Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Dead Hand: A Rachel Gold Mystery by Michael A. Kahn

The Dead Hand: A Rachel Gold Mystery by Michael A. Kahn --- 227 pages

The tenth book in local attorney/author Michael A. Kahn's clever mystery series features St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold and an abundance of St. Louis references that will add to the enjoyment of local readers.

In her busy law practice, Rachel has handled any number of legally tricky cases and earned a reputation as "tougher than every smart lawyer in town and smarter than every tough lawyer." In “The Dead Hand,” she will need both attributes in order to win two different but tricky cases based on an arcane and obscure bit of Anglo Saxon property law called "The Rule Against Perpetuities."  In one case the trophy widow of a wealthy lingerie manufacturer is attempting to claw back the property deeded to her predecessor in the divorce settlement. In the other the estranged son of a wealthy financier is trying to invalidate the trust created for his much younger half sister by claiming she's not his father's daughter.

Along the way Rachel discovers an unsuspected homicide and meets a man who just might offer her a second chance at love.  Another winner for Kahn.

Click HERE to read the review from Publisher's Weekly.

Click HERE to read the review from Kirkus Reviews.

Click HERE to read the review from the St. Louis Jewish Light

Kiss by Ted Dekker

Kiss by Ted Dekker -- 322 pages

An argument. A crash. A memory loss.

When Shauna wakes from her 6 week long coma, the past several months of her memory are gone, wiped clean without a trace. Supposedly she had drugs in her car and in her house. Supposedly she is in a relationship with someone she can't remember. Supposedly.....but Shauna has to know for sure, and the more she probes, the more she suspects that something much more sinister is going on--and more more dangerous.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl
By Timothy Egan
340 pages

I know the dust bowl was a tragic event in American history. However, I didn’t realize the scope of “no lands land” included portions of Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.  The book follows several families and communities before, during, and after the dust bowl.

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Castle of Kings by Oliver Pötzsch

The Castle of Kings: A Novel by Oliver Pötzsch; translated from the German by Anthea Bell --- 644 pages including Afterword.

The German author of the popular historical series The Hangman's Daughter, based in part on his own family history (Pötzsch is a descendant of Jakob Kusil, a famous 17th century Bavarian executioner) has written a stand-alone Quest tale, complete with mysterious talisman, strange dreams, hidden treasure, a lost heiress and a hero whose noble nature belies his low birth. But Pötzsch has grounded his romance in the horrific reality of the 16th century German Peasants Rebellion, with its roots in the Lutheran challenge to the authority of Church and Crown. A long and winding tale of young lovers who must shift heaven and earth to be together.

Click HERE to read the review from Kirkus Review.

Click HERE to read the review from the Historical Novel Society web site.

Click HERE to read a review from the Wall Street Journal.

Click HERE to read an interview with the author from the New York Times.

Click HERE for the  history of Trifels Castle in the Palatinate, the setting of The Castle of Kings, from Wikipedia.

Armada by Ernest Cline

Armada by Ernest Cline-349 pages

I enjoyed reading this, though not as much as Ready Player One, although it may be unfair to compare it to Ready Player One since it is really good. As with Ready Player One, I really enjoyed Cline's mentions of and allusions to other sci-fi films, video games, and novels. I also liked his inclusions of many popular/famous scientists and celebrities. Armada is filled with the same witty, readable prose as Ready Player One, but I connected with the plot of Ready Player One more. While I think it would be kind of cool to be thrust into a real-life scenario of one of my favorite video games, it could also be kind of creepy and terrible. Armada is based on a cool, yet freaky premise but I just can't help but compare it to Ready Player One (fair or not) and it falls short.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth -- 487 pages

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

Gatefather by Orson Scott Card

Gatefather by Orson Scott Card -- 384 pages

Danny North is the first Gate Mage to be born on Earth in nearly 2000 years, or at least the first to survive to claim his power. Families of Westil in exile on Earth have had a treaty that required the death of any suspected Gate Mage. The wars between the Families had been terrible, until at last they realized it was their own survival in question. But a Gate Mage, one who could build a Great Gate back to Westil, would give his own Family a terrible advantage over all the others, and reignite the wars. So they all had to die. And if the Families didn't kill them, the Gate Thief would—that mysterious Mage who destroyed every Great Gate, and the Gate Mage, before it could be opened between Earth and Westil.

But Danny survived. And Danny battled the Gate Thief, and won.

What he didn't know at the time was that the Gate Thief had a very good reason for closing the Great Gates—and Danny has now fallen into the power of that great enemy of both Earth and Westil.

Gatefather is book three of the Mither Mages series.