Monday, July 30, 2007

Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon

Like I mentioned in my previous post, I read about this book on someone's blog and was intrigued by the premise. While I tend to stay away from a lot of paranormal books, I decided to place it on hold from my library. I am glad I read it and grade this book a B.

Forty-one-year-old school nurse Kate Cypher has returned home to rural Vermont to care for her mother who's afflicted with Alzheimer's. On the night she arrives, a young girl is murdered- a horrific crime that eerily mirrors another from Kate's childhood. Three decades earlier, her dirt-poor friend Del- shunned and derided by classmates as "Potato Girl"- was brutally slain. Her killer was never found, while the victim has since achieved immortality in local legends and ghost stories. Now as this new murder investigation draws Kate irresistibly in, her past and present collide in terrifying, unexpected ways. Because nothing is quite what it seems... and the grim specters of her youth are far from forgotten.

This book was filled with mystery, friendships, the difficultly with aging parents, and old love. It was a touching story and had a great mystery that left me guessing to the very end. I was so sure I thought I knew who the killer was but I was sure wrong.

The story also shows how absolutely cruel children, and adults, can be. I know that when I became a parent, I plan on teaching my children compassion and to only treat others the way you would like to be treated. It breaks my heart some of the things the children in this book say as well as things I have heard in the classroom and I am sure things I have said. I think this book does a great way of touching on this topics.

The story had good plot development and I really enjoyed the way the story was told both during the 70's and in present time. You really learn a lot of the motivation for the characters, especially Kate, and it was well handled.

I am not sure why I rate this book a B. I really can't pinpoint one thing that brought it down, but that was the grade that popped in my mind. Perhaps it was the writers voice, though I am not sure. I would recommend it to those who think the premise sounds interesting since it was enjoyable.

Up next is Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble in the Big City. I enjoyed the first book in this series rating it a B+. I am off to bed so Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Envy by Sandra Brown

Envy was the only book I read on vacation! I can't believe it. There was just so much going on that focusing on reading became difficult. However, Envy was a great book to read even if it did take me almost 5 days to read it. It was a very enjoyable book and I give it an A-.

When New York publisher Maris Matherly Reed receives a tatalizing manuscript from someone identified only as P.M.E. it's blockbuster potential- and perhaps something else- compels her to meet its author. On an eerie, ruined cotton plantation on a remote Georgia island she finds Parker Evans, a man concealing his identity and his past. Maris is drawn into his tale of two young friends and a deadly betrayl... and to Parker himself. But there's something especially chilling about this novel, its possible connection to Maris's own life, and the real-life character who uses her or anyone, to get what he wants.

This book had little suspense as I was able to figure out what was going on pretty early in the story, however that did not take much away from the story. It was wonderfully written and I don't think I have run across a Sandra Brown book I didn't enjoy. You were able to get a real sense of who the characters are and all of their motivation. The ending was well thought out and came to a nice conclusion. The hero surpassed all of my expectations for him and I have to say I really enjoyed him. He may have been one of my favorite heros that I have read lately. It was a nice romance and I can not say enough about it. I am open to all and any suggestions for other Ms. Brown books.

Up next is a library book titled Promise Not to Tell. Again, I got this from a recommendation on someones blog though I am not sure who. Hopefully my reading will pick up again now that I will be getting in to my old routine. Have a great start of the week and Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

One Dangerous Lady by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

After reading Social Crimes and falling in love with it, I had to see what other books Ms. Hitchcock had written. I was so excited when I found out there was a continuation to Social Crimes in One Dangerous Lady. I grabbed it from the library and it was just as good! An A-!

