Thursday, September 29, 2011

"If we're going to get out of this stupid war, then we've got to end it. We've got to do something about it, not just hope..." - Sharon T. Rose, No Turning Back

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Trouble with Trust

In the world of Science Fiction, Sharon T. Rose does a fantastic job of capturing the reader's attention and transporting us to planet Alluvia in the midst of a war. But forming connections to the reader haven't been a primary target. The story line is intriguing with surprises hiding in the wind. However, the characters haven't been easy to relate to, which is one of the things I try to focus on when reading. And a main point I try to keep for The Coffee Pot. 

Connection is everything. If we, as readers, are going to care about the characters then we must have some sort of attachment to them. 

75% finished with No Turning Back and I can finally say that I am feeling a connection with Syleen. Growing up on the streets, using rags as clothing, and digging through dumpsters to find food have all forced independence onto the main character of this novel. This independence came with the price of losing all trust in humanity. And perhaps, we as readers vs. characters haven't ever made it to that extreme, but we all know what it's like to lost trust in someone. A dear friend, a lover, a relative. The moment when you realize that depending on them is worse than toughing it out alone. 

As Syleen struggles with these trust issues, I can see the human emotion coming through and I can feel the attachment to her. A little late in the book for the establishment of this connection, but I'm glad that Sharon T. Rose focused on how we, as the reader, want to feel toward the main character. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Fate of a Planet

Syleen, a newly awakened descendant, must hunt to satisfy the being inside of her. A being created by the Ancients to kill the Sukkers and keep planet Alluvia at peace, in Sharon T. Rose's No Turning Back, has taken Syleen as its host. The only problem is: the Drones, humans controlled by Sukkers, have begun to correlate their attacks, something they've never done before.

Mass attacks have begun to occur targeting politicians, the poor, and families with no apparent connection. The Descendants have to protect the people of Alluvia, but they're highly outnumbered by the Drones. With war flourishing, Syleen and the Hunter inside of her seem to be the only way they can win.

Syleen can sense Drones. She can force them out of hiding. Force them to surrender to the Hunter.

As Syleen leaves the Temple with the knowledge of what she truly is and a purpose, she promises to feed the being inside of her. But can she survive the Drone attacks without other Descendants there to help her? Will she trust the Descendants to assist her in her strikes? As the stakes rise in this game of survival, a young girl holds the fate of the planet in her hands.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A World of Awakenings

"We're born Descendants; we're born to protect our people, to protect Alluvia." - No Turning Back by Sharon T. Rose

Syleen has a Hunter inside of her, controlling her body and her actions. When the Hunter allows Syleen to come forward she is covered in blood holding human bones in her hands. The dust from chewed femurs settling in her mouth. Nearly starved and clothed only in rags, Alleathon rescues the little girl from the battle being fought around her and takes her to the Temple.

Alleathon is a Descendant. An awakened human created by the Ancients to fight against the Sukkers in the war on planet Alluvia. When the war began, the Sukkers began turning humans into Drones to take over the planet. Descendants combat the Drones but before they can kill them, the Sukker energy within the human jumps to a new host. A new Drone and a new enemy. Descendants use energy balls to contain the Sukker energy, but Syleen may have a new way.

The Hunter, within Syleen, can contain the Sukker energy in the human host's bones. By forcing her to eat the bones - the Sukker energy is killed.

With their planet sheathed in the chaos of war, the Descendants try to protect the Alluvian people and Syleen just may be the answer to end the war. This first Science Fiction/ Fantasy novel for The Coffee Pot, No Turning Back by Sharon T. Rose, promises a world of awakenings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Dreamer, the Hope, and the Protector

Daring to speak out while danger waits just outside the door frame. Rising above the fear of what the consequences will cost. Hoping to make a change.

In The Help, by Katryn Stockett, Miss Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen form an unexpected friendship when they decide to write down their stories about working and living as a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi. Knowing what will happen if anyone ever finds out that it was them - they all swear that they'll never tell a soul.

Stockett's writing style in the novel offers point-of-view changes at the perfect times to leave the reader hanging, pushing them to turn the page, and keep reading. It's an adventure of three women who join together for a brief moment, suspended in time, to attempt to help people realize what is really going on in Jackson and how the housemaids are being treated: separate, diseased, different.

Miss Skeeter dreams of being a writer and she takes the chance when she gets it. She could connect with anyone - anyone who has a dream of being great in their future and willing to fight for it.

Aibileen has had a life of tragedy, but still she believes. She is the hope of the novel. Aibileen has seen heartache and what could have been a permanent streak of tears flowing down her cheek - but she rises above and fights (and prays) for a better life for all.

