Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams Review

Tara Sheridan has a gift, she is able to use Tarot cards and traditional investigative techniques to solve crimes, however, Tara has sworn off using her gift since her near death at the hands of a serial killer she was tracking down. Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams begins with Tara sequestered in the mountains, ignoring her gift but when the scientist Magnusson goes missing under mysterious circumstances Tara is convinced to come out of hiding for this one case.

Tara finds herself working closely with FBI agent Harry Li to figure out what happened to Magnusson and in the process of the investigation, she finds herself protecting Magnusson’s daughter Cassie and his lab. As events escalate, Cassie and Harry are forced to start investigation the very agency they work for and Cassie finds herself facing the very things she ran away from originally, relying more and more on Harry for support.

I started reading this book with some trepidation, I have always associated the use of Tarot cards with the use of dark or evil powers. Williams’ use of the cards to assist in the investigation was well done and has changed my opinion regarding the use of tarot cards. The novel was an intriguing read as the story followed both the mystery of the missing scientist and the path of Tara as she came to terms with what happened to her. I found the main character sympathetic without being weak, always a difficult balance to be achieved by an author.

Rating:

Title: Dark Oracle

Author: Alayna Williams

Format: Paperback,  eBook

Page Nos.: 336

ISBN: 978-1439182796

Publisher: Pocket

Release Date: May 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the author but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

Review: Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

What would you do if everything you thought you knew about your past and your parents was wrong and it took a thief breaking into your house to bring the truth forward? Trapped by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen is about Emi, a woman who wakes in the middle of the night to find a thief in her house. Barely escaping the house without getting caught by the thief, Emi is shocked when she returns with the police to find the thief has arranged her clothes in almost shrines in the house and has placed a letter written by her father to her mother dated almost a year after his supposed death with the shrines. The discovery of a father who may be alive leads Emi with her best friend and unrequited love, Daniel, to Austria, using only the partial address on the envelope.

As Emi and Daniel start investigating what happened to her father, Emi realizes that her love for Daniel may never be returned. Emi and Daniel are pulled more and more into the mystery surrounding Emi’s family, Daniel starts to look at Emi in a new light but will the deception Emi is forced to play destroy whatever feelings Daniel may have developed? Also, can Emi figure out how to break the curse that has plagued her family for centuries before the mysterious Gernot can destroy anyone who tries to help Emi?

Trapped was a great read that had me hooked from the very first scene where Emi wakes to find someone has broken into her house. The mystery that surrounds Emi’s family and the curse that is slowly destroying all the family members was both compelling and intriguing. I loved how who I thought was Gernot was wrong, it is always great when an author is able to surprise me. I also loved how Emi’s description of Austria right after they get there is the “Sound of Music” setting, I immediately had the imagery in my head that the character was seeing.  Trapped was well written and kept me guessing until the very end.

You can read the first chapter here.

Rating:

Title: Trapped

Author: Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Format: Paperback

Page Nos.: 293

ISBN: 978-1935217640

Publisher: Walnut Springs Press

Release Date: April 2010

Available for purchase: Amazon, Desert Book

Reviewer: Jessica

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.

The Lightning Thief

It’s that time again, so pull up your popcorn and your book and let’s talk about Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Okay, I have to admit that going in to watch the movie I was warned by several people that the book and the movie were very different, and they were correct. I think the best way to discuss this is to look at each one separately because they are so different from each other.

The Book:

I first read the book a couple of years ago and liked it so much I subsequently bought the entire series. Since rereading the first book in the series I have been steadily working my way through the series again because I enjoyed it so much the first time.Percy, son of Poseidon, half-blood and hero.  I like Percy, arrogant and unsure at the same time, his optimism in face of great odds and despite the history of heroes ending up cursed, dead or falling is endearing, as is his struggle to figure out what is going on because he just doesn’t study his Greek Mythology well enough.  His defense of those weaker than him is also endearing, in this book it is Grover before he finds out what Grover really is, in the second book it is a young Cyclops.

Annabeth, daughter of Athena, in the novel she is a blond, smart girl who studies architecture for fun.  I love her bragging about being smart and not being afraid to take down Percy a few notches when he needs it. The gift from her mother makes me giggle by being a cap of invisibility that looks like  a baseball cap.

