Monday, August 18, 2014

The Golem of HollywoodThe Golem of Hollywood by Jonathan Kellerman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, I am quite fascinated by stories about the Golem ever since I went to Prague last year I have tried to read stories when I find them. Not just any golem story, but, The Golem, said to have been created long ago by a Rabbi in Prague. I received an early release copy of The Golem of Hollywood through the First To Read program by Penguin Group. I have to admit that I have been quite dismayed as I visit different cities in Europe and see what is called "Jewish Ghetto". I am quite familiar with the term ghetto since I was raised in a large city. Though I was not raised in the ghetto I remember the connotations that went along with the description. So, the biggest question I ask myself as I stood on the street on the outside of the Jewish Ghetto in Prague was "is this a good thing or a bad thing?" "Who gave it that name?" I honestly still do not know. I know it is a community and I saw signs for one in Rome, Italy but I have reserved judgment as I read and learn more. But, given Prague's tumultuous history The Golem sounded like an amazing creature and I was glad to have a chance to read The Golem of Hollywood.

The Golem of Hollywood is a book that gives me my armchair travel as it moves from the U.S. to Prague to England. The detective, Jacob Lev, is "recruited" to investigate a murder when he does not work for the homicide division. Why? This is the crux of the story and even when you think you know what is happening you are surprised. Initially, I was a little afraid it was horror. I stopped a couple of times as I started out to check and see what genre the book fell under because it has been a long time since I read anything that was pure horror and I needed to prepare myself. There were some graphic descriptions in the book initially but as the story took off and I began to understand what was happening I knew this book simply had some wonderfully written imagery. I could see things as if I were watching a movie and have to admit that I will be re-reading this one after some time. I know I will see things that I missed. The people, places and action were written with amazing descriptions. I fell into this book. Last Friday, I literally considered taking a half day so I could read it. I have to admit that I was left hoping that this is a first in a series. I would even take a trilogy. Of course, I immediately logged onto Jonathan Kellerman's website to see if there was a hint of a possible series forthcoming. I just couldn't tell but, I am hopeful.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello

When city girl Liz is banished to a rural goat farm on the outskirts of Portland, the 15-year-old feels her life spiraling out of control. She can’t connect to her father or his young girlfriend, and past trauma adds to her sense of upheaval. The only person who seems to keep her sane is a troubled boy who is fighting his own demons. But all of this changes in one historical instant.

One-hundred fifty years earlier, Elisabeth of Bavaria has troubles of her own. Her childhood is coming to a crashing end, and her destiny is written in the form of a soothsaying locket that has the ability to predict true love. But evil is afoot in the form of a wicked enchantress who connives to wield the power of the locket for her own destructive ends.

When Liz finds a timeworn diary, and within it a locket, she discovers the secrets and desires of the young Bavarian princess who will one day grow up to be the legendary Empress of Austria.
It is in the pages of the diary that these two heroines will meet, and it is through their interwoven story that Liz will discover she has the power to rewrite history—including her own...

Suzy Vitello is a proud founding member of a critique group recently dubbed The Hottest Writing Group in Portland. Her short stories have won fellowships and prizes (including the Atlantic Monthly Student Writing Award, and an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship). Suzy's debut novel, THE MOMENT BEFORE, was published by Diversion Books in January, 2014. Find out more on


London Prep by Jillian Dodd My rating: 5 of 5 stars What a great adventure! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book...