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Lady Sam (100 Mile House / BC)

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Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
by Neil Patrick Harris
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.67
33 used & new from CDN$ 15.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Interesting Story, Dec 2 2014
Not too sure, I care so much for this style of autobiography - but it was interesting to read and 'experience' nonetheless. NPH - despite his relatively young years - has lived an interesting life already and I'm sure, he'll accomplish a lot more in the years to come, no matter which 'hat' he decides to wear at any given time.
As for the 'Choose Your Own Autobiography' series (is it?) - it is essentially set up to make the reader feel as if s/he is the person described ... sort of your own '15 minutes of fame', maybe? I'm not quite sure.
Nor am I too sure about the 'recommendations' at the bottom of each/most short chapters as to which page to turn next. Sometimes, the reader is referred to a previous occurrence, at other times much later and, on occasion, to simply read on. From my point of view, following those 'directions' makes reading the book very confusing - aside from certain 'little stories' that make no sense at all.
The writing - presumably Neil Patrick Harris own 'penmanship'? - is otherwise mostly interesting and intriguing. The descriptions of the photographs that are included definitely sound very much NPH and range from his early childhood to becoming a parent, but also include film, tv, theatre and hosting aspects of his colourful career, some of which I was totally unaware of. However, I did thoroughly enjoy the trip down memory lane where Doogie Howser, M.D. is concerned - an international hit that I first experienced back in Europe.
Overall, I liked what I read but might have enjoyed it even more, had it been the 'deeply personal account written in the first person' this book so vehemently tried to avoid.

And the River Still Sings: A Wilderness Dweller's Journey
And the River Still Sings: A Wilderness Dweller's Journey
by Chris Czajkowski
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.85

4.0 out of 5 stars A brave woman's journey, Nov. 19 2014
When I first met Chris Czajkowski was during her publishing tour introducing her latest book but also having all her other publications with her. She was talking about her life - which is essentially what this latest book is all about - adding a variety of photos to illustrate her words. I thought there and then - what an exceptional woman - and reading the book only confirmed that thought.
The author has penned a number of books covering a variety of subjects, including her work, cooking in the wilderness and even a story from her dog's point of view which appears to have been quite successful. This time round, it's her own tale with the subtitle - A Wilderness Dweller's Journey. She starts with her parents and her own childhood in England, then literally travelling around the world before she settles in Canada. She describes her life and travels in fair detail, together with pictures and humour, making it an easy and straight forward read. However, the book really comes to life once she arrives in Canada - her actual destination.
At first, she works on a dairy farm in the Okanagan before she moves to the Chilcotin where she literally lives in the middle of nowhere - a place that can only be reached by plane or on a very long hike from 'civilisation'. Chris is literally a pioneer - one of that elusive 'breed' of women and that in the twenty-first century, when you think this no longer possible. However, there are still elusive corners especially in Canada to be discovered and Chris Czajkowski has most definitely done just that. And she has also proven herself a gifted writer, having successfully published a number of books since 1980 that have been and still are well-received. Well done, Chris - onto the next.

Dust to Dust
Dust to Dust
by Heather Graham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.99
72 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars And another promising series by Heather Graham, Nov. 10 2014
Despite this being the first book in the Prophecy series, it appears to connect with and contain a number of characters of the Alliance - another group of eight books published by Heather Graham between 1999 and 2007. And the heroes of this new adventure also appear to have extraordinary powers, including impressive strength and speed, while based upon the Zodiac Earth signs - Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo. Intrigued? So was I.
As is often the case, everything starts quite innocently, but the sequence of subsequent events make perfect sense - no matter how strange they appear. In fact, the author manages to reel the reader into the story and make them think, all of this could actually happen. That's how real those tales read and feel.
The new characters are well fleshed out, their actions are completely acceptable as do their backstories - in order to explain how and why they do and act in the various situations they find themselves in. Even those 'people' introduced during the Alliance-series have substance and come to life - with enough detail for the 'new reader' to understand what makes them tick, but without getting too deep into explanations to make them sound boring and/or repetitive to the avid follower of Heather Graham books.
The locations are described vividly and in great detail to make the reader feel as if they are actually there with the heroes of the novel - whether they have ever actually visited those places or not. The author is either very well travelled or really does do her research - chances are, both scenarios apply. Essentially, the story comes alive with intricate descriptions of the surroundings, be that buildings, the environment or the 'flair' and 'essence' of it all. Even the fact that Heather Graham tends to 'jump' from one group to another does not take away from the overall storylines and various plots running succinctly. With her characters often located in different areas, even countries - the connection between them and the part they play within the story is always smooth, well thought through and moves the tale along nicely to its conclusion.

