Thursday, December 31, 2009

Flesh Wounds by Mick Cochrane

I really didn't think I would be able to sneak one more book in before the end of the year, but I was just able to make it. Flesh Wounds was a book I found while at the library and I am so glad I picked it up. I give it an A-.

Inside cover:
When the police come to arrest Hal Lamm, a Minneapolis salesman, for abusing his thirteen-year-old granddaughter, his entire family must come to terms with their secrets and unhealed wounds. Hal's wife, Phyllis, after decades of denial and emotional estrangement, finally confronts him. His daughter, Ellie, herself once abused by Hal, has sought to find strength by moving away, and now discovers it back in the midst of her family. Cal, the youngest son, is a lawyer whose instinct to defend Hal- until he becomes a father himself. Most poignantly of all, the granddaughter Becky, unconsoled by the parties and gifts her parents give her, and suspicious of the therapist she is now required to see, keeps her rage hidden- and nearly tears herself up.

Flesh Wounds was a touch family story, one that grips you and doesn't let go long after you close the book. As I mentioned, I saw the book next to one I was planning on picking up by Harlan Coben and I thought it was a new book. I was surprised when I realized it was written in 1997 and takes place in the early 90s. Even though it's over 10 years old, the story isn't affected and one that is a pleasure to read. The reader gets an inside view of many of the family members nd is taken through a year in the life of the family. We see the characters grow and change as they deal with the aftermath of abuse that has happened for decades. While it is a different type of book that I normally read, it was one I really enjoyed. I started it last night and finished it this afternoon and was just gripped throughout the entire story. I couldn't recommend it more to anyone. I am going to have to check and see if Mr. Cochrane wrote any other books.

Well, all of my Christmas decorations are done, the house is clean, and everything is put away. We had insulation added into our attic and also got that cleaned out this morning. I am still feeling a bit under the weather with a cold, but am looking forward to relaxing and perhaps reading a bit more before I perhaps go to my BIL and SIL's house tonight for a small get together. I ended up falling four books short of my reading goal this year, only reading 131. Next year, I am going to shoot for 135 books again but am not going to join any challenges. I am just not good with following up with them and like the flexibility of reading whatever I like whenever I like. I'm too competetive to just relax and hope to finish the challenges. Good luck to all of you in your challenges and wherever you are ringing in the New Year I hope you have a safe and happy one! Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Burn by John Lutz

I have liked John Lutz's books for quite awhile and when I was browsing at the library I found a whole slew of books by him that was part of an old series. I had to try one and decided to pick it up. While it was a quick read, I was a bit disappointed with it and ended up skimming the end of it. I give it a B-.

Inside cover:
Disabled Florida P.I. Fred Carver takes on his new client, Joel Brandt, who reminds him of the handsome and deceptively charming mass murderer Ted Bundy- and that's the least disquieting aspect of the case. Brandt has been charged with stalking Marla Cloy, a woman he claims he's never met, and he hires Carver to find out why she's falsley accusing him. At his wit's end, Brandt is convinced she's out to get him so she can kill him, claiming self-defense. But why?
When Carver can find no connection between the two and no reason for either's vengeance, he begins to wonder who is stalking whom and finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly game of cat and mouse. A personal crisis takes Carver and the reader by surprise rounts out this tense and complicated tale.

This is an older book, written in the early 90s and is an old fashioned detective story. The mystery is solved by detective work, before the internet, where clues can be found by visiting the neighborhood bar or corner store. Carver is a likeable character one who I found charming and kind. The personal story was a little confusing and not really worth it and I rather have had it left out. Mr. Lutz does a great job of having me go back and forth trying to decide who was really at fault, Brandt or Marla. While it was a quick and easy read, I probably won't keep reading any out of the series even though the library has most of them. I much rather stick to Mr. Lutz's newer thriller books that he seems to come out with once a year.

Up next is probably going to be another library book. I went to the library today to pick up one book and ended up finding Flesh Wounds, a new book and new to me author that I think I may grab that one to read first. I doubt I will get it finished by the end of the year, but I am going to try. I hope everyone has had a great weekend and New Year's week and Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Blue Nowhere by Jeffrey Deaver

I came across The Blue Nowhere last week while browsing at my local library. I've enjoyed the other books by Deaver that I've read and decided to give it a try. It was a good book and I give it a B+.

Back cover:
His code name is Phate- a sadistic computer hacker who infiltrates people's computers, invades their lives, and with chilling precision lures them to their death. Desperate to stop him, the California State Police Computer Crimes Unit frees former hacker Wyatt Gillette to aid the investigation. As the obsessive Gillette fervently attempts to trace the hacker's insidious computer virus back to it's source, Phate delivers a huge blow- murdering one of the division's own. Now, teamed with old-school homicide detective Frank Bishop, Gilette must combine their disparate talents to catch a brilliant and merciless killer.

This was a long book, coming in at over 500 pages, though it moves pretty quickly. I was afraid that some of the technical aspects of the story that deal with the hacking of computers would bog down the story, but I was able to understand it and enjoy the story. While some of the story was at times a bit unbelieveable, it was a suspenseful read and I was curious to see how everything would work out in the end. There were lots of twists and turns which I appreciate and I enjoyed the book. I probably would have finished it earlier if the holidays hadn't been so busy. Today is the first day since Tuesday that I have had time to just sit and enjoy a book and be lazy and I hope to spend more of my vacation time the same exact way. Wyatt was a likeable character and one who I was rooting for Bishop was a great dectective. I hope to read more books by Jeffrey Deaver in the near future.

I had a nice Christmas and was spoiled by my loved ones as usual. I did receive some gift cards for the bookstore and hope to make it over there this week sometime. My husband also thought it would be nice to share his cold with me and today I woke up to the lovely head cold, scratchy throat and general tired feeling. This evening we are going out to dinner with some family and other than that I plan on relaxing and hoping to read. I also need to catch up on some blog reading. I hope all of you have had a fantastic Christmas and some books were found under your trees. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unspoken Fear by Hunter Morgan

I read two books by Hunter Morgan earlier this year and really enjoyed them, so when looking over my shelves, I decided to pick this one up. I enjoyed it and give it a B+.

Back cover:
Vineyard manager Rachel Gibson's once-blissful marriage crashed to an end with the imprisonment of her husband following a series of senseless tragedies that peaked one night on a bloody stretch of Delaware highway. Five years later, Noah's coming home, and Rachel wonders if he'll be able to piece together some kind of life, with or without her help...
But the Noah who returns is a virtual stranger, a mere shadow of the man Rachel once loved. And he may be more changed that she realizes. People around town are dying- grisly, torturous deaths- and the hands of someone making them "pay" for their secret sins. And who better to know the victims' deepest secrets than their local clergyman... the former Reverend Noah Gibson?
As body after body is discovered, Rachel can't let go of a sickening snense that the killer's twisted path is pointing in her direction. And to stop the next slaying before it begins, Rachel will have to face her worst nightmare- a terror born of the darkest power of all...

While this book is classified as a romantic suspense, I wouldn't really call it that. There are a few little romance subplots running through the story, but none of the usual cliches that bother me and not whole chapters of the romance taking over the story. It was perfectly done if you ask me. There were several red herrings thrown out throughout the story which I always enjoy and there were a lot of suspects that I kept going back and forth with. The murderer was a surprise, but once I started thinking about it, the more it made sense to me. Hunter Morgan hits another win with me, and I will continue to read more books by the author.

I am pretty sure I have finished the RYOB challenge, in which I said I wanted to read 50 books I owned. I need to count up my final tally, but I know it's over 50 and there are still slightly less than 2 weeks left in 2009. I don't think I am going to be entering any official challenges this upcoming year because I really didn't do a good job of reporting updates, but I think I will do my own little mini-challenges including reading 50 of my own books again and 50 library books. I doubt I will hit my goal of reading 135 books this year (I'm at 128 right now, so I guess it's possible, but unlikely) but I am going to shoot for that again next year. I am officially on break now, and almost have all my Christmas shopping done so bring on the books! Happy Reading everyone!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'll Be Watching You by Samuel M. Key

I'll Be Watching You is an older book which was published in 1990. At times you can tell, but it really didn't bother me. A good book that I've had on my shelves for awhile that deals with stalking, I decided to pick it up and give it a go. I should have finished it much earlier this week, but as life has a tendency to get in the way, I just finished it this afternoon. I give it a B.

Back cover:
Rachel Sorensen feared she would never escape the abuse of her ex-husband. Until a passing stranger came to her rescue. A stranger who watched her from afar. He was a photographer and collector of beautiful things. And Rachel was his perfect subject. He lived only to make her happy. And eliminate those who didn't. Once he used his camera to trap Rachel's beauty forever. Now he wanted something more. She owed him for life. And tonight he will collect on his debt...

As I mentioned, this was an old book and it in some spots it showed, but really didn't take anything away from the story. Rachel is a character that one has to have compassion for, after barely escaping from her absuive husband only to have him track her down time and time again. The reader is introduced to her guardain angel who turns out to not be the angel that Rachel thinks she is. As you read, you get an inside view of the psychopath's mind and why he is the way he is. The suspense builds throughout the story to a surprising ending. There was one part that was a bit unbelieveable, but I was able to overlook it. I have to see if Mr. Key has any more old books out there that I can read because this one was a spooky one.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. Today I went to the library and did some browsing and picked up 7 books to read over the Christmas break. The one district that I work in had the last day of school today, but another district goes until the 23rd. I am working Monday, but that will probably be it. I always do a project for my mom over break but I hope to have plenty of reading time as well. My hubby's birthday is Sunday, so of course there will be those festivities, but I plan on getting lots and lots of reading in. My cleaning is done for the weekend and my laundry is currently in the washer, so here's to a relaxing weekend before the hustle and bustle of the holidays! Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Kill by Allison Brennan

I have had The Kill and several other Allison Brennan books on my shelves for far too long and decided to finally finish out this triliogy. The Kill is the third and final book in a loosely connected series featuring three women who went through the FBI Training Academy together and years ago I read The Prey and The Hunt. The Kill was a bit scary and a bit suspensful peppered with romance. I give it a B.

