4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, T

REVIEW: The Black Sun by James Twining

The Black Sun
by James Twining

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 416
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 12-19, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 48

First Line: Ash cash. That’s what medical students call it.

In Maryland a Nazi Enigma machine is stolen from the National Cryptologic Museum. In a London hospital, an Auschwitz survivor is murdered in his hospital bed, his arm severed and taken by his murderers. In Prague, a seemingly worthless painting is stolen from a synagogue. Three cities. Three crimes. Is there a connection? Former art thief Tom Kirk does not seem to think that there is a link between these three incidents, but when he begins to investigate he realizes that there is some sort of a connection, and he will be in a race against time to figure out the connection and connect all the dots in order to find a fabled hidden treasure.

This is the second in the Tom Kirk series. I enjoyed this book, but I think the first book was much better. I was a history major in college, so naturally I will always enjoy any book with a historical slant to it. This one had some slow spots and some fast spots, but overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, T

REVIEW: The Book of Names by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori

The Book of Names
by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 341
Rating: 5/5
Read: Dec. 30-31, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 74

First Line: Two men shoveled the sand under cover of darkness.

In each generation there are 36 people who hold the world in balance. The names of those 36 people are found in The Book of Names. If all 36 of those people are killed then the world as we know it will essentially end. Some  examples: Mt. Vesuvius erupted when 15 were killed; the Inquisition was triggered after 18 were killed. In the current generation, there are only three left to find and kill. So what disaster will happen once those three are identified and eliminated? It’s up to one man – David Shepherd to end the cycle. He sees all these names in his head and has been writing them down in a journal for years. He has no idea what these names mean or why they are coming to him. But when he learns the reasons behind these mysterious names coming to him he is horrified to find that the latest one that has come to him is his step-daughters name. Knowing he must save her no matter what, he sets out across the globe to finally end this once and for all.

I am such a sucker for action packed adventure that a book like this provides. It’s such a wonderful escape for me. It was also a great way to end my 2009 reading. Some of the stuff in this book was a little unbelievable, but I think that’s what made me like this book even more. I really enjoyed it. I don’t really know what I can say about this book other than that I recommend it to everyone. If you want a really good race-against-the-clock storyline this is a great place to start.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, T

REVIEW: The Sorority: Samantha

The Sorority: Samantha
by Tamara Thorne

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 203
Rating: 4/5
Read: Dec. 26, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 71

First Line: Meteors showered the black velvet night.

Samantha Penrose knows that there’s something going on in the Gamma Eta Pi sorority house at Greenbriar University. And her investigative journalist instincts tell her to look into it as much as she can. Between Eve’s “suicide” and Merilynn’s disappearance, Samantha takes every opportunity to dig deep into the secrets of the house, sisters and the exclusive Fata Morgana. But what she finds is not just scandalous – they’re sinister! Malory Thomas is watching her every move, but that is not stopping Sam from finding out what exactly is going on in the sorority house.

This was the finale of the trilogy. Taking all three books together, I must say that the trilogy itself seemed to be quite standard. The basic premise behind this whole trilogy was this: there are evil witches living as sorority sisters at Greenbriar University. Three young new sisters end up in the same sorority after meeting as young girls at the cheerleading camp across the lake from the university. They all know that there is something funny going on with the lake and the woods that surround it, but when they end up in the same sorority, they realize that something is weird with the sorority as well and they all set out to figure out what really is going on in their sorority house. The three books follow the three main characters’ own personal story of the mysteries surrounding Gamma Eta Pi. Again, it seemed kind of standard and formulaic, but I still enjoyed it altogether.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, T

REVIEW: The Sorority: Merilynn by Tamara Thorne

The Sorority: Merilynn
by Tamara Thorne

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 203
Rating: 4/5
Read: Dec. 24, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009; 2010 Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 70

First Line: “A long time ago, the town of Applehead was located right there under the lake.” Counselor Allie Mayhew pointed toward the lake, its black water slowly rippling with silver moonlight.

Merilynn Morris is an old soul. She’s always had a sixth sense that she can’t explain. After Eve Camlan’s mysterious disappearance, and suspected suicide, Merilynn is troubled. She is absolutely certain that there is evil in the Gamma Eta Pi sorority house at Greenbriar University. When Malory Thomas invites her to be involved with the ultra secret Fata Morgana, Merilynn gets even more concerned because of the glimpses of evil she is having. Is this some kind of a warning of things to come?

