My 2011 Book Shelf

This is where you’ll find all of the books that I have read this year. I love to read and my goal for this year is to experience some new authors. I tend to stick with only ones I know and I want to break out of that habit. lol.

     WHAT THE NIGHT KNOWS

Dean Koontz

This is classic Dean Koontz. If you’re a fan of his work, you wont be disappointed in this one!

In the late summer of a long ago year, a killer arrived in a small city. His name was Alton Turner Blackwood, and in the space of a few months he brutally murdered four families. His savage spree ended only when he himself was killed by the last survivor of the last family, a fourteen-year-old boy. Half a continent away and two decades later, someone is murdering families again, recreating in detail Blackwood’s crimes. Homicide detective John Calvino is certain that his own family—his wife and three children—will be targets in the fourth crime, just as his parents and sisters were victims on that distant night when he was fourteen and killed their slayer.  As a detective, John is a man of reason who deals in cold facts. But an extraordinary experience convinces him that sometimes death is not a one-way journey, that sometimes the dead return. Here is ghost story like no other you have read. In the Calvinos, Dean Koontz brings to life a family that might be your own, in a war for their survival against an adversary more malevolent than any he has yet created, with their own home the battleground.

++++++++++++++

    DEVINE

Karen Kingsbury

This is a modern-day retelling of Mary Magdalene’s story. I’m not much one for Christian novels but this is the second one of her books I’ve read (like dandelion dust) and I have to say, she is a wonderful author! This story if particularly touching and has a lot of graphic nature to it without being vulgar. If you know the story of Mary Magdalene, then you know what this is about. Great read!

Mary Madison was a child of unspeakable horrors, a young woman society wanted to forget. Now a divine power has set Mary free to bring life-changing hope and
love to battered and abused women living in the shadow of the nation’s capital. Mary is educated and redeemed, a powerful voice in Washington, D.C.—both to
the politically elite and to other women like her. But she also has a past that shamed polite society. Her experiences created in her paralyzing fear, faithlessness, addiction, and promiscuity. At the crossroads of her life, only one power set Mary free and gave her a lifetime of love and hope. A power that could only be divine.

++++++++++++++

      SOFT APOCALYPSE

Will McIntosh

I HIGHLY recommend this book. It is very scary because this is how it could really happen! I had to take a few days off from reading after this one because I was just so affected by it.

The prosperous world of 2023 ends not with a bang but with a crackle, the sound of genetically engineered bamboo growing overnight and destroying roads and buildings. Naïve college graduate Jasper struggles to trade charged batteries for food as his “tribe” wanders the Georgia countryside, dodging local cops and designer diseases. Settling in Savannah, they try to find some stability in a crumbling city beset by anarchist gangs and the “scientist-rebels” who release tailored organisms to hasten societal collapse. In the end, each member of the tribe must decide what to give up in order to survive. The novel, expanded from a short story, shows some unevenness in tone, but McIntosh strongly delineates his characters and makes Jasper’s struggles very affecting. Though it may be soft, this apocalypse has plenty of sharp edges.

++++++++++++++

    STRANGER

    Simon Clark

 I love Simon Clark and read just about everything he writes. This story is not as brutal or violent as some of his works (blood crazy) but it was still a great read.

In this nasty little romp through a post-apocalyptic, plague-ridden country, the mere survival of the human species is highly unlikely. The Gantose plague, at first carried by South Americans, makes people terrified of illness and, eventually, insanely violent. Some pockets of the immune and merely isolated remain, fighting the killer “hornets”–those infected with the plague–to survive. Executioner Greg Valdiva, tolerated by the town of Sullivan because he can sense the presence of the disease in visiting strangers, sees lights across the lake in Lewis and leaves Sullivan to investigate. When he returns, the town no longer wants an executioner and, therefore, no longer wants him. With another Sullivan resident and a band of survivors from New York, Valdiva then has to fight tooth-and-nail to survive. These “heroes” are tough and certainly not perfect, but their fight is engrossing.

++++++++++++++

    SNOW

    Ronald Malfi

This is a new Author for me and it is a page turner!

Todd Curry is desperately trying to get a flight home for Christmas to visit his young son, but a brutal snowstorm has caused flight cancellations across the board. Desperate to not disappoint his son again, he decides he’ll drive there. He and three other travelers rent an SUV and soon get stranded in a desolate, blizzarding town after the car breaks down. The town seems deserted, but soon, they discover, there is something in the snow, something that takes people over and turns them into vicious killers.

++++++++++++++

     THANK YOU FOR ALL THINGS

     Sandra King

I don’t normally read Christian books but she is just such a great author! This is the second book of hers that I have read and I have a third planned out. I love that this is told from the little girls point of view. I highly recommend this book!

