Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bad Guys by Linwood Barclay

After reading Bad Move a couple of weeks ago and really enjoying it, I picked up the next in the series at the library. I was really glad I did, since I really enjoyed this one as well. 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Zack is back, and much to his family's relief, the work-at-home science-fiction writer has left the house to take a job as a features writer for the city paper. But now that Zack's incessant plotting can no longer be hatched from the comforts of his own home, he must be ever more vigilant to outwit the evil at large, whether in the suburbs, the city, or his own imagination. Zack is ready... or so he thinks.

While researching his first feature article, Zack stumbles upon a real-life crime scene, but what seems like an ordinary hit-and-run may actually be a homicide linked to a gang that's been burglarizing Crandall's high end shops. Suddenly Zack finds himself at the center of a violent crime wave and destined for a confrontation with Barbie Bullock, an unsettling figure infamous in the crime syndicate for his ruthless business tactics and peculiar proclivity for collecting dolls.

And all is not quiet on the home front either. Zack's protective instincts launch into overdrive when he discovers that his daughter's rejected suitor has been tracing her every step and may harbor a much more ominous motivation than winning a Saturday night date. Nor does his son's strange behavior and recent friendship with a creepy computer recluse inspire joy in a father's heart.

As worlds begin to collide and boundaries between family and foe blur, Zack goes on the attack, and heaven help the bad guys when this resourceful father comes to make good on a deal gone bad.

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to upcoming books in this series. Zack is a really likeable character and I find his antics and over-protectivness attitude. There is always laugh out loud moments and the suspense is pretty good too. While most of the books I read have the point of view of a woman, it is nice to see it from a man's point of view. This book is a very quick read (though it did take me almost a week to read... but that was because of school and work) but you really get to know the characters and their motivation. My library does not have the next book in the series, so I will be on the lookout the next time I make it to the bookstore. There is also a fourth one coming out in May, so I have that to look forward to! I also saw that Mr. Barclay has a stand alone book coming out towards the end of the year, so I will be counting on that. I hope Mr. Barclay continues his his voice and humor in the upcoming books! He is a wonderful new find in the new year!

The only reason why I didn't give this book five stars is because I feel that five stars has to be something that I would love to read over and over and couldn't part with. Since I really do not re-read books (hence the reason why I get so many books from the library), I don't think there will be too many fives out of me.

Up next... not sure! I think whatever catches my fancy... but I think it might be one of the new books I got from the Next line through Harlequin. I stopped at the UBS yesterday on my way to class and got two more of them! (I know I said no more new books, but I had time to kill...)

Hope everyone's reading is going well and more successful than mine has.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Sunstroke by Jesse Kellerman

I picked up Sunstroke from the library after reading a review on Jesse Kellerman's next book which is released next month, I believe. The review was great, and I figured I would try out his first book. I was also interested in seeing what, if any, talent of his parents he had. The book was somewhat of a problem for me to get through, and I grade it a 2.5 out of 5.

Gloria Mendex is thirty-six, single, and hopelessly in love with her oblivious boss, a soft-spoken loner twenty years her senior. Her friends might urge her to look for someone more her age, but Gloria knows the real thing when she sees it.

So when he disappears while on vacation in Mexico, it's Gloria who goes in search of him. As she follows his trail deep into the desert, she runs face first into a staggering history of betrayal and death: the wreckage of a hidden past. Carl Perreira was not the man she thought she knew- nor was he anything she could have imagined.

Her journey will teach her as much about herself as it does about Carl. And as she plunges closer to his fleeing shadow, she will find herself fighting not only for the truth, but for her life.

Well, where to start. First off this book is listed as a thriller and also has some humor in it. I would not consider this book to be a thriller and can not recall a moment where I laughed or smiled even... so I would have to say that that description is not very true. I would even have a hard time calling it very suspensful. I really did not like Gloria, and found her to be whiney and not very realistic. She totally idolized Carl, and there did not seem to be a very good reason why.

