Sep 30, 2014

Festive in Death (In Death, #39)

Festive in Death (In Death, #39)Festive in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Trina stumbles on the body of Personal Trainer Trey Ziegler she immediately calls Dallas. And Dallas finds a list of suspects a mile long, from competitors & co-workers who competed against him for cash and awards, discarded ex-lovers, the women he drugged and took advantage of and their husbands and lovers, as well as those he blackmailed.

But slowly she narrows the list down and zeroes in on JJ Copley when his sister-in-law's social secretary, Catiana is killed in his home and his wife, Natasha Quigley is severely injured.

But when she discovers that JJ Copley wasn't paying Trey Ziegler to keep his mistress a secret but to seduce his wife into an affair so he can get his wife's money when he divorces her, her attention turns to another suspect.

With Roarke's help she wraps things up in time to celebrate Christmas with him.

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Sep 27, 2014

The King's Curse (The Cousins' War, #6)

The King's Curse (The Cousins' War, #6)The King's Curse by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a bit slow going and very depressing. Margaret Pole daughter of George, Duke of Clarence (King Edward IV and King Richard III's brother) tells the tale. The book opens with the execution of her brother whose only crime is being the Plantagenet male heir. Margaret herself was married off to one of the King's poor relations Sir Richard Pole, who is the Prince of Wales' (Arthur) guardian. When Arthur marries Katherine of Aragon, Margaret becomes close to the young wife. When Arthur dies of The Sweat, Katherine begs Margaret to support her claim, that she is still a virgin untouched by her young husband, so she will be free to marry his brother Henry. Margaret agrees to know nothing of what went on in their bed.

When Margaret's husband dies she is left destitute. The King's Mother (Margaret Beaufort) tries to use this to force Margaret to betray Katherine. When she refuses to betray Katherine she is forced by poverty to send her children away and go into a nunnery. Upon the death of Margaret Beaufort and Henry the VII, Henry the VIII marries Katherine of Aragon and Margaret Pole becomes one of her ladies in waiting, and her children are brought to court except for Reginald Pole (Margaret was forced to give him to the church when she was destitute). Reginald is sent abroad to study theology. Margaret is also made Countess of Salisbury and her family lands are restored to her making her one of the richest peers in England. Her oldest son (Henry) becomes Baron Montague. When Henry and Katherine have a son she is appointed as his Governess, but sadly the child dies soon after it's birth. She is appointed Governess to each child that is born to the couple and watches with dismay as the child dies after a few hours. Finally a baby is born that lives, but alas it is a girl. Margaret is devoted to her charge Princess Mary. King Henry VIII starts looking for reasons why his children are dieing after becoming enchanted by Anne Boleyn and decides it is because Katherine was his brother's wife. Margaret recalls the curse that Elizabeth Woodville and Elizabeth of York placed on the murderer of the Princes in the Tower and believes it has fallen on Henry VII and his line. But she wisely doesn't remember a curse whenever she is asked about it.

Margaret Pole and her family fall out of favor with Henry VIII's "marriage" to Anne Boleyn especially when Reginald finds it invalid. They are outraged when Princess Mary is declared a bastard and their support of Lady Mary puts them in danger.

Henry the VIII descends further into paranoia and madness with the execution of Anne Boleyn. Even the birth of Edward Prince of Wales doesn't reassure him, he begins to see enemies everywhere and eventually trumps up a reason to execute Margaret Pole her son Baron Montague, imprison Montague's son (who disappears in the Tower) and execute the rest of his Plantagenet cousins and imprison their heirs. The surviving Plantagenet heirs are only released from the Tower when Princess Mary becomes Queen of England.

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Sep 19, 2014

Illusion (Chronicles of Nick, #5)

Illusion (Chronicles of Nick, #5)Illusion by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, these books are kinda hard to follow because Ambrose keeps messing with the time line and now we are in an alternate reality.

Nick wakens to a new reality where he is not only without his powers he is a blond wimp named Nick Burdette, his Mother is married to Michael Burdette (known as Bubba in Nick Gautier's reality) and his former allies are now his enemies or perfectly normal thus not much help.

