Archive for June, 2008

June 26th, 2008

The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell

by Gwen

The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell

Grace Silva is a woman in control and she loves the safety of the law. She is a Federal District Court Judge currently up for an appointment to the appellate court. She is the mother of 16 year old Lane Franklin, who has had a few bumps, but is a smart kid and seems to have turned a corner at the Catholic boarding school that he started last term. Also, the ink on her divorce from a long loveless 16 year marriage is dry. She has it all together, right?

She does until she gets a call from her son’s school down in Ensenada. Her son is being held hostage by the most notorious “narcotraficate” in Mexico, known as the Butcher. What does he want? Well, money obviously, but he also wants her X husband whom no one has seen or heard from in weeks.

All bets are off for this former “by the book” judge as she attempts to rescue her son. She must confront a world that is so different from the life she has been determined to lead. In this shadow life you shoot first and ask questions later and power, drugs, fear and money rule, not the law.

Her X is no help. In fact, since he learned that he was not the biological father of their son years ago, he has barely given the boy the time of day. So it isn’t like he is going to lift a finger to help him now and him trading his life for Lane’s isn’t even worth asking.

Still, there is the real father. He doesn’t even know that he is a father, yet he might be just about the only man that could save Lane and learning the news will make it even more important to him.

Silvia Grace has 48 hours to save her son’s life. The clock starts now……

The Wrong Hostage is a nice thriller with interesting characters in a world that you think only exists in action movies and just enough romance and parental love to make it all seem worth fighting for.

The Wrong Hostage by Elizabeth Lowell

List $7.99
Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Avon (April 24, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0060829834
ISBN-13: 978-0060829834

June 22nd, 2008

America’s Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis

by Gwen

America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis

Not what I expected, but still a good read for those interested in the story behind the story of America.

America’s Hidden History, by Kenneth C. Davis, is chockfull of tidbits that highlight certain events in the beginnings of United States….before it was the U.S.

Just think, in a way, it was a woman that discovered America. Queen Isabella of Spain was the one that gave the go ahead for Columbus and others to explore. She also funded it.

The other thing that I had never thought of, yet found extremely interesting is that the early colonists were all about religious freedom, but only if it was the right religions. I had always assumed that the scorn of all things Catholic stemmed from the wave of Irish immigrants that came during the Potato Famine. How wrong I was. The colonists vehemently hated and distrusted Catholicism even going so far as to consider refusing French help in the Revolution. They feared a “Catholic Invasion” from the French provinces in the north.

The only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence was Charles Carroll. He was one of the richest men in the country, so I guess that they were able to overlook his “idolatry”.

America’s Hidden History is organized into chapters that are sort of mini stories about periods of American history up to the 1780’s. All of the vignettes in Davis’ book are interesting and pretty brief. Some left me wanting more and at least one left me wondering, “So what?” When you read the chapter on Benedict Arnold, you will see what I mean. I mean really, is a military genius any less of a traitor because of that genius? For me, a smart traitor is still a traitor.

If you enjoy history, but don’t want to get mired down in 200 pages on one battle or issue, this is the book for you. The tales are tightly wrapped and just enough detail to understand not only what was going on, but the why and the how. I enjoyed learning about some of the motives and the people behind the major events of our country and I think you will too.

You can check out a sample and learn more about Kenneth C. Davis at the America’s Hidden History site.

America’s Hidden History: Untold Tales of the First Pilgrims, Fighting Women, and Forgotten Founders Who Shaped a Nation by Kenneth C. Davis
List $26.95 Amazon $17.79
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Collins (April 29, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0061118184
ISBN-13: 978-0061118180

June 11th, 2008

Do you have a secret? “The Safety of Secrets” by DeLauné Michel

by Gwen

The Safety of Secrets by DeLauné Michel

Where do you draw the line? When is it okay not to tell your husband something, but perfectly fine for your best friend to know? Is it ever okay? How do you deal with the aftermath of a betrayal?

DeLauné Michel’s characters in “The Safety of Secrets” deal with these questions and a whole lot more with a aplomb that leaves you feeling like you made a friend. Some of the situations are heartbreaking, yet you grow to respect the characters and like them, not get mired in the horrible thing that happened almost 30 years ago. That is a skill that many writers do not have.

Fiona is 39, pregnant, and happily married to Neil. So why is the first person that she goes to when she finds out she is pregnant is her best friend since the first grade and not her husband? This is just the start of the story as you read The Safety of Secrets.

What happens to your friendships when you get married? They have to grow and change obviously, but that can be a bumpy road. How do you support a friend that is having a tough time while you are probably the happiest that you have ever been?

