Archive for December, 2008

HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS

December 17, 2008

HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS by Robert Liparulo

Thomas Nelson Publishers

What a great book! I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Although written for young adults, it can be enjoyed by any age – although it might prove a bit scary for children.

When dad gets a new job, the King family moves from L.A. to a very small town in northern California. Adjustment is difficult for the family. Leaving their friends behind, they move into a very large and creepy Victorian house in the middle of the deep dark woods. Is there any wonder that mystery awaits? Strange sounds, a stranger wandering the house leaving huge footprints, doorways that lead to… I don’t want to give away the good stuff. You just have to read it!

Although published by Thomas Nelson, known for their Christian books, this could not in any way be considered religious fiction. There is nothing spiritual about the story line and the family never mentions praying or depending on God for help. That was somewhat disappointing to me. However, I did appreciate the wonderful family dynamics. Even with the normal sibling teasing and arguing, Xander, David and Toria have a close and loving relationship with each other and with their parents. In a time when we are bombarded with dysfunctional relationships, it is refreshing to read about a family that actually loves one another and isn’t afraid to show it.

There is, however, a secret that comes back to haunt the King family and puts them in grave danger. The secret is not revealed until the end of the book, paving the way for a great series. The end is a cliffhanger, so be prepared to look for the next book in the Dreamhouse Kings series. The back cover says that “Robert Liparulo’s adult thrillers have received rave reviews.” Having read House of Dark Shadows, I can believe it and am looking forward to reading them.

The Unseen

December 7, 2008

The Unseen

T.L. Hines

Thomas Nelson Publisher.

Lucas lives apart from society – watching and only rarely participating in the life of the city. He moves through tunnels and buildings, unseen and unnoticed. He longs for connection and tries to find it through observing others. He makes up stories to go with their faces and tries to make their happiness his own. Lucas has learned how to be invisible in the most public of places.

One day he meets another watcher and is drawn into a world of violence and indifference. While it shocks and disgusts him, it also appeals to a part of him that he would rather not recognize. When he tries to intervene, he is pulled into a hall of mirrors where no one is what they seem and the world is uglier and more dangerous than he dreamed it could be.

Lucas finds himself both recruited and pursued. The people who should be trustworthy often turn out to be the most dangerous. The man who has spent his life disengaged from others, becomes the pivot point for plots and counter-plots that leave him running for his life. In the midst of the chaos and fear, he finds that he does indeed have one friend and that one friend is enough.

I expected to enjoy this book but ended up quite disappointed. I didn’t even get interested until a third of the way into the book. Although there was plenty of action, the plot seemed rather aimless. The end was surprisingly abrupt and I was left feeling that it was not quite finished. Character development was very weak and I never really did understand where the author was going with the story. While the basic idea of the book had promise, unfortunately the execution left much to be desired. I wish I could recommend this book, but I’m sorry to say that reading it felt like a waste of time.