Sunday, August 31, 2008

Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan

"In this tense, well-paced novel about belief, Kiernan explores what happens when faith and love test the limits of family fealty. In southwest Florida, college student Marshall Tobias is in search of something to believe in. He thinks he's found God and the woman he's always dreamed of when he falls in love with fundamentalist believer Ada Sparks. But Ada's against medical intervention for illness, and tragedy results when she sets out to help Marshall's 12-year-old sister, Meghan, overcome her life-threatening allergies. Switching points-of-view between Marshall and his mother, Chloe, Kiernan (Catching Genius) movingly portrays a 20-year-old marriage gone flat and torn apart by crisis, a troubled son, a daughter hovering between life and death, and the hard-to-discern boundaries between true faith and unhealthy fanaticism. She handles her difficult material respectfully. Most interesting is her portrayal of the well-meaning traps parents fall into when encouraging open-ended exploration of faith without context, or choosing to remain silent. The thoughtful themes, interesting characters and page-turning drama of this novel will likely make it a book club favorite."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mind's Eye: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery by Hakan Nesser

"World-weariness in a detective is well and good—but what if it ends up costing innocent victims their lives? That's the predicament in which Detective Chief Inspector Van Veeteren finds himself in this moodily affecting mystery, the first to appear in Nesser's native Sweden but the third to be published in the U.S. (after The Return and Borkmann's Point). Though the melancholy cop suspects accused killer Janek Mitter is innocent of drowning his new bride during an alcoholic blackout, Van Veeteren opts to focus on such more personally compelling matters as his own ruptured marriage and to let the judicial process run its course—until a second, truly shocking murder boots him and the book into high gear. The suspense intensifies as it becomes apparent that the initial killing was no garden-variety domestic drama but part of a bloody tapestry worthy of Greek tragedy. Even if you guess the book's final twist a bit early, this is a hauntingly powerful tale you won't soon forget."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thanks for Nothing, Nick Maxwell by Debbie Carbin

"Carbin's brisk, funny first novel records the changes in a shallow, self-centered beauty brought on by a bun in the oven and an unlikely connection with a stranger. After being callous with many hearts, Brit Rachel Covington gets her comeuppance when her interoffice romance with superfoxy Nick Maxwell comes to an abrupt end. While pining for him and experiencing bouts of nausea, moodiness and ravenous hunger, she spies her friend Sarah McCarthy's husband, Glenn, passionately kissing another woman. Rachel also happens upon a lost cellphone and develops a friendship with its owner, charismatic Hector, soon revealed to be Glenn's successful older brother. When Rachel confirms her pregnancy, her decision to only let Hector know strengthens their bond and puts them on the fast track to potential romance, but circumstances prevent the would-be lovebirds from getting together. These are contrived in a necessary chick lit way, but Carbin fashions a convincing transformation for her protagonist. Other genre tropes abound (including the charged climax and Hector's wealth), but Carbin's engaging main character and swaggering sense of humor save the day."

~ Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Gargoyle: A Novel by Andrew Davidson

"At the start of Davidson's powerful debut, the unnamed narrator, a coke-addled pornographer, drives his car off a mountain road in a part of the country that's never specified. During his painful recovery from horrific burns suffered in the crash, the narrator plots to end his life after his release from the hospital. When a schizophrenic fellow patient, Marianne Engel, begins to visit him and describe her memories of their love affair in medieval Germany, the narrator is at first skeptical, but grows less so. Eventually, he abandons his elaborate suicide plan and envisions a life with Engel, a sculptress specializing in gargoyles. Davidson, in addition to making his flawed protagonist fully sympathetic, blends convincing historical detail with deeply felt emotion in both Engel's recollections of her past life with the narrator and her moving accounts of tragic love. Once launched into this intense tale of unconventional romance, few readers will want to put it down."

~ Publisher's Weekly Review. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

"The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers."

~Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Have you reserved your copy of the latest and last of this incredible series? Or like me, splurged and bought one? I know, this is a teen book, but if you haven't read Stephenie Meyer's romantic series find out why it's just as hot among adult readers. Reserve a copy of the first of the series, Twilight, and enjoy!

From Barnes and Noble:
"Twilight tempted the imagination. New Moon made readers thirsty for more. Eclipse turned the saga into a worldwide phenomenon. And now, the book that everyone has been waiting for... Breaking Dawn, the final book in the #1 bestselling Twilight Saga, will take your breath away.

According to Stephenie Meyer, the idea for her sensational debut novel, Twilight, came to her in a vividly detailed dream in 2003. Over the course of three months, writing at night when her children were in bed, the young Mormon mother of three developed that dream into the spellbinding story of 17-year-old Bella Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona, to the tiny town of Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a beautiful, mysterious vampire named Edward Cullen. After feverish writing, painstaking editing, and a brief but frustrating round of queries, submissions, and rejections, Meyer finally connected with an editor at Little, Brown who fell in love with the manuscript and signed her to a three-book deal.

Twilight debuted in October, 2005. An immediate sensation, it appeared on several year-end best books lists and earned its author a rabid cult following among teenage girls. Since then, Meyer has continued Bella and Edward's story in bestselling sequels that have proved equally successful. Young readers cannot get enough of these riveting novels -- a captivating blend of vampires, romance, and suspense -- and parents rest easy knowing the books do not contain the graphic language and sexually provocative material that pervades some YA series.

Whether or not the Twilight Saga proves to have "Harry Potter legs" remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Meyer continues writing. She forayed into adult fiction with 2008's The Host, a chilling science fiction tale about the end of humanity, told from the perspective of an alien invader. And she makes it clear the door is open for further installments in her vampire romance. Clearly, this talented author has many more stories to tell. Good to Know"