Friday, July 31, 2009

She'll Never Know by Hunter Morgan

I had a total shock yesterday regarding some family members yesterday and it has led to me being quite upset. Because of that, and the fact that I didn't want to sit there and dwell on things, I needed something that I could quickly get into to take my mind off of everything. She'll Never Know did the trick and I give it B+.

Back cover:
A victim of amnesia, Jillian Deere only knows that se was left by an unidentified man at a North Carolina hospital with a gunshot wound to her neck. But she has the strangest feeling she belongs elsewhere. Something is drawing her to the small Delaware town of Albany Beach- a town caught in the grip of a seemingly unstoppable serial killer...
The victims have all been blonde and blue-eyed, just like Jillian. One by one, they've disappeared from the beach town's quiet cottages and wind-swept streets, only to be found horribly murdered. Jillian can't imagine why she remembers Albany Beach or what it means. The only person she can turn to for help is lifeguard Ty Addison. Despite the almost ten-year difference in their ages, Jillian finds herself falling for his beach-bum good looks. And then the first memory flashes to horrifying life...
Haunted by her tragic past, unsure of whom to trust, Jillian is desperate to uncover the truth about her identity before it's too late. For someone is watching Jillian from out there in the dark. Someone who knows exactly who she is... his next victim...

While I normally don't enjoy romance in my thrillers, this one was done so nicely and I loved it! Jillian and Ty make such a cute couple and there wasn't the usual romance cliche of some misunderstanding that I really don't like. I loved Jillian as a charcter and felt so much compassion for her, though right about now, I wouldn't mind have some amnesia so I could forget some certain things. The mystery of who Jillian is was enjoyable, though I really liked the serial killer aspect more so. At the end, I was thrown through a total loop and realized that this book was the second in a trilogy so the serial killer mystery wasn't resolved. Ugh... I was so upset! I am also disappointed that I won't be able to read the first book in the series as some of the first book was rehashed in this one, and I will know have to pick up the next book in this series to find out how everything is resolved. If I had known it was a trilogy, I would have probably given this book a higher rating, but am definitely going to check my library's database for the next one in the series.

July was an awesome reading month for me with 19 books being finished. That is by far one of my highest reading months ever. I am so happy, especially since I've read so many great books. I hope this will be able to continue, though I doubt it will as I have my new job I will be starting later in August and I have a ton of baby and wedding showers coming up as well. I am not sure what I am going to read next, but I will be picking something up. I need to keep my mind occupied so I don't dwell on things and get upset. I hope everyone else has a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Between Here and April by Deborah Copaken Kogan

I read about Between Here and April on Caribou's Mom (thank you handy-dandy little notebook for allowing me to remember that!) and it sounded like something different from what I usually read but something that I would enjoy. I ended up being a bit disappointed, however, as I really didn't like the main character. It wasn't a bad book, though I suspect part of my reason was because of where I am in my life right now. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
When a deep-rooted memory suddenly surfaces, Elizabeth Burns becomes obsessed with the long-ago disappearance of her childhood friend April Cassidy. Driven to investigate, Elizabeth discovers a thirty-five-year-old newspaper article revealing the details that had been hidden from her as a child- shocking revelations about April's mother, Adele.
Elizabeth, now herself a mother, tracks down the people who knew Adele Cassidy and who thought that they knew what was going through her mind before she committed that most incomprehensible of crimes. She seeks out anyone who might help piece together the final months, days, and hours of this troubled woman's life- from Adele's former neighbor to her psychiatrist to her sister.
But the answers are more elusive than any normal investigation can yield, the questions raised difficult to contemplate. In fact, the further into the story Elizabeth digs, the more she is focused to accept that she and Adele may not be so different.
Elizabeth's exploration thus leads her ultimately back to her herself: her compromised marriage, her increasing self-doubt, her desire for more out of her career and her life, and finally to a fearsome reckoning with what it means to be a wife and mother.

Now I should premise this review by saying that I am not a mother (except to my adorable furbaby Roxy) but I am trying to get pregnant right now and haven't been having much luck. Every month is another disappointment and I am much more sensitive to all things mommy right now, including watching Juno last night and that show on MTV, 16 and Pregnant. Throughout the book there was a lot of talk about post-partum depression, which I admit I do not know much about, and it seems like to me that there is a slight message being sent across that being a mom is something that requires you to become less of a person. Again, as I said, I am extremely sensitive right now, so please take everything I say with a grain of salt. Now, in general, I really didn't care for Elizabeth. She was going through a lot, but it seemed like to me she just expected everyone to somehow cater to her problems when she doesn't express what is wrong or how things can be helped. With all of that being said, I thought the story was told in quite an interesting way and thought it puts the spotlight on a topic that I believe is largely misunderstood- depression but mainly postpartum depression. If Ms. Kogan continues to write more fiction, I will probably be on the lookout for more.

