Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

I read about this book on someone's blog, and as someone who loves children and is somewhat obsessed with missing child cases this book sounded like the perfect read for me. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
Life changes in an instant. On a foggy beach. In the seconds when Abby Mason—photographer, fiancée soon-to-be-stepmother—looks into her camera and commits her greatest error. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and beautifully told, here is the riveting tale of a family torn apart, of the search for the truth behind a child’s disappearance, and of one woman’s unwavering faith in the redemptive power of love—all made startlingly fresh through Michelle Richmond’s incandescent sensitivity and extraordinary insight.Six-year-old Emma vanished into the thick San Francisco fog. Or into the heaving Pacific. Or somewhere just beyond: to a parking lot, a stranger’s van, or a road with traffic flashing by. Devastated by guilt, haunted by her fears about becoming a stepmother, Abby refuses to believe that Emma is dead. And so she searches for clues about what happened that morning—and cannot stop the flood of memories reaching from her own childhood to illuminate that irreversible moment on the beach.Now, as the days drag into weeks, as the police lose interest and fliers fade on telephone poles, Emma’s father finds solace in religion and scientific probability—but Abby can only wander the beaches and city streets, attempting to recover the past and the little girl she lost. With her life at a crossroads, she will leave San Francisco for a country thousands of miles away. And there, by the side of another sea, on a journey that has led her to another man and into a strange subculture of wanderers and surfers, Abby will make the most astounding discovery of all—as the truth of Emma’s disappearance unravels with stunning force.

I had so many mixed emotions while reading this book. At times I wanted to hate Abby and other times I wanted to hate Emma's father and throughout most of the book I hated the police. The Year of Fog is so well written and really tugs at the reader's heartstrings. When I picked this book up from the library, the librarian told me it was a tearjerker but such a wonderful book, so I was somewhat warned. Most of the times I hate reading something that will make me cry, because if I take a look around the world there are tons of real life things that can make someone feel down and depressed and when I read it is to escape. That being said, this book was an exception to the rule and I quickly read it. I have a hard time classifying this book but really can not recommend it enough.

I have been following the Caylee Anthony case since it broke in July. If you haven't heard, she is a missing three year old girl who is presumed to be dead by the police and by the hands of her own mother. Her mother never reported her missing and it finally took the grandmother to call it in a month after someone last saw Caylee. There has been evidence released that shows there was a decomposing body in the mother's trunk, a hair with a death band around it, a trunk that was saturated with chloroform and searches on the mother, Casey, computer three months before Caylee went missing on chloroform, neck breaking, and household weapons. With Casey behind bars facing murder charges, the grandparents are holding on to the fact that this little girll may still be alive. A lot of people have been crucifying the grandparents and I can't imagine how they can live their lives each day, not knowing where their precious granddaughter is. I will admit that I am somewhat afraid to have children because of all the bad that is out there in the world today and I think this book just goes to show that there some good can come out of horrible things.

The ending of the book left me somewhat disappointed, but without giving away spoilers, I really can't discuss more about it. It was a heavy read, and I admit I did little else today but curled up on the couch reading it. I really believe this book will be with me for awhile. Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler

I mentioned in my previous post for picking this book up to read and I was not disappointed. The perfect light, easy, comedic read that I finished quite quickly. I give it an A-.

From Amazon:
When Chelsea Handler needs to get a few things off her chest, she appeals to a higher power -- vodka. You would too if you found out that your boyfriend was having an affair with a Peekapoo or if you had to pretend to be honeymooning with your father in order to upgrade to first class. Welcome to Chelsea's world -- a place where absurdity reigns supreme and a quick wit is the best line of defense.
In this hilarious, deliciously skewed collection, Chelsea mines her past for stories about her family, relationships, and career that are at once singular and ridiculous. Whether she's convincing her third-grade class that she has been tapped to play Goldie Hawn's daughter in the sequel to Private Benjamin, deciding to be more egalitarian by dating a redhead, or looking out for a foulmouthed, rum-swilling little person who looks just like her...only smaller, Chelsea has a knack for getting herself into the most outrageous situations. Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea showcases the candor and irresistible turns of phrase that have made her one of the freshest voices in comedy today.

