Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Hollow by Nora Roberts (Book 2 of the Sign of Seven Trilogy)

Synopsis :

For Fox, Caleb, Gage and other residents of Hawkins Hollow, the number seven portends doom - ever since, as boys, they freed a demon trapped for centuries when their blood spilled upon the Pagan Stone. 

Their innocent bonding ritual led to seven days of madness, every seven years.  But this year, they are better prepared, joined in their battle by three women who have come to the Hollow. Layla, Quinn and Cybil are somehow connected to the demon, just as the men are connected to the force that trapped it.  

Since that fateful day at the Pagan Stone, town lawyer Fox has been able to see into others' minds, a talent he shares with Layla.  He must earn her trust because their link will help fight the darkness that threatens to engulf the town.  But Layla is having trouble coming to terms with her new found ability - and with this intimate connection to Fox.  She knows that once she opens her mind, she'll have no defense against the desire that threatens to consume them both.

A the first book, Blood Brothers was more about Caleb and Quinn, I knew even before reading The Hollow that it's going to be about Fox and Layla.  The same way I know that for book three, The Pagan Stone, it's going to be about Gage and Cybil.  That's Nora Roberts signature.  She did that for The Circle Trilogy too.

Anyway, The Hollow continues with the fight between Fox, Caleb, Gage, Quinn, Layla and Cybil and the thousand year old evil the boys unleashed when they were ten years old.  They did a ritual at the end of book 1 and towards the end of book 2, they did another ritual at the Pagan Stone again.  I am guess there will be a 3rd ritual in the third book.  While the six of them has gotten stronger as demonstrated throughout the book, the demon which rules for seven days every seven years has gotten more powerful too.

I wasn't really into the romance between Fox and Layla.  I quite like both of them but can't really feel their chemistry nor really relate to their characters.  Overall, I'm just interested to see how the story ends.

I was so happy to find The Hollow on the shelf of my local library just when I went to return Blood Brothers.  I hope I have the same luck with the third book, The Pagan Stone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sushi For Beginners by Marian Keyes

When I first saw Sushi for Beginners years ago in a warehouse sales, I thought it was a beginners guide to all things sushi.  Yes! I actually did.  That was before I knew of Marian Keyes and that was before I read my first Marian Keyes book, Last Chance Saloon.

Sushi for Beginners is set in the world of magazine publication.  Lisa Edwards, the tough editor of Femme magazine and who's based in London suddenly found herself moving to Dublin after being assigned to start a new magazine in Ireland.  Shock and horror are too gentle to describe how she's feeling.  But being the tough cookie that she is, she vows to bring this new magazine to a great launch.  It does help that Jack Devine, the Managing Director has caught her attention.  The only thing to do is to make sure he falls for her instead of his exotic Asian girlfriend, Mai.  But then, someone from the past came looking for her in Dublin.

Ashling Kennedy, the newly recruited deputy editor of the new magazine is being nicknamed 'Ms Fix It' by Jack Devine.  That is because Ashling goes around with a handbag that has almost everything inside from band-aid to cigarettes or hairsprays, etc.  Ashling grew up with a mother who went though years of depression and has to be mum to her younger siblings.  The last thing she wanted was to go through depression herself but then something happen that brought her to rock bottom.

Clodagh who is Ashling childhood friend is extremely beautiful and married with two young kids.  Clodagh is very dissatisfied with her life and having just stay at home taking care of her kids.  She wanted to do something different but ended up doing something really stupid.

This is the third time I read Sushi for Beginners.  You will really enjoy this book if you have read books by Marian Keyes.  It's not as heavy contents wise as some of her other books like This Charming Man but it does deal a bit with the issue of depression.

How in the world would sushi ended up in a story set in Ireland, you might ask. Well, you will have to read it to find out. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Windmills of The Gods by Sidney Sheldon

 Synopsis :

She's on the glinting edge of East-West confrontation, a beautiful and accomplished scholar who has suddenly become our newest ambassador to an Iron Curtain country, a woman who is about to dramatically change the course of world events - if she lives.  For Mary Ashley has been marked for death by the world's most proficient and mysterious assassin, and plunged into a nightmare of espionage, kidnapping and terror.  Here, only two people - both powerfully attractive and ultimately enigmatic men - can offer her help. And one of them wants to kill her.