I am not sure what I will pick up next, but I hope to be able to sneak one more in before the end of the month. After I get off of work tomorrow at noon, I have a wide open weekend available for me, so I look forward to reading and enjoying it. Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Cutting by James Hayman

I am not sure where I read about this book, though it may have been in a magazine. The Cutting is the first book by James Hayman, and it sounded like something right up my alley. While I didn't get much time to read it yesterday, this evening I spent a few hours reading it and before I knew it, I was turning the last pages. I really enjoyed The Cutting and give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Detective Sergeant Michael McCabe moved from New York City to Portland, Maine to escape a dark past: both the ex-wife who'd left him for an investment banker, and the tragic death of his brother, a hero cop gone bad. He sought to raise his young daughter away from the violence of the big city... so he's unprepared for the horrific killer he discovers, whose bloody trail may lead to Portland's social elite.
Early on a September evening, the mutilated body of a pretty teenaged girl, a high school soccer star, is found dumped in a scrap metal yard. She has been viciously assaulted, her heart cut from her chest with surgical precision. The very same day a young businesswoman, also blonde and an athlete, was abducted as she jogged through the streets of the city's west end. McCabe suspects both crimes are the work of the same man- a killer who's targeting the young, who is clearly well-versed in complex surgical procedures, and who may have struck before. Just as the investigation is beginning, McCabe's ex-wife reemerges, suddenly determined to reclaim the daughter she heedlessly abandoned years earlier.
With the help of his straight-talking partner, Maggie Savage, McCabe begins a race against time to rescue the missing woman and unmask a sadistic killer- before more lives are lost.

I loved McCabe as a character. I thought he had the perfect mix of a hard-assed detective, but a loving father and compassionate person mixed in well. He seems like the perfect person to be friends with and someone who would defend and protect you to the end. It just seems when you fall in love with a character, you really fall in love with a book. The premise and twist of the story is intriguing, and while I had it figured out pretty early on, I still enjoyed it. It seems like there were a few loose ends left in McCabe's life, so I am hoping and crossing fingers that The Cutting may be the first in a new series. I know, I know, another series is the last thing I need to start right now, but I would love to reconnect with McCabe.

I think next is going to be one of my books, perhaps a chick lit or Jackie Collins book. I feel like something light and breezy and something that screams summer. It finally warmed up to the 80s today, and tomorrow I hope to get some sun and read the perfect book to go with it! I'm not sure though, and as it's already after 11:00, I won't start anything now. I have to go bed, so I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon

I read about Dismantled on someone's blog, and as I had read and enjoyed Ms. McMahon's previous novel, I decided to give this one a try. I should have stuck with what the reviewer said, because I didn't really enjoy the book that much. I give it a C.

Inside cover:
Henry, Tess, Winnie and Suz banded together in college to form a group they called the Compassionate Dismantlers. Following the first rule of their manifesto- "To understand the nature of a thing it must be taken apart"- these daring misfits spend the summer after graduation in a remote cabin in the Vermont woods committing acts of meaningful vandalism and plotting elaborate, often dangerous, pranks. But everything changes when one particularly twisted experiment ends in Suz's death and the others decide to cover it up.
Nearly a decade later, Henry and Tess are living just an hour's drive from the old cabin. Each is desperate to move on from the summer of the Dismantlers, but their guilt isn't ready to let them go. When a victim of their past pranks commits suicide- apparently triggered by a mysterious Dismantler style postcard- it sets off a chain of eerie events that threatens to engulf Henry, Tess, and their inquisitive nine-year-old daughter, Emma. Is there someone who wants to reveal their secrets? Is it possible that Suz did not really die- or has somehow found a way back to seek revenge?

I really didn't like any of the characters, so I think that was part of the problem with the story. I didn't care about any of them, except maybe for Emma, and thought that they were all very selfish. There were also paranormal aspects, which we all know is not exactly my cup of tea, so that lowered my rating a bit as well. There was quite a twist at the end of the story which redeemed part of it, but part of the time I was reading I kept asking myself why I was even reading it. I probably should have just moved on but didn't.

Well hate to make this short, but I have a wedding to go to. I really don't want to go, but am sucking it up. Have a great night everyone and Happy Reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Money Shot by Christa Faust

I read about Money Shot on someone's blog, but it was before my new handy-dandy notebook method so I am not sure whose. I read one previous Hard Case Crime book and loved it so I decided to give this one a shot. It was all right, nothing outstanding, and I give it a B.

Back cover:
They thought she'd be easy. They thought wrong.
It all began with the phone call asking former porn star Angel Dare to do one more movie. Before she knew it, she'd been shot and left for dead in the trunk of a car. But Angel is a survivor. And that means she'll get to the bottom of what's been done to her even if she has to leave a trail of bodies along the way...

Even though this is a hard-boiled, pulp classic, noir type book, I have to admit that the book somewhat reminded me of the Stephanie Plum series. I am not sure if it was because some of the situations Angel ends up in seem so outrageous and similiar to those that Stephanie does, but I just felt like there was a little bit of a relationship between the two. Besides that, there is some hard core language but I am not sure what else to expect with a story where the main character is a former porn star. Lots of bodies stack up and the action doesn't stop and if you are looking for a hard crime book, I would say definitely look for this line.

I am fighting a horrible migraine right now. Our weather is horrible and there has been temperatures in the 60s/70s with lots of rain and it is just driving my sinuses, allergies, and head nuts, so I think I am going to try and take some Excedrin migraine and relax a bit. Maybe I will be able to start a new book, but right now I need the pounding to stop in my head. Happy Reading everyone!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Right Address by Carrie Karasyov and Jill Kargman

The Right Address is a book I have had on my TBR shelves forever. I think I bought it years ago when I was going through a chick-lit phase and it just sat there forever, waiting to be read. Deciding I wanted something light and fluffy and somewhat of a "summer read" I picked it up to read and loved it. I give it a B+.