I think my biggest problem with the book was the character and story development. You don't see Gloria change or grow very much, and I felt that the story was kind of choppy. The "mystery" did pick up a bit towards the end, and once I had a little time to sit and read it, I finished it pretty quickly. I already have Mr. Kellerman's newest novel on hold at the library, and will probably read it, but if it does not grab my attention after the first 25% of the book, I will not continue to read it. I probably should have given up on this one, but did become involved in what happened to Carl. Up next, Linwood Barclay's next novel. He is a new to me author who I really enjoyed and had me laughing throughout the book. And oh yeah, more school reading!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Books

Well it has been awhile since I last posted. I am still reading Sunstroke and trying to get through it. The way the book is written is different from my usual style, but I am enjoying it. The main reason why it is taking me so long is because of school and work. I have been called in to sub everyday, which I love, and then trying to keep up with school. This was supposed to be an easy semster, my last until student teaching, but oh well. April isn't that far away right?

I picked up three new books today at my local Kmart. (I know that I have promised myself no more new books, but... well I am sure you all now how that goes). Two or Next books that I got due to reviews on Blog Happy. Slightly Psychic and Why is Murder on the Menu. Both sound good and easy reads, just what I need between the TONS of reading I am doing for school. The other was just one I found on the shelf titled Little Town Lies which sounds great. I love stories that take place in small towns, and as the title hints towards, this is one that takes place.

I have also added a picture of me on the side. I love to see what others look like so decided to add one of me. It is a horrible picture, one taken at a food bank that I went to volunteer for through school. I am extremely tired and it was FREEZING, but it was the only one I have on my computer.

Well hope everyone's reading is more successful than mine!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich

I finally got Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich this weekend from the library. I love her books, but they are such a quick read, and are always priced way too high, so I have to wait for it from the library. Either the library or Costco. But since I rarely reread books, it kind of is a waste to spend all of that money. But anyways, I finally got it from the library, and it was worth the wait. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Barney and her unfaithful NASCAR racing honey, Sam Hooker, find themselves in trouble after discovering the shrink-wrapped body of ruthless businessman Oscar Huevo in a rival racer's car hauler. The pair must pull together to protect a high-tech gizmo that can revolutionize racing-and save their lives. Evanovich burns some rubber and only hits the brakes a few times, thanks to her bright dialogue, race-track savvy and expert depiction of romantic mayhem. Though sometimes it seems as if she's still taking a test drive with this new cast of eccentrics, the pages fly by as the racy tension between Hooker and Barney adds heat to the fun. Action on the menu includes destruction of valuable race cars, a dognapping and a kidnapping.

While I love the Stephanie Plum series, I think that this series may become the better one, IMO. I like a big part of it is because Barney, while not sure if she should trust Booker, has picked him to be her guy. I am getting a little tired of the Ranger, Joe and Stephanie love triangle, and I liked seeing Barney and Booker together. The mystery was all right, but there were quite a few laugh out loud moments. I really do love Evanovich's writing style, as it is so light and easy to read. Whether it be a paragraph or 3 chapters, I really whiz through it and get a satisfied feeling.

Another point that I really enjoyed was Beans, the Saint Bernard in the story. My husband has been begging me for a Saint Bernard, and while they are lovable, adorable dogs, this book just reinforced while I do not want to get one. They slobber, drool, and are sooooo big! Beans really added a great aspect to the story, and also provided some really laughable moments. I am sure everyone has read her books, but if you haven't I highly recommend her books to you!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Audiobook- Michelle Martinez "Most Wanted"

I picked up Most Wanted from the library. I have a bit of an anxiety problem driving on the expressway, and to attend classes, which is in downtown Detroit, it is required to. So, I decided to pick up books on CD last year to see if they will help me relax, and they do. Most Wanted was one of those such books.

Melanie Vargas is a hardworking, hotshot federal prosecutor in New York City with a rising career in law and a marriage on the rocks. On an innocent evening stroll with her baby daughter, Melanie stumbles upon a horrifying crime spree. It's the high-profile case that can make her name, and Melanie wants in- to what becomes a wild race against the clock to solve a brutal high-society murder before the killer finds her.