My attempt to re-read some of my old favourites has been rather slow.   I started with The Firm in April and it was about four months down the road before I attempt If Tomorrow Comes.  I brought Windmills of the Gods with me during a recent overnight work trip and enjoyed it once again 

Windmills of the Gods is really a classic Sidney Sheldon. Published in year 1987, the story is set at the era of the Cold War, it has all the elements of a good thriller - wonderful storyline, great writing and captured the intensity of the story with quite a few wonderful surprises.

No one writes like Sidney but since the story is set in the 80s where there's no mobile phone and other technology that we take for granted now, I can't help but wonder how Sidney would write this story in today's era where technological advancement would have made a difference in how the story goes.

Having said that, it would be a crime to change any aspect of the story.  I enjoy it for what it is.  A great thriller by a great author.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gone by Jonathan Kellerman

Synopsis :

Los Angeles is full of performers. But for psychologist Alex Delaware, spotting what's real and what's not is a matter of life and death.

Called in to evaluate an aspiring actress accused of staging her own abduction, Alex finds nother too unusual - until the girl is savagely murdered.  To complicate matters, Dylan Meserve, the victim's boyfriend and fellow accused, has disappeared.

Is Dylan a calculating killer or another victim? Alex and homicide detective Milo Sturgis are on the hunt for suspects.  Meanwhile, the killer's trawling the seedy underbelly of Hollywood on a very different mission.

I have never hear of Jonathan Kellerman prior to this book although his other titles seems to date from the 80s right up to year 2007.  Gone is published in year 2006 so it's fairly new.  If not mistaken, I bought this book from a warehouse sales couple of years back and it was only recently that I started with it.

It's a fairly okey book. Wasn't really as thrilling as I would have like to be but wasn't as boring as it could be too.   The book started off quite promisingly with great potential, halfway through it got slightly flat but then it picked up it's pace toward the end.  With a psychologist being the main character in this thriller, I guess it could not be help that the killer is a psychopath. 

Enjoy it if you happen to have a copy with you but it's not a book that I would recommend you search high and low for in the stores.

I read this during a couple of my flights so it really can be termed 'airport book'. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts (Book 1 of the Sign of Seven Trilogy)

 Synopsis :

In the town of Howkins Hollow, it's called The Seven.

Every seven years, on the seventh day of the seventh month, strange things happen.  It began wihen three young boys - Caleb, Fox and Gage - went on a camping trip to the Pagan Stone.  Twenty-one years later, it will end in a showdown between evil and the boys who have became men - and the women who love them.

 If I had known that this was part of a trilogy, I might not borrow it from the library.  Reason being I don't like to read trilogy or series when there are no certainty that I would be able to complete the series.  If not because I picked it up in a hurry and missed out totally on the inscription on the front page that this is Book 1 of 3 books, I would have missed out on a rather awesome series.

Blood Brothers is the 1st book of the Sign of The Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts.   The story started with an incident that happened in year 1652 in Howkins Hollow.  From there it went to modern day when three young boys who were born at the same, the same year and in the same town decided to take a field trip to Pagan Stone to celebrate their 10th birthday.  There, they unleashed something evil that has been trapped since 1652 and like they said, things are never the same ever since.

Following quite similar style of The Circle Trilogy, Sign of The Seven also features three guys - Caleb, Fox and Gage and three girls - Quinn, a paranormal writer, her friend Cybil and New Yorker Layla.  Similarly, each of the three books would focus on a couple as Nora neatly pairs them up.

In Blood Brothers, the focus's on Caleb, who runs the family bowling alley and Quinn who's in town to research on the strange happenings but finding herself drawn much deeper into the strange happenings as she has direct link to Howkins Hollow that she wasn't aware of.

I enjoy Blood Brothers more for the way the story develops.  I didn't really care much for the attraction that Caleb and Quinn have for each other.  I quite expected it and thought it was rather draggy at times and do wish for more of the core of what The Seven is all about.