Back cover:
The Right Address sears through the upper crust of New York's glittering Park Avenue scene to dish the dirt on the ladies who lunch, the gents who club, and the desperate climbers who will still stop at nothing to join the backstabbing, champagne-sipping, socialite-eat-socialite stratosphere.
When Melanie Saronsky, wily Floridian flight attendant, snares a billonaire divorce Arthur "The Coffin King" Korn, she is catapulted into the creme de la creme of Park Avenue society. But Melanie quickly discovers that in the world of the rich and idle, malicious gossip is as de rigueur as owning twenty pairs of Manolo Blahniks. And despite her frenzied plunge into the charity circuit and the right dinner reservations, her neighbors are Givenchy-clad vultures who see her as nothing more than a reinvented trailer trollop. To make matters worse, when a snide society-rag journalist takes her over the coals, Melanie's reputation is toast.
Meanwhile, Melanie is not the only billionaire in the neighborhood coming unhinged. Kleptomania, adultrey, plagarism, and a grisly Harlem sex murder are just a few of the secrets swirling under the pedigreed patina of furs and emeralds on Park Avenue.

The behaviors of some of these women in the story where absolutely horrid, but unfortunetly, not unbelieveable. There are two women in the story, named Wendy and Joan, who constantly arrive early to the lunches, parties, and charity dances to secure the best seats to stare and gossip about all of their "friends" as they arrive and socialize. The authors compare Wendy and Joan to the two theatre critics from the Muppets who sit in the balcony. I laughed quite a bit over this, as it was the perfect comparision. They are so catty and snide and they and the whole story transported me back to high school and all of the cliques. Melanie, the main character, is at first very annoying, but she slowly changes and grows into a very likeable person. While not the most believable story, it was still a fun and brief vacation to one of my favorite cities and getting to join the ladies who lunch scene. This is the perfect beach/summer read!

Up next is the book called Money Shot which is part of the Hard Case Crime series. I've read one book in this series before and loved it and after reading a review for this one, decided it sounded like a lot of fun. I also got a mini notebook to keep by laptop so whenever I come across a book on a blog that sounds interesting to me, I can record whose blog I read about it on. This way I can give credit to those who keep my library books flowing through my house. Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Neighbor by Lisa Gardner

I have always been a fan of Lisa Gardner and her thriller novels. She does such a fantastic job writing suspense, but not forgetting to add in the details of life which make the story that much more realistic, and in my opinion, sppoky. Ripped from the headlines, The Neighbor does not disappoint and I give it an A-.

Inside cover:
It was a case guaranteed to spark a media feeding frenzy- a young mother, blond and pretty, disappears without a trace from her South Boston home, leaving behind her four-year-old daughter as the only witness and her handsome secretive husband as the prime suspect.
But from the moment Detective Sergeant D.D. Warren arrives at the Joneses' snug little bungaolw, she senses something off about the picture of wholesome normality the couple worked so hard to create. On the surface, Jason and Sandra Jones were like any other hardworking young couple raising a four-year-old child. But it is just under the surface that things grew murkier.
With the clock ticking on the life of a missing woman and the media firestorm building, Jason Jones seems more intent on destroying evidence and isolating his daughter than on searching for his "beloved" wife. Is the perfect husband trying to hide his guilt- or just trying to hide? And will the only witness to the crime be the killer's next victim?

This book first interested me because I have always been drawn to those stories where the so-called perfect wife and mother disappears, and of course, it almost always ends up being the husband. I followed the Laci Patterson case very closely, and can distinctly remember Laci's mom asking her husband, Scott, during the penalty phase, why did you have to kill her? Why couldn't you have just left her? It struck me so much right in the heart and I could just feel her pain and right then and there, only about three months married, and just couldn't understand it. I thought The Neighbor would be just like those cases, and of course Lisa Gardner being the suspense artist that she is, twists and turns everything around and you left scratching your head trying to figure everything out. All of the characters were sympathetic in their own ways, and before you know it, you are wondering what secrets your neighbors are hiding behind their cute house doors. I highly recommend The Neighbor. (NOTE: Some of Ms. Gardner's books are loosely connected. While there are a few mentions of characters of some other books in The Neighbor, it is not necessary to read them in order. I have not read all of her books, yet I wasn't lost on anything, nor would anything else be spoiled for me in future books.)

I am going to browse my books right now and decide what to read next. My bookshelves are calling my name, and while I have one library book left, I want to read one of mine that has been sitting there for awhile. I did want to get The Neighbor in pretty quickly though, because my mom is also a huge fan of Ms. Gardner and wants to read it before I have to return it to the library. I have no idea what kind of book I even want to read, so whatever draws me in will be what I read. I have had an awesome reading month so far and hope to keep it up. Happy Reading everyone!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello

I heard about this book on Bookish NYC during one of her weekly features, Seen on the Subway, where she discusses different books she sees people reading on the subway and adds her comments. She mentioned she read Bringing Home the Birkin and really enjoyed it, and it sounded like something that would break up my usual suspense reads, so I placed it on hold from my library. It was a great read and I give it an A-.