Ms. Handler is very funny and her true voice clearly comes through in the book. The thing that I believe leads to the book being even funnier is the fact that Ms. Handler's stories are not outrageous and funny in a way that is unbelievable. If you ever watch her show, you can hear a lot of the same phrases and expressions that she uses on the show and in her book. The book contained about 14 different essays ranging from boyfriends to getting sucked into dog sitting for a friend when she doesn't even like dogs. At times the book may be offensive to some who do not like graphic language, but I still enjoyed it. I think I am going to check out her previous book.

Up next is The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. It is the last of my library books and I would love to be able to finish it by tomorrow so I can add it to November's count. I doubt I will have the time, however, because this evening my hubby and I have bowling and tomorrow I have lesson plans to do. However, I was able to get my cleaning and laundry done today so it may all work out. Happy Reading!

Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla

I read one of Mr. Kalla's previous novels, Rage Therapy, quite awhile ago and absolutely loved it. I have been meaning to read one of his other books for awhile and finally got Blood Lies from the library. It was a good book and I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
Ben Dafoe, a young emergency-room doctor and part-time crime-scene consultant for the Seattle Police Department, is haunted by addiction. Two years earlier, a cocaine and crystal-meth habit claimed the life of his identical twin, Aaron. Now Ben walks onto the scene of a savage stabbing to find that the victim is his former fiancée, Emily Kenmore—another loved one who fell prey to drugs. Part of the carnage in Emily’s bedroom is a single streak of blood caked on the wall.

When the DNA from that sample matches Ben’s, he becomes the prime suspect.

Convinced his identical twin is still alive and somehow involved in Emily’s death, Ben goes on the run, aiming to find Aaron. Working under an assumed identity at an inner-city clinic, Ben desperately searches for Aaron while playing cat-and-mouse with the authorities.

But someone is determined to thwart his hunt at any cost. In the story’s final twist, the truth hits closer to home and more lethally than Ben ever imagined.

At times, the book was a bit predicitible and it tood me awhile to get into it. However, looking back I realized I wasn't giving myself much time to read and get a chance to get involved with the book. I feel like this past two weeks I have had ADD or something and cannot focus on much for too long and it is driving me up a wall. The author does a great job of throwing in some red herrings and tricking the reader into who they believe is responsible for the killings. While this book is classified as a medical mystery, I am hard pressed to call it so. While there are some medical aspects, they are quite limited. I will say that I really liked Rage Therapy much more though and if you are interested in trying out this author I would pick that one up first.

Up next is Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler. I have been a fan of her tv show on E! and her comedy for awhile, so when I heard about this book I placed it on hold. It is been forever since I did and it finally came through. It is a light, funny read so far and I am enjoying it. I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

2009 Suspense Thriller Challenge

This one is a no brainer for me to enter since I love thrillers and suspense novels. Here are the rules that the lovely J. Kaye is hosting. Here are the rules!

2009 Suspense & Thriller Reading Challenge
This is for the ones who finished the 2008/09 Suspense & Reading Challenge are ready for another. Rules of this challenge:
* Read TWELVE (12) different sub-genres of thrillers in 2009.
* You do NOT need to select your books ahead of time. Also, you may change as you go. * Your books can crossover into other challenges.
* You don't need a blog to join in this challenge. For those who do, this is important. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your S/T books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed.