This was a continuation of Eve’s experiences. This one answered a lot of the questions that I had after finishing Eve’s version. I’m not sure what to make of this trilogy in general. It seems pretty standard in terms of evil sorority sisters and black magic. Will have more to say about the trilogy as a whole after Samantha’s version.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, T

REVIEW: The Sorority: Eve

The Sorority: Eve
by Tamara Thorne

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5
Read: Dec. 22-23, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009; 2010 Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 68

First Line: “They say she’s still down there.” Merilynn Morris trailed her fingers through the cool summer water as Samantha and Eve dipped their oars, slowly paddling toward the little island in the center of the lake.

Eve Camlan is drawn to Greenbriar University. But she’s even more drawn to Gamma Eta Pi, a very elite sorority. What she wants most is to be a cheerleader at Greenbriar, and to do so she must be a Gamma Eta Pi. However, there’s something spooky altogether about the sorority house. Dark magic, sin, sex and murder are all hidden behind those doors. And the sisters take an oath never to reveal what goes on behind the doors of Gamma Eta Pi. Evil is in that house. And it might just cost Eve everything she’s got.

This is the first in the Sorority Trilogy. It was a quick and easy read. I still have more than a few questions about what is going on, but I have the other books on my shelf and will be starting them immediately so that I can get my answers. I haven’t really decided what exactly is going on behind the doors of that sorority, but it’s definitely something scary. I was never a sorority girl in college, but I can tell you some of this stuff would make you think twice about joining a sorority! But in all seriousness, this seems like a good start to a very interesting trilogy. I don’t read a lot of paranormal horror (I think that this is where we’re going with this) or a lot of trilogies either. So I’m definitely looking forward to getting into the second book and find out what really is going on at Greenbriar University and Gamma Eta Pi.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, T

REVIEW: The Double Eagle by James Twining

The Double Eagle
by James Twining

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 399
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 22-25, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 57

First Line: They were late.

Someone has managed to steal five Double Eagles from Fort Knox. These five $20 gold coins were some of the few still in existence. President Roosevelt ordered them destroyed during the Great Depression, and they are worth millions. When one of them turns up in the stomach of a murdered priest in France, FBI agent Jennifer Browne is put on the case. Browne knows that she needs to close this case in order to save her stalled career. Following all the clues leads her directly to art thief Tom Kirk. Kirk wants out of the game, and Browne can promise him a clean break, if he cooperates with her and helps her recover these coincs. This unlikly pair sets out on a breakneck race around the world and right into a surprising conspiracy of greed, power, and death.

I have had my eye on this book for a few years now. One of my co-workers’ wives recommended this book to me at a company Christmas party back in 2006 or 2007. It sounded interesting, but not something that was high on my priority list. But I kept coming back to it on my PBS reminder list and finally used the credit for it. And I can only say that I am disappointed I waited so long to meet James Twining’s work! I was totally taken pretty much from the first page. I was intrigued and couldn’t get through the pages quickly enough to figure out what was really going on. And when I got to the end, there was definitely a nice twist to the ending that surprised me. I really enjoyed all the descriptions about how Tom Kirk carried off his heists. This is a wonderful book I am definitely looking foward to getting around to the rest of the books in this series, and I doubt that I wait another two years to read the second book. I highly recommend this book.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Read in 2008, T

The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason

The Rule of Four

by Ian Caldwell & Dustin Thomason
Copyright: 2004
Pages: 446
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 29-March 2, 2008
Challenge: Numbers Challenge
First Line: Like many of us, I think, my father spent the measure of his life piecing together a story he would never understand.
The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, a Renaissance text, and Tom Sullivan have always had a love-hate relationship. This book consumed his father’s life. And during his final year at Princeton, he finds the book consuming him and his roommate, Paul Harris. As Paul tries to figure out all the pieces to the puzzle of this book, the deadline for his senior thesis hovers above him. But then, a long-lost diary is found and Paul believes he has solved it. But before he has time to finish his thesis and state his conclusions, thereby revealing the final pieces to this mysterious puzzle, he has to fight forces that are against him. With the help of Tom and their two roommates, Gil and Charlie, they embark upon a journey that might kill them all.
I really enjoyed this book. Although it does seem to lag in certain places, overall I felt myself rushing through it because it was so suspenseful! I could hardly wait to get to the end of it. I have read that some people are likening it to The Da Vinci Code, but I wouldn’t. I felt that in a way it was much better than Dan Brown’s book, whereas in other places (like the writing style) it did sort of lack what Brown’s book had. It’s hard to describe, but definitely an enjoyable read!