Back cover:
For thirty years, FBI scientist Olivia St. Martin has lived with guilt and one abiding certainty- that while she wasn't able to save her sister's life, she did testify and helped to convict the rapist and killer. When shocking new evidence exonerates the man Olivia is sure she saw abduct her sister, she breaks every rule in the book to uncover the truth.
Driven by the possibilty that she put the wrong man behind bars, Olivia discovers that a serial killer has been at large all these years. Believing that the monster has just struck again in Seattle, Olivia leaves her lab and poses as a field agent, sharing her unofficial investigation with a hardworking Seattle cop. Olivia doesn't want to lie to detective Zack Travis. And she certainly doesn't want to fall in love. But as the investigation intensifies, Oliva and Zack find they are rapidly losing control- over their hearts, their secrets, and a case that threatens to consume them.

I just really am not a fan of romantic suspense. While I used to really enjoy romance novels, they became a bit predictible and dry to me, so I ended up reading more mysteries and suspense. The Kill had a great premise and the villian was certainly a scary one, but the romance part could have been left out for me. I admit there were parts that I completely skimmed and skipped over, but that was because they weren't part of the story that I was reading for... the monster who is abducting and killing young girls across the country. The book itself probably could have be done in about 50 pages or so less if part of the romance between Zack and Olivia had been toned down and usual cliches were eliminated. With all of that being said, I still did enjoy the mystery and the way it was solved. I do have more of Ms. Brennan's books on my shelves and will continue to read her books, but maybe next time it will be when I am more in the mood for a bit of romance.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I need to run by the library and drop a book off, so perhaps I will do a bit of browsing or I will just pull a book off of my own shelves. I am going to the Wings game again tonight (this was a surprise but a pleasant one!) and need to run up to the grocery store along with finishing up some last minute chores around the house. I worked this morning and was hoping to get some Chrismtas shopping done, but that hasn't turned out the way I wanted so maybe tomorrow. I hope everyone else is having a good start to the week and Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

See Jane Run by Joy Fielding

I've been a fan of Ms. Fielding for awhile now and picked up See Jane Run from a library book sale awhile back. While trying to decide what to read next, this one caught my eye and I was off and reading. It was a good book and kept my heart racing at times. I give it a B.

Back cover:
Jane Whitaker has awakened to a nightmare. She doesn't know her name, her age... or even what she looks like. Frightened and confused, she wanders the streets of Boston wearing a blood-soaked blue dress- and carrying $10,000 in her pocket. Her life has become a vacaum- her past vanished... or stolen. And all that remains is a handsome, unsettling stranger who claims to be her husband, whispered rumors about a dead child whom she cannot recall... and a terrifying premonition that something truly horrible is about to occur.

See Jane Run spooked me a few different levels. Imagining myself waking up one day having no idea who I am, where I'm from and lost on the streets is quite frightening and Ms. Fielding does a fantastic job illustrating that. Once Jane returns home, bits and pieces of her past start returning and the fear doesn't let up. It's hard for Jane to know who to trust and it's hard for the reader to know who to trust as well. I couldn't imagine it. I liked Jane's character and was rooting for her the entire time. I thought Ms. Fielding did an excellent job of highlighting her fear and the real feelings that one must go through while suffering from amnesia. Though the book was written in 1990, it isn't too difficult to get into the story and there were only a few times when I had to remind myself, "No, she can't just go and look that number or address up on the internet." I think that is a sign of a good author, one who can write a book that is timeless for the ages. I know I'm always in for a good read when I pick up one Joy Fielding's books.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I am out of library books and didn't have a chance to run up there today. Between cleaning, including getting rid of so many clothes and old junk (why did I think it was necessary to keep shoes from the 90's?), grocery shopping, Christmas shopping and laundry I have been busy but now plan on kicking back tonight with a good book and perhaps some TIVOed shows and the Wings game. I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

Another book I hear about from the blogosphere, another blog I can't remember! I thought I was going to be better about remembering these things! Whoever it was, thank you for reviewing or highlighting this book. It was so powerful, go sad and so gripping. I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Pete Dizinoff has spent his whole life working toward an adulthood that would be, by all measures, judged successful. And in nearly every way, he's accomplished just that: A skilled and intuitive internist with a local following of patients, he's build a thriving medical practice in Round Hill, New Jersey. He has a loving and devoted wife, a network of close friends, a comfortable surburban status, an impressive house, a good view from the porch. And most of all, he has a son, for whom he wants only the best. Pete and his wife Elaine, have only one child, and Pete has pinned his hopes on Alec. They've afforded him every opportunity, bailed him out of close calls with the law, and despite Alec's lack of interest, even managed to get him accepted by a good college.
But Pete never counted on the wild card: Laura, his best friend's daughter. Ten years older than Alec, irresistibly beautiful, with a history so shocking that it's never spoken of, Laura sets her sights on Alec, who falls under her spell. And with that, Pete sees his dreams for his son not just unravelling but completely destroyed. With a belief that he has only the best intentions, he sets out to derail the romance. But he could not have foreseen how, in the process, he might shatter his whole life and devastate his family.

I don't know where to start with this story. There is so much going on, so much pain and real life thrown into the mix, and I was just glued to the pages. I felt so much for Pete and could see myself in his shoes, making the same decisions and feeling the same things that he does. It is just so clear that all Pete wants is for his family to be happy and safe and he feels it's his role to make sure that happens. I wanted to jump in the story and hold a major therapy session with all of the characters in the story and just straighten everything out. There were times I was crying and had to stop myself from reading for a minute to regroup and times where I was shaking or nodding my head along with the characters. It's been awhile since a book has hit me so strongly and while parts were difficult to read, I am so glad I read this book. I would forewarn anyone who reads it, though, that there are some graphic parts that are a lot to stomach, but can not recommend the book enough. The only reason why I marked the book down a bit was because the story is not told in a linear fashion, and why that doesn't normally bother me, at times it was a bit difficult to figure out exactly when everything is happening. I can predict this one book that will stay with me for quite awhile.

I hope to get at least 30 or so pages in a new book tonight before bed. I am going to grab something off of my own shelves now since this is the 3rd library book in a row I've read. I am tired and have to get up early tomorrow, but I am on such a good streak right now reading that I want to start something! Stay safe and warm everyone, wherever you are (We had 50+mph winds today! Brrrr.... ) and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mortal Friends by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

I fell in love with Ms. Hitchcock's works a couple of years ago and was thrilled when I found out she had a new book out. It came in quickly from the library and I started reading it Sunday evening. I was immediately sucked in and finished it today between extending DEAR time at school and then while getting ready this evening. I give it an A-.

Inside cover:
When the latest victim of the "Beltway Basher" is found in the woods of Montrose Park, Reven Lynch's favorite jogging spot, her crime-loving antenna goes up. The murder makes Reven and her best friend, Violet Bolton, reconsider their running route- but that's not the only change in Reven's routine. Her chic Georgetown neighborhood isn't accustomed to brutal slayings, and when the smooth, enigmatic Detective Gunner shows up in her antique shop, asking pointed questions, Reven's left wondering how close to home the killings are.
Gunner is convinced the murderer is a society bigshot hiding in plain sight. But he is out of his element in the rarefied world of embassy dinners and symphony balls, and Reven is perfectly positioned to feed him the inside information he needs. She throws herself into her role as the detective's "ersatz Mata Hari", only to discover the skirt-chasing businessman for whom she's fallen tops Gunner's shortlist of suspects. And that's not the half of it, a philanthropic bombshell named Cynthia Rinehart has taken the city by storm, and Violet's steady marriage is suddenly encountering some major turbulence...

I loved this book! Ms. Hitchcock has done a fantastic job intertwining the high society, big shots of Washington D.C. with a pretty good mystery. Her previous books were somewhat like this as well and as I've mentioned numerous times before, I love reading about the wealthy and "famous". The book was the perfect mix of mystery and chick lit which isn't always the easiest thing to do. I loved Reven and her friends and all of the backstabbing that happened throughout the story, though I guess it shows that sometimes, some people never really leave high school behind. I would love to see another story featuring Reven and hope that Ms. Hitchcock is busy at work right now!

I am not sure what I am going to read next, though it will probably be another library book. I have a few checked out that are due Monday and I don't think I can renew them. I'm also on my way out the door for a Christmas dinner thingy tonight and need to grab a book to bring with me just in case so I won't have time to scour my shelves. I hope everyone is enjoying their reading! Happy Reading!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Head to Head by Linda Ladd

My reading has been so slow lately and it's somewhat disappointing. I am not sure why, I guess I've just been really busy lately. Hopefully the upcoming holidays will not slow me down further and maybe my upcoming Christmas break will help things speed up. Head to Head was a great book and fantastic new-to-me author that I discovered. I give it an A-.

Back cover:
After moving from Los Angeles to Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, homicide detective Claire Morgan has at last adjusted to the peaceful rhythms of rural life. Until a grisly celebrity murder at an ultra-exclusive "wellness" resort shatters a quiet summer morning...
One of Dr. Nicholas Black's high-profile clients has been dound dead, taped to a chair at a fully set table... submerged in the lake. Back in L.A. Claire investigated the rich, famous, and the deadly- but she never expected the problems of the priviledged to follow her... just as she never imagined crossing the line with her prime suspect...
Claire finds herself drawn to the charismatic doctor, spending time in his company- and in his bed. To catch a killer, Claire will have to enter the darkest recesses of the human mind. But is Black leading there to help her... or luring her ever deeper into a madman's grip?