Click to join suspense-thriller-challenge

This is the list of sub-genres of thrillers we've discovered so far:
Action thrillers - often feature a race against the clock, contains lots of violence, and an obvious antagonist. Treasure hunt, search for a lost archeological site, the world's lost meteorite, a mystery lost to time--action-adventure brings back our childhood fantasies of being the adventurer. Examples are Sahara by Clive Cussler, Thunderhead by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Tyrannosaur Canyon by Douglas Preston
Amateur Detective mystery - solved by an amateur, who generally has some profession or affiliation that provides ready access to information about the crime.
Comic Thrillers - a thriller played for laughs, whether through a spoof of the genre or wisecracking interplay between the protagonists.
Conspiracy thriller - In which the hero/heroine confronts a large, powerful group of enemies whose true extent only he/she recognizes. The Chancellor Manuscript and The Aquitane Progression by Robert Ludlum fall into this category.
Cozy mystery - takes place in a small town—sometimes in a single home—where all the suspects are present and familiar with one another, except the detective, who is usually an eccentric outsider.
Crime thriller - offers a suspenseful account of a successful or failed crime or crimes. This subgenre often focuses on the criminal(s) rather than a policeman. Crime thrillers usually emphasize action over psychological aspects. Central topics of these films include murders, robberies, chases, shootouts, and double-crosses are central ingredients. I think the Dexter series would work well here.
Eco-thriller is where the protagonist must avert or rectify an environmental or biological calamity - often in addition to dealing with the usual types of enemies or obstacles present in other thriller genres. This environmental component often forms a central message or theme of the story. Examples include Nicholas Evans's The Loop, C. George Muller's Echoes in the Blue, and Wilbur Smith's Elephant Song, all of which highlight real-life environmental issues.
Futuristic Eco-thrillers are of the Science Fiction genre that proposes ideas that will or may occur and include such works as Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy and Ian Irvine's Human Rites Trilogy.
Erotic thriller simply put consists of erotica and thriller. The genre includes such books as Basic Instinct by Richard Osborne, and Fatal Attraction.
Disaster thriller - In which the main conflict is due to some sort of natural or artificial disaster, such as floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, etc., or nuclear disasters as an artificial disaster. Examples include Stormy Weather by Carl Hiaasen, Tremor by Winston Graham, and the 1974 film Earthquake.
Drama thriller - In which the story consists of the elements of a thriller and drama film. These films are usually slower paced and involves a great deal of character development along with plot twists. Examples include The Illusionist, The Interpreter and The Prestige.
Forensic mystery - solved through the forensics lab, featuring much detail and scientific procedure.
Futuristic mystery/thrillers - a crime set in the future.
Hard-boiled mystery - is tougher and grittier than soft- or medium-boiled stories. They often incorporate violence, no-holds-barred descriptions of crime scenes, and sexual encounters. They usually feature a lone-wolf private detective who is cynical yet quixotic. Think Sara Paretsky, Ian Rankin, Raymond Chandler, Michael Connelly, James Elroy, Clyde Ford (The Long Mile). Historical Thriller are thrillers set in the past, usually combined with other subgenres. This particular subgenre is rather uncommon. Examples of this are Black Order by James Rollins and The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross.
Hitman Thriller would be where victims are being hunted by a hitman. Dean Koontz's The Good Guy is an example.
Horror thrillers has the conflict between the main characters are mental, emotional, and physical. Examples of this include World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks and 28 Days Later: The Aftermath by Steve Niles. What sets the horror thriller apart is the main element of fear throughout the story. The main character(s) is not only up against a superior force, but they are or will soon become the victims themselves and directly feel the fear that comes by attracting the monster's attention. Other well-known examples are Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs.
Inverted mystery - one where the killer is know and the story is about how the police go about proving and catching the killer- The Columbo movies were based on this genre.
Legal thrillers are where the lawyer-heroes/heroines confront enemies outside, as well as inside, the courtroom and are in danger of losing not only their cases but their lives. The Pelican Brief by John Grisham and the Jack Swyteck novels by James Grippando are good examples of the type.
Literary thrillers concern rare books but this one was about art crime. (added by Violette Severin)
Locked Room - mystery in which the crime is apparently committed under impossible circumstances (but eventually elicits a rational explanation).