Back cover:
For more than twenty years, the Hermes Birkin bag has been the iconic symbol of fashion, luxury, and wealth. Though the bag is often seen dangling from the arms of celebrities, there is a fabled waiting list of more than two years to buy one from Hermes, and the average fashionista has a better chance of climbing Mount Everest in Prada pumps than of possessing one of these coveted carryalls. Unless, of course, she happens to know Michael Tonello...
Michael's newfound career started with an impulsive move to Barcelona, a vanished job assignment, no work visa, and an Hermes scarf sold on eBay to generate some quick cash. But soon the resourceful Michael discovered the truth about the waiting list and figured out the secret to getting Hermes to part with one of these precious bags. Millions of dollars work of Birkins later, Michael had become one of eBay's most successful entrepreneurs- and a Robin Hood to thousands of desperate rich women.

Bringing Home the Birkin was filled with chuckles and smiles, including one brilliant reference to the Brady Bunch. Michael does a fantastic job explaining how his extremely successful business begins and then, years later, ends. We get to learn the secret on how to buy a Birkin and the real reason why there is a so-called 2 year waiting list. As Michael travels Europe, and later the world, looking for the latest Birkin and other Hermes products, he describes these locations in great details where I can picture myself right there beside him. By reading this fantastic book, I got to travel to Tokyo, France, Capri, and Greece and was even able to "sample" some of the local cuisine. The author also does a fantastic job of accounting for how outrageous these prices are, and how he can't understand how people spend this crazy amount of money ($37,000 for a purse anyone?!?). Bringing Home the Birkin was such a fun read and a great way to spend a dreary, cold Saturday afternoon.

I am not sure what I am going to read next, which seems to be a common theme with me. I do have the latest Lisa Gardiner book to read from the library so it may be that one. I think I am going to run up to the grocery store real quickly but then probably jump into another book. Happy Reading everyone!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I Smile Back by Amy Koppelman

As I stated in my previous post, I read about I Smile Back on someone's blog, but of course I didn't write it down or record it in a spreadsheet like I keep meaning to and now I can't remember where. It sounded like something I would like, so I requested it from my library. I started it this afternoon and finished it just now. It was a different writing style from what I usually read, but I still enjoyed it and give it a B.

From author's website:
We live in the era that believes in the idea of rehabilitation and counts on the possibility of redemption. The thing is, not everyone gets better and even those who find salvation often leave a wake of destruction behind them.
In the follow-up to her acclaimed debut, which drew comparisons from crtitics to The Bell Jar and The Awakening, Amy Koppelman delivers an aggressive and unnerving portrait of a modern suburban woman.

I sure hope Ms. Koppelman has not written about the typical and average suburban woman, as Laney is a drug-addicted, cheating wife of a husband who really loves her and the mother of two adorable children. Laney has some serious psychological problems along with her addiction, and she seems to tie it all in with her father leaving her when she was a child. Now she is still struggling with it and self-medicating, and it is damaging her marriage along with her children. The book is written with few words, coming in short at only 188 pages, but still delivers a strong punch. While I didn't love the ending as it wasn't neatly tied up with a bow on it like I enjoy, I still think it was a good book. I definitely can see how it relates to The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I may have to check out Ms. Koppelman's previous novel someday.

I picked up two more library books today, so I think I am going to read one more but then fit in one of my own. I was reading one blog, Bookish NYC, and she was discussing a book she saw someone reading on the subway. It is titled Bringing Home the Birkin, and is all about the elusive bag and the outrageous prices people pay for purses. Though I am an admitted purse lover, I can never understand the need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on purses, so I thought this book may interest me a bit. I have all of my weekend chores finished, along with laundry, and have of my lesson plans for next week done as well. I plan on finishing those tonight, and hopefully, with any luck and lots of free time, I will be able to fit in two books this weekend. Happy Reading everyone!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Night Kills by John Lutz

John Lutz is probably one of my favorite serial killer thriller authors. His books are always good to suck you right up into the story and keeping you up way too late (it's almost 12:30 a.m.!). Night Kills was no different and I give it a B+.

Back cover:
Frank Quinn is sure he is hunting for a madman, someone who is shooting young women in the heart, defiling their bodies, leaving only the torsos to be found. Quinn, a former NYPD detective, is called into the case by an ambitious chief of police and mobilizes his team of brilliant law-enforcement misfits. But in the concrete canyons of New York, this shocking serial murder case is turning into something very different...
Jill Clark came to the city with too many hopes and too little cash. Now a seemingly deranged woman is telling her an extraordinary story. New to an exclusive dating service, Jill is warned other women have died on their dates- and that she could be next. Struggling against a death trap closing in around her, Jill has a powerful ally in Frank Quinn. But no one knows the true motives behind a rampage of cold-blooded murder- or how much more terrifying this is going to get...

