Thursday, May 31, 2007

Knock Off by Rhonda Pollero

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I read about Knock Off either in Romantic Times or on someone's blog and it caught my attention. I placed it on hold at my local library and am so glad I got it from the library. It is a hardcover, not even 300 pages, and definitely not a keeper. While it was a fun read, I can only give it a C.

Meet Finley Anderson Tanner, F.A.T. to her enemies. Underachiever extraordinre. This West Palm Beach paralegal hates the gym, still rents her condo, and loves two hour lunches with her friends. But what she really gets excited about is the thrill of the hunt- shopping for deeply discounted designer goods she can wear at her upscale law office. Hey, if she holds that Chanel bag just right, no one will ever notice the weird smear on the pale pink lambskin.

Too bad work isn't all about fashion. Especially when a grieving widow is sitting in your office, convinced that her husband's accidental death was really murder. Okay, so she's sincere... but crazy. She's also a close personal friend of the boss, and the boss wants Finley to personally oversee the investigation. Good-bye outlet malls, hello pain-in-my-Asprey.

Investigation murder isn't really Finley's bag (that would be Prada, 75% off). But the deeper Finley digs, the stranger things get. There are an awful lot of "accidental" deaths out there. This discount shopper knows slightly irregular when she sees it, and this case is clearly not right. Kind of like Liam McGarity. Everything about the hunky PI assigned to the investigation screams "Get out while you still have your underwear!" When he's not working the case, he's working on Finley. Who knew crime could be this much fun?

Now, for a girl whose biggest ambition was takeout Moo Shu at exactly 5:01, life is taking some exciting, unpredictable, and decidely dangerous turns. But someone doesn't like Finley's new work ethic. And if this paralegal wants to bring home the real goods, she'll have to keep from being a killer's total knock off...

This story was enjoyable enough, however I am kind of over the whole nale brand shoes and clothing that are constantly dropped throughout the entire story. I enjoyed Finley though she was kind of a flake and her shopping really got on my nerves. I enjoy shopping as much as the next gal, but this was a little over the top! And while the mystery was done pretty well, it just all of a sudden ended. With about ten pages left in the book the reader is lead to believe the killer is one person but then on the last page and a half (and I am not exaggerating) we learn who the real killer was. It was kinda stupid. I was dumbfounded and checked the brand new library book for some missing pages.

The romance was all right, but again, in the last 1/4 of the page, it just leaves you hanging. I think the way the book was just ended so aburtly was nuts and if the author cut out even 1/4 of the shopping and brand names of what Finley was reading, there may have been a better conclusion.

Up next is Kate White, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, newest novel. It is titled Lethally Blond and while I am kind of ove rthe chick-lit mystery I normally enjoy her books so I will give it a shot.

I am tired and it's off to bed! Good night and happy reading!

Monday, May 28, 2007

French Silk by Sandra Brown

I have always been a fan of Sandra Brown and I believe I picked up this title (which I had never heard of) from a used book sale at the library, I believe. This one was a big book, coming in close to 500 pages, but was an enjoyable read. I give it a solid B+.

Claire Laurent was a woman who embodied all of New Orleans' sultry paradoxes: beauty mixed with a mysterious elusiveness, a vibrant zest for living shadowed secrets and hidden passions. Yet she had fought hard to make her fabulous lingerie mail order business, French Silk, into a worldwide success. Now, the three deadly bullets that killed a TV evangelist could snatch everything away from her, even her life.

Was the killer Claire? District Attorney Robert Cassidy knew she was damning herself with lie after lie about the murder, even as he felt powerful emotions drawing him into her world and her very soul. But neither Cassidy's love nor her protests of innocence could save Claire unless she revealed a shocking truth- a revelation of sins and shame she had vowed to take to the grave.

