Saturday, April 30, 2011

Better Than Ever, Again by Mitch Davies

Ben was out of work and checked the want ads daily.  A promising, exciting job on a boat was listed one sailor experience necessary....a little suspicious.  He went for the interview and was hired for the position.  After being with the owner and two of the employees, he was second guessing his decision because of their demeanor, but sailing for a year and getting a share of the boat's selling price kept him interested. 

Once he started the job, the boating experience was overwhelming because he didn't have any knowledge of nautical terms, but Ben learned quickly.  He enjoyed most of the traveling especially when they stopped at the ports and tended to the wealthy guests.  One disadvantage for Ben was that two of the crew members were not very interesting or pleasant.

The crew was heading to Honolulu and then sailing around the South Pacific for a year...not a bad job at all, but Ben was still uneasy about how things were being handled.  Day tours seemed to be the order of the day while they waited for Carl, the owner, to return.  The daily lives of the island people as well as the routine of being on the boat made up most of the book's plot along with the tension among the characters.  The characters, landscapes, and scenes were very well described and allowed the reader to vividly experience how the characters felt and what the landscape and surroundings truly looked like.

The book is a sailing person's dream....a lot of seafaring terms and fun details for folks who enjoy being on board a ship/boat.   The beautiful landscape of Tahiti was also well described, along with some mystery and, of course, romance.  The mystery was trying to determine what the real motive of the ship’s owner was.  He wasn’t around too often and didn’t really check on the crew. 

I enjoyed the book and especially the feeling of being there on the beautiful island of was a "book" vacation.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

 TLC Book Tours would like to introduce...

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by Mitchell Zuckoff

American servicemen and women, New Guinea, and WWII, are the backdrops for Lost in Shangri-La.

Margaret Hastings' life as a WAC in New Guinea is the main focus.   Margaret and the other servicemen and women on site longed to see Shangri-La, so their captain arranged for a day trip.  Little did the twenty-four passengers realize that their dream to see the hidden villages in the jungle would not turn out to be what they expected.  When something went wrong during the flight, it crashed into a mountain, and the nightmare began.

Out of the twenty-four passengers only three survived, and these three were burned, hurt, and starving.  They painfully made their way to a clearing and were spotted by an American plane, but they were also spotted by hundreds of the island's inhabitants who approached with spears.  Luckily continual smiling at the island's people assured them that the strangers were not a cause for alarm. No way of communication other than hand gestures and smiles made it difficult, but at least they were still alive, and the indigenous people were friendly.

As the three survivors waited out each day in pain and in hopes of being saved, their rescue team was simultaneously in the process of being organized.  Being accepted by the island's inhabitants became somewhat better each day, but their wounds were increasingly becoming more infected and painful.  Margaret and Decker were in the most pain, and thankfully McCollum was somewhat strong and alert.

When the rescue medics finally arrived, it hadn't been too soon...gangrene was starting to set in, and a few more days without medical treatment may have meant death.  The other half of the rescue team landed a few days later, but getting to the survivors was being hampered by the foliage and continuous rain. They finally arrived, and everyone waited for the flight team that would take them off the inaccessible island.

The rescue from the island was every bit as eventful and fascinating as the time spent there.

The book is a marvelous read, beautifully written, and an outstanding re-creation of events.  Mr. Zuckoff should be commended for his research, and Ms. Hastings and Mr. Walter should also be commended for keeping a daily journal so that their tale could be told all these years later. 

You will love hearing about the lives of the natives and their legends and also of the lives of those who survived and who took part in the rescue....wonderful facts and information.

The photos greatly enhanced the book.  To me it was another not well-known part of history coming alive.  World War II enthusiasts should not miss reading this book.  5/5 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon

I don't know exactly, but the book warns not to cross them.  The fairies can grant wishes, bring good luck, but if you get on their bad side...."  Page 219

Phoebe received a phone call asking to inform Sam to look in the attic in the crawl space.  When Phoebe delivered the message, Sam knew what he would find.....the book his missing sister of 15 years had left there before she disappeared.

