Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Devil's Closet by Stacy Dittrich

Got this one in just before the deadline for the end of 2008... and I wasn't sure if it was going to happen. I hoped that I would end the year with a bang and a wonderful book, but alas, it wasn't meant to be. I can only give this book a C+.

Back cover:
Detective CeeCee Gallagher is no stranger to high-pressure cases. But this one could easily cost her career... and her life. A macabre serial killer is on the loose, leaving the bodies of his young victims made up to resemble dolls. With only a Bible passage sent by the killer to guide her, CeeCee will have to sacrafice everything to find him and end his reign of terror before another child is murdered.

There were a couple of things that went wrong with this book. First of all, it was only 292 pages long and more than half of the story was about CeeCee and her affair. I couldn't stand her and her whining all of the time. She was caught between her husband and the man she had an almost affair with a year ago. At the end of the book the author explains that she added this in because the topic, children being killed, was so tough to read that she had to break it up. This book cannot be categorized as a thriller in my mind because most of it was romance. The timeline was very difficult to follow and very few clues were given to the reader to try and solve it. I also couldn't stand CeeCee's calaliver attitude towards marriage and it wasn't just hers either. I think there were three divorces in 292 pages. I don't know... the book just really annoyed me. I read some other reviews on Amazon and they absolutely loved it but it just didn't work for me.

Up next is a library book, one for Library Book challenge. It is called Innocence by Karen Novak, a new to me author. I hope it is good. I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Years!! Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

StoriTelling by Tori Spelling

I was a huge fan of 90210 and still love to watch the reruns and also began watching Tori Spelling's reality show, so I was interested to read her book and see what it was like growing up as her. I also do have to admit to enjoy reading People Magazine and the like, so this book seemed to be up my alley. It was a fast read and I rate it a B.

From Amazon:
She was television's most famous virgin--and, as Aaron Spelling's daughter, arguably its most famous case of nepotism. Portraying Donna Martin on Beverly Hills, 90210, Tori Spelling became one of the most recognizable young actresses of her generation, with a not-so-private personal life every bit as fascinating as her character's exploits. Yet years later the name Tori Spelling too often closed--and sometimes slammed--the same doors it had opened.
sTORI Telling is Tori's chance to finally tell her side of the tabloid-worthy life she's led, and she talks about it all: her decadent childhood birthday parties, her nose job, her fairy-tale wedding to the wrong man, her so-called feud with her mother. Tori has already revealed her flair for brilliant, self-effacing satire on her VH1 show So NoTORIous and Oxygen's Tori & Dean: Inn Love, but her memoir goes deeper, into the real life behind the rumors: her complicated relationship with her parents; her struggles as an actress after 90210; her accident-prone love life; and, ultimately, her quest to define herself on her own terms

The book was not that well written, though you do get a good idea of who the real Tori Spelling is. I have to admit I did not come away with a better impression of her as a person after reading it though I could hardly relate to her problems. I guess I would have had a favorable impression of her if I tried to place myself in her shoes, but some of her problems had me saying "come on... get over it!" However, I couldn't imagine growing up with a mother like hers. I couldn't believe some of the things her mother pulled and how incredibly selfish she was. Tori also comes away selfish as well and I had a hard time sympathizing with her regarding her divorce and second marriage. That being said, the book was enjoyable and a quick escape to see how the other half lives. I am not sure if I would read her next book coming out, but I am glad I got this from the library instead of paying the $25 to buy it.

Up next is a book called The Devil's Closet. I had it on my bookshelf and am in the mood for a good thriller. I hope to finish it before the end of the year, though I do have a lot of work coming up for my online job. I am so glad the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over and do plan on staying home and not venturing out much this next week. Have a great rest of the weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Whispers and Lies by Joy Fielding

About a month ago I read a book by Ms. Fielding and was hooked. I was sneaking in pages everywhere I could and just couldn't get enough of the book. So this past week when I was at the library just browsing and came across Whispers and Lies I had to pick it up. Wow... am I glad I did... this book was fantastic! An A all around!