When Karma (sister of former friends Amanda and Tabitha) takes him to her house and he is attacked by Thorn he calls for Kody and somehow she is able to join him in the "alternate reality" she beats up Thorn but not realizing Karma and her sisters are enemies in this reality she sends Nick to the Cathedral with Amanda and Tabitha after she becomes trapped in Karma's house since she is a ghost. Ambrose killed her and her entire family in the future. Realizing to late that Amanda and Tabitha are enemies Nick gets away from them and runs to the Cathedral. They can't enter but they claim he is a thief and send a policeman in to bring him out. Before the policeman can Kody arrives with "alternate Savitar" (who has lost most of his powers since he had a bad day and killed a few to many Gods) and Michael Burdette, they take Nick to a nunnery but he is snatched by flying Monkeys sent by Acheron (in this reality Acheron was married to Artemis and the Ash and Simi that go to Nick's school are his grandchildren) who is concerned about his Grandchildren safety. He is moments away from killing Nick when his home is attacked and Simi is mortally wounded. Nick somehow manages to save her life, earning Acheron's gratitude and help. He sends his grandchildren to safety with Xirena (older sister of Simi) and takes Nick to Michael, Savitar and Kody. Unfortunately the forces that are coming for Nick are stronger and they are losing badly when Nick gets pulled into another reality.

Adrian is furious that Nick isn't doing a better job defending himself and protecting his Mother he gives him some good advice and tells him Caleb's true name so he can call him. Nick then regains consciousness in Kody's arms, he calls for Caleb and together Caleb and Kody restore Nick's powers. Nick defeats Thorn and with Kody's help is able to return to his reality in "spirit" form. He is joined shortly by Caleb and Simi but they have to break the bad news to him that because Kody is a ghost she can NEVER come back to their reality. When they are attacked he isn't much use in his spirit form when he hears alternate Nick screaming he rushes upstairs and finds him cowering in fear from a spider, when he goes to pick up the spider it turns into a beautiful woman who carts him off to another realm. It turns out to be one of his General's Livia and she is shortly joined by Xevikan. They return to Caleb's where they join the battle. Ameretat stabs alternate Nick and he starts to die (his soul goes back to his own reality where he is fine) Caleb quickly heals Nick's body after Nick's soul reenters it.

Nick refuses to imprison Livia and Xevikan after they helped him much to Caleb's disgust (Caleb hates Xevikan). Xevikan and Livia pledge their loyalty to Nick and Nick takes Xev (Xevikan) home with him, since Caleb will not allow him to say with him although Caleb lets Livia and Zavid stay with him.

Xev is overwhelmed by Cherise's kindness. Determined to repay Nick Xev goes to get Kody (something only a God could do). After she is reunited with Nick she realizes that Xev is the most dangerous ancient God of all time.

We also finally learn that Kody is the daughter of Styxx and Bethany.

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Sep 18, 2014

Deception Point by Dan Brown

Deception PointDeception Point by Dan Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really what sort of POS justifies killing sled dogs as a matter of National Security?

The book begins with the U.S. Delta Force intercepting Canadian Geologist Charles Brophy and his sled dogs, they force him to transmit a message then force him and his dogs onto their helicopter only to throw them to their deaths.

We are then introduced to Rachael Sexton whose Father (Senator Sexton) is running for President while as a NRO analyst she works for the current President. They bicker over her job but her summons to the White House is a total surprise and she is flabbergasted when the President chooses to send her to the Milne Ice Shelf to verify an important NSA discovery. Rachael is one of the civilians sent to verify NSA's find the others are Norah Mangor, Mike Tolland, Corky and Ming. Everyone is amazed by the meteorite that contains fossils, but then things start going wrong. Ming notices that the water the meteorite came out of has saltwater life forms in it, throwing into doubt that the meteor was encased in solid freshwater ice, Delta force push him to his death. Norah, Mike Corky and Rachael make the same discovery and Norah insist on going out to verify her ice core data. Delta force attacks them and Norah is killed. Corky, Mike and Rachael escape onto the ice where they are picked up by a submarine. Rachael attempts to contact the President, but Marjorie Tench intercepts her call and Delta Force is sent after them yet again to prevent Rachael from telling the world that the "meteor" was inserted in the ice by someone.

Mike takes them to his ship where they find further evidence that the meteor isn't a meteor, but is a sea rock, they are again attacked by Delta Force but manage to fight off their attackers and get word to the President about the sham.

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Sep 13, 2014

The Third Twin

The Third TwinThe Third Twin by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jeannie Ferrami is researching the genetic components of criminality, by comparing identical twins who were raised apart. She has created a search engine that can comb databases and find twins. But then her world starts falling apart after her boss meets Steve (law student) who is one of the "twins" in her study. Steve had no idea he was a twin or that he was adopted. A call to his Mother confirms Steve is her biological son and that he was an only child so how can Dennis (convicted murderer) have the exact same DNA? Before she can find out Jeannie is fired from her job and Steve is accused of raping Jeannie's assistant Lisa.

