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Category Archives: RJ’s Top Picks

Re: Power Play by Joseph Finder

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power-play-by-joe-finder.jpg Power Play
by Joseph Finder
ISBN:0-312-34748-0
fiction * 384 pages
St Martin’s Press
www.josephfinder.com

 Power Play is a clever, action packed read that’s firing on all cylinders…intelligent, intriguing and absolutely entertaining– a boardroom blockbuster that demands to be read in single sitting and leaves you breathless, yet wanting more. 

When CEO, Peter Rawlings, suffers a fatal heart attack while golfing at Pebble Beach, Cheryl Tobin is named as his replacement. In Hammond Aerospace’s male dominated executive suite, this wrinkles more than a few oxford button downs. Then a competitor’s newly designed plane crashes in a ball of flames during an air show in Paris. Which results in millions of dollars in new contracts, as customers scramble to get in line for the new Hammond jet. Because of this unexpected development, VP, Michael Zorn is unable to attend the annual executive retreat. On the day of their scheduled departure, his assistant, Jake Landry is summoned to attend the event in his place.

The lodge is located on an isolated Canadian lake, hidden deep in the vast British Colombian wilderness, where guests are treated to all the perks with none of the disturbances. Miles from the nearest cell phone or laptop King Chinook Lodge was the ideal place to brain storm and bond. Unfortunately, it was those very same characteristics that made it the perfect target for a high stakes kidnapping. And as fate would have it, the assistant, that wasn’t supposed to be there is the executives only hope for survival and the string that unravels a well planned ransom scheme.

This was one of the best books I have read (in any genre) and will certainly remain in my top 10 for a very long time.

The author has gone to great lengths to ensure the dialogue is as accurate as possible…the result is a wholly engrossing, exciting story that’s nearly impossible to put down! Modern issues, such as corporate kidnappings and glass ceilings, money laundering and sabotage are written with a depth and understanding that lend an unusual air of credibility to this novel.

 King Chinook Lodge is an integral part of the story, both allowing the danger to present itself and propelling the situation to its climatic and unavoidable culmination. Throughout the novel, fragments of the past are revealed, allowing the reader to become emotionally connected and invested in the story. Disturbing and thought provoking “Power Play” is a top notch thriller that is immensely satisfying and wildly entertaining!

We all hope there’s a Jake Landry character on our bus or staying in our hotel…or in the next Joe Finder novel! I can’t wait!

Happy Reading!
RJ
3Rs-Real Reader Review
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Review: Water for Elephants

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Water for Elephants

Sara Gruen

Fiction

ISBN-13: 978-1-56512-560-5
Algonquin Books


www.algonquin.com


www.saragruen.com

Reading Group Guide (click here)

 

Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is one of those rare novels, that will be read, re-read, discussed and enjoyed for many years, by old and young alike. Destined to be passed between family and friends and back again, until the tattered, time worn pages resemble the books beloved central character and narrator.

Jacob Jankowski, just days from the final exams at Cornell University that would have attached the respectable Dr. of Veterinary medicine forever to his name, had his world forever altered when his parents were killed in an auto accident. Alone, frightened and penniless, the 23 hopped a train, never intending to “run away with the circus”… although, looking back, as he sat in the nursing home telling his story, it seemed fate didn’t much care about intentions, especially during the depression. It was hard life, the Benzini Brothers Circus, hailed as the Most Spectacular Show On Earth – which of course meant, it wasn’t Ringling and anything that wasn’t Ringling… well, wasn’t Ringling. And so it went, from town to town, day after day — set it up, tear it down – the freaks and geeks, midgets and clowns worked, ate, performed, lived and often died together. The harsh conditions are made even more unbearable at times, by the greedy manager, Uncle Al and his insane animal trainer, August. Yet somehow, in the midst of despair friendships and laughter persevered. Although much of the laughter was alcohol induced, during the height of the depression and prohibition, you took what you could get. The narrator’s transition from the young circus vet, to the elderly, cantankerous nursing home resident is a well crafted, bi-lateral view that pulls the reader into this fictional world and never lets go. Whether in his twenties admiring beautiful, equestrian performer, Marlena and caring for the animals he loved so dearly or in his nineties mulling over where to have breakfast and the indignities of old age, the warm, quick wit comes through loud and clear. From the big top to the nursing facility Gruen’s sharp, three dimensional, fictionally fluid characters will have you laughing out loud one minute, mouth agape in sheer terror the next.