The suspense was really well done and while at times grisly, a great read. Ms. Ladd does a fantastic job of writing as Claire and manages to place some humor in Claire's voice in an otherwise somewhat dark voice. The reader gets an inside look at how and why the killer becomes a crazy psychopath which I enjoyed and manages to throw in a couple of red herrings into the mix as well. There is somewhat of a love aspect to the story, but it was minor and didn't really bother me that much as the real focus was on Claire and the murders she's investigating. I definitely plan on reading more by Ms. Ladd and it appears that Head to Head is the first in the series. I am a bit disappointed that my library doesn't have the next two available, so I may just have to order them off of Amazon if I don't run across them at a UBS. The newest one the series was just released in August and my library does have that one so I am in luck!

I have a busy week this week, with both work and pleasure activities but I must fit in some reading! I'm pretty sure I won't meet the goal I set for myself last year, 135 books, which is a bit disappointing especially since I had such a good late summer/early fall, but the most important thing is that I've read some really great books and I don't make it a chore! I'm off to start a new book in the next half hour before bed calls me, so Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Next Victim by Jonnie Jacobs

I have been in quite a reading slump and since my last post, I haven't read anything until Friday. Every time I went to go start a book, I would read a few paragraphs and put it down. I planned on getting some reading in over the holiday break and was busy shopping Thursday and Friday, and finally sat down and opened up The Next Victim on Saturday. By turning off the tv and computer, I was able to get into the book quickly and finished it today. I give it a B+.

Back cover:
When wealthy heiress Sloane Winslow is found murdered in her house along with the body of pretty college coed Olivia Perez, the evidence all points to one suspect, John O'Brien- San Francisco defense attorney Kali O'Brien's brother. The last time Kali spoke to John, he was desperate to tell her something but too drunk to get it out. Now he's dead, an apparent suicide by overdose...
Although Kali wasn't close to her brother, she can't believe he was capable of murder. But when she finds a clue hidden in his dictionary- a photo of three attractive young women, one of whom is the slain Olivia Perez, she realizes her brother had many secrets. And when one of the other women in the photo- a stripper and porn actress- is found brutally murdered in a ditch, Kali wonders if her brother really did commit suicide.
As Kali digs deeper for the truth, her search plunges her deep into the sex industry's hidden underworld. Now her only hope for solving the case lies in finding the last girl in the picture, a witness who knows far more than she should, maybe too much to live- and Kali has to get to her before she becomes the next victim...

This was a good book, though I had the killer figured out before the end of the book. Not too soon before the end of the book, but I suspected as much. I thought that Ms. Jacobs did a fantastic job of making all of the characters real and believeable, and even Kali was a bit annoying, she was real. I think Kali's job also allowed for to figure out a lot of the details of the case and gave her a good cover as to who she was and how she could investigate. Sometimes I feel like in suspense books there is a main character who figures out and solves a mystery and there is no way your average person could get all of that information. There were a few curve balls thrown into the story and they were good additions to the story. This is part of a series, and I am pretty sure it is in the middle of the series but it didn't seem to bother me as usual. I skimmed over a couple of paragraphs that talked about previous books in case I read any other books.

I am not sure what I am going to read next, but I do have some library books that I need to get to. My husband and I got new furniture from my way too generous mom today and they will be delivering it tomorrow. I need to get the old stuff out and vacaum and then tomorrow I have to sit around and wait for it, so hopefully I will get in some reading time. Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Perfect Wife and Mother by Alexandra Frye

I picked up A Perfect Wife and Mother at the library last time I was browsing. This sounded like another Lifetime movie that I would love to see, and I had to get it. It was an enjoyable read, if not somewhat dated, and I give it a B.

From Amazon:
When pregnant Georgia Coffey, an affluent homemaker, finally discovers the perfect babysitter for her son Justin, she is exuberant. At first, beautiful and intelligent Harriet surpasses Georgia's spoiled expectations; Justin falls in love with her almost immediately, his mother finds in Harriet the confidante and helpmate she's been searching for all her life. Tucked in the elegant, cozy hills of St. George, New Jersey, Georgia's home epitomizes the American dream. Her husband, Lawerence Coffey, known as the Big Bear on Wall Street, prospers in his career, loves his family and indulges Georgia's every desire from psychiatrists to expensive haircuts and highly paid babysitters. So why does Georgia feel so insistently queasy, so anxious? Something is amiss in fairy-tale land, of course, and when Justin disappears with Harriet, a thrilling story of deception, treachery, old Wall Street money, and familial love unfolds.

Like I mentioned, this book is a bit dated, written, I believe, in 1992 and taking place in the late 80s/ early 90s. I had to keep reminding myself of this as I was reading and thinking to myself why don't they use their cell phones or search for things online but it really didn't take too much away from the story. Georgia was a very difficult character to like, one that is very self-serving and selfish. I mean, why does she need to have a baby nurse, housekeeper and nanny for her three year old when she isn't even working? Maybe it's because I wasn't raised that way, but doesn't it seem somewhat excessive? The story was told through three different viewpoints, Harriet, Georgia, and Larry, with also allowing the reader to hear some of the bad guys viewpoints as well. It was a good book, but probably nothing that will stick with me for much longer.

Up next is another library book. I just grabbed it real quick as I was getting ready to leave. I have a busy day ahead of me. In a bit I am leaving for a road rally (so MUCH FUN!) and then tonight we have bowling! We are currently in first place, which is truly amazing since our team is horrible, except for my husband, and tonight we are bowling the second place team. Hopefully luck is on my side today! Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Dead Place by Rebecca Drake

Rebecca Drake is a relatively new-to-me author as I think I've only read two or three books by her. As a matter of fact, I think she only has published three books, but I hope she continues. I really liked The Dead Place and give it a B+.

Back cover:
The first victim is found floating in a creek- aked, beautiful, brutally garroted. Lily Locum was a college student with everything live for ad nothing to fear... until a madma made her his obsession...
At first glance, a quiet campus town like Wickfield seems like the ideal place for Kate Corbin to start over after a traumatic attack. But when another young girl disappears on her way to class, Kate's fear resurfaces in earnest. She's right to be afraid. Behind Wickfield's picture-perfect facade, a nightmare is unfolding... and it's about to strike chillingly close to home...
A serial killer is on the loose... ruthless, twisted, and lethally smart. Now locked in a desperate race against time, Kate's only chance of stopping a madman's grisly game is to venture deeper into a diabolical web where no one is who they seem to be... and the smallest mistake could be her last...

I love these suspense books where the main character is a typical, suburban mom placed into danger. I am not sure why, but perhaps it's because of the normalacy that is thrown out of whack. Kate has had a rough year and a half, but her and her family hope that the move to Wickfield will help change some of that, but of course it doesn't. I think there is a lot that the reader can relate to as well; a rebellious teenage daughter, marriage trying to stay together after quite a few years together, waking up every day facing the same mundane things. I had the killer figured out pretty early, but I suspect it was because I always suspect the least suspicious character. There were quite a few twisted things that this murderer does to his victims, but nothing that made it too difficult to read. I will definitely be checking out more of Ms. Drake's books in the future. As a matter of fact, I am going to check for her website right now and see if there are any other books coming out any time soon!

Up next is a library book. I seem to be in a good groove, alternating between library books and my own. I am not sure which library book I will read, though it will probably be whichever one I grab. I have them in a magazine holder next to my reading chair and I think I will just reach over and let fate decide my next read. Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Houseguest by Thomas Berger

I picked up The Houseguest on a whim a week or so ago when I was browsing at my library. It sounded interesting and somewhat like those Lifetime movies I enjoy so much (you know the one... where the unsuspecting nanny/housekeeper/neighbor turns psycho) so I decided to give it a try. It was somewhat disappointing, though, and I am not sure why I even finished it. I give it a C.

Back cover:
Chuck Burgoyne is no ordinary houseguest. The Graveses (father Doug, wife Audrey, son Bobby, and daughter-in-law Lydia) have gotten used to his polite matters and gourmet breakfasts. But one morning at the Graveses' summer home, Chuck fails to appear.
When Chuck finally does surface, he is no longer sweet and charming, but rathers has become agressive and arrogant, abusing each family member in turn. Each family member, that is, except for the fellow outsider, Lydia. Once Chuck rescues her from the dangerous undertow of the ocean, Lydia can't help but feel obligated to him, even after his uninvited advances to her while she's half asleep. Slowly it becomes apparent to the family that Chuck isn't anyone's guest but rather a perfect stranger who wormed his way into their home. Yet the Graveses are so concerned with not offending him by being impolite that they willingly accept the abuse he freely dishes out. In private, however, they all scheme for his undoing. But will anyone muster up the courage?

This was a short book, only about 240 pages long, but somewhat dry. I admit to some skimming and probably only finished reading it because I wanted to find out the ending and see what happens. None of the characters were particularly likeable and somewhat annoying. The only character I could muster some sympathy for was Lydia, but even that was farfetched. I think I was expecting there to be more of that Lifetime quality and characteristics, but this was more of comedy series that takes a cynical look at manners and the way of life of those who are wealthy and belief themselves to be above others. While I did smile a time or two here and there, I probably won't be checking anything out by Mr. Berger any time soon.

Right now I am trying to decide between another library book or one of my own. I think I am going to lean towards one of my own, though I always like to get through my library books quickly in case someone else is waiting for it. I know how impatient I can get when waiting for a book! :) Hopefully I will get the chance to start something tonight, though I do admit to being somewhat tired and worn out. I hope everyone is having a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Hunting We Will Go by Hal Friedman

I picked this book up from a library used book sale because of the author's name. I recgonized his name from co-authoring some books with James Patterson, and I always seem to enjoy his books that are written with someone else. It was a longer book, coming in at 440 pages, but it was a good book. I give it a B.

