Archive for September, 2009

September 23rd, 2009

Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag

by Gwen

Kill the Messenger by Tami Hoag

J.C. Damon is a young man lost in the fringe of life in Los Angeles. His nickname among his bicycle messenger coworkers is “The Lone Ranger” and that is how he likes it. As a messenger, he has no past, no future, he just has to bust his butt to get a package from point A to point B. At the end of his work day, he brings in his manifests, gets paid, and disappear .

Laying low and flying under the radar are the most important thing his mother taught him before she passed away leaving him to care for his ten year old brother. He trusts no one, relies on no one, never uses his real name, is paid in cash, gets his mail sent to a box leased under a different name. The paramount lesson was not to trust authority figures like cops, but especially Children’s Services. They might take Tyler, J.C.’s brother, from him and they will never see each other again.

With all of these rules, J.C. and Tyler have made a pretty good life for themselves. The boys sort of fell in with a Chinese family that looks after them and even grows to consider the boys their family.
Everything seems to be working out great, J.C. has even started taking college classes, Tyler has a great school. Then one last messenger run changes everything. Hi picks up the package, pedals over to the place where he was supposed to deliver it and it is just a vacant lot. Suddenly a large Town Car barrels right down at him. He is running for his life after the predator (as he calls it) ran over his bike and took his bag, He gets away, harmed but still breathing only to walk by the law office that he picked up the package and find cops, lots of cops.

At first blush, the cops think that the messenger did it and that sends J.C. running for cover. He can’t go to the cops, because they will think that he did it and they would separate Tyler from him. That is not acceptable.

What follows is a twisted tale full of surprises, power hungry politicos, a good cop trying to redeem himself being stopped and eventually pulled of the case.

There were a lot of interesting subplot like things going on and that kept the story moving and hard to put down. In the end you realize that your family doesn’t have to be related by blood and sometimes the bad guys aren’t quite as bad as the media make them out to be and in the end, everyone pretty much gets what they deserve. You might not be happy about that, but it is fair.

Kill the Messenger has so many sub plots going on that you are never bored, yet you are never overwhelmed. I have never been disappointed by Tami Hoag’s work and this one was great!

Kill The Messenger
By Tami Hoag

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Bantam; First Edition first Printing edition (July 6, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553801953
ISBN-13: 978-0553801958

September 19th, 2009

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

by Gwen

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heater Barbieri

Disclaimer: I am a sucker for all things Irish. Therefore I was predisposed to like this book, even if they only mentioned wee people, salty crags, and green hills once. 2 out of those 3 made it into this book.
You have heard of a “feel good” movie? Well, it isn’t often that I come across a “feel good” book, but The Lace Makers of Glenmara is. We all suffer losses of one kind or another in our life. Let us hope that we can all find our own version of Glenmara, Ireland and its wonderful lace makers to help us get back on track.
Kate, a 26 year old aspiring fashion designer, has suffered a few major blows in the past months. Her mother died from Cancer, the guy that she thought she was going to marry suddenly left her for another girl, and her first clothing line didn’t make even a ripple in the ocean that is fashion.
Trying to get away from the pain, she decides to take the trip she and her mother had planned to her ancestral homeland, Ireland. A few months of backpacking to feed the soul and escape grief lands her in the sleepy, almost forgotten village of Glenmara. Glenmara is no stranger to grief, loss, or the dwindling of dreams. People grow old, spouses die, their children move away to the big cities, Dublin, London, tourism is nonexistent.
Kate stumbles upon a group of ladies that call themselves the Lace Makers. They take her in for the night and together they transform not only themselves, but put both Kate and Glenmara back on the map.
The characters are fun, well-developed and varied. I even fell in love with the nosy old school priest that tries his best to keep the town stuck in the Catholic dark ages. The Ireland that Barbieri describes is foreboding, isolated and magically beautiful at the same time.
I mentioned “feel good”, this book made me feel that with caring friends and family, a willingness to take risks and change, and acceptance of loss as a part of life, anything is possible. The one thing that it was missing was wee people, but that would have just been corny.

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061721557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061721557
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