From Amazon:
New York grande dame Jo Slater, whose riches-to-rags-to-riches story entertained readers of Social Crimes, returns in Hitchcock's latest smart, genuinely funny novel to take on a sociopath socialite cutting a vicious swathe across Manhattan society. A Barbados wedding becomes the scandal of the year when the host, Russell Cole, a billionaire art collector with a psychiatric history, disappears off his yacht, and Jo puzzles over the suspect behavior of his much-younger second wife, Carla, an Italian with a shady past. Upon their return to New York, Carla angles for Jo's solidarity, but Jo, insightful and caustic, won't have any. Social life is hard work for these women, and Jo is soon vying for the upper hand in a deadly, high-stakes game with this ruthless social climber. (For Jo, a dinner party invitation from Carla heralds the "long reign of a rival queen in whose court I may very well become a prisoner.") Despite Jo's opposition, Carla achieves an exclusive co-op apartment (which she decorates "rococo-a-gogogo"), a seat on the board of the Municipal Museum along with Jo's resignation from said board, even Jo's romantic interest, Lord Max Vermillion.

It was such a great addition to what I hope will be a series. I love the inside look at New York's wealthiest and what some of the consider "problems". The characters are so lively and there are little other stories running throughout that make interesting on every page. There was not a boring part at all and was filled with twists and turns. There is suspense in it, though I think the insiders view is what really makes the story so much fun!

Well I am off. I am leaving for the airport and going to Ft. Lauderdale. I will not be blogging from there, so it probably won't be until next weekend! Everyone have a great week and happy reading!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Halo Effect by M.J.Rose

I have read several of Ms. Rose's previous books and have always enjoyed them. While browsing my local library (why oh why am I doing this when I have shelves and shelves of books to read at home?!?) I saw this and picked it up. It was an all right read, my least favorite of her's that I have read and give it a C+.

Cleo Thane, a high-priced prostitute, is one of those special patients Morgan connects with immediately. When Cleo asks Morgan to read her unpublished book about her exclusive clientle, Morgan realizes that what she has in her hands could be explosive. Then Cleo disappears.

Detective Noah Jordain is trying to stay one step ahead of a serial killer who has been targeting prostitutes, killing them with ritualistic precision. When a missing person's report is filed on Cleo Thane, Noah approaches Dr. Morgan Snow for insight, but Morgan refuses to breach patient confidentiality. Instead she begins her own investigation and is shocked by how much the intimate sexual details of another woman's life affect her own. Too late she realizes that navigating Cleo's mind, and saving her life, could prove deadly.

This book was just ho-hum. It was slow to start and continued on through out the book. It took me about 2 days to get through the first half and I only really continued it because I wanted to get to the conclusion. I can't really pinpoint the particular points that bugged me, but it just kinda did. I did not sympathize with Morgan at all and she got on my nerves. I also figured out the killer very early so that took away some of the suspense.

For some reason tonight I cannot put out a better review, so I am just going to end it here. I leave for Ft. Lauderdale for 5 days on Sunday, so tomorrow a good amount of time figuring out what books I will be taking. I also have to get the house in really good shape so there will not be a huge mess as well as laundry. I am hoping to get through one more library book before I leave, so of course I have to leave time for reading. Well that's it for me. I am tired and gonna get ready for bed. Happy reading!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Stud by Jackie Collins

After reading a review of one of Jackie Collins' books in Romantic Times, I decided to try one out. I went to the library and the only one they had in paperback so I grabbed it. I started it last night before bed and finished it this afternoon. It was a fun read that I rate it an A-.

London, 1969. The hottest, hippest, wildest domain of hedonists and pleasure-seakers, where swingers swarm the clubs and discos in a high-stakes quest to live for the moment. At the center of this decadent scene, one man plays all the angles, never missing a chance to score with the beautiful women who desire him- and walks the line between ecstasy and overload. Now the woman he wants the most knows his number- and may just call his bluff.

This was such a fun, easy read. It was another look in the inside of the rich and wanna-bes. It was the perfect book to spend a sunny day reading and enjoying. It didn't require a lot of concentration, so I could put it down and work on dinner and then pick it up and be sucked right in again to the story.

