Sunday, April 7, 2013

Unintended Consequences

Entree **** of *****
Unintended Consequences
Unintended Consequences was a wonderful thriller that I found really hard to put down. The characters were vivid, the plotting careful and intricate. George Calhoun is on Death Row and his execution has been scheduled. When he was tried and found guilty of the murder of his young daughter, Calhoun said he didn't do it. When his wife said he was guilty and testified against him, Calhoun wouldn't say a single word in his own defense. He simply kept repeating that he didn't do it, offering no other information in his defense. Dani Trumball, an attorney with the Help Innocent Prisoners Project believes him but knows that time is running short and that she will be unlikely to be able to mount a believable appeal in the time Calhoun has left. Despite all of the obstacles, Dani is not willing to standby and watch a man that she believes is innocent be executed. As Dani mounts a defense for Calhoun, suspicious circumstances and events start to mount, too. The only way to save Calhoun will be to find out what little girl was murdered, burnt beyond recognition and left in the woods at the same time that Angelina Calhoun disappeared and why George Calhoun's wife said he was guilty. This is a wonderful book, an exciting read and a new writer to watch carefully.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Your Health – Your pH: How To Reverse Illness and Gain Vitality

**** of ***** Entree
I am always interested in books that deal with natural ways to deal with illness and positively affect your health. In taking care of myself, I try to consider the many aspects of health and the factors within the body, mind and soul that affect my health. One factor that I had never considered was pH, so this book offered a new direction for healing. This is a short but comprehensive look at the body’s pH factor and how its balance, neutral vs acidic, can indicate the beginning of health issues. It provides the reader with information about how to use resources like food, minerals, supplements, and even meditation to affect the pH balance. I found the book to be well written, full of information, well organized and helpful. I plan to go to the store tomorrow for Phase 1 of my own pH analysis and makeover.

The Fourth Crusade

****of***** Entree
The Fourth Crusade was a fascinating look at the Crusade initiated by Pope Innocent III, told from the perspective of Ruggerio, a young priest who was deployed to join the Crusade to liberate the Holy Land from the control of Muslims. I was particularly struck by the parallels between the past and current problems waged between two of the largest religions in the world. I didn’t exactly like some of the depictions of battle and violence but appreciated their necessity and purpose. Ruggerio is the oldest of three children born to an unemployed soldier. Unlike his passionate and violent younger brother, Ruggerio’s gentle nature makes him unsuitable for training as a soldier or even for protecting his sister, so he is given to the church. Reunited with his father and brother, Ruggerio trains and becomes a successful warrior priest as the fourth crusade makes it way to the Holy Land. As Ruggerio witnesses the Crusaders killing, raping, and looting Christian towns to provision themselves and raise funds for the Crusade, Ruggerio fights disillusionment more than infidels. After a major conflict, he heads home to Barcelona believing that if he can only tell the rulers the true story of the Fourth Crusade, future wars may be averted. This was a really good read.

Divergent Lives

Divergent Lives has one of the most unusual story lines that I have read in the past several years. Unfortunately, explaining these story lines without spoiling the exciting read is very difficult, but I’ll try to give you a taste of it. The story opens with a passionate love affair between Adina and her boyfriend. Adina was raised by extremely religious and traditional Hispanic parents, but her sexual preferences involve dominance and violence. Adina has made the decision to enter into a vanilla (normal) marriage with her normal and patient boyfriend. However, on the night of their engagement, Adina is violently and brutally murdered. Yes, Adina’s past has come back to haunt her, but with many thrills and unanticipated twists. Divergent Lives pushes the borders of aberrant psychology and behavior to reach a compelling conclusion. It’s a disturbing, yet compulsive read, so much so that I quit noticing some of the grammar faults that would normally distract me while reading a book. There you go…I think I managed to give you the flavor of the book without ruining the main course!

OMG A CUL8TR Time Travel Novel

***** of ***** Entree
This charming book kicks off a new YA series that will undoubtedly be very popular. I haven’t been a teenager for more years than I’m willing to divulge, yet I do enjoy the YA genre. OMG is a time travel mystery – another genre that I particularly enjoy. Well plotted and fast paced, OMG is the story of four Florida teenagers who plausibly finagle time travel and communication with the dead using the technology of years past along with today’s technology. Kelly, the main character, moved to Fort Meyers Beach, FL to live with her aunt after her parents were killed in a car accident. It’s interesting to witness the changes necessary for Kelly to live with her single, high level, career oriented, lawyer aunt. Kelly struggles to deal with normal teen self esteem problems, but manages to make friends more easily than she believed possible. When Kelly and her new friends end traveling back to the 1960s to try to prevent the suicide of a popular high school teenager, friendships are cemented and a great new series is kicked off. I hope that Bob Kat can write these novels quickly because his fans will be very impatient to get the next installation.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Life's What Happens

The strength so this writer lies in her ability to create authentic characters, developing them to the point where we care about them very deeply. Life's What Happens is set at Kent State University in Ohio in 1969/1970 and its characters are a group of fraternity brothers. This is the period of time at Kent State when the US nationally reinstated the military draft to get enough young men into military service to serve in the Viet Nam war. The fraternity brothers followed are predominantly seniors whose lives will be irrevocably changed when the numbers are drawn that will allow them to either finish their lives on a normal course or will send them to serve and quite possibly die in the rice paddies and jungles of Viet Nam. How this affects their lives and the lives of their girlfriends and friends is beautifully and accurately portrayed. The horrific event of the National Guard being called to quell peace protests on campus that led to the deaths of four students at the hands of the National Guard and the subsequent closing of the campus during finals is integrated into the story in a way that neither supports nor condemns the deaths of those students. The book is very well written with wonderful characters, memories of the good times they shared in college and the sorrow at the changes in their lives wrought by events outside of their control. I do suggest that the author check out the erroneous use of Marshall Law in the place of Martial Law, the law invoked that allowed the National Guard to be present on that fateful day in 1970.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Wind from Entouhoron

The Wind from Entouhonoron
This particularly good piece of historical fiction is set on the shores on Lake Ontario at the time of the War of 1812. Although British and American forces coalesce for major naval battles that will likely decide the war, normal life concerns continue to be of utmost importance to the average people living around Lake Ontario. Take Jake Eastland, for example. Jake was raised as the adoptive son of Mrs. King. Now that she has died, apparently intestate, an unscrupulous barrister, Edgerton Smythe has descended on the estate, serving Jake notice that taxes are due, liens are against the property and that Smythe fully intends to purchase the estate at a small fraction of its value. Jake has no money and is desperate for a way to save the property both for himself and for his friends, the Indian natives who live on and around the property. Believe it or not, things get complicated only AFTER that point, when Jake is introduced to British naval commanders, expatriates of the French aristocracy looking for a "treasure" of their own, Jake's drunken father who abandoned him early in life, pirate kings, a child criminal. and colorful characters of every type and description. It is the fascinating, colorful characters that are the strength of this novel. To people a novel with so many colorful characters who avoid being stereotypes and carry the foibles of real people is Art Tirell's forte. When you add in the far reaching scope of the story, the complexity of the plot and subplots, The Wind From Entouhonoron is a formidable novel. Well written, fast paced and lengthy enough to really sink your teeth into (400+ pages), this is rollicking good historical fiction. I understand and appreciate the title but am a little concerned that it may fail to attract that number of readers that a book this good deserves.