Hurry, hurry, step right up, readers and book lovers everywhere – if you hunger for a reading experience chock full of every conceivable emotion, beautifully written and wholly engrossing, Water for Elephants is a wondrous world, where fact and fiction combine, delivering the most memorable and pleasurable hours, you will be spend with a book. Characters so sharply drawn and wrought with emotion they nearly flow off the page. Sara Gruen’s depictions of depression era America is as beautiful as it is haunting. From unspeakable cruelty and brutality, to selfless acts of kindness, Water for Elephants not only has it all, but delivers it with unapologetic honesty and genuine heart felt passion. If you only add one book to your collection, let this be it!

Happy Reading!

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Reading Group Guide – Available (click here)

Unabridged Audio – Available (*click here)

 

 

 

 

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Re: A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan

nail-thruA Nail Through the Heart
Timothy Hallinan
Fiction/ 336 pages
July 2007 release
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-125580-9
ISBN-10: 0-06-125580-7
William Morrow an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
www.harpercollins.com

www.timothyhallinan.com

Poke Rafferty is a character that all suspense lovers will know by name after June 2007. With “A Nail Through The Heart” being the first of a Bangkok based series from Timothy Hallinan, there is much to be excited about! Unlike many of today’s best sellers, Hallinan holds nothing back! This is a fast paced, thrilling journey filled with mystery and intrigue. To say this is one of those books that is hard to put down would be the understatement of the century. Hallinan has delivered a summer blockbuster, that will no doubt have fans lining up at book stores from the Far East to New York City. Wanting nothing more than a normal life with Rose and Miaow, Poke finds that trying to do the right thing has slowly initiated him into a world he would never have knowingly chosen to visit. Rose, the beautiful Thai woman he loves dearly and hopes to marry, is struggling with her own inner demons. Conflicted about her future, as a result of her past, she doesn’t seem capable of letting go of what was and accepting the love of a good man. However, as with real life, this is the surface trouble. Trying to do the right thing leads Rafferty onto a path filled with a darkness that he never knew existed.

I do not want to divulge many details, because this is one of the most amazing books I have had the pleasure of reading in a very long time. Three choices, that initially seem completely unrelated, lead Rafferty into a world of chaos and danger that threatens everything he holds dear. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good read. The time just flies by and suddenly you are closing the cover, wishing the second book in the series were available. Timothy Hallinan has discovered the perfect blend of mystery, murder and chilling suspense to satisfy even the pickiest reader.

Happy Reading!

RJ xx
3Rs©


😉
The Fourth Watcher   *A Novel of Bangkok
fourthwatcherhc_comp2

CLICK HERE to read our review of “The Fourth Watcher”

Hardcover

9780061257261fourthwatcher pb The Fourth Watcher (paperback)

(book 2 – Bangkok Thriller series)
Read our review of “Watcher”

9780061672231breathingwater Breathing Water (hardcover)
(book 3 – Bangkok Thriller series)

William Morrow an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

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Book 4 coming Summer 2010


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Re: Sir Edgar Font’s Search (book 1)by Patrick Doyle (youth)

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Edgar Font’s Hunt for a House to Haunt:
Adventure One The Castle Tower Lighthouse
Author: Patrick H. T. DoyleI
llustrator: Patrick H. T. Doyle
Pages: 220
ISBN: 0-9786132-0-1
Price: $6.99 US/$11.99 CAN
Publisher: Armadillo Books
http://www.armadillo-books.com/
www.edgarfont.com

If I told you this story began with an old man pointing the way to a secret door in a dream, what would you say? Yet, that is exactly how Patrick H.T. Doyle discovered the leatherbound journal in the attic of his home. Inside he read the most wonderful stories, each describing the adventures of a trusted grandpa and two adoring grandchildren, Audrey and Garrett. Through his imagination and incredible storytelling abilities, Doyle has delivered a new kind of adventure book, that is destined to be a favorite for young and old alike.

The last time the kids had seen grandpa was three years earlier, at their Mother’s funeral. Garrett remembered his bushy moustache and that he lived in a tree house on an island somewhere. Audrey recalled the fantastic stories he had shared during their visits. How he explored pyramids in Egypt, surfed waves in Australia and climbed Mount Everest, twice. Yes, Grandpa was a true explorer. Now everyone referred to him as eccentric. Which of course to the kids simply meant he was weird. Now they would be spending the entire summer with him at his apartment in The Sterling Oaks Retirement Village. Translated into kids english – “boring, boring, and boring.” But, they could not have been more wrong. This would be a summer they would never forget.

