Beach Reading

Beach Reading
Beach Reading

Friday, August 24, 2012

Let the Dead Lie
By Malla Nunn

Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn brings back Detective Emmanuel Cooper in a stunning novel about murder, power and a dangerous South African underworld.

Emmanuel Cooper's life has an "ex" through it:  ex-soldier, ex-detective sergeant and ex-white man.  He now works undercover surveillance on the seedy Durban docks to make a living.  All that changes when the brutal murder of a young boy forces Cooper out of the shadows.  He must elude the police to conduct his own unofficial investigation.  After two more similar murders, Cooper becomes the police department's prime suspect.  He dives into the Durban underworld for answers and find that the killings are part of an international tussle for the political soul of South Africa.  Under the pressure of new racial segregation laws, Cooper must find the killer before the Durban police pin the crimes on him.

~My thoughts~
Once again, a sequel falls into my hands for which I haven't read the first installment.  This book can stand alone, but I would be willing to bet money that I would have understood the main character a little more if I read the first book.  I don't understand political intrigue very well, so this book lost me in places but I held on to the end because I wanted to find out who the killer was.  There are questions and topics for discussion in the back of the book if you have a book club and there is an interesting conversation with the author after that.

The Island Horse
By Susan Hughes

In the wake of her mother's death, a young girl bonds with a wild stallion on Sable Island.  A moving chapter book that will especially appeal to horse lovers.

It's the early half of the 19th century in coastal Nova Scotia, and almost-ten-year-old Ellie is adjusting to the recent death of her mother.  But just when she finally begins to feel happy again, Ellie and her father move to remote Sable Island, a tiny, windblown crescent, renowned for its wild horses, in the Atlantic.  While her father works, Ellie explores the island, feeling alone and furious with her pa for making them leave their beloved home.  Even meeting a spirited island girl named Sarah does little to dispel her anger and grief.  Then one afternoon, Ellie encounters a wild stallion grazing on the dunes, and slowly forges a secret connection with the beautiful horse she names Orchid.  But Ellie soon learns that Orchid and his family are threatened, and it may be up to her to save them.

Based on historical fact, this early chapter book is a touching exploration of loss and loneliness and the redemptive power of love and friendship.

~My thoughts~
The target audience for this book is ages 7 - 10, grades 2 to 5.  I have been a horse lover since childhood and was excited to review this book.  It is an easy read, and I believe it will hold the attention of the younger audience.

Susan Hughes is an award-winning author whose books include Case Closed?, No Girls Allowed, Earth to Audrey and Virginia.  She has loved horses since she was a child and has long dreamed of setting a story on Sable Island.  Susan lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

By MP Kollman

Jerome Grayson is dead; Wade Addams arrested; Jane Doe identified; Jackson Nolan committed suicide, evidently to avoid the humiliation of a trial.  The entire case has been neatly wrapped up.  Sandy Grayson's greatest regret is his brother's death.  But the case which brought the drug enforcement agent back to Jaspar also brough Samantha Greene into his life and brought him back into the house from which he had been banished years ago...a place he felt certain he would never be welcome again, especially since he had been the instrument of Jerome's death.  Destiny brought them together...Will She rip them apart too soon?  His father's suicide, Jerome's death and the similarities to his brother's suicide 12 years ago, drive a young man to wage war against the residents of Jaspar.

~My thoughts~
I liked this book.  I realized, only after I had started reading it, that it is a sequel...Wonder why the title didn't give me a clue?  Guess my blonde roots are showing... Anyhoo, the book did stand alone well, but I would like to read the first book to get acclimated with the characters.  And, yes, it appears that there will be a third in the series, so I look forward to reading that one also.  I found a clip on YouTube that I am going to share with you. The book is available in paperbook and ebook form.  It is fiction/action & adventure.

About the Author....MP Kollman is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind much like an artist wields a brush.  The pages are a blank canvas on which to draw from a talent heralded by many and matched only by an imagination that rises to the task.  Sequela is the second in a series of recent pursuits, with work progressing on the follow-up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Puppet's Secret
By Alex Samms

A story of a middle-aged woman finding that reality and insanity border on a fine line.

A tale of a romance that never was and the consequences one must pay for the choices one makes.  What happens is unexpected and keeps you wanting more.

~My thoughts~
This book was a quick read, it is a novelette with only 48 pages of story but it did keep me on the edge of my seat.  The book is written from the point of view of a middle aged female who believes that her beauty is fading and her life is in a rut. She and her family take a trip to the beach one day, she spots a handsome man walking down the same beach with a beautiful woman on his arm, and the rest...well, the rest is what this book is all about.  It is a fiction/romance/thriller in paperback.  The author was able to make me empathize with the character, and I was surprised by the ending.  This is a great book, and I look forward to more from this author.

