Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Stepmother by Diana Diamond

I have read several of Diana Diamond's novels and throughly enjoyed them. In fact, while looking over my spreadsheet from last year, I read three of Diamond's novels and they all ranked as a 4.5 or 5's, which are really rare. So when I saw The Stepmother by Diana Diamond at the bookstore awhile ago, I couldn't resist. This one was all right, definitely my least favorite of all of those I have read so far, ranking a 3 out of 5.

Sixty-five-year-old multi-millionaire Steven Armstrong tells his three children that he is going to remarry. But his new bride isn't the stepmother they have in mind. Charlene "Charlie" Hendricks is his vivacious, 35-year-old personal trainer, the single mother of a teenage daughter. To Steven's midlife children, she is nothing but a gold-digger...

Days before her wedding, Charlie, training for a triathlon, decides to go for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Out of nowhere, a mysterious figure on a speeding Jet Ski shows up, making an attempt on her life. The children head the list of suspects- but which one plotted her death?

Then, after the wedding, a second attack backfires and mistakenly kills her husband, making Charlie a wealthy heiress. Now it is the children who accuse her of murdering their father. Is Charlie a ruthless fortune hunter, or the innocent victim of her husband's greedy heirs?

I think a main problem that I had with the story is that I wasn't very sympathetic for Charlie. I thought her reasons for marrying Steven in ther first place was absolutely crazy, and she really was a gold digger. She was claiming to do it for a better life for her teenager daughter, but I really do not like or think she was setting a good example for her. Then right after her husband dies, she jumps into another relationship. Throughout the whole story Charlie is so worried about her daughter, but I found it hard to believe.

I figured out the whodunit about 1/2 way through the story though I was not 100% sure I was right. The suspense aspect of the story was very well written, and the story moved along well. I did find the other characters hard to believe as well.

The other thing that really bugged me was the extreme use of exclamation points. It was so annoying, and at least 3 per page, on average. It was always used in dialogue and it just grated on my nerves.

Part of me worries that I was so sensitive to some of the things in the story because of reading 19 Minutes beforehand. I don't feel like it was a waste of time to read the story or anything like that, and I will continue to read more of Diamond's novels, however, this one just didn't do it for me as much as the others did.

One more note, Diana Diamond is a pseudonym for the author of William Kennedy. I have not heard of him before, or have seen his books at any bookstores, but if anyone has any information about him, I would be excited to hear about it.

Not sure what is up next... will grab something off of Mt. TBR. Now is homework, but I will grab something to read at least one chapter before bed.

Monday, March 26, 2007

We the Jury

Well I scanned and skimmed the book and saw that the book really didn't have anything new to add to the other books I have read. However, whenever I read or think about what that monster did to his wife and unborn son, it makes me sad and sick and disgusted. I just don't feel like reading it right now.

However, several times tonight I have found myself reaching for Nineteen Minutes. Have you ever read a book that was so good you were sad that it was over? I am afraid of what I am going to pick to read next, because Nineteen Minutes was so well written, I am not sure if I will unfairly judge this next book.

Oh well. I am off to search the piles and bookshelves to decide what to read next! Happy reading and have a great night!

Nineteen Minutes

I placed Nineteen Minutes on hold at the library after reading a review on someone's blog. I am not sure who, but I know they had received an ARC and it sounded so good I decided to try it out. I am so glad I did, and this book for me was a 4.5 out of 5.

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by the dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five... In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world or you can jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge...

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenager daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

I just absolutely adored this book. It was truly a page turner and I feel Ms. Picoult really did a great job of recovering emotions that all of those involved in the tragedy go through. I loved the way the book kept going back in time, whether it be 18 years ago or the day before the tragedy occurred. I felt so torn between the different characters in the story and it was just so well written. The author wrote it so well and I almost gave it a five out of five except for the ending, which kind of made me disappointed. I almost felt like it was a little rushed, but it could have been me who was just flying through the pages. This book had me up late at night, late for meeting my family for dinner, and putting off homework. I loved it!

I have only read one of Ms. Picoult's other novels, The Pact. If anyone has any of hers to recommend, I look forward to hearing from you.

Up next is a non-fiction book, We The Jury, which is written by some of the jurors of the Scott Peterson trial. That case had me memorized and I have read all of the books written. Happy reading!

Friday, March 23, 2007

True Confessions by Rachel Gibson

I grabbed True Confessions off of the TBR bookshelves as I was leaving and needed to grab something to read. Not sure who recommended it or if I just picked it up, but it was an all right reading. However, I did not finish it as I lost the book! I don't know how that happened. I had it today when I went to school to sub, but when I came home I didn't have it. I had about 60 pages left to read, so I was a little disappointed. However, since I read the majority, I feel like I can review it. Two out of five stars.

