well as the founder's formula and now the new twist with the Burning Lamp. She even gives readers a whole new insight (hinted in Running Hot) into Fallon Jones and what might be in store for him as well as his inner-sanctum as the head of J&J. A good read for all Jayne Ann Krentz fans. Enjoy!
~Peace and Good Reads~

Friday, February 25, 2011

15 and 12

What is the biggest difference between my 15 year-old and my 12 year-old (boys)?

The 12 year-old still thinks it can't hurt (and naively, that it might help) to argue after he has been told "no."

The 15 year-old KNOWS that arguing will not only hurt, but make things proportionately worse.

So, that is where I am in motherhood right now. Training that last kid to not argue with me. He was so cute and adorable yesterday. Today he argues, sulks and acts indifferent. Poor kid though. After three kids before him, he is dealing with a pro. He never stood a chance. Still, I have to give him credit, he tries.

Yesterday, for example, he wanted to go to the mall with some of his friends from school. The answer, of course, was "no." Why? Well, not that I need to explain but let's just say that he is grounded. From Everything. He is currently getting all F's (except in Art and PE) in school. There have been some behavioral issues as well, and well the proverbial hammer has fallen on his young life of privilege.

This week they are both out of school for winter break. The 12-y/o was supposed to come to work with me and sit in an empty cubicle to contemplate his life and what he could be doing with his free time had he chosen a path of academic responsibility and attitudinal accountability. Fortunately for him he was spared the first three days because we were having a training class onsite with potential customers. Instead he was able to stay at home with his disabled (another story for another time) brother, who was on crutches.

Somehow the time at home with nothing to do created the sliver of hope within him that he might be able to go to the mall. Heh, heh, um? No. But, like I said, he tried. I was on my way home from work on Wednesday when he called to tell me that he had a surprise for me. I knew, where this was headed, but you know that I had no choice but to let this play out. Plus? I was a little curious to see where his mind was at.

I came home and he led me into the kitchen where he had made a lovely "after work" snack for me. He had prepared a ham sandwich, yogurt and apple on a dinner plate for me. Accompanying that was a diet coke freshly poured in a glass with ice. He was very proud of himself and I have to admit I was a little impressed. Or maybe flattered?

Anyway, shortly after he asked if he could go to the mall the next day. Followed by an emphatic "no," from me. Followed by, you guessed it, The Argument. So, the training begins, continues and kicks into full gear. Don't argue with your mom. The sooner you learn that, the better things will be. Still though, if he were 15 he'd know that by now. *Sigh*

Book Review - Running Hot

Running Hot, an Arcane Society novel
by Jayne Ann Krentz

Jayne Ann Krentz rarely disappoints me in the romance department of her books and this Arcane Society installment is no exception. Hot, hot, hot. The story, however, is not as intricate or as riveting as some of the others in this series. Which leaves me wondering where everything is headed, or even if this installment really had anything to do with the overall plot of the series? In Running Hot we find another storyline where J & J is investigating a possible Nightshade operative and trying to stop the renegade organization from producing and distributing the Founders Formula which enhances the level of talent in paranormal sensitives. The formula, of course, still causes madness in those that take it as well as kills them if they stop. The two main characters, Luther and Grace, are both high level Aura reading talents, which helps to spark off the romantic aspect, but unfortunately not the plot line. Still a good read, but more of spin-off of the Arcane Society series instead of an integral part. My favorite Arcane Society novels are still the ones that take place back in Victorian era England. While I appreciate the paranormal world that Krentz has attempted to maintain in modern times, something just doesn't translate and leaves me somewhat unsatisfied. *Peace and Good Reads*

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review - Mockingjay

by Suzanne Collins

I was really looking forward to the conclusion that Suzanne Collins would bring to this breathtaking series. However, I was a little disappointed with the ending. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting "happily-ever-after" (that would have been disappointing as well), but I was expecting a tight, crisp finale without any loose ends. I was expecting tragedy and loss of life (SPOILER ALERT) but not for almost every character to be gruesomely destroyed and/or sacrificed. I thought Katniss spent way to much time healing and/or in a drug-induced-depressive and indecisive stupor. I thought the plot with Peeta was interesting, I never saw that coming, so kudos for that. I didn't think Collins really defined or made Katniss choose between Gale and Peeta, but instead had her go with the flow as she kind of stumbled along until the decision was made for her. The final stand sequence was good with its pods and different dangers around each corner leading up to the Capitol. The team of clever Beetee and Gale was a winning combination of brains and skills from the start. But? I don't know, the book just left me unsatisfied, which is not what I expected after the first two books. Read the conclusion to get all of your questions answered if you must, but set your expectations a few notches down from where they were after the first book.
~Peace and Good Reads

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review - Catching Fire

Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins

In the second book of the "Hunger Games" series Katniss finds herself back in the game as the Capitol seemingly manipulates her participation as part of the "75th" anniversary of the games. As I've said before (in my review of The Hunger Games) Science Fiction is not my genre of choice, however, this book, and this series, has captivated my imagination and I can't seem to stop reading. The only thing I don't regret about finding these books sooner is that I don't know if I could have been patient enough to wait for the next book(s) to be published. At least this way, I can read all three in succession and without delay. Suzanne Collins has made me a fan and I plan to check out some of her other novels. As soon as I read "Mockingjay," the third book in the series, that is. Not since Stieg Larsson's "Girl with..." series have I been this enthralled with a story. Do yourself a huge favor and get your hands on these books. You won't regret it for a minute! Enjoy!
~Peace and Good Reads

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Book Review - The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins

I heard about this book almost two years ago as I was taking a steam at my gym, listening to a woman gush about it to her friend. As an avid reader always looking for a new novel to sink my teeth into I went home and researched it based on the descriptions I had overheard. When I found the book and the author I ended up just saving the information for a "possible read" for a later time. This last Christmas I was given a Nook Color and one of the first things I did was download free samples from about 30-40 books so that I could have them all right there with me in my Nook Library... including The Hunger Games and the two other books in the series. Two days ago I finally got to it, and today I just finished reading it. I couldn't put it down. I got so into the story that I just had to keep reading. Science Fiction is not my usual genre or cup of tea for that matter. This book, however, hit its mark with me. I loved the main character, Katniss, and her will to survive, even before being entered into the annual Hunger Games. I highly recommend this novel, just clear your schedule before you start reading it. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the next book,"Catching Fire." Enjoy!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Book Review - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by Jamie Ford

Loved all of its "Bitter Sweetness"

This book is a great piece of historical fiction and is wonderfully written by Jamie Ford. Henry is a poignant character who reminds us all to regard each other with humanity and love because we have no idea what battles others have endured or are enduring in their lifetime. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is the story of Henry, a first generation Chinese-American, and Keiko, a second generation Japanese-American during the 1940's in Seattle. The two meet when they are twelve and form a bond of friendship and love through their mutual affection for Jazz music and surviving together the hardships of attending an all white school. With the multicultural and thriving city of 1940's Seattle as the backdrop, Ford weaves a memorable tale of a war torn community during a dark, yet intricate piece of American history. A time when all citizens of Japanese decent were "relocated" to internment camps following the attacks on Pearl Harbor until after the war was over. The book is an easy, relaxing read and you won't regret a moment you spent reading it. Highly recommended.