Tiffany K. (olympianlady) wrote,
Tiffany K.

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Review Books for April

Here are all the books I received for review purposes in the same period. It isn't as bad as it seems, since several of these are currently being read or are already read, even if reviews aren't posted yet thanks to my getting sick. It shouldn't take too long for me to get caught up, since I'm going on vacation and will have plenty of reading and reviewing time. Plus, many arrived fairly recently, so it's no surprise I haven't gotten to them yet.

The Noticer

by Andy Andrews
read my review for this here

A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.

Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.

Run into Trouble
by Alan Cook

Read my review for this here

"I really like books by this author. This is another great one. The characters are interesting, and the plot is well laid out...I often felt like I was out there running with them." -Dawn Dowdle for Drake and Melody are teamed up to run a race along the California Coast for a prize of a million dollars-in 1969 when a million is worth something. Neither knows the other is in the race before it starts. They once did undercover work together in England, but this information is supposed to be top secret. The race sponsor, Giganticorp, is a large and very profitable government military contractor, whose ambitious CEO, Casey Messinger, is connected to the powerful in Washington, which must give him access to classified information. The nine other pairs of runners entered in the race are world-class marathoners, including a winner of the Boston Marathon. If this competition isn't enough, somebody tries to knock Drake out of the race before it begins. But Drake and Melody also receive threats calculated to keep them from dropping out. The stakes increase when startling events produce fatalities and impact the race, leading them to ask whether the Cold War with the USSR is about to heat up. If so, is it safer to line up with the hawks or the doves-because a wrong choice may mean giving up valuable freedom for questionable security. With their previous training and their own contacts in Washington, Drake and Melody are in the best position to figure out whether various events are connected and who is behind them. Their other challenge is to keep themselves in good physical condition to be able to compete for the prize money while running through the spectacular scenery of the California coast from the Mexican border to San Francisco.

by Jack Kilborn

Read my review for this here.

Known for cop thrillers, J.A. Konrath (Fuzzy Navel) debuts his Jack Kilborn pseudonym and reveals some serious horror chops in this carnival of carnage. Five government-sponsored Red-ops fighters, psychotic torturers with modified brains and extensive training in killing anyone in their way, have been accidentally assigned to a mission in small, sleepy Safe Haven, Wis. Gen. Alton Tope sends in a dozen Green Berets, two other Special Forces teams, navy SEALs and some marines, all of whom may be just about enough to stop the killers. The townies also band together to save their little rural paradise, though several get trampled into red goo along the way. Any attempt to make a point about U.S. support of international terrorism gets a bit lost in the gore fest, but fans of gross-out horror will love it.

The Walking People
by Mary Beth Keane
You can enter my giveaway for this book here

Debut author Keane offers an extended meditation on leaving, finding and making home in a novel focused on the new Irish immigrant experience. Awkward, dreamy Greta Cahill was always in the shadow of her vivacious older sister, Johanna, as the two grew up on the far west coast of Ireland. Surrounded by houses left vacant by neighbors who emigrated, adventurous Johanna dreams of America, especially when, in the aftermath of a family tragedy, she befriends Michael Ward, the son of itinerant tinkers who wants nothing more than to stay in one place. When teenaged Johanna's dream comes true, Michael and Greta are dragged along to America in Johanna's impetuous wake. In New York City, however, Greta and Michael create their own home, happiness and success. The narrative, which extends from 1956 to the present, has the dusty feel of 19th-century literature, though Greta is an appealing character lacking in nostalgia. Her romance is also authentic and unsentimental, and despite the stodgy storytelling, her coming-of-age reflects a fresh take on the lives recent immigrants can create.

Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace
by Pam Cope with Aimee Molloy

For Cope, life in her small Missouri town seemed perfect; she ran a hair salon, enjoyed a happy family life and lived in a beautiful home. Yet, she explains, I have to say, I put on a hell of a performance. For a long time, I even had myself convinced of how good and right everything was in my life. Her ideal was shattered in 1999 when Jantsen, her 15-year-old son, died suddenly from a heart ailment; this moving memoir recounts Cope's transformation and growth after her world collapsed. Her metamorphosis began after she accepted an invitation from a friend to visit Vietnam. Though Cope was wrapped in personal grief following the death of her son, the trip illuminated for her the superficial environment she inhabited. After visiting a local orphanage, Cope found for the first time in her life a sense of wholeness and purpose. Soon she stepped outside her own circumscribed world and began creating better lives for the abused, neglected and at-risk children she encountered, first in Vietnam then in Cambodia and Ghana. This is a wonderful story of a woman whose personal tragedy gave birth to a gift and how she fulfilled that legacy to make the world a better place.

The Angel's Game
by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

From master storyteller Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of the international phenomenon The Shadow of the Wind, comes The Angel’s Game—a dazzling new page-turner about the perilous nature of obsession, in literature and in love.

“The whole of Barcelona stretched out at my feet and I wanted to believe that, when I opened those windows, its streets would whisper stories to me, secrets I could capture on paper and narrate to whomever cared to listen . . .”

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man, David Martín, makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city’s underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house lie photographs and letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner.

Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. Close to despair, David receives a letter from a reclusive French editor, Andreas Corelli, who makes him the offer of a lifetime. He is to write a book unlike anything that has ever existed—a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, and perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realizes that there is a connection between his haunting book and the shadows that surround his home.
Once again, Zafón takes us into a dark, gothic universe first seen in the Shadow of the Wind and creates a breathtaking adventure of intrigue, romance, and tragedy. Through a dizzingly constructed labyrinth of secrets, the magic of books, passion, and friendship blend into a masterful story.

A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy
by Thomas Buergenthal

You think you’ve heard it all: the roundups, deportations, transports, selections, hard labor, death camps (“That was the last time I saw my father”), crematoriums, and the rare miracle of survival. But this one is different. The clear, nonhectoring prose makes Buergenthal’s personal story––and the enduring ethical questions it prompts––the stuff of a fast, gripping read. Five years old in Czechoslovakia at the start of World War II, Buergenthal remembers being crowded into the ghetto and then, in 1944, feeling “lucky” to escape the gas chambers and get into Auschwitz, where he witnessed daily hangings and beatings, but with the help of a few adults, managed to survive. In a postwar orphanage, he learned to read and write but never received any mail, until in a heartrending climax, his mother finds him. In 1952, he immigrated to the U.S., and now, as human-rights lawyer, professor, and international judge, his childhood’s moral issues are rooted in his daily life, his tattooed number a reminder not so much of the past as of his obligation, as witness and survivor, to fight bigotry today.

Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America
by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Judge Andrew Napolitano lays bare the twisted legal history of racism in America.

“All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights" wedded the American soul to the concept that freedom comes from our humanity, not from the government. But American governments legally suspended the free will of blacks for 150 years, and then denied blacks equal protection of the law for another 150 years. How did this happen in America, how were the Constitution and laws of the land twisted so as to institutionalize racism, and how did it or will it end? In a refreshingly candid book, Dred Scott’s Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano takes a no-holds-barred look at the role of the government in the denial of freedoms based on race.

The Chameleon Conspiracy
by Haggai Carmon

The master criminal and con man known as the Chameleon has eluded international law enforcement for twenty years. Dan Gordon was sure he finally had him, but he was left empty-handed. Now he won't rest until the Chameleon is stopped. The Chameleon is actually more than a mere criminal - he's an undercover sleeper agent. But Gordon is more than he seems, too. He's an experienced hunter, trained by the Mossad, working now for the CIA.

In the Land of Cotton
by Martha A. Taylor



Immerse yourself in this highly anticipated political docu-drama set in the Deep South amidst the backdrop of the Civil Rights Movement.

Martha was a young white girl living in the Deep South, inundated with the racist sentiments of the times. But Martha's natural curiosity and generous heart led her to question this racial divide. When she discovered a primitive Negro family living deep in the woods near her house, everyone's life changed forever.

