Wednesday, February 24, 2010

17. Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky

I think I have read one or two of Ms. Delinsky's books in the past, but nothing really sticks in my mind. After reading quite a bit about of this book in the blogosphere, I decided to give it a try. It was a pleasant book to read and I enjoyed it. I give it a B+.

From Amazon:
When Susan Tate's seventeen-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy for both Lily and herself. Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school juniors who happen to be Lily's best friends-and the town turns to talk of a pact. As fingers start pointing, the most ardent criticism is directed at Susan. As principal of the high school, she has always been held up as a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. As Susan struggles with the implications of her daughter's pregnancy, her job, financial independence, and long-fought-for dreams are all at risk. The emotional ties between mothers and daughters are stretched to breaking in this emotionally wrenching story of love and forgiveness. Once again, Barbara Delinsky has given us a powerful novel, one that asks a central question: What does it take to be a good mother?

This was an interesting and sad book to read. Three girls who seemed to have it all felt the need to get pregnant for different reasons, none of them that one would normally say is a "good" reason. I thought Ms. Delinsky did a great job of showing the emotions that the mothers go through as they try to come to terms with the pregnancies and try and understand where they went wrong. I have been trying to get pregnant for the past year and I will admit that I got a bit emotional while reading it, but overall I really enjoyed it. I may have to check out more books by Ms. Delinsky in the near future. If you've read any of her other books and have any recommendations, please let me know.

Right now I am reading The Bone Thief by Thomas O'Callaghan. I actually finished Not My Daughter Monday night but haven't had much time to read. School is back in session and my husband has a horrible case of the stomach flu so things have been a bit crazy. Tomorrow will be a long day and I have to work Saturday all day but hopefully I will be able to fit in some reading here and there. I would like to ideally finish two more books before the end of the month. Happy Reading everyone!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

16. The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

I recently, within the past year or so, discovered Greg Iles. While his books are chunksters, they are always enjoyable. I have another book by Mr. Iles I've wanted to read for awhile but felt like I should read The Quiet Game first as it takes place first. I picked up knowing that I had some time off from work and could dedicate more time to it. It sitll took me awhile, but I really enjoyed it and give The Quiet Game a B+.

Back cover:
Ntachez, Mississippi, is the jewel of the antebllum South, a city of old money and older sins, where passion, power, and racial tensions seethe beneath its elegant facade.
It is here that Penn Cafe, a Houston prosecutor turned novelist, returns to his childhood home, hoping to find some solace in the aftermath of his wife's death. But peace is not what he finds.
Penn is stunned to discover that his own family is trapped in a web of intrigue and danger. But as Penn tries to right the wrongs, he stumbles over the town's darkest secret- and soon learns that this haunting mystery is inextricably bound up with the highest leves of government. With the won closing ranks around him, Penn suddenly realizes that his crusade for justice may cost him his illustrious career- and his life...

It is a bit difficult to classify this book... part legal suspense, part action and part mystery you get a bit of everything mixed up into one. Penn is a great character, one that is flawed but so likeable and believeable and one that really looks out for the little guy. What starts out as a case of revenge, Penn ends up biting off more that he can chew. I love the setting of southern Mississippi (especially since I really do love all things South and really want to move down there eventually) in a small town and thought that Mr. Iles does a fantastic job of discussing and exploring racial tensions both now and in the heights of the Civil Rights era in the 60s, though at times it was difficult to read. Parts were a bit unbelieveable, but in a way that you don't want to believe that the government and people could act like that. I will be reading many more Iles books in the future.

Ok... I need to log off. I am watching the hockey game (Canada vs. U.S.) and am too enthralled. While I wish my Wings' coach Babcock and my beloved hero Steve Yzerman lots of luck I have to cheer on the U.S. Plus the Red Wings' own and Michigan native Brian Rafalski has the Americans' two goals and can I barely type this as I watch. Hopefully I will get some reading done tonight between periods and perhaps on another snow day tomorrow. I also hope to get to everyone's blogs as well some time tonight. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

15. The Deubtante Divorcee by Plum Sykes

To continue with the brain candy I've been feeding myself lately, I decided to read The Debutante Divorcee. I had enjoyed Ms. Sykes' previous novel, The Bergdorf Blondes and thought it was time to give the next one a chance. I enjoyed it and it was pleasant read, one that I mark a B+.

Back cover:
Lauren Blount’s life is beautifully arranged: she’s very rich, very young, very thin, very pretty -- and very, very divorced. She is the most reckless and glamorous of Manhattan’s Debutante DivorcĂ©e set. Lauren captivates Sylvia Mortimer, the group’s token newlywed. But while Lauren sets out on a morality-lite, orgasm-heavy "Make Out Challenge," Sylvia discovers her marriage isn’t exactly an Eternity ad -- especially when the city’s most notorious Husband Huntress zeros in on her spouse.
Navigating a world of Divorce Showers and Power Christenings, Socialite Babies, Professional Friends, Gorgeous West Village Wives, and Un-Googleable Men, Sylvia fears her husband is straying and starts asking, as Lauren says, "Who needs a husband anyway?"

Like I mentioned above, this is pure brain candy, but sometimes you need a break from the heavy and dark stuff. Sylvia is the somewhat more down-to-earth character among the crazies and one that you want to root for. There is your usual mix-up among the love interests and a predictible ending, but it was still enjoyable. Even the outrageously rich characters were not that annoying this go around, and I liked the character of Lauren and could even imagine myself hanging out with them all. If you sometimes like to get lost in the pages of Cosmo or reality tv, I would recommend The Debutante Divorcees to you.

I am now taking a break from my library books to read one of my own. It's one I started sometime last year and put down, and I decided to give it a go this last half of break. It's a long one, coming in at 559 pages, but if I keep up my pace of reading, I should have it done by the weekend! Happy Reading all!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

14. Momzillas by Jill Kargman

I've read previous books by Ms. Kargman and enjoyed them, so I decided to check out Momzillas. It was a quick read and I finished it in one day. It was enjoyable, if not a bit predictible, and I give it a B.

From Amazon:
The mothers on Manhattan’s chic Upper East Side are highly educated, extremely wealthy, and very competitive. They throw themselves and all of their energy and resources into full-time child rearing, turning their kids into the unwitting pawns in a game where success is measured in precocious achievements, jam-packed schedules, and elite private-school pedigrees.Hannah Allen has recently moved to the neighborhood with her New York City–bred investment banker husband and their two-year-old daughter, Violet. She’s immediately inundated by an outpouring of advice from her not-so-well-intentioned new friends and her overbearing, socially conscious mother-in-law, who coach her on matters ranging from where to buy the must-have $300 baby dress to how to get into the only pre-pre-preschool that counts. Despite her better instincts and common sense, Hannah soon finds herself caught up in the competitive whirl of high-stakes mothering.

I always like reading these books about the wealthy and get a good chuckle out of the worries and personalities. The scary thing is, I am sure it goes on. I mean calling a preschool for an application as soon as the pregnancy test turns up positive? Seems a little crazy to me... but these chick-lit novels are always an enjoyable break from the norm. Hannah was a refreshing character, especially when you consider who she was associating with. While the ending was a bit predictible, I enjoyed the book and may consider reading more by the author.

Well, I am off. I