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!