Sheriff Dylan Taber takes one look at city girl Hope Spencer and bets she won't last a week in Gospel, Idaho. But Ray Bans, tiny spandex tops, and a silver Porsche are not the sum total of a woman, and Hope not only stays more than a week, she makes an indelible impression on the local population while she's driving Dylan crazy with lust and longing. Not that she plans to make the sheriff crazy. Hope just wants to end the writer's block that has plagued her for months so she can return to being a star reporter for an L.A. tabloid.

Fortunately for her, the residents of Gospel provide inspiration for her fertile imagination and she's soon cranking out new stories that her publisher loves. Meanwhile, she's making new friends and falling in love--with the Sawtooth Mountains, with small-town life, and with Dylan Taber. Dylan is keeping a secret, however, and when he finds out that Hope isn't just a writer of nonfiction, but a member of the notorious tabloid paparazzi, all hell breaks loose in Gospel. Can Hope convince him that her actions were innocent and will Dylan ever believe her?

While I didn't finish it, I am sure there was a happily ever after. The book was just blah with me, which is really evident since I am not running to the library or bookstore to get another copy to finish reading. There was nothing outstanding or memorable and I really just kept reading it out of the feeling that I had to finish it. I promised myself I wasn't going to keep doing that, but I did anyways.

I guess part of my problem with the book is that it is so much like so many others I have read. There is a misunderstanding due to people being stupid and then it comes to blows. I can guess how it ends.

Anyways, up next is Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult. I got it from the library and it is my second Piccoult novel, after reading The Pact before the Lifetime movie was released several years ago. Anyways, have a great weekend and happy reading!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Most Likely to Die

I picked up Most Likely to Die because one of the authors, Wendy Corsi Staub, is probably my favorite suspense authors. She, along with Beverly Barton and Lisa Jackson, worked together to write this novel, and I picked it up on it's release date. I was glad I did! Four out of five stars.

It's been twenty years since the night Jake Marcott was brutally murdered at St. Elizabeth High School. It's a night that shattered the lives of Lindsay Farrell, Kristen Daniels, and Rachel Alsace. It's a night they'll never forget. A killer will make sure of that...

A 20-year reunion has been schelduled for St. Elizabeth's. For some alumni, very special invitations have been sent: their smiling senior pictures slashed by an angry red line...

Three women have been marked for death. Tonight, as the music plays, and the doors of St. Elizabeth are sealed, a killer will finish what was started long ago, and the sins of the past will be paid for in blood...

I loved this book. The writing was done very well, and the transistions between the authors were seamless. The suspense was high, though I was able to figure out who the killer was about halfway through the book. I loved the main characters, Rachel, Lindsay, and Kristen and am happy to see that both Rachel and Lindsay are characters in Staub's and Barton's upcoming novels. I will be sure to get those next month. I loved getting to know the three girls through the sections and to see their friendship grow close again after 20 years of separation.

If you haven't read Staub yet, I cannot highly reccommend her novels. She also writes under the name Wendy Markham and has written for Red Dress Ink the Slightly series. Those are hilarious and a new one is going to be released later this year, I believe.

Up next is Rachel Gibson's True Confessions. Just grabbed it off of the TBR bookshelf.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich

Well like I stated before, Plum Lovin' finally came in for me from the library. I almost broke down and bought it, but now I am soooo happy I didn't. While I really love Stephanie, Lula, and Grandma Mazur, this one was somewhat of a disappointment. 3 out of 5 stars.

Mysterious men have a way of showing up in Stephanie Plum's apartment. When the shadowy Diesel appears, he has a task for Stephanie- and he's not taking no for an answer. Annie Hart is a "relationship expert" who is wanted for armed robbery and assult with a deadly weapon. Stephanie needs to find her, fast. Diesel knows where she is. So they make a deal: He'll help her get Annie if Stephanie plays matchmaker to several of Annie's most difficult clients. But someone wants to find Annie even more than Diesel and Stephanie. Someone with a nasty temper. And someone with "unmentionable" skills. Does Diesel know more than he's saying about Annie Hart? Does Diesel have secrets he's keeping from Stephanie and the two men in her life- Ranger and Morelli? With Stephanie over her head, things are sure to get a little dicey and a little explosive, Jersey style!