Determined to solve the mystery Jeannie and Steve work together, and when Jeannie is attacked by someone who looks just like Steve they realize there is a third twin. Determined to discover the identity of "the rapist" Jeannie gets her Father to break into her office at the University she was fired from so she can see if the search of the FBI data base turned up another match. They discover Wayne Stattner a millionaire club owner who looks identical to Steve except for his dyed black hair. Obviously he isn't "the rapist" so there must be more then three men who share the same DNA. Soon she realizes that "cloned embryos" were placed inside eight women without their knowledge. She sets out to track down the remaining clones and discovers Harvey "the rapist" and her former boss' son.

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Sep 11, 2014

A Dangerous Fortune

A Dangerous FortuneA Dangerous Fortune by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hugh Pilaster's life changes in 1866. He is at the swimming hole with his friends Tonio Silva and Peter Middleton when his cousin Edward Pilaster and his friend Micky Miranda show up. They start bullying the younger boys Hugh runs away, but Edward catches Peter and starts ducking his head under water, Tonio throws a rock at Edward which hits him in the forehead and enraged he starts chasing Tonio and Peter drowns. A very upset Tonio catches up to Hugh and repeats over and over I didn't see it. But all thoughts of what happened at the swimming hole are driven out of Hugh's head when he learns his Father Tobias committed suicide after becoming bankrupt. Micky uses the events at the swimming hole to ingratiate himself with the wealthy Pilaster Family, especially with Edward's Mother Augusta who manipulates the family.

Years have gone by and an ailing Seth Pilaster plans to step down as Senior Partner of Pilaster's Bank. Everyone assumes that his son Samuel will become Senior Partner but Augusta starts a smear campaign saying Samuel isn't fit to be senior partner because he is a homosexual, her husband Joseph gets the position after Seth "conveniently" dies. Joseph then loans the Miranda family money that they use to take over a nitrate mine from a competing family, in South America. When Lady Florence shows interest in Hugh Augusta tells her family that Hugh has a gambling problem (which he doesn't) because she doesn't want Hugh to make a better match then Edward. Outraged that Hugh is being promoted faster then Edward at the bank she schemes to get him in trouble and when Edward catches him with street urchin Maisie, Augusta uses the scandal to have Hugh sent to America. Maisie discovers she is pregnant after Hugh has left for America with no way to contact him she marries the wealthy Solly Greenbourne (from a competing banking family) and becomes the darling of Society.

Hugh returns to England with enough clout to be made a partner, but when he is trapped into marriage with Nora and Augusta tricks her into slapping a wealthy client the partnership offer is rescinded, and Joseph states he will never be made a partner due to his unfortunate wife. Meanwhile Edward is made partner as a reward for marrying Emily and the Miranda family receive another loan. Hugh decides to leave Pilaster's and ask Solly for a job. Solly not only gets him a job at the Greenbourne bank, he ask Maisie to teach Nora how to behave like a lady. Maisie then arranges for Nora to charm the Prince of Wales and Joseph makes Hugh a partner to Augusta's dismay.

Augusta wants a title and schemes to buy one, but her scheme to advocate for a banker being given a peerage backfires when the Prime Minister plans to give the peerage to Ben Greenbourne (Solly's Father). Augusta immediately starts a smear campaign against Jews and the peerage is given to Joseph instead. When Solly finds out what happened through the Prince of Wales he confronts Edward and plans to end the partnership between Pilaster's and Greenbourne's on a deal for the Miranda family. Micky overhears the confrontation and Solly is pushed in front of a carriage before he can tell anyone.

Joseph dies and Augusta insist that Edward be made Senior Partner. Micky's Father needs yet another loan and Edward tries to push it through put the partners refuse to underwrite the loan but agree to handle it on a commission basis, which isn't good enough for Micky. He uses sex to get Edward to go behind the partners back and underwrite the loan. The partners are furious and force Edward to resign and Hugh is made partner. When war breaks out (Micky's Father is attempting to overthrow the President of Cordova) the bank goes bankrupt. Hugh insist the partners must sell off their assets in order to repay the bank's debts. Nora who only married Hugh for his money leaves him and their three kids.

Hugh marries Maisie, starts a syndicate backed by Ben Greenbourne to pay off the banks debts and thanks to Tonio Silva is even able to make a modest profit for the syndicate. He then plans to launch a new bank Pilaster's Limited.

