Monday, February 28, 2011

ABC by David Plante

Released: August 2007

David Plante is surprisingly prolific and although I haven't found a website dedicated solely to Plante, I was able to learn from various resources that he is most widely known for The Family (1978). ABC has been on the recommended reading list for Dreamworld Book Reviews since its release; however the source that recommended it has been long forgotten.

ABC is a tale about the mourning of Gerard Chauvin, a father who loses his son to a freak accident in an old abandoned house while vacationing at a lake. Moments before his son's tragic accident, Gerard picks up a random piece of paper from the floor, which happens to contain the Sanskrit alphabet. As Gerard tries to come to terms with his son's random death, he becomes obsessed with learning about the history of the alphabet, trying desperately to find some correlation or coincidence between the accident and the alphabet. Gerard then embarks on a manic journey to find these "answers" and learn everything he can about the history of the ABCs.

Espresso Shot by Cleo Coyle

Released: September 2008

Cleo Coyle is just one pseudonym for this author, who also writes as Alice Kimberly. Espresso Shot is the seventh book in Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse series featuring main heroine and barista Clare Cosi.

Just days away from when the elite, beautiful, and successful Breanne Summour is about to marry Clare's ex-husband Matteo Allegro, people close to Breanne are starting to wind up dead. Out of concern for her daughter's father and business partner, Clare hones in on her inner-sleuth and begins to investigate the crimes, coming to think that perhaps Breanne is not that great of a match for Matt after all. Clare better be careful though, because the closer she gets to uncovering the identity of the murderer, the closer death comes to knocking on her own door.

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer

Released: October 2007

The Untethered Soul is a spiritual journey that explains how you can transform your thoughts into more positive thinking while conquering and overcoming your fears and negativity.

The book touches on such a wide variety of topics that will truly help readers that need some direction on how to handle inner thoughts and just life overall in a more positive light. One of the more important messages Singer teaches is how to live in the present moment instead of constantly focusing on what to avoid and what to plan in the future. Singer also goes into explicit detail regarding how to let go of painful memories that prevent us from achieving ultimate happiness.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst

Released: June 2010

Carolyn Parkhurst is an amazing novelist; if you've never read The Dogs of Babel (2003) then you definitely need to add it to your wish list right away. Her ability to shock readers and to write characters so intimately is truly a gift.

Octavia Frost is a bestselling novelist whose latest publication features re-writes of all the last chapters of all the books she's ever written and is entitled "The Nobodies Album". While en route to delivering the finished manuscript to her editor, Octavia catches a glimpse of a newsreel in which her famous musician son Milo has just been arrested for the murder of his girlfriend. Despite the estranged relationship between her and Milo, Octavia can't help but follow her motherly instincts and fly directly to Los Angeles to offer support to her son.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Father of the Year by Glenn Puit

Released: May 2009

Father of the Year is the second novel by Glenn Puit, otherwise known as the "King of True Crime"—a well-deserved title.

Father of the Year tells the story of Bill Rundle, a con man who murdered his wife and discarded her corpse on the side of the road. Rundle also killed his mother in addition to multiple other sick and heinous crimes. Rundle once won the Father of the Year award after his son praised him in a school assignment, but ironically, this very Las Vegas resident became infamous after his true ugly nature was revealed to the public.

The Arrivals by Meg Mitchell Moore

Released: May 2011

The Arrivals is the first novel by former journalist Meg Mitchell Moore.

Ginny and William Owens are enjoying their quiet, peaceful life together in their Vermont home when, at the beginning of summer in June, their oldest daughter Lillian comes to visit with her two small children. Although Lillian has run to the safety of her parents' home, she doesn't share with them her marriage problems and husband's infidelity. Days later, the Owens' son Stephen makes a surprise visit with his very-pregnant wife, followed by Rachel, the Owens' youngest daughter who has also flown abruptly to her childhood home in search of refuge from her hectic New York life. The Owens' must put their parenting skills to the test once more as they help their children deal with their large-scale adult problems.

Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin

Released: May 2008

Although I'm not the largest fan of legal thrillers, Phillip Margolin has always managed to grab my attention. I became hooked when I read Sleeping Beauty (2004) which, despite the various negative reviews I've read on it, was actually very, very suspenseful and unpredictable.

Executive Privilege features scandal in the White House; in which young girls turn up dead after having "relations" with the President of the United States. When tough-girl, private investigator Dana Cutler witnesses a secret meeting between the president and a young woman, she must flee to save her life when she learns the girl has been murdered. Meanwhile, a goody-two-shoes, junior lawyer associate named Brad Miller makes a discovery that suggests the president and his men have framed a killer on Death Row for the murder of another young girl secretly involved with the president. Obviously, something fishy is going on and it's only a matter of time before the president's secret is exposed...unless Dana and Brad become fish-food themselves.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Released: May 2009

Katherine Howe has created a masterpiece with The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. Her language and writing is unmatched -- and this novel is by far one of the most colorful and beautifully descriptive works of literature I've read in quite some time.