I really enjoyed this story. There were several different plotlines and characters running throughout the story, and I felt that Ms. Brown handled them real well and the reader was able to understand and get to know all of the characters. The mystery was done well as was the romance between Claire and Cassidy. Talk about sexual tension! The story was set well in New Orleans and a lot of the characters really came alive. Like I mentioned, it was a long book but the reason why it took me so long to read it was because there were several days I did not read. Nothing to do with the book.

The only negatives I had was that the book was a bit difficult to follow the time line. The story takes place over a significant amount of time but it isn't made real clear to the reader. I also did not love Claire, and I felt she was a little pompous and full of herself. But anyways, they were just small problems and didn't take away much enjoyment from the story.

Up next is a library book. I don't have it in front of me right now so I am not sure of the title, but I know it is a chick lit mystery type. I got it after reading a review either in Romantic Times or on someone's blog. Not sure which one.

Anyways, hope everyone enjoys whats left of the long weekend. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

In the Cut by Susanna Moore

I got In the Cut by Susanna Moore at the last library book sale I attended. It was the day were you purchased a grocery bag for $5.00 and could stuff it full with all the books you could. The cover of this book said it was now a major motion picture and I am always interested in reading books that are later turned into movies. Since it was a thin book, in it went. I was not that impressed and really can only give the book a D.

She lives in two rooms on the third floor of a brownstone on Washington Square. By day, she teaches her students about irony and language in all its nuance, eccentricity, and unspoken meaning. By night, she complies a secret dictionary of street slang, and takes chances.

One night, in the basement of a bar, she walks in on an intimate moment between a man and a woman. His face is shadowed in darkness, but she will remember the tattoo on the inside of his left wrist, the feeling of his eyes on her. She will remember long after the first brutal murder rocks her neighborhood... long after she is propelled into a sexual liason that tests the limits of her safety and desires, as she begins a terrifying descent into the dark places that reside deep within her...

This book had it's redeeming points as the suspense was done pretty well, but I just couldn't get into the author's voice. Coming in at 180 pages, I should have had this book done in a day but it took three days for me to get through it. It was very stream of consciousnes and some of the book was taken up with the dictionary that the character was writing. I didn't understand this as I felt it did not add anything to the story. I did not like the ending at all and really did not like any of the characters. Overall, while I may watch the movie if it comes on cable as it is an older one, I will not be seeking it out. This is a book to soon be forgoten.

Up next is a book I started today that I also got from the sale. It is an old Sandra Brown titled French Silk. This one is almost 500 pages and I started it today. It has gotten my attention and I look forward to reading more of it. Happy reading!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

I have been a fan of Debbie Macomber's many novels since I first started reading romance novels and I still continue to today. While her books are kind of "everything is perfect" in this world, I really enjoy some of her series books especially the Blossom Street books. This one was a nice, comfortable read and I give it a B.

There's a new shop on Seattle's Blossom Street a flower store called Susannah's Garden, right next door to A Good Yarn. Susannah Nelson, the owner, has just hired a young widow named Colette Blake. A couple of months earlier, Colette had abruptly quit her previous job- after a brief affair with her boss. To her dismay, he's suddenly begun placing weekly orders for flower arrangements!

Susannah and Colette both join Lydia Goetz's new knitting class. Lydia's previous classes have forged lasting friendshops, and this one is no exception. But Lydia and her sister, Margaret, have worries of their own. Margaret's daughter, Julia, has been the victim of a random carjacking, and the entire family is thrown into emotional chaos.

Then there's Alix Townsend. Her wedding to Jordan Turner is only months away- but she's not sure she can go through with it. Her love for Jordan isn't in question; what she can't handle is the whole wedding extravagnza engineered by her mentor, Jacqueline, with the enthusiastic cooperation of her future mother-in-law. A reception at the country club and hundreds of guests she's never even met- it's just not Alix.

Like everyone else in Lydia's knitting class, Alix knows there's a solution to every problem... and that another woman can usually help you find it!

