Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Echoes of Savanna by Lucinda Moebius (Book Review)

Title: Echoes of Savanna
(Book one in the Parent Generation)
Author: Lucinda Moebius
Publisher: Stonehouse Ink

About the book: Every generation has their defining moments, events that change history and turn the course of lives. Forever will the children of that generation be identified by those moments.

Savanna Taylor is a medical doctor in 2036, the same year terrorists release a series of plagues and viruses into the world. She is a nineteen year old Brain Trust whose task it is to find a cure for the diseases and develop vaccines to prevent their further spread. The world is thrown in turmoil and Savanna needs to find a way to survive with her sanity and family intact.

Can Savanna cope in a world in constant flux brought on by war and disease? Can she save the world and protect her loved ones or will she make the ultimate sacrifice? How will she be defined?

My thoughts:  This book starts out by throwing you right into the action. We meet Savanna as she is coming to work at an emergency clinic that has had a huge influx of smallpox victims.  A disease that the world thought it had eradicated. 

Savanna's DNA was altered by her father, a geneticist.  He has worked on creating babies for years because of the infertility that the world is experiencing.  The population is actually declining.  He has created a facility known as Haven that reaches out to (mainly) women and children who have addictions, been abused, need some sort of help.  Haven is completely self-contained - food, water, resources - all grown or obtained on the property.  You even have to go through special sanitizing showers upon entering and "containerize" all outside belongings until it is time for you to leave.

Savanna is only working outside of Haven until she feels she has enough experience to go take over for her father.  This time comes too soon and the responsibility is thrust upon her.

This book was good in creating the world as it could be in 2036.  There is much dissension among the population due to governmental control. Much of the population is left homeless, hungry and without health insurance due to refusing to have a microchip implanted in them with all of their personal information.

Savanna doesn't experience much of this first hand as she lives in her self-contained bubble at Haven.  The outside world starts to infringe on Haven as transients become more desperate in their search for food.  Savanna and her family are separated because of the situation that seems to be escalating every day.

Savanna is only nineteen when the book starts - and as we know she is a genius because she is already a doctor - she is still only nineteen, a teenager.  She seemed too mature for a nineteen-year-old though.  I never felt that she was that young.  The book covers the first 10-12 years fairly slowly with lots of detail and many different things happening both to Savanna and the world, but then all of sudden the next 5-6 years are jumped through and the book ends.  It just seemed like the ending was rushed, especially since this is just the first book in the series.   That would probably be my only criticism.  I definitely want to know what else could possibly happen in the next book.

~I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Media Guests in exchange for my review.~

About the author: Lucinda Moebius grew up in the mountains of Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Her mother taught her to read when she was four years old and since that time books have been her constant companions. She has a Bachelors Degree in English Teaching, a Masters in Educational Leadership, and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education. Lucinda supports her writing habit by teaching High School and College. She currently lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and their dog and cat. Lucinda is the author of Echoes of Savanna, a Haven Novel, part of the Parent Generation.
 You can connect with her at her website, blog, and facebook.

Echoes of Savanna (Parent Generation)
Publisher/Publication Date: Stonehouse Ink, Aug 2010
ISBN: 978-0982770535
400 pages

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

It's Not Monday - But What are you Reading Anyway? (For Mon, June 13, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! I have not posted a What Are You Reading post in weeks - we have had some things come up in our family that has taken me away from blogging.  I will be blogging sporadically over the summer, but hope by next fall sometime I will be able to get back on some sort of schedule.  I will blog more later about what is going on, as I can use advise, support, and just some place to blow off steam.

Currently Reading:
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Next Up:
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Summoner by Layton Green

Next E-Books up:
In the Belly of Jonah by Sandra Brannan

Bathroom Book:
The Book Thief by Markus

Reviewed Since Last Post:
Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel
The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark
Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso
Surrender the Dark by L.A. Banks

Children's Books Reviewed Since Last Post:
Good Night, Little Sea Otter by Janet Halfman
Little Star by Anthony DeStefano

Waiting for Reviews:
The Arrivals: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore
 White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)by Lauren DeStefano
The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

Children's Books waiting for review:
Pearl's Wisdom by Auntie LuLu
Bug Meets His Friend (Bug's Adventure Series) by K.M. Groshek


Monday, June 13, 2011

Mailbox Monday (June 13, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday's host for June is The Bluestocking Guide. In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!  This mailbox covers the last two weeks.