Medical thrillers are which the hero/heroine are doctors or medical personnels working to solve an expanding medical problem. Robin Cook, Michael Palmer, and Tess Gerritsen are well-known authors of this subgenre.
Military Thrillers - a thriller featuring a military protagonist, often working behind enemy lines or as part of a specialized force
Murder Mystery - focuses on one type of criminal case. Usually, there is a murder victim, and the detective must figure out who killed him, the same way he solves other crimes.
Mob Mysteries or Thillers are about mobsters, and their life account. It can describe the crimes they have committed, or the mob's general development.
Police Procedural Thrillers - a crime thriller that follows the police as they work their way through a case.
Political thrillers where the hero/heroine must ensure the stability of the government that employs him. Good examples are Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn, Presidential Games by Alvin E. Hargis, and Happy Holidays: A Political Thriller by J.D. Smith. Private Detective mystery - Focused on the independent snoop-for-hire, these have evolved from tough-guy "hard-boiled" detectives to the more professional operators of today.
Psychological thrillers have (until the often violent resolution) the conflict between the main characters is mental and emotional, rather than physical. The Alfred Hitchcock films Suspicion, Shadow of a Doubt, and Strangers on a Train and David Lynch's bizarre and influential Blue Velvet are notable examples of the type, as is The Sixth Sense by M. Night Shyamalan and The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith (who also wrote Strangers).
Religious thrillers were popularized by the blockbuster, The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. This subgenre uses the rich and long history of religion to build stories with high stakes and deadly politics. More examples are Map of Bones by James Rollins, The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry, and The Last Cato by Matilde Asensi.
Romantic thriller is where the protagonists are romantically involved.
Sci-Fi thrillers - Michael Crichton's first novel, The Andromeda Strain (1969), still ranks as one of the top science fiction thrillers of all time. What could be scarier than microscopic killer germs run amok? Representing the larger end of the weird-creature spectrum, Mammoth by John Varley (2005) imaginatively spins a yarn starring a billionaire, a brilliant nerd, and a gifted animal wrangler whose newest charge happens to be a woolly mammoth.
Serial Killer thriller is an extremely popular subgenre of thriller. In this subgenre, a serial killer is terrorizing a group of people with horrific violence. The detective's goal is to stop the killer before he takes his next victim. Examples here are The Skin Gods by Richard Montanari, The Narrows by Michael Connelly, Seduction in Death by J. D. Robb Spy thrillers (also a subgenre of spy fiction) are where the hero is generally a government agent who must take violent action against agents of a rival government or (in recent years) terrorists. Examples include From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming, The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, and television series such as Mission: Impossible and 24 (the latter demonstrating a break from the norm by Robert Ludlum, as it is as much a psychological thriller as a spy thriller.)
Supernatural thrillers are in which the conflict is between main characters and a supernatural powers. Carrie by Stephen King and Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan are notable examples of this genre. This type of thriller combines tension of the regular thriller with such basic horror oriented ingredients as ghosts, the occult, and psychic phenomenon; the supernatural thriller combines these with a frightening but often restrained film. They also generally eschew the more graphic elements of the horror film in favor of sustaining a mood of menace and unpredictability; supernatural thrillers often find the protagonists either battling a malevolent paranormal force or trapped in a situation seemingly influenced or controlled by an other-worldly entity beyond their comprehension.
Techno-thrillers are work that usually focuses upon military action, in which technology (usually military technology) is described in detail and made essential to the reader's/viewer's understanding of the plot. Tom Clancy defined and popularized the genre with his The Hunt for Red October, and is considered to be the "Father of the Technothriller."
Terrorist thriller is when someone blows up a building and are usually from the middle east or destroys something. True-Crime thrillers - The most famous book in this nonfiction genre is Truman Capote's In Cold Blood (1966). The author spent months in the Midwest painstakingly retracing the steps of two young rural killers -- and then wrote about it chillingly. Another excellent and more recent true-crime book is Green River, Running Red by Ann Rule (2004), the true story of the notorious Green River serial killer who terrorized the Seattle area for decades.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Too Close To Home by Linwood Barclay and Another Challenge

