Monday, February 26, 2007

The River Killings

I requested The River Killings from the library after reading Merry Jones' previous book, The Nanny Murders. It was a good read, and I enjoyed it. Three out of five.

On summer vacation from her job as an art therapist, Zoe takes a sculling class for fun with her best friend, Susan Cummings. One evening, while her daughter, Molly, waits with Susan's children at the boathouse on the banks of the Schuylkill River, Zoe rows off with Susan to practice for an upcoming regatta. When Susan's oars catches on some flotsam (which turns out to be a woman's dress). the boat flips and the two find themselves in deep waters with not just one but an entire throng of floating bodies.

Someone along Boathouse Row is a murderer, but who? After Zoe argues with Detective Nick Stiles, her boyfriend, she and Molly head out to the river at night. There, Zoe uncovers a sinister plot that she and Molly might not be able to escape.

This was a good book, quite suspensful. I enjoy Zoe and her daughter Molly, though I do wish there was more development between Zoe and Nick. It does seem that their relationship is not that strong but they are moving along. The mystery was a good one, and there were more than one, though the ending was somewhat rushed and for one of them, I didn't even realize it had been solved. That is the main reason why I gave it three stars. I really enjoyed the story and do not regret reading it though. I am even going to look and see if more are going to be continued in the series.

On the IPOD front, I found out it isn't compatiable with the audiobooks that the library uses. I tried to cancel my order, but it was too late. I found another MP3 player that I really like and got a great deal on, with rebate $35. I was going to return the IPOD, but my niece really wants one, so I am jsut going to give it to her for her upcoming birthday. A solution we are all happy with! I downloaded Vanished by Karen Robards and listened to it tonight while on the treadmill. It is so nice!

Well that is it from me! Hopefully the weather won't be too bad tonight. We are under a winter storm advisory, so I am crossing my fingers. We had a ton of ice tonight, and my car rolled out of my sister-in-laws driveway earlier today! Hopefully the roads are all right in the morning. Also, is everyone else so excited that Rob and Amber finished first in the Amazing Race now for two weeks in a row! Yeah! Go Rob and Amber!

Happy reading and stay warm!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nature Girl

I finished listening to Nature Girl by Carl Hiaasen on my way into work today. As always, the book was fantastic and wonderful to listen to! Four out of five stars!

The engaging and diverse screwball cast includes Boyd Shreave, a semicompetent telemarketer; Shreave's mistress and co-worker, Eugenie Fonda; Honey Santana, a mercurial gadfly who ends up on the other end of one of Shreave's pitches for Florida real estate; and Sammy Tigertail, half Seminole, who at novel's start must figure out what to do with the body of a tourist who dies of a heart attack on Sammy's airboat after being struck by a harmless water snake. When Santana cooks up an elaborate scheme to punish Shreave for nasty comments he made during his solicitation call, she ends up involving her 12-year-old son, Fry, and her ex-husband in a frantic chase that enmeshes Tigertail and the young co-ed Sammy accidentally has taken hostage.

Hiaasen's books are always wonderful, and I really enjoy the readers. I want to move to Florida, so I always look forward to reading books that are set there. There are exciting characters in Hiaasen's books, and he always seems to find things that annoy all of us and really makes them fun! I need to check out more of his older novels and see if the library has any on CD. They really make the drive a lot more fun.

I also bought an IPOD last night. I found out through my library I can check out free ebooks and free audiobooks through the internet and download them to my computer or IPOD. DH and I just bought a treadmill last week, so the IPOD is a perfect way to listen to audiobooks to keep me excerising!

Well back to work! Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

How Nancy Drew Saved My Life

I picked up How Nancy Drew Saved My Life from the library after seeing it in the back of the last Melissa Senate book I read. Being a huge fan of Nancy Drew and kind of in the mood for another chick lit book, I decided to get it. Unfortunely, it was not that interesting and it was a DNF.

Broken, smashed, and stomped in the mud. That is how Charlotte Bell's heart ended up the last time she let her empotions heat up on a nanny assignment. So taking a new position in frigid Iceland working for Ambassador Edgar Rawlings, might just what Charlotte needs in order to heal up- and chill out. This time, she's determined to be intrepid and courageous. She's even read all fifty-six original Nancy Drew books in preparation. Unfortunately, she's neglecated to find out anything about Iceland or to look in the background of her oddly compelling employer. When Charlotte stumbles onto the trail of a mystery that only she can solve, she'll need every shred of Nancy's wisdom to keep her life- and her heart- safe!

