book review, books, indie book, Moriah Jovan

The Proviso – review

“… it’s a riff on Hamlet…”
– Moriah Jovan, author of The Proviso

My faithful readers know I’m always looking for something more than just a good book. I want a book that moves me, or makes me think about or look at Stuff in a way I never have before. And I recently found such a book.

The Proviso by Moriah Jovan

Official Synopsis:

Knox Hilliard’s uncle killed his father to marry his mother and gain
control of the family’s Fortune 100 company. Knox is set to inherit the company on his 40th birthday, provided he has a wife and an heir, but he never really wanted it in the first place.

Now, after his bride is murdered on their wedding day and his backup bride poses such a threat to their uncle that he’s tried to kill her-twice-Knox refuses to fulfill The Proviso at all. Then he meets a woman he may not be able to resist long enough to keep her safe.

His cousin, notorious and eccentric financier Sebastian Taight, would have raided the company long ago simply to destroy his despised uncle. For Knox’s sake, he did nothing-until their cousin Giselle barely escaped assassination. The gloves come off, but Sebastian may have jumped in too deep, as the SEC steps in, then Congress threatens to get involved.

Giselle Cox struggles under the weight of having exposed the affair that set her uncle’s plot in motion-twenty years ago. As Knox’s childhood sweetheart, she’s also the most convenient way for Knox to inherit. Their uncle has twice tried to eliminate her, leaving her bankrupt and hoping to get through Knox’s 40th birthday alive.

None of them want the company, but two people have been murdered for it and Giselle is under constant threat because of it. What they want now is justice, but as embroiled as they are in their war, the last thing they expect to find on the battlefield is love.

My take:

This is a deep, intelligent book. It’s a long’un, yes, but so engaging that I didn’t want to put it down. The characters are real, the writing is top-notch…oh, and it’s damn hot, too!

One of the best books I’ve read in a very, VERY long time. Highly recommended.

Buy it HERE.

Moriah Jovan’s blog.

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book review, books, reading

Odd Thomas

I rarely read novels while I’m in the middle of writing a first draft (or, in this case, a third version of a first draft). There are many reasons for this, the chief two of which are a fear of what I will call unconscious plagiarism (although perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word) and a tendency I have towards procrastination.

I made an exception this week, though, and borrowed a friend’s copy of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Since I don’t write supernatural thrillers, I wasn’t worried about Koontz’s style leaking into my novel, and since I’m on quite a roll with the writing, I wasn’t worried about not getting back to it. It was a wise decision.

Brief synopsis (taken from the Odd Thomas website which – by the way – is really cool):

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares-and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

It’s a great story, filled with quirky characters. I especially love that Odd is a fry cook, and that he’s able to take a measure of pride in his work (“Anyone can crack a shell and spill its essence into a pan, pot, or pipkin, but few can turn out omlets as flavorful, scrambled eggs as fluffy, and sunnysides as sunny as mine.”) The writing is amazing, too, even in the small descriptive details (“The carport leaned precipitously, as if the weight of the sunshine alone might collapse it.”)

It’s my first Dean Koontz book, so I can’t say how it compares with the rest of his stuff, but I’m definitely planning on reading the rest of the Odd Thomas books so I can find out.

book review, books, reading

Odd Thomas

I rarely read novels while I’m in the middle of writing a first draft (or, in this case, a third version of a first draft). There are many reasons for this, the chief two of which are a fear of what I will call unconscious plagiarism (although perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word) and a tendency I have towards procrastination.

I made an exception this week, though, and borrowed a friend’s copy of Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz. Since I don’t write supernatural thrillers, I wasn’t worried about Koontz’s style leaking into my novel, and since I’m on quite a roll with the writing, I wasn’t worried about not getting back to it. It was a wise decision.

Brief synopsis (taken from the Odd Thomas website which – by the way – is really cool):

“The dead don’t talk. I don’t know why.” But they do try to communicate, with a short-order cook in a small desert town serving as their reluctant confidant. Odd Thomas thinks of himself as an ordinary guy, if possessed of a certain measure of talent at the Pico Mundo Grill and rapturously in love with the most beautiful girl in the world, Stormy Llewellyn. Maybe he has a gift, maybe it’s a curse, Odd has never been sure, but he tries to do his best by the silent souls who seek him out. Sometimes they want justice, and Odd’s otherworldly tips to Pico Mundo’s sympathetic police chief, Wyatt Porter, can solve a crime. Occasionally they can prevent one. But this time it’s different. A mysterious man comes to town with a voracious appetite, a filing cabinet stuffed with information on the world’s worst killers, and a pack of hyena-like shades following him wherever he goes. Who the man is and what he wants, not even Odd’s deceased informants can tell him. His most ominous clue is a page ripped from a day-by-day calendar for August 15.

Today is August 14.

In less than twenty-four hours, Pico Mundo will awaken to a day of catastrophe. As evil coils under the searing desert sun, Odd travels through the shifting prisms of his world, struggling to avert a looming cataclysm with the aid of his soul mate and an unlikely community of allies that includes the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. His account of two shattering days when past and present, fate and destiny converge is the stuff of our worst nightmares-and a testament by which to live: sanely if not safely, with courage, humor, and a full heart that even in the darkness must persevere.