I got this first book when I signed up for my local library's summer reading program.

Iron House
by John Hart
An old man is dying.
When the old man is dead they will come for him.
And they will come for her, to make him hurt.

John Hart has written three New York Times bestsellers and won an unprecedented two back-to-back Edgar Awards. His books have been called “masterful” (Jeffery Deaver) and “gripping” (People) with “Grisham-style intrigue and Turow-style brooding” (The New York Times). Now he delivers his fourth novel—a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping thriller no reader will soon forget.


At the Iron Mountain Home for Boys, there was nothing but time. Time to burn and time to kill, time for two young orphans to learn that life isn’t won without a fight. Julian survives only because his older brother, Michael, is fearless and fiercely protective. When tensions boil over and a boy is brutally killed, there is only one sacrifice left for Michael to make: He flees the orphanage and takes the blame with him.


For two decades, Michael has been an enforcer in New York’s world of organized crime, a prince of the streets so widely feared he rarely has to kill anymore. But the life he’s fought to build unravels when he meets Elena, a beautiful innocent who teaches him the meaning and power of love. He wants a fresh start with her, the chance to start a family like the one he and Julian never had. But someone else is holding the strings. And escape is not that easy. . . .


The mob boss who gave Michael his blessing to begin anew is dying, and his son is intent on making Michael pay for his betrayal. Determined to protect the ones he loves, Michael spirits Elena—who knows nothing of his past crimes, or the peril he’s laid at her door— back to North Carolina, to the place he was born and the brother he lost so long ago. There, he will encounter a whole new level of danger, a thicket of deceit and violence that leads inexorably to the one place he’s been running from his whole life: Iron House.

I won this next book during the Splash into Summer Bloghop from Susie Bookworm.
(Book 3 of the Protector of the Small Quartet)
by Tamora Pierce

When Keladry of Mindelan is chosen by the legendary Lord Raoul to be his squire, the conservatives of the realm hardly think she's up to the job.  Kel quickly proves her ability as a jouster, warrior, and guardian of a fiery griffin, ultimately earning respect and admiration among the men, as well as the affection of a fellow squire.  In addition to coping with the challenges of a new romance and a life in the royal guard, Kel must also prepare for the infamous "Ordeal," the last challenge that stands between her and her dream of knighthood. . .

I also won this e-book during the Splash into Summer Bloghop from the author Megg Jensen.
(Book 1: Cloud Prophet Trilogy)
by Megg Jensen

Forget prophecy. Make your own destiny.

Sheltered from the outside world with no hope for escape, slave girl Reychel dreads her fifteenth birthday - when her master’s symbol is burned on the back of her bald scalp. Her best friend disappears the night before, leaving her to face the branding ceremony alone. She soon discovers nothing is as it seems when people desperate for freedom beg for Reychel's help.

Can Reychel learn to believe in herself?

The Devil All the Time
by Donald Ray Pollack

In The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock has written a novel that marries the twisted intensity of Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers with the religious and gothic overtones of Flannery O'Connor at her most haunting.

Set in rural southern Ohio and West Virginia, The Devil All the Time follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s.  Willard Russell is a tormented veteran of the carnage in the South Pacific who can't save his beautiful wife, Charlotte, from an agonizing death by cancer no matter how much sacrificial blood he pours on his "prayer log."  Carl and Sandy Henderson, a husband-and-wife team of serial killers, troll America's highways searching for suitable models to photograph and exterminate.  The spider-handling preacher, Roy, and his crippled virtuoso-guitar-playing sidekick, Theodore, are running from the law.  And caught in the middle of all this is Arvin Eugene Russell, Willard and Charlotte's orphaned son, who grows up to be a good but also violent man in his own right.

Donald Ray Pollock braids his plot lines into a taut narrative that will leave readers astonished and deeply moved.  With his first novel, he proves himself a master storyteller in the grittiest and most uncompromising American grain.