Minny has made the mistakes. If she's made one, she's made them all. Minny is the one who can be strong in the public eye but break down in private. She's the one who takes the blame. Minny is the protector.

Overall, I am so happy that I bought this book in paperback instead of Kindle edition. I thought that it would be the perfect addition to (my quickly growing) book collection. The only thing I have remotely bad to say is that there are gaps in the timeline. One page is summer, the next is Christmas. This didn't really bother me because I know that length and "extra" stuff is unnecessary, but at the same time, the large jump from A to B made my skin itch. I felt like I was missing something important. But this novel touched my heart on various levels that I also thought it perfect for the blog, because no doubt at least one character in the novel will connect with everyone.

When you go to pick up this book, don't forget to grab a box of tissues.


The Help on Amazon

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Dream of Change

"You know what'll happen if people catch us? Forget the time I accidentally use the wrong changing room down at McRae's women's wear, I'd have guns pointing at my house." - The Help by Kathryn Stockett (p192).

Miss Skeeter, one of the main characters in The Help, dreams of being a writer. The kind of writer that makes a difference. Pushed to find an idea that no one before her has thought of, Miss Skeeter decides to write the view of being a housemaid from a new perspective. She dares to dream of change.

Recruiting two housemaids, Minny and Aibileen, Miss Skeeter writes about the stories they tell her. What it's like working for a white family, raising their children, and having their own life outside of their jobs. When an editor shows interest in reading the work the three women are secretly doing, they know they must branch out and find other housemaids to be a part of the process.

With the fear of being caught wrapping around their shoulders like a shawl, the three women continue to construct their dream of change. The consequence if they are caught? Being charged with conspiring integration which could lead to beatings, jail, bombs, arson, and death.

Can these three women fight the evil hands of fate that threaten to steal their hope of change? Can they overcome the scars this battle promises to leave?

And will they have the strength and courage to say that they don't regret it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Introduction to The Help

Kathryn Stockett's The Help is written in first person taking the point of view of three main characters in the first six chapters of the novel. Three women from very different backgrounds who each have their own opinions on life in Jackson, Mississippi.

Aibileen works for Miss Leefolt as her housemaid and raises her daughter Mae Mobley. Aibileen questions why her employer refuses to acknowledge her child, Mae. She leaves everything to Aibileen, ignoring every tear and scream. When Miss Hilly, one of Miss Leefolt's best friends, uncomfortably has to use the same bathroom as the maid the incandescent light dims on the hope of being equally treated.

Minny works as a cook and is renowned as the best in the city of Jackson. Her sharp tongue threatens unemployment but the daughter of her employer brings the threat to life. Accused of stealing, Minny is fired from her cooking job. Struggling to support her family, she finds a job teaching Miss Celia how to cook while also cleaning her house. Only one stipulation - Miss Celia's husband cannot learn of Minny's employment. Minny begins to question this as Miss Celia turns out to be a strange woman. Seeming to be agoraphobic, Miss Celia will not leave the house. Some days she doesn't even get out of bed. Stockett piques the interest of readers with the mystery that surrounds Miss Celia and what Minny will put with for more than decent pay.

Miss Skeeter is a childhood friend of Miss Leefolt and has just returned to Jackson from college. She longs for a writing job and after an inspiring letter from a respected editor applies to the Jackson Journal, writing a cleaning column. One problem, she's never cleaned anything in her life. This pushes Miss Skeeter to form a unexpected friendship with the maids because they help her writer her column. Could this lead to a topic that turns the heads of editors?

With only one hundred pages under my belt, I find myself carrying the novel everywhere with me hoping that I get a chance to read just one more page. If you have one more slot open on your reading list, jot this one down, bump it up to number one, and read it with me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Forced to marry only to fall in love with one's husband. Irony at its romantic best.

It was Celestia's destiny in Traci Hall's novel, Love's Magic, to be the one woman to heal her husband from the inside out. As she struggled to chisel away the stone Nicholas had built around his heart, she began to find a man who was noble and full of strength. A man worthy of her love.

As readers we can connect with Celestia through her journey of unrequited love. By moving closer to her husband's heart, she found her soul mate, but Nicholas couldn't accept the love she offered. He believed that he was undeserving of anything so pure and that Hell was the only thing willing to accept him. We all know how it feels to love someone with all of our heart only to learn that it will never be returned. Readers will find themselves falling in love with Nicholas as they struggle along side Celestia to win their true love.