It’s a great story, filled with quirky characters. I especially love that Odd is a fry cook, and that he’s able to take a measure of pride in his work (“Anyone can crack a shell and spill its essence into a pan, pot, or pipkin, but few can turn out omlets as flavorful, scrambled eggs as fluffy, and sunnysides as sunny as mine.”) The writing is amazing, too, even in the small descriptive details (“The carport leaned precipitously, as if the weight of the sunshine alone might collapse it.”)

It’s my first Dean Koontz book, so I can’t say how it compares with the rest of his stuff, but I’m definitely planning on reading the rest of the Odd Thomas books so I can find out.

Adrift in America, book review, Readers And Writers Blog, Sid Leavitt

Visa bills, nectarines, and bituminous concrete

I don’t know if you’ve ever worked nights before. If you have, you know what I mean when I say my brain feels like cottage cheese a good portion of the week; namely during the day, when Cottage Cheese Brain is exactly what I don’t need. Important phone calls are not returned, car maintainence appointments are forgotten, and toenails frequently go unclipped for weeks at a time. In short my life, like my panty hose, is coming apart at the seams. The toe seams.

To combat this trend, last night I made a decision that goes against my nature. I decided to make a list. Not the kind that reminds me of all the bad things I’ve done that need to be set straight. No, the kind that reminds me of all of the necessary things I keep forgetting to do so I can keep my life straight. For example:

– Pay your Visa bill, you idiot!!!!!! It was due last Thursday!!!!!! Late fees!!!! Ack!!!!!

– There’s a bag of nectarines in the back of the crisper. It’s been there forever. Throw it way.

– You finished Adrift in America last week. You forgot to blog about it.

Now that my overdue Visa bill and soupy nectarines have been taken care of, it’s time to tell you guys about Sid Leavitt’s Adrift in America, a “diary of a minimalist mariner.”

In the late 1980s, Mr. Leavitt–having been unceremoniously let go from his editor’s job at a Portland, Maine newsaper–sold his house and most of his belongings, bought a truck, and set off to see America. It wasn’t wanderlust that inspired him…at least not mostly. He hit the road because he wanted to live deliberately; to live frugally and suck out all the bituminous concrete of life. He was looking for freedom, too, the kind that meant “being able to say ‘Fuck you’ to your boss and be out of town 10 minutes later with everything you own.” Oh, to know such freedom! But what I love most about this book is that we get a glimpse of everyday America. Not the touristy, post card America; but real towns with real people. The ones we overlook when we’re on vacation.

So check it out. It’s posted at Readers and Writers Blog, here by chapters and here in its entirety.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go clip my toenails.

book review

It finally happened.

I’ve been whining for months about wanting a good book to read; a book “that would grab me by the hairs of my heart.” Thanks to my very good friend, Elle, I finally got it. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak.

Official Synopsis That Doesn’t Do The Book Any Justice:

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

But it’s not the story that makes this novel ‘unforgettable,’ it’s the characters. They will move and inspire you. They will make you laugh. They will break your heart. After spending the past several days wrapped up in Mr. Zusak’s words, my own seem so cheap, and the only three I can think of are these: Read this book.

book review

Baker Towers

I took my kids to Mr. Paperback yesterday and picked up a book for myself (yes, another one): Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh. I couldn’t put it down. I love that feeling.

“BAKER TOWERS is an intimate exploration of love and family set in a western Pennsylvania coal town in the years following World War II. Bakerton is a town of company houses and church festivals, union squabbles and firemen’s parades. Its ball club leads the coal company leagues. Its neighborhoods are Little Italy, Swedetown and Polish Hill.

For the five Novak children, the forties are a decade of tragedy,excitement and stunning change. George comes home from the war determined to leave Bakerton behind and finds the task impossible. Dorothy is a fragile beauty hooked on romance. Brilliant Joyce holds the family together, bitterly aware of the life she might have had elsewhere, while her brother Sandy sails through life on looks and charm. At the center of it all is Lucy, the volatile baby, devouring the family’s attention and developing a bottomless appetite for love.

BAKER TOWERS is both a family saga and a love letter to our industrial past, to the men and women known as the Greatest Generation; to the vibrant small-town life of America’s Rust Belt when it was still shiny and new.”


book review

Baker Towers

I took my kids to Mr. Paperback yesterday and picked up a book for myself (yes, another one): Baker Towers by Jennifer Haigh. I couldn’t put it down. I love that feeling.

“BAKER TOWERS is an intimate exploration of love and family set in a western Pennsylvania coal town in the years following World War II. Bakerton is a town of company houses and church festivals, union squabbles and firemen’s parades. Its ball club leads the coal company leagues. Its neighborhoods are Little Italy, Swedetown and Polish Hill.

For the five Novak children, the forties are a decade of tragedy,excitement and stunning change. George comes home from the war determined to leave Bakerton behind and finds the task impossible. Dorothy is a fragile beauty hooked on romance. Brilliant Joyce holds the family together, bitterly aware of the life she might have had elsewhere, while her brother Sandy sails through life on looks and charm. At the center of it all is Lucy, the volatile baby, devouring the family’s attention and developing a bottomless appetite for love.

BAKER TOWERS is both a family saga and a love letter to our industrial past, to the men and women known as the Greatest Generation; to the vibrant small-town life of America’s Rust Belt when it was still shiny and new.”