I loved the idea of a murderer picking up his victims through an online dating service. It reminds me somewhat of the so-called Craigslist Killer, which makes things a bit more spooky since it reflects something that is happening in real life. Mr. Lutz writes loveable, misfit characters who you really want to cheer on. The pages keep turning, and even though this book was over 460 pages long, I read it pretty quickly. I was just dying to find out what was going to happen. The reader knows pretty early on who the killer is, but it doesn't take away from any of the suspense. The only thing that I didn't like was at the end, it seemed like things just got a little too out there and became a bit unbelieveable. It didn't bother me so much that I didn't like the book, but just made me lower my rating a bit. I still have a couple more of Mr. Lutz's books to read and he does have another suspense book coming out in October that I will be sure to pick up!

I picked up two library books yesterday, so I will read one of those next. I think I am going to read I Smile Back by Amy Koppelman. This is another book I read about on someones blog and of course I can't remember whose now. I hope it is good though! Definitely time for me to head to bed now, so Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

I have read/heard about The Chosen One from many different blogs, and though I tend to not read Young Adult books, I had to read this one. I am fascinated with cults, especially those based loosely on the Mormon faith and polygamy. I read The Chosen One in about 2 hours and throughly enjoyed it. I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much- if you don't count her secret visits to the Ironton County Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.
But when the Prophet decrees that she mush marry her sixty-year-old uncle- who already has six wives- Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

As I said, this was a very difficult book to read. Some of the things that Kyra goes through is incredibly disturbing, and it brought me to tears. The fact that things like this really does happen in our world, even in our own country, just makes it that much more troubling. I wanted to jump through the pages and rescue Kyra myself. My hear absolutely breaks for her and you can just feel her helplessness. I loved her passion for reading and the escape and courage that books brings to her, and it helped me remember how precious the freedoms that we have in this country, including the ability to read whatever we want whenever we choose to. I highly recommend this book, even if YA books aren't your thing. They normally are not mine but I still loved this book.

I am not sure what I am going to read next but I am out of library books, so down to my bookshelves I will go. I hope to squeeze in a few more hours of reading tonight. Even though it is quite cloudy out and overcast, I think my front porch is calling my name. If you have a few minutes to spare, please head over to Musing of a Bookish Kitty where the lovely and always wonderful Wendy has spotlighted me and my little blog today. If you haven't alread read her, it really is a must read for everyone as she is such a wonderful blogger and more importantly, a wonderful person. Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

I read about The Cheater on several different blogs and the premise really grabbed my attention. It sounded like something different and interesting, so I placed a hold on it. While I enjoyed parts of it, the main character just really got on my nerves. I ended up grading The Cheater as a B.

Inside cover:
Returning to her most beloved character, Lily Forrester, from the New York Times bestsellers, Mitigating Circumstances and Buried Evidence. Rosenberg proves once again that she is a master of the suspense thriller. Forrester, now a Ventura County judge battling demons from her past, finds herself in yet another mix of bizarre circumstances that lead her onto the trail of a vicious criminal mind.
Along the way we meet:
FBI Agent Mary Stevens: She is tracking a killer who murders men who are cheating on their wives and disposes of their mutilated bodies in ghastly ways and strange locations.
Bryce Forrester: Lily's husband calls her from a Las Vegas jail, where he's been arrested for attempted rape... though Las Vegas was not on his itinerary.
Anne Bradley: Bryce's accuser, like Lily, is a woman with an eerie past, an enigmatic woman to who Lily is strangely drwan.
Lily's investigation leads her to a Web service that provides alibis for cheating spouses... and into a thick web of deception that puts Lily's and Mary's lives in jeopardy.
Do you know where your husband is?

So, like I said, I thought the idea of a serial killer murdering men who cheat on their wives was very clever and unlike anything I have ever read. There is a lot of detail, including a website that provides alibis for these cheating men, and from what I understand, is something that is actually happening in real life. While the reader knows fairly early on who the killer is, the suspense is still built as you wonder how everything is going to turn out. I probably would have rated this book much higher if I didn't dislike the main character as much as I did. She was rude to her employees, friends, husband, and everyone around her. She was so manipulative (and no, Lily is not the murderer) and she spent so much time arguing and talking about one of her friends who is just trying to be a friend and accusses her of being a stalker and a loser. I couldn't believe it! If I wasn't so invested in the book and wanting to see how everything turned out, I would have put the book down. Another thing that kind of annoyed me was a good portion of the book was dedicated to a case that Lily was trying, and in the end it just left hanging. We never hear anything else about it... and I would have like some sort of resolution. Hmm... maybe I should revise my score, the more I think about it. With all of that being said, I may read another book by Ms. Rosenberg, but probably not one focusing on Lily. Ugh, I just really didn't like her!

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I am out of library books, but do have one in on hold that I will pick up tomorrow after school. I need to get to bed, and probably will not have much time to read before school in the morning, so I am not sure if I will pick another book right now even though I probably won't have time to get into or if I will just wait for the library book. I just hate going anywhere without a book, even if I know there won't be any time to read it. Such problems!!! All right everyone, I am off to bed. I am not used to this early rising after a month of work and since I didn't sleep well last night, I need to get as much as I can. Have a wonderful night everyone and Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Next Killing by Rebecca Drake

I enjoyed the one previous book I'd read by Rebecca Drake, so I decided to try this one. The receipt from when I bought it was still in the book, and it has been sitting on my shelves since August of 2007! It was a quick read, and while not that suspenseful, still a lot of fun to read. I give it a B.