The Appeal of Stalking
By Stan Talbot

In 21st Century Society, "Stalking" connotes a myriad of imagery and numerous definitions.  Ask any female adult and she has either directly been a "victim" of "stalking," or she has a friend who has been a victim.  Stalkers are no longer simply the lurkers in the shadows from the "Stalking" films of the 20th Century.  Stalkers come in all shapes and sizes and socio-economic backgrounds.  In addition to preying on their victims, stalkers can be apprehended for "following" in other ways including e-mail communication, texting, and even inappropriate posts on Facebook.

In The Appeal of Stalking, Billy Freeman is accused of stalking his ex-wife, Diane Downer, after Downer attempts to take custody of their six year-old grandson, Trystan.  Trystan's mother, Faith Freeman, enters a "family-friendly" alcohol rehab facility, but with the help of Trystan's illegal alien  father, Erasmo, Downer seizes Trystan and places him into the first grade, rather than kindergarten where he was destined to be placed under his mother's care.  Downer's animosity toward her daugther stems from an earlier incident when Faith was stalked by her mother's dream man: television star, Matthew Fox.

~My thoughts~

This book was difficult for me to get through.  I couldn't stay interested in the story.  I did admire Billy for fighting his ex-wife's false allegations in court.  The book does show how some women use the system, they claim the male is stalking them when in reality they are stalking the men and just trying to get the men into trouble. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The End of Sunshine Street
By Johanna Constance Hunt

You probably haven't met a woman like Judy before -- described by some as a female Ripley.  A working-class woman living in Palm Beach with her millionaire husband, she's outwardly normal but copes -- in her own unusual way -- with a hurricane, an overcrowded house, a workplace accident, and an unfaithful husband.  Readers will be intrigued as they try to figure out Judy's decision-making process.

~My thoughts~
I really felt sorry for Judy because of all of the things that happen to her in the book.  She's not sure whether or not she loves her husband, friends of hers get hurt in a freak accident going home from her house after a party, she and her best friend have lost touch because of time and distance, and then she finds out that her husband has slept with that now ex-friend!!!

One bad thing after another happens to this poor woman.  The accident at her workplace results in her being suspended (losing her job), so when she finds out her husband has cheated on her with her best friend, she packs up her cat and takes a road trip to her parents cabin in Maine.  She leaves the husband with an ultimatum, tells him to leave her alone for awhile, and the jerk ends up on her doorstep unannounced and very unwelcome.

I was a little surprised at the ending, but all in all, I enjoyed the book very much.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

To My Senses
By Alexandrea Weis

Sometimes love is the inspiration that can awaken you to your destiny.

For Nicci Beauvoir, a disillusioned New Orleans debutante, life is about practicalities until she meets a secretive struggling artist and part-time gigolo named David Alexander.  In his arms she learns of passion and he finds his artistic muse.  But jealous rivals and intrigues conspire against them and a broken hearted Nicci turns to the cold and manipulative Dr. Michael Fagles for comfort.  Soon fate and family intervene to save Nicci from a life without love.  But her salvation comes with a tragic price that changes the course of her life forever.

~My thoughts~

As anyone who has read any of my past reviews knows by now, Ms. Weis is one of my favorite authors.  I was introduced to her writing when I reviewed her book "Sacrifice" and got hooked into the story line involving Nicci Beauvoir.  I have now read all three books in the trilogy, and they will forever be in my personal library. 

The story line has romance and intrigue that keeps you hooked until the end.  I felt the heartache Nicci went through when David walked, or should I say ran out of her life.  I agreed with her Dad and her Uncle when they told her she was making a mistake by agreeing to marry Dr. Michael Fagles.  I held my breath in wonder when David showed up at her engagement party and professed his love for her.  I could go on and on, but I don't want to spoil the ending.  You need to get this book and then read the other two in the trilogy.  These books are great.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Diary of a One-Night Stand
By Alexandrea Weis

Resilient and practical, Kara Barton has continually strived to live a respectable life.  She went to college, embarked on a promising career as an attorney, married a great guy, and always appeared to be the perfect wife and mother.  But all is not what it seems, and the troubling past Kara has been running from her entire life is about to catch up with her.  Urged on by her insecurities about growing older, and desperately wanting to feel one more night of passion, Kara agrees to share a tryst in a hotel room with a sexy business associate, Scott Ellsworth.  But Scott wants more than one night together, and Kara quickly discovers it is impossible to resist him.  Soon Kara finds herself transformed into the kind of woman she vowed never to become, and the secure world she has struggled all her life to build begins to fall apart.  Kara Barton is about to find out how a one-night stand can change everything.

