Do you keep track of the books you read? Some readers maintain elaborate spreadsheets or use software programs to catalogue their collection. I prefer to write a brief blurb on each story and to list the books I read on a monthly basis. Since I haven’t shared these with you in a while, here are the last two months of books that have kept me hooked. I’ve thrown in a film review for your pleasure.
TEMPLE OF THE WINDS by Terry Goodkind (Fantasy)
This is the fourth installment in Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series. I got hooked by watching Legend of the Seeker on TV and now I can’t put the books down. As in the other volumes, a love story propels the plot, which features woodsman Richard Cipher, now known as Lord Rahl and a wizard in his own right. His powers are tested as a plague sweeps the land, decimating his people and his army. Dark magic started the disease, and only magic can stop it, but at a terrible cost to both Richard and his lady love, Kahlan the Mother Confessor. The evil Emperor Jagang is determined to defeat them. Between him and Richard’s former nemesis Darken Rahl, they force Richard and Kahlan to pay a terrible price to save their people.
THE PROPHET OF YONWOOD by Jeanne DuPrau (YA Fantasy)
Eleven year old Nickie comes to Yonwood with her aunt to sell her late great grandfather’s house. The town is in an uproar after a citizen predicts the end of the world. To save themselves, the townsfolk follow the dictates of righteous Mrs. Beeson who seeks out evil like an incarnation of a Salem witch hunter. This is the third volume in DuPrau’s Book of Ember series, but unlike the other two, it takes place before the cataclysm that destroyed civilization as we know it. Although this story deploys the author’s theme about people’s intolerance of anyone who is different, I didn’t enjoy this story as much as the first two books. The City of Ember was wonderful, with imaginative world building and engaging characters. Like Legend of the Seeker, the film City of Ember hooked me on the series. The People of Sparks, the second book, shows how conflict can build between two groups who don’t understand each other. The Prophet of Yonwood introduces this same idea about intolerance but the lesson is almost too obvious to be appealing anymore.
SHERLOCK HOLMES (Film).
Robert Downey Jr. is good in the lead role, and all the other actors are convincible as well. The period sets are very atmospheric. The villain is so evil you don’t know how Holmes will stop him, and as a detective, Holmes’s deductive reasoning is logical if a bit hard to follow. I enjoyed Holmes and Watson being more action oriented in this film. It’s gritty and dark, giving a realistic view of the era, but satisfying in its climactic resolution. You’ll want to see it again to follow the clues.
KINDRED SPIRITS by Allison Lane (Regency romance)
Colonel Jack Caldwell is plagued by nightmares after cashing in his commission and retiring to his country estate. But peace is out of reach when he meets neighbor Marianne Barnett. Marianne, an orphan, is a victim of her guardian’s greed. The man will stop at nothing to acquire her inheritance. Since she’s about to come of age, he takes drastic steps to ensure control, playing on Marianne’s fears and memory lapses from a horrific event in her past. He doesn’t count on interference from Jack, who proposes a solution. Jack marries Marianne and together they forge a tentative bond while attempting to free themselves of the emotional shackles binding them. Their histories must come to light before they can move forward and find true happiness.
LARCENY AND LACE by Annette Blair (mystery)
Vintage clothing shop owner Madeira Cutler has enough to contend with before the grand opening of her store, but finding some old bones leads her to a long ago murder. The killer is still alive, however, and determined that Maddie doesn’t get a clue about what happened. With the help of her psychic abilities and a resident ghost, she follows the threads, weaves the clues together, and gets to the cut of the crime. Cleverly magical.
THE LADY AND THE CIT by Blair Bancroft (Regency romance)
Wealthy landowner Aurelia Trevor seeks a husband who can manage her estate and get rid of her cunning uncle and his son who covet her lands before she reaches her majority. When she meets London financier Thomas Lanning, she decides he’ll suit her needs. Surprisingly, he accepts her proposition, while guarding his own agenda. He doesn’t count on his quiet wife growing into a force of her own, nor does she realize there’s more to life than her small country world. Soon their life is turned topsy turvy as more family members descend on the newlyweds and Thomas aims for a political seat. Will Aurelia support him, or will she turn him out? Despite Thomas’s apparent aloofness, he isn’t immune to his wife’s charms and soon wants a lot more from their marriage than her dutiful support.
JEWEL OF ATLANTIS by Gena Showalter (paranormal romance)
Grayson James has been sent to Atlantis to recover the famed Jewel of Dunamis. Attacked by various beasts, he accepts aid from a mysterious woman named Jewel. Gradually, he realizes she is more than she seems, but by then she’s stolen his heart. How can they ever be together when their worlds are so different? If Jewel crosses into his domain, she might die. But neither can he leave his people behind. Is there any way for them to be together?
KENSINGTON’S SOUL by Faith V. Smith (paranormal romance)
Detective by day and vampire by night, Zachary Kensington rescues Dr. Miranda James when she is attacked by a couple of thugs. Doomed to spend eternity in his unwanted immortal form, he battles against the evil vamp Gabriella who turned him. When he falls for Miranda, can he keep Gabriella away from his love, or will she become the next victim? Savannah is the charming setting for this tale of passion and redemption that will have you cheering for Zach to achieve his heart’s desire.