Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

From the Ashes by Jeremy Burns

This time of year (May in particular) is quickly becoming one of the most dreaded for me.  As both of my children are now school-aged I can literally hear the sound of money flying out the window (end of year teacher gifts, field trips and numerous birthday parties being the main culprits).  Add to that the fact that May officially starts the PCS season for us military folks (either we are preparing to move or at least half of our friends and neighbors are which translates to emotional goodbyes almost every weekend) and I am a tad bit grumpy.  Oh, and I haven't even begun to tackle the twice yearly "wardrobe transition" (you know, where you have to go through all of your clothes and the kids clothes to find out what still fits, what doesn't and what looks best with ghostly white legs).  Yeah, I don't like May.

Earlier this week, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I did what any good wife, mother and book blogger would do and avoided all of the above and started reading.  So, you can imagine my excitement when I found From the Ashes.  I had completely forgotten about this free download from Barnes and Noble!  It was the perfect escape and provided me with three and half days of solid procrastination.  That right there should be endorsement enough, right?

If not, here's more: graduate student brothers, Michael and Jonathan Rickner have been close their entire lives.  However now that Michael has a new girlfriend, Jonathan can't help but be a little jealous.  Having spent most of their childhood on archaeological adventures with their famous father Sir William Rickner, Jonathan is not adjusting to the fact that he must now share his brother with another person.  Unfortunately, Michael shows up dead in his Washington, DC apartment and the police want to rule it a suicide.  Jonathan knows better and starts to dig into his brother's latest dissertation research.  What he finds is disturbing.  And dangerous.  He and Mara (the girlfriend) agree to work together to pick up where Michael left off and try to solve a series of clues that are hidden throughout New York City.  Their quest takes them through the historical ugliness of the rise of Nazi Germany, the Hoover administration, the Great Depression and even the Rockefellers.  Their enemies are determined to stop them so the closer they get to uncovering the long-hidden truth, the more danger they put themselves in. 

There were lots of things about this book that made it the perfect escape.  I think the best part for me was the dedication and devotion Jonathan had for his deceased brother.  Nothing was more important to him than making sure his brother's work was finished and that the truth was exposed.  Familial loyalty, especially one highlighting brothers, is not often found in thrillers like this.  It was a nice touch.  I was also happy to see that Burns didn't take the easy way out and automatically make Jonathan and Mara a couple.  It was important to me that they continued on their quest and did not let the tragedy lead them straight into each others arms. 

Also central to the book were the historical references.  It was evident that Burns did a ton of research and it paid off.  As he and Mara were navigating the streets of New York and at one point climbing around the statue of Atlas in Rockefeller Center, I could almost hear the sounds of the city coming off the pages of the book.  Weaving in some historical references like Rockefeller, Hitler and their ties to the essence of our country in the 30's and 40's only added to the credibility of the author and the story.

I really hope Burns continues the story of Jonathan and Mara.  They made a good team and I would like to see them working together again in another book.  But really, I just need him to write another book and release it by next May.   I  don't like May.


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  1. Sweet! I downloaded this one on a Free Friday, too.

  2. Uh, hello! One of your favorite people was born in May. Next May we'll have dinner at Volt together and then write a book about it.

  3. I don't like May either. For a mother of military families, it often means saying good-bye for me also. However, Sarah is right, May does hold alot of joy also, so I guess I will suck it up and do my best to smile the rest of the month of May. Unlike Carrie, I didn't download this book on the Free Friday so I guess I will have to pay for it now. Sounds very good and I loved the review.