Debbie Macomber's books are nice and easy to read and you know you will always get a happily ever after. I think why I enjoy her books so much, especially the series books, is because it is like getting caught up with an old friend. I like being able to see couples who in previous books struggled to get together, be happy and see how their relationship evolves. The only reason why I marked this one down is because it is a little campy and corny, but I guess that is one of the reasons why I enjoy her books. I don't really know what to say about it, it is just a nice read. (I am kinda out of it tonight... hopped up on cold medicine and groggy)

Not sure what is going to be next. I don't have anymore books out from the library so I will grab something from the TBR. I am in the mood for a dark suspense novel so possibly something along those lines. Happy reading and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

I read Ms. Halliday's previous book, Spying in High Heels, last summer I believe. It was a cute, fun read so I noted the author's name and title of her upcoming book on my list for books to be on the lookout for. Killer in High Heels finally came in to me through the interlibrary loan and I was glad I read it. A B+.

L.A. shoe designer Maddie Springer hasn't seen her father since he reportedly ran off to Las Vegas with a showgirl named Lola. So she's shocked when he leaves a desperate plea for help on her answering machine- ending in a loud bang. Gunshot? Car backfire? Never one to leave her curiosity unsatisified, Maddie strapps on her stilettos and, along with her trigger-happy best friend, makes tracks for Sin City in search of her MIA dad.

Maddie hits the jackpot all right. She finds not only her dad, but also a handful of aging drag queens, an organized crime ring smuggling fake Prada pumps, and one relentless killer. Plus it seems the LAPD's sexiest cop is doing a little Vegas moonlighting of his own. In a town where odds are everything, Maddie bets it all on her ability to out-step a vicious murderer. She just hopes her gamble pays off... before her own luck runs off.

This book was a lot of fun. Maddie is a really likeable character and her friends and family members that also play a role in the story are really interesting. I especially liked Maddie's mother who had me laughing out loud a few times. Maddie and her love interest, Ramierez, have some great chemistry and you really are rootinig for them to make it official, if you know what I mean.

While the ending of the book had a good resolution to the mystery, I think there were some things that were left unsaid. I hope that the author continues the series and answers some of the unresolved questions. I will definitely be looking for a continuation whether at the library or the bookstore.

Just a warning. I know some people are sick of chick lit where the heroine is obssessed with shoes and fashion. While this tends to get on my nerves as well, I knew what I was getting into just from the title. Ms. Halliday does mention a lot about shoes and it does grate a bit, but the fun story definitely outweighs any negative problems with it.

Up next is Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber. It's a library book, the last of what I have out. I did not finish Sex on the Beach Book Club and it is already returned. I got through the first chapter and the characters were annoying me, so with one quick look at the TBR bookshelves, I decided life is too short to read something I don't enjoy. It is probably a good book, but I just wasn't in the mood or the writing is off for me. I would be interested to see what others have to say about it. Happy Reading!


Friday, May 11, 2007

Catch Me If I Fall by Nicci French

I discovered Nicci French last year just by picking up one of her books at the bookstore. I didn't realize that she was an English author and I normally shy away from English authors because some of the slang words are different and they seem to bother me. I just get hung up on them, but I am so glad I stuck with her books. They are great and this one did not disappoint, as I graded it as an A-.

Holly Krauss lives her life in the fast lane. A successful, happly married businesswoman, she is loved and admired by everyone she meets. But that's only one side of Holly. The other takes regular walks on the wild side and is making reckless mistakes. When the two sides of Holly's life collide, her world quickly spirals out of control. She thinks she's being stalked, that someone is trying to extort money from her, and that threats lurk around every corner. Soon the people closest to her are running out of patience. But are her fears due to paranoria and illness, or is the danger very, very real? And if Holly can no longer rely on her own judgement, who can she trust to catch her when she falls?

