Wednesday, January 27, 2010

8. On the Loose by Andrew Coburn

My reading has been so blah lately and I'm not sure why. I started another book this weekend and was more than halfway through when I decided to give up on it because I couldn't get into it. I picked up On the Loose from my shelves because it was somewhat shorter and I thought I would be able to get into it quickly. It was an interesting read, and a quick one as well, and I give it a B.

Back cover:
By the time he was twelve years old, young Bobby Sawhill had killed two people, brutally and with no remorse. He was tried as a juvenille and sentenced to a youth detention center, where he refused counseling. All he seems to care about is bodybuilding, getting bigger. Stronger. Soon he'll be 21. He'll be released- and then Bobby's coming home. Home to a small town that will live in fear, certain that Bobby will kill again, unable to do anything but wait for him to strike.

I thought that On the Loose would be more of a suspense novel, but it was really a story about a small town and how a brutal and senseless murder affects them all. Told over a span of 9 years, with little explanation of how time is moving on, except small mentions of the seasons changing, it was interesting and different from anything that I've ever read before. Mr. Coburn does an excellent job of delving into everyone's emotions and grabs the reader's heartstrings. I almost found myself feeling sorry for Bobby and wasn't sure what to feel and think. The book, if nothing else, reminds us that there are always more than one side to a story, and sometimes we need to put ourselves in another person's shoes. I will definitely be looking for more books by Mr. Coburn in the future.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. In a rare moment, I have no library books checked out (though I do have a ton on hold that I am sure will come in at the same time) so I am going to grab something off of my shelves. Right now is my busy time, with subbing, tutoring online, and then working at my mom's tax business. Hopefully my reading will not suffer more than it has now. I hope everyone else is getting lots and lots of great reading in and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 22, 2010

7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I've heard so much about The Lovely Bones since it was released years ago, that I probably shied away from it. With the release of the movie and seeing the commericals for it, I decided I had to read it. It seemed like something I would really like, so I was able to borrow it from someone I work with. It was all right, and I give it a B+.

Back cover:
Susie Salmon, murdered at age fourteen, is adjusting to her new home in heaven, a place that is not at all what she expected, while back on earth her grief-stricken family is unraveling. Out of unspeakable tragedy and loss, The Lovely Bones succeeds, miraculously, in building a tale filled with hope, humor, suspense, even joy.

This is not the usual type of book I read, since there are aspects of the supernatural in it. I often have a hard time turning off my reality colored glasses and while I like to believe there is a heaven, how can someone right a book where the main character is there when no one has seen it? I also had a hard time reading this book because of the writing... it was done beautifully and it was so touching. I thought Ms. Sebold does a fantastic job of accurately describing and showing all of the different emotions Susie's family faces and deals with as they come to terms with her disappearance and murder. I mainly read suspense novels that are sometimes graphic and tough to read, but nothing as affected me like some of the passages from The Lovely Bones. I only hope the movie holds up to the book (though I doubt it!).

Up next is more of my usual fare, a suspense novel by a new to me author called No Mercy by John Gilstrap. I just picked it up from the library and hope to get through it this weekend. I do have some plans this evening and am talking my nephew out to lunch tomorrow, but other that I hope to get some reading and relaxing time in! I've been busy and tired lately and just haven't been placing much focus on my reading and visiting of other blogs. I've tried to keep up, but haven't had much time to comment. I hope to fix that this weekend! Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

6. Until the Day You Die by Tina Wainscott

I've enjoyed Tina Wainscott's books in the past, so when trying to decide what to read next, I picked up Until the Day You Die. The book was a bit slow, but scary at times, and I give it a B.

Back cover:
When Maggie Fletcher's sister is murdered, presumably by stalker Colin Masters, Maggie is left devastated- and furious. There isn't enough evidenct to prove that Masters did it- unless Maggie falsely claims, under oath, that she saw him leaving the scene of the crime...
Maggie's testimony puts Masters behind bars- but also wrecks Maggie's life. When she and her son move to a small New Hampshire town to start a new life, Maggie can't help but feel that she's being shadowed.
Someone is slowly, stealthily invading every part of Maggie's world, turning everything and everyone against her. Now Maggie fears that a faceless, merciless pursuer wants to make her pay for her lie- with her life.