Sir Edgar Font has lived an exciting life and certainly intends to continue his quirky ways after he passes from this world into the next. So begins his search for the perfect house to haunt. The Retirement Village was filled with lonely, bored ghosts and that was no place for him. As grandpa explained his plans to his wide eyed grandchildren he was met with skeptisim and questions.Later that night after having seen a ghost at the dinner table, they exited down the emergency steps and made their way to the “Adventure Wagon.” This wagon will take us anywhere we want to go and our first destination will be the Lighthouse, grandpa told them.

The Castle Tower Lighthouse holds many puzzles, secrets, and mysteries, each waiting to be discovered. Beyond all the games there are life lessons being taught through out this book. Dealing with the loss of someone you love, like the death of Audrey and Garrett’s Mother and learning to look beyond that which seems obvious, are only two of the many wonderfully woven stories that both entertain and teach. As a companion and beautifully complimenting the adventures within the book, the website offers many hours of fun and puzzle solving.

Patrick H.T. Doyle has delivered a truly new and refreshing alternative to the books currently available.This could easily be a review filled with all the raving adjectives, because each and every one has been earned. Excellent, engaging, suspense filled, action packed, I could list them all. However, it is far more important to point out that this is not just a children’s book or for young adults. For all the parents out there who have searched for a great story to read to your children before bed, this is it! I have no doubt, children everywhere will be asking, “is it bed-time yet”? For all the children looking for an affordable book that is entertaining and fun, here it is! And lastly for all the adults who enjoy discovering a new author that has truly created something different, look no further, you have found it! And with the second book in this adventure series available in July, this is the perfect time to get introduced to Sir Edgar Font.

Happy Reading!  
  RJ xx

Submitted & Acknowledged 

*Patrick H.T. Doyle’s imagination and ability to bring the true exploits of these three loveable characters to readers is an accomplishment in and of itself. When combined with the multi-layered experience of the book, adventure blog, and website this is truly a one of a kind experience.
Stop by Sir Edgar Font’s Website. There are lots of cool things to explore. And don’t forget to check on the “traveling 5″… Five copies of the book are traveling from reader to reader, around the globe.Visit the Story Tellers Adventure Blog where Patrick has answered questions, talks about the next book & lots of information.
 

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Re: Willow’s Bend by Kat Michaels (children’s)

Willow’s Bend by Kat Michaels

Willow’s Bend
by Kat Michaels
Children’s Book (ages 2-7)
$15.95
ISBN: 0-9745052-6-9
Tree of Life Publishing

Visit Kat Michaels Home Page
Visit Tree of Life Publishing

After reading Willow’s Bend, you too will be surprised to learn that this is Kat Michaels debut book. Children will undoubtedly sit in astonished silence, mesmerized by the brightly colored, intricately detailed glossy pages. This hardcover children’s book is easy to read and a delightful adventure for family members of all ages. Because of the catchy, rhythmic tones used throughout this book, I found myself almost singing the words. Which, of course, brings smiles, of all shapes and sizes to the faces of children the world over.

Willow’s Bend is the story of a grumpy little frog, with four little toes that lives on a lily pad near where the willow tree grows. He is introduced to a beautiful butterfly, a playful elf, and a rambling rabbit. All interesting characters but all very different from the frog. Believing he could only befriend those who were like him, he refuses to play with any of them. Until he meets another frog. A happy, singing frog that is on his way to the Willow Tree to meet all of his friends. Our grumpy little frog learns a valuable lesson – our unique qualities aren’t meant to separate us, but to bring us together.

A life lesson of immense importance that is taught with love, tenderness and humor. Willow’s Bend is a definite must have for all parents, grandparents and caregivers. Kat Michaels is a talented writer, loving mother and wife that has created a work filled with the same magic that fills her heart.

– –

On a personal note. I have found that this book is enjoyed by the elderly, as well as, children. While reading Willow’s Bend to several patients at a local nursing home facility, I witnessed a happiness in their eyes that I had never seen before. The rhyming words, the over-sized, emotional filled faces of the characters, combined with all the colors is a winning combination outside the confines of the stated age group. This is a beautifully written book that I recommend heartily and without reservation to everyone – young and old alike!

Happy Reading!
RJxx
Review submission acknowledged April 4, 2007
 

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