Thursday, December 31, 2009

Flesh Wounds by Mick Cochrane

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Burn by John Lutz

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Blue Nowhere by Jeffrey Deaver

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unspoken Fear by Hunter Morgan

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 18, 2009

I'll Be Watching You by Samuel M. Key

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Kill by Allison Brennan

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 12, 2009

See Jane Run by Joy Fielding

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mortal Friends by Jane Stanton Hitchcock

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Head to Head by Linda Ladd

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

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

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

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