Back cover:
Arthur Combs is LA's hottest story. Dubbed Starman, this terrifying serial killer is a monster who preys on beautiful, famous women- guided by the sadistic urges of a mysterious partner.
Kaitlyn Rome is LA"s hottest TV news anchor. Intelligent and ambitious, she is the leading reporter on this career-making story- and Starman's next target.
As Starman closes in, Kate turns to the one person who can help her survive, veteran cop and department outsider Dan Jarrett. Together they must outwit a diabolical psychopath in a game with only one rule- kill or be killed.

This serial killer was really a true psycho, one that kills quite often. However, there wasn't a bunch of suspense, as the reader knows for the most part who the killer is. There are some twists throughout the story, especially one at the end, but it wasn't the best suspense book out there. I had a difficult time liking the main character, Kaitlyn, though, as she really rubbed me the wrong way. Some of the decisions she made left me thinking "what... why would you do that?!?" It drives me nuts sometimes when authors make characters stupid or behave in a way that a normal person would act like to just try and build or add some suspense. In my opinion, it wrecks the story and pulls me out of it. According to the author's biography in the back of the book this was the author's first book and I think it shows somewhat. I saw that the author had at least one other book out by himself and I might check it out sometime in the future, but it won't be on my immediate need to buy book list.

Up next is a library book. I am not sure which one I am going to choose, as I have several to choose from. This weekend seems to be a busy one, but I hope to be able to sneak some reading time in some where. Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

I love this series and always look forward to the newest installment. However, since these books can generally be read in one sitting and they run somewhere around $28.00, I always get it from the library. It was finally my turn to read it, and I really enjoyed it. I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Recipe for disaster: Celebrity chef Stanley Chipolte comes to Trenton to participate in a barbecue cook-off and loses his head- literally. Throw in some spice- Bail bonds office worker Lula is witness to the crime, and the only one she'll talk to is Trenton cop Joe Morelli. Pump up the heat: Chipolte's sponsor is offering a million-dollar reward to anyone who can provide information leading to the capture of the killers. Stir the pot: Lula recruits bounty hunter Stephanie Plum to help her find the killers and collect the moolah. Add a secret ingredient: Stephanie Plum's Grandma Mazur. Enough said. Bring to a boil: Stephanie Plum is working overtime tracking felons for the bonds office and night and snooping for security expert Carlos Manoso, aka Ranger, during the day. Can Stephanie hunt down two killers, a traitor, and five skips, keep her grandmother out of the sauce, and solve Ranger's problems and not jump his bones? Warning: Habanero hot. So good you'll want seconds.

This is your usual Stephanie Plum book. Cars exploding, firebombs being thrown, and crazy funny fugitives for Stephanie to catch. Of course there's the usual Morelli vs. Ranger thing going on, and of course I am a HUGE Morelli fan. I think he would provide Stephanie with some much needed stability and they just seem to be a better match. My two favorite characters, Grandma Mazur and Lula, have quite a presence in the story and that really makes the book extra better. I love them. I admit some laugh out loud moments and it was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon and early this morning. I'm glad I read it, but even more glad that I didn't buy the book.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I have several library books I picked up Friday when the mood for shopping struck me, but should read one of my own books. I can't believe how close to the end of the year it is, and I really want to meet all of my challenges. I'm not sure if I will be able to get much reading time in today as I'm leaving for my mom's right now to go out to breakfast and then have a party to go to at 2:00. Then hubby comes home tonight, so I imagine we will spend some time catching up. I hope everyone is having a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Murder Artist by John Case

I FINALLY finished a book! Thank heavens... I just couldn't get any reading in this week for some reason. For starters, I've found I 've been spending way too much time online doing absolutely nothing lately, so last night and this morning I made a pact to keep the computer off and read. The Murder Artist also helped to break through this mini-slump, as once I got reading for a bit, I was sucked right in reading over 300 pages last night and this morning. I give The Murder Artist a B+.

Back cover:
Television news correspondent Alex Callahan witnesses danger and death on a daily basis, and knows the meaning of fear. But nothing prepares him for the feeling of profound terror that grabs him when his six-year-old twin boys vanish without a trace at a countryside Renaissance Fair. The ensuing anonymous phone call- and the familiar, plaintive voice of a child- only deepens Alex's certainty that he doesn't have much time. Telltale signs reveal a hidden pattern of bizarre and ghoulish abductions, as a profile of a predator slowly emerges- a twisted soul, hell-bent on fulfilling an unspeakably dark dream. What Alex is closing in on is a monster with a fiendish mission.

The Murder Artist is quite an involved book, one that has lots of twists and turns. If the reader pays close attention to little clues and hints, you can figure out the why and what, though the who is not easily figured out. I loved Alex and thought that he was a great character, and Mr. Case does a great job of painting a grieving parent who has lost their children to a kidnapper. There is a lot of reference to other kidnapped children that also adds to the beliveablitity to the story. The ending leaves you a bit hanging though, where everything isn't all tied up and packaged with a pretty bow, which normally drives me crazy, but this time it didn't bother me because it just seemed like a great ending. There were a ton of twists and turns, along with some gore and tough spots, but overall Mr. Case does a fantastic job of building the suspense. This book is somewhat older, written I believe in 2003, but if you ever come across it at the library or a UBS or something and you enjoy a good suspense book, please do check it out.

Up next is the latest book in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I have been waiting forever for it through the library and finally picked up it earlier this week. Even though I've been dying to read it, even that couldn't get me out of my slump but I hope to start on it today. I am going to catch up on some blog reading and then plan to start it. I have bowling league this evening, but I should be home around 9:00ish and will then spend some more quality time in the pages. My hubby is out of town for the weekend working, so I have the house and tv remote to myself. While I miss him maddly, I am enjoying some me time! Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Swimsuit by James Patterson

I love James Patterson's books, even if they are somewhat far-fetched but really enjoy his stand-alone books. I've been on hold through my library for months and was happy to finally get my chance to read it. Swimsuit was a fast read, but one I enjoyed, and I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
A breathtakingly beautiful supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after Kim McDaniels goes missing, her parents receive a terrifying phone call. Fearing the worst, they board the first flight to Maui and begin the hunt for their daughter.
Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. The ineptitude of the local police force defies belief- Ben has to start his own investigation for Kim McDaniels to have a prayer. And for Ben to have the story of a lifetime.
All the while a killer sets the stage for his next production. His audience expects the best- and they won't be disappointed.

One of the things Mr. Patterson does best is keeping the suspense building and I will admit my heart was pounding at times. Last night we had really strong winds and we lost power so reading Swimsuit by flashlight around 10:00 p.m. only increased the suspense. Not an easy book to read, with lots of blood and gore, it was a good suspense novel, not because the reader is trying to figure out who the killer is, but because Ben is trying to stay ahead of the killer. Swimsuit is nothing new or different, but what one comes to expect from a James Patterson book. I'm glad I finally got the opportunity to read it, but am also glad that I didn't pay $27.00 to read it!

My next book will be one of my mine. I got all of my cleaning, except for vacauming, and laundry done for the weekend, so I am looking forward to a nice, relaxing weekend with hopefully lots of time to read. Happy Reading everyone!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Last Bridge by Teri Coyne

The Last Bridge was book I read about on someone's blog, but of course, can't remember whose. The book was a difficult one to read, but one that I loved and read in a couple of hours. If I hadn't had to work today, I would have stayed up too late to finish it. I give The Last Bridge an A-.

Inside cover:
For ten years, Alexandra "Cat" Rucker has been on the run from her past. With an endless supply of bourbon and a series fo meaningless jobs, Cat is struggling to forget her Ohio hometown and the rural farmhouse she once called home. But a sudden call from an old neighbor forces Cat to return to the home and family she never intended to see again. It seems that Cat's mother is dead.
What Cat finds at the old farmhouse is disturbing and confusing: a suicide note, written on lilac stationery and neatly sealed in a ziploc bag, that reads: Cat, He isn't who think he is. Mom xxxooo.
One note, ten words- one for every year she has been gone- completely turns Cat's world upside down. Seeking to unravel the mystery of her mother's death, Cat must confront her past to discover who he might be: her tyrannical, abusive father, now in a coma after suffering a stroke? Her brother Jared, named after her mother's true love (who is also her father's best friend?) The town coroner, Andrew Reilly, who seems to have known Cat's mother long before she landed on a slab in his morgue? Or Addison Watkins, Cat's first and only love?
The closer Cat gets to the truth, the harder it is for her to repress the memory and the impact of the events that sent her away so many years ago.

As I mentioned above, this is a very tough book to read, especially when the reader experiences the abuse Cat went through as a child. I fully admit, I had tears running down my face as I read it and I just can't comprehend how somehow can hurt their child, or any person really, as bad as Cat was hurt. I wanted to jump into the book and do something, protect Cat somehow, I was so emotionally drawn into the story. I was never abused and don't know of anyone who was, but I've seen it while teaching and of course on the news, and I just get sick to my stomach. The story is told during now and in Cat's childhood, and while Cat isn't the most likeable or loveable character, you just have to feel for her. The Last Bridge was only 225 pages long, but probably one of the most powerful books I've read in quite awhile. If you are looking for a powerful book, one that will resonate with you for quite awhile, please get a copy of this book. I wish I had the budget to buy each and every one of you this book, I feel that strongly about it.

I just got an email from my library and Swimsuit by James Patterson has finally come in. I've only been on the list for about 4 months now, and I always enjoy Mr. Patterson's stand alones. Plus they are such quick reads and if I can get another book in before the end of the month, I will be happy, so I think I am going to break my alternate reading plan and pick it up. I am going to my SIL's for dinner, but tonight and tomorrow, hopefully I will be able to sneak some pages back. I think I may have finally broken through this mini-slump... YAY! Happy Reading everyone!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

To Die For by Linda Howard

To Die For is a book I've heard tons about by those who love romance books and Linda Howard. While I am not the biggest romance fan out there, I have enjoyed Ms. Howard's books in the past and it sounded like something light and fluffy so I decided to give it a go. It was exactly what I needed and I enjoyed it. I give To Die For a B+.