Well, I read half of the book, and the mystery still was not introduced. So that kind of turned me off. Also, the writing and the dialogue just wasn't for me. The child in the story was supposed to be six years old, though her vocabulary and her mannerisms had her acting more mature than many of my professors. I can't really pinpoint what really turned me off about it, but after reading half of the book and having such limited amount of time for me to read right now, I decided to just put it aside. I am now instilling a 70 page rule where if the book is not grabbing me, I will just put it down. I have a stack of library books to read as well as all of the new books I have got lately (even though I am not buying anymore!!! In fact for Lent I am giving up buying books and pop) including today, as well as the monsterous TBR shelves that need to be tackled. So thats about it from me! Hopefully, I will have more frequent posts as well as books that are getting great reviews from me! Happy reading!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Flush by Carl Hiaasen

I picked up Flush from a local library because I wanted to include it as a text that I was going to use for a project for school. Though it was written for middle school aged students, I had to read it for some ideas on how to incorporate it. I am glad I did, as it was enjoyable and a fun read. 4 out of 5 stars.

Noah's dad has a little problem with anger control. He tried to stop the Coral Queen casino boat's illegal dumping... by sinking the boat.

But his bold protest fizzles. Within days the casino is back in business, and Noah's dad is behind in bars and out of action.

Now Noah is determined to succeed where his father failed. But even though pumping raw sewage into the waters of the Florida Keys is both gross and against the law, it turns out it's near impossible to catch the flusher- especially when he's already bamboozled the prosecutors, the local press, and even the Coast Guard.

But Noah's got a few allies of his own. There's his little sister, Abbey, an unreformed childhood biter; Lice Peeking, a half-soused ex-mate of the Coral Queen whi is willing to testify...for a price; and Shelly, a bighearted bartender with even bigger biceps.

Okay, so the odds aren't good. But Noah has an ace up his sleeve- a plan so crazy it just might stop the polluting, save the beaches, and prove to be the world that it's the owner of the Coral Queen, and not his dad, who is full of ...crud.

I really enjoyed this book. Carl Hiaasen is a favorite of mine, and I am even listening to his newest adult book, Nature Girl, on CD. I really like his audiobooks, as the readers are really good. Though this book is for adolescents, and it is really good for them, it was enjoyable for adult readers. There was a part of the story where I was held in suspense for Noah and his sister, and I rarely find that in other books I read. I also love the way Hiaasen writes about Florida, which has me imaging and believing that I am there. I would love to move to Florida so that is another plus. I recommend this to any and all who like humor, a little suspense, and care anything about the environment. I have so many ways I am planning on using it in my unit on the environment. Great reading!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Last Witness by Jilliane Hoffman

The Last Witness was the latest book on CD I listened to in the car. It seems like it took me forever to get through it, but it really wasn't the book's fault. It was very suspensful and captiviting, and I am glad I got it from the library. 3 1/2 out of 5.

Miami Assistant State Attorney C.J. Townsend finds herself living a nightmare, beginning with a call to go to the homicide scene of Victor Chavez, a cop who helped her convict serial killer William Bantling. Chavez's body has been mutilated, his tongue twisted into what a former DEA officer calls the "Colombian necktie." Early clues to this and subsequent, equally brutal, murders point to Florida's drug underworld, but Townsend's fiancé, Special Agent Dominick Falconetti, and his team track the case back to Bantling. Falconetti is arrested for assaulting the ever-taunting Bantling, but even with the lead detective off the investigation, troubling facts emerge, while Townsend, haunted by her role in Bantling's trial (she withheld evidence to put the man who raped her on death row), tries to distance herself. Instead, she must confront her torturer in court, putting her career, her relationship and eventually her life at risk.

This was the second one in a series, and I had not read the first one. It was not necessary to read the first one, which is titled Retribution, though I wish I had. I think it would have added more to suspense of the story. The reader was great and had a pleasant voice to listen to. The reader of audio books can really make or break it for me. I remember one book I was listening to, every other sentence ended with "He said." I know that wasn't the reader's fault, but it was so distracting to me and I kept track of the times "said" was spoken. I didn't make it through the first C.D.

