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Fever Dream

by Preston & Child, copyright 2010 by Splendide Mendax, Inc. and Lincoln Child

published by Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group,237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017, ISBN 978-0-446-55496-1

Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child is a stunning trip into the mind of the criminal, the insane, and downright devilish. Exquisite writing brings the characters and scenes of Fever Dream to vivid life as you meander down the twisted path of discovering ‘who-done-it’ in a twelve-year-old murder only recently uncovered.

FBI Special Agent Pendergast, the rather strange and somewhat dark hero of our story is a complex and infinitely interesting character who brings an added dimension to the typical detective of mysteries. He even has his own “Mr. Watson,” a NYPD cop named Vinnie D’Agosta who sees the clues Pendergast misses and encourages him to keep going in his darkest hour.

The murder in Fever Dream is highly personal for Pendergast. It involves the twelve-year-old murder of his wife Helen, previously thought to be an accident. From there the story evolves with a few surprises along the way.

What follows is a passage from the early pages of Fever Dream:

“Pendergast and his wife had left their hut and were in the dining shelter, guns beside them, sitting in the soft glow of a single bulb. There were no stars – the night had been overcast, the darkness absolute. They had been sitting there, unmoving and silent, for the last forty-five minutes, enjoying each other’s company and – with the kind of unspoken symbiosis that characterized their marriage – preparing mentally and emotionally for the hunt ahead. Helen Pendergast’s head was resting on her husband’s shoulder. Pendergast stroked her hand, toying now and then with the star sapphire on her wedding band.

“You can’t have it back, you know” she said at last, her voice husky from the long silence.

He simply smiled and continued his caresses.”

Fever Dream by Preston & Child is a literary mystery in the best of the old tradition coupled with modern science and information. You can’t miss it.

Abby: Finding More Than Gold

By Sharon Poppen

copyright 2010 by Sharon Poppen

published by Awe-Struck Publishing, an imprint of Mundania Press, LLC

6470 Glenway Avenue #109, Cincinnati, OH 45211, ISBN 978-1-58749-731-5

Abby: Finding More Than Gold is one of those young adult books that’s a pleasure to read, regardless of your age. It follows the dreams and adventures of a young Irish girl, Abby Barron, from her home in Chicago across the Great Plains of America and finally into the Yukon, where like so many others she pursues her dream of striking it rich with a big gold find.

Abby, a girl not yet eighteen, sets her mind upon fulfilling the dream she and her cousin Liam had of going to the Yukon to find gold, along the way Abby discovers many new and exciting things about herself and the people around her. Abby will never be the innocent ‘colleen’ who set out from Chicago a short time before.

Reading Abby: Finding More Than Gold leaves you longing for a sequel to the book, but according to author Sharon Poppen a sequel, if there is one, is quite a way in the future as she is currently under contract for other projects related to her book, After the War, Before the Peace. Still, you’ll want to know more of the fate of Abby, the Finleys and the rest of the family and friends from Abby: Finding More Than Gold.

Poppen does an excellent job with characterization and voice, although there is a touch of stereotype in the characters, it is not enough to detract from the story. Generally speaking there is a rich canvas of characters, action and story that fully and logically moves from beginning to conclusion with just enough tension to keep you eagerly turning pages.

What follows is an excerpt from early in the book:

“Abby took a deep breath and entered the darkened interior. The lobby was surprisingly clean and welcoming. She walked atop a faded Oriental rug runner, passing several divans and overstuffed chairs on her way to the hotel desk. A man wearing a green-shaded visor looked up from a newspaper and smiled broadly.

“Well, well, little lady.” His leering smile heightened Abby’s anxiety.

She laid the newspaper on the desk and pointed to the ad. “May I see Mr. Finley, please?”

He waved toward a room off to his left. “I believe I saw him come back a bit ago. Try the dining room. He may be having his lunch.”

Abby looked in the direction he pointed. “Can you tell me what he looks like?”

The clerk stepped from behind the desk and motioned for her to follow him. He led her to a room just off the hotel lobby. The room was bathed in the warmth of the January sun. At four of the eight or nine small tables, covered with white tablecloths and surrounded by four chairs each, sat lone male diners. The room was bright and stark in contrast to the dark of the lobby. The white walls were devoid of decoration. Only two potted ferns brought any color into the room.

The clerk pointed to a man who was sitting with his back to her at a table by the window. “That’s him.” He returned to his desk to talk with another woman. Abby noticed that the newcomer wa an unnatural blonde and was wearing far too much make-up. Her silk, red dress was inappropriately garish for this time of afternoon, or anytime actually. Abby watched the clerk and the woman exchange suggestive smiles before the blonde headed toward the stairs.

“Seat yourself girlie.” A chubby man wearing a greasy apron barked at her as he headed toward Mr. Finley with a bowl of soup and a pile of crackers.

Abby gripped the newspaper tightly and attempted to follow the waiter, but found her feet stuck to the floor. They refused to budge. Her terrified mind admonished her to turn and go home. She took two steps back. The newspaper fell from her hand.”

Just what happens to Abby from this point on is both a wonderful and terrible story of pain, hope and new beginnings. Abby: Finding More Than Gold is a joy to read regardless of your age.

 

2012: Creating Your Own Shift

Copyright 2011 by Hunt Henion, published by Shift Awareness Books http://www.ShiftAwareness.com

The coming of the year 2012 brings curiosity and a touch of fear to all of our minds. Unlike the Y2K fear, 2012 has been foretold in prophecy for thousands of years from ancient and aboriginal people. What does it mean? Who will it affect? Is it the end? What will happen to us?

