Oct 26, 2014

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1)

Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy, #1)Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book brings the era before, during and immediately after WWI alive.

Gus Dewar, the son of an American Senator works for President Woodrow Wilson. He watches in dismay as Europe moves toward war and is horrified when Germany's scheming brings America into the war. Germany believing that all out submarine warfare would end the war in their favor by preventing Britain and France from receiving goods from America attempts to make a deal with Mexico. When the British intercept the Germans' message to the Mexicans they leak it to the American Press ensuring America will enter the War. After a brief engagement to Olga Vyalov that ends when Olga becomes pregnant with Lev's child before America enters the War Gus marries Rosa Hellman a journalist, at the end of the War.

Earl Fitzherbert (Fitz) owns a mine in Wales where the Welsh miners work and live in horrible conditions. Billy Williams is forced to go down in the mine at age 13, the same mine his older brother died in. He becomes something of a hero after a mine explosion when he risked his life to get other miners out. His sister Ethel works as Earl Fitzherbert's housekeeper until Earl Fitzherbert gets her pregnant. Fitz discards Ethel and she is forced to leave her home in Aberowen and start over in London. She goes to work as a newspaper editor and forms a friendship with Lady Maud (Fitz's sister). She begins working for the Labor Party and eventually marries one of the Labor Leaders Bernie Leckwith. At the end of the book Ethel Leckwith is the M.P. from Aldgate and her brother Billy is the M.P. from Aberowen.

Before the War Maud falls in love with (German) Walter von Ulrich a friend of Fitz's. They secretly marry before the War and manage to keep the marriage a secret until the end of the War. Fitz disowns Maud for marrying without his permission and she goes to live in subjugated Germany with Walter, where food is scarce and inflation is high. His cousin Graf (Count) Robert von Ulrich joins the National Socialists (Adolf Hitler is the leader).

Grigori Peshkov and his brother (Lev) work in a St Petersburg factory. Their Father and other peasants were hanged by Princess Bea (Fitz's wife) for allowing their cattle to graze on her land and their Mother was killed by tsarist troops during the Bloody Sunday Massacre. Grigori dreams of going to America and is saving his money for a ticket when Lev gets in trouble with the authorities, Grigori gives Lev his ticket. Grigori stays in Russia and marries Lev's pregnant girlfriend Katerina. Conscripted into the army he becomes a leader in the Red Army that overthrows Tsar Nicholas. The Red Army makes peace with Germany. After Germany ask for an armistice with the Allies Fitz tries to use the British Army to overthrow the Bolshevik Government in Russia by backing the White Army. Fitz wants to regain his sons Russian inheritance (As Princess Bea's brother died without children her children are his heirs). Billy had the misfortune to be part of the army Fitz took to Russia and using a secret childhood code alerted Ethel to what was going on. Ethel wrote about it in the papers and British sentiment forced Fitz to return home with his army. Lev wound up being seconded to them as an interpreter. He was captured by the Red Army and briefly meet with Grigori. He offered Grigori the money to come to America with Katrina and their children but Grigori turned him down as he believed in the New Russia. Grigori had a rude awakening when he got back to Moscow and discovered the secret police were executing anyone who disagrees with Lenin. His friend Konstantin was scheduled to be executed, the book ends with Grigori's intervention in the execution but we don't know if Grigori is able to save Konstantin or if it causes problems for him later.

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Oct 15, 2014

Son of No One (Hellchasers, #6; Dark-Hunter, #14)

Son of No One (Hellchasers, #6; Dark-Hunter, #14)Son of No One by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK, I am not exactly sure why this was labeled a Dark Hunter Book, Cadegan was never a Dark Hunter. That aside I LOVED this book. I also wonder if she is tying her Lords of Avalon series in with the Dark Hunter/Hellchasers, and if you are familiar with the Lords of Avalon series you will enjoy this book far more as you need the background to fully appreciate this book.

Jo (cousin to Tabitha, Selena and Karma) doesn't believe in all the paranormal nonsense her family peddles, but after a nasty divorce that leaves her penniless she agrees to be the cameraman for a paranormal show Karma and Selena are making when she falls into a mirror and is trapped in Glastonbury Tor - Terre Derriere le Voile (the shadowlands between Avalon and Camelot). Cadegan saves her from the graylings that are attacking her and takes her to his home. The quickly fall in bed together and fall in love (we find out later that they are reincarnated lovers (Britomartis and Arthegall ap Tyr, Brit is also Artemis cousin). The next day Cadegan takes her to the portal so she can return home but she is inexplicably unable to go through it. Desperate to get her to safety he makes a deal with the Shadow King Brenin Gwyn ap Nudd to get a Dragon Key to the world of man so he can open the portal for Jo. Gwyn sets a steep price Cadegan must allow himself to be handed over to Cadegan's Father, Paimon. We find out later that Paimon is actually Cadegan's Grandfather, for some reason Thorn doesn't want Cadegan to know that he is his Father and not his older brother. Cadegan agrees and Gwyn sends him to fetch some things supposedly needed to make the Dragon Key.