Back cover:
For one hundred years, the best girls have come to St. Ursula's Preparatory Academy to learn. To achieve. To make both memories and friends. But now it's where they also come to die...
When the first body is found, the police call it an accident- an initation ritual gone terribly wrong. But the students know something isn't right at St. Ursula's. There are sounds in the darkened corridors, a figure glimpsed between the trees, locked doors somehow opened. Someone is watching them, judging them, hating them... killings them...
A twisted psychopath is turning the quiet campus into a school of fear. No sins will go unpunished. No girl will escape justice. And everyone will have a chance to join a serial killer's exclusive club...

I am not sure if this was the right book to read the night before I start teaching summer school. Lauren is a new teacher, hired to for her first teaching job, and immediately the girls begin making fun of her and hazing her. Hopefully my first day will go a bit better. I mentioned before that the suspense was a little lacking, mostly because it isn't difficult to find out who the bad guy is and that is confirmed about halfway through the book. There are a couple other story lines running through the story, which I found unnecessary, but it was still a fun story to read. It was interesting and I though portrayed a good look at how cruel some students can be, especially to each other. I do believe I have one more book by Rebecca Drake and I will read it.

Up next is the library book I have, title The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. I read about it on someone else's blog, though I am not sure where. I really do need to come up with a better system of recording where I heard about the books I request. I hope it is a good one, especially since I am on such a reading tear right now. I met my mom for lunch at the golf course/country club she belongs to and in the locker room members bring in old books they have read and leave them there for others to read and bring in their own books they no longer want, so I also picked up two books there. I may already have one, but I need to check my spreedsheet, but I do want to get those read pretty quickly so I can return them, but really there is no rush. I do need to finish some laundry and just quickly look over my notes for tomorrow and make sure I have everything put together, but then plan on catching up with the tivo and start my next book. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Practice of Deceit by Elizabeth Benedict

The Practice of Deceit was a book I got from Borders a couple of weeks ago. It was part of their "Bargain Books" and sounded like something I may enjoy, but different from what I normally read. I am glad I did, as I really enjoyed this book and give it a B+.

Back cover:
In this razor-sharp novel of marriage and divorce gone awry, Elizabeth Benedict navigates the turbulent waters of love, power, and vengenace with biting wit and penetrating insight.
When Manhattan psychoterapist Eric Lavender meets the sexy, stylish lawyer Colleen O'Brien Golden, his bachelor life suddenly loses its long-standing appeal. Soon he moves to Scarsdale to join olleen and finds a life of domestic bliss as a husband and father with a new baby and an adorable stepdaughter. But Eric's suburban oasis is threatened when a legal conflict of interest with Colleen turns up disturbing evidence of a hidden past.

This story was quite interesting. At first I thought I may be a bit bored with the story, but giving myself the 50 page rule, I sat down on my porch to read a few pages and the next thing I knew, twilight was setting in and the mosquitoes were coming out to play. Ms. Benedict does a wonderful job of telling the story through the eyes of a man, and shows the other side of divorce. I feel like quite often in books, the man is always made out to be a monster, and it was refreshing to see not every husband is a jerk. Ms. Benedict seems to have an extensive backlist, including one book titled Almost, that was a New York Times notable book, and I do plan on checking out some more in the future.

I do have one more library book to read, but I may pick up one more of my own to read first. I am so happy that it's only early afternoon on Saturday, and even though summer school starts Monday, I have all of my errands finished, cleaning completed, and lesson plans done so I can enjoy the summer weather (finally) while reading some more great books! Happy reading everyone and have a FANTASTIC weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Relentless by Dean Koontz

Relentless was my first book by Dean Koontz and the reason why I have never read anything by him before is because I was always under the impression that most of his books were more horror and supernatural, with perhaps a bit of sci-fi mixed in for good measure, and most of the time I don't really like that. I thought Relentless wouldn't have those aspects, but it did, so I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Still, Mr. Koontz provides a bit of humor, and I read the book pretty quickly. I give Relentless a B-.

Inside cover:
Bestselling novelist Cullen "Cubby" Greenwich is a lucky man and he knows it. He makes a handsome living doing what he enjoys. His wife, Penny, a children's book author and illustrator, is the love of his life. Together they have a brilliant six-year-old, Milo, affectionately dubbed "Spooky" and a non-collie named Lassie, who's all but part of the family.
So Cubby knows he shouldn't let one bad review of his otherwise triumphant new book get to him- even if it does appear in the nation's premier newspaper and is penned by the much-feared, seldom-seen critic Shearman Waxx. Cubby knows that the best thing to do is ignore the gratuitously vicious, insulting, and inaccurate comments. Penny knows it; even little Milo knows it. If Lassie could talk, she'd tell Cuby to ignore them too.
Ignore Shearman Waxx and his poison pen is just what Cubby intends to do. Until he happens to learn where the great man is taking his lunch. Cubby just wants to get a look at the mysterious recluse whose mere opinion can make or break a career- or a life.
But Shearman Waxx isn't what Cubby expects, and neither is the escalating terror that follows what seemed to be an innocent encounter. For Waxx gives criticism; he doesn't take it. He has ways of dealing with those who cross him that Cubby is only beginning to fathom. Soon Cubby finds himself in a desperate struggle with a relentless sociopath, facing an inexorable assult on far more than his life.