Back cover:
Blair Mallory lives the good life. She's pretty, confident, and the owner of a thriving upscale fitness center. But in the shadow of success, a troubled member of the club develops a strange fixation on her, imitating her style and dress. Matters take a darker turn when the look-alike is shot dead- and Blair witnesses the horror.
As the media speculate on the tawdry details of the homicide and push Blair into the harsh spotlight, she locks horns with police lieutenant Wyatt Bloodsworth- he wants to lead the an investigation without interference, while she is determined to probe the dead woman's life on her own. But when someone begins to menace Blair with mounting threats, Wyatt takes notice: Was the murder indeed a lethal case of mistaken identity- and was Blair indeed a victim?

Blair is the type of a girl you would love to hate... pretty, popular, well off, doing a job she loves and seems to have success on anything and everything she touches. However, the more and more I read, the more I liked Blair and was cheering her on. While most of the book was about the romance between Blair and Wyatt (which I don't think is a spoiler... read the book description... who else could it be?) it didn't follow the one plot that I can't stand in romance books, the big mix-up that can often be solved by some open communication. Blair is funny and the more I read the more I laughed and chuckled to myself. Wyatt wasn't a bad character to read about either. While the mystery was somewhat in the background a bit, it was a pleasing aspect to read. I enjoyed the book and I believe I have a sequel as well to read. While To Die For isn't heavy literature or even a great romantic suspense, it was a fun book to read while waiting for the doctor or at my lunch break.

Up next is a library book. I forgot which one it is and am too lazy to look but I hope I can squeeze it in before the end of the month. This month's reading has been dismal to say the least and I feel like I have some of my reading mojo back. Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

13 1/2 by Nevada Barr

I've been reading a ton about this book on various blogs and knew I just had to try it out. I've heard a lot of good things about Nevada Barr, but have never read anything by her... probably because she writes the Anna Pigeon series and another series to follow is the last thing I really need right now. Anyways, I had 13 1/2 figured out pretty much from the beginning but I still enjoyed it. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
In Jackson Square in the French Quater a tarot card reader told Polly Deschamps she would be a success. Thirty years later, Polly is a respected professor of literature with good friends and her own home- a safe life for her and her two daughters.
Butcher Boy, released on his seventeenth birthday, shook the snow from his boots and went south. New Orleans, a mecca for runaways then and now, offers sanctuary but never forgiveness.
When Polly falls in love with Marshall Marchand, a restoration architect who is helping to rebuild her adopted city, shadows of her past rise out of the posioned ground of New Orleans as thick and deadly as the toxic waters of the flood.
Like history, some crimes are doomed to repeat themselves. Evil stays the same, only the victims' names change. As two broken pasts collide in an uncertain present, Polly is determined that her children's names will never be on that list.

The story is told going back and forth from the late 1960s/early 1970s to the present day. As you read, you learn of the horrible crimes that were committed by the Butcher Boy and then are brought back to modern day, post-Katrina New Orleans. Polly is a strange character, one that I admire, but not one that I really cared for. As a matter of fact, I really didn't like any of the characters, but it was an interesting story to read. The whole premise of reinventing yourself is a common theme and one that is well done. I think part of my problem is I haven't had a lot of timie to really get lost in a book for a couple of hours and are just reading a few pages here and there and that may have impacted my enjoyment and rating of this book. If you like a psychological suspense, I would recommend 13 1/2.

I am not sure what I am going to read next, but it will be one of my books. I am going to get dinner ready for tomorrow and then hope to dive in to a great book. I hope everyone had a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Murder List by Julie Garwood

Murder List is a book I've had on my shelves for far too long. When I was looking for something to read, I finally decided to grab it and start reading it. It started off with a bang and then ended it with a damper. I give it a B-.

Back cover:
Hotel heiress Regan Hamilton Madison is flirting with danger. She agrees to help a journalist friend expose Dr. Lawerence Shields, a shady self-help guru who may have been responsible for the death of one of his vulnerable devotees. Hoping to find some damning evidence, Regan attends a Sheilds seminar, where the doctor has his guests make a list of the people who have hurt or angered them over the year and asks: Would your world be a better place if these people cease to exist? Treating the exercise as a game, Regan plays along.
The experience is all but forgotten- until the first person on Regan's list turns up dead. Shock turns to horror when another name from her list surfaces as a corpse. While brutal murders seem to stalk Regan's every move her attraction to the detective assigned to protect her grows. As the menace intensifies and a serial killer circles, Regan must discover who has turned her private revenge fantasies into grisly reality.

I really liked Regan in the beginning and thought she was a great character but as the story wore on, she became somewhat of a pain and a bit annoying. I thought that the book was a going to be a great suspense novel with the way it started, but after the first 100 pages or so it all turned to romance. The bulk of this book was devoted to Regan and the detective assigned to her and their love that would never happen because of the circumstance surrounding them (yeah right... that's how it always is in books!) I fully admit to skimming full chapters of the book which is something I rarely do and probably would have not finished it but I've been reading so little lately and just wanted to finish something. The ending was somewhat unbelieveable and the motive to the bad guy just didn't seem to make sense to me. I hate being disappointed in the books I'm reading so maybe I feeling a bit whiney right now.

Up next is the last library book I have checked out. I read about it on several other blogs and it will be the first by this author I've read. 13 1/2 by Nevada Barr sounds promising and I hope it grabs my attention quickly, but more imporatantly keeps my attention! Happy Reading everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

So I know in my previous entry, I said I was going to start reading the new Greg Iles book I had picked up from the library. Once I started reading it, however, I realized that it was part of a series that I am not caught up on, so back it went. I picked up another library book, Sworn to Silence, and got reading. I enjoyed it, and I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
In the sleepy rural town of Painters Mill, Ohio, the Amish and "English" residents have lived side by side for two centuries. But sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered the peaceful farming community. In the aftermath of the violence, the town was left with a sense of fragility, a loss of innocence. Kate Burkholder, a young Amish girl, survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse Killer but came away from it's brutality with the realization that she no longer belonged with the Amish.
Now, a wealth of experience later, Kate has been asked to return to Painters Mill as chief of police. Her Amish roots and big city law enforcement background make her the perfect candidate. She's certain she's come to term with her past- until the first body is discovered in a snowy field. Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again, but to do so, she must betray both her family and her Amish past- and expose a dark secret that could destroy her.

I really liked Kate as a character and could see her as someone I would enjoy to hang out with. I thought that the Amish setting was definitely something different, and it grabbed my attention. I have always wanted to learn more about the Amish and while they don't play a huge part of this book, I did get some of my curiousity fulfilled. There are quite a few mysteries running through the story and my attention was grabbed right away, but I did have it figured out about halfway thorugh the story. That didn't bother me too much, though, as I had to make sure I was right, and there were a few strings that were still left dangling for me to figure out. I have heard that this is the first book in a series I will definitely be on the lookout for more books in this series!

I am not sure what I am going to read next. Probably one of my own books though, as I've read several library books in a row. My long term subbing job ended today and I am exhausted. I've been fighting this stupid cold/flu for several weeks now and I just can't seem to shake it. I hope to do nothing more than take a hot shower and get quickly immersed in a great book. I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend and Happy Reading!

Monday, October 12, 2009

In My Dark Dreams by J.F. Freedman

In My Dark Dreams was an impulse grab a couple of weeks ago when I was at the library picking up some other holds that had come in. The premise grabbed me and I decided to give it a try, even though I am trying to read more of my own books. I am glad I got it though, as it was a great read. I give it an A-.

Inside cover:
In the past three months, three murders have been committed in a ritzy area of West Los Angeles- each one on the night of the full moon. Lieutenant Luis Cordova is heading a special task force in search of the killer before he can strike again. And he finds him! Roberto Salazar, a gardener working in the wealthy neighborhood, is idling in his truck drinking his coffee and reading the paper in the wee hours before the work day begins when a suspicious phone call lures the police to search his truck and they find a key piece of eveidence just underneath the seat.
Only a month ago, Public Defender Jessica Thompson had defended Roberto when he was charged with transporting stolen televisions. But the jury found the hardworking father and part-time minister and youth counselor not guilty. Besides his loyal wife and local community, Roberto had the support of one of his wealthy clients who came to the courtroom every single day.
Now Jessica is wracked with doubt. Was she responsible for putting the Full Moon Killer back on the streets? Or is this a case of racial profiling and being in the wrong place at the wrong time? She is determined to learn the truth before the Full Moon Killer can make her his next victim.

I would definitely classify In My Dark Dreams as a leagal thriller, and while I tend to shy away from that particular genre of suspense books, this one was fantastic. I loved the way the story was told, just like I was in the front row at several different trials. I loved the main character, Jessica, and wanted to meet her for lunch and chit chat with her. I loved the twists and turns that kept coming at me and had me spinning around in circles. Just when you think you have it figured out, BAM!, the author surprises you and throws another curve ball. There were so many believeable aspects to the story that are relevant to today's society, including racial profiling, the difference between classes and socioeconomic statuses and justice. I am definitely going to have to check out more books by Mr. Freedman as I see he has several other books he has written. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good legal thriller, court case, or mystery!

Up next is another library book, one by one of new favorite authors, Greg Iles. It's called The Devil's Punchbowl and I always enjoy Mr. Iles's southern mysteries. Hopefully, I will be able to make the time to read it since my reading mojo seems to be making a comeback! Happy Reading everyone!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Eleventh Victim by Nancy Grace

I love Nancy Grace's show on Headline News and really started watching it all of the time when the Casey Anthony case hit the airwaves last summer. I love her no nonsense attitude and her passion for bringing justice those who become victims of crime. I was excited to read her first fiction book where the main character was loosly based on herself and was happy to finally get it from the library. Because of work it took me awhile to read it and I ended up being a bit disappointed with the story. I give it a B-.