It took me quite a while to listen to this, though it was a good story. It was a long story, and classes didn't start until last week, so my time in the car was in shorter spans. It was a great story, that was thrilling and had a good suspense factor. The reader was wonderful and I really feel that the reader can make or break the story. I give the story three out of five, but it would probably higher if it hadn't taken me so long to get through it. It was not so engaging so that I would listen to it over my morning program, ,which the really good stories do. It also seems to be the first of a new series, and I will look around for the new ones.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bad Move by Linwood Barclay

Bad Move was a book that I picked up on my last library run. It was by a new to me author, and it seemed to be like something I would enjoy. I was right, four out of five stars.

As a father of two overly curious, streetwise teenagers and husband to a wisecracking news-junkie journalist, work-at-home science fiction writer Zack Walker has a hard time convincing his loved ones to obey his rules for coming them out of harm's way. Who can blame them? Zack's paranoia ranks with that of a Twilight Zone episode. But when city life begins to prove that Zack's fears are not so fantastical, he uproots his family and heads for the tranquility of the suburbs, where planned communities prevail and fathers rest easy. Well not quite...

As Zack discovers that his plumber moonlights as a mercenary and the local domanatrix has a a swimming pool, it becomes evident that the "nice" neighborhood of Oakwood isn't the crime-free paradise he'd been promised. Then Zack stumbles upon the body of a local environmentalist, and a madcap mission of deciet and murder that leads back to his own front door. Now this paranoid pop is in a state of high anxiety and will stop at nothing to keep his family safe. But can he keep himself from snuffed in suburbia?

I really enjoyed this story. I think it falls in the cozy mystery series and I really liked it. I think it was interesting that the main character is a man, and that the author is a man as well. It defintely gives the cozy mystery a new spin.

Zack is a great character whose paranoia can easily be explained as a lot of his points are valid ones. The extremes he goes to to remind his family about safety are absolutely hilarious. The mystery is a good one, and I love the side characters as well. There are two more stories in this series, with another one coming out in May. I will definitely be on the lookout, and if Mr. Barclay's future novels are as good as his first one is, I have found a new auto-buy author. I recommend this series to all who love a good mystery and a few laughs!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Odds and Ends

Right now, I am currently reading Bad Move by Linwood Barclay. It was a new to me author and I am really enjoying it. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments already, and I am only about half way through. It is the beginning of a new series, and I believe I will definitely be picking up the following books.

In other news, I went to a local library in my area that was having a used book sale. I picked up 18 books for $3.00! Can't beat a deal like that! While I definitely did not need to add any books to the TBR shelves, with a deal like that, I couldn't go wrong. Plus, the money goes to the Friends of the Library, so it makes me feel even better!

That's about it from around here. Tomorrow I won't have to sub because of MLK day, and we are supposed to get a nasty ice storm this evening and tomorrow. I plan on staying in, cuddled up on the couch. I am going to the Red Wing game tomorrow night with my mom, but hopefully the weather and roads will be better by then. I am just praying that we don't lose power, because my street seems to lose power whenever a gentle breeze comes through. I DO NOT want to have to go through this with no heat! In the three years I have lived here, I need more fingers and toes to count all of the times we have lost power!

Hope everyone has a great start to the new week, and if your area is being hit by this huge winter storm, be safe!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Nanny Murders

I just finished up The Nanny Murders, and it was exactly what I needed after trying to read Naked in Death. While it wasn't anything spectacular, I did enjoy it and it was the start to a new series featuring a single mom and her six year old daughter. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Single parenthood is challenging enough for Zoe Hayes, raising a young daughter in Queen Village, a Philadelphia neighborhood whose homes- like its residents- have seen better days. Then comes the blustery afternoon when little Molly makes a shocking discovery while playing outdoors: a dismembered finger.

What Zoe longs to believe is a gruesome fluke quickly takes on unsettling significance. One by one, young nannies are vanishing from the neighborhood, falling victim to a shadowy killer. Uneasily drawn into the chilling case- and an unexpected relationship- by engimatic detective Nick Stiles, Zoe assumes she and Molly are safe. But then terror strikes close to hom.

Now Zoe must acceot that nobody in Queen Village is protected. A bloodthirsty predator lurks nearby, perhaps concealed behind a passing stranger's friendly smile, a longtime neighbor's front door- or as Zoe fears most, perhaps even nearer than that...

