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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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.

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.

Warning: Book Geek Alert

On Tuesday my kids and I went to Borders. I prefer to support independent bookstores, I really do. But I had a car appointment in Bangor and with gas prices being so high it’s always wise to consolidate trips. Besides, I had a 30% coupon and it’s never a good thing to let those puppies go to waste.

I have to admit I was pretty excited. I’ve been on a good roll book-wise recently (Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief, Gerard Jones’ Ginny Good, Jasper Fford’s Thursday Next series, Virgina Woolf’s The Waves–99 cents at Goodwill) so I had high hopes of finding something worthy of my coupon. Oh, if only that were the case.

I browsed every section in the store. I picked up Jeff Shaara’s new WW2 epic The Steel Wave, but discovered that it was part 2 in a trilogy, and that I hadn’t even heard that Part 1 (The Rising Tide) came out a year and a half ago. Where have I been? I decided to save ’em for winter. Next I flipped through The Way Life Should Be. I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s set in Maine, which is cool (although wealthy, tourist-y Mount Desert Island isn’t the Maine I know)…but I wasn’t really in the mood for the whole “characters cooking Italian food” thing. At least, not while I’m trying to lose weight. I even debated a Star Wars visual dictionary (shut up.)

Nothing appealed to me. A large display of sherbert colored chick lit novels mocked me. Ha ha ha! We’re here taking up space that should be reserved for the kind of books you like… I wanted to kick them, but I didn’t. With my luck I’d damage one–or more–of the inane things and end up having to actually pay good money for them. God forbid.

My kids, on the other hand, took only 39.3 seconds to find the next 3 books in the Warrior Cats series they’ve been devouring for the past several months. I was jealous. They were anxious to leave. I grabbed a Coldplay CD (Excellent, by the way. The three of us listened to it on the way home. Six thumbs up.) and made a beeline for the register. My kids gave me The Eyes. I gave them my precious coupon. They professed undying love and affection for their generous mom. I grunted. We left.

About halfway home I realized what my problem was. I’d known, all along, what book I was in the mood for. And I’d known, all along, that I wouldn’t find it at Borders. So when I got home I turned on my computer and ordered The Book: Luke Davies’ God of Speed. None of the pinhead publishers in America have picked it up, so I had to order it from Australia. Well worth it, but still…I wish I could’ve grabbed it at Borders. You know…the coupon.

Speaking of novels that haven’t been picked up by pinhead American publishers (my segues are getting better all the time), Chapter 14 of Waiting for Spring is up at Readers and Writers Blog. Also posted is Chapter 26: Cole Street of Ginny Good. (Damn, I wish I’d titled my chapters.) Check ’em out. You’ll be glad you did.

Reading Isn’t Fundamental?

President Bush’s 2009 budget calls for the elimination of the Reading Is Fundamental Program, which has provided 325 million books to underprivileged children since its inception in 1966. I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. After all, both his wife and mother are literacy advocates, and have been involved with RIF in the past.

Barbara Bush served on RIF’s board of directors from 1980 to 1988 and then on its national advisory board from 1989 to 1992 (chairing the advisory board for three of the four years.) Laura Bush served on RIF’s national advisory council from 1996 to 2001.

-SOURCE PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

RIF’s website has a form you can fill out if you’d like to send an email to your elected representative, asking them to protect RIF’s funding.