I really love Evanovich's writing style and have always enjoyed the Plum books since I got the first one five years ago from a former coworker. I think they are funny and always bring a smile to my face as well as a few laugh out loud moments. This book had some funny aspects, but I hated that Evanovich might have brought in another possible love interest for Stephanie. Plus, since it was so short, there was so little of Grandma Mazur (NO FUNERAL SCENES!?!) and Lula I felt cheated. Plus this book was so short, and I finished it while I was subbing today. I probably spent an hour reading it. I almost wish Evanovich would have just thrown this story in with her next book coming out this summer or made this one longer. I know she would have lost money, but come on! $16.95 for 164 pages with big print! That is a ripoff! But all in all, it was a nice fun read and I know I will be reading the next one. The past few years I have stopped by hardcovers, and so I know I will have to wait awhile to read it, though I am already on the library list for my county.

Up next is Most Likely to Die by Lisa Jackson, Beverly Barton, and Wendy Corsi Staub. I absolutely LOVE Staub's books (and also those written under Wendy Markham) so I want to get through this one this weekend. We will see. I have to work tomorrow and then we have a St. Patrick's Day party to attend. Sunday will be getting through some homework for school, so hopefully I will be able to get a good amount read tonight!

Have a safe weekend and happy reading!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

True Confessions of the Stratford Park PTA

I picked up True Confessions of the Stratford Park PTA, a Harlequin Next novel, at the UBS. Harlequin Next novels are always a nice, pleasant read that hardly take more than a couple of hours to read. It was an ok read, average, and I gave it at a 2.5 out of 5.

When the going gets tough, the tough... join the PTA?

Yes, according to Maggie, Barbara and Elizabeth. Because despite their differences- one is a recent widow; one is a late-in-life mother; and one is a supermom whose surprise pregnancy, she fears, will result in complications- all three women have one thing in common: their daughters. They'd do anything for them...

But is anything enough? Because one girl just can't adjust, one is terrified to be alone- and one is the mystery blogger who's wreaking havoc from one end of the student body to the other. Seems as if there are a lot of secrets in this small town. And despite the gossip, not a lot of talking going on.

The blurb on the back of the book is a little misleading. While everything that is mentioned on the back is part of the book, it isn't the main part of the story. There is a small romance and the blogger isn't that big of a part of the story. The main issue is all about growth and how three women of all different ages are going through major changes in their lives. As I mentioned above, it is a very quick read and I feel it probably could have been better if it had been carried out a bit more showing how everyone deals with the changes. I doubt I will be taking much with me from this book as it is not very memorable. A good read for when you only have a few minutes here and there but nothing earth shattering or even much character development. In fact, I found myself skimming quite a bit which I hardly do, especially with a book this short.

Up next is Janet Evanovich's Plum Loving which finally came in from the library. I was planning on buying this, but am so glad I did not. It is $16.95 and not even 170 pages! I am sure I will be finished with it very fast. But I am looking forward to reading it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dream Man by Linda Howard

I got Linda Howard's Dream Man from the thrift store for $0.20 awhile ago. I was leaving for somewhere and needed to have a book with me just in case, and grabbed it off of the bookshelf and I am glad I did. 4 out of 5 stars.

Marlie Keen was trying to lead a quiet, ordinary life. She thought the knowing- the clairvoyance that allowed her to witness crimes as they happened- had been destroyed in the nightmare of her past. Then one night it returned with a vegeance, and she desperately needed to find someone to make it stop.

Detective Dane Hollister of the Orlando police department had never met anyone like Marlie. He had doubts about her clairvoyance, but there was no doubt how much he desired her. Her soft, sweet scent set his blood afire, and he wanted to wrap her arms and chase the sadness from her eyes. To Marlie, Dane was all heat and hard muscle, and he made her body come alive as it never had before. But not even she could forsee where their passion would lead: a hungry quest for the elusive, dreamy ecstasies of love... and a dangerous journey into the twisted mind of a madman who would threaten their happiness and their lives...

With her bestselling mix of stirring sensuality and breathless excitement, Linda Howard reveals the heart's most intimate secrets in this irresistible tale of romance- a sizzling contemporary story that will hold you spellbound.

This was a great story and was a touching love story with good suspense. One of the things that I like about the Linda Howard novels I have read is that the love aspect of it really starts to develop early on and you get to see the hero and heroine be in love. There is not a bunch of buildup and then just a rushed ending with a HEA ending. Marlie and Dane seem to be an odd couple, but they are a great match.

The mystery is not really a mystery since you know who the bad guy is but the suspense is done well. I also enjoyed the paranormal aspect though I seem to only like paranormals that have psychics in it. Linda Howard is quickly becoming a favorite of mine and I know that Kristie, a fellow blogger, suggested a few other titles of hers that I have picked up. I do plan on reading those pretty soon.