Precocious 11-year-old Lucy McGowan lives an isolated life with her mother, Tess, and her twin brother, Milo, who has an astronomical IQ. Homeschooled, the  twins rarely leave their dilapidated Chicago apartment, so Lucy is thrilled when her mother reluctantly takes her grandmother, called Oma, back to Timber Falls,  Wisconsin, to take care of Tess’s dying father. Lucy sees this as an opportunity to ask about her family, especially her father. But her mother speaks little about the family and refuses to tell Lucy anything about her biological father. Preternaturally perceptive, Lucy recognizes that something important keeps her mother from sustaining relationships with men, particularly when Lucy entertains thoughts of having a father in her life. Lucy’s quest to find out about her father unearths the many skeletons in her family history and changes the family dynamics. Kring explores the far-ranging effects of family trauma with a deft hand as her child narrator uncovers the past, bringing light and hope.

++++++++++++++

    THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH

   (the forest of hands and teeth book #1)

    Carrie Ryan

  This is the best trilogy I have read in a very long time! It’s a fantastic story and completely kid-safe if you want to pass it along to your teen.

Mary knows little about the past and why the world now contains two types of people: those in her village and the undead outside the fence, who prey upon the flesh of the living. The Sisters protect their village and provide for the continuance of the… human race. After her mother is bitten and joins the Unconsecrated, Mary is sent to the Sisters to be prepared for marriage to her friend Harry. But then the fences are breached and the life she has known is gone forever. Mary; Harry; Travis, whom Mary loves but who is betrothed to her best friend; her brother and his wife; and an orphaned boy set out into the unknown to search for safety, answers to their questions, and a reason to go on living.

++++++++++++++

    THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES

 (the forest of hands and teeth #2)

    Carrie Ryan

  Not as good as the first but I think I may only feel that way because I didn’t like how whinnying the main character is. But it is great to watch how she changes through the course of the story.

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

++++++++++++++

  THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES

  (The forest of hands and teeth #3)

   Carrie Ryan

  A very good way to wrap up the story. As wonderful as the first of this series!

 There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  Annah’s world stopped that day, and she’s been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn’t feel much different from the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again. But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?

++++++++++++++

    LET ME IN

    John Ajvide Lindqvist

  I didn’t know if I was going to like this story or not, but I couldn’t put it down! I haven’t seen the movie. And it is certainly NOT safe for young readers. It has some very adult themes to it.

 Oskar, a much bullied 12-year-old schoolboy living in a Stockholm suburb, notices that his next-door neighbor, Eli, has some peculiar traits: Eli only comes out at night, smells like death warmed over and is of ambiguous gender. Eventually, Eli reveals he’s a vampire who survives by feeding off the neighborhood lowlifes. Occasionally, his bite accidentally turns victims into  undead who, unaware of their vampirization, go on rampages that end in spectacularly gruesome fates. As sweet as the pure and wholesome friendship between Oskar and Eli may be, it’s the gory set pieces that propel the plot.

++++++++++++++

 THE RISING

  Brian Keene

  I am a fan of his writing and this one is a great read. It’s has all the wonderful elements of a zombie story with a new and fresh outlook on an old theme. Loved it. And I plan on reading the sequel.

  Nothing stays dead for long. The dead are returning to life, intelligent, determined…and very hungry. Escape seems impossible for Jim Thurmond, one of the few left alive in this nightmare world. But Jim’s young son is also alive and in gr…ave danger hundreds of miles away. Despite astronomical odds, Jim vows to find him – or die trying. Joined by an elderly preacher, a guilt-ridden scientist and an ex-prostitute, Jim sets out on a cross-country rescue mission. Together they must battle both the living and the living dead…and the even greater evil that awaits them at the end of their journey.

++++++++++++++

  THE MIDNIGHT ROOM

  Ed Gorman

  This was a great book but a little disappointing because what’s on the back of the book isn’t really what the story is about. I expected a cat and mouse between the killer and the blackmailer but that is such a small part of the story. It was still a really good read and much softer than what I’m used to from a leisure horror novel.