I became a fan of Mr. Barclay when I began reading his series featuring a stay-at-home dad and the mysteries he gets thrown into. His books always seemed to have a honest, down-to-earth, and slightly humorous side to them and Too Close To Home was no exception. It was a great read and I give it an A-.

From Amazon:
“The night they killed our neighbors, we never heard a thing.” In a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a house only one door away, a family is brutally murdered for no apparent reason. And you think to yourself: It could have been us. And you start to wonder: What if we’re next?Linwood Barclay, critically acclaimed author of No Time for Goodbye, brings terror closer than ever before in a thriller where murder strikes in the place we feel safest of all. Promise Falls isn’t the kind of community where a family is shot to death in their own home. But that is exactly what happened to the Langleys one sweltering summer night, and no one in this small upstate New York town is more shocked than their next-door neighbors, Jim and Ellen Cutter. They visited for the occasional barbecue and their son, Derek, was friends with the Langleys’ boy, Adam; but how well did they really know their neighbors? That’s the question Jim Cutter is asking, and the answers he’s getting aren’t reassuring. Albert Langley was a successful, well-respected criminal lawyer, but was he so good at getting criminals off that he was the victim of revenge—a debt his innocent family also paid in blood? From the town’s criminally corrupt mayor to the tragic suicide of a talented student a decade before, Promise Falls has more than its share of secrets. And Jim Cutter, failed artist turned landscaper, need look no further than his own home and his wife Ellen’s past to know that things aren’t always what they seem. But not even Jim and Ellen are ready to know that their son was in the Langley house the night the family was murdered.Suddenly the Cutters must face the unthinkable: that a murderer isn’t just stalking too close to home but is inside it already. For the Langleys weren’t the first to die and they won’t be the last.

Mr. Barclay is an excellent writter. He allows the reader to really place themselves into the middle of the story and really understand where everyone is coming from. For example, the author never describes what the inside of the Cutter home looks like, but through his honest descriptions and feelings of the characters, I began to imagine a house decorated in the way I thought the Cutters would do so. All of the characters are flawed but not so much that it is unbelievable. I also love that Mr. Barclay always tells the story through the dad's point of view and I appreciate that. I can't think of another book that is like that and it is interesting to read about. The mystery was also well written and there were a lot of twists and turns that keep you on your toes trying to figure everything out. I did figure out some of it but it was only with about 30 pages left. I will continue to be on the lookout for more of Mr. Barclay's books, but am disappointed I have to wait a year for another one.

I have three more library books to get through and the next one up is Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla. I read one of his other books and I really, really enjoyed it so I am hoping this one is just as good. Discussing library books brings me to the next challenge I am going to sign up for. It is called 2009 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge. The rules are the following:

** The first is to read 12 books from your local library in 2009.
** The second is to read 25 books from your local library in 2009.
** The third is to read 50 books from your local library in 2009.
You decide which one of the three challenges is best for you. Here are the guidelines:
1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.
2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.
3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.
4) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your library books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed. If you don’t have a blog, leave the URL blank.
6) Our goal is to read 12, 25, or 50 books checkout from our local library in 2009. Please decide which when you sign up and don’t change it
.7) These can be audios, downloads, children’s, YA. As long as it’s a book, format and target age group does not matter.
8) Feel free to post a link to your reviews in the comment section below. That way, we can visit your blog and read your review.
9) If you have any questions, feel free to ask below or email me at Comments usually get a quicker response.

Because I am trying to read more of my own books for another challenge, I am only going to pledge 25 books for this challenge. I am sure I will read more, but I am not sure which ones they will be yet. Probably more of the newest releases that come out in hardcover. I am a huge lover of my library, and I encourage everyone else to do the same!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

I placed a hold on The 19th Wife from my library after reading some reviews about it. I am very interested in the Mormon faith and the topic of polygamy. I love the t.v. show Big Love and figured this book would be right up my alley. It was a good book and I rate it a B+.

From Amazon:
Faith, I tell them, is a mystery, elusive to many, and never easy to explain.Sweeping and lyrical, spellbinding and unforgettable, David Ebershoff’s The 19th Wife combines epic historical fiction with a modern murder mystery to create a brilliant novel of literary suspense. It is 1875, and Ann Eliza Young has recently separated from her powerful husband, Brigham Young, prophet and leader of the Mormon Church. Expelled and an outcast, Ann Eliza embarks on a crusade to end polygamy in the United States. A rich account of a family’s polygamous history is revealed, including how a young woman became a plural wife.Soon after Ann Eliza’s story begins, a second exquisite narrative unfolds–a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in present-day Utah. Jordan Scott, a young man who was thrown out of his fundamentalist sect years earlier, must reenter the world that cast him aside in order to discover the truth behind his father’s death.And as Ann Eliza’s narrative intertwines with that of Jordan’s search, readers are pulled deeper into the mysteries of love and faith.