This book had a nice suspense going on, though the story does bounce around a bit. I absolutely adored Molly, and liked that the story was told in first person. I know some people can't stand first person, but I like the way it allows the reader to get inside the character's mind. There was some jumping around and several suspects are possible. I was constantly changing my mind on who the "bad guy" was. Nick as a hero is kind of a stretch, as we do not get to learn too much about him. Like I mentioned before, it is the start of a series, so I hope to see more of their relationship blossom or falter. The next book in the series, titled The River Killings, is currently out in hardcover and I may look for it at the library the next time I am there.

One other note, while this is a mystery series, I would not say it is a "cozy". I also would feel it would be a stretch to call it a romantic suspense. But it was a nice, fast read and I enjoyed it. One other thing I really liked was the fact that there were short chapters. I have a problem with taking a break in a story in the middle of a chapter, so this book was great for me to have to read whether I had 5 minutes to read or 5 hours (though I don't think it would have taken me 5 hours to read it).

I am not sure what will be up next. I have three library books that I need to get to first. I have Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich, as well as Jesse Kellerman's first novel, and another mystery. I am too tired to think about it now, so it will have to wait for (hopefully) tomorrow!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Rear Window

One of my all time favorite movies, that I have seen more times than I can count, is Rear Window, directed by the all time great Alfred Hitchcock. James Stewart and the lovely Grace Kelley star in it. Even though the movie is over fifty years old, and let's face it, the are no special effects, it still hangs me in suspense and causes me to worry. It was on again today, and before I left for class, I was watching it for a bit, and found that I had a small smile on my face the entire time.

I truly belief I am an old soul, who belongs in the 1950s. Everything was just so much more simple, and I absolutely love the fashions! I also seem to be more conservative than my friends people around my age, which is 25. I remember growing up always watching Nick-at-Nite where my favorites were The Patty Duke Show, Donna Reed, The Brady Bunch,Alfred Hitchcock Presents, I Love Lucy, and Dragnet. Now, unfortunetly, Nick-at-Nite is filled with shows from the late 1980's and 1990's so I have missed out on my shows. One day after feeling particularly sentimental, I joined Netflix, where I can get some of my favorite oldies on DVD. Now the libraries in my county has gotten them, so I may discontinue my membership. I know when I discuss these shows with my friends and family, I am often teased. I have the whole series of the Brady Bunch on DVD. When TV Land holds good marathons, I cancel all plans for the weekends and cuddle up.

A family friend of ours who used to babysit my brother and I got me turned on to all of these shows. When she would watch us, I remember staying up late and watching these shows. Does anyone remember the Dennis the Menance show? This family friend is now in her mid-50s and I find myself discussing these old shows with her. I truly thank her for opening my eyes to these wonderful shows and movies. Now don't get me wrong, I love the shows on now, including reality shows, but the shows from the 1950's and 1960's will always hold a special place in my heart.

So what I would like to ask all of you is if you have any recommendations on movies that I can watch or rent. I have seen the classics, and ALL of the Hitchcock movies, but would love to hear any other suggestions. So please, tell me any of your favorites. Now, I just need to decide if I am going finish watching the Wing's game, or play one of the DVD's of Alfred Hitchcock presents I got! Decisions, decisions. I think I may stick with the game, just because I know on Monday I won't have to sub since it is Martin Luther King day and schools are closed. This weekend the plans are to work (at my mom's accounting office), homework, cleaning, and reading!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Naked in Death

While I have always enjoyed Nora Roberts, I have shyed away from JD Robb because of the futuristic aspect. After hearing a lot about it, I decided to pick up the first in the series, Naked in Death, from the library. Unfortunetly, I was unable to finish it.

New York police lieutenant Eve Dallas is hunting for a ruthless killer. In more than 10 years on the force, she's seen it all- and she knows that her survival depends on her instincts. Still, she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved... with Roarke, an enigmatic Irish billionaire- and a suspect in Eve's murder investigation.