Clarrisse, daughter of Ares, camp nemesis of Percy and numero uno bully.  I was disappointed when her characterdidn’t appear in the movie.  I was also disappointed to not get to see biker Ares, god of war.

Luke, son of Hermes, betrayer of the camp and, more particularly, Percy in setting him up to take the fall for the theft of Zeus’ main lightening bolt.  I was disappointed in the movie that they didn’t give him the wicked cool scar on his face from the claw of a dragon.

I think my favorite character is Percy with Annabeth as a close second, what do you think?

The official book website.

The Movie:

Percy of the movie, I thought they did a good job casting Percy, although at the age of twelve he should have been smaller and less good looking, but hey, who I am to complain about some good eye candy?! Percy is given a very short period of time to train, adjust to the information about the gods he has been given, and defeat Annabeth at capture the flag before leaving on his quest.  This felt a bit rushed but I really liked the overall look and feel to Camp Half-Blood.

Okay, first major change from the book was Percy finding out he was the son of Poseidon at the beginning of the movie, in the book he doesn’t know who his father is until about the middle of the book and even then Poseidon is a very removed character, both emotionally and physically.  I enjoyed the loving father angle of the movie but the distant father of the novel was truer to the Greek Myths I grew up reading.

Okay, I have to admit I almost squealed like a little girl when Sean Bean appeared as Zeus, I had no idea that was who they cast and I thought he was incredible. Also, Pierce Brosnan made a great Chiron, not quite as muscular as I had imagined Chiron being but a believable Centaur nonetheless.

The quest for the pearls of Persephone, so different from the quest in the book. I was disappointed that they didn’t include the Oracle (who is a mummy) and her advice to go West to find the thief and Percy was given the pearls from his father to return to the sea.  The first major battle against Medusa was correct and Uma Thurman did a great job of playing Medusa. The Hydra’s don’t appear in the books until the second book.

Final thoughts, I liked both separately as the movie was great when not comparing it to the book but as a film supposedly based on the book, it went far from the book especially in the themes of father and father’s love.  Okay, you have heard (in great detail and a lot of words) what I think, what did you think?  If you haven’t had a chance to see the movie yet, I was able to see it at a discount theater or it comes out on DVD on June 29th.

The official movie website.

**On a side note, this was one of the hardest posts for me to write because spell check doesn’t recognize Greek gods and I am horrible speller. 🙂

To Tame a Tiger by Susan Kelley

Like the hawks that help him, Luke Aron is a warrior used to fighting for his survival. In To Tame a Tiger by Susan Kelley, the Tigers are a proud warrior race who have been cursed by a witch to be bonded to a sorceress to survive.  Now that Luke’s bond holder has been killed, he must find another sorceress soon or he will have to choose between death or bonding to Beka, the woman who murdered his bond holder to gain Luke as a warrior.

Violet is a sorceress who has only used her powers to help her people have a better crop yield but now finds herself a political hostage by Beka.  Violet meets Luke while they are both prisoners and agrees to take his bond in exchange for protection and help to escape, little does Violet know what having a Tiger in herkeep will mean to both her body and her heart as Luke and Violet battle to defeat Beka from gaining control of Violet’s family’s land. Violet will do anything to protect her family and lands, even if it means making Luke submit to her will in the battle against Beka.

To Tame a Tiger is a fantasy novel set in a land filled with magic and warriors. I liked the characters of both Luke and Violet, the novel moved at a fast pace and kept me interested in knowing what was going to happen next, wanting to know how they were going to defeat Beka when the odds were against them. Kelley was able to portray the strength of Luke while believably showing his hatred and anger and being forced into anything.  However, my biggest issue was the way the bond was passed was during sex because all of the defenses of Luke were down and only then could Violet accept the bond.  This meant that right after meeting Luke and Violet had sex in order to save both their lives.  This is a personal issue because I prefer the characters to get to know each other a little bit (perhaps even knowing each other’s last names?!) before jumping into bed together.  Other than the immediate sex, the novel was well done with an interesting premise of the curse affecting the warrior race and Beka’s maneuverings to get the power she so desperately sought.

Rating:

Title: To Tame a Tiger

Author: Susan Kelley

Format: ebook

AISN: B003I84LWE

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

Release Date: March 2010

Available for purchase:The Wild Rose Press

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher but was not required to provide a review and it did not impact my review in any way.