It took me awhile to read this book and I think the book and me had to do with this. I have been horribly sick this past week, extremely dizzy and exhausted. I was up a couple of days for only 6 hours or so spread over a day. I couldn't walk and I definitely couldn't concentrate on reading. Part of the book was written as a 19th century book, and at times I had a hard time with the language. But this was a well written book and I can say I learned a lot about the history of the Mormon church, dating back to the beginning of the church. I often read Natilie Collins' blog, who is an author and is no longer a Mormon. I am not quite sure why I am so interested in the religion, but I figure any knowledge is worth it. I would have liked to see more the modern day story, however, but I really do not have any big complaints.

Yesterday I finally started feeling somewhat normal and today I had more energy where I was finally able to get a lot of things done around the house that had to be put off. I went to the doctors and they were not able to find anything really that they could pinpoint. I think that the cause of my sickness was a combination of two things.... 1. I have recently reduced medication I take daily, as I am trying to get off of the meds and 2. I have extremely low blood pressure and it is a possibilty that is causing the dizziness. I have never felt as bad as I did this week and wouldn't wish it anyone. I pray that it is coming to an end, though, and while I am a bit dizzy right now, I have been pretty good all day. I didn't even turn on my computer for a few days so I have a lot of blogs to catch up on. Tomorrow I plan on getting to all of that and get some reading in and try to salvage this month! I hope everyone had a fantastic week and an even better weekend and Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2009 100+ Books Challenge

I am going to enter my second challenge for 2009. J. Kaye is hosting this one, and as each year I make a goal to read over 100 books, I decided that this would be the perfect fit for me.

Here are the rules:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.

2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.

3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

4) If you don’t have a blog, please join our Yahoo Groups.

5) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your 100+ books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed.

6) All books count: children’s, YA, adults, fiction, non-fiction, how-tos, etc.

7) Feel free to post in the comment section or on Yahoo Groups your monthly progress as well as your favorite books that month.

Let me know if you choose to join!

The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey

I really enjoy Carl Hiassen's books, I read that Mr. Dorsey's books are often compared to his. I decided to get one awhile ago, and decided to pull this one from the shelves to read. Unfortunely, I was a bit disappointed with the book and can only give it a C.

From Amazon:
When serial-killing local Florida historian Serge A. Storms is off his meds, no one is safe -- not Russian hoods, Jamaican mobsters, spoiled frat boys, women's book clubs, drug dealers, bad Vegas-rejected local lounge acts -- especially when $5 million in cash in a bugged suitcase is still racing up and down the Eastern Seaboard. But in the oddball circus known as the Sunshine State, little things like astronomical body counts tend to get lost in the shuffle.

I just couldn't get into this book. I am not sure if it was me or the book itself. There were quite a few humorous parts where I had a big grin on my face, but there were so many little details and history thrown into the book that it was boring me. I had to force myself to pick the book up and read, and it shows. It took me over 5 days to read it, and while I was busy, if it was a good book this wouldn't have been a problem. I am not sure why I didn't just give up on it, but I kept reading and forced myself to finish it tonight. Ugh... I won't do that anymore. There are just too many books and not enough time. The book wasn't all bad... but I just couldn't get into it.

I have three library books to read now. Holds came in, so I am going to get in to them. I am not sure which one I will read first, but hopefully it will be something that grabs me. Happy Reading!

Friday, November 14, 2008

My First Ever Challenge!

So I am going to enter my first ever challenge. It is called RYOB 2009 and I am excited to join it.

Head over to Books 'N Border Collies to enter! The rules are pretty easy to follow:
1. Set a number of books you would like to read from your own collection.
2. Read your books between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009
I plan to read 40 books. I have no idea which ones those will be since I have over 600 books to read and I hate feeling like I have to read a book. Let me know if you are planning on joining as well!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Missing Pieces by Joy Fielding

I have several books by Ms. Fielding on my shelves and when looking for something to read, I decided to pick this one up and give it a try. This was a really good book and had me turning the pages. I even tried to sneak a few pages in tonight when I was out to dinner for my mom's birthday! I give this an A-.

