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!