  It started as a burglary. That would have been bad enough. But when the masked intruder forced Dr. Olson at gunpoint to open his safe, the doctor knew he was really in trouble. In the safe were two DVDs, private movies he had made of those girls he had kidnapped…and killed. Suddenly the burglary became blackmail. But blackmailing a serial killer can be a dangerous game. Especially when he’s as smart—and good with a scalpel—as Dr. Olson

++++++++++++++

  YOUR ROOTS ARE SHOWING

  Elise Chidley

 This is just the most fantastic book! It has plenty of love, betrayal, frustration, emotional turmoil and ups and downs. I was hooked on Lizzie the minute I met her on the first page. At times I wanted to shake Lizzie for being so drawn-out but it was well worth the wait. :-)  I loved this book and will read any others that this author puts out. As I understand it, this is her first novel. I had to keep a word journal for this book because there are so many differences in the language. Read them, some of them are a hoot! lol

Lizzie Buckley has a life many women dream of – a gorgeous husband, a beautiful  home and darling (when they’re not fighting) three-year-old twins. But ever since the birth of her children, she’s had a fantasy about locking herself in her bedroom for twenty-four hours with a good book and a box of chocolates. Unfortunately, her husband James doesn’t understand her feelings. And when Lizzie unburdens herself in a flaming email to her sister Janie, then hits send at the wrong moment and accidentally shoots it off to James instead, her fairytale life gets a big dose of reality. With the word “divorce” ringing in her ears, Lizzie finds herself moving out and embarking on a totally different life – working hard to reinvent herself as a runner, a gardener, and a writer of children’s books. But despite transforming her body, her neglected career, and her libido (courtesy of the local landscape gardener), Lizzie can’t get over her soon-to-be ex. As Lizzie discovers, sometimes the fairytale ending is just the beginning of the real story.

++++++++++++++

  CITY OF THE DEAD

  Brian Keene

  This is the sequel to The Rising. When I finished the frist one, I was so mad at the ending that I ran right out and picked up this one. I was hoping for the ending to the story that I was looking for. I did not get what I wanted.  After all, it IS a zombie story … there are no happy endings.

Where can you go when the dead are everywhere? Cities have become overrun with legions of the dead, all of them intent on destroying what’s left of the living. Trapped inside a fortified skyscraper, a handful of survivors prepare to make their last stand against an unstoppable, undying enemy. With every hour their chances diminish and their numbers dwindle, while the numbers of the dead can only rise. Because sooner or later, everything dies. And then it comes back, ready to kill.

++++++++++++++

 LEFT NEGLECTED

  Lisa Genova

Wow. I have never even heard of the condition Left Neglect. Can you imagine trying to live your life not being able to see the left side of anything? Not just the left side of your body or things to your left; but not even being able to see the things on the left side of the right?? Not being able to read because you can’t find the left side of the book or not eating anything on the left side of you plate. And it’s not just that you can’t see it, its just that it literally doesn’t exist to your brain. You don’t even realize that you are not registering the left side of your life! The thought just overwhelms me completely. And even though this story is fiction, the condition is not. I suggest reading this book not only to learn about Left Neglect but for the inspiring story of a woman learning to see everything around her because of her Left Neglect. It’s a very heart warming story.

Sarah Nickerson is a 37-year-old, overachieving multitasker with a Harvard MBA and a demanding job as vice president of human relations at a Boston  consulting firm. Her husband, Bob, works at a struggling tech start-up and shares in the upbringing of their three young children in an affluent suburb. Then there’s a car accident on a rainy November morning, and a traumatic brain injury leaves Sarah with “left neglect,” a lack of awareness of anything to her left, including the left side of her own body. The one person who can help when insurance runs out is Sarah’s mother, Helen, yet their relationship has been rocky ever since Helen was a virtually absentee mother for Sarah after Sarah’s brother, Nate, died in childhood. As arah’s struggles parallel those of her 7-year-old son, Charlie, just diagnosed with ADHD, there is healing of body, mind, and mother-daughter relationship and acceptance that “normal is overrated.” Neuroscientist enova (Still Alice, 2009) once again personalizes an actual disabling brain condition to create irresistibly readable and moving fiction.

++++++++++++++

   TOOTH AND NAIL

   Craig Dilouie

   I have read many stories about zombies and end of the world viruses but this is the first story I’ve come across from a military point of view. This story was very real and in your face the entire read! The military terminology was a little difficult to keep up with but there is handy abbreviations list in the front of the book. Of which, I had to refer to many times over. lol. This was a great story in its realism …….. I would surely recommend this to a friend.

  This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but a slaughter.

As a new plague related to the rabies virus infects millions, America recalls its military forces from around the world to safeguard hospitals and other vital buildings. Many of the victims become rabid and violent but are easily controlled-that is, until so many are infected that they begin to run amok, spreading slaughter and disease. Lieutenant Todd Bowman got his unit through the horrors of combat in Iraq. Now he must lead his men across New York through a storm of violence to secure a research facility that may hold a cure. To succeed in this mission to help save what’s left, the men of Charlie Company will face a terrifying battle of survival against the very people they have sworn to protect-people turned into a fearless, endless horde armed solely with tooth and nail. For the boys of Charlie Company, the zombie apocalypse will give a whole new meaning to the proverb WAR IS HELL.

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