Connie Goodwin is dedicated to earning her doctorate from Harvard and becoming a historian. With vast knowledge and specializing in Colonial America (specifically the late 17th-century), Connie is confronted with the opportunity of a lifetime when she is given the task of sorting through her grandmother's ancient home located in Marblehead, Massachusetts, nearly a hop and skip away from Salem. The excitement quickens further when Connie discovers an ancient book in her grandmother's house containing a mysterious key and slip of paper inscribed with the name "Deliverance Dane". Connie then embarks on the ultimate quest to not only uncover new knowledge of previously undiscovered facts from Salem history, but also to learn more about her direct ancestors -- and their direct correlation with witchcraft.

Friday, February 18, 2011

In the Woods by Tana French

Released: May 2008

In the Woods is by far one of the most clever novels I have ever read, and the story is truly unforgettable. In the Woods is the first novel by Tana French and also an Edgar Award winner. In the Woods is also the first novel in what is now a trilogy and features detectives Rob Ryan and Cassie Maddox.

Twelve-year old Rob Ryan (formerly known as Adam Ryan) was playing with his two best friends in the nearby woods when they disappeared forever. Rob was found flattened against a tree wearing shoes filled with blood and no memory whatsoever of what had happened; his friends never seen again. Years later, Rob is now a detective but he must face his childhood trauma once again when another local child goes missing. Upon investigating the crime scene, Rob and Cassie find an old hair barrette belonging to his best friend who went missing years ago, thereby seeming to link the two crimes despite the number of years that have passed. Working diligently together as partners and best friends, Rob and Cassie may kill two birds with one stone and solve both crimes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hollywood Ending by Lucie Simone
Released: September 2010

Hollywood Ending is Lucie Simone's first published contemporary romance novel.

Trina is barely making ends meet in the vicious world of Hollywood, California. While trying to land her ultimate dream job, Trina meets her sexy neighbor Matiu and falls head over heels in love with him. However, Matiu appears to be repelled by Trina and purposely tries to avoid her. In all actuality, Matiu is attracted to Trina in return, but is focused solely on business, especially considering he has plans to return to his native New Zealand after gaining experience in the movie business.

Eventually, Trina and Matiu decide to sit back and let fate take control of their crazy and twisted "love" situation, especially after  they learn that their love (lust?) for one another just can't be ignored.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Released: November 2010

House Rules is Jodi Picoult's seventeenth novel and details the aftermath and effects of a terrible crime on a family when a young man with Asperger's syndrome is accused of murder. House Rules is told from each family member's point of view as they deal with the tragedy and readers are challenged with solving the mystery of who really committed the crime.

House Rules is no different from other novels by Jodi Picoult; we become intimate with the private voices of each character and also with the courthouse setting in which facts and details of the crime are presented. In House Rules, Picoult has researched Asperger's syndrome and how the unique traits of the syndrome can undoubtedly incriminate a person who has it when suspected of murder.

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay

Released: July 2008

Gordon Ramsay is one of the most fascinating celebrities in existence and has demonstrated his great charisma, talent, and expertise several times over on his hit television shows Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen. Ramsay's autobiography, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen, is worth the read regardless whether you're a fan of his or not because reading of his achievements is tremendously empowering and motivating. You can't help but have magnified respect for Gordon Ramsay after reading this book.

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen is the success story behind a man that was raised in an alcoholic and abusive family and stumbled into the art of cooking by accident. Through hard work and dedication, this man became one of the world's most successful and renowned chefs.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

House of Bones by Graham Masterton

Released: November 2008

If you've read the reviews on this website before, you'll know we're die-hard fans (no pun intended) of Graham Masterton. Masterton is grossly overlooked and definitely deserves the title "King of Horror" more than Stephen King. Don't believe me? Just give his novels a try. Start out with Feast (review here: Dreamworld Book Reviews - Feast), THEN think about challenging this statement. Graham Masterton is also extremely prolific, so you'll find a horror novel that covers just about every nightmare you've ever had.

House of Bones originally came out in 1998 but was re-packaged in 2008 with Severn House. The novel is about a young realtor named John who discovers that the office manager, Mr. Vane, is in charge of several spooky houses with walls that seem to "eat" people. Bones -- both new and old -- are found mysteriously behind the walls of these houses and people who view the properties are disappearing. When John witnesses a colleague undergo a horrifying, freakish death, he heroically begins to investigate with intentions of putting these nasty "house demons" to rest.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Poison Ivory by Tamar Myers

Released: June 2009

Poison Ivory is the fifteenth mystery in the Den of Antiquity series featuring amateur sleuth, antiques dealer and heroine Abigail Timberlake-Washburn.

When she purchases (not "buys", because proper southern ladies don't buy) an antique rosewood linen chest for her mother, Abigail is arrested on suspicion of trafficking illegal ivory. After her ex-husband Buford Timbersnake, uhhh, TimberLAKE, bails her out of jail, Abigail goes on her own sleuthing adventure to uncover the true identity of the evil ivory trafficker.

Poison Ivory is a whirlwind of random, off-the-wall humor and misadventures so much to the point of being too zany and wacky for even me to finish. I regret to sadly admit that this is officially the last Den of Antiquity novel I will ever read. I've been faithful to Tamar Myers since I began this series because it started off being fun, cute, and containing many witticisms that southerners can appreciate! I had similar negative feelings toward book fourteen of the series called Death of a Rug Lord, which was also quirky to the point of near ridiculousness. My review for it can be found here: Review for Death of a Rug Lord.