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Archive for May, 2013

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

 

 

 

 

The Winner of Harlan Coben’s book, Stay Close is:

 

Cindy H. (catmommy)

 

Congratulations, Cindy! Your book is on the way to you.

Thank you to everyone who commented on the blog!

Sci-Fi Saturday – Lifeboat

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Lifeboat by James White

Review by Thomas F. (hardtack)

 

It was not just another drill. The spaceship’s nuclear reactor started to overheat. The passengers had just minutes to abandon ship. Now the passengers are scattered all over space, their small rescue pods out of sight from one another. Due to the rush, families often did not escape in the same pods. Some of the pods are overcrowded, while some have just one person in them. All the pods are transparent, and space is a big, empty, dark and scary place.

The first couple of days the excitement of the situation keeps everyone occupied. Then the boredom and the problems creep in. Personality conflicts, the perceived lack of air and ‘taste’ of recycled water, the heat generated by human bodies, food that does not satisfy, all begin to put the passengers on edge. Sexual attractions, some unwanted, arise in pods that cannot handle the heat generated. People starting bickering with each other, then the bickering turns to hate. Some passengers start fighting each other.

The few officers, all of whom are in their own pods, are absorbed with the technical problems of rescue and a nuclear pile that might explode before the destroyed ship is out of range of the rescue pods. Mercer, the ship’s medical officer on his very first cruise, is also in his own pod; and now his job is to control the passengers in sixteen other pods he cannot even see. But, despite the instruction manuals, in all the short history of space travel no one has ever done this before. Sounds like fun? It gets better. The captain is injured and sedated, and the first officer, who apparently hates Mercer’s guts, is in charge. And a 10-year-old boy, alone in his own pod, who tries to be a spaceman, but sometimes cries for his mother, looks to Mercer for help.

Meanwhile, company executives are trying to decide if it is worth the money to send a rescue ship for people who are probably going to die anyway. And in the pods, the air is starting to run out.

This absorbing sci-fi thriller from a completely different perspective will not bore you.

James White is the respected author of a number of other ‘medicine in space’ sci-fi novels in his Sector General series.

Free Book Friday!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

 

Today’s Free Book is: Stay Close by Harlan Coben

 

 

Megan is a suburban soccer mom who once upon a time walked on the wild side. Now she’s got two kids, a perfect husband, a picket fence, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction. — Ray used to be a talented documentary photographer, but at age forty he finds himself in a dead-end job posing as a paparazzo pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids.

Jack is a detective who can’t let go of a cold case — a local husband and father disappeared seventeen years ago, and Jack spends the anniversary every year visiting a house frozen in time, the missing man’s family still waiting, his slippers left by the recliner as if he might show up any moment to step into them.

Three people living lives they never wanted, hiding secrets that even those closest to them would never suspect, will find that the past doesn’t recede. Even as the terrible consequences of long-ago events crash together in the present and threaten to ruin lives, they will come to the startling realization that they may not want to forget the past at all. And as each confronts the dark side of the American Dream — the boredom of a nice suburban life, the excitement of temptation, the desperation and hunger that can lurk behind even the prettiest facades — they will discover the hard truth that the line between one kind of life and another can be as whisper-thin as a heartbeat.

Mass Market Paperback, ISBN 9780451233967

We will choose a winner at random from comments we receive here on the Blog from PBS members.

You have until Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 12 noon EDT, to leave a comment.

Good Luck to everyone!

 

 

Note: All the books given away on Free Book Friday are available in the PBS Market. We have thousands of new and new overstock titles available right now, with more added hourly. Some of the prices are amazing – and you can use a PBS credit to make the deal even better!

Remember, every new book purchase supports the club and helps keep membership free!

Romance Review – Scorpio Rising

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Scorpio Rising by Monique Domovitch

Review by Kelsey O.

 

Domovitch starts her novel with the life of Alex Ivanov in Manhattan, New York. Nothing comes easy for him. He has had to fight for everything since the day he was born. He finally gets the chance of a lifetime time to pursue his dream of being an architect, in Paris. Brigitte Dartois’ life is very similar. Raised by a jealous mother and abused by her step-father, Brigitte is kicked out of her house to the streets of Paris where she struggles to make a living with her art. Though they both face many ups and downs, they take what is thrown at them with determination and strive to better themselves. Then their lives eventually intersect leaving the reader anticipating the next installment.

Scorpio Rising was recommended to me by one of my book club members. She said that the novel will surprise me. It did. I found the plot moved quickly and the passion of the characters leaped right off the pages. I like how Domovitch sets the characters up so that their past defines how the react to each other. Alex who was used by a woman and thrown away tends to stake claims on all his future relationships quickly and walks away before becoming hurt. Brigitte has been abused by men and is weary about entering a relationship with someone. Somehow they are able to get through each other’s barriers but not without some drama.

I highly recommend this book for anyone just wanting a bit of a change of pace. I was skeptically at first but was instantly drawn into this 1940’s world. I would consider Scorpio Rising a hidden gem and look forward to reading The Sting of The Scorpio (which I have already purchased).

 

5 BUTTERFLIES

Cozy Mystery Review – Getting Old is a Disaster

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Getting Old Is A Disaster by Rita Lakin

Review by Cheryl R. (Spuddie)

 

Series: Gladdy Gold mystery series

Series order: #5

Well now, here’s something those of you who know my reading tastes well will be surprised at: a review of a cozy mystery! I am not really much of a cozy reader—I find most to be sort of cookie-cutter quality, much alike with interchangeable lead characters that have quirky names, own quirky businesses, with predictable plots and outcomes—and often, way too much romancey stuff for my taste. There are, however, a few series I tried and surprisingly liked and stuck with, and this is one of them.

Perhaps part of the reason for that is that the main character is old. Like, 75. So even older than me. J Gladdy Gold, a Jewish widow originally from New York, lives in a condo in Ft. Lauderdale and has three dear friends and a sister who live in the same complex. The girls have a detective agency, run by Gladdy but they all help out, and often are quite successful because nobody notices old people so they can observe without arousing suspicion. They have their routines, and though they’re as different as can be from one another, they obviously care for each other. These characters have become like friends over the course of the series, and many other secondary characters are familiar as a well-worn shoe as well. Even though they’re elderly, they aren’t senile—well, mostly. The stories are funny, yet respectfully done such that people who are old (or care for the elderly) will smile in recognition at problems and quandaries that younger folks just don’t think about.

Gladdy and her “boyfriend” Jack have been trying to get together to consummate their relationship for two or three books now. Something—usually something to do with one of Gladdy’s friends—always seems to get in the way. This book, it’s Jack’s bridge club, and then some bad storms and a hurricane bearing down on the city that stirs up trouble—including knocking down part of one of the buildings that exposes a decades-old skeleton buried under the foundation.

Meanwhile, an elderly bank robber sends the girls a challenge letter, basically telling them to ‘catch me if you can’ and signs it “Grandpa Bandit.” He’s already robbed six banks, changes his looks every time such that there’s not a good description, but he’s giving the GG detective agency some clues about his next planned hit, so Gladdy feels compelled to report it to Jack’s son Morrie, who’s a detective for the Ft. Lauderdale police. Grandpa gets the better of them though, and then is forgotten for a few days as the brunt of the storm hits.

This is a sweet, light, enjoyable mystery series and this book was no exception. It’s not all cozy goodness, though—it deals with some very dark things (in this book for example, the storms trigger a PTSD-like reaction in one of the residents whose family was all taken from their home and executed during a storm during the Holocaust) and present some realistic hurdles that the elderly have to overcome. If you’re looking for something a little lighter and aren’t a big fan of most cozies, I recommend trying this series out.

 

 

 

 

Mystery Monday – Defending Jacob

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Defending Jacob by William Landay

 

Review by Mirah W. (mwelday)

 

I enjoy books based on a moral or ethical dilemma and Landay definitely provides that with ‘Defending Jacob’.  This novel is a hard-hitting and complicated with layer upon layer of mind-bending decisions and revelations.  Even the format of the book wouldn’t let me take a break.  Through remembering past events and courtroom transcripts I was ‘forced’ to keep reading.  With each chapter there was one more piece of information and things changed just enough to compel me to keep going.  I actually felt a little winded when I read the end.  I was in bed reading and I literally let out a huge breath I didn’t even realize I was holding.  That’s a powerful read!

In the novel, a teenage boy is found dead in a park and the assistant district attorney, Andy Barber, is in charge of the investigation.  Andy’s son Jacob emerges as a suspect and is charged with the murder. Then family secrets emerge to potentially threaten to fracture the Barber family all together.  Is Jacob guilty?  How will Jacob’s parents, Andy and Laurie, get through the trial?  Is Jacob being honest about his relationship with the victim?  Are Andy and Laurie being honest about their feelings and pasts?

This book had me guessing throughout.  I actually like delving into books full of gray areas.  I never know whom to believe.   One chapter I think Jacob is innocent and in the next chapter I think he is guilty.  Books that get me thinking draw me in and keep me engaged.  And, on a deeper level, this book had me thinking how far I would potentially go to protect myself or someone I loved.

At the basis of most books with moral or ethical dilemmas is the attempt to understand human nature.  Are some people born bad or does nurture outweigh nature?  Do we intentionally overlook things because we think it might portray us or those we love in a bad light?  Landay forces the reader to explore the question of ‘What if?’  He carefully crafts a story that spins a web of confusion and, at the same time, clarity for various characters.  It is as if he placed a microscope to human nature and exposes it for all of us to examine.

Free Book Friday Winner!

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

 

The winner of Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival Resilience and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand is:

 

 

 Jean L. (MeanJean)

                                     

 

Congratulations, Jean! Your book is on the way!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Blog!