Archive for September, 2008

The Dog Diet

09/26/2008

The Dog Diet: What my dog taught me about Shedding Pounds, Licking Stress, and Getting A New Leash On Life
Patti Lawson
Memoir
276 pages
copyright: 2006
isbn: 0-7573-0394-3

We live in a diet-obsessed age, when we lose five pounds just to gain ten, delude ourselves that the next exercise contraption we buy from that midnight infomercial will finally take that extra inch off our thighs, and become convinced that the latest diet fad of beet soup and goat’s milk will help us look good in a bikini. But now you can forget the Zone, Atkins and South Beach! It turns out that the ultimate weight-loss plan is owning a dog: Man (and woman’s) best friend is the fail proof personal trainer-dietician-nutritionist you’ve been looking for you all your life.

That’s just what Patti Lawson found in her dog, Sadie.

A diet-obsessed, single lawyer, Patti spent the winter indulging in multiple brands of chocolate while mourning the demise of her latest relationship. Spring found her pudgy and pitiful, when Fate – and a fortuitous trip to PetSmart – brought rascally puppy Sadie into Patti’s petless, pristine, if a bit sterile, life. Since that day life hasn’t been the same for Patti or Sadie.

A life that began together with 3:00 a. m. walks through the park, incessant barking and stolen moments of trying to eat just a crumb of breakfast without puppy-interference soon morphed into a partnership of exercise and healthy eating with the added bonus that Sadie taught Patti a thing or two about letting go and stopping to smell the roses.

A memoir-cum-diet, The Dog Diet takes a tongue-in-cheek look at our obsession with weight loss and will have you laughing out loud asyou recognize your own dysfunctional relationship with food. In the process you’ll learn a simple and natural method for shedding unwanted pounds without the usual stress and disappointments that go along with typical dieting regimens.

Ask For It

09/21/2008

Ask For It

Sylvia Day

Historical Romance

304 pages

copyright: 2006

isbn: 0-7852-1431

A MATTER OF DANGEROUS INTRIGUE… As an agent to the Crown, Marcus Ashford, the Earl of Westfield, has fought numerous sword fights, been shot twice, and dodged more than any man’s fair share of cannon fire. And yet nothing excites him more than the primitive hunger his former fiancι, Elizabeth, arouses. Years ago, she’d jilted him for the boyishly charming Lord Hawthorne. But now, the elegant widow is his to defend, and he will do so while tending to her other, more carnal needs, showing her the depth of a real man’s desire…

…AND UNDENIABLE PLEASURE Dangerous secrets led to the murder of Lady Hawthorne’s husband. Secrets she now holds in a diary many would kill to obtain. But to entrust herself to the protection of the most seductive man she’s ever known? Outrageous. Unthinkable. Irresistible. For it was Marcus’s strong passions and burning desire that frightened her into abandoning him years ago–and her answering craving has never waned. Now, he means to be at her service, in every sense. And perhaps the only sensible course isn’t to resist temptation, but to surrender to it completely…

Lighthouse At the End Of The World

09/20/2008

Lighthouse At The End Of The World
Jules Verne
Thriller
145 pages
copyright: 1999
isbn: 978-0-8032-4676-8

At the extreme tip of South America, Staten Island has piercing Antarctic winds, lonely coasts assaulted by breakers, and sailors lost as their vessels smash on the dark rocks. Now that civilization dares to rule here, a lighthouse penetrates the last and wildest place of all. But Vasquez, the guardian of the sacred light, has not reckoned with the vicious, desperate Kongre gang, who murder his two friends and force him out into the wilderness. Alone, without resources, can he foil their cruel plans?  A gripping tale of passion and perseverance, Verne’s testament novel paints a compelling picture of intrigue and heroism, schemes and calamities. The master storyteller returns here to the theme of civilization against its two oldest enemies: pitiless nature and men’s savagery.

The Bounty

09/19/2008

The Bounty
Caroline Alexander
Military History
410 pages
copyright: 2003
isbn: 0-670-03133-x

More than two centuries after Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh on a small, armed transport vessel called Bounty, the true story of this enthralling adventure has become obscured by the legend. Combining vivid characterization and deft storytelling, Caroline Alexander shatters the centuries-old myths surrounding this story. She brilliantly shows how, in a desperate attempt to save one man from the gallows and another from ignominy, two powerful families came together and began to create the version of history we know today. The true story of the mutiny on the Bounty is an epic of duty and heroism, pride and power, and the assassination of a brave man’s honor at the dawn of the Romantic age.

Peppermint Twisted

09/18/2008

Peppermint Twisted
Sammi Carter
Mystery
244 pages
copyright: 2007
isbn: 978-0-425-21227-1

No one’s happy when wealthy Felicity Asbury names herself director of the local arts festival. But when she’s found dead, all evidence points to candy shop owner Abby Shaw, who must put aside her sweets to discover the twisted killer.

Too Pretty To Die

09/17/2008

Too Pretty To Die
Susan McBride
Mystery
322 pages
copyright: 2008
isbn: 978-0-06-084601-5

They call them “pretty parties,” and they’re the latest rage among Dallas debuntantes–get-togethers with light refreshments, heavy gossip, adn Dr. Sonja Madhavi and her magic Botox needles. Former socialite Andy Kendricks normally wouldn’t be caught dead at such an event, but she’s attending as a favor to her friend Janet, a society reporter in search of a juicy story. And boy does she find one when aging beauty queen Miranda DuBois bursts into the room–drunk, disorderly, and packing a pistol.