Nicholas, through his feelings of despair and the belief that he is not worthy of something so great, also forms a bond with the reader. A co-alignment of painful memories. The past haunts us all. The demons waging an internal war, only dispelled by forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we made.

Love's Magic is a novel for anyone who has every felt the desire to give their heart away and ask for nothing in return. Open the cover and be enchanted with the warmth of the words.


Love's Magic on Amazon

Monday, September 12, 2011

Allied Revenge

Can revenge heal the scars of a man once believed to be a hero?

In Traci Hall's novel, Love's Magic, Nicholas has been used his entire life, the puppet to an unknown plan. Raised as an orphan by monks. Sent to the Crusades to have everyone around him killed. Tricked into believing that there are people in the world worth trusting. With the truth slowly revealing itself, all signs point to Baron Peregrine. His father. 

With vengeance in his heart, Nicholas swears that he will win back his soul by killing Baron Peregrine. Until he is ordered to marry Celestia Montehue, a well-known healer. 

As Celestia battles with her own hopes that this man could be her destiny, she fears that she'll lose her healing powers if he isn't. Can she be the one to heal his scars and set his heart free to love and trust once again? Or is revenge his only ally? And as people do we always focus on the pain rather than rising above it? 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Life Without Love?

A healer cannot marry without love or her powers are lost forever...

Celestia, "Tia", is the oldest daughter of five children in the novel Love's Magic by Traci E. Hall. In the Montehue family, the oldest daughter is always the one who is labeled the healer and is bestowed with God's greatest gifts. Her family's land is rented to them by Lord Baron, a man who directly throws Tia's life into an upheaval when he orders her to marry his son - the son he has kept hidden.

Nicholas grew up an orphan and when offered a chance to serve God by joining the Crusades, he joyfully accepted. But being poisoned, imprisoned, and lied to can change a person's outlook on life. Nicholas knows that what he struggled through during the crusades was caused by Lord Baron and has decided to take his revenge. He will kill Lord Baron.

When Nicholas is drugged and brought to the Montehue house, Tia nurses him back to health as he fights to escape his delirium. Nicholas awakens to a message sent from his father, Lord Baron, that he must marry Tia or she will be accused of witchcraft and put to death. The woman who saved his life has consequently jeopardized her own. What are choice are they to make? Better question, do they have a choice?

A life without love, or no life at all?

Now for chapter three...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Phoenix of Love

The fires blaze through the streets of San Francisco leaving rubble and chaos everywhere in Denise Agnew's Love From the Ashes.

Just weeks before Grace was a normal woman. Perhaps a little more stubborn and modern for her own good, but who could blame her for those attributes?

And she was falling in love. The only thing she ever dreamed of.

Now the threat of San Francisco falling into the black earth promises to take away everything Grace has worked so hard for as the municipal buildings crumble into heaps of destruction. Can love rise from beneath the ashes and flourish in the hazy light of Grace's world post-disaster?

The pull of love in this piece is strong and it brings back the romantic fantasies we, as readers, try to deny. Women who read this novel can relate to Grace - a woman who wants to choose her own life, not allow someone to take that away from her. She's a woman who wants to fall in love, to trust a man, and know what it's like to be happy. Agnew writes the love story we all wish we had, but will it be the ending you would pick out for yourself?

"The city had changed and she had changed forever."
Love From the Ashes


Love From the Ashes on Amazon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Sides for the Love Triangle

Grace and Chauncey. In Denise Agnew's Love From the Ashes, Grace wants to marry for love and Mr. Chauncey appears to be the noble man with an appreciation for the modern woman. She recognizes his caring and friendly attitude. While on a picnic in the park, Grace wonders if Chauncey could be the man of her dreams. The man she's been waiting for. The one man that she will give her entire heart too without waiting a beat.

Nate and Grace. Nathaniel Dempsey is a bold man from Ireland searching for a new and better life in San Francisco. But he seems to have a knack for falling in love with women above his societal role. Does he have the strength and determination to reach for more? The feelings that Grace has for him are more than obvious. He has intrigued her. While he lays ill with influenza, Grace dares to nurse him back to health, throwing societal views to the wind.

Nate and Chauncey. Chauncey has a sterling reputation among the streets of San Francisco. The pavement turning gold beneath his feet as he walks. Mary, Grace's step-mother, is hoping that this man will be the one to steal her step-daughter's heart. While courting Grace, Chauncey warns her to stay away from Nathaniel. A brute Irishman shouldn't be allowed to be alone with a social gem such as Grace. However, Mary sees the compassion that Grace has for Nate even if Grace denies the feelings herself, or tries to.