From Amazon:
Terry Painter enjoys her quiet life in tranquil Delray, Florida, where the single, forty-year-old nurse lives alone in the house she inherited from her mother. When young, vibrant Alison Simms rents the cottage on her property, the two women strike up a fast friendship -- and Terry is swept into a fantastic new life: dinners out, shopping, makeovers, even flirting with the handsome son of one of her elderly patients. But nothing about her newfound companion is as it appears, as Terry discovers when Alison's closely guarded past comes to light. Now Terry is locked into a race to reclaim her own life -- before she opens the door any further to the stranger she thought she knew...

This book turns out so twisted and has a villian that is truly creepy. There were twists and turns everywhere and the reader has to pay close attention to the details and small things if you hope to catch the surprise ending. I didn't catch it until it was partly revealed and I actually had to stop and shake my head because it was so suprising. I just loved this book... the characters came to life, I could see the little Florida town it took place in, and the pages kept on turning. This is what a true suspense novel should be, and goes to show that you don't need the bloody, gory details to keep you hooked. I am disappointed that it is over, but I will be sure to recommend this book to anyone who loves a good suspense book. Right now I feel like jumping in my car and buying Ms. Fielding's entire backlist and not moving until I have devoured each and every word. Whispers and Lies is definitely one of my top books in 2008!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas. I for one am happy that it is over for another year. I crave routine by nature and the holidays just throw everything out of whack for me. My new job is going great and I absolutely love it! The weather has been horrible, in typical Michigan fashion. Over a foot of snow, freezing rain, sleet, ice and now tomorrow thunderstorms and 60 degree weather with all of that snow melting and most likely leading to flooding before it goes back in the 20s on Sunday. Is it any wonder I can't shake this headache for the past week? Oh well. Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Teaser by Jan Brogan

I read several different reviews about Teaser from blogs and I believe Romantic Times. I know the premise interested me because I wrote this book down twice. I had really high hopes for the book, but I was left a bit disappointed and can only rate the book a B.

From Amazon:
Hallie Ahern, a Providence, Rhode Island, reporter and recovering gambling addict, is trawling online chat rooms in search of a story for her newspaper’s Web site when an anonymous source sends her a short video clip, a teaser. Featuring two girls striking provocative poses, the clip promises more to come. As Hallie follows up on the lead, staking out tech shops and high school hangouts in search of the girls in the clip, she discovers that men are buying the girls webcams and lavishing them with gifts to make sure they use them. But those gifts are only a taste of the perils to come.The paper’s new owners love the idea of an exposé that warns parents of the dangers of the Internet, but when girls start dying, and when Hallie’s boyfriend—a prosecutor with the Attorney General’s office—ends up on another side of the story altogether, the situation goes from dark to lethal.

The idea of this book was really good, but I thought that the topic could have been more fleshed out. Perhaps I was expecting more of a thriller type book and I would have to classify this as a cozy mystery. I don't think my lower rating has anything to do with the book itself, but just my expectations. Hallie is a very likeable character and I like those surrrounding her. This book is part of a series, though, so I would recommend that you read the previous books first as there were a lot of references to things that happened in the past and you would get a better understanding of her and her boyfriend's relationship. It was a good book, just not what I was expecting.

Up next is a book by Joy Fielding that I picked up from the library. I hope it is as good as the previous Ms. Fielding book I read and helps jump start my reading. I know with Christmas right here, the next couple of days may be lacking in the time, but here is to hoping. We keep getting hit by more and more snow and tomorrow is supposed to be real nasty, so I will be staying home until it is time to go to my mom's. Merry Christmas and Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Doctor's Wife by Elizabeth Brundage

I got this book from Border's awhile ago from the discount book section. It was a trade paperback and by an author I never heard of and the premise sounded very interesting. I decided to give it a try, and boy am I glad I did. I give the book an A-.