The first thing needed is a Dragon Claw and Gwyn expects him to be killed getting it. But Jo talks to the Dragon, Illarion, and he befriends the couple. That night when Jo and Cadegan are together Gwyn uses a spell to exchange bodies with Cadegan and Jo. Just about the time their bodies are switched Thorn brings Jo (Cadegan) back through the mirror. The two "brothers" are not pleased to see each other and Cadegan quickly explains the danger Jo is in while inhibiting his body. Thorn and Cadegan go through the mirror to rescue Jo. Gwyn handed her over to Morgen who intends to torture the girl until she tells where the Shield of Dagda is. Cadegan's mother is Brigid (the daughter of Dagda) and she intrusted the shield to him. Morgen wants to use the Shield of Dagda to destroy the world of men. But Illarion rescued Jo before she could be turned over to Morgen. Once Cadegan and Jo are reunited the group plans to return to New Orleans but before they can Morgen attacks and they are captured by Queen Cordelia who wants Cadegan for her own. During the battle Cordelia arranges Cadegan turns into the demon addanc (a fierce water monster). Thorn assumes his demon form to battle him but before he can Queen Cordelia sends every one but Cadegan back to New Orleans. To Illarion's suprise he sees his brother Max, amongst Jo's friends.

After consulting with Acheron and Styxx who are now good friends everyone decides that they owe it to Cadegan to try to save him. Styxx leads a rescue party (Acheron can't go because he is a God from another Parthenon and would lose his powers forever) to Glastonbury Tor. Jo talks to Cadegan and he resumes his human form. They return to New Orleans, and everyone helps Cadegan adjust to his new life.

The book ends with Cadegan and Jo having a son (Drystan) on the same day Acheron and Styxx were born. Thorn finds it odd that his Grandson was born on the Atlantean Day of Fire in the Year of the Blood Moon and Styxx admits they are aware of the prophecy.

Puzzle Karma has a son in this book nicknamed ET but we aren't told who the Father is.

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Oct 11, 2014

Close to Home by Lisa Jackson

Close to HomeClose to Home by Lisa Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sarah Stewart McAdams returns to Stewart Crossing (named for her family) to fix up Blue Peacock Manor and escape from an employer (Evan Tolliver) turned stalker. Her two daughters are less then thrilled to be taken from the big city and stuck in this rural backwater where they can't even get Internet or decent cell reception.

Gracie becomes obsessed with the ghost of Angelique and after she finds Helen's diary (Angelique's step-daughter) spends all her time trying to translate it. She finally tells her Mom about the diary and Sarah helps her translate it. They discover that the family legend of Maxim killing his wife wasn't true, it was her step-son George who killed her and most likely killed Maxim too. Sarah also realizes that the ghost she sees isn't the same one Gracie sees.

Sarah sees the ghost of her "older sister", Theresa. Theresa leads Sarah to her tomb which also houses the body of Maxim. While they are at the family cemetery , Gracie finds the body of Evan Tolliver. Then Roger Anderson (Theresa's brother) grabs her to keep her safe. When the police and Clint arrive and let Sarah out of the vault she remembers that Roger saved her from being molested by her Father years ago. Roger reveals that Theresa is really Sarah's Mother and that Arlene killed her husband to prevent him from molesting Sarah the same way he did his step-daughter Theresa.

Jade has mixed emotions about discovering the identity of her biological Father, a secret Sarah kept for 17 years from both Father and daughter. Happy to have her car out of the shop she is dismayed when she is rear ended. Her dismay quickly turns to fear when she realizes the creep that has been kidnapping teenage girls rear ended her on purpose. Jade makes plans with the other kidnapping victims to escape from the barn where they are being held before the creep can sale them as brides to the "mountain men". Noticing traffic headed toward the abandoned Stewart Barn Sarah and Clint alert the police and go to rescue their daughter.

The book dragged on at places and it seemed that none of the the various threads got the attention it deserved.

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Oct 1, 2014

Private Down Under aka Private Oz (Other Private Offices)

Private Down UnderPrivate Down Under by James Patterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fast paced thriller still annoyed that it took so long to come out in the States and that it came out under a different name.

Craig Gisto heads up the Private Offices in Australia. While he is close friends with the Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police and his wife (who just happens to be Justine's sister) he is a bit at odds with his cousin Mark who is on the force. Their rivalry leads to Private not being notified in a timely manner on some evidence but in the end they come through for each other.

First case literally arrives dead on their doorstep, when a young kidnap victim is killed outside their opening party. His Father is being blackmailed to smuggle drugs into the country. When his older son is also kidnapped by the Triads Private works with the police to get him back alive.

Second case a rock star thinks his manager is out to kill him and hires Private to find out. Turns out that it's the rock stars girlfriend that wants him dead and the manager winds up saving the rock stars life. In return the rock star pays off the managers gambling debts.

The third case involves a psycho on the lose torturing and murdering wealthy women and stuffing their "private parts" full of fake money. A stray hair on one of the bodies leads to the discover that the killer is a woman and when a man's body is found the trail leads back to his ex-girlfriend.

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