The only thing that bugged me was the ending. It seemed a bit rushed, but the way Ms. Collins ended it, it definitely gives the reader a hint, but not a conclusive conclusion. The language bothered me a bit since there were a lot of English slang words along with slang from the 60's. I was able to get over it though and really enjoyed the book! I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a good beach book.

Up next is MJ Rose's The Halo Effect. I have read a few of her other books and they are always great. Happy reading!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

This past week, my brother gave me a DVD of the first few episodes of the Dexter show on Showtime knowing that I am a fan of crime and suspense in books and television shows. I had been interested in seeing the show, but first I wanted to read one of the books the show was based on. Off to the library I went and got the first book, Darkly Dreaming Dexter. It was a fast read and interesting so I will give it a B.

Dexter Morgan isn't exactly the kind of man you'd bring home to Mom. Though he's playful and has a wonderfully ironic sense of humor, Dexter's one character flaw (his proclivity for murder) can be off-putting. But at heart Dexter is the perfect gentleman, supportive of his sister, Deb, a Miami cop, and interested only in doing away with people who really deserve his special visit. Dex is quite good looking but totally indifferent to (and, frankly, a bit puzzled by) the attentions paid to him by women. Despite the fact that he can't stand the sight of blood, he works as a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Police Department, a job that allows him to keep tabs on the latest crimes and keep an eye open for his next quarry.

Dexter's well-organized life is suddenly disrupted when a second, much more visible serial killer appears in Miami. Dex is intrigued, even delighted, by the fact that the other killer appears to have a style reminiscent of his own. Yet he can't help but feel that the mysterious new arrival is not merely invading his turf but reaching out to him as well. This new killer seems to be doing more than copying Dexter- he seems to be saying "Come out and play". Dexter's secret life makes for a lonely existance... even a lovable monster can be intrigued by the prospect of finding a friend.

This was an interesting read. It was definitely nothing like or similar to anything I have read before. It was so strange to read this story through the eyes of a serial killer who was trying to catch a serial killer and actually cheering Dexter on! While I appreciate he only kills child molesters and the like, he is still a murderer. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger to me, so I will probably be continuning the series, though right now I have so many other books to pick up and read. I did see on Amazon that this series is on AudioCD's and the review was quite great for the reader, so I think I may put the next one on hold on CD. However, I will be watching the show, probably tonight. I have heard mixed reviews on it, though my brother really enjoys it and our tastes usually agree. Not sure what is up next, probably something that I have from the library. Happy reading and enjoy the last of your weekend!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Death by Pantyhose by Laura Levine

I had been reading a book since Monday, the one my husband, Chris, grabbed off of the TBR shelves for me to read. I gave it a fair chance, quitting at page 200 which was pretty close to the halfway part of the book. I just could not get into it, though I am not sure if it was me or the author's style. Since I had books waiting for me at the library, so I gave it up and picked up Laura Levine's newest book. Her books are always great and this one did not disappoint. I give it a B+.

Jaine Austen has never been able to resist the the siren call of an Eskimo Pie, just like she can't resist renewing her crush with Andrew, an old crush. With her bank account hitting new lows, she's also just agreed to write jokes for Dorcas, a stand-up comic who throws her pantyhouse into the audience as a punch line.

Not only is Dorcas's act a bomb, she is heckled by Vic, a gorgeous fellow comic who is equally good on stage and in the sack. Unfortunately Vic loves perfoming in both venues. He gets in bed with a sexy waitress, a pretty new love, and a sweet girlfriend while profressing his undying love for each. Worse he is two-timing his aging agent. Pretty soon Vic has an enemy's list a mile long, and when he needles Dorcas one time too many, she assults him at a club's open mike night.

Naturally when Vic is murdered with Dorcas's pantyhose and that same Darcus is standing over his dead body, the police arrest... Dorcas. They figure it is an open and shut case although Janie figures that no killer can be that dumb... even Dorcas. But when Janie sets out to find the real culprit, she is distracted by one dating disaster after another with Andrew- and she may not see the dark side of comedy until she faces the business end of a gun and a cold, deadly grin...