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Eradicate, Treat, Stop, Prevent Breast Cancer just don't Cure it

I saw the PINK out again and thought I would republish.

After deciding to boycott Susan G. Komen "for the Cure®" Foundation I decided to search for other ways to help eradicate, treat, stop, prevent (I don't dare use the C word cause Komen's bullies might accuse me of copyright infringement) breast cancer. Here are some ideas:

 Donate to
  1. Breast Cancer Action
  2. Breast Cancer Fund
  3. Planned Parenthood (for those who wish you can specify that the donation only be used for Mammograms)
  4. Avon Walk for Breast Cancer
Organize Walks, Runs, and other Fundraisers to ERADICATE BREAST CANCER, TREAT BREAST CANCER, STOP BREAST CANCER, PREVENT BREAST CANCER.  Don't use Komen's trademark slogan so they can't sic their bullies on your fundraiser. 

Since I will no longer purchase products sporting Komen's pink ribbon I'll donate the difference between the product I do buy and the pink ribbon product. For example when I buy cereal I'll bypass the brand sporting the pink ribbon (which generally cost more) and buy another cereal. If it's cheaper I'll donate the difference to one of the above charities. If the price is the same I'll figure out the percentage the charity would have received and send that at the end of the month. So while Komen's will not be getting any of my cash breast cancer research and prevention will not be losing out. And yes, it'll mean more work for me, as I'll have to keep track of the difference/precentage and mail in a check to the charity instead of conveniently paying at the cash register BUT knowing a bully won't be receiving my funds makes the extra work worth it.

Cervical Cancer  and Ovarian Cancer which don't have cute little pink ribbons and a foundation giant like Komen associated with them lose out on funding and research to breast cancer. So please consider remembering Cervical and Ovarian Cancer as well when you donate.

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund
Foundation for Women's Cancer

and the American Cancer Society helps fight ALL cancer.

To read all my post on why I am boycotting Komen click here.

Sep 9, 2014

Night Over Water

Night Over WaterNight Over Water by Ken Follett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The world’s most luxurious airliner—the legendary Pan Am clipper—takes off for its final flight to neutral America. On board Eddie the Engineer agonizes over Tom Luther's demands that he force the plane to land prematurely. Luther's associates have kidnapped Eddie's wife (Carol-Ann), so he feels he has no choice but determines to find a way to thwart Luther's plot if possible.

The Fascist Lord Oxenford flees England, with his families fortune hidden in the suitcases.

Diana Lovesey having left her husband for Mark Alder is dismayed when Mervyn Lovesey shows up in Ireland and gets accommodations on the plane in the honeymoon suit along with Nancy Lenehan who is determined to prevent her brother Peter Black from selling their shoe company to Nate Ridgeway.

The con artist Harry Marks decides to go straight for the chance to win Margaret Oxenford's love.

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Sep 6, 2014

Triple by Ken Follett

TripleTriple by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Al Cortone (American soldier), stopped off in England to find Nate Dickstein (British soldier) who saved his life in Italy (WWII). Dickstein had been captured by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp so he isn't in the best shape. They go to a Sherry Party given by Professor Ashford of Oxford University where Nate is a student. Other guest include Rostov (Russian), Hassan (Palestinian) Ashford's wife Eila and their daughter Suza.

Years later Nate has immigrated to Israel where he works for Mossad. The Egyptians are getting nuclear weapons with the help of the Russians and the Israelis are determined to get their own nuclear weapons first but they need plutonium in order to do so. Nate is tasked with stealing plutonium in such a way that the Israelis will not be suspected when it is eventually missed. Unfortunately when he is in Luxemburg he is confronted by Hassan (who is working for the Egyptians) and his cover is blown. Rostov (who is KGB) is tasked with stopping Nate.

Meanwhile Nate has meet Suza and they have fallen deeply in love which leads Nate to make some serious mistakes. Not only do the Russians know his plans and have a plan to stop him, but Hassan is a double agent working for the Fedayeen who make plans to steal the plutonium themselves. Suza overhears her Father and Hassan talking about killing Nate and she pretends to work with them to find him in hopes of warning him. Nate believes her to be a Palestinian agent after he is told she is helping Hassan.