From Amazon:
"The memory starts here, in my apron pocket, with the gun."
So begins The Doctor’s Wife, a stunning debut novel about four people and the cataclysmic intersection of their lives. Michael is a rising OB/GYN at a prominent private practice in Albany, New York; he also moonlights at a local women’s health clinic. But Annie, his wife, has become tired of her workaholic husband’s absences, and the soccer-mom lifestyle has worn thin. She begins a passionate love affair with bad-boy, fading celebrity painter Simon Haas—an affair that quickly goes awry when Simon’s wife Lydia, who is also the model upon whom he built his career, discovers the truth.
Abortion, local evangelism, marital disenchantment, and the rifts of social class: Brundage takes on the fault lines of our era with a deft hand.

The Doctor's Wife touches on a lot of hot button topics in today's world including abortion, underage sex, affairs, religion, and marriage. I was worried how the book would be just a pro abortion read showing how some right-wing crazies are, but the book was so much more than that. The characters clearly came through the pages and you really get a feel for what each character feels and their motivations. While this book was a psychological suspense, it was so beautifully written and I was disappointed when the book came to an end. I would recommend this book highly and will be looking for more books by this author in the future.

Up next is a library book is called Teaser by Jan Brogran. I placed this on hold awhile ago, and it came in a couple of days ago. I hope my reading mojo has come back because I flew through The Doctor's Wife once I had the time to read. We got the expected ten inches of snow and I had a snow day yesterday where I got a lot of reading in. Today is my hubby's birthday, so I am going to be spending some time with him... but I am sure I can get a few pages in here and there. Happy Reading!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Award and Reading Update

J. Kaye awarded me with another great award that really brightened my day!

I really appreciated it since today I have been feeling kinda down. I want to pass this along to some other bloggers.

Barbara from Heidi's Books.

Kris from Not Enough Books

Holly from What Were You Expecting?

These are three bloggers who I love to read and have made me feel so welcome (not excluding the lovely J.Kaye) so I just wanted to extend the love.

An update on my reading... since I finished my last book, I have read maybe 40 pages out of a book. I finally finished my training last night, though I worked this morning and have to go to my other job in a little. We are supposed to get walloped with a huge snow storm tonight with 10 inches, so I am assuming it will be a snow day for me tomorrow. I plan on reading and maybe wrapping some presents. That's it... I want to read!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dead Game by James Neal Harvey

This is an older book that has been on my shelves for awhile. Last time I was looking for a book I pulled this one off along with another book. This was a good book, and I enjoyed it. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
A murderer who's been discharged from a hospital for the criminally insane rapes and kills a young woman in her Manhattan apartment, leaving behind clues that point to NYPD detective Ben Tolliver as the killer. To Ben's horror, he realizes that he knows the victim, and thinks he may know the identity of the murderer as well. What he does not realize is that he's the target of a twisted genius.

This book was a good example of what a psychological suspense novel should be. The reader knows who the killer is in the first pages, though it doesn't take away from the suspense. The killer is truly a psychopath who has a lot of problems yet isn't stupid. The way he is able to trick and decieve so many different people is frightening in it's own right as you wonder how many people can "trick" the system. The only problem I had with the book was the ending was a bit fast and the author could have given the reader a bit more. This was part of a series, but I definetly did not feel like I missed out on anything. If you ever come across this author at a used book sale or the library and enjoy a good psychological suspense, I would urge you to pick it up.

I am not sure what I am going to read next, but I do know that I have a busy couple of weeks coming up. Work is going to be crazy this week and I still have Christmas shopping left to do. I was so ahead of the game at Thanksgiving and I stopped, so now I will be scrambling. I hope everyone else is getting ready to relax and enjoy the holidays and not running around like me! Take a minute to enjoy a nice warm drink (this morning it was 50, when I left for lunch it was 18!) and a great book! Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Soul To Take by C.N. Bean and Book Buying Meme

I have been without the internet since Wednesday morning and it has been driving me nuts. I finally got it fixed this morning and have a ton to get caught up with, so this review is going to be short. I give this book a B-.