I did figure out who the bad guy was about 75% of the way in the story, but the clues were very well placed. Once I thought I knew who it was, I went back and realized that I was right. The ending was wonderful with a great cliffhanger, but Ms. Hoffman does not have a website so I am not sure if anything is coming out soon. I couldn't find anything on Amazon, but I hope it does. Up next on my radio is Carl Hiassen's Nature Girl. I absolutely adore his books, especially the audio ones. I am also currently reading his children's book Flush for part of a project I am doing for school. It is also putting a smile on my face.

Well off to bowling. We are on a bowling league with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and we need to fight back in the rankings!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Love You to Death

I picked up Love You to Death from the library. I used to read Red Dress Ink books each month, but I realized I just read them too fast to justify spending $13.95. As I mentioned above, I really enjoy chick lit mysteries, and this one did not disappoint. 3 out of 5 stars.

First a former boyfriend (who dumped Abby in the most humiliating way imaginable) is found murdered the day his engagement is announced. Then two other ex-boyfriends report attempts on their lives right after breaking up with her. Coincidence? Detective Benjamin Orr of the Portland Police Department (and very Probing Questions and Incredibily Delicious Face) doesn't think so either. Neither do Abby's friends, family, coworkers and other exes- who are suddenly shaking in their shoes. Soon everyone is sucking up to her as though the Abby they know and supposedly love to death is capable of poisioning their drinks...

Is someone trying to frame her? Who? And why? She has to find out fast. Because by-the-book Ben is bound to break her heart. Which makes him next on someone's list...

This was a fun read. Nothing too serious to digest, and I really enjoyed Abby and Ben. Melissa Senate has a fun style to her writing and I have enjoyed all of her books. The one bone I have to pick with the book is the way her family treats her. Even though Abby has an alibi, with her family members, when the murder takes place, they act like she may off them next. What is up with that?!? That kind of threw me through a loop, and had me asking HUH? a few times. I am happy that I read, though I doubt it will stick with me for a real long time.

I am not sure what is up next. I just picked a new one up from the library, but may pull something off of the TBR shelves. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Little Children

I picked up Little Children when I ran up to Target. I saw a book there the last time I was there that I wanted to get (though of course I couldn't remember the title or the author's name... just the location) but couldn't find it. Being the book nut that I am, I couldn't walk out of the story empty handed, so I picked this one up as it sounded like something I would enjoy. I am glad I did, though I did have mixed feelings about this one. 3 out of 5.

Tom Perrotta's thirty-ish parents of young children are a varied and surprising bunch. There's Todd, the handsome stay-at-home dad dubbed the "Prom King" by the moms at the playground, and his wife Kathy, a documentary film-maker envious of the connection Todd has forged with their toddler son. And there's Sarah, a lapsed feminist surprised to find she's become a typical wife in a traditional marriage, and her husband Richard, who is more and more involved with an Internet fantasy than with his own wife and child. And then there's Mary Ann, who has life all figured out, down to a scheduled roll in the hay with her husband every Tuesday at 9PM.

They all raise their kids in the kind of quiet suburb where nothing ever seems to happen- until one eventful summer, when a convicted child molester moves back to town, and two parents begin an affair that goes further than either of them could ever have imagined.

This book was a bit slow to get involved with, but I eventually became hooked. I should be studying right now for a test, but I really had to finish it. I really enjoy these stories that take place in the suburbs... not sure why, but I really do. Probably part of the reason why I love Desperate Housewives (though I really do not think that the show is a good reflection of life in the suburbs). The love interest was well done, though I was surprised at some of my feelings for those that were having the affair. I was afraid that the child molester aspect might make me sick, but it really wasn't a detailed description or anything like that. It was very tactfully written.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the book was turned into a movie this past fall. Baring the same title, it stars Kate Winslet as Sarah, and I believe she is nominated for an Oscar in it. It is also up for best screenplay as well. Normally I hate seeing movies where I have read the book, though I am definitely interested in this one. I checked listings and it isn't playing anywhere near me and does not come out on DVD until the end of April, but I am hoping that it may show up at one of the discount movie theatres or one of the mainstream ones as the Oscars draw closer. Mr. Peccotta is also the author of the book Election, which the same movie starring Matthew Broderick and Resse Witherspoon star in. I adored that movie, so I am anxious to see this one. I had never even heard of the book or the movie and wasn't informed about the Oscar nominations until I heard one of the actors on the View discussing the movie. On the cover of the book it said that it was now a major motion picture, but I guess I didn't pay close attention.