The Devil Colony
by James Rollins

Deep in the Rocky Mountains, a gruesome discovery -- hundreds of mummified bodies -- stirs international attention and fervent controversy.  Despite doubts about the bodies' origins, the local Native American Heritage Commission lays claim to the prehistoric remains, along with the strange artifacts found in the same cavern:  gold plates inscribed with an unfathomable script.

During a riot at the dig site, an anthropologist dies horribly, burned to ashes in a fiery explosion in plain view of television cameras.  All evidence points to a radical group of Native Americans, including one agitator, a teenage firebrand who escapes with a vital clue to the murder and calls on the one person who might help -- her uncle, Painter Crowe, Director of Sigma Force.

To protect his niece and uncover the truth, Painter will ignite a war among the nation's most powerful intelligence agencies.  Yet an even greater threat looms as events in the Rocky Mountains have set in motion a frightening chain reaction, a geological meltdown that threatens the entire western half of the U.S.

From the volcanic peaks of Iceland to the blistering deserts of the American Southwest, from the gold vaults of Fort Knox to the bubbling geysers of Yellowstone, Painter Crowe joins forces with Commander Gray Pierce to penetrate the shadowy heart of a dark cabal, one that has been manipulating American history since the founding of the thirteen colonies.

But can Painter discover the truth -- one that could topple governments -- before it destroys all he holds dear?

What Are You Waiting For?
by Dannah Gresh

In What Are You Waiting For? Dannah follows the trail of one provocative, ancient word through the Bible to discover God's deepest thoughts about sex.  The mind-blowing truth she uncovers clearly points the way to a sexuality that's satisfying and real and everything God designed it to be.

Not one to shy away from edgy topics, Dannah candidly shares:
  • straight talk about masturbation and pornography
  • the ground-breaking science that explains the addictive power of romantic experiences
  • honest answers about the lesbian question
  • a clear plan for breaking free from sexual guilt
  • the unexpected key to a lifetime of truly fulfilling intimacy
If you're a young woman looking for candid insights about sex -- and wondering why it's such a big deal to God -- you've come to the right place.  In these pages you'll discover a life-changing truth that no one ever talks about -- a truth that will transform everything you think you know about sex, romance and God.


Folly Beach
by Dorothea Benton Frank

Home is the place that knows us best. . .

A woman returns to the past to find her future in this enchanting new tale of loss, acceptance, family, and love.

With its sandy beaches and bohemian charms, surfers and suits alike consider Folly Beach to be one of South Carolina's most historic and romantic spots.  It is also the land of Cate Cooper's childhood, the place where all the ghosts of her past roam freely.  Cate never thought she'd wind up in this tiny cottage named the Porgy House on this breathtakingly lovely strip of coast.  But circumstances have changed, thanks to her newly dead husband whose financial -- and emotional -- bull and mendacity have left Cate homeless, broke, and unmoored.

Yet Folly Beach holds more than just memories.  Once upon a time another woman found unexpected bliss and comfort within its welcoming arms.  An artist, writer, and colleague of the revered George Gershwin, Dorothy Heyward enjoyed the greatest moments of her life at Folly with her beloved husband, DuBose.  And though the Heywards are long gone, their passion and spirit lingers in every mango sunset and gentle ocean breeze.

And for Cate, Folly, too, holds the promise of her unexpected fulfillment when she is forced to look at her life and the zany characters that are her family anew.  To her surprise, she will discover that you can go home again.  Folly Beach doesn't just hold the girl she once was. . . it also holds the promise of the woman she's always wanted -- and is finally ready to become.

Folly Beach, filled with the irresistible charm, saucy wit, and lush atmosphere that have won her the devotion of fans and propelled her books to bestsellerdom, is vintage Dorothea Benton Frank.

The Blackberry Bush
by David Housholder

An invitation to a treasure hunt through the landscape of your soul. . .

Josh grows up an artistic and gifted California Golden Boy, but for all that life has handed to him, he struggles with his identity and role in the world.  Surrounded by unrealistic expectations, he feels hedged in.

Kati's German heritage presents its own obstacles to understanding herself and what freedom means.  She is crushed by disappointment at never being "enough" -- especially for a mother who cannot be satisfied.

