Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday 56: Strong Rain Falling by Jon Land

 Welcome to this week's Friday 56 - this Friday 56 comes from Strong Rain Falling, the latest Caitlin Strong novel by Jon Land.  

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56 or 56% on your e-reader/
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions 
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Freda's Voice at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

But he walked with a slight limp from shrapnel  still lodged in his hip from one bomb blast and had lost a good measure of his hearing to another, which had felled a dozen men while leaving him the sole survivor.

The blurb:
Mexico, 1910: The Mexican drug trade begins with opium being smuggled across the US border, igniting an all-out battle with American law enforcement.

The Present:  Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, Cort Wesley Masters, and his teenage boys survive a terrifying gun battle. Caitlin and Cort Wesley pursue the perpetrators only to discover that the targets were actually the boys!

That sets the two off on a trail winding through the past and the present. Along the way they confront terrible truths dating all the way back to the opium smuggling that helped finance the Mexican Revolution.  That is until the Texas Rangers, led by Caitlin's grandfather and great-grandfather, struck back with the aid of Emiliano Zapata, wiping out the early drug lords responsible. 

Now the remnants of that powerful criminal lineage are out for vengeance against Zapata's remaining relatives, including the late mother of Cort Wesley's two sons - and thus, the boys are targets too. 

About the Author:
Jon Land is the critically acclaimed author of thirty novels, including the bestselling series featuring female Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong:  Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break and Strong Vengeance.  In addition, he is the author of the nonfiction bestseller Betrayal. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island and can be found on the web at

Monday, May 6, 2013

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

The blurb:

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balachine is determined to follow the straight and narrow.  Unfortunately, her criminal record and mafiya family are  making it hard for her to do that.  And when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is forced right back into the world that she had been seeking to escape.  It's a journey that will take her across the ocean to the birthplace of chocolate, where her resolve -- and her heart -- will be tested as never before.

I worry sometimes that I'm too enthusiastic about the books I review.  There are some books that I skim over and am not that fond of - I often opt not to review them as I'd much prefer to spread the word about books that I believe give a good return on the time spent.  I've been told that I should write a bit more about these books, if only to show that I am able to discern the good from the bad.

But this time, yet again, I have to enthusiastically recommend the second book in the Balachine novels, Because It Is My Blood. 

The book is set in the future and it follows the story of Anya Balanchine and her family after her brother has escaped to Japan to avoid incarceration.  Anya has survived her stint the NY juvenile facility but finds her future uncertain.  She has been expelled from her old school before her senior year.  Her best friend is pregnant with her ex-boyfriend's child.  Her love and other ex-boyfriend has moved on despite his vows of eternal love.  

Anya faces these heartbreaking problems with humor and spirit. Her resilience and grit -those characteristics that had us cheering for her in the earlier novel All These Things I've Done - are back in spades and we find ourselves hoping that Anya beats the odds yet again.  This time, she faces larger grown up problems - the loss of her guardian, the threat of assassination, the possible loss of whatever is left of her family. 

ISBN-10: 9780374380748 - Hardcover $14.00
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (September 18, 2012), 368 pages. 
Review copy courtesy of the publisher.

About the Author:
Gabrielle Zevin is the author of many acclaimed books, including All These Things I've Done and Elsewhere. She lives in New York City.