Inside cover:
As a young psychology student, Hailey Dean's world explodes when Will, her fiancee, is murdered just weeks before their wedding. Reeling, she fights back the only way she know how: in court, prosecuting crime, putting away the bad guys away one rapist, doper, and killer at a time. But dedicating her life to justice takes a toll after courtroom battles and the endless tide of victims calling out from the crime scene photos and autopsy tables. Just as she truly grow weary, a serial killer unlike any other she's encountered begins to stalk Atlanta, targeting young prostitutes, each horrific murder bearing it's own unique mark. This courtroom battle will be her last.
Hailey heads to Manhattan to pick up the pieces of the life she had before Will's murder, training as a therapist. In a vibrant new world, she finally leaves the ghosts behind. But then her own clients are murdered one by one by a copycat M.O. as the Atlanta killer she hunted down years ago. As the body count rises in Manhattan, Hailey is forced to match wits against not only a killer, but the famed NYPD.

The premise sounded like something right up my alley, but it just fell a bit flat for me. There were several mistakes that bothered me and I couldn't look past it. For example, in one paragraph the narrator talks about how hot it is outside and how someone is sweating through their clothes and in the very next paragraph the narrator discusses the cool bite to the air and how their is a bit of frost on the car windows. To me, that is a huge error and something that should have been caught! There was also a problem with the timeline and the years not adding up. Sometimes that can just throw me through a huge loop and drives me up a world! With all of that being said, I did like the way Ms. Grace told the story. While Hailey is the main character, there are several other characters who tell their story, and though they don't seem to be connected in any way, they end up all coming together. The suspense was well done and I didn't figure out whodunit... though it may have been because I am a bit sick and so busy. I may look for more of Ms. Grace's fiction works, I won't be desperate to get first in line for it.

I just started a new book, another from the library. I have several in from the library and some that are due back next week. I need to get started and reading soon. I was planning on spending some quality time with my books but I found out I need to do progress reports for my class I'm subbing for. I wasn't going to be doing it, but then the principal changed her mind last thing today. They were supposed to go home with the kids today, and of course that didn't happen, so I need to get those done this weekend. I am going to try and get a bit done tonight, along with some cleaning perhaps. Guess it's time to sign off and get a crackin'! Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Church of Dead Girls by Stephen Dobyns

The Church of Dead Girls is a book I've had on my shelves for far too long. I got this from either a library sale or thrift store, and I am a bit disappointed I waited this long to read it. It was a good book, more literary fiction than straight up suspense, and I give it a B+.

Back cover:
For decades, the faded, rural upstate New York village has lain dormant- until it is startlingly stirred to life when, one by one, three young girls vanish...
Nightmares are turned into horrifying reality when their corpses are found, brutally murdered, each missing their left hand...
Now as the search for a madman gets underway, suspicion shrouds the quiet streets of Aurelius when its residents soon realize that a monster lives among them...
But not even prayers can save their loved one from the rage of a twisted mind who has only just begun his slaughter...

In The Church of Dead Girls, the town of Aurelius is in itself the main character of the story. The narrator, a man who I am not even sure is ever named and if he was I don't remember, serves as the readers eyes and ears for the events that turn this small town upside down as three young girls are kidnapped and seem to vanish. There are many characters to keep track of, but while reading these pages, you are transported to small, snowy Aurelius and all of it's residents. Suspicion is thrown on everyone, the gay residents, the single men, the married men, and even one or two women. I believe the story is an accurate picture of what would happen to a small town suddenly thrust into the national spotlight because of a terrible person. While I normally enjoy the heavier and grittier suspense books, The Church of Dead Girls was a great literary suspense book that encouraged me to escape from my ususal comfort reads.

It took me a week to read this book! Part of it was because the book was long and desires to be read slowly so you savor the story and the other reason was because I've been busy. A couple of weeks ago, I accepted a subbing job for a week for the same teacher. On Tuesday she became quite sick and had to have an emergency surgery and I was called to take over her class again. Since this wasn't a planned abscence, I had to do planning and now it seems she will be out for another two weeks and progress reports are due! Today my day was totally shot by a wedding (I am currently in between the church portion and we are leaving shortly for the reception), so tomorrow will be checking papers and prepping for the next week. As much as I am missing my free time, I am thankful to have this long term subbing position since I get to actually teach and I like the class! I also need to start managing my time a bit better as I seem to be spending much time surfing the internet, looking at nothing. Time to fix my makeup and leave. Happy Reading everyone and have a fantastic weekend!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Promised World by Lisa Tucker

I read about The Promised World on Wendy's blog and the book sounded fantastic. I quickly placed a hold on it through my library and finally got around to it. It was a quick read, and something different. There was a lot of emotion thrown at the reader in 319 pages, but I enjoyed it. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
On a March afternoon, while Lila Cole is working her quiet office, her twin brother Billy points an unoladed rifle out of a hotel window, closing down a city block. "Suicide by police" was obviously Billy's intended result, but the aftermath of his death brings shock after shock for Lila when she discovers that her brilliant but troubled twin- the person she revered and was closer to than anyone in the world- was not only estranged from his wife, but also charged with endangering the life of his middle child and namesake, eight-year-old William.
As Lila struggles to figure out what was truth and what was fiction in her brother's complicated past, her job, her marriage, and even her sanity will be put at risk. And when the hidden meaning behind Billy's stories comes to light, she will have to act before Billy's children are destroyed by the same heartbreaking reality that shattered her protector and twin more than twenty years earlier.

The Promised World is filled with characters that are unlikeable and challenging. I wanted to shake some sense in Lila as she sees her entire life slipping out of her grasp because of her immense grief over her twin's death. Throughout the book, Billy is described as the perfect person, though in my eyes, I saw a lot of faults and dumb pride that hurt him and those he loved. There were quite a few mysteries to be fleshed out throughout the story, and parts of the book were difficult to read. Without spoiling it for anyone, I was appalled by some of the actions of some characters, though it did open my eyes to some of the lesser talked about evils in the world. I will probably be checking out more books by Ms. Tucker in the future.

I am not sure what I will read next though it will be one of my own books. I think I may have my husband grab something for me, or maybe I will use a random generator to pick for me. Big sports day today, and we also have bowling this evening and I always have cleaning and laundry to do, but I hope to get some reading in. Have a fantastic weekend and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Immoral by Brian Freeman

I have a couple of Brian Freeman's books on my shelves, and for some reason, his name just jumped out at me awhile ago. Remembering that on Sunday, while looking on my shelves for something new to read, I decided to pick one of his books up. I ended up choosing Immoral because it appears to be the first book in the series. It was a great book, and while it took me awhile to read it, I really enjoyed it. I give it a B+.

Back cover:
Lieutenant Jonathan Stride knows it's not a moral world. One teenage girl has already disappeared on his watch, leaving behind no body, no killer and no justice. Now, when another girl goes missing on a cold night in Minnesota, Stride must relive his worst nightmare...

This was a good suspense and police procedural. As the story continues, some of the characters, including the missing girl, Rachel, become really unlikeable, but it doesn't take away from the story any. If anything, I believe it made the story somewhat more believeable. Let's face it, in every crime case going on in the world, all of the victims are not the most loveable people, but does that mean that they don't deserve justice? Stride is another one of those characters who I really really shouldn't have liked, but I just couldn't help myself. The suspense was really well done and the curves kept coming. I had about 30 pages left today to finish the book, so I had the class I was subbing for do DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time a bit longer so I could finish the book! If you haven't had a chance to check out any books by Brian Freeman, I would highly recommend Immoral!

Up next is a library book I've had for awhile. I bumped it back when Evil at Heart came in and then wanted to keep with my rotation schedule I have going. It's called The Promised World by Lisa Tucker. I am not sure what blog I read about it on, (my handy-dandy little notebook hasn't been working too well for me lately) but as I read the inside cover, I have to admit it sounds pretty good. I hope you are all reading something great right now and having a great week. I am subbing all week in the same 4th grade class (at the same school where I did my student teaching at in 4th grade) and this class is just really needy. I think I forgot how young the 4th graders are as the school year starts and they are wearing me out so off to bed for me! Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

I've been a fan of Chelsea Cain since her first Gretchen Lowell book was released 2 years ago. They are such a different type of suspense book, one unlike anything else out there. I've been waiting and waiting for Evil at Heart and finally had the chance to pick it up from the library yesterday. I couldn't wait to get into it and I ended up starting and finishing it this evening. I give it an A-.

I am not going to give the synopsis or inside cover of this book because I think if you haven't read either of the other two books in the series you will be spoiled. This is a series that MUST be read in order otherwise everything becomes ruined for you. I do feel the need to warn you though... if you are at all squeamish, sensitive to descriptive language and/or violence, I would probably pass on these books. Ms. Cain is one of a few authors who can actually spook me and creep me out.

I am not sure how much further this series will continue, though I do think that Evil at Heart seems a bit more resolved than the other books were. I am somewhat grateful for this because you never know with the publishing world... one day a series that is wildly popular can be discontinued the next day. Look up this series if you love a good suspense, especially one that focuses on serial killers.

I am not sure what I'm going to read next. I have one more library book, but would like to continue to reading one library book, and then one of my own books to keep up with the RYOB challenge. I pledged to read 40 of my own books and so far, out of the 103 books I've read this year, only 32 have been my own! I love my library, but need to read more of my own books. Well, I feel like I'm coming down with the cold/flu my hubby's had the past week, so I think I'm off to bed. Happy Reading everyone!

Puppet by Joy Fielding

Since I've been in somewhat of a reading slump lately, I decided to pull one of Ms. Fielding's books off of my shelves to help me get out of it. It didn't seem to help much, as it took me quite awhile to read it, even though I haven't been very busy. It was a good read, and I give it B.

