Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Henry James once defined life as that predicament which precedes death, and certainly nobody owes you a debt of honor or gratitude for getting him into that predicament.  But a child does owe his father a debt, if Dad, having gotten him into this peck of trouble, takes off his coat and buckles down to the job of showing his son how best to crash through it.  ~Clarence Budington Kelland
A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty.  ~Author Unknown
You will find that if you really try to be a father, your child will meet you halfway.  ~Robert Brault

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

FEVER: a "blazing" debut novel by Joan Swan

FEVER (Phoenix Rising # 1) by Joan Swan

Trade Paperback, 342 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Kensington Publishing Corp.
ISBN  0758266383 (ISBN13: 9780758266385)
Genre: paranormal romance novel, romantic suspense
Rating: 5 stars plus
One of the most sensational debut novels of 2012, hot from the cover art to the last page. I have one word for you: UNPUTDOWNABLE. This genre is not usually my cup of tea (in addition to the suspense element, FEVER features also a paranormal twist), but in this case I found myself devouring this well executed novel page after page, totally absorbed by the riveting and well-paced storyline , by the compelling and fully nuanced characters, by the emotional depth and scorching romance.

During the explosion of a warehouse where experiments for the advancement of military warfare were secretly conducted, firefighter/paramedic Teague Creek and his team are exposed to some chemicals that will give him the power to control and manipulate heat. When Teague starts investigating the true nature of those chemicals and the reasons for his “mutation”, the government secret services set him up with false accusations of aggravated murder and lock him up in jail for life. Life in prison for a crime he never committed is too much to bear, especially when outside there is a five years old daughter he may never have the chance to hold in his arms again and a new and healing love he desperately needs.
Driven by sheer desperation (he would rather die than go back to jail and witness horrors and tortures), he breaks free during a medical check-up and kidnaps a young doctor (Alyssa Foster) with the intention to exchange his hostage with his daughter, flee the country and start a new life elsewhere. What initially seems to be a further complication (the kidnapping of the wrong doctor), turns out to be a blessing and the tool of his redemption.

Teague and Alyssa’s relationship is the thing that I loved the most about the book: their chemistry is so palpable, their emotional connection deep and immediate, their dialogues mesmerizing, their mutual need so heartwarming. There is great intensity in this book and an overall feeling of right proportions between action/suspense and romance, character development and sensuality.
As for the accusations made by some readers regarding the author’s indulgent use of vulgar language and racial slurs, please mind that it’s less extensive than some reviews may lead you to believe and it needs to be read only as part of the characterization of a particular character throughout a limited number of pages (compared to the length of the novel), certainly not such a defining aspect of the whole book. Realistically, I wouldn’t expect the secondary character in question to express himself in a different manner. The use of a certain language is true to the context and adds to the credibility and consistency of the character.

For me it was a 5 stars plus reading and I wholeheartedly recommend it. I will definitely put my ends on BLAZE, the second installment in the Phoenix Rising series, as soon as it will be released (expected in September 2012).

Precious little things on the path to happiness

A Facebook friend of mine just asked  what makes me happy...a lot of little doesn't take much. As I grow older and wiser, I realized it takes less and less to get to that state of mind. What makes you happy?

My Bookshelf

What do I keep on my bookshelf? Everything, from my books (plenty of those), to my DVDs, to my kids’ toys and sketches, pictures of my loved ones , and more…notepads, coins, reminders, favorite nicknacks…everything in display, a little messy and random, but “mine”, like a mirror of what is meaningful to me, a display of the thoughts that crowd my mind and fill my days.  

On Mina’s Bookshelf you will find mostly books, books and movies reviews, my book recommendations and suggestions, but also my thoughts on whatever catches my attention in between laundry, cooking, dusting, gardening, homework, family time and so forth…so much to do and so little time for a   woman/housewife/mother of two. No rest for the wicked!

Books are my childhood friends, my stress-relief therapy, my wings to fly to faraway lands and distant times in the past or the future, my source of knowledge and inspiration.  I simply adore them  and consume them aplenty.  I never give up reading a book through the last page, even when I am not enthusiast about it, and I am in awe of whoever manages to accomplish the labor of love that writing a book involves.

A house without books is like a body without soul according to Cicero. Thomas Jefferson couldn’t live without books and Paul Auster reminds us never to underestimate the power of books.  And while outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend, inside of a dog it's too dark to read…couldn’t  agree more with Groucho Marx. All in all, they are the greatest transportation mean when you want to travel but you are forced to stay where you are.

Come see my bookshelf, enjoy it, hate it, comment about it, grab whatever item catches your eye and take a better look, “rant and rave” if you wish. Just keep it clean…bookshelves can get pretty messy sometimes.