From Amazon:
Milwaukee homicide detective Rita Trible races against time to find a brutal serial killer stalking young boys only to uncover the secret life of a Catholic priest that the Church will do anything to hide and discover that her own child may be targeted by the murderer.

This book had so much promise. I thought that the premise was so interesting and could have had a good look into the inside of the Catholic Church scandals. However, I was left so disappointed. First of all, the main character, Rita, was so incredibly unlikeable. She is the head of the department and all of the staff disliked her and it wasn't difficult to see why. I couldn't stand her and would have hated to work for her. She didn't trust anyone and was the type of person who had to do everything herself. I hated the relationship she had with her son, who had lost so much. The writing wasn't that good either. Everything was just told to you instead of allowing the reader to see what happened. For example, the questioning of suspects doesn't take place and the author just tells you what happened. The book was almost 400 pages, so there was plenty of time and space to show the reader. Also, the time period just jumped all over the place without allowing the reader to see it. You would be reading along and all of a sudden, the author would mention that 5 weeks had passed since the last paragraph! The reason why I ranked it higher was because there was so much promise with the whole story idea.

J. Kaye tagged me a couple of days ago for a book buying meme. I just now saw it, so I will answer it real quickly. The question was if you plan on buying books for the holidays, how do you pick them out.

I do buy a few people books for the holidays. I have two young nephews and I like to give them books as part of their gifts. I just pick out whatever I think looks real cute for them. It may be something that I have read to a class that I have subbed for or what I have seen around. I am somewhat selfish, though, and tend to pick books that I would like. I always get my mom a couple of books for her stocking stuffers and when I do, I pick out something by an author I enjoy or would enjoy as we have a lot of the same reading interests. For another person I buy books for is on topics they like. Sometimes I hate buying books for others because I end up buying books for myself and then I am spending money on myself when I shouldn't be. I won't tag anyone, but if you want to play along, let me know!

I have so much going on right now and my head feels like it is going to explode! I am starting another job which I have to do training for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night on top of working all day. I was so far ahead on my Christmas shopping and even had everything wrapped but I haven't done any since Thanksgiving and have to get a move on. It doesn't help that DH's bday is 5 days before Christmas. Oh well, I know everyone is a bit busier during this time of the year, so I don't want to spend too much time complaining and whining. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Valentine by Tom Savage

This is an older book that I must have picked up from the used book store or a library used book sale. The back cover is all bent and there are some loose pages. I decided to pick it up and give it a try and it was all right. I give it a B.

Back book cover:
Jillian Talbot has it all: a beautiful home in New York's Greenwich Village, a string of bestselling suspense novels, a handsome and adoring lover.
She has something else too. A silent stalker. A secret admirer who sends her pink, heart-shaped messages- with an unmistakable warning in blood-red letters.
A killer has invaded her privileged sanctuary. He will imprison her in a nightmare ore real than the fiction she creates. And, as the price mounts ever higher for a crime Jill once committed but only her nemesis can remember, he will meet her at last at the hour of his triumph. Her judgement day.

This book was just o.k. At times it was a bit predictible, but the ending was a bit surprising. I think part of it was just the main character, Jill, was a bit unlikeable and kind of full of herself. She was constantly rolling her eyes and getting frustrated (before someone was stalking her) at fans and their interest in her and her writing. That just drives me crazy. If you don't want fans, then don't pick a job in the public eye. It is the same with celebrities. Besides that, Jill receives one card in the mail and starts freaking out right away. It was just a little bit too much to swallow. I did like the opportunity the reader has to get inside the head of the killer and to learn how and why he was doing the things he was doing. That always adds to the suspense and understanding of everything. I also was suprised that the author was a man... the voice of the book seemed definitely female to me.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I may ask my hubby to go select a few books for me to choose from. Even though I have over 600 books to read, every time I go to look I swear I can't decide on anything. It has been so cold here that all I feel like doing is laying on the couch wrapped up warm reading something. I am so ready for warmer temps already and it isn't even officially winter yet! Ugh! Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sleep No More by Greg Isles

