Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: Playing Tyler by T.L. Costa

Playing Tyler by T.L. Costa
304 pages, paperback
Published July 2013, Strange Chemistry
Source: Sent for review from publisher/publicist

"When is a game not a game?"

Some of you may remember the 80's movie, War Games, where a teen played by Matthew Broderick, hacks into a NORAD computer and almost starts WWIII while playing a game with "Joshua" the supercomputer. Well, Playing Tyler is a kind of modern day War  Games. At least, that is what it reminded me of. 

Tyler, a seventeen year old high school student, is provided with a flight simulator for training drone operators by his mentor.  Tyler is a gamer and very interested in becoming a pilot. He seems the perfect person to beta test it. At first it is boring and basic but then the missions he is given seem more and more real. He begins to suspect it is not a simulator when the "mission" he just completed is talked about on the news. 

Ani is a also a gamer, programmer and genius who is a student at Yale at the age of 16, and the one behind the development of the simulator. Tyler's mentor is her boss, Mr. Anderson. She meets Tyler when she goes over to install and train him on the unit. Well,  a YA book is not a YA book without a little romance, right? Tyler and Ani seem perfect for each other, but they are not supposed to have any contact with each other. 

There is a lot going on in this one, what with the teen romance, the family problems of both characters, Tyler dealing with ADHD and Ani dealing with college at 16 and, of course, the fact that they may be involved in actual drone attacks in Afghanisan. Despite all of this, the book never feels weighed down. It reads quick and the pacing of the story works. I enjoyed it and think others will as well. It's a good balance of teen angst and drama with the intrigue and suspense of a thriller. 
Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review: A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet  (Sherlock Holmes, #1)

This was an interesting read. 

It started off as expected: murder, mystery, and the great Sherlock Holmes at his best in deducing what happened. The great partnership of Holmes and Watson begins here as they are introduced by a mutual friend since they both required a roommate. Holmes is asked for his help and Watson goes along for the ride.

Part II confused me for a bit until I realized it was a flashback to the life of the murderer back in the US. It felt like a completely different book, as the murderer's story is more about Brigham Young and his followers as they settled in Utah. Have you read The 19th Wife? It was a bit like that. 

Anyway, this was a great intro the Doyle's Sherlock. I thoroughly enjoyed the pace, the mystery, the introduction of Watson and Holmes. Doyle's writing is quite engaging. I was pulled in quickly and completely invested in figuring out who was murdered, by who and why.

Next to read: The Sign of the Four

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Saturday Snapshot: Weekend Hike

Nice weather, means time outdoors and luckily for us, we are surrounded by beautiful places to go. The beach or the hills for some hiking is always a short drive away.

A few weekends ago, we went hiking in Edgewood. It was a beautiful sunny day, but not hot like it has been lately. A friend passed on her sister's carrier which we were excited to try out with little girl. She loved it! And so did we, since it insured that she wouldn't get into the Poison Oak that was everywhere along the trail. 

Can't wait to go on our next hike. Since it seems the record setting heat is going away, we may just be able to do that sooner than I thought.

Happy Trails!

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 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley

The Lavender Garden by Lucinda Riley 
(The Light Behind the Window in the UK)
Published in US June 2013, Atria Books
Paperback, 416 pages

Source: Received from publisher for Review

I have enjoyed all the books by Lucinda Riley and this one was no exception. 

In her typical style, of connecting the past with the present, The Lavender Garden tells the story of the de la Martiniers family across two generations. In 1999, Emelie must deal with the estate she has inherited after the death of her mother. In 1944, Constance Carruthers is sent to Paris as an SOE agent from Britain who unexpectedly ends up in the home of Edouard de la Mariniere, a secret member of the Resistance as well.

Emelie's story was not my favorite. I did not like how naive she was and willing to fall into a marriage with a man she doesn't really know only after a month. When Emelie meets Sebastian Carruthers he says he is a gallery owner, and coincidentally, his grandmother had a connection to Emelie's father during WWII. I didn't trust his story from the beginning. I also think the story of Constance could have been shared without the Sebastian storyline.  Now, this of course, comes from my dislike of him, which I suppose is the point. Anyway, I could have done without him. His brother, Alex, on the other hand I did like. 

Constance's story was great. Full of intrigue and adventure, family drama and secrets, and a Romeo and Juliet like love story all rolled up into a very entertaining tale. You learn of Edouard and his relationship with his sister, Sophia, and their lives in Nazi occupied France. It is quite the story and much more to my liking than that of Emelie and Sebastian.  I would hate to share too much and ruin the story, so I will leave you with that.

Do know, that Emelie's story does get better. Her visits with the family that run the vineyard, and her interactions with Alex make up for the beginning. She does grow on you as she seems to grow up a bit.
For more information about the book and author visit her WEBSITE.

Happy Reading!

 FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.