More strange happenings occurred after the phone call and after finding the book.   When Sam and friends went on a camping trip....someone resembling Lisa appeared at their door singing a familiar song; then that same person broke into the cabin even though none of the doors or windows had been tampered with. 

The camping trip then turned into a true nightmare....the campers were being accused of holding someone hostage and of not actually occupying the cabin.   To make matters worse, a note on their car had the same picture that was on one of their camping companion's was of Teilo, The King of the Fairies. 

When Sam and Phoebe arrived home from the camping trip, their house had been ransacked, but nothing had been taken....were they looking for the book?  About a week later, Teilo also ransacked their friend Evie's place.
As Phoebe found things out about Lisa's disappearance in Reliance, a town that has nothing left but foundations, more strange facts surfaced about the disappearance and of Lisa and Evie's childhood friendship.  She even found things out about Sam that she really didn't want to know.  Another phone call came from a girl/woman that urged Sam to meet her in the woods at their usual childhood place in Reliance.  Things got a lot more involved after this most recent phone call.

The book went back and forth from present-day events to events that took place 15 years ago when Lisa disappeared.  The book was intense and mostly about changelings, how fairies live, and the puzzle that needed to be solved....the puzzle was:  Where had Lisa been for 15 years, and were there really fairies doing all this damage and mind control? 

Even though this isn't my genre of choice the book's premise did get you hooked as you continued reading. 

You will find out that fairies are not a very nice sort of people. The book was somewhat “creepy.” 

This is one of the last entries in a Book of Fairies…it will show you the eeriness of the book. 

“If you have read this book all the way to the end, you know the truth.  We are here, walking among you.  We are stronger, faster, smarter.  We walk with silent footsteps.  We can see into your dreams.  And we lie.  Always remember that we lie.”  4/5

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The story of Shiva and Marion Stone will stay with you long after you turn the last page.  It is an unforgettable tale of Siamese twins and their accomplishments, trials, heartbreaks, triumphs, and undeniable bond.  Their Ethiopian family's ties and closeness make up the main theme as we also get a glimpse into medical terminology and procedures.  It is an immersion into a way of life wrought by strife, war, dedicated doctors, and suffering citizens.

Cutting for Stone is a remarkable book with unforgettable characters.  Once you have read the book, you will realize how amazing our health care system is in the United States .  You will also realize that there are committed, talented doctors all around the world that do the best they can with what they have in terms of equipment and supplies.

Don't give up because of the lengthy, detailed explanations and slow-moving beginning.  As you become attached to the characters, the story unfolds and becomes one you will be glad you didn't put aside.  The book is incredible. 4/5 only because of the LENGTHY beginning.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ghellow Road by T. H Waters

Ghellow Road tells the story of Theresa’s life from childhood to teenage is a sad, interesting read about family relationships. 

The book takes the reader into the world of a child of a depressed mother, a patient, loving father, and a childhood that was anything but normal. Each time her mother was hospitalized, her father would have Grandma take care of them....all except one time, and she and her brother didn't know why.   Dad had always been fun and upbeat until he lost his teaching job.  What else could happen to the once-happy family?

A lot did happen to Theresa in her young life, but somehow she coped.  She never did get used to her mother's leaving, returning, and then leaving again.  It always left a hole in Theresa's heart.  Luckily she was a strong person and could cope with all the ups and downs and the living conditions she had to endure during her mother's absences.

The book is superbly written and definitely heartbreaking, but opens your eyes to many life situations.   I really enjoyed the book and was amazed at Theresa's resiliency and coping mechanisms. 

The author, who actually is the character in the book, graciously sent me her book, and I am honored and happy that I have read it.  

My review doesn't do justice to the book, but you definitely need to read Theresa’s story to appreciate its depth and to feel the characters’ emotions.