Monday, September 26, 2011

A Taste of Terror

If you like being scared and you like short stories, you need to read Jeff Bennington's "Murdoch's Eyes"!  It starts with a date that turned bad for Gina.  She hadn't known the good looking man with the brilliant green eyes would end up being so freaky.  She flees the party but somehow Murdoch is in her mind and controlling her. Things rapidly go from bad to worse and she ends up in his lair where she encounters his very deformed brother.  What is she there for?  What will happen next?

I never spoil a story so you will need to read it to find out.  It's well worth it.  There's a bit of everything - creepiness, deformities, paranormal powers, strong minded heroine.  You won't be disappointed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rollicking Good Fun

I just finished "Red Mojo Mama", by Kathy Lynn Hall and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Lydia "Red" Talbot, has just inherited a mobile home park in Northern California from her dear aunt.  Still recovering from the loss of her husband/soul mate three years prior, Red moves to California intending to sell the mobile home park and put the proceeds to traveling adventures.

Once there, however, she becomes caught up in the lives of the park's occupants.  They are a delightful mix of quirky characters with tales of their own.  In an effort to put her time to good use she takes a job with the local paper as a reporter.  Her first assignment is to cover the local city council meeting.  There she discovers corruption and greed which leads her on and investigative mission to save the town from the shysters.

It is a fun story that has romance, intrigue, laughter, tears and a wonderful cast of well drawn characters.  The pacing keeps you turning the pages to see what will happen next.  I love "Red" and hope to hear more from her in the future.  A must read if you enjoy a great female lead that's real and relate-able.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Things Are Not Always What They Seem

I recently read "Dreams of Joy", by Lisa See which is the sequel to "Shanghai Girls".  The novel picks up where "Shanghai Girls" left off.  Joy had just discovered that her mom, Pearl, was really her aunt and that Aunt May was actually her mother.  The man she believed was her father had killed himself and she felt responsible for his death.  With all of this turmoil she flees to China to find her biological father, Z.G.

The time period of the novel is 1950's and communism has taken root in China.  Joy embraces the communist ideal and travels to the countryside with her father to teach art to the peasants.  There she meets a local man and they fall in love and marry.  Living in the isolated village and beholden to the whims of Mao in building the new China she begins to see that communism doesn't work as well as she thought.

Meanwhile, May goes to China to try and find Joy.  She eventually finds her and after Joy marries she stays on to be closer to her.  Not too mention that it is almost impossible to leave China. Eventually Z.G. and May must try to rescue Joy together.

I really enjoyed the book and learned quite a bit from it.  I'd never really read anything significant related to communist China and was amazed to learn just how crazy things got there and how many people died of starvation.

I'd recommend reading both novels, but, this one can definitely stand alone as well.  Enjoy!

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Friday, September 2, 2011

A Tale of Love & Loss

"The Gifted Ones", by Lisa Vaughn is a haunting coming of age memoir.  It follows Lisa as she discovers love while learning who she is and what she really wants.  At times heartrending, it is also humorous, honest and compelling.

She describes the joys and heartbreaks of a relationship that begins in secret at the tender age of 13 and somehow flourishes despite the many obstacles and struggles that it bears.  It is  Lisa and Selina against the world.  As Lisa so succinctly puts it, "How could loving someone be wrong?".

Lisa reminds us of how our dreams, desires and ambitions change as we grow up and attain adulthood.  The loves and friends we make along the way are not necessarily growing in the same direction.  Broken hearts hurt no matter who you love and time does somehow heal the wounds.

It is brilliantly paced with teasers at the end of many chapters that kept me turning pages well past when I should have been sleeping.  Two bookmarks up from this reviewer.