In other news, I began getting a cold last week and thought I had it licked. Now my throat is killing me, I can't breathe through my nose, and I am losing my voice. School was finally back in session today and after I subbed for a kindergarten class. I had to do a lot of talking and well, yelling, and I think it was a bad mistake. I hope I am better tomorrow morning as I have class and I want to sub again, but I guess it won't kill me if I have to spend the day reading in bed, right? Up next is Melissa Senate's Love You to Death which I got from the library. Jana gave it raving reviews, and I like Chick Lit once in awhile, especially when it is combined with mystery. I always try to read library books first... though I picked up 5 new books today from the thrift store. (I know I am not supposed to be buying new books, but I got them for $1.00!) And I am also going to a library's annual used book sale on Saturday, but I am just planning on getting children's books for when I have my own class.

Well enough rambling and delaying the studying fact. Stay warm and happy reading!

Monday, February 5, 2007


It is a very sad day today in our neck of the woods. A mother of two young girls apparently stabbed her two daughters to death, along with two dogs and a pet mouse. The woman's sister alerted police after her sister called her and told her she heard voices that were telling her to harm her children and that she has ate people in the past. To me, I just can't understand and comprehend how someone could harm another living person so brutally, let alone their own children. It seems that she likely had and has some serious mental problems, but I just can not believe that it would go so unnoticed that it could lead up to this. It seems that she was also doing drugs at the time, which just makes me so mad that this woman would have her children and would do drugs in their prescence. It just really hits close to home, as the children attend the same elementary school that I did, and I know teachers in the little girls' school. Today, due to the weather and the frigid cold, classes were canceled but I know that grief counselors are planned to be on hand when the children return to school. How can one explain to these girls' classmates, just 5 and 8 years old, that something so horrible has happened. I am 25 and cannot grasp it. Those poor girls were apparently awake when this happened and felt such pain and confusion that the one person who was to protect them forever has harmed them. I would just ask for your thoughts and if you pray, your prayers, for the many people that these little girls lives touched and that they are in a much better place now where no harm can come to them.

Here is a link to the news story if you are interested.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Slightly Psychic by Sandra Steffen

I picked up Slightly Psychic after reading a review at another blog, Nicole's Blog Happy, if I am remembering correctly. It sounded like a nice, funny, light read and I have been wanting to read something from Harlequin's Next line. I am glad I did, 3 out of 5 stars.

Lila Delaney never claimed to be entirely psychic... just slightly psychic. But any ability she might have had disappeared the minute Lila's visions led her and the police to a missing heiress- healthy, happy, and tied to the bed of Lila's fiance. Broadcast live on national television, the incident was enough to make Lila hightail it out of town.

Lila's journey brought her and her best friend Pepper to a small Virginia town. All too soon the woman who just wanted to be left alone was indulging in mint juleps and moonlight celebrations, becoming attracted to a too-secertive man and getting involved in an unsolved murder. If only her psychic abilities would return, Lila might just figure out what she was getting herself into next...

This was a quick, easy read with me reading the majority of it at work today into between answering phones and dealing with clients. I did think that Lila's psychic powers would play more into the story and that there would be more mention of the murder, but overall it was a fun story.

I really enjoyed Lila's best friend, Pepper. She was a lot of fun, and I loved her story as a rich socialite cut off by her family. She definitely added some spice to the story. I also absolutely adore stories set in the South, and this one touches on the lovely aspects of small towns and the South. There was a slight amount of humor in it, but the story was much more of a heartwarming story. The way the story opened up, I really expected a lot more humor, but it was a fun story all around.

The one big downside of the story was the way things were tied up at the end. The end seemed really rushed and things just worked out... well I don't want to say to ruin it, but it was kind of rushed in my opinion. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it and could picture myself in this small Virginia town in a hot summer. That was really fun to picture, especially since right now it feels like -20 degrees with the wind chill.

Tomorrow, I am not planning on spending a lot of time watching the Superbowl, and it really is too cold to leave the house, so studying, cleaning, and hopefully some quality reading will get squeezed in!