I really thought that Relentless had a lot of promise. I thought that this book could be really spooky and well done, especially in light of what has been happening lately with some authors who are not behaving well with reviews. I understand that Mr. Koontz has a genre and type of book that he normally writes, so I am not disappointed, I just wish it could have been somewhat more straight suspense and not some sci-fi thrown in. That's just me, though, and I wouldn't want that to discourage anyone from not reading it because of that. With all of that being said, Mr. Koontz does write a fast paced story, and I will admit that there were times my heart started beating a bit faster while I was reading. The story was a very fast read, and I read most of it this evening in a few hours. I really adored Milo as well, and even though the story was a horror/thriller type, there were several parts that left me smiling. Milo was absolutely adorable and Cubby is very likeable as well. While I may not pick up another Koontz book anytime soon, I am not upset that I read this book.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. Can you believe that just as I finished all of my library books (I believe I have now read 7 books from the library in a row!!!) another one came in? I don't care... I have to grab something off of my own shelves. I think I may be in the mood for a straight fiction right now, but who knows? I think I am going to jump in the shower and then just browse my bookshelves. I hope everyone else is enjoying their current reads and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Acts of Love by Emily Listfield

I think I have found a new author to love and I feel like I may have to run out the library right away and glom Ms. Listfield's backlist. Acts of Love was a beautifully written story, one that I immediately thought about when I woke up, anxious to get back to it. I give Acts of Love an A-.

Inside cover:
In a suburb near Albany, New York, Ted and Ann Waring are waiting for their divorce papers. They are also flirting with reconciliation- especially Ted- until, back from a hunting trip with their two adolescent daughters, he loses his temper one last time.
Was Ann's death an accident, or was it murder? Thirteen-year-old Julia- already in trouble before her mother's death- testifies against her father, setting in motion a struggle that pits family, friends, and townspeople against one another and exposes the interlocking compulsions of husband and wife, parent and child, sister and sister. As the many layers of truth about the killing unfold in the courtroom and in the characters' lives, Emily Listfield's lean and potent prose reveals the ways in which the emotions and evasions of the past reverberate uncontrallably in the present. Here is a chilling drama of suspense and passion from an astute and elegant writer.

I love the way that Ms. Listfield tells Acts of Loves, starting with the present, and then alternating back and forth from the past, going as far back as when Ann and Sandy were still children. We learn a lot of secrets about everyone throughout the story, and though at times I was thinking "what does this have to do with the story?" it all soon came together. None of the characters are exactly likeable, but it just goes to show how real they seem to be and really come to life on the pages. I could really relate to a lot of the things Ms. Listfield writes about in marriage, and one particluar point sticks in my mind. When talking with her sister, she says she can't stand the noise her husband makes while eating a grapefruit and how sometimes she dreams of slamming the grapefruit in her husbands face. As my husband has been working less, and we have been spending more time together, little things like that do grate on my nerves, especially when he eats cereal. It just made me chuckle and shows how well Ms. Listfield writes about real life. I highly recommend her books to you if you haven't tried one of them before.

Up next is my last library book, Relentless by Dean Koontz. I have heard a lot of good things about it, so I hope it proves to be a good one as it will be my first Koontz book. I am looking forward to reading some of my own books, but now I really want to read some more by Ms. Listfield. Maybe I will read a few of my own, and then one of Ms. Listfield. I really want to read Waiting to Surface, which is loosly based on something that happened in the author's own life. Well, I am off... I would love to sneak in a few chapters of Relentless before bed! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Locked Doors by Blake Crouch

Locked Doors is the sequel to Desert Places, which I read a couple of weeks ago. The ending left me hanging a bit, so I was happy to read Locked Doors. The pages flew by and kept me reading and I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Seven years ago, suspense novelist Andrew Thomas's life was shattered when he was framed for a series of murders. The killer's victimes were unearthed on Andrew's lakefront property, and since he was wanted by the FBI, Andrew had no choice but to flee and to create a new identity.
Andrew does just that in a cabin tucked away in the remote wilderness near Haines Junction, Yukon. His only link to society is by email, through which he learns that all the people he ever loved are being stalked and murdered. Culminating in the spooky and secluded Outer Banks of North Carolina, the paths of Andrew Thoms, a psychotic, and a young female detective collide.

If you plan on reading this book, I would highly recommend that you start first with Desert Places, which really lays a lot of groundwork for this book. I would also want to warn you that both books are very violent and there are a lot of dead bodies left around in the wake. Sometimes I think that the blood and gore was added just for the sake of having more bloods and guts, but the suspense really keeps your heart racing. This book is also leaves the reader hanging a bit, but there doesn't seem to be another book in the series. Mr. Crouch has a new book that was released today, actually, but it seems to go the way of paranormal books, and that just really doesn't interest me.
I'm glad this book was so good, though. I was previously reading another book, one by Thomas H. Cook, and again I was halfway through it and just couldn't finish it. It was too boring. I am beginning to think that Red Leaves may have been a fluke for me, since this was the second book I tried to read by him and didn't love it. Since I had one more by him checked out from the library, I ended up taking it back unread. I still have two more lirbary books to read, and I really need/want to start reading more off of my own shelves. I am going to read another book by Emily Listfield next and then I have Dean Koontz's latest book, Relentless, to read. That will be my first by Mr. Koontz, and from the reviews I have been reading lately, it looks like a good one to start off with. I hope everyone else has had a smooth transistion to work after a long holiday weekend and Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Worst Nightmares by Shane Briant

I've heard and read a lot about Mr. Briant's first novel, Worst Nightmares, on several blogs. It sounded like something brand new and not your average suspense book. There is even a website that coincides with the book! I placed it on hold and picked it up a couple of days ago and read it today. It was good, and the ending really left me wanting more. I give Worst Nightmares a B+.