But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and it's up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about- except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

I honestly do not know why I was unable to finish it. I really enjoyed Roarke and Eve, and the mystery was intriguing. I was engaged in finding out the resolution of the murders, but just could not stick with it. It may be because I just started another semster of school and have been working a LOT lately, or it could be the futurstic part of it. Every time it mentioned something that doesn't exist now, I stopped reading and analyzed it. Could that really happen? How old will I be when the book is set? Will I ever live to see anything being described? I just really do not like science fiction or futuristic stories, and I think I will not be able to overcome it. I hope to try another time or another book in the series, but I don't know how successful I will be.

For now to get my reading "groove" back on, I am going to fall back on my favorite type of book, a suspense or thriller. If it is a romantic suspense, all the better. I am going to start "The Nanny Murders" which I got from the library. I hope to read through this one fast!

If anyone has any favorite In Death books that they can recommend for me to try, I would love to hear! I really want to enjoy this series!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Breath of Scandal

I picked up Breath of Scandal by Sandra Brown at a local thrift store for $0.20. It sounded intriguing, and after giving up on Deadly Housewives, this one was the nearest book in reach so I grabbed it. I am glad I did. This one was wonderful and filled with emotions. I would give this a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

On a rainy Saturday night, Jade Sperry endured a young woman's worst nightmare at the hands of three local hell-raisers. Robbed of her youthful ideals and at the center of scandal and tragedyu, Jade ran as far and as fast as she could. But she never forgot the sleepy "company town" where every man, woman, and child was dependent on one wealthy family. And she never forgot their spoiled son, who, with his two friends, changed her life forever. Someday, somehow, she'd return, exact a just revenge- and free herself from fear, and the powerful family that could destroy her.

I am having a hard time on what to say about this book. It is told over a period of time, about 20 years, I believe, and tells the story on many of the side characters. While there are quite a few characters mentioned in the story, it is not so complicated that I had to keep looking back and reminding who everyone was. The romance was late to develop, but once it did, it was beautiful. I got a great sense of the characters thoughts and motivations, and it was so touching. Also, Jade reminded me of Faith from the Linda Howard I just read, that really overcomes a lot of problems and obstacles that I have a feeling most people would use as crutches. While I tend to read romantic suspense, this was low on the suspense but just a wonderful read. I know I have read or heard other Brown books (on CD, which I always have in my car) but am not sure of which ones. All I know is if they are all as good as this one was, then I plan on checking some others out. I would love any opinions you all may have. The only reason why I took away a half of a point was because I am not sure it will stay with me as long as some other "perfect" reads have.

I subbed yesterday, all day, for kindergarteners, and when I got home, I was exhausted. I did little reading and went to bed early after staying up late to watch the horrible, disgusting, Wings' game the night before. I had about 150 pages left of this book and read it in about an hour today because I was so engrossed. My next book will be one of the selections from the library, probably the Robb. Happy reading and have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Library Run

The city I live in just opened a new library branch. Actually, it is more like the city's main library, as it is in our new city hall. While we had a perfectly good one before and have cut other services, the mayor felt like we need a new one. (That is really a whole other post, that would bore everyone and just get my blood pressure up). Anyways, it opened yesterday and I decided to take a look and see what all of the hype was about.

The library is huge and really nice. It is very modern and spacious and has a lot of space. It was empty today when I went, though it was dinnertime and it is raining pretty hard out. I don't know if it was all of the space or what, but it looked like there weren't many books there. I did manage to pick up some, even though I was planning on reading from my TBR bookshelves. Here's what I got!

I've heard so much about this series, and everyone seems to say wonderful things about it. I was a little worried about the futuristic setting, since it is not really my cup of tea, but I have heard such great things that I decided to give it a try. I also enjoy Nora Roberts' writing most of the time, so I decided to get it. Plus, if I do enjoy it, there are a ton of books in the series, and I love to glom backlists. If I don't enjoy it, I will just return it to the library!

I picked this one up because I have heard great things about it from other bloggers, especially with his newest book to be released later this month or next month. His parents are definitely successful suspense writers, and I want to see if he lives up to the hype and has inherited his parents skills.

I got the next two just because they sounded good. Bad Move seems like a nice cozy mystery which are perfect to whip through real fast on the weekend. Nanny Diaries seems very suspensful and just like the type of suspensful story I enjoy! I love to find new authors, especially at the library instead of paying $7.99 for a new-to-me author.