Maggie was a bit of an unsympathetic character. While I can understand her need and desire to lie under oath about seeing Colin Masters, it messes up not only her life, but all of those that love her. I guess the book does show what impact lying can have on your life and just continue to snowball and get out of control. There were a few other storylines that were thrown into the story that I really didn't understand and didn't think were necessary to building the suspense of the story, but all in all, it was a good book. There was some romantic aspects to the book that were fairly predictible, so that put a bit of a damper on the book as romance novels are not my cup of tea usually. All in all, Until the Day You Die was a good book, but nothing that will probably stick with me for that long.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I have one library book to read and another to pick up tomorrow, but I think I may grab something off of my shelves. I have a bit of a headache right now so I may run some errands now so I can enjoy my day off tomorrow and just read and relax. I hope everyone had a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

5. The Innocent by Harlan Coben

As I mentioned in my previous post, I saw The Innocent while I was browsing at the bookstore. It sounded good but I knew it was a book the library would have, so I saved my gift certificate and went to the library to check out. It was a good read, but nothing I would write home about. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
The horror of one night is forever etched in Matt Hunter's memory: the night he innocently tried to break up a fight- and ended up a killer. Now, nine years after his release from prison, his innocence long forgotten, he's an ex-con who takes nothing for granted. With his wife, Olivia, pregnant and the two of them closing on a house in his hometown, things are looking up. Until the day Matt gets a shocking, inexplicable video call from Olivia's phone. And in an instant, the unraveling begins.
A mysterious man who'd begun tailing Matt turns up dead. A beloved nun is murdered. And local and federal authorities- inlcuding homicide investigator Loren Muse, a childhood schoolmate of Matt's with a troubled past of her own- see all signs pointing to a former criminal with one murder already under his belt: Matt Hunter. Unwilling to lose everything for a second time, Matt and Olivia are forced outside the law in a desperate attempt to save their future together.

I feel somewhat disappointed in The Innocent. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I feel like this isn't an uncommon feeling after reading a Harlan Coben novel. Perhaps it's all of the hype that I see and hear from other reviewers and reviews, but it wasn't anything outstanding or special. Olivia is not a very likeable character in my eyes, and some of the events were just a bit too unbelievable. There were also quite a few characters to keep track of and I had to flip back and forth a couple of times to make sure everyone was who I thought they were. With all of that being said, I still enjoyed The Innocent and thought that the suspense was built up well. I loved Loren's character and wanted to jump into the pages and hug Matt. I guess I can sum up this book by saying I had very conflicted feelings.

I am not sure what I am going to read next. I called back to my online job, so things have been a bit busier around here. I am happy to be picking up some extra money, but this week has been a long one and I am worn out. I have a training session in about an hour, so I need to pick something up quickly to have with me. I apologize for not visiting and commenting on blogs lately, but I have barely had any energy to turn my computer on for anything other than work. Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

4. Blood Memory by Greg Iles

Since I received some gift cards for Christmas, I have done quite a bit of browsing for new books. At two different stores, I picked up books by Mr. Iles. I knew I had a couple unread at home, so I put them back and picked up Blood Memory off of my bookshelf. Though it was a long book, 736 pages to be exact, it was a great, fast read. I give it an A-.

Back cover:
Forensic expert "Cat" Ferry is suspended from a FBI task force when the world- class odontologist is inexplicably sticken with panic attacks and blackouts while investigating a chain of brutal New Orleans murders. Returning to her Mississippi hometown, Cat finds herself battling with alcohol, plagued by nightmares, and entangled with a married detective. Then, in her childhood bedroom, some spilled chemicals reveal two bloody footprints... and the trauma of her father's murder years comes flooding back. Facing the secrets of her past, Cat races to connect them to a killer's present-day violence. But what emerges is the frightening possibility that Cat herself has blood on her hands...

I really liked Cat and was rooting for her throughout the story. While she is far from being perfect and makes so many dumb mistakes, I really hoped she would pull through everything and come out a better and stronger person in the end. The two cases Cat is investigating seem to be connected and the common factor is a difficult subject to talk or read about... child sexual abuse. I thought Mr. Iles did a great job making the story realistic and writing about such a difficult and heartbreaking topic. The setting, southern Mississippi and New Orleans are drawn out beautifully and I could picture myself in the warm, muggy air, something I wish I was in. Some characters from previous books by Mr. Iles make an apperance which I enjoyed, but it isn't necessary to read the books in order. If you enjoy reading suspense books, I would highly suggest you pick up one of Mr. Iles books!

I still have a few more library books to read, but I think a few of them may be returned unread. I think I am going to pick up Harlan Coben's The Innocents next. It is another book that I saw while browsing and I saved my gift cards by picking it up from the library. I hope everyone had a great weekend and Happy Reading!

Friday, January 8, 2010

3. Hush Money by Robert Parker

I picked up Hush Money at the library a couple of weeks ago and finished it a couple of days ago. It was a quick read and one I enjoyed. I give it a B.

Back cover:
Spenser has his hands full when he takes two cases on at the same time. In the first, a high-minded university might be hiding a killer within a swamp of political correctness. And in the other, Spenser comes to the aid of a stalking victim, only to find himself the unwilling object of the woman's dangerous affection.

