Monday, August 27, 2012

Books I've Read In August 2012

1) Game Of Thrones (A Song Of Fire And Ice, Book 1), by George R.R. Martin
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

Here is the first volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

2) Club Dead (True Blood, Book 3), by Charlaine Harris

The novel takes place in December. Bill, working on a secretive computer program, informs Sookie he has to travel away in order to complete the program. Days later, a werewolf targeting Sookie comes into her working spot, Merlotte's, but he is eliminated by Bubba, sent on Eric's orders, before he can harm Sookie. As night falls, Eric and his employees tell Sookie that Bill had actually been in Mississippi, where his former lover and maker Lorena had summoned him. They continue to tell Sookie that Bill has since then gone missing, and Eric speaks of his suspicions on Lorena's involvement. He also states that the vampire queen of Louisiana will need to receive Bill's secret project on its due date, if Eric wishes not to compromise his life. Since Eric is unable to interrogate humans or vampires in the territory of Mississippi vampire king Russell Edgington without provoking a war, he invites Sookie to come along to Mississippi and utilize her telepathy to locate Bill. Sookie agrees, but is shocked at Bill's possible betrayal of her.
The next day, Sookie is introduced to Alcide Herveaux, a werewolf sent by Eric to help Sookie circulate in the supernatural community of Jackson, Mississippi. Sookie takes a liking to Alcide's physique and personality. In Jackson, Alcide escorts her to a local vampire bar, Josephine's, generally known as Club Dead. In this club, Sookie learns by telepathy that Bill is being held captive and that Russell Edgington is possibly involved. She meets Edgington when he aids her after a confrontation with a were patron angered at Sookie rebuffing his sexual advances. Edgington insists they come in the next night as well. In the same night, Sookie is confronted by Alcide's jealous ex-girlfriend Debbie Pelt, a shapeshifter who, despite being at her own engagement party, is furious with Sookie presenting herself as Alcide's escort.
The next day, Sookie and Alcide discover in their closet the dead body of the Club Dead patron who had been making unwanted advances at Sookie. After disposing of the body, that is later revealed to have been an assailant aiming for Sookie killed by Bubba, the duo head out for another night in Club Dead, where Sookie meets her friend Tara Thornton as another vampire's escort. However, she discovers the Fellowship of the Sun, an anti-vampire organization prominently featured in Living Dead in Dallas, has come in Club Dead intent on killing vampires. While preventing the Fellowship from staking one of Russell Edgington's employees, she herself is staked, then rescued by Eric and taken to the King of Mississippi's compound and receives medical attention at Edgington's mansion. Sookie shares an intimate moment with Eric, but Bubba informs them Bill is being tortured in one of Edgington's poolhouses.
At dawn, Sookie heads out to the poolhouse. She frees Bill and manages to stake Lorena as she attacks, but is locked into the trunk of her own car alongside the sleeping Bill when she returns to Alcide's apartment building. When Bill, deprived of blood and sleep for a week, wakes up, he feeds on Sookie and forces himself onto her sexually. Sookie asks Eric to drive her home, fed up with the whole ordeal. While on their way home, two robbers raid a gas station alongside their route looking for Sookie and Eric and in Sookie's home, several werewolves wait for her and attack her. Eric and Bill eliminate all werewolves, but Sookie angrily breaks up with Bill and rescinds both Bill and Eric's invitation to her house. The novel ends with Sookie realizing Bill's special project is inside her house, and no vampire will be physically able to retrieve it.

3) 10th Anniversary (The Women's Murder Club), by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

For every secretDetective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals--but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie
At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life--a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children. Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die
Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family. With James Patterson's white-hot speed and unquenchable action, 10th Anniversary is the most deliciously chilling Women's Murder Club book ever.