But the resourceful Suza convinces Rostov to warn Nate of Hassan's plans, supposedly so Rostov can then carry out his own plot. Forewarned that Hassan's Fedayeen have taken the ship he manages to take it from them but then gets a desperate message from Suza telling him Rostov plans to attack the ship. He instructs her to create a diversion and goes to rescue her while instructing his men to carry on to Israel with the plutonium.

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Sep 5, 2014

The Jester

The JesterThe Jester by James Patterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hugh whose early life was spent traveling with an itinerant band of goliards (a group of clergy who wrote bibulous, satirical Latin poetry in the 12th and 13th centuries) after his Mother (a cleric's mistress) died, now runs an inn with his wife Sophie in a small French village.

When the miller's son is viciously drowned by Norcross (acting for Baldwin) Hugh determines to fight with Stephen in the Crusade and win his freedom so he will not have to fear the same thing happening to his future children. The Crusades are a brutal nasty affair and the Tafurs are viewed with fear and disgust by everyone including their allies. Hugh decides to desert and return home with a few small souvenirs of his trip including a staff. When he gets home he finds that Sophie gave birth to his son during his absence but that raiders dressed in black and with a black cross threw his young son into a fire and carted Sophie off. Believing it to be the work of Baldwin Hugh sets out for Treille in hopes of finding Sophie in the dungeons and freeing her. Before he gets there he is attacked by a boar and Emilie finds him near death. She has him taken to Boree and nurses him back to health.

Once he recover Emilie suggest he pose as a Jester in order to get into Treille. He takes her advice and sets out for Treille dressed as a Jester. He doesn't find Sophie in the dungeon but after Norcross sets him up for a crime he didn't commit he escapes from the dungeons and kills Norcross before going back to Boree. When he sees Tafurs at Boree he is shocked and goes to the dungeon to ask one of the prisoners what the Tafurs seek. He is further dismayed when he barely recognizes his wife who is being held in Stephen's dungeons. She dies in Hugh's arms after imploring him not to give them what they seek. Hugh leaves Boree and returns to his village.

Some of the villagers are very happy to see Hugh but others are afraid of Baldwin's wrath if he discovers Hugh there, but Hugh convinces them to fight for their freedom. Emilie soon arrives at the village and her and Hugh quickly become lovers. Stephen sends Tafurs to attack the village, but they are quickly dispatched by Hugh and the villagers. Realizing the danger they are now in Hugh convinces the villagers to march on Treille. Hugh with the aid of his friends inside Treille take Baldwin prisoner. But Emile fearing for Anne (Stephen's wife) returns to Boree. Hugh leaves for Boree on his own but his army soon follows.

He lays siege to Boree and when he defeats the Tafurs, Stephen threatens to hang Eimile unless Hugh and his men surrender. With the help of Anne Hugh comes up with a plan to rescue Emilie. Then Emilie's father (The King of France) shows up.

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Sep 2, 2014

The City

The CityThe City by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Different then his other books but still very good. The young boy Jonah Ellington Basie Hines Eldridge Wilson Hampton Armstrong Kirk in some indefinable way reminds me of Odd Thomas.

Jonah is a young African American boy growing up in the 1960s. His Father (Tilton Kirk) married his Mother because she was pregnant and then deserted his family. He comes back to her briefly when Jonah was eight. Tilton soon takes up with an upstairs neighbor Aurora Delvane, and Jonah's parents divorce.

Jonah meets the mysterious Miss Pearl who claims to be the soul of the city and helps him at various times throughout the book mainly by sending him prophetic dreams.

When Fiona (a girl from his dreams) moves into Jonah's aparmtment building Jonah is suspicious of her, she threatens him when she catches him snooping and he goes to his neighbor Mr. Yoshioka (Japanese American who was placed in the internment camps during WWII). Mr Yoshioka uses his network of friends from the internment camps to check out Fiona, Mr Smaller (the apartment building superintendent) and Lucas Drackman (a killer from Jonah's dreams). Unfortunately the information is gathered to late to save Jonah.

When Jonah's Mother (Sylvia) loses her singing job they move in with Grandpa Teddy. Jonah (a piano prodigy) then makes friends with two white children who live in he neighborhood Malcolm (who plays the saxophone) and his older sister Amelia. Amelia starts taking the two younger children on field trips when she has the time. When they visit a bank renown for it's architecture Jonah spots his Father and Fiona and realizes they have planted a bomb in the bank. Jonah attempts to warn everyone. Amelia is killed and Jonah is severely injured and will never walk again.

Lucas is infuriated that Jonah and Mr. Yoshioka thwarted his plot and the terrorist make plans to exact revenge on them.

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