This was my first book that I read in the series, but it definitely won't be my last. I really liked Spenser and his cast of characters that hang out with him, including his girlfriend Susan and his sometimes sidekick Hawk. This series is the perfect example of old-fashioned private investigator type of book. There is a lot of following others around and asking questions to find out the information needed. While the two cases Spenser is investigating aren't connected, it doesn't make the story the disjointed in any way and they both held my attention. I also thought liked the somewhat switcheroo where Spenser becomes the stalkee in the case he was investigating. If you haven't read any of the Spenser books, I would highly encourage you to pick one up. I am somewhat disappointed that I didn't start in the beginning, but I will probably go back and read some of the others in this series.

Right now I am reading a Greg Iles book, Blood Memories. It is a long book, over 700 pages long, though I am really enjoying it. I hope to get some serious reading time in this weekend. It's supposed to be very cold out so I would love to stay hunkered down under my Slanket reading quite a bit. Happy Reading everyone!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2. Lost Angel by Marilyn Wallace

Lost Angel is yet another library book I got awhile ago while browsing for reads over my break. It was a short read, yet older, though still good and holds up well. I give it a B.

Inside cover:
Valerie Vincent, a single mother, is struggling to make a life for herself in New York City. Her toddler daughter, Joanna, is safe- she assumes- in the hands of a trusted family friend. Until the day she sees her's baby's face on the television news. Her caregiver has been murdered, and the baby is being taken care of by the police. But when her mother arrives, frantic, to claim the child, she is already gone- taken by another woman!
Who could have done such a monstrous thing? Valerie's alchoholic ex-husband? His fanatically religious parents, who view Valerie as the devil incarnate? Perhaps even those who worship the devil himself? Or maybe someone much less likely- and much closer to home.
For Valerie, the hunt becomes a race against time. If the child was taken by Satanists, she may already have been spirited away for deadly ritual sacrifice. Now a mother must literally put her own life in jeopardy to save that of her child. And whom can Valerie trust, when even those closest to her may not be what they seem?

There are a ton of suspects in the disappearance of little Joanna, I admit throughout the book I was going back and forth in my head trying to decide who it was. It wasn't until the very end that I knew for sure, which is always a pleasant surprise! Ms. Wallace's book reminded me quite a bit of older Mary Higgins Clark books and it was nice to reminice of some of my first "adult" books I read in late middle school, early high school. This book is somewhat old, written in the early nineties, and I had to chuckle when the main character, Valerie, thinks about getting a Caller ID, the newest thing on the block, and how it was a brand new technology that is quite difficult to explain and fathom. It just goes to show how much technology does change and how quickly we become adapted to it.

I am not sure if I am going to read another library book or one off of my shelves. I may lean towards the library book just because it sitting right next to my chair, and I am feeling lazy. It was so cold at school today and I still haven't warmed up! Happy Reading!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

1. Love In All the Wrong Places by Frank Devlin

Love In All the Wrong Places was another book I selected while I was browsing at one of my local libraries. It was a quick and easy read, and I finished it in one day (yesterday). I give it a B+.

Inside cover:
Helen preys on single men on the make. Hoping always to find her perfect love, she is doomed to seek it in all of the wrong places. Helen is intriguing, even sympathetic, but the men she chooses always end up dead.
The killings seem random. Then, as the bodies mount up, San Francisco Police Department Inspector Rose Burke begins to see their connection. Rose is a complex woman and a savvy homicide detective, struggling in her marriage, reluctanatly pregnant, grieving the death of her former detective partner. Yet she is relentless in her pursuit of a killer. Her husband, Seamus, once a dot-com prodigy, now miserable in a corporate job, seems not to care about her. Her new partner, Joshua, is beginning to care too much.

At times, this book seemed to read like part of a series, but from everything I can tell, it isn't. This was a great psychological suspense read, though there weren't a ton of twists and turns. Rose is quite a lovable character, one I wanted to meet and sit with and talk about her life. We are exposed to her feeling about her husband and unexpected pregnancy and the feelings of her partner. Helen herself is another interesting character and as the pages turn, the reader is let into the her history and how she ended up where she is now. I am going to check further on and see if there are any more books by Mr. Devlin, especially those that are written with Rose featured in them. All in all, Love in All the Wrong Places was a great way to start off the new year.

I have since started my next book, which is titled The Killing Kind by John Connolly. It's another library book that I picked up a couple of weeks ago and hope to get in a good portion of it tomorrow. I am upset that I only have two more days of break left until it's back to work, and I plan to do something that I haven't done much of over the break... RELAX! Tomorrow is dinner at my BIL and SIL's and Monday I plan on grocery shopping and perhaps getting some meals prepared for the week ahead. I hope everyone else is having a great weekend and Happy Reading!