I love the way this book is set up. It is set up in two parts with Holly telling the first part as her life becomes crazy and she makes horrible choices and then through Meg, Holly's best friend. I thought that this was a great way because it really allows the reader to get into Holly's head but also allows for the reader to get a grasp on how her decisions are impacting those around her. The reader is really put through the suspense on whether or not Holly is in danger or if it is all a figment of her imagination. While it looks like it took me a couple of days to read it, I really finished it today. I didn't have much time to read yesterday and just could not put the book down. I really enjoyed it and recommend Nicci French to all of those who enjoy a good look at the inside of people's minds and learn what makes them tick. I will definitely be looking for more of her backlist.

Up next is one of the three books I picked up from the library. I got Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber, Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday, and Sex on the Beach Book Club by Jennifer Apodaca. Not sure which one will be next, probably whatever one I grab. Or I may have Chris pick one for me. I do that sometimes when I can't decide what to read next.

Anyways, I hope all of you have a good weekend and Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! And GOOOOOOOOOOOOO RED WINGS!!!!! They won a great game tonight!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

While Angels Sleep

This was the second book that I read by Judith Kelman. I am still not sure what I think about this one. I think I will probably have to rate this one as a C. Nothing special, nothing horrible. Just average.

Strange, terrible things had happened at Thornwood- years ago when Emily was just a child. First, there was her mother's sudden, tragic death. Then her father's slow, agonizing descent into madness. And finally, the horror had ended... or so Emily thought.

Now years later, she has come back- with children of her own. Back to the dark wooded seculison of the old art colony. Back to Thornwood- where the sins of the past are, somehow, still lingering in the shadows. Lurking in the hallways. And reaching out...

The suspense in this one was not set up until close to the end of the book. Most of the story revolves around Emily's stepdaughter and her problems and what is going to happen to the old art colony her father ran. I really did not like Emily that much and felt sorry for her stepdaughter who clearly was having a lot of problems. Then at the end of the story, within the last 30 pages or so, where the suspense comes out. Then we get some action but even then the story just kind of ends. I really didn't care for that. I think if the author expanded more on the suspense story line it may have been more enjoyable. I will still be looking for more books by this author, however, this one will not be on my keeper shelf.

Not sure what is up next. The library called and two books have come in. One is Sex on the Beach Book Club by Jennifer Apodaca and the other is Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday. It is pouring outside right now and I took some medicine that is making me dizzy so I don't think I will be taking the trip to the library now. Maybe the newest Nicci French novel I have. Well Happy Reading to all!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

After the Fall by Judith Kelman

After scanning through my Romantic Times magazine, the May issue, I came across an article about author Judith Kelman. I have never read anything by her before, but my interest was aroused and I checked out her website and Amazon. Her books seemed to be right up my ally, so I went to the library and checked out two of her books. I was not disappointed, as After the Fall was a solid B+.

Danny Magill is just about a perfect kid. He has everything going for him: looks, grades. athletic ability, and a practically guaranteed admission to the college of his choice. Then the police come pounding at the Magill's door and arrest Danny for a shocking crime, shattering his family's apparently perfect world. But as Danny's mother, Jess, probes more deeply into the circumstances of his arrest, she discovers that things may not have been "perfect" for some time.

How can this nightmare be happening to this boy? This family? This town? And how will they survive?

Judith Kelman's gripping psychological novel goes beyond the question of guilt or innoncence to explore what the ties that bind are really made of.

This is a really great story that examines and shows are families are tested when shocking accusations are made. I loved the way we were able to see how it was affecting everyone in the family and town and you really get to learn about the characters. The book was a good length where there was plenty of character development, though I do feel like the ending was a little rushed. I wil definitely be reading more of Ms. Kelman's books and I have one more checked out from the library that I will be reading next.

I went to giant used book sale at one of the local libraries and I hit the jackpot. I spent $5.00 and got over 20 books for me plus childrens books and videos! It was like heaven! Today is also my birthday, so I expect some gift cards for bookstores in my near future. A family friend also gave me some scratch off lotto tickets and I won $32 so I think I may be taking that to the bookstore. Borders also sent me a birthday coupon. Yay!

Have a great end of the weekend and Happy Reading!