Deadly Gift
Deadly Gift
by Heather Graham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 7.59
97 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Irish Lore Galore, Nov. 10 2014
This is the last book of the Flynn Brothers trilogy by Heather Graham, but the first one I read. As always, the storyline was neat and detailed, the characters well fleshed out and the locations described extensively and vividly.
Deadly Gift is based in Rhode Island essentially, with a short interlude in Ireland - but it is the Irish lore and mystical history that really comes to the forefront. After all - just how much do you know about banshees, leprechauns and other fairy folk? Well, you will receive quite an education in this Flynn adventure. However, that forms only part of this most intriguing tale.
While Heather Graham is known for her paranormal stories, they also always entail a grain of truth and, of course, a mystery. And this author is excellent at spinning an interesting tale from beginning to end, leaving the reader to wonder whatever could and would be happening next, and who the perpetrator turned out to be. The uncovering of who the 'badies' eventually are is often a very real surprise and definitely an 'aha'-moment as they often turn out to be the last person expected. Along the way, there usually are a great number of 'red herrings' interwoven with the various plots, leaving the reader to wonder who's who and what's what right to the 'bitter end'.
This particular story also involves a self-made millionaire who just married a woman less than half his age, owns a flourishing cruising business and is dabbling in local history that may well reveal the location of a long-lost treasure. The importance of family, relationships of all kinds and working together is also very much highlighted, and portrayed in grave contrast to those who appear to be all alone in the world.
This book contains a wondrous and varied mixture of people and situations enticing the reader to delve right in - cover to cover - and then still craving more.

The Cursed
The Cursed
by Heather Graham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.09
83 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A Brand New Trilogy, Sept. 29 2014
This review is from: The Cursed (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a new trilogy by Heather Graham covering, once again, the by now well-established Krewe of Hunters. With this novel, we are back in Key West, Florida, and various characters covered in earlier adventures return. Nevertheless, whether you have read those particular tales before or not, once again, the author incorporates just enough details of those people involved to introduce them to new readers but not too much to be boring to those who have read their stories before. In fact, one or the other may even be inspired to go in search of the relevant series.
Overall, Heather Graham does appear to like those 'haunted places' throughout the States - especially in and around Salem, New Orleans and Key West. Mind you, there was also a trilogy located in the Texas area, including the Alamo which was most inspiring. Krewe of Hunter series tend to be based on historical events - at least some that I am aware of (such as the Alamo) at least based on factual events. Be that a it may, the historical aspects of those storylines are always very enlightening and intriguing. And while the (murder) cases themselves have to be resolved in the present, they inevitably involve the past which, in turn, will have to be unravelled also.
Having never visited any of those locations myself, I still get a very good idea as to what the areas and places look like and can easily imagine the scenery. The characters themselves are well fleshed out and the reader starts caring about them easily and quickly - getting everyone involved to urge on the heroes and trying to figure out who the 'baddies' are and what they'll be doing next.
This is the perfect mystery suspense novel, with a paranormal subtext and some historical lessons / information thrown in for good measure. ENJOY!

Orchard Valley Brides: Norah\Lone Star Lovin'
Orchard Valley Brides: Norah\Lone Star Lovin'
by Debbie Macomber
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.49
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Another Bloomfield Tale, Sept. 12 2014
Having read Orchard Valley Grooms - the story on how the older two Bloomfield sisters found love - I simply had to find this book in order to find out the story of sister number three. And it involved a nice little twist ...
I have definitely come to love Debbie Macomber's writing and this book is no different. Her style is straight forward and her characters fleshed out to the nines - another author who's stories are often so involving and intriguing that I simply could not stop reading until I got to the end. This was also the case with book one of the Bloomfield sisters, covering high-powered business woman Valerie meeting her equally workaholic doctor husband to be as well as impulsive world traveller Steffie making up with old flame Charles, editor and now publisher of the town paper. Here, Nurse Norah having remained single and determinately so, but newly 'psychic' daddy David knows better. So, Debbie Macomber is covering her story here and ... but that would spoil the twist.
As with book one, there are also two stories included in book two - and since there is only one sister left, a nurse friend of Norah's is to find her life mate. However, the beginning of Sherry's tale almost put me off from actually reading it - essentially, if the reasons for her initial move had been explained right away that would probably have made the 'introduction' of her character much more palatable. As is, the story di turn out to be as involving and intriguing as the Bloomfield sisters in the end - courtesy of the brilliance of author Debbie Macomber.

Holiday in Death
Holiday in Death
by J D Robb
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
124 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Winner, Sept. 12 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It took me quite a while to actually find a copy in the first place and, boy, was the effort worth the time spent! I love the 'In Death' series overall, however, this is definitely one of those books that stand out.
It's one of the early tales in the series, with the main characters still being established. Dallas, Lieutenant Eve herself is still finding her 'married feet' as well as relationships in general which is somewhat difficult and new territory for her as she never really had friends before bar one or two outside her precinct. On top of that - it's Christmas time which brings additional pressure and novelty of having to buy Christmas presents for everyone, again something very alien to this level-headed homicide cop.
Whatever it is, I found this tale very encompassing and intriguing, and simply could not put the book down until I read it cover to cover. It includes all - from mystery and suspense to comical to heartfelt, it is all right there, together with the awkwardness of trying to find a way from 'social outcast' to 'socialite' for lack of a better word.
The case itself is also rather heart-wrenching and full of the usual 'red herrings' where J D Robb aka Nora Roberts is concerned. The storyline includes a number of interesting sub-plots with the actual culprit remaining a mystery right to the end. Nonetheless, it all makes sense and comes full circle in the end.
The main subject - lonely hearts - perfect for our 'anti-social' heroine. While she may have found her 'dream guy', others that are seeking love in order not to spend Christmas on their own are being targeted - a theme that touches so many on different levels which also prevails throughout this novel. Essentially, the author has outdone herself writing this particular adventure. Yes, it really is that good!