As Josh and Kati's lives unfold, longing for true freedom reverberates in their souls.  Come discover with them the life-transforming power of a "chance encounter". . . or is it chance after all?

Black Ties and Lullabies
by Jane Graves

A good girl can be bad for one night. . .

Bernadette Hogan doesn't make mistakes.  Not when it comes to caring for her mother, and not at her job protecting Texas's most eligible -- and infuriating -- bachelor.  Maybe that's why she's overcome with guilt after one tiny indiscretion:  a passionate fling with him that's left her confused, intrigued. . . and pregnant.

but can a bad boy be good for a lifetime?

To self-made milllionaire Jeremy Bridges, women are like fine wine: if held for too long, they sour. But one wild night with Bernadette changed all that.  She makes him laugh, she makes him think, and soon she's going to make him a father.  For the first time, Jeremy wants to be a one-woman man.  So how can he convince the fiercely independent Bernadette he's ready to change from partying playboy to dependable dad -- and become the loving husband she deserves?

by Emily Sue Harvey

Homefires is set in the Deep South's Bible Belt on the eve of unprecedented moral changes.  It is the story of Janeece and Kirk Crenshaw, a couple married just after their high school graduation who set out to make a life for themselves.  It is a life marked by surprises, none more dramatic than when Kirk receives his "high-calling" and becomes a pastor.  It is a life marked by tragedy, the most heart-rending of which is a devastating event very close to home.  And it is a life marked by challenges: to their church, to their community, and most decidedly to their marriage.  And as the fullness of time makes its impact on their union, Kirk and Janeece must face the question of whether they have gone as far as they can together.

Filled with rich emotions and evocative characters that fans have come to expect from Emily Sue Harvey, and reminiscent of the work of Jan Karon and Anne Rivers Siddons, Homefires is a poignant and compelling novel that will steal readers' hearts.

What books came home to you this week?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Surrender the Dark by L.A. Banks (Book Review)

Title: Surrender the Dark
Author: L.A. Banks
Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Pocket Books

Celeste Jackson has fought all her life against a fog of hallucination and substance abuse, but it's not until she meets her protector, Azrael, an angel who has left the safety of the Light, that she learns of the evil forces that have been trying to ruin her and why.  A fierce battle for control of the mortal realm is brewing, and only Celeste -- with the help of the Remnant, her half-human, half-angel brethren -- can stand in the way.  Together, Celeste and Azrael must gather an army of sensitives to defeat the dark powers that have ruled humanity for centuries, but time is running out.  If Azrael surrenders to his growing desire for Celeste, he risks being trapped among humanity forever.  But the longer he stays, the harder she is to resist.  To save the world, Celeste must draw on her own dark experiences with addiction to help Azrael overcome the one temptation that could possibly make him an eternal prisoner -- his obsession with her.

My thoughts: This was my first L.A. Banks book and I really enjoyed it.  I didn't think that I was going to at first, but then I found myself really engrossed it in and wanting to know what was going to happen.

Celeste is a very strong female lead, having lived her life abusing drugs and alcohol and being abused.  She thought she was crazy as she always saw demons, but come to find out - she really was seeing demons.  When she meets Azrael, she feels safe with him, but still has a hard time trusting him.  It was sometimes comical as they learned about each other's worlds - especially as Azrael learned how to cope with his human body and all it's nuances. 

The book is fast paced, but still gives you lots of back ground information as to why the battle between good and evil, and how angels and demons came to be on earth.

This is the first book in the series, with Conquer the Dark due out in October of this year.  She has a couple of other series, Vampire Huntress and Crimson Moon that I think I am going to have to check out in the mean time.

~I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Gallery/Pocket Books in exchange for my review.~

About the author:  L.A. Banks is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty-five novels and twelve novellas in a wide range of genres, including her popular Vampire Huntress and Crimson Moon series.  In 2008, she received Essence magazine's Storyteller of the Year Award.  She lives in Philadelphia. 

You can find her online at her website,  her blog, Facebook, and on Twitter.

Surrender the Dark
Publisher/Publication Date: Pocket Books, Mar 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0778-9
373 pages


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