These are a few of the many questions 2012: Creating Your Own Shift answers, or at least lays the foundations for the answers while giving you additional resources to turn to for more in-depth study.

2012: Creating Your Own Shift is an anthology from some of the foremost minds regarding the 2012 phenomenon, the belief systems attached to it and the modern quantum physics that may support the underlying 2012 theories.

2012: Creating Your Own Shift helps you prepare for the coming entrance into the age of Aquarius and the alignment of 2012 that is believed by many to bring an end to existing polarities and paradigms while opening up a higher existence to those on earth.

2012: Creating Your Own Shift allows you to meet the coming of 2012 and the era it foretells without fear but with full knowledge beforehand of what you should expect and do to prepare. It is not a fatalistic survivors’ manual but a real handbook of spiritual preparations to purify your body and spirit for the days ahead. If you have any level of interest in the 2012 phenomenon then 2012: Creating Your Own Shift should be on your bookshelf.

Another wonderful book giveaway from KidLit at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, to enter go to the site and leave a comment. There are four giveaways this week. Tweets are encouraged but not required. Here’s the link http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-stores-this-week-with-interviews_10.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2Fkidlit+%28Adventures+in+Children%27s+Publishing%29 and good luck.

KidLit is sponsoring a book giveaway. Go to KidLit’s website at http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.com/2010/12/in-stores-this-week-with-interviews_27.html and enter for a chance to win Bloody Valentine by Melissa de la Cruz.

Just a Quick Holiday Wish

Like many of you I will be spending the next week or so with family members over the holiday break. I hope each of you has people to love, food to eat and a warm place to be this holiday season and always.

Until next year,

Tracy

Witch & Wizard: The Gift

By James Patterson and Ned Rust

Copyright 2010 by James Patterson, published by Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group, 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017, ISBN 978-0-316-03625-2

Witch & Wizard: The Gift is the second installment in James Patterson’s Witch & Wizard series. I loved the first book in the series, Witch & Wizard. I thought the story was great and the characters were wonderful. I’m not as enthused about Witch & Wizard: The Gift. The cast of characters remains essentially unchanged, but they digress from the form they had in the previous book. Also, this book doesn’t, in fact, pick up from the same spot the where the previous book ended. It’s rather confusing.

I liked the combination of Patterson and Charbonnet in Witch & Wizard. I don’t think the combination of James Patterson and Ned Rust in Witch & Wizard: The Gift works as well. The story really diverges from the direction it seemed to be heading in the first book. Maybe Patterson wanted to change directions but the story ended up losing some of its character and ability to be related to. Instead of being a sequel it feels like a different story that just happens to have the same characters as another story. Little remains to bind it to the first book other than the names of the people in it.

I don’t want you to get me wrong; I still feel Witch & Wizard: The Gift is worth reading. It still carries on the story of Whit and Wisty, just not in ways you would have foreseen, but maybe that’s not all bad. The story doesn’t allow you to settle in a comfortable rut and say, “Oh yes, well this is absolutely what this story is about and this is what is going to happen.” There’s no point where you’ll find yourself saying that. But if you’ve read both books you’ll probably like the first better.

After reading Witch & Wizard: The Gift I’m still curious about what is going to happen to Whit and Wisty, but I don’t know if it’s a strong enough desire to make me read the next book in the series, especially if it’s another Patterson/Rust collaboration.

Split Image

By Robert B. Parker

Copyright 2010 by Robert B. Parker, G. P. Putnam’s Sons publishers since 1838, published by the Penguin Group, ISBN 978-0-399-15623-6, From $15.93

Parker’s Split Image is a Jesse Stone novel. Stone is the chief of police in the town of Paradise. Stone’s character is interesting, well-developed, with just a touch of cliché in spots that actually tend to add to the character. Sunny Randall is a private detective who is working closely with Jesse on a case requiring his input, the two develop a rapport as they each use the other as a sounding block for theories regarding their respective cases.

The rest of the characters are typical of their respective roles: There are muscle-bound body guards with the IQs of snails; mob-boss thugs; ex-con heads of security; wolves in sheep’s clothing and a set of twins, wives of the respective mob bosses who give new meaning to the term “dynamic duo.”

Few of the characters are spectacular, but the writing shines through despite this flaw resulting in a good story that makes skillful use of the technique of foreshadowing. The build-up of tension is very good. The pieces of this murder mystery artfully woven together into a coherent pattern that leaves no loose ends when the story is finally completed. Also, there is a wildcard, or two, thrown into the mix that will keep you wondering how the story is going to turn out in the end.

I hold everyone up to the historical greats: Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and of course, Hercule Poirot. Who can hope to compare to the icons of the crime/murder genre?

Still, Split Image held my attention. It made me want to keep turning pages. It was a great way to pass several evenings. The story itself was well-developed and presented in an appealing manner. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. It didn’t keep me up at night wondering what was coming next, but it was good. If crime novels are your thing I think you’ll enjoy Split Image. I did.

Love YA books! You’ll love part two of Jessica Subject’s interview with the characters Lil and Bran from Awakened the first book in the Guardian series. Check it out on Jessica’s website and enter for a chance to win Jessica’s autographed review copy of the book or her swags from the author Ednah Walters.

Meet Lil and Bran in Jessica Subject’s interview with the characters from  Ednah Walters’ Awakened the first book in the Guardian series. Enter to win Jessica’s autographed review copy of the book as well as her swags. The interview is really interesting to read and makes you want to read the books in the series. Check it out at Jessica’s website.

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