Happy Reading

Toni's bookshelf: read

The Godfather of Kathmandu (Sonchai Jitpleecheep, #4)
Ape House
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Operation Napoleon
Walking Dead
The Sentimentalists
The Heretic Queen
The Midnight House
Cross Fire
Peony in Love
Finding Nouf: A Novel
City of Veils: A Novel
First Daughter
A Place of Hiding
Peter Pan

Toni Osborne's favorite books »

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Easy Innocence", by Libby Fischer Hellmann

Book 1, Georgia Davis series

What are your teen-age daughters up to when you are too busy to pay attention and how far will they go for approval from their peers? This tightly-written mystery will have you wonder and very concerned. “Easy Innocence” is above all an intriguing and a classic detective mystery.

Georgia Davis a no-nonsense female private detective has been hired to help clear a mentally ill man who has been accused of killing a teenage girl. Through her investigation Georgia discovers the girl was killed at a high-school hazing and her death may be linked to a local teenage prostitution ring operating on the North-Shore of Chicago.

This story is quite a mystery ride played out by a multi-faceted, intelligent actress who gets herself in tight spots and in trouble while doing her job. The plot is solid with no over the top silly action, mostly realistic and delicately treated to open one’s eyes without being graphic and insensitive. Each chapter smoothly captures the moment and wraps it up before moving to the next chapter. The drama moves at a steady pace and never let go. From the opening page I was hooked.

What would teens do for money? When Georgia gets closer to uncovering the truth it becomes hard to imagine or believe children would resort to prostitution for the mighty buck.

This is a solid story built with depth, has plenty of clever twists and is populated with colourful characters. This is a page-tuner that flows nicely.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

"Dark Matter", by Blake Crouch

What if one day someone from another dimension decided to change place with you and leaves you marooned in a strange and dangerous world. What would you do? Would you be able to defeat the alternative dimension with all your wits or fight to the death to regain your old life back?

A portal into other dimensions of reality, “Dark Matter” is brisk and propulsive sci-fi speculative adventure infused with love. This book doesn’t qualify as beach reading, each time you open the book it will have metamorphosed into something else….Like Jason Dessen, the protagonist or at least one version of him…or is it several number of Jasons?

The story is certainly fun. Drop a protagonist into a mess of advance sciences and technologies with an antagonist mix into a Kaleidoscope altered states and you have a fast-paced, suspenseful, frightening, poignant tale where we need to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy it.

Jason is kidnapped at gun point, strip naked and abandoned in a power plant. Attempting to escape, Jason opens a door that leads him into a series of strange, eerily encounters…. And opens another one, and another one….

Crazy book of course, quantum physics puzzles…included, over the top encounters kind of awesome, pacing furious, characterization not bad and a curious paradox to tease our intellect. In whole a pretty good scary story and one some will find wonderful and others will gladly put aside.

Definitely not a book for everyone.

I received this ARC from Crown Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

"The Good Soldier", by L.T. Ryan

Jack Noble Early Years

This novel is a package of two books “Noble Beginnings” &” A deadly Distance” and both are great escape from reality. The author really knows how to write stories filled with the over the top action played out by men who are pure muscle and high on testosterone.

The two stories are as different as can be but what they have in common both are fast moving with enough twists to make us gulp and both have wonderful main players: Jack and Bear. The two characters make an effective team working for an agency that doesn’t exist….The well-crafted plots are fast-paced and captivating although be ready for the never-ending fighting Jack and Bear get into. Really, there are so much violent scenes at one point it becomes ridiculous but having said this, the action is well- detailed and vividly described to pack a punch. Of course if you don’t take these stories too seriously you will find both to be page-turners and hard to put down. The characterization is a bit shallow but hey they do give us quite a ride into the bowels of espionage with lots of suspense and great amusement.

Of course these types of books may not please everyone but they sure provide a fun light diversion.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

"Long Journey Home", by Lucy Lipiner

A Young Girl’s mémoir of Surviving the Holocaust

This is a detailed historical account that personally and intimately captures the daily life of a young Jewish girl’s struggles to survive with her family as they flee east from Poland to escape extermination. From the perspective of a young girl, Lucy (Lusia) narrates her family’s journey of survival.