This was my first book by Mr. Iles, though I do have several more sitting on my TBR shelves. I have been meaning to read one of his books and decided to grab this one off of the shelves. The premise sounded so interesting, though I was just a bit disappointed. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
In Sleep No More, Greg Iles returns to the territory of some of his best-loved works, the steamy and hypnotic small town Mississippi where Iles himself grew up. John Waters is a husband and father happy with his lot in life, though he has not always felt that way. Years earlier he escaped an obsessive love affair, which he feared might consume him. The woman in question disappeared after Waters married, and later he heard that she was killed in New Orleans. But now, Waters has an uneasy feeling that she has resurfaced to trouble him - and entice him - once again. A woman he meets casually stuns him with a smile and a secret only this former lover would know. But when this alluring stranger is suddenly murdered, Waters's quiet life is enveloped in a whirlwind of guilt and suspicion, revealing the shadowy sides of love and friendship, and the terror that can result when passion becomes obsession.

The description sounds just like my favorite type of psychological suspense. A psycho coming to wreak havoc on the seemingly "perfect" little family. The depths that someone would go to in the name of love. Unfortunely, the book also contains one little aspect that I could have done without... the supernatural. I am not sure why, but I just really do not like books that deal with supernatural, unless it is psychics. I know it is popular in fiction today, however, it just isn't my cup of tea. That being said, however, the writing was excellent and I was throughly enthralled with the book. I have been working a lot this week, so while it took me a couple of days to read it, last night when I had some free time I read over 200 pages and finished the book. I really recommend trying out Mr. Iles books, and know that another one of his books is in my near reading future!

I am not sure what I am going to read next. However, I went to a local B. Dalton bookstore in our mall for a gift and they were going out of business. Everything was 20% off and I didn't buy anything! I am sticking to my ban of buying any new books. I was quite proud with myself and just had to share it with you. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Lost Girls by Lin Hendler

I got The Lost Girls from one of the library book sales I went to earlier this year. It sounded interesting and I grabbed it off of my shelves when I was looking for something to read, however, I was pretty disappointed. I give it a C.

From Amazon:
For anyone who's ever felt lost in an angst-filled world, The Lost Girls offers a moving account of several young women estranged from the society around them. Ranging from urban Los Angeles to small-town America to England, the book follows the adolescence of Hannah and Becky, two best friends who must discover themselves amidst high school pressure, drugs, and confusion. The book also chronicles the travails of Laurel and Alexis, two girls who have opulent homes and an upscale high school but still submit to the drug culture that can't be separated from their lives.

I am not sure what to say about this book. If it was any longer, I wouldn't have finished it but it was only 142 pages long so I felt compelled to finish it. I was so confused when reading it, though. It jumped between characters and it was hard to find connections between chapters and I was constantly looking back to determine who was who. It was just a very confusing read and I guess I was just expecting more. I was looking forward to reading it but was very disappointed. I am not even sure how to classify this book.

I am not sure what I am going to read next but I think it will be a good suspense. Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

November Wrap-Up

I decided to do monthly wrap-ups for mainly myself, though I do enjoy reading others in case I missed a review. Without further ado...

I read 11 books in November, bringing my yearly total to 118. (I have beat my yearly goal of 115 books... yay!)

They were:
The Final Victim by Stephen Cannell
Schooled by Anisha Lakhani
Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek
Secret Weekend by Thom Racina
Missing Pieces by Joy Fielding
The Stingray Shuffle by Tim Dorsey
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
Too Close to Home by Linwood Barclay
Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla
Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea by Chelsea Handler
The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

My highest ranking were Tomato Girl, Missing Pieces and Too Close to Home, though I would probably say Missing Pieces was my favorite. My least favorite was The Stingray Shuffle.

Total number of pages: 3,956
Yearly total number of pages: 44,335