Miranda’s wrinkles have seen better days, adn she blames it all on Dr. Madhavi. Luckily, Andy calms her down and gets her home to bed…where she’s found dead the next morning. The police suspect sucide, but Andy knows that no former pagent girl would give up that easily. She’s determined to find Miranda’s killer herself, but she’ll have to be careful. After all, Botox can make you look younger, but it can’t bring you back from the grave.

Bitter Sweets

09/16/2008

Bitter Sweets
G.A. McKevett
Mystery
293 pages
copyright: 1997
isbn: 1-57566-693-6

Savannah Reid, the big, sexy, Southern-born sleuth with a black belt in karate has finally established herself as a P.I. in posh San Carmelita, California. All her Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency needs now is enough business to pay the rent and put some serious sweets on the table.

No sooner does Savannah complete her first case–finding the long-lost sister of a local real estate broker–than murder enters the picture. Framed in a diabolically clever double-cross, she sets out to find the real culprit…only to discover that she’s the prime suspect among lovers, losers, adn liars lurking in the shadows of the victim’s past. Each of them has a motive. Not one of them has an alibi. Now Savannah must call upon all her resources to sort out the baffling clues, clear her own name, and corner a killer whose appetite for murder is growing everyday….

Blood Colony

09/14/2008

Blood Colony
Tananarive Due
Fiction
419 pages
copyright: 2008
isbn: 0-7432-8735-5

Acclaimed for seven novels, ranging from supernatural thrillers to historical fiction, which have garnered her a multitude of fans and awards, Tananarive Due now imagines the story of an ancient group of immortals — a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years — facing one of the most challenging issues of our time: the AIDS/HIV pandemic.

There’s a new drug on the street: Glow. Said to heal almost any illness, it is distributed by an Underground Railroad of drug peddlers. But what gives Glow its power? Its main ingredient is blood — the blood of immortals. A small but powerful colony of immortals is distributing the blood, slowly wiping out the AIDS epidemic and other diseases around the world.

Meet Fana Wolde, seventeen years old, the only immortal born with the Living Blood. She can read minds, and her injuries heal immediately. When her best friend, a mortal, is imprisoned by Fana’s family, Fana helps her escape — and together they run away from Fana’s protected home in Washington State to join the Underground Railroad.

But Fana has more than her parents to worry about: Glow peddlers are being murdered by a violent, hundred-year-old sect with ties to the Vatican. Now, when Fana is most vulnerable, she is being hunted to fulfill an ancient blood prophecy that could lead to countless deaths.

While her people search for Fana and race to unravel the unknown sect’s mysterious origins, Fana must learn to confront the deadly forces — or she and everyone she loves will die.

Killed By Clutter

09/13/2008

Killed By Clutter
Leslie Caine
Mystery
328 pages
copyright: 2007
isbn: 978-440-33598-6

A Place for Everything And Everything In It’s Place. Including Murder.

At first glance, decorator Erin Gilbert fell in love with the charming little bungalow on a quiet stret in Crestview, Colorado. Unitl she stepped inside. There, eccentric widow Helen Walker has created a maze of bric-a-brac, papers, and just plain junk that she won’t throw out. Even worse: two bizarre deaths have convinced Helen she is being stalked by a serial killer, and that any one of her nosy friends and neighbors might be to blame.

Erin has been hired to bring the home back to life–and she’s not going to back down, even when her insufferable, irrestible competitor, Steve Sulivan, barges in. But it doesn’t take long for Erin to realize that there is a method to her client’s madness. A murderer does haunt this makeover. And somewhere in the clutter is at least one thing to die for.

Nights Of Ice

09/12/2008

Nights Of Ice

Spike Walker

Fiction

206 pages

copyright: 1997

isbn: 0-312-15611-1

The Bering Sea in January can be a mean place, as Walker (Working on the Edge, 1991) relates in this spine-tingling (if redundant) collection—particularly when the winds clip by at 100 mph, the waves crest at 60 feet, the water temperature is 38 degrees, it’s nightime, and your boat is sinking.

Walker has no time for foreshadowing here, no time to develop mood or characters. These are grab-you-by-the-throat, rip-snorting tales of disaster on furious high seas and of the outrageous efforts made by both rescuers and those in the drink to beat the odds for survival in the Bering’s icy waters. There is not much variation in these eight tales: In hellacious weather, a fishing vessel founders. Sometimes it runs aground or overturns with the accumulated weight of ice, or it just springs a leak. Then it all comes down to hypothermia and how fast it steals your life. The rescues are thus all just in the nick of time, and Walker plays them for all they’re worth. But the lack of variety here, combined with Walker’s tendency to overdeploy stock sentences—”His terror became resolve,” and “He thought of his lovely young wife,” and “This is the end!”—robs the stories of their specific identities. What saves the best ones is Walker’s fastening on a particular element: the godawful storms, known as williwaws, that boom out of the coastal mountains, their impossible winds freighted with ice and snow (vigorously described in the chapter “Chopper Rescue: Men in Peril”); or the cheekiness of Tim White (in the chapter titled “The Face of an Angel”), who stayed warm by working hard at being a badass.

It is said that America’s most dangerous profession is commercial fishing on Alaska’s high seas. Even a quick dip into this collection will convince you of that.