Book two is entitled The Hollow and book three is Pagan Stone.  I will have to visit the library to see if they're available.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bungalow 2 by Danielle Steel

Synopsis :

The phone call came on a hot July day—a day like any other for Marin County mom and freelance writer Tanya Harris. But this call—from Tanya’s agent—was anything but ordinary, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: the chance to write a major Hollywood screenplay, a dream she had put aside long ago to devote her energies to her family. This time, Tanya knows she cannot refuse, even though she’s torn about leaving her husband and their daughters. From the moment she steps into her lush bungalow at the fabled Beverly Hills Hotel, Tanya is thrust into an intoxicating new world where she feels reborn—energized by the creativity swirling around her—yet the pull of her family at home is strong.

Suddenly she’s working alongside A-list actors and a Hollywood legend: Oscar-winning producer Douglas Wayne, a man who always gets what he wants–and who seems to have his sights set on her. Flying home between shoots, struggling to reconnect with a family that seems to need her less and less, Tanya watches helplessly as her old life is pulled out from under her in the most crushing of ways.

As her two lives collide, as one award-winning film leads to another, Tanya begins to wonder if she can be a wife, a mother, and a writer at the same time. And just as she confronts the toughest choice she has faced, she is offered another dazzling opportunity—one that could recast her story in an amazing new direction, complete with an ending she never could have written herself.

Why oh why do I continue with Danielle Steel when I said I won't after Echoes and Irresistible Forces.     

Bungalow 2 was published in year 2007 and although she tried to modernize her character in many ways, Danielle Steel still kept her as innocent and pure and vulnerable like her other characters. Unfortunately it doesn't reflect women of this generation.  The book was quite predictable in many ways and it just lack that factor I'm looking for now in what I read.

There are too many factors that I dislike about the book, from Tanya's affair with Douglas.  Tanya's husband (whom I have forgotten his name because he was just not memorable) was a rather shallow and weak person despite his promises and assurance.  Bah! A rather waste of my time.  

Luckily I borrowed this book from the library and thus was able to return it after I 'quick read' it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Double Exposure by Carol Smith

Synopsis :

Newly qualified doctor Joanna Lyndhurst needs a break, so she escapes to a Caribbean island.   There she meets an enchanting and diverse bunch of characters, destined to become lasting friends.

There's Lowell, an American lawyer, and Vincent, an art dealer from Amsterdam, who travel together but lead separate lives; feisty New York banking executive Merrily Morgenstern, who is tough, ambitious and looking for romance;  arts dealer Jessica, mourning a lost love and dreaming of her big break; and Cora Louise and Fontaine, mother and daughter from the steamy South, with their own murky secret.

The holiday becomes an annual tradition as close friendships develop, yet the Caribbean sunshine hides a dark secret - someone is on the trail of a killer.

This is my first time reading this author.  Have not heard about her at all prior to this even though she seems to have about nine book under her name.

Anyway, Double Exposure wasn't such a bad read after all.  It has this gradual built in terms of suspense but half the time I do wonder where she's going with all her many different characters.  The story is more about all the other characters other than just Joanne Lyndhurst.  It's a bit about everyone here and there with no actual point of focus.   With that many characters to work on, there wasn't really enough space for the author to to grow them and to allow them to form more depth.  Such, everyone was rather one dimensional.

Double Exposure is not that bad if you have nothing else to read but if you do, then keep it for when you don't.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

My recent purchases - Books 2nd Time Around

 I went to the Books 2nd Time Around when they were in town this year from 21 July to 12 August.  This is the 3rd year running that they are running such fair.  I wonder if it will last?  For this year, I actually noted the date wrongly and was surprised to find out that it has already started and felt a bit guilty that I didn't announce it here.  My bad!

Anyway, I didn't have much time to really browse around when I was there but I did notice that the books were more new and clean compared to previous years.  Still, with my limited time there I managed to find these :

1. A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury - I love books by Karen Kingsbury.  This is part of her Woman of Faith category.

2. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards - I made a promise to self to look for this book after reading The Lake of Dreams a year ago.  I am so glad to find this.

3. The Skull Beneth The Skin by P.D. James - I got this for only RM1.00!!

4.  Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella - I borrowed this from a friend couple of years back.  Am happy to add this to my collection of Shopaholic.

That's it. Only 4 books but they should kept my busy for quite a while. Now, which should I start first?