Has anyone read these or any other books by the author? If so, I am very interested in hearing any comments you may have for me!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Deadly Housewives

I began reading Deadly Housewives last night, and while I was looking forward to this book, I could not finish it. It wasn't the writing or even the stories, but I think I have finally realized that I just do not like short stories. I like being able to really get to know the characters and learn more about them and their motivations. I think that the reason why I am not successful in reading short stories is because I do not get to know the characters enough. So while I am sure that stories inside this anthology were great, I just could not finish it. I really think that it is more of a personal problem than anything with the book though.

With only six more days until school starts up again, and subbing to start tomorrow, I am planning on cramming in much more reading tonight, and if I am not called to sub tomorrow, all day tomorrow as well. Not sure what I am going to read, but I am planning on pulling something off of the TBR. Might as well work on one of those goals I set earlier. I just need to get started with my cleaning. Dinner is in the crock pot and will be ready in about an hour, so I want to get the vacuuming done before than. Then it is all reading tonight!

My Hero

Tonight was a bittersweet, lovely night. I went to the Detroit Red Wings' game and before the game was the ceremony of retiring my hero's number, Steve Yzerman. Steve was drafted to join the Red Wings in 1983, when I was only 2 years old. My family was a huge hockey family, and for as long as I can remember, I watched and loved the Red Wings. One in particular, though, was my favorite, and that was number 19. I loved him for all he stood on and off the ice, and when he announced his retirement this summer, even though it was expected, it was a devasting day for me.

Steve has put his heart and soul into the game and the Red Wing organization. He is a wonderful person who lead by example, and was never one to brag or talk about himself. The one time I did meet him, he was the nicest, kindest person that any celebrity (and hockey players in Detroit are celebrities here) could be. While I miss him on the ice, I know that his family is finally getting their fair share of time with him. Tonight was wonderful with so many hockey greats and fans alike celebrating Steve one last time. I am so thankful that I was able to be a part of it. (So thanks to my dad and my stepmom, who gave me her ticket, for bringing me there). It was wonderful and something that I will always remember!

Oh yeah, the Wings beat the Anahiem Ducks (the team with 2nd best record in the NHL) 2 to 1!

This picture is from this summer when he announced his retirement.

Monday, January 1, 2007

After the Night by Linda Howard

After the Night was recommended to me by a fellow blogger, Kristie J, who after reading my review of Linda Howard's The Perfect Man. The next time I was at the library, I checked it out and began to read. It was very enjoyable, and I was glad I listened to Kristie's suggestion. Four out of five stars.

Faith Devlin: A poor, outcast child in Prescott, Louisiana, she'd always adored the town's golden boy from afar. But he called her white trash that sultry Southern night when his rich, respected father disappeared, along with her pretty Mom. Now Faith wanted to hate Gray Rouillard... not feel a powerful surge of desire. But she couldn't quench her passion, any more than she could hide the truth about the past she had waited so long to unravel.

Gray Rouillard: Even when he raised hell, he did it with style. Reckless, charming, and backed by Rouillard money, Gray controlled the town of Prescott- and Devlin was a name he never wanted to hear again. But when he gazed at Faith Devlin, all he saw was a swirl of tangled sheets and her silken flesh beneath him. To for her was impossible, unthinkable... because Gray Rouillard planned to use all his power to ruin her.

The mystery in the story was second to the romance... but it was well written. The sexual tension between Gray and Faith is amazingly written and done with style. The conclusion of the story was predictable, but I had a smile on my face. As a matter of fact, I had a smile on my face for most of the story. I was wishing for them to get together sooner and later and was very happy when they did. I had a hard time getting over Gray's style with the long hair and small diamond earring, as I like a clean cut guy, but loved his charm and his protectiveness over Faith. I feel like I have now become a "fan-girl" of Linda Howard and plan on searching out more of her backlist. I have "To Die For" in the TBR and want to read it so I may read the next one, Drop Dead Gorgeous. I picked it up this weekend at a thrift store for only $0.25!!!! Up next is another library book, Deadly Housewives, a series of short stories written by several new-to-me authors.