4) A Clash Of Kings (A Song Of Fire And Ice, Book 2), by George R. R. Martin

In this thrilling sequel to A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has created a work of unsurpassed vision, power, and imagination. A Clash of Kings transports us to a world of revelry and revenge, wizardry and warfare unlike any we have ever experienced.
A comet the color of blood and flame cuts across the sky. And from the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding shores of Winterfell, chaos reigns. Six factions struggle for control of a divided land and the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, preparing to stake their claims through tempest, turmoil, and war. It is a tale in which brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night. Here a princess masquerades as an orphan boy; a knight of the mind prepares a poison for a treacherous sorceress; and wild men descend from the Mountains of the Moon to ravage the countryside. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory may go to the men and women possessed of the coldest steel . . . and the coldest hearts. For when kings clash, the whole land trembles.

5) A Storm Of Swords (A Song Of Fire And Ice, Book 3), by George R. R. MartinOf the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. . . .

But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords. . .

Here is the third volume in George R. R. Martin’s magnificent cycle of novels that includes A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. As a whole, this series comprises a genuine masterpiece of modern fantasy, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Magic, mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill these pages and transport us to a world unlike any we have ever experienced. Already hailed as a classic, George R. R. Martin’s stunning series is destined to stand as one of the great achievements of imaginative fiction.

Goal for the year: 70   Year to date: 49

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Books I've Read In July 2012

1) Cocktails For Three, by Madeleine Wickham 
Roxanne: glamorous, self-confident, with a secret lover -- a married man

Maggie: capable and high-achieving, until she finds the one thing she can't cope with -- motherhood

Candice: honest, decent, or so she believes -- until a ghost from her past turns up

At the first of every month, when the office has reached its pinnacle of hysteria, Maggie, Roxanne, and Candice meet at London's swankiest bar for an evening of cocktails and gossip. Here, they chat about what's new at The Londoner, the glossy fashion magazine where they all work, and everything else that's going on in their lives. Oralmost everything. Beneath the girl talk and the laughter, each of the three has a secret. And when a chance encounter at the cocktail bar sets in motion an extraordinary chain of events, each one will find their biggest secret revealed.

In Cocktails for Three, Madeleine Wickham combines her trademark humor with remarkable insight to create an edgy, romantic tale of secrets, strangers, and a splash of scandal.

2) Dead Or Alive, by Tom Clancy and Grant Blackwood
After almost a decade, Tom Clancy returns to the world he knows better than anyone: a world caught in the crossfire of politics and power, placed on the edge of annihilation by evil men.
But there are those who are honor-bound to protect their homeland by any means necessary. Those men work in the covert force known as the Campus.
Led by Jack Ryan, Jr.-son of the legendary Jack Ryan-they are the best line of defense against a terrorist mastermind who has vowed to destroy the West...

3) Rasputin's Daughter, by Robert Alexander
Called “brilliant” by USA Today, Robert Alexander’s historical novel The Kitchen Boy swept readers back to the doomed world of the Romanovs. His latest masterpiece once again conjures those turbulent days in a fictional drama of extraordinary depth and suspense. In the wake of the Russian Revolution, Maria Rasputin—eldest of the Rasputin children—recounts her infamous father’s final days, building a breathless narrative of intrigue, excess, and conspiracy that reveals the shocking truth of her father’s end and the identity of those who arranged it. What emerges is a nail-biting, richly textured new take on one of history’s most legendary episodes.

4) Butterfly Garden, by Annette Blair
Amishwoman Sara Lapp, all but shunned for studying with the local doctor to become a midwife, is shocked that, after months of waiting, her first call comes from “Mad” Adam Zuckerman, a self-appointed outcast. Adam doesn’t want her to attend at a birth, but to tend to his children because his wife has died in childbed. Adam wants to love his children, but he is afraid he will hurt them in the way his father hurt him. Without his late wife, Abby, to protect them, Adam must find someone else to care for the girls. He can think of only one woman brave enough, Spinster Sara Lapp, the little midwife whose passion for things beyond her control is greater than is good for her. Though Sara knows the four little girls belong with their father, how can she leave them with a man who seems not to care for them? As much as she loves and wants the girls, she will only take them long enough to teach Adam to love them. Then Adam falls from the barn loft and Sara moves in to look after him. But in the Amish community a man and woman living together must marry or be shunned. The Bishop takes a stand and Sara and Adam are forced to face the greatest challenge of their lives.

