Sunday, October 25, 2009

Storm Glass~By Maria V. Snyder

Opal Cowen is working in the glass shop when a messenger comes to bring her back to the Keep. Opal is given a mission: She must help the Stormdance Clan make orbs for their magicians. The magicians then use the orbs to harvest storms. The clan’s attempts have been with bad glass, causing them to break. When an orb breaks, a Stormdancer is killed. Zitora, the second magician, will be traveling with Opal. During their trek, they are awoken by a sword blade at their necks. The masked man in charge doesn’t want the Stormdance clan to be helped. Zitora has Opal prick their attackers with Curare to keep them paralyzed until the guards could come pick them up. The Stormdance clan shows Opal where they create their orbs and their mixture of sand. When Opal sees one of the old orbs, she realizes magic is trapped inside. (She can both see it and hear it). Unlike when she blows glass at home, the new unused orbs do not sparkle. Opal thinks that one of the raw ingredients in the glass may be tainted. Opal, Zitora and Kade (the Stormdancer that’s left) and Varun (one of the glass blowers) decided to go to see Opal’s father. Later, Kade asks Opal what she had heard in the orb. She says Kaya. He assumes that Zitora has been listening to his thoughts. This of course causes tension between Opal and Kade. Zitora sends Opal to the market near their camp alone. While at the market, their attacker returns and demands Opal comes with him. Kade saves Opal from Blue Eyes and stays behind to find out who he really is. Opal and Zitora go on to Booruby promising to meet back with Kade. When they arrive, they give Jaymes, Opal’s father, the mixture of sand. He continues to examine it throughout the night. He finds brittle talc which lessens the density of the glass. The brittle talc looks and feels like lime. Opal visits a fellow glassmaker and finds he showed an interest in brittle talc. Zitora suspects he is a magician because his glass sings out loud. Opal and Zitora then continue back to the Stormdance lands. But only after Zitora sends Opal’s friend to the Keep. They arrive just in time to test the orbs before Kade must go out to capture storms. Opal learns that she can go into the glass orbs. After she comes out, Zitora asks Opal what happened but she just wants to drop it. On the way back to the Keep, after successfully completing their mission, Opal is under arrest for robbery. The police found a vase that Opal “stole” in her saddlebag. Zitora comes to save Opal but she quickly finds out that it is not really Zitora. When they arrive in the Kyrstal lands, Tal (the man who sabotaged the lime) was there with some of the other original captors. They want the Stormdance recipe for glass. Opal escapes and finds a couple who takes her to the local magician. He contacts Zitora who says come back to Thunder Valley. They finally arrive safely back to the Keep. This gets you up the first 200 pages.

Even though this is the first book in the glass series, I would recommend reading the study series about Yelena first. It would clarify things and the magicians at the Keep are introduced more. Opal isn’t in the first two study books but they are great too.

I loved this book. I hope Maria Snyder continues to write about these characters. These are such quick reads. Definitely one of my new favorite writers. If you love fantasy and romance books then you must read this book. I wonder who the next series will revolve around?

***Book two (Sea Glass) is already released and book three comes out Fall 2010***

Study Series is order

Poison Study

Magic Study

Fire Study

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Accessory To Murder~By Elaine Viets

Accessory To Murder is Elaine Viets’s third book about Josie Marcus, a secret shopper and single mom. Josie often takes her friend Alyce on her secret shopping treks. Josie’s assignment was at the Dorchester Mall- one of the most unsafe malls in the area. While at the mall, the friends witness the chaos after an armed robbery. The following day, Josie is at Alyce’s home and the news is on. Alyce’s neighbor Halley Hardwicke (a young designer) is shot in the parking lot of the Dorchester Mall during a carjacking. All of Alyce’s neighbors meet up to comfort each other. Josie, not fitting in, leaves to pick up her daughter, Amelia, from school. Josie gets a frantic call from Alyce but hangs up as soon as Jake walking into the room. Josie finds out that the homicide detectives were at Alyce’s home asking about Jake’s whereabouts. When Josie’s mother sets her up on a blind date with a man from Jake’s law firm, Josie sees the perfect time to investigate. Josie sees the perfect time to investigate. She’s told that Jake was having an affair with Halley. Alyce begs Josie to investigate Halley’s murder and hopefully clear Jake’s name. Alyce is shunned by her neighbors because Jake has been taken into custody for Halley’s murder. To find out who the murderer is, you will have to read the book!

Josie’s life doesn’t match what her mother wanted, but she does a great job being a single mom. Her moments with Amelia are so cute. I love this series, especially when she’s secret shopping. I hope Elaine Viets continues this series.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dead Men Don't Lye~By Tim Myers

When Benjamin Perkins finds Jerry Sanger’s body on the back step behind his soap store, his first thought is how to not tell his sister. Jerry and Louisa had been dating on and off. Ben calls his friend Molly because she is a detective that he trusts. Molly suspects Louisa because her reputation for overreacting. And of course for being Jerry’s girlfriend. Ben’s mother asks him to investigate Jerry’s murder to clear Louisa. Ben drives to other soap shops that Jerry supplied ingredients to. Both women are too distressed to for just being friends with him. Molly finds out that Ben has been investigating and chews him out for doing his job. While talking to Louisa, Ben finds that Jerry’s favorite hangout is a local independent mystery bookstore. He finds out that Jerry would flirt with any woman in the store. Because of his investigating, Ben is always one step ahead of Molly. Ben and Molly’s friendship hits the rocks when Ben goes on a date with Louisa’s lawyer, Kelly. When Ben gets a threatening voice mail, Molly urges him to stop investigating. The next night, when Ben and Kelly get back to his apartment, Ben’s Miata’s rag top has been slashed with a knife. But Ben won’t stop until he clears his sister’s name.