I am on Spring Break this week so I hope to get some more reading in! I hope everyone else is reading great books and enjoying the wonderful weather across the country. I know I did today!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


I think, quite often, that we are so eager to complain when things are going bad or not our way. I believe when we have something to complain about, we are so eager to share the bad news with everyone but when there is something nice to be shared, it really doesn't happen.

Nothing spectacular has happened, but I just wanted to take moment and give thanks for all that I have.

I have a wonderful husband who works so hard for us at two jobs so that I may graduate from college and obtain a dream I have been working towards for so long. He also always tells me I am beautiful, even when I know I am not. He will hold me and always puts me first. I try and do the same for him.

I have a wonderful mom who helps me in any way she can and is always willing to listen to me.

I have wonderful pets who are like my babies who provide unconditional love and can always bring a smile to my face.

I have wonderful friends and family who love me and are willing to listen to me and be there for me.

I live in a wonderful country where countless brave men and women are willing to put their lives on the line to keep this a free and safe country.

I have a house that I love that is not just a house, but a home, to come home to everynight.

I really do not have any wants... I mean, sure I would love a big house on a beach, but I have everything I need and really I could want.

I have great sports teams to cheer on (Go Tigers and Wings!!!)

I also have so many books to help me get lost in and travel to many different worlds all from the comfort of my couch.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Body Movers by Stephanie Bond

I have had Body Movers on hold from the library since it came out in July and it finally came in this week. This is a big book, at over 400 pages, but I read it in under twenty-four hours. I love Stephanie's books, and while this one was not as good as some of the others I have read, I really enjoyed it. 3.5 out 5 stars.

Okay, so Carlotta Wren's life hasn't turned out as she'd planned. She didn't plan for her parents to skip bail for a white-collar crime, leaving her to raise her younger brother. She didn't plan on having the silver spoon ripped out of her mouth and forgoing college to work retail. She didn't plan on her blue-blood fiance dumping her like last year's designer bag. And she didn't plan to still be single (with no prospects) ten years later, working at Neiman Marcus, with no idea where her fugitive parents are. But she's coping, sort of. Until...

... her lovable brother is arrested and his loan sharks come calling.
... the hunky cop who arrested her brother reopens her parent's case.
... her brother becomes a body mover, transporting corpses from crime scenes.
... her former fiance's wife (a good customer) is murdered, fingering Carlotta.
...her brother's sexy boss draws her into the bizarre world of body moving.

Suddenly Carlotta realizes that she has to bag a murderer to keep her own well-dressed body from being next on the list!

This is was a really fun read, that I zipped right through. It is the beginning of a new series and we are left hanging with a lot of what next at the end of the book. There are possibly three love connections with Carlotta that can be made and she hasn't chosen one at the end of the book. The mystery was pretty good, though I do have to say the ending came out of nowhere with little chance for the reader to discover who the killer is before the name is revealed. I also enjoyed Carlotta's brother Wesley and their relationship together. Like I mentioned, the ending is left were I will definately be picking up the next in the series though I do not feel like I have been ripped off of an ending like some books in other series. Body Movers is not as funny as some other Bond books I have read (where I was actually laughing out loud a lot) but still a fun read!

Up next, Linda Howard's Dream Man. I have finally gotten through all of the library books that have come in lately, so it is time to try and make a dent in the TBR pile. I am doing good on the no book buying front for Lent, but it is really killing me! There are so many books I want to buy! Oh well... I am saving money this way!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Looks to Die For

I picked up Looks to Die For after reading a review on Nicole's blog, Blog Happy. It is by one of the co-authors of two other books that I enjoyed, and I am glad I picked it up. 3.5 out of 5.

As the wife of a prominent Beverly Hills plastic-surgeron, a dedicated mother of three, and an absolutely fabulous decorator to the stars, Lacy Fields is stunned to the tips of her Chanel-manicured toenails the night the police barge into her house and haul her husband off in handcuffs. With her handsome Dan accussed of murdering a young wannabe actress named Tasha Barlow, Lacy turns her talent from tracking down priceless antique furniture to chasing a clever killer.

Lacy is sure her husband has been wrongly accussed- but how to explain his mysterious behavior? Known as the Saint of Hollywood for his skill with a scapel, Dan seems to be keeping a secret or two. Still Lacy won't lose her faith or determination to find the real murderer.

With her best friend Molly Archer, a hot LA casting agent, at her side, Lacy tracks suspects ranging from a sleazy network TV star to an advertising exec who shoots Super Bowl commercials set on the moon. Is Tasha's loyal hometown friend really an enemy? Did an ex-con from her past return to destroy Tasha's new life? Lacy Fields will stop at nothing to protect her family-whether it's searching for the person who framed her husband or keeping the black hair-dye away from her fourteen-year-old daughter.

