Tag Archives: books

A 2010 Thriller, Eight Days to Live, by Iris Johansen is Reviewed

I have to admit, I hadn’t read any novels of the bestselling author Iris Johansen before. Her well-known forensic character, Eve Duncan, just hadn’t come my way. I read two book jackets by her and bought them both not knowing even where they fell in line with other books surrounding her recurring characters. 

I chose to read her book, Eight Days to Live (came out in 2010) purely on the premise that the character in this book (which happened to be the adopted daughter of Eve Duncan) was an artist who gets embroiled in a mystery of monumental proportions.  Eight Days to Live was definitely a book I couldn’t put down and read through it quickly because of that. It was very suspenseful~full of intrigue, thrilling villains, heroes, paranormal and romance all rolled into one!

When Jane, the main character for this particular novel, is pinpointed by vicious killers to die on April 1 (8 days from the start of the book), she didn’t know why. All she realized was that she had painted a portrait of a man she saw in a dream and then named it Guilt.  When she has a gallery debut, an unknown business man makes an absurd monetary offer on it and the same night the gallery owner, and her friend, is violently murdered. 

As powerful men start killing those around her and come after her, she starts on a mission to find out why. She even pulls in Caleb, a “hunter” that Eve had used on a previous forensic case to find a serial killer. His known tracking instincts prove helpful, as well as his paranormal gift of being able to mentally penetrate the minds of others to get them to do exactly what he wants them to do. However, with his power comes a real desire to hunt to kill bad men and this scares all that are around him. Even with knowing this, Jane feels connected to him somehow and ultimately he helps her to see that her dreams are visions of the past. He helps her to embrace this side of her and even assists in her dream states when they are needed to find out further information. The subtle dance of romance between them in the book is very intriguing.

As Jane, Caleb, and team pursue these powerful men closer, they uncover a type of religious cult worshiping one of the most well-known betrayers in history.  The mystery surrounding the cult and Jane’s dreams are thrilling and suspenseful. This is definitely a plot you won’t want to miss.  This book is for anyone loving historical fiction, secret society mysteries, paranormal gifts, action and suspense!

To learn about the book, or more on Iris Johansen, go to www.irisjohansen.com where book excerpts are available.

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On Starting to Write My First Children’s Series–Outline on My Book Idea!

I have put my mind to the goal of writing my first children’s book this year. I’ve been waiting for years it seems for just the right idea to pop into my head. Something that would just take off in my mind. Initially, I always thought it would be a children’s picture book. I think that mostly because not only do I love words and books, I also love art and the essence of both that picture books bring. In fact, as an adult, I like to collect children’s books for myself as well as my children. Beautiful words and images in a book are like little art gallerys to me. I wanted the pictures to come to life in my mind, and then I thought maybe the story would come.

My mind tends to race in many different directions, not only with all the demands of life—kids, home, several start-up businesses, health, etc.– but with ideas too! Creative juices!  It just became real to me one day towards the end of last year as I was watching my girls, ages 7 and 3. I realized how often they play together, or maybe even put up with each other, but at the same time how opposite they really are. I spent time listening to their conversations, sometimes laughing, sometimes amazed, sometimes it was upsetting, but I really saw how different their interests are and how unique it makes each of them. And it came to me, I could write a book stemming loosely from their relationship.  A 7 year old girl who is girly, yet likes sparkly skulls,black,  jeans, art, mystery, pop songs, and is super subdued unless spiked by her sister compared to a girl age 3 who is the total princess package including pink and more pink, dresses, dance and ballet, classical music and song who really lives oblivious to anything happening around her. Basically no fear while her older sister is full of questions and concerns. 

So I have come up with the name Monster Princess and Little Diva because it seems to fitting to me. I ran it past my older daughter and she thought it sounded just like them and is very excited. So I am wondering what kind of trouble I might get them both into with a picture book, which I still want to start with because of the art element. I can just SEE the characters in my head, you know?  I’m having the most issues with getting this one started, even with less words, because I don’t know where to have it go in short amount of text. I see way far into the future already with these books.  I am a writer than tends to overwrite and am very detailed. I am thinking that chapter books for ages 7-9 would be great. I have this great idea to encompass my love of history and adventure and the fantastical genre in the books and with different adventures would come different titles. My very rough outline includes the girls having to move with their single mother to a new town and/or state in New England. In doing some reseach, Salem, Mass. is the frontrunner due to its overwhelming amount of history and the fact that the Peabody Essex Museum, a grand art and history museum, is located there. I’d like their mom to be a single mom who is an artist, and possibly getting a job at the museum while also pursuing her art or fine art photography at the local downtown scene.  Mom would have a studio at home and be very busy setting up this new life, and the girls would spend a lot of time alone together squabbling and who knows what. They may head off for a walk and end up at a old building or house, with a special key and/or door that opens and turns into an adventure or chaotic happening. The 7 year old would be the curious one, and also most fearful, while the 3 year old would be following along behind doing ballet piroettes and singing, totally not even seeing what is happening around her. The banter between them might be quite funny. I am also currently reseaching names for the two of them, based on maybe the early 1500 or 1600s. 

 I am nervous but hopeful that this initial set-up in my brain will take me somewhere further and I can write an initial picture book and chapter book by the end of 2011. I really need support and feedback since this is my first book. I welcome comments at any time and I hope to keep everyone updated using my blog! Please let me know what you think!

*Please remember that now that my ideas are down on paper, in several places, these are copyrighted and I really hope you don’t steal them. Especially since they are loosely based on my girls.

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I’m taking the 2011 Stephen King Challenge, You?

It’s a new year and time for goals!! Though I generally do read a lot of Stephen King, I am going to take this challenge offered by Book Chick City. You can see more information here: http://www.bookchickcity.com/2010/12/sign-up-2011-stephen-king-challenge.html.  You have to read 6 to 12 books by him in 2011 and I’m sure 6 is what I’ll do just for the mere fact that many of his books are sooo long. I read Under the Dome last year and that was a huge book with over 1,000 pages!   I have a few new ones to read, like his newly published short story compilation called Full Dark, No Stars, but I have some I may re-read that I read in my early years also such as Dead Zone.

I’m supposed to put the button and link to the Stephen King Challenge (scary little IT clown picture…yikes!) on my sidebar, you can either go above to the link I provided to learn how to sign-up or click on the sidebar button. You can look for my reviews here on my new book blog!

My favorite Stephen King book is one from more recent years, Duma Key, that I read last year. I LOVE how he made the art really come to life in such a gripping way.   I also really like Rose Madder, which hit home with me when a woman runs away from her abusive cop husband and starts a new life.  However, a painting she buys lures her in to another world. Again, art taking life.  What is your favorite Stephen King book? 

In the meantime, while I am reading, be sure to also check out my other blog at www.breathebeautyartandphotography.wordpress.com, if you like photography, art, doing things with your kids, baking, and musing on life.

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Welcome fellow book nuts!

I am NUTS about books. Not just novels for my age, but also books for all ages of children. I collect picture books and I love reading young adult books just for fun. I hope this blog shares new and old titles of children and young adult books for you, suggested titles of all books, reviews of all types of books, talk about my new children book series I’m diving into for 2011 (I hope you’ll be my sounding board and critics), and let you in on what I’m reading right now. I can’t wait to throw out the bookmark and jump in!

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