Realm Of Shadows
Realm Of Shadows
by Heather Graham
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 8.54
51 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Reissue of an Earlier Work, Sept. 12 2014
This book turned out to be part four of six of the 'Alliance Vampires' series and one of the earlier works of Heather Graham. It shows.
White the writing itself is as competent as always - this is after all a very gifted author we are talking about - the characters are fleshed out and the locations described to make the reader feel s/he is actually there. However, he way the story was laid out is somewhat disconcerting. Let me explain what I mean by that.
There are quite a number of people involved in the storyline that are introduced - some directly and some more obscurely. There are the main characters that are named and described right away but then Heather also introduces shadowy folk who appear to have no connection to the mystery at hand. So far, so good - this is, after all, a suspense novel. What did irk me after a while was that the story of one person was described and, after only a few pages, someone completely different and, at times, unrelated became the focal point. And after going through this 'procedure' a number of times and never really getting much of anyone's point of view before the next section came up, made the reading in general somewhat difficult and tiresome - especially trying to remember everything that is happening, where, when and to whom. To put it simple - the story does feel 'hacked' and in pieces at times.
Don't get me wrong - the tale itself is interesting and intriguing, and I am glad to have persevered to read the entire book. I have to admit though that there were times when I was tempted to simply read the end and be done with it. Well, as already mentioned, this series was published a while ago and Heather Graham has definitely 'honed her skills' in the meantime. All in all, the book is well worth reading and rest assured that all 'leads' will come together in the end and make sense.

Waking the Dead
Waking the Dead
by Heather Graham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 17.52
32 used & new from CDN$ 9.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit Different Than Usual ..., Sept. 1 2014
This review is from: Waking the Dead (Hardcover)
The books I have read thus far by this author were either about the Krewe of Hunters or individuals hunting criminals in the same fashion. Waking the Dead somewhat deviates from this, which the main characters not actually communicating with the dead even though the story itself still falls under the paranormal. It is also based on a background of history - this time a painter meeting literary men and women in Switzerland during 1816, plus, as is so often the case in Heather Graham tales, it is based in New Orleans.
Apparently, this is a series in itself - albeit, this is the first in the series that I have come across - and is sub-titled 'A Cafferty & Quinn Novel'. It seems that both Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn get together to solve crimes when they are somewhat unusual. They also have a number of friends they work with, such as a former drug addict, an old business partner, a catholic priest and a voodoo priestess. That mix in itself promises to make any storyline interesting, so let's throw in a wolf to round the team up. And, yes, they all get involved.
As always, Heather Graham spins a wonderful tale that has the reader guessing what's coming next and who's involved right to the end. And while I may have suspected the culprits a little earlier than I was supposed to this time round, it still made for very compelling reading from beginning to end. Happy Reading!

Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
by E L James
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.96
314 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Series ..., July 23 2014
There was such a hype about this book and its two 'follow-ups' completing the trilogy that I finally succumbed and started reading. To be perfectly honest, I almost stopped after about a hundred pages but am now glad I didn't.
Why did I almost give up on the novel? Quite frankly, it did look and feel like a man taking full advantage of a young and rather confused woman - something that happens all too often in real life, something I did not really want to 'experience' in my reading. However, as it turned out, there was a great deal more about and within Anastasia Steele than meets the eye and she started to stand her ground. In retrospect, she actually always did - right from the start, even if it had not been obvious. The man, in return, instead of looking for another 'victim' started to adjust to the situation and, if not exactly face, at least he openly acknowledged his 'demons'.
This is an exceptionally moving story of two people meeting unexpectedly and experiencing the emotional rollercoaster ride of trying to adjust to one another and getting to know each other despite their obvious differences. Add childhood issues (on both sides), innocence and money into the mix, and you have the basis of Fifty Shades of Grey.
E L James created a masterful story with in-depth exploration of issues that are usually 'not talked about' and spun it into an intriguing and compelling tale. The main message - in order for ANY relationship to last and flourish, communication with one another openly and honestly is an absolute must!
I am glad to have persevered and read the entire story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, and am now looking forward to reading Fifty Shades Darker and, eventually, Fifty Shades Freed, which, no doubt, will answer further questions about Christian Grey's demons ...

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