The mystery of this story was very well done, and I really enjoyed the characters- especially Lacy. She seems down-to-earth in a crazy world that is LA and a great mom to her three children. Her friend was great, and I loved her attitude. The only downside to the book was the constant name dropping of designers throughout the book, though I guess that is to be expected given the setting of the story. I will be looking forward to more of Ms. Kaplan's future novels.

Gotta get to bed. I have to be at school at 7:00 tomorrow! I am sooooo not a morning person!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Another sad story

This story has been all over the front pages of the newspapers and on all of the news channels for three weeks, and has made it on Fox News Channel as well as Nancy Grace and was to be profiled on America's Most Wanted tonight. Now, it has come to a sad conclusion.

Tara Grant, a 34 year old mom from the same county as me, disappeared on February 9 after arguring with her husband about the number of business trips she had to take. He said someone called her, and she left. When she didn't show up for work, he finally reported her missing on Valentines Day. Telephone records have shown that no one called Tara, and the day after reporting her missing, her husband hired an attorney, wouldn't take a lie detector test, would not turn over computers, would not let them look in the house, and would only communicate with the police through his attorney. Then, like the Laci Petterson case, an ex-girlfriend came out with emails that Stephen Grant sent to her 2 weeks before Tara went missing trying to start up an affair with her, calling marriage vows liek speed limits, that sometimes they need to be broken.

Police were finally able to obtain a search warrant for their house and the gruesome discovery of Tara's torso was found in the garage. They then searched a nearby park and recently found more body parts suspected to be Tara's. Stephen is now missing, and two children are going to be without their mother, and as it looks, their father as well.

I know this is a long shot, but you never know. Though only a few people read this blog, I want to get this info out there. Stephen is suspected of driving a 2006 yellow Dodge Ram truck with Michigan license plates 9FL-R57. Maybe just keep an eye out. He has been gone since late last night, so he could be far gone by now. Justice needs to be done for this young mother, and I just want to get the word out there. I am not sure if America's Most Wanted is still going to be airing the case, but I will be watching!

Next time, I promise not so much depressing news.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Moving is Murder

I requested Moving is Murder after reading a review somewhere. My memory isn't working too well, however, and I can not remember where I read the review. It was a nice cozy, and was all right. 2 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

Moving four times iin five years has honed Ellie's considerable skills. But unpacking with a newborn daughter, record-breaking heat wave, and the realization that their dream neighborhood is known as Base Housing East is enough to make her turn to chocolate for comfort. She and her husband, Mitch, moved off-base for privacy and peace of mind. Now half of their neighbors are with the 52nd Air Refueling Squadron. Forget privacy.

Forget peace of mind, too. Driving home from her first squadron barbecue, Ellie finds neighborhood environmental activist Cass Vincent dead on the side of the road. The police call it an accident-Cass, fatally allergic, was stung by wasps- but Ellie's not so sure. Cass's husband said she always had an EpiPen in the car. Unfortunately, all Ellie found was a cup with sugary gunk and bits of bees at the bottom. She saw Cass argue violently at the barbecue with Mitch's buddy Jeff about something mysterious... and it just so happens Jeff knows a lot about bee-keeping.

Hoping to clear Jeff before the police get around to suspecting him, Ellie starts snooping in earnest. What she finds shocks her- alchoholism, blackmail, betrayl, secret debt... even illicit medical treatment the Air Force would never tolerate. But what's the connection to Cass? When suspicious "accidents" start happening in her own backyard, Ellie realizes she's getting closer to the killer... maybe too close!

This book was all right. The mystery was a little too mixed up, and there were way too many characters to keep track of. Ellie and her husband move due to his job in the Air Force, and there were a lot of abbreviations that were related to the Air Force that made it difficult to understand. There was a glossary in the back, however, it was a pain to keep flipping in the back to look things up. Another thing that didn't work for me was the amount of time jumping that occurred. You couldn't tell that the days had changed and it could go from one day to then two weeks later.

What I did like was Ellie and her friends as well as the Air Force life. I enjoyed getting a look on the inside of Air Force life, especially on the wives and families point of view. I loved the short chapters and there were tips at the end of each chapter for moving and being organized. Since I am an organizational freak, I really loved those! I may check out future ones in the series, but not right this minute since I have some books on the TBR that are calling my name. I also have one more book checked out from the library that I am going to try and get through this weekend, though I do have a test on Tuesday that I need to study for! Have a great weekend!