Inside cover:
Dermot Nolan is an international, award-winning bestselling author who seems to have it all- a successful career, fame, fortune, and a beautiful wife. Between the royalities coming in from his most recent book, and the revenue he has received from the film company that bought the rights, Dermot seems every bit the literary darling.
And yet, for the last year, he has suffered from a bout of writer's block and in the process has grossly overspent his income. So when Demont comes across an unsolicited horror manuscript stuffed into his mailbox from one Albert K. Arnold entitled My Worst Nightmares- My Delicious Memoirs, he cannot help but feel intrigued. It tells the story of the twisted, homicidal "Dream Healer" who snares his victims via his website, seduces them into revealing their innermost fears, and then kills them revisiting their very own nightmares upon them, magnified a hundredfold. And while Dermot is disgusted by the horror of Mr. Arnold's manuscript, he is also deeply intrigued, so much so that he seeks to solve his writer's block by rewritting Arnold's novel as his own.
Sweeping aside the threatening prospect of plagarism, Dermot begins to rework the novel while simultaneously researching Arnold's stories. In his search, he slowly begins to realize that the novel may not be entirely fictional, that these poor characters may have perished at the hands of the twisted torturer. Could the Dream Healer be real? Could these innocent cyber-surfers have fallen victim to a raving maniac? And could Dermot be writing his own ticket to death... his very own nightmare?

I loved the idea of this book, especially the idea of someone discovering your worst nightmares and then torturing you and killing you through that nightmare. Plus, I had to check out if the website was real, and it was! There is a mini trailer and also shows some of the characters telling the Dream Healer their nightmares and watching the Dream Healer talking to them. With all of that being said, I thought the writing was a bit choppy. It seemed to jump around a bit, and there was not a clear linear flow. I had a hard time feeling for Dermot and I really didn't like him, but at the end of the story, I was cheering on for him. Plus the ending really knocked my socks off and I am wondering what is going to happen next. I wonder and hope that Mr. Briant is working on his next novel. If you do read this book, go ahead and check out the website though as it is sure to send shivers down your spine.

I am not sure what I am going to read next, but yet again, it will be a library book. I have several more to get through and I think it will be another suspense. I know I have another book or two by Thomas Cook along with the sequel to another book I read last month, so it will probably be one of those. My husband is currently sitting by where I store those books, so I am going to ask him to select one for me. I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Somebody Else's Daughter by Elizabeth Brundage

I first read Elizabeth Brundage's first novel earlier this year and absolutely loved it. When I saw she had another book out, I had to read it. Somebody Else's Daughter was a difficult book to read, at times, but absolutley beautifully written. I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Two young drifters, Nate and Cat- bottomed out on drugs and living on the margins of San Francisco- are forced by stress and circumstance to give up their infant daughter. Seventeen years later, Nate comes to the idyllic setting of the Berkshires to teach at the elite private Pioneer School- as his daughter's teacher.
Willa Golding, ensconced in a magnificent country home with her parents, has never worried about being adopted. But when the world she's always trusted becomes a foriegn place, she learns that her adoptive parents have not been totally honest with her- nor with others in their privileged circle.
Claire Squire is a visual artist struggling on the outskirts of her profession. It is a lucky break to get her troubled son, Teddy, a backdoor acceptance to Pioneer. But Teddy soon finds it's a precarious place well disguised by preppy ties, plaid skirts, and activities designed to look good on college applications. He sees through it all- but that, too, threatens his slippery grasp on a better future.
Somebody Else's Daughter is a collision of two very differnet fathers- biological and adoptive; a woman whose independence and talent have led her to dead ends in life and love; and a villain whose intentions slowly unfold with the help, witting and unwitting, of all those around him. An electric, suspenseful tale of conflicted characters and the fractured landscape of the American psyche, it scratches the surface of the Berkshire dream- a place where people go to live their ideals, and hide their secrets.

Ms. Brundage has a gift and a beautiful voice and it clearly comes through in this gripping book. I find myself tearing up at times, along with laughing and shaking my head in agreement. The story is told through several of the characters' eyes, and though at times the time period that has past is somewhat difficult to follow, the story holds on to you with a tight grip. There is somewhat of a suspense aspect, but the story is truly about family, and how different lives are behind closed doors. I highly recommend Somebody Else's Daughter if you enjoy reading a good, pleasant fiction read.

Up next is another library book, though I am not sure which one I am going to read. I need to check and see what book is due back next and read that one. I hope to get a few books read this holiday weekend as I have absolutely no plans. I am quite happy about this, and look forward to doing what strikes my fancy. I hope everyone else has a pleasant weekend and 4th of July and Happy Reading!