Ms. Levine's books are always great for chuckles and a good time. I read this book in a matter of two hours and it was so much fun! I love the emails from her parents who are always up to no good and provide comical relief. Another great part of her stories are the way Jaine always adds things to her conversations that were never really part of it. I can't say enough about her books they just fun with a light mystery. My only beef with the book is that it is so short. I wish they were a little bit longer. They are also first published in hardcover, so I have to get it from the library. I can't wait until next year!

Up next is the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay. My brother has been raving about the show on Showtime and I have heard good things about the series and the books, so before I watch the first three shows my brother lent me, I am going to read this one. I hope everyone has a great weekend and happy reading!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Social Crimes by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

Social Crimes was another book that I just grabbed off of the TBR shelves. Ms. Hitchcock was a new to me author, and at first I wasn't thrilled with the pick thinking it was not something I was in the mood for. Silly, silly me. I started it last night right before I went to bed and read about 50 pages and then finished it today. It was 439 pages I think so that goes to show how much I enjoyed the book. An A-.

Jo Slater is a grand dame of New York society; some say the grandest. But she is about to be dethroned. Her wealthy husband of 20 years dies under strange circumstances and leaves his entire fortune to a mysterious French countess. Sliding down the social ladder faster than you can say"Versace" Jo discovers she has been the victim of a plot and decides to get some very sweet revenge. Your days are numbered Countess!

While the back sounded a little chick lit to me, it wasn't. The story was so well written and really shows how so called friends can backstab you faster than you can turn around. I loved seeing Jo have to completely redo her life after her husband dies and goes from having it all to nothing at all. The story is dark, but so much fun! I think it gives an accurate portrayl of life in the high society of New York, though of course I do not really know what it is like. However, after reading it, I am comfortable with my quaint little life that I have.

The only downside to the book was there was a lot of French in the book, though it was explained pretty well. The novel also spans a long time period and the author doesn't give us a definite timetable. Both things were very easily to be overlooked and was such a great read! I guess this is a first in a series, with the next one is A Dangerous Lady which I will be picking it up from the library.

Up next, I am going to have my husband go into the shelves and pick a book. Whatever he picks I will read. Happy reading!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Sacred Trust by Meg O'Brien

UGHHHH!!! For some reason I can not post a title, so there it was!

I got Meg O'Brien's second book, Sacred Trust, at a used book sale or the thrift store, I am not sure. The blurb on the back sounded promising, so I was looking forward to it when I grabbed it off of the TBR mountain. It was an eh read, with my giving it a C.

High on a hill overlooking the pristine town of Carmel, California, the body of world-famous photojournalist Marti Bright is found one morning, crucified on a homemade wooden cross. For her best friend, Abby Northrup, it's just the beginning of a nightmare that she, too, may not escape alive.

Compelled by grief and shock, Abby begins to piece together what happened to the woman she loved like a sister. With her marriage to an influential politician in tatters and her perfect life only a carefully fabricated illusion, Abby focuses instead on Marti, probing their past, the time the two friends spent in a convent and the secrets they'd kept all these years.

But as Abby reachers further and further into the maze of Marti's last days, she realizes the woman she thought she knew so well was keeping secrets from her. And that her own life is linked to her friend's in ways she never imagined... in ways that could make her a vengeful killer's next victim.

This book was just ok. I can't really think too much to say about it. The mystery was told to the reader, not allowing me to discover clues and see things on my own. Abby was not a very sympathetic herione to me and while the back blurb keeps talking about her and Marti's close friendship, they hadn't talked for years it seems. At the end, the mystery was just told who the killer was andI wasn't able to pick up any clues. This was just a ho-hum read, while it didn't really hold my attention I felt like I had to read it and finish it. Kinda glad it is over, but I will not give up on this author as I believe I have more by her.