Take the journey of a lifetime alongside Martha as she forges relationships that lead to self discovery and a clearer understanding of the world around her. In the Land of Cotton provides an outstanding snapshot of life in the South during those troubled times - a snapshot everyone should take a close look at, regardless of era or color.

The year was 1956.

Par for the Curse
by Toyi Ward

What a refreshing story. For popular fiction the sentence structure is strong and could easily be literary in nature. The plot is well done and the ending does not disappoint. This is a genre busting display of originality. It's obvious the author conducted extensive research in palm reading to provide the back drop for this story. Even I tried to interpret my own hand while reading the story.

The character development is some of the best in popular fiction. Though the characters are mixed race African-Americans, their plight and appeal are universal. The depth and complexity of the family dynamics are perfectly crafted in a tale of love, support, and typical family tension. The character behavior is consisten throughout the novel and there was never any place that I felt a disconnect between character and behavior.

The plot had several underlying stories, all that were wrapped up by the end of the story. Unlike a lot of popular fiction, this novel develops, nurtures, and closes the plot at all levels of the story. It's funny, thought-provoking, and pure entertainment. I give this story an "A" and Toyi Ward a red carpet into fiction writing. --Journey Reviews, March 2009

Painting the Invisible Man

by Rita Schiano

Based on a true event... In 2001, while researching the online archives of her hometown newspaper for a client, freelance writer Rita Schiano stumbled upon archived stories about her father s murder and the possible mob connections that led to his death. This brief visit to her past inspired her to look deeply into the heart of her childhood. The journey she embarked on was nothing she could have ever anticipated. Rather than place her work into the harsh scrutiny of memoirs, Schiano developed her story through the eyes of a fictional character, Anna Matteo. It is the story of a stolen childhood, a family torn apart by the violence of mafia ties and one young girl s resilient spirit that allowed her to rise above the hardships and seek solace in the most unusual ways.

Nine Lords of the Night
by E. C. Gibson

"I sensed that the world was a labyrinth from which it is impossible to flee." Jorge Luis Borges So begins E. C. Gibson's novel The Nine Lords of the Night... Set against the background of the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico in 1993 and 1994, the novel explores the antiquities trade and how it affects a group of archaeologists. Betrayals, disappearances, murders, and a labyrinth-like conspiracy reaching from academia to Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico, gradually unravel as the protagonists apply their professional skills to solving larger mysteries.

Gray Apocalypse
by James Murdoch

In this tale of human survival and personal redemption, an alien species is positioning an enormous asteroid to strike planet Earth, eradicate the human race, and replace mankind with millions of hybrid alien creations. A flawed but determined hero, Michael Kendon, steps out of the ranks of humanity to confront the alien Goliath. A renegade assassin and sole survivor of a crushed resistance movement, he seeks to locate a powerful weapon designed to deflect the asteroid. Using his extraordinary mental capabilities and natural psychic gifts, he manages to keep himself alive and bedevil the breeders and their human surrogates. The powerful fuel of his humanity ultimately enables him to prevail.

Dirty Little Angels
by Chris Tusa

PDF e-book only

"Dirty Little Angels is the To Kill a Mockingbird of 2009. Chris Tusa's novel marks the debut of a brave new voice in contemporary American literature." --Burl Barer, Edgar Award winning author of The Saint, Mom Said Kill, Body Count, Murder in the Family

If I had a dollar for every sentence in Dirty Little Angels that blew my mind, I'd be able to buy a decent Chevy Nova outright. Christopher Tusa is a new and powerful voice in American fiction, and I truly believe that this raw and poetic first novel marks the beginning of a great and glorious career. --Donald Ray Pollock, author of Knockemstiff

Listen up, folks: Chris Tusa has written a nasty little novel that somehow lifts close to grace its downtrodden and sometimes blackhearted inhabitants. They're fallen and broken, but like the New Orleans through which they stagger and flail, they are lovely ruins-and like New Orleans they are only one storm away from the End Times. Witness the storm, as told by Tusa: Dirty Little Angels.
Tags: books, reviews
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