~My thoughts~

I really loved this book.  Ms. Weis has become one of my favorite authors in the short time I have been doing book reviews.  All of her books that I have read have landmarks from New Orleans that I am familiar with and have had great stories to tell.  This one may actually be my favorite of them all.

Kara is married to Cal and has a daughter, Simone, that she dearly loves.  She and Cal are both lawyers who have let work and his bad health drive a wedge between them.  Cal gets into a fight with Kara's new male client, goes to punch him and hits Kara on accident when she tries to break up the fight.  The fight makes Kara realize she is tired of trying to work things out with Cal, and she packs up Simone and moves in with the new client, Scott, who she has also slept with.  You need to read the book to find out what else happens, but I promise you won't be disappointed.  I read this book in five hours, couldn't put it down!!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In My Mailbox

Diary of a One-Night Stand - Alexandrea Weis
Sequela - MP Kollman
The End of Sunshine Street - Johanna Constance Hunt

Bargains From the Bookstore:

A Happy Marriage - Rafael Yglesias
Let The Dead Lie - Malla Nunn

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Guest Post by Author Alexandria Weis

My first book, To My Senses, has been called a romance by some and more than a romance, a love story if you will, by others. Is there a difference between a romance and a love story? I believe so, but do not get me wrong I support the romance genre. There is a formula for the characters and plot that is followed much to the relief of romance fans around the world. But a love story gives us much more, emotionally from the characters and engages the reader on a deeper level. Romance brings predictability but a love story does not because as many of us know from experience love is never predictable. Some romances may be forgettable, but a great love story will live on in the reader’s memory for many years to come.
Why are love stories so engaging? Perhaps it is because of the nature of love itself. Love changes us, and can alter our direction in life, as Nicci Beauvoir was awakened by David Alexander’s love in To My Senses, or Pamela was transformed by Daniel’s love in my novel, Broken Wings. Such great love can act as a sudden wind on a calm sea, righting the sails of a ship, giving us a new course and a new horizon to aim for. We are penetrable souls, influenced and defined by whom we love. In such a way, love can move mountains or melt even the coldest heart, as is the case with my favorite character, Dallas August in Recovery.
When looking back on our lives, it has never been the house, car or other material things we long for, but those individuals most cherished whom we hold in our hearts forever. Kara Barton realized this in Diary of a One-Night Stand, and Dallas August also has such an epiphany during his adventures in my fifth book, The Secret Brokers. These characters learned that in that final moment of life, we remember those we have loved, and hope to carry that love with us to the other side.
It is not to say that the love shared between the characters of an always happily ever after romance novel is any less sincere than the emotional ties binding two star-crossed, and sometimes tragically torn apart, lovers. Maybe it is when characters are taken to heart and become embedded within our psyche that they move from the light fragrance of a romance to the rich bouquet of a love story. Where romance may tweak at our hunger for passion and adventure, a love story reaches down into the inner workings of our soul and touches us in a way never expected.
That is what I hope my books do for the reader; takes them on a journey through the highs and lows of love. Teaching everyone that it is the attainment of life’s greatest endeavor that matters most, and everything else we garner along the way simply pales in comparison.
Did Nicci’s saga in To My Senses, Recovery, and Sacrifice mirror my own experiences with Cupid’s arrow? I have been asked that question a great deal by readers and friends alike. Suffice it to say that many first novels are mostly autobiographical tales of the author. I admit To My Senses does contain many elements reflecting my life experiences.
And David, you might be asking, did he really exist? Yes he did. He was as he is written. But who he was and what he meant to me will be forever sealed within the confines of my healing heart. To do otherwise, would be remiss of my own sweet remembrances.

Alexandrea Weis is an advanced practice registered nurse who was born and raised in New Orleans. Alexandrea began writing at the age of eight. She has been writing novels and screenplays for over thirty years. Her first novel, To My Senses (part I in the Nicci Beauvoir Series), was a finalist for commercial fiction in Eric Hofer Book Awards, a finalist for romance in the Foreword Magazine book of the Year awards, and a finalist for romance in the USA Book Awards. Her second novel in the series, Recovery, won the Gold Medal for best romantic suspense from The Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and was named best Romantic Suspense by the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards in 2011, as well as being a finalist in the ForeWord Book of the Year Awards for 2012. Book III in the Nicci Beauvoir series, Sacrifice, was published by World Castle Publishing in 2011 and has received critical praise. Her last novel, Broken Wings, combines her love of writing and rescuing wildlife, and was a winner of the NABE Pinnacle Book Awards in 2012.
Alexandrea Weis is a permitted wildlife rehabber with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries and when she is not writing, Ms. Weis is rescuing orphaned and injured wildlife. She lives outside of New Orleans with her husband and a menagerie of pets.