Monday, April 29, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: The Mark of Athena

Third book in the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordin.

The fun continues, only there's a deadline to meet -- literally. They have to rescue Hazel's brother, Nico, before he runs out of air and dies. Even being the son of Pluto/Hades won't protect him from death. Then there's the problem with a bunch of angry Roman demigods on their tails. Seems there was a problem when some malevolent spirits took over Leo just long enough for him to turn the weapons of the Argo II on the Roman camp. NOT a good way to make friends and influence enemies....

And of course the usual problems left sitting for centuries, that the Greco-Roman gods created and never fixed. It just doesn't pay to be a demigod, you know? Percy and his allies are left once again with cleaning up after their parents -- who are having some psychological breakdowns and are incommunicado or whatever their latest excuse is.

I love this series, even when I get sarcastic. Of course, part of my attitude could be that I have to wait until this FALL for the next installment. Not fun. Write faster, dear author?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: SON OF NEPTUNE

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson books. This new series, expanding the "universe" of the demi-gods of Camp Half-Blood just proves that Rick Riordan knows what he's doing.

I was ready to wait until this book came out in paper, but a few weeks ago Nook had some great ebook deals, so I stocked up. (Book 3 in the series, along with Book 2 and 3 of the Kane Family Chronicles) Despite the rule I gave myself that I had to clear off a bookshelf before I could buy new ones ... Well, it's not like I bought more books to put ON the shelf, right?

SON OF NEPTUNE, Book 2 in the Heroes of Olympus, features Percy. (Book 1 featured Jason Grace, the son of Jupiter) He is not a happy camper. Literally. It seems someone has wiped his memory, although he gets flashes of memory from time to time, enough to make him sure he is NOT where he belongs. He finds himself among Roman demi-gods, a very military version of Camp Half-Blood, and it seems like everyone is out to get him. There are new friends with dark pasts and untapped powers, nasty immortals and unclear prophecies getting in the way. You just know things are not right when the augury sacrifices teddy bears to see the future. Riordan writes a fast-paced, exciting book, with some moments of snickering and cultural asides. Such as Amazon being run by ... well ... Amazons!

I'm about 50 pages into the 3rd book, MARK OF ATHENA. Can't wait to see what happens next. And of course, that's next week's book report!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: NELL'S COWBOY

This is the third and the last of the Heart of Texas romances by Debbie Macomber that I picked up at a book sale in the mall. I wish I had found the other 3 titles.

Well, at least the mystery of the ghost town of Bitter End got solved!

This episode in the town of Promise, Texas, features Nell, who has been widowed several years now, and Travis, a YA writer. He's come to town to follow up a story about the ghost town. As luck would have it, the rodeo is in town and every room is taken. Fortunately, Nell is just about to turn her ranch into a dude ranch, and Travis becomes her first customer. Her kids take to him, and despite herself, Nell takes to Travis, too. Although she's a little hurt when he presses to learn about Bitter End, and doesn't listen when it seems everyone in town warns him to leave the place alone ... well, their hearts have other ideas. This is a nice second chance story, a family romance, and ties up some loose strings in the saga of Promise, Texas. Plus it's fun getting glimpses into the lives of the other couples we've met along the way.

Debbie always delivers. And I gotta make a note to find the other 3 books and fill in those holes in my bookshelf!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: DR. TEXAS

Here is the 2nd of the 3 Heart of Texas books by Debbie Macomber.

Kinda like potato chips, y'know? Once you start reading 1 book in a connected series, you want to read them all. It's fun seeing people you've "met" in other stories, as their relationships progress, and scoundrels who caused problems in previous books finally get their comeuppance a book or two later.

In DR. TEXAS, we meet Jane Dickinson and Cal Patterson. Jane is a new doctor who is working off her student loans with a commitment to Promise, Texas for 3 years. After that, her family plans on her coming back to California and going into practice with her uncle. It's what they've planned for her since medical school. The only problem is, nobody really asked Jane if that was what she wanted -- and she never really asked herself until now.

Then there's Cal Patterson. A few years ago, he was all set to get married. But his bride decided she didn't want to stay in Promise, and when he wouldn't follow her plans, she called it all off 2 days before the wedding, leaving Cal to pick up the pieces and apologize to everybody and return the presents. He's kind of soured on romance, and women in general -- especially the ones who have other places they'd rather be. So when he finds himself softening up and falling for the girl who everybody knows is leaving at the end of 3 years ... see the problem?

There are bits and pieces of other people's stories scattered through this book -- and doggone it, now I have to find the ones in the series I don't have, because I want to see all the excitement everybody else is still talking about!

Stay tuned for the 3rd installment in this series, next week!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Off the Bookshelf: LONESOME COWBOY

Don't you love used book sales? Either the Friends of the Library sale, where no matter how big or old or new the book is, paperbacks are 25 cents and hardbacks are 50 -- or the ones where people set up tables in the center of the mall and you wander up and down haphazard aisles, looking at whatever people are offering. That's where I got the next few books I"ll be reporting on. I have 3 books in Debbie Macomber's Hearts of Texas series.

LONESOME COWBOY is a sweet, quiet story, and introduces several characters in the local community who I hope get their own romances before I'm done reading -- and make me wish I had found all the Hearts of Texas books, because if I don't read their stories, I think I'm going to be disappointed. Well, that's just what Debbie Macomber does with her stories. Once she introduces people, you want to know, "And? Did they live happily ever after?"

Savannah and Laredo, the main characters of COWBOY are two people who have given up on love. Who have decided to be content with other dreams in their lives. And just as they think they're getting what they "really" want, his truck breaks down and she drives by and offers him a ride and love sneaks up and ambushes them both. Of course there's the gruff, overburdened, overprotective older brother who has both feet in his mouth when it comes to saying what he's feeling, and who tries his best and keeps irritating the woman he wants to think well of him. And the interfering, gossipy biddies in town. And other characters who make the town of Promise, Texas solid and real -- and make you want to come back for more.

Anything by Debbie Macomber is worth the sit-down -- and worth whatever you pay for the book. They're always keepers.