Inside cover:
Puppet features the beautiful Amanda Travis, a successful twenty-eight-year-old criminal attorney who win just about every case for her less than admirable clientele. A Florida transplant, Amanda races through her glamourous life, her only concerns being herself, a good bottle of red, and her pristine Palm Beach condominium. Her estranged mother, dead father, two ex-husband, a love that once consumed her, and countless one-night stnad have since lagged far, far behind.
But when ex #1 won't stop calling, Amanda finally gives in. He tells her that her mother shot a man at point-blank range in the lobby of Toronto' s Four Seasons hotel. Despite her best arguments, Amanda knows she must return to her hometown to face her demons and uncover the hidden facts behind her mother's violent outburst. All too soon, she is drawn into the dark, strange power her mother seems to hold over everyone. Her childhood nickname, Puppet, echoing in her ears, Amanda must finally confront the past in order to be free of the ties that bind and learn to stand on her own.

Ms. Fielding always write an engrossing and suspensful tale. She is able to create characters that come to life through the pages and while you may not love or sympathize with all of them, they are very realisitic. While we knew who the killer was in this book, the suspense comes from trying to figure out why Amanda's mother shoots an apparent stranger at point-blank range after waiting in a hotel for him. Amanda was someone who was hard to like as she seems to be very self-absorbed and selfish, but through the book she grows on you and the reader gets a good understanding of why she is the way she is and how she became the person she is today. I enjoyed the book, and while it wasn't my favorite Joy Fielding book, it was still a good read.

Up next is the latest Chelsea Cain book, Evil at Heart! YAY! I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about finally having this book in my hot little hands. I am going to sign off right now and dive right into this book. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver

Last week I read The Sleeping Doll, the first book in the Kathryn Dance series, and absolutely loved it, so I was excited that Roadside Crosses came in from the library so quickly. I thought the premise sounded fantastic, but I was a bit disappointed. I end up rating Roadside Crosses a B.

Inside cover:
The Monterey Peninsula is rocked when a killer begins to leave roadside crosses besides local highways- not in memoriam, but as the announcements of his intention to kill. And to kill in particularly horrific and efficient ways: using personal details about the victims that they've carelessly posted in blogs and on social networking sites.
The case lands on the desk of Kathryn Dance, the California Bureau of Investigations foremost body language expert. She and Deputy Michael O'Neil follow the leads to Travis Brigham, a troubled teenager whose role in a fatal car accident has inspired vicious attacks against him on a popular blog, The Chilton Report. As the investigation progresses, Travis disappears. Using techniques he learned as a brilliant participant in role-playing games, he easily evades his pursuers and continues to track his victims. Among the obstacles Kathryn must overcome are politicians from Sacremento, paranoid parents, and the blogger himself, James Chilton, whose belief in the importance of blogging and the new media threatens to derail the case and potientally Dance's career. It is this threat that causes Dance to take desperate and risky measures...

This book really resonated with me, especially since I am a blogger and am on Facebook. We really do reveal a lot about ourselves, no matter how careful we think we are being, which could allow a psycho like this villain to use against you. The book also touches on the subject of cyber bullying which is all too common nowadays. I love books that incorporate real life threats and Roadside Crosses really accomplishes that. And I mean, come on, leaving Roadside Crosses before someone dies... that is just soooo creepy to me! However, I thought that there were some unbelieveable parts, including how Dance and her team comes to solve the case and it comes out of nowhere. That being said, I would still recommend this series to anyone who likes a good thriller/police procedural!

I am not sure what I am going to read next. My reading has slowed down so much, so I hope I can pick up something that will jumpstart it again! I've only finished 4 books this month and last month by this time I had read 7! I know it's quality and not quantity, but I miss reading a lot of books, especially good books. I feel like I am getting in a bit of a depressive slump, so it's something I really need to fight through. I hope you all are reading something fantastic! Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bad Chemistry by Gary Krist

Bad Chemistry is a book I've had on my shelves for quite awhile, probably bought from a library book sale or thrift store. I decided to pick it up and while it took me awhile to read, it was a good read. I give it a B+.

Back cover:
How well do you know your spouse?
What if the person you married was keeping secrets from you?
What if the one you love is involved in something so dangerous it could destroy you both?
Kate Theodorus is about to find out...

I think one of the things that made this book so scary was the fact that though you are married to someone, someone you sleep with every night, use the same sink to brush your teeth, and share a hair brush with could hide so many things from you and be a totally different person than the one you thought you knew. While there were some sci-fi aspects to the book, which is something I normally totally avoid, it didn't bother me at all. There was a lot of suspense and the pages were turning and Kate was a great character.
I finally quit my job I hated. I was just absolutely miserable there and felt myself slipping back into the anxiety and depression state I battled for over three years. My mental health just wasn't worth the extra money I was making and I am going to go to back to subbing. I also have an interview on Tuesday, and when I got the call to set it up yesterday, I felt like it was a sign telling me to go with my heart and so I resigned at the end of the day. While I have feelings of guilt, I know it will be better in the long run. I am off to get some cleaning and laundry done, along with starting the next Katherine Dance book by Jeffrey Deaver, Roadside Crosses. I have high hopes for this! Have a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Sleeping Doll by Jeffrey Deaver

I picked up The Sleeping Doll purely on impulse a couple of weeks ago from the library when I was picking up another book. This was a fantastic read and one that kept me on the edge of my seat. I give it an A-.

Inside cover:
When Special Agent Kathryn Dance- a brilliant interrogator and kinesics expert with the CBI- is sent to question the convicted killer Daniel "Son of Manson" Pell as a suspenct in a newly unearthed crime, she feels both trepidation and electrifying intrigue. Pell is serving a life sentence for the brutal murders of the wealthy Croyton family in Carmel years earlier- a crime mirroring those perpetrated by Charles Manson in the 1960s. But Pell and his cult members were sloppy: Not only were they apprehended, they even left behind a survivor- the youngest of the Croyton daughters, who, because she was in bed hidden by her toys that terrible night, was dubbed the Sleeping Doll.
But the girl never spoke about that night, nor did the crime's mastermind. Indeed, Pell has long been both reticent and unrepentant about the crime. And so with the murderer transported from the Capitola superprison to an interrogation room in the Monerey County Courthouse, Dance sees an opportunity to pry a confession from him for the recent murder- and to learn more about the depraved mind of this career criminal who considers himself a master of control, a dark Svengali, forcing people to do what they otherwise would never conceive of doing. In an electrifying psychologica jousting match, Dance calls up all her skills as an interrogator and kinesics- body language- expert to get to the truth behind Daniel Pell.
But when Dance's plan goes terribly wrong and Pell escapes, leaving behind a trail of dead and injured, she finds herself in charge, of her first-ever manhunt. But far from simply fleeing, Pell turns on his pursuers- and other inccoecnts- for reasons Dance and her colleagues can't discern. As the idyllic Monterey Pennisula is paralyzed by the elusive killer, Dance turns to the past to find the truth about what Daniel Pell is really up to. She tracks down the now teenage Sleeping Doll to learn what really happened that night, and she arranges a reunion of the three women who were in his cult at the time of the killings. The lies of the past and the evasions of the present boil up under the relentless probing of Kathryn Dance, but will the truth about Daniel Pell emerge in time to stop him from killing again?

This book had a ton of twists and turns that kept me guessing the entire time. I had a difficult time putting it down, which to me, is always a great sign of a fantastic book. I loved the main character, Kathryn, and was really rooting for her. Pell is a scary villian, and one who is quite powerful as well. I thought Mr. Deaver did a great job with the research of cults which is something I am always intrigued by. I guess the whole idea of people completely losing control of themselves to the power of someone else is quite scary and a bit unbelieveable to me, but I enjoy reading about it. If you haven't tried Jeffrey Deaver, I highly suggest you read his books. This one is part of a series but I don't think I missed out on anything by not reading the other ones first. The next one that I want to read Roadside Crosses which I have heard great things about on various blogs.

I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend. I am sad that it is almost coming to an end, but I am not going to think about it. (Denial is a powerful thing!!!) Happy Reading everyone!!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Too Close for Comfort by Ellen Feldman

Too Close for Comfort is a book that has been sitting on my TBR shelves for far too long. I probably got it from a UBS or library sale, as it's an older book set in the 1990s. I thought it sounded right up my alley, but I was a bit disappointed. I give it a B-.

Back cover:
Half of the New Yorkers Isobel knew would kill for Pete's baronial Fifth Avenue apartment. Dr. Peter Arlen, psychiatrist, inherited it. Isobel Behringer, architectural preservationist and director of Urban Heritage, married into it. Flush and faintly guilty to be happily married at last, Isobel set about learning the rules of the house. But she couldn't help breaking a few as she cautiously took the shortcut through Pete's waiting room, naked under his shirt, to get more coffee, or look for a pair of gloves, or tempt fate. She thought no one could see her. Until the heavy-breathing calls began, disturbingly intimate, menacing, threatening her marriage and her peace of mind. Someone wanted to fill her shoes, her life, her husband's arms. Someone desperate, deranged. Sone only a razor-edge away...

Since this book is so old, I won't go into too many details or review it in depth. I thought so much more could have been done with the book, especially since it was almost 400 pages long, but a lot of it just focused on Isobel's daily life and the mundane things she does. The suspense really doesn't have a chance to build and Isobel isn't the most likeable character. Things did pick up in the second half of the book and I finished it in a couple of hours this evening between watching mindless tv. The reader discovers who is stalking Isobel with about 100 pages left in the book, and that takes away from the suspense a bit as well. I was able to figure things out towards the end but I find that happening more and more often. Oh well, I am happy to finally finish a book!