From Amazon:
How far will a mother go to protect her family from a madman?An unrivaled master of psychological suspense, Joy Fielding has written her most chilling and intricate novel yet--a compulsively readable look at the razor-thin line between daily domesticity and nerve-shattering terror.It had to end in blood. Family therapist Kate Sinclair, healer of lost souls, perfect wife and mother, has suddenly become trapped in a nightmare of her own. Her teenage daughter has just discovered sex, lies, and rebellion. Her ex-boyfriend has returned to threaten her marriage. Her once-peaceful hometown is being awakened by chilling headlines: Another woman is missing. Kate can sense the darkness gathering around her, can see the mistakes, the missteps, the missing pieces. She is afraid of what tomorrow will bring.Enter Colin Friendly, a man on trial for abducting and killing thirteen women--the handsome, "misunderstood" sociopath Kate's troubled sister plans to marry. Colin loves women to death. He can't wait to see Kate and the girls again. One dark night when they are home alone, disarmed, ready for bed...

This was such a good book. The writing was done so well, and Ms. Fielding has a wonderful way with convincing the reader that they are a fly on the wall watching everything going on. The writing was just so believable and you could feel all of Kate's feelings and the loss of her life as she knows it. This book had it all, including mother-daughter relationships, sister relationships, marriage, and suspense. The only thing I felt was lacking a bit was the suspense. I think that there possibly could have had more written about it, but it was still an excellent book. It has been awhile since I have tried sneaking pages in during red lights.

I am not sure what I am going to read next... I am excited about reading right now, but afraid that I may not fully enjoy the book as much as I would if I hadn't just finished Missing Pieces. I am tempted to read another book by Ms. Fielding, but I think I am just going to see what jumps out on me. Right now I am watching the Wings Penguins game which is a rematch of the Stanley Cup Finals. As I type this, we are winning... of course! Go Wings and Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Secret Weekend by Thom Racina

Secret Weekend is an older book that I have had on my shelves for awhile. I decided to pick it up because the premise sounded really interesting and I figured it would be a quick read. However, I was a bit disappointed and give it a B-.

From Amazon:
Audrey Goh kidnapped her boyfriend for a romantic weekend alone in her luxury high-rise apartment on Hawaii's scenic coast. The building's state-of-the-art security system would make sure that no one else got in--or out. But someone seems to have slipped through the empty building's cracks. Someone who has been watching--and waiting for--Audrey for years. Someone who has wanted her all to himself...

I thought this book could have been really good and suspensful. I wish the author had done a bit more with the buildup of things happening and allow the reader to get into the heads of the madman a bit more. I feel like almost half of the book was action when the guy had Audrey and it kind of took away from the suspense of the book. I also didn't really like the author's style and voice with the book. I knew I had read a book by this author before, so I looked it up and I saw I also had the same issues with that book as well. Because of this, I probably will not read another book by this author.

I hit two library sales this weekend. The one I went to yesterday was a monthly event, so the selections of books was a bit slim, however, I got 9 books. Today was at another library where they had the $5 bag sale. I got a bag full, but the weren't a ton of books to choose from. I guess I really can't complain, because I think got about 15 new books. I now have over 600 books that I have not read yet, which is a bit scary. I think I need to get busy and start reading off from my shelves and slow down on the library books. I hope everyone had a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tomato Girl

Tomato Girl was another book I read about on several blogs, so I decided to place it on hold through my library. I started it last night and finished it today and was not disappointed while reading it. I give Tomato Girl an A-.

From Amazon:
For eleven-year-old Ellie Sanders, her father has always been the rock that she could cling to when her mother's emotional troubles became too frightening. But when he comes under the thrall of the pretty teenager who raises vegetables and tomatoes for sale at the general store that he runs, Ellie sees her security slowly slipping away. Now she must be witness and warden to her mother's gradual slide into madness.Told from Ellie's point of view, Tomato Girl takes the reader into the soul of a terrified young girl clinging desperately to childhood while being forced into adulthood years before she is ready. To save herself, she creates a secret world, a place in which her mother gets well, her father returns to being the man he was, and the Tomato Girl is banished forever. Tomato Girl marks the debut of a gifted and promising new author who has written a timeless Southern novel.