5) Dead Until Dark (True Blood, Book 1), by Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse lives with her grandmother, Adele, and has an older brother, Jason. Early in the book, Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. After first meeting Bill, Sookie saves him from some "drainers", people who steal blood from vampires. Bill returns the favor several days when the drainers attack Sookie.
Several murders occur in Bon Temps, and Bill becomes a suspect because many of the bodies have fang marks. Sookie's brother Jason is romantically linked to two of the victims, prompting the Bon Temps police to arrest him. Wanting to help her brother, Sookie asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia, which is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff much older and more powerful than Bill.
Eric realizes that Sookie's telepathy can be useful and commands Bill to direct Sookie to use her ability to determine the identity of the one embezzling from Fangtasia. Once Sookie identifies Long Shadow, who is Eric's partner and also a vampire, a confrontation ensues that nearly kills Sookie. Eric saves Sookie's life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her. Meanwhile in Bon Temps, Adele is murdered within the family kitchen.
Bill, concerned with Eric's power over him and Sookie, decides to improve his own position within the vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim-witted vampire, who was "the man from Memphis", to protect Sookie while he is gone. Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam, is a shape-shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep on her bed and finds a naked Sam in the morning.
While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is her brother's friend Rene Lenier. He almost kills her, but she fights back. Badly injured, Sookie wakes up in the hospital and finds the police by her side, telling her Rene has confessed to the killings. Bill appears later that night and tells Sookie that he has become his area's investigator, working under Eric.

6) Full Dark, No Stars, by Stephen King
When a master of horror and heebie-jeebies like Stephen King calls his book Full Dark, No Stars, you know you’re in for a treat--that is, if your idea of a good time is spent curled up in a ball wondering why-oh-why you started reading after dark. King fans (and those who have always wanted to give him a shot) will devour this collection of campfire tales where marriages sway under the weight of pitch-black secrets, greed and guilt poison and fester, and the only thing you can count on is that "there are always worse things waiting." Full Dark, No Starsfeatures four one-sitting yarns showcasing King at his gritty, gruesome, giddy best, so be sure to check under the bed before getting started.

7) Living Dead In Dallas (True Blood, Book 2), Charlaine Harris

Sookie Stackhouse likes living in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and she likes working as a cocktail waitress at Merlotte's. But she is having a streak of bad luck. First her co-worker is killed, and no one seems to care. Then she comes face-to-face with a beastly creature which gives her a painful and poisonous lashing. Vampires suck the poison from her veins, saving her life.
When one of the vampires asks for a favor, she obliges, and soon Sookie is in Dallas using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire. She is supposed to interview certain humans involved, but she makes one condition: the vampires must promise to behave, and let the humans go unharmed. That is easier said than done, and all it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.

8) One Summer, by David Baldacci
It's almost Christmas, but there is no joy in the house of terminally ill Jack and his family. With only a short time left to live, he spends his last days preparing to say goodbye to his devoted wife, Lizzie, and their three children. Then, unthinkably, tragedy strikes again: Lizzie is killed in a car accident. With no one able to care for them, the children are separated from each other and sent to live with family members around the country. Just when all seems lost, Jack begins to recover in a miraculous turn of events. He rises from what should have been his deathbed, determined to bring his fractured family back together. Struggling to rebuild their lives after Lizzie's death, he reunites everyone at Lizzie's childhood home on the oceanfront in South Carolina. And there, over one unforgettable summer, Jack will begin to learn to love again, and he and his children will learn how to become a family once more.

Goal for the year: 70   Year to date: 44
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