Sunday, June 30, 2013

Room by Emma Donoghue

First sentence:

"Today I'm five."


"To five-year-old Jack, Room is the world. It's where he was born, it's where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where Jack is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it's the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven foot space. But Jack's curiosity is building alongside Ma's own desperation--and she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating--a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a very powerful and moving book! I liked the characters' interaction, especially between Ma and Jack as first she protects him from Old Nick and then how she prepares him for a much wider world.

Date read: 6/29/2013
Book #: 17
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Fiction

ISBN-10: 0316223239
ISBN-13: 9780316098328
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Year: 2010
# of pages: 321
LibraryThing page

Friday, June 28, 2013

Crazy Hot by Tara Janzen

First sentence:

"Dropping a sealed manila envelope on the desk, General Buck Grant eased himself into his chair and stretched out his bad leg."


"Only the most dire emergency could send paleontologist Regan McKinney racing across the West in search of a man. But her grander has vanished, and Quinn Younger could be the missing link. What the bad-boy-turned-American-hero is doing in a deserted tumbleweed town is an even bigger mystery...until danger trails Regan into Cisco, Utah, and the sexy ex-air force pilot becomes her sole hope of survival....

Quinn figures things can't get worse than being stuck in tiny Cisco on an impossible special-ops mission. Then the dinosaur doc's granddaughter roars into town with bad guys on her tail. Once, Quinn was on the fast track to a life of crime...until Regan's grandfather rescued him. Now Quinn owes it to them both to find the old guy. But throw in a deadly terrorist and some hot dinosaur bones, and a man could get himself killed. Because facing down danger with this revved-up lady is one endless adrenaline-rush of pleasure--especially when they're falling crazy in love...and hanging on for dear life...." -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this first book in the Steele Street series. The characters were enjoyable to get to know, and the plot moved along well. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, Crazy Cool.

Date read: 6/27/2013
Book #: 16
Series: Steele Street, #1
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Thriller

ISBN-10: 0553586106
ISBN-13: 9780553586107
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Year: 2005
# of pages: 403
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti

First sentence:

"According to the song, it's not supposed to rain when it's April in Paris, but the day was wet and raw."


"In Paris at the start of a radically new century, the most famous face in the history of art stepped out of her frame and into a sensational mystery.

On August 21, 1911, the unfathomable happened -- Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa vanished from the Louvre. More than twenty-four hours passed before museum officials realized she was gone. The prime suspects were as shocking as the crime: Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire, young provacateurs of a new art. As French detectives using the latest methods of criminology, including fingerprinting, tried to trace the thieves, a burgeoning international media hyped news of the heist.

No story captured the imagination of the world quite like this one. Thousands flocked to the Louvre to see the empty space where the painting had hung. They mourned as if Mona Lisa were a lost loved one, left flowers and notes, and set new attendance records. For more than two years, Mona Lisas's absence haunted the art world, provoking the question: Was she lost forever? A century later, questions still linger.

Part love story, part mystery, Vanished Smile reopens the case of the most audacious and perplexing art theft ever committed. R. A. Scotti's riveting, ingeniously  realized account is itself a masterly portrait of a world in transition. Combining her skills as a history and a novelist, Scotti turns the tantalizing clues into a story of the painting's transformation into the most familiar and lasting icon of all time." -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book about the theft and return of the Mona Lisa. I liked learning the history of the painting, how it got to France, and where it ended up during the time it was missing.

Date read: 6/23/2013
Book #: 15
Rating: 4*/5 = great
Genre: Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0307265803
ISBN-13: 9780307265807
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Year: 2009
# of pages: 227
LibraryThing page

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Civil War Fantastic edited by Martin H. Greenberg

First sentence:

"Ghosts of Gettysburg, bah."


"The War Between the States is synonymous with romance, tragedy, bravery, and lost causes. The only war fought by Americans against Americans, it nearly irrevocably tore the nation apart. Yet the United States of America did survive, though at a terrible cost. Even today, more than 130 years after the end of the Civil War, people are still fascinated by this pivotal point in American history. Writers, too, find this a fruitful period to investigate. And in Civil War Fantastic, some of science fiction's finest take us back to this turbulent time with their own special visions of what might have been. So don your uniform, load your cap and ball rifle, raise the colors, and perpare to charge into Civil War Fantastic where:

---A mysterious old man shows a Confederate soldier how one well-placed shot can change the course of history...

---He was only a horse used for children to ride on tours of Gettysburg, but he could see things on the battlefield that no human was aware of...

---Could General Lee bring himself to sanction a terrible sacrifice if it guaranteed that the South would win the war?" -- from the back cover

My thoughts:

This was a good collection of alternate history stories. My favorites included William Keith's "A Place to Stand" and R. Davis's "Across Hickman's Bridge to Home."

Date read: 6/12/2013
Book #: 14
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Alternate History/Historical Fiction

ISBN-10: 0886779030
ISBN-13: 9780886779030
Publisher: DAW Books
Year: 2000
# of pages: 308
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
LibraryThing page

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Secret Supper by Javier Sierra

First sentence:

"No one took any notice."


"Tightly paced and atmospheric,The Secret Supper is a dazzling historical thriller with a unique vision of both Leonardo da Vinci's genius and his masterpiece -- which you will never look at in the same way again.

Milan, 1497. Leonardo is completing The Last Supper. Pope Alexander VI is determined to execute him after realizing that the painting  contains clues to a baffling--and blasphemous--message that he is driven to decode. The holy Grail and the Eucharistic Bread are missing, there is no meat on the table, and the apostles, shockingly, are portraits of well-known heretics--and none of them are depicted with halos. And why has the artist painted himself into the scene with his back turned toward Jesus? The clues to Leonardo's greatest puzzle are right before your eyes. . . . " -- from the inside flap

My thoughts:

I liked this historical thriller about Da Vinci, The Last Supper, religious and political intrigue in the 15th century. Sometimes there are mysteries and sometimes there are nothing to find, except rumors.

Date read: 6/9/2013
Book #: 13
Rating: 3*/5 = good
Genre: Historical Thriller

ISBN-10: 0743287649
ISBN-13: 9780743287647
Publisher: Atria Books
Year: 2006
# of pages: 329
Binding: Hardcover
LibraryThing page