This book made me so mad, but in a good way where the book reaches out and grabs the reader by the heart. The things Ellie is forced to live with and deal with are so heartbreaking that I just want to jump right into the pages and fix everything myself. I could not believe the selfish acts of some of the adults in this book. This poor little girl forced to grow up so quickly and deal with things that I know would have a 40 year old struggling with was so sad. I think what even got to me more was that though the book is a work of fiction, I am sure there are plenty of children that deal with things like this in everyday life. However, the book was really well written and the author does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into the story. I highly recommend this book.

That is it for my library books, so I am going to get something off of my shelves. I think a good thriller is in store right now, especially after reading two back-to-back regular fiction books. Wish me luck in selecting an awesome book and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I found a few reviews for Schooled at several different blogs. I always love to read books about teaching and teachers, so this book sounded right up my alley. It was a pleasant read and I give it a B.

From Amazon:
All she wants to do is teach. For Anna Taggert, an earnest Ivy League graduate, pursuing her passion as a teacher means engaging young hearts and minds. She longs to be in a place where she can be her best self, and give that best to her students.
Turns out it isn't that easy.
Landing a job at an elite private school in Manhattan, Anna finds her dreams of chalk boards and lesson plans replaced with board families, learning specialists, and benefit-planning mothers. Not to mention the grim realities of her small paycheck.
And then comes the realization that the papers she grades are not the work of her students, but of their high-priced, college-educated tutors. After uncovering this underground economy where a teacher can make the same hourly rate as a Manhattan attorney, Anna herself is seduced by lucrative offers--one after another. Teacher by day, tutor by night, she starts to sample the good life her students enjoy: binges at Barneys, dinners at the Waverly Inn, and a new address on Madison Avenue.
Until, that is, the truth sets in.

You could tell that this book was written by a former teacher. The same excitement that Anna talks about while planning her year and these big lessons that the students are just going to love are so familar to me. I know even now with my after school class I teach I try to do some really cool and fun activities and the students just don't appreciate it or make mean comments about it. Anna also talks about her feelings and how hard it is to deal with students like this. The author does a wonderful job going in to the dirty side of cheating and teaching and discussing how some parents act and beahve. The ending was left a little bit unfinished in my opinion which lowered th rating. Overall though, a good book.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I know I have a book on hold that the library just called me for (Tomato Girl) and I will probably go pick it up but I may not read it right away. I think I am in a mood for a good thriller, but we'll see. Happy Reading and make sure you go and make an informed decision on voting!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Final Victim by Stephen Cannell

Final Victim was the other book I got from the library by Stephen Cannell. After reading the newer book, my expectations were let down. I can only rate this book a B-.

From Amazon:
A genius, hairless, seven-foot-tall psychopath, Leonard Land is many people wired into the cyber-subculture of Satanism and Death Metal. He is smart and cunning. He is quick, brutal and deadly. And he is everywhere. A renegade U.S. customs agent, a brilliant and beautiful forensic phychologist and a streetwise convict master hacker are on the trail of the maniac who is methodically slaughtering innocent women -- a hunt that is leading a trio of unlikely heroes across an imperiled nation...and deep into the darkest corridors of cyberspace. But there is no system the maniac cannot infiltrate, no secrets he cannot access. He knows he is being hunted...and by whom. And he's determined to strike first -- in ways too terrible to anticipate.

This book was dated and it showed. There was a lot of technological explanations and some of them were not necessary since computers are used much more than when this book was written. Also I felt that the explanations kind of slowed down the story and there would be a time when the suspense was really building, and all of the sudden there was this explanation about computers. I also missed the dry humor that was in the other book I read by Mr. Cannell.

Well, I thought I was getting better but have had a turn for the worse. I can't even breathe through my nose, it hurts to swallow, and my chest is in pain. I have a half day assignment tomorrow afternoon, but if I am feeling like this, I probably will cancel it. I have Tuesday off so hopefully I will be able to recover a bit. I am sure this isn't a cold, but probably a upper respiratory infection. I have a hard time sleeping which totally sucks. I can't focus on reading which makes it that much more worse. I mean when all I can do is lie around, I would love to just read read read! Oh well... enough whining! Happy Reading!