Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Heat Will Not Be Denied

Though not absolutely necessary to read first, here is my review of the previous Nikki Heat novel, Heat Wave.

Naked Heat
~Naked Heat~
Nikki Heat
Book 2
By Richard Castle
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

When New York's most vicious gossip columnist, Cassidy Towne, is found dead, Heat uncovers a gallery of high-profile suspects, all with compelling motives for killing the most feared muckraker in Manhattan.

Heat's murder investigation is complicated by her surprise reunion with superstar magazine journalist Jameson Rook. In the wake of their recent breakup, Nikki would rather not deal with their raw emotional baggage. But the handsome, wise-cracking, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer's personal involvement in the case forces her to team up with Rook anyway. The residue of their unresolved romantic conflict and crackling sexual tension fills the air as Heat and Rook embark on a search for a killer among celebrities and mobsters, singers and hookers, pro athletes and shamed politicians.

This new, explosive case brings on the heat in the glittery wold of secrets, cover-ups, and scandals.

[One of the few times the jacket summary covers everything I wanted to say and doesn't go farther than exposing the first 50-or-so pages. Bravo, Hyperion.]

In April of 2010 I wrote and posted my first book review on this blog. Now, just over a year later, I've read and reviewed its sequel. It really takes me back to how far I've come, you know? But enough reflection and on to my review.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Ten-Hut Virals! We Have Missions To Complete!

Book 1
By Kathy Reichs
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Tory Brennan is just your typical high school freshman. You know the type: so smart she skipped two grades; lives on an island with a father she just met; niece of a famous forensic anthropologist; spends most the time boating around with three older geeky guys. Yeah, sure. Typical.

And it's on a typical trip to the neighboring Loggerhead Island, home to a super high-tech biology research lab and off limits to outsiders, that she and her friends discover a clue to a 50-year-old mystery as well as evidence of cruel animal experimentation. Apparently not everything on Loggerhead is as official and clean-cut as it seems.

After rescuing the wolfdog puppy from the labs, Tory and the group start experiencing strange symptoms. But heightened senses, hunger for raw meat, and yellow eyes are the least of their worries when their investigation efforts start attracting the wrong sort of attention. The deadly kind. They'll have to work together if they want to stay alive and put this mystery to rest.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends.
They are a pack.
They are

This book was impossible to put down! I started reading this at midnight, thinking I'd spend an hour or two at the most before turning in. Four and a half hours (347 pages/57 chapters) later I finally found a place I felt I could comfortably leave them and go to sleep. I grant that the pacing isn't the best at times—I found it impossible to tease the book using the first 50 pages because nothing had happened yet—but the absence of action in the beginning was completely covered by the characters. And once the action started, it never let up—especially not at chapter breaks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time Is Of The Essence

Time Witch
~Time Witch~
By Jacqueline Corcoran

Amazon ~ Solstice Publishing

For 12-year-old Genevieve, life is made up of knowns and unknowns. For example, she knows that witches, trolls, and winged horses don't exist anywhere but in fairytales. She knows that the map on her wall is the product of her own imagination. And she knows that things like swords and crests went out of style ages ago.

On the other hand, she doesn't know why her mother didn't return home from work last night. Or why her ceiling just now decided to reveal a secret room. Or how it's possible that passing through the gate of Dumbarton Oaks has transported her to a world that has her questioning everything she knows.

You'd think they'd include something about that in the tourist guides.

Now Genevieve's caught in a race against time to find three missing artifacts and save the kingdom. But with monsters chasing her, mazes trapping her, and mysterious new powers popping up, she'll need help from her new friends if she wants to survive the week, let alone find a way back home.

Time Witch is a classic fantasy adventure. You have a hero(ine), a quest, a villain, some self-discovery, and friends to help, all contained in a world where magic reigns and the unexpected happens all the time. Genevieve is your typical unpopular, shy, middle school student. When her mother goes missing, she's devastated but still manages to find the courage to take up the search, and ends up wandering into a magical world she thought she'd only imagined. Dropped in the middle of a quest to stop the end of time, she's got to overcome her own insecurities and discover the power she holds in order to defeat evil and save those she loves.

Written in a similar style to The Chronicles of Narnia, this is a straight-forward, dialog-heavy, plot-powered adventure story. Intricate details are on the scarce side, leaving much of the world to the reader's imagination, and allowing for a faster action-packed read. The plot takes quite a few twists and turns, making for an especially unpredictable and exciting journey. Though there is a bit of romance, it's kept fairly light and is at most a subplot of the story, so I don't think boy readers will be turned off at the get-go.

I especially enjoyed the time-themed quotations at the beginning of each chapter! I only recognized a couple, but I knew absolutely every one of the authors quoted and that in itself made me smile. Also, each quote was a little clue about what was happening in the chapter, so when something strangely familiar showed up, I'd remember the quote at the beginning and grin again. Plus, I'm curious enough to look up all those quotes and see what works they came from. A great teaching tool, I'm sure. *wink*

Unfortunately, there were a few things that didn't work for me in this one.