Will the two men come to a face off in the last half of the novel?
And which man, if either, will be the one to steal Grace's heart away and fulfill her longing for a life of love?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Little Bit of Romance

Grace, the daughter of a prominent figure in 1906 San Francisco, has refused to marry a number of eligible bachelors, swearing that when she marries it will be for love. Enter, Nathaniel, an Irish immigrant who applies for the title of chauffeur to Mr. Wyne, Grace's father in Denise Agnew's novel Love From the Ashes.

During the job interview he can't seem to take his eyes off of Grace, doubting that she knows how beautiful she is. Does he realize how against societal views Grace is and that status will not force her to give up her hope of falling in love? Could Nate be the man that she's hoped to find since her debut in society when she was younger?

After a week of working as Mr. Wyne's chauffeur, Nate has already come to blows over Grace. Another employee of the Wyne household let his tongue get ahead of him and the disgraceful words ended with him knocked unconscious by Nate's hand. Nate questions why he seems to be so protective over this 23 year old beauty? The answers lie in his past and in the guilt that he hides from. The hints that Agnew lets "slip" about Nathaniel's past and the failure to protect his sister imply that the guilt he holds in his heart will send him to Hades.

But could Grace be the woman to save Nate's soul?
And will Nate be the first man to accept Grace and show her what falling in love is like?

A little bit of romance will light the way to discovery.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tunnels to Dead Ends

Beneath the streets of Savannah, Georgia lay a maze of tunnels that connect the organs of the city. Cockroaches claim the throne of this underground metropolis while a visitor utilizes the hidden passageways to transport paralyzed people stolen from the domain that looms above. 

Detectives Elise and David - each struggling with a past they don't want to face - attempt to track down the person responsible for multiple poisonings and murders. Yet, each tunnel leads them to another dead end. Flashlight in hand, the partners shine their light on the bricks that deceivingly promise to stand strong. With the right crack, the architecture might come crashing down and with it, the architect. 

The character that was never questioned. 

Frasier does a magnificent job at providing a story with so much detail that the reader feels like a detective. Taking the role of the various points-of-view that Frasier offers, it's the reader's job to connect the dots. This book was full of horrific detail, emotional attachment, and amazement at some of the history a city can hold. Readers with queasy stomachs beware, but those who can smell the sulfur wafting from the pages and don't feel their heartbeat quicken: be sure to pick this one up. 


Play Dead on Amazon

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Resurrection of the Dead

"Death is a seductive, erotic thing."
Play Dead

As my investigative mind swirls through the minute details of each character, I'm struggling to put the pieces together in the right order. Anne Frasier is spinning a delicate web of people, places, and folklore that makes me question everyone and the motives behind everything they do.

Underneath the soft Georgia dirt are people who are being resurrected. With skin that smells like death but ears that tune into the living, dead bodies are coming back to life. The Voodoo and Root Doctor myths that circle the dark city of Savannah hint at what might be going on, but a spell is never certain. Especially when the detective in charge of these un-dead cases is the daughter of a powerful conjurer and there's a killer who doesn't appear to be very good at getting the job done.

Could this all be coincidence? An experiment with a new street drug made out of Puffer fish toxins? Or could someone really be bringing to dead back to life to do their bidding?

Think twice about the next question, do you believe in ghosts?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Horror Infusion

Three chapters in and I was scared to get into the shower. Anne Frasier doesn't waste any time.

As Play Dead opens, a body is brought into the coroner's office and an autopsy is began. A normal day thus far (for a coroner). Until the dead man breathes. I feel a flashback to Post Mortem by Patricia Cornwell, which has been the scariest book I have ever read to date.

This is the second time in a month that a person has been brought in for an autopsy and has been deemed falsely identified as deceased. Elise and David - partners working for the Savannah Police Department, are called in.

I hate the fear factor of horror novels - especially ones that bring in the scientific point of view. Let's blame it on my over-active imagination. But who am I to discriminate based on genre? Looks like this blog is about to be infused with a little horror.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Lesson We Must Learn

In this novel full of judgment, confusion, misunderstanding, refusing to understand, and ultimately finding that those you love are the ones that you must support, Christa Allan teaches every reader a lesson. It's a book that readers can connect with on different levels. Choose any character and feel the invisible tug that connects you to them.

It's a lesson on the controversial topic of homosexuality and religion. One which Allan teaches with all of her characters in the Edge of Grace. We learn that it isn't completely about understanding those you love in your life, but knowing that you love them, which can come to mean putting their desires and their happiness before yours. Not an easy task to master, but definitely one we all must learn.


Edge of Grace on Amazon