The Death Cure by James Dashner

death curePublished by Delacorte Books, October 2011 ***

Though I enjoyed this book more than the second in the trilogy, I wasn’t enamored with it. It delivered many answers to questions previously presented and there was a sense of resolution to the overall story. But I really wish I had learned more about Thomas’s past and his overall involvement in WICKED pre-maze. Some inferences were made to his role and his friendship with Therese, but it was somewhat unfulfilling. The aspect I liked most was the conclusion and the implications of how the survivors were going to go forward in a world bent on self-destruction. I think it redeemed itself by ending with a positive, hopeful note.

Reviews for The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials

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Running from Demons by Megan Suthers

Disclaimer:  My cousin provided me with a rough copy of this book to edit for her before it went to her publisher.  It is currently available on Amazon for Kindle.  Please note, I am posting this review of the unedited version and hope to revisit it when the final, cleaned up version is available in print.

running from demonsPublished by Smashwords, June 2014 ***

Erika is running from her past and hiding out in a small town when the very things she was running from come crashing back into her life. But Erika is a character with many complexities. Though she would rather avoid a situation that puts her in danger, she knows she has to get involved to placate her personal demons.

As a debut novel, this certainly has potential. There is plenty of action and a complex plot that is very character driven. There are some very unlikeable characters here and many graphic depictions of violence. I was disturbed by how Erika was used and abused by the agency she was working for, the mafia, her father, and even her husband to a degree. I was just as frustrated with Erika for putting herself in compromising situations. Despite some technical flaws, I think this was a decent, if gritty novel.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author.

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Recovering…  From a 5-hour drive home from Ohio. We spent a lovely weekend with my former boss on his farm in his brand new home.  It was divine being away from civilization for a couple of days.  I could get used to farm life. Below: the view from the back patio where we spent most of our time (that’s The Hubs driving our host around the old quarry on the ATV), and the back of the house with the patio and the softest, most plush lawn ever.  I fell asleep on it.  Quality nap-time grass.

Reading… Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani for an upcoming HF Virtual Tour.   It was a pleasant surprise when my copy came signed.

Also, I decided to take on a new project when my cousin asked me if I would edit her book.  I figured it would be great practice, so I’m going through it very carefully for her and sending her my edits.  I’m not a professional or anything, but I’m putting the English degree to use.  And it’s not a bad book!  A majority of what I’m doing is copy  editing and pointing out an occasional inconsistency.  It is definitely turning into a learning experience.  My cousin’s book, Running From Demons is already in e-format, but it will be available in print soon.

Cooking…  I pinned this recipe ages ago but only this weekend did I get a chance to try it and it will be my new go-to summer dinner:  garlic/butter/herb/lemon shrimp foil packets on the grill.  8 minutes, foolproof.  No more hotdogs for this girl! I’m keeping 2 pounds of shrimp in my freezer at all times.

Dreading…  This coming week is my first full work week in over a month.  It’s going to be very busy and very long.  I’ve been spoiled with so many long weekends, this will be a bit of a drag.

Anticipating…  In that same vein, this upcoming weekend is the first one since May that we have no plans whatsoever.  I’m looking forward to a weekend at home with no agenda, catching up on domestic tasks and some quality patio time.

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Edgar Allen Poe: The Fever Called Living by Paul Collins

edgar allen poePublished by New Harvest, August 2014 ****

This biography of an American icon gives a succinct account of the writer’s life. Poe’s abbreviated existence is presented with a straightforward narrative, highlighting all of his flaws, his vices, and his genius. Often misunderstood, this book illustrates how he struggled – with money, writing, addiction, and his reputation. It also offers background on his more obscure writings and his work as a critic, which often resulted in rivalries. Though dry at times, the book is still an essential portrait of Poe and his enduring legacy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.

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A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

a sudden lightPublished by Simon and Schuster, August 2014 ****

It is not until he is 14 years old that Trevor first encounters his paternal extended family, and as an adult, he reflects back on that strange summer. His father takes him to the vast, rambling mansion that his ancestors built with their lumber fortunes, and here Trevor must discover what has kept his father away for more than 20 years. Between his seemingly dementia-afflicted grandfather, his enigmatic aunt, and a handful of ghosts, Trevor seeks to right the disharmony of his family’s past and present.

I appreciated the gothic Pacific Northwest atmosphere that Stein was able to invoke here. The bygone era of robber barons and unscrupulous fortunes made from destruction was conveyed with great skill. I also adored Trevor himself, and I thought he made a great narrator. As an aspiring writer, he capably uses his talent for observation to uncover the harsh realities of how his family fell apart over the generations. With a little help from his spectral relatives, he is able to set right his legacy, but at a great cost. Similar to the foreboding culmination of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Trevor’s story is unique and engaging.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via the Amazon Vine program.

Also by Garth Stein, the delightful The Art of Racing in the Rain

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Up and Coming

I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday weekend!  Don’t you love when a holiday falls on a Friday?

I felt that I should warn my readers that the next few weeks are going to be full of reading but short on reviews, since I’ve scheduled a bunch of tours.  But here’s what you can look forward to thanks to Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and TLC Book Tours:

  • August 18 – Maggie’s Wars by Phil Pisani
  • August 26 – Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson
  • September 1 – The Captive Queen by Danny Saunders
  • September 24 – Gutenberg’s Apprentice by Alix Christie
  • October 23 – Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorhead
  • October 27 – The Tudor Vendetta by C.W. Gortner
  • November 5 – The Ripper’s Wife by Brandy Purdy

I know, I know, these are all over a month away and spread out over several months, but I’m a planner!  In the meantime, I’m working on a couple of Vine books and I’m reviewing a pre-print novel so I can blurb the final copy!  I will be excited to share the final print copy of the book Prisoner of the Queen by E. Knight with my WORDS on it.  As anal as I am about keeping track of books I read during each year, it’s really throwing me that I can’t mark this particular book as Currently Reading on Goodreads or anything because it doesn’t exist yet.  But I’m grateful for this opportunity, thankyouverymuch HF Tours!

This coming weekend is road tripping and downtime on the farm with my former boss, so I’m anticipating putting a dent in my required reading pile.  I’m already looking forward to our August week-long trip to the cabin and I think I’ve picked the big book I’m going to tackle: The Secret History by Donna Tart.  I’m also going to bring a Daniel Silva book or two.

So much fun stuff to look forward to!  I am loving summer so far and I am definitely making up for the craptacular winter we had.


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The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva

the kill artistPublished by Penguin Group, 2004 (originally published 2000) *****

I only recently discovered the Gabriel Allon series, and I am certainly glad I did! Allon is quite the package: former Israeli intelligence, art restorer, tragic hero… When he’s called back for another mission, he reluctantly agrees to track down a terrorist who he has a long history with.

I was immediately captivated and I read the first 160 pages in one sitting. I consider Steve Berry one of my favorites, but this is by far better than any international thriller I’ve read previously. And I still have a dozen plus books to look forward to in this series. If the remaining books are as engrossing and exciting as the first installment, I have some phenomenal reading to look forward to.

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