My new job is just draining me. I am absolutely miserable there and when I get home from work I am just so burned out I sit and count down the hours until I have to go back. I hope things get better, and holding out hope that they will get better, but if they don't I will be quitting. I've never quit a job before because I didn't like it and I hate the thought of quitting in this economy, but my mental health just isn't worth it. I had today off and am off until Tuesday, so I will be sending out resumes and can always return to subbing. Enought of all of that... I don't want to spend my next four days off thinking about that place. I hope to get lots of reading in this weekend, so I think I will head off to bed now so I can get up early tomorrow to fulfill that goal. Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happens Every Day by Isabel Gilles

I read about Happens Every Day on someone's blog, and since I am always on the lookout for a good memoir, I decided to place a hold on it from my library. Isabel Gilles is the actress who plays Detective Stabler's wie on one of my favorite tv shows, Law and Order: SVU, so that picqued my curiousity even more. A quick but painful read, I give Happens Every Day a B.

Inside cover:
Isabel Gilles had a wonderful life- a handsome, intelligent, loving husband; two glorious toddlers; a beautiful house; the time and place to express all her ebullience and affection and optimism. Suddenly that life is over. Her husband, Josiah, announced he was leaving her and their two young sons.
When Josiah took a teaching job at a Midwestern college, Isabel and their sons moved with him from New York City to Ohio, where Isabel taught acting, through herself into the college community, and delighted in the less-scheduled lives of toddlers raised away from the city. But within a few months, the marriage was over. The life Isabel had made crumbled. "Happens every day." said a friend.
Far from a self-pitying diatribe, Happens Every Day reads like an intimate conversation between friends. Gillies has written a dizzyingly candid, compulsively readable, ultimately redemptive story about love, marriage, family, heartbreak, and the unexpected turns of a life. One the one hand, reading this book is like watching a train wreck. On the other hand, as Gillies herself says, it is abot trying to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness, and loving your life even if it has slipped away. Hers is a remarkable new voice- instinctive, funny, and irresistible.

I do give Ms. Gillies a ton of credit. While her life is falling apart around her, Ms. Gillies keeps a positive attitude (well as positive as one can have) and keeps it together for her sons. She tries all she can in her power to keep her family and marriage together, and when it becomes apparent that she can't, she tries to stay as civil with her husband as she can for her sons. I hated her husband and wanted to rip through the pages and strangle him myself, so perhaps I am not as a good of a person as Ms. Gillies is. I absolutely love her quote, though, of lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness, and can definitely use some of that spirit right now when dealing with my job. Her attitude is wonderful and I strongly believe that everyone can take something away from the story, whether you are married, single, widowed, or divorced. While Happens Every Day wasn't the best book or memoir I've read, I believe it is one that is worth the time.

In trying to keep with my promise to rotate reading one of my books with a library book, the next one I read will be one of my own. Which book that is, I'm not sure, but I hope it's a good one. I am exhausted for some reason ( I even napped today, which is something I rarely do) but hope to at least start a new book. Happy Reading everyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Paint it Red by Carla Cassidy

Carla Cassidy is a women's suspense author whose books I normally really enjoy. Paint It Red has been on my shelves for awhile, so I decided to pick it up and get it read. Unfortunetly, I didn't enjoy it all that much and give it a C.

Back cover:
Jim Abbott, an up-and-coming artist, drowned himself in the raging waters of Missouri River. His body was never recovered. Two years later, his widow, Vanessa, has arranged for one last showing of his brilliant, disturbing art. The event is a success: Critics are raving, pieces are selling, and Vanessa even meets an interesting man. Christian Connor is gentle, honest, and incredibly sexy. Soon their innocent flirtation heats up...
Then the gallery owner is found dead with a splash of red accross his body, and his corpse is only the first to bear that mark. Vanessa recgonizes the stroke: When Jim was unhappy with a painting, he'd slash it with furious crimson. And in her home, Jim's picture somehow finds its way onto the dresser and his jacket appears on the back of the sofa. Is she going crazy? Or has her husband returned to claim her as his own?

This book was just so-so. The main part of the story was romance, and as you know, I am not a huge fan of romance novels. Vanessa was a bit annoying, as well, and I didn't find her to be too convincing of a character. The mystery was also done so-so, and though there weren't many clues to who the killer was, it wasn't difficult to figure it out. If you enjoy romantic suspense, then you may enjoy this book, but it just wasn't one for me. Hopefully the next book I read with resonate more with me.

It's late and I need to get to bed, so I will leave you with a Good Night and Happy Reading!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

I fell in love with Mr. Barclay's work when I read his first book in a cozy mystery series surrounding a goofy dad who worked as a comic book author and have enjoyed his books ever since. I have been dying to read Fear the Worst since I first learned it was coming out and was so happy to finally pick it up from the library. It was another great book by Mr. Barclay, and I give it an A-.

Inside cover:
Tim is an average guy. He sells cars. He has an ex-wife who's moved in with a man whose moody son spends more time online than he should. Tim's girlfriend is turning out to be a bit of a flake. It's not a life without hassles, but nothing will prepare him for the nightmare that's about to begin.
His daughter, Sydney, has vanished into thin air. At the hotel where she supposedly worked, no one has ever heard of her. Even her closest friends seem to be at a loss. Now, as the days pass without word, Tim must face the fact that not only is Sydney missing, but that he may not have known his daughter as well as he thought.
As he retraces Sydney's steps, Tim discovers that the suburban Connecticut town he always thought of as idyllic is anything but. What he doesn't know is that his every move is being watched. There are others who want to find Sydney as much as Tim does.
But they're not planning a welcome home party.
The closer Tim comes to the truth, the closer he comes to every parent's worst nightmare- and the kind of evil only a parent's love has a chance in hell of stopping.

Mr. Barclay does such a great job writing books that are fast-paced, suspenseful, and have a touch of humor in them. Though the book's topic is heart-wrenching and the suspense is at top speed, there are little parts here and there that entice a chuckle or small smile out of you. I loved Tim and thought he was a wonderful character. A dad who loves his daughter and will do anything for her, but isn't so blind with his love that he doesn't see the stupid things that all teenagers do. I can't recommend Linwood Barclay books enough, and if you haven't checked one out from him, I highly suggest you run and get one! The reason for the A- and not an A is because of one little aspect of the story that seemed just a bit too unbelieveable for me and one that I really thought didn't have to be added to the story.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I still have some library books, including a biography that I would like to get to, but I really need to start reading some of my own books for the RYOB challenge. I can't believe August is almost over already! The job still stinks, and I am absolutely dreading going, but I am not going to let it ruin my evenings when I am home and can relax with a good book like I did yesterday. I am going to hop in the shower right now and sneak in a few chapters of one of my own books before bed time. Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Water's Edge by Karin Fossum

I read another book by Norwegian author Karin Fossum a few weeks back and enjoyed it. The Water's Edge was the book that I heard a ton about from several different blogs and it finally came in through my library. It was a fast read, at just 227 pages long, but a good read. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
Reinhardt and Kristine Ris, a married couple, are out for a Sunday walk when they discover the body of a boy and see the figure of a man limping away. They alert the police, but not before Reinhardt, to Kristine's horror, kneels down and takes photographs of the dead child with his cell phone. Inspectors Konrad Sejer and Jacob Skarre begin to make inquiries in the little town of Huseby. But then another boy disappears, and an explanation seems more remote than ever. Meanwhile, the Rises' marriage unravels as Reinhardy becomes obsessed with the tragic events and his own part in them.

The Water's Edge is part of the Inspector Konrad Sejer series, though I don't think there is a big need to read them in order. I know this comes several books after the one I read previously, but I don't think I was missing out on anything. It is definitely interesting to read how Norway seems to judge different crimes, and since this story centers on pedophiles, I was somewhat surprised to see how strongly the difference was. The author focuses a lot on how Sejer and Skarre feel about the cases they see, which I feels like lends a different view to the story, but really takes away from the mystery. This is by no means an action-packed story, but a pleasant way to spend a cold, dreary Saturday afternoon.

I am not sure what I am going to read next, but I am sure it will be a library book. I now have 5 I think to read, and now that I think about it, I did get in Linwood Barclay's latest which I have been dying to read. I hope to be able to get that one started sometime this evening and finish it tomorrow. Happy Reading everyone!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

I stumbled across 18 Kids and Counting a couple of months ago while flipping through the channels and immediately fell in love with the Duggar family. When I heard they had a book being released, I placed a hold on it from my local library and it finally came in. It helped me break out of this reading slump I have been in, and I finished it in a couple of hours this evening. It was a nice book to read and I give it a B+.

Back cover:
The Duggars: 20 and Counting! is a behind-the-scenes look at the surprise family that fascinates millions of television viewers across the world. From Idaho to Istanbul, people want to know how Arkansas parents Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar efficiently and lovingly manage eighteen happy, homeschooled children without going into debt- or losing their minds!
This, the Duggars' first book, is an entertaining and enlightening collection of stories, photos, recipes, tips, traditions, and practical ideas designed to answer the questions of the curious...

I really love the Duggar family and am always encouraged by their patient and loving ways with their children. As a teacher, I am amazed at how calm and patient they are and strive to learn from them. In the days of Jon and Kate and that crazy Octomom, it is comforting to see "normal" people raise a large and loving family. While they are strongly religious, they never come across as preachie... and they provide great tips for anyone, whether you have no children or 18. I learned some great tips on organization and love their budget ideas. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about a wholesome family or get some great recipes and tips.

As I mentioned, I have been in a reading slump and have started a new job that I am not sure I am going to keep. There is a lot to be concerned about, but in this economy, I am not sure I want to walk away from a steady paycheck. I plan on seriously thinking about all of this this weekend and hope to make a good decision. I also need to relax and hope to get in some reading time this weekend. It seems my hours at work are much longer than I was lead to believe, and as I am a salary employee, it is one of the things troubling me. I am not feeling to well right now (another migraine coming on... UGH!), and need to get some sleep, so if you don't mind, please send some good vibes my way. Any and all are appreciated as I try to work through this transistion. Happy Reading everyone!