Tim Myers mysteries are just so much fun to read. His characters are so relatable. Anyone who loves cozy mysteries will love Benjamin Perkins and his huge, crazy family. Its really sad that this series only has three books. Even though this series is out of print, I will be looking for the rest on soon. It’s also cool how Tim Myers subtly references his other works.

*** Tim Myers has written as Melissa Glazer, Elizabeth Bright and Chris Cavender.***

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Legend of The Golden Monkey~ By Renee Hand

The Legend Of The Golden Monkey picks right up where The Case of Red Rock Canyon leaves off. Max, Mia and Granny are on a plane from Las Vegas to Mexico. When the plane lands on a private air strip, the Crypto-Capers are met by a man named Pablo. He is eager to help the family because Maggie Devereaux is his cousin. Once at the hotel, Pablo and the Crypto- Capers work on the first cryptogram. Pablo takes the detectives out to Chichen Itza to investigate the pyramids. While in the park, a man seems to be following the family and their guide. During dinner, Pablo and Walter (Pablo’s pilot and archeologist friend) tells the Crypto-Capers about the local legends. Granny takes Walter and Pablo back to Chichen Itza while Max and Mia explore the hotel gift shop with Spencer. The Crypto-Capers us a boy named Emmanuel who works in the gift shop to help them find the missing Mayan tablets.

This book is great because you find out a little bit more about Max and Mia’s grandfather. It’s nice to see Granny’s sensitive side toward her late husband. The Legend of the Golden Monkey has the biggest cliff hanger ending of the series so far. I can’t wait until the next book is published. The next book the Crypto-Capers are going to Italy.

***But be prepared for a bigger challenge with the cryptograms in this book! They get progressively harder! :)***

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Case Of Red Rock Canyon~Renee Hand

This is a continuation of a series that began with The Case Of The Missing Sock. The client this time is Julian Cross, who is a producer for a show which is coming to the Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas. Mr. Cross needs the Crypto-Capers help to find a missing Cartier orchid necklace. After the dinner meeting with Mr. Cross, Max, Mia and Granny connect with Morris via webcam. Mia is kidnapped from the Mandalay Bay while the family is investigating. Morris tracks Mia and her kidnappers as they speed away from the Mandalay Bay. While Max and Granny are eating they overhear a disturbing conversation Lucille Devereaux (Mr. Cross’s girlfriend) and Pierson Long (Mr. Cross’s biggest competitor) Pierson then tells Max that Lucille is dating him. Which contradicts what Lucille told him earlier in the day. “Lucille” at the restaurant was really Julie Devereaux. Lucille’s twin sister. The cast leads the Crypto-Capers to the Hoover Dam and Red Rock Canyon. That is as much as I can write safely without giving too much away.

The Case of Red Rock Canyon is a great continuation. I just love how interactive this series is. It’s fun to solve the puzzles with Max and Mia. This book ends in quite a cliff hanger, which means a lot of waiting until you can get your hands on the next book in the series. This is a must read for anyone who loves puzzles and mysteries.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rachel And Aleks~By Sylvia Smoller

Rachel and her friend, Helena, are walking in the woods talking about boys in the beginning of this book. Helena tells Rachel that her friend Jakob is coming for a visit. Helena insists that Rachel must join then during the small get together. She goes, but everyone is talking about politics so Rachel stays silent. This intrigues Jakob. He walks her home every night until he must leave. Jakob promises to stay in touch through letters. In one of these letters, he asks for her hand in marriage. She declines by saying it should be Helena who is “at his side.” Jakob simply replies “You have deceived me.” They never communicate after that. Rachel suddenly finds herself falling for her tutor, but after he goes to Warsaw, she never hears from him again either. Rachel moves to Czestochowa to attend commercial school. She finally meets the famous Aleks Mischler, that Helena and her friends always talked about, at one of his lectures. Rachel and Aleks continue to run into each other in public. The two begin dating a few months later and Aleks’s sisters do not approve. After months of dating, Aleks asks Rachel to marry him. She says yes. After many months, the long awaited wedding day has arrived. Two of Aleks’s sisters had finally accepted her. The happy couple moves to Warsaw. Years later Rachel becomes pregnant and continues to work. Aleks’s sisters call her an embarrassment to the family. When their daughter, Rilka, is born, Rachel gets along with everyone including Aleks’s sister. When Aleks is accused of treason, the young family has yet another difficult time to go through. Rachel plans to visit her aunt, but has a hard time leaving Rilka. While in England, Rachel meets the man (Roman) who will soon become her lover. Rachel, who realizes taking a lover is a bad decision, goes home Aleks and Rilka. Rachel confides in Sophie (her sister) about her affair with Roman. When the Germans attack Poland, Aleks demands a car to escape. The family travels to Lithuania, Russia and Japan before departing for Seattle. From there, they settle in New York City. When Roman appears in New York, he threatens Rachel’s job. Roman puts Rachel in the difficult position of choosing between Aleks and himself.

This is a great coming of age story. I really enjoyed seeing Rachel mature before my eyes. Rachel and Aleks are such a lovable couple. If you are interested in the Holocaust (and enjoy romance novels), then this is a must read!