Not sure what is up next. Just gonna go and look at the shelves. Hope everyone is staying cool and happy reading!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Rage Therapy by Daniel Kalla

On Tuesday, I went to Borders to look at some of the new releases and because I had a $5.00 Borders Bucks and a coupon for 20% of and a gift card. Though I promised myself no more new books until I read at least 5 from the TBR mountain, I couldn't pass up the deal. I ended up buying 2 books and 2 bookmarks for $10.00 on my gift card. Anyways, Rage Therapy was one of the books I picked up and I am glad. This was a great read, with me giving it an A!

Dr. Stanley Kolberg was not just murdered. His lifeless body was battered beyond recgonition, as though his killer had been driven by a ferocious rage.

As far as the Seattle police are concerned, there is no shortage of suspects. Kolberg often treated violent offenders with severe psychiatric disorders. His client list is a virtual lineup of sociopaths, pyschotics, and convicted murderers, any one of whom might have unleashed their homicidal fury on the doctor.

For Dr. Joel Ashman the shocking crime strikes particularly close to home. Not only was Kolberg a fellow pyschiatrist, but he was practically a second father to Joel, who soon finds himself the targe of a faceless stalker.

Who killed Stanley Kolberg and why? The answers lie hidden in a lurid underworld of depraved sex and violence- and in the tortured past of one disturbed young woman.

This story was just great! There were constant twists and turns, and everytime I thought I had it figured out, there was another loop. I really liked Joel, and loved the fact that the story was told through his eyes. There is an explicit explanation of the sex in the story, but I felt it was vital to the story and so it didn't disturb me. I always enjoy stories that tell the viewpoint from a psychiatrist because I seem to get a better understanding of all of the characters in the story. This book just had so much going for it and the suspense was unbelievable. While I was reading there were quite a few times my heart was pounding and that rarely happens. I would highly recommend this book to people who love psychological suspense novels, but those who find explicit sex, such as S and M, detailed, you may want to pass this one over. (If it was of minors, I would hightail out of the book fast, so it isn't.0

Daniel Kalla is a new to me author, but I think he has 2 books before this one and a new one just out in hardcover this month. I hope my library has some more of his books! Not sure what I am going to read next, but for sure something off of the mountain. Happy reading everyone!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gone by Lisa Gardner

My mom borrowed this book from a friend for while she was on vacation and when she returned, she told me how much she enjoyed. I told her I had been a Lisa Gardner fan for awhile and had Alone that she could read. In return, she gave me this book. We compared notes and while she liked Gone better, I enjoyed Alone more so. However Gone was a suspensful read and I give it a B.

For ex-FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, it's the beginning of his worst nightmare. A car has just been found abandoned on a desolate strech of Oregon highway, engine running, a woman's purse on the driver's seat. And the driver of that car, his estranged wife, Raine Conner, has vanished without a trace.

Did one of the ghosts from Raine's past catch up with her? Or could her disapperance be connected to a vicious double homicide they'd been investigating? One man knows what happened that night. And if he doesn't get what he wants, Raine will be gone for good. Now, as a terrifying deadline nears, Pierce plunges into the most desperate hunt of his life, in search of a killer, a lethal truth, and the love of his life. But getting back what he wants might be murder.

I have a feeling this book is connected to another one of Gardner's books because there was a lot of backstory without a whole of information on Quincy, Raine, and Quincy's daughter Kimberly. I don't think I will be able to read that other book(s) because too much was explained.

I enjoyed this book but just felt there were so many characters that it was hard to follow and keep track of everyone. The book was also a little hard to get into, though I do think that was more me than the book. When I started reading today at around page number 150, I finished the book in probably an hour and a half which was 300 pages. It was suspensful, there was another little side romance I enjoyed, though when I say little, I mean little. I wonder if that will be brought into any future books. I can always recommend Lisa Gardner's books for those who are big on suspense but little on gore.

Up next is probably one of the new books I bought today. I think I am going to go with Rage Therapy by a new-to-me author Daniel Kalla. Hope everyone has a safe 4th and Happy Reading!