This book is inevitably filled with sadness. Lucy (Lusia) was only six when her parent roused her and her sister and fled the invasion by Nazi Germany. The memoir shares emotional details and physical struggles to stay alive. The journey from the foothill of Tatra Mountains to Siberia and Tajikistan was an extraordinary story of resilience, a long journey that brought her and her family 10 years later to America.

This book is written through the eyes of a young child with great care leaving out horrific graphic details and focusing rather on the context. The language is fluent, simple and tender. No drama just a gripping powerful story. Holocaust memoirs are interesting, captivating from start to finish, this one is no exception.

This elegantly written memoir is an excellent addition to my library.

"Summit", by Harry Farthing

“Summit” is a part thriller/part mystery that takes us on a fictional adventure set within historical and mountaineering contexts. Mr. Farthing’s passion for mountaineering and his intimate knowledge of the skills, tools and equipment needed to climb famous peaks of the world provided an engrossing novel centered on reaching Mount Everest summit.

What an incredible novel. Two men, seventy years apart push for the top of Mount Everest driven by force beyond their control. Modern day climber Neil Quinn’s narrative alternates with Josef Becker’s who in in 1938 was recruited by the SS to be the first to summit Everest. We follow them across two continents as their stories intertwine across history. We have everything including conspiracy, danger and over the top adventure à la James Bond also an evil villain determined to get revenge, Neo Nazis and Russian assassins all over. This is a fast-paced suspense that never lets go. From start to finish something lurks around the corner if not human it is the treacherous climb, the lack of oxygen, the fatigue, the injuries etc. Aside from an excellent plot and pacing we have wonderful set of characters: main players, their sidekicks and the occasional pup-up all are vibrant and so real. This is a well-meshed story hard to put down.

If you like a story that combines mountain climbing with a “What if” conspiracy you will enjoy this skillfully written story. Recommended

I received an ARC form Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Friday, September 2, 2016

"The Asset: Act11", by Mark Dawson

Book #2, in the Isabella Rose series

What an exhausting read, the action is non-stop from the opening pages and never quits, so be ready to flip pages to stay in pace with this exciting story. Yes, Dawson did it again and with this second act has given us a full novel to enjoy.

“The Asset” picks up where “The Angel” left us to continue Isabella’s adventure in grand style with great imagery and detail. This story is exciting and very hard to put down. Isabella has been kidnapped and taken to Syria by ISIS. While we follow her predicament at the hands of her captors we also follow in alternate chapters the efforts Pope need to overcome in order to get her out. Of course nothing is easy and with lots of bang we are caught up in one of those edges of the seat drama only an expert storyteller can imagine and deliver. From the first page till the last we have enemies lurking around every corner…chilling thoughts and a thrill ride across Syria and Turkey…..Main and secondary characters played out their role to a tee and their performance was an excellent distraction that held my attention to the last act….

The story didn’t leave us as abruptly as “The Angel” did but to pique our interest to pursue with act 111, the melodrama ends in suspense, another cliff-hanger……

I received an ARC from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review

"Like a River from Its Course", by Kelli Stuart

Based on true stories gathered from years of research and interviews taken from survivors this epic journey told through the eyes of four unforgettable characters takes us to Ukraine at the height of the WW11. The characters are composites of hundreds of men and women that have been interviewed and their combined stories brought a heartbreaking and inspiring novel exposing the ugliness of war and the beauty of hope.

June 22, 1941 Hitler violated the Nonaggression Pact with the Soviet Union by launching Operation Barbarossa. By July, Ukraine became an occupied territory and Kiev under siege.

The story has three parts: The Beginning, The Darkness and Home and is told in the first person narrative of each character. In alternate chapters Ivan, Maria, Luda and Frederick (a German soldier) tells their perspective as they see it. Their stories show us the worst of humanity as well as the very best but most of all their life highlights the resiliency of a people, their courage, their hope, their faith and the power of love for family, friends and strangers.

Although this is fiction, the circumstances and horrors the people faced were very real. The population was scared, starving and dying. A well- known horror happened in September 1941, when 34,000 Jews were massacred at Babi Yar by the German forces and local collaborators. The characters wonderfully depict what they faced and the battle that raged with each one. The well-researched plot line, the intriguing characters and their distinctive voices is what makes “Like a River from its Course “an outstanding read.

I received an ARC from Kregel Publications through the Early Reviewer Program in exchange for an honest review.