The setting contributes to the drama as well. When the ultimate secret is reveled, it isn’t like it is something that you can deal with privately, this is Hollywood and when it comes out, it is on national TV.

You know, I am having a hard time writing this review. Not because the book was bad, by no means. It is just such an intricately woven story and so well written that it seems like a sacrilege to just pull out bits and pieces. I will say this, I could relate so well to the inner dialogue of the main character, Fiona. She is constantly weighing her options, analyzing past conversations, and well, just making me laugh!

The Safety of Secrets
by Delaune Michel

List Price: $13.95 Amazon: $11.16
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Avon A; Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0060817364
ISBN-13: 978-0060817367

DeLauné Michel isn’t just an up and coming author, she is a really friendly person. She reaches out and touches you and I am glad to call her my friend on Gather.com. You can check out her page on Gather here.

June 6th, 2008

Of Men and Their Mothers by Mameve Medwed

by Gwen

If it isn’t one thing, it is your mother…..

First, let me tell you that this is the second work of Mameve Medweds that I have read and you just can’t go wrong when you pick up one of her books.

Okay, back to Of Men and Their Mothers. You know, I never realized just how much of an effect other people’s mothers have on our lives until I read this. Maisie Grey, the main character, has to take them all on in this book, but she walks away with a greater understanding of what it is to be a mother and how to be a better mother to her son.

She may have gotten a divorce, but due to having a teen age son, she can’t quite get away from her X-Mother-in-law. Her constant meddling and the worries that the woman will turn her grandson into the momma’s boy that her X was is an ever present feature in Maisie’s life. But even though the woman is stubborn, judgmental, negative, and critical of Maisie, they come together and work as a team when issues such as drug use and her son’s new questionable girlfriend come up.

Another mother pops up when she starts a new relationship. She is somewhat glad when she realizes that his mother has already passed on, but horrified when she realizes that he still lives in the same house and hasn’t changed a thing since her death. When he shows up to their first date, wearing his mother’s rain coat, she senses that the relationship is doomed and wonders if she will ever be free from all of the mothers in the world.

Then there is Darlene, her employee and a young mother. Maisie tries to help when a custody battle ensues between Darlene and her mother in law.

And you can’t forget, September Silva. She is her son, Tommy’s new girlfriend and well, at first, Maisie is not sure what to think of her. The girl has strange piercing, is from the wrong side of the tracks and her whole wardrobe seems to black. Her one encounter with September’s mother leaves her shocked, sad, and determined to do better.

All in all, the story is moving and really entertaining. It leaves you realizing that there is no one way to mother a child and that most just do the best job that they know how to do.

Of Men and Their Mothers
by Mameve Medwed

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (April 22, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0060831219
ISBN-13: 978-0060831219

June 4th, 2008

The Devil’s Code by John Sanford

by Gwen

The Devil’s Code by John Sanford

Oh Kidd, he is a successful painter, an outback fisherman, a computer geek, and an industrial spy. He is doesn’t spy for world powers or politics, just sort of evens the playing fields for manufacturers. He is the modern day version of the Renaissance Man.

Well, he comes back from a fishing trip in Canada to find that one of his former associates has been murdered. The story is that Jack was caught breaking into the company that he was contracting computer work to and that he shot the guard before being gunned down.

He has to agree with Jack’s sister, Lane, that doesn’t sound like Jack at all. He hated guns, was terrified of them in fact. While they ponder this, you might say that all hell breaks loose in the hacker world. Suddenly the FBI is after a group they call Firewall and the members are the user names of people that Kidd knows. And even worse, his name is on the list. Wait a minute, he hasn’t done anything. He just got back from fishing for gosh sakes!

So what starts as a mission to find out what actually happened to his friend Jack, turns into a dangerous battle to save his own skin. He has to find out why Jack was killed, who killed him and hide from the Feds at the same time. Then of course, when the bad guys realize that he is on to them, he has to somehow stay out of their sights as well.

This book, written in 2000, has some computer terminology that is a bit dated, but it doesn’t detract from the suspense and fun at all. I found myself unable to put it down because just after one crisis would seem to end, another would ensue! Besides, how can you not like a guy that while running for his life still takes the time to sit down and sketch a woman’s foot or the cockpit of an airplane? You might not like his motives or his espionage, but you gotta love his style. Oh, and did I mention, he uses Tarot Cards?

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley (September 7, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425179885
ISBN-13: 978-0425179888

John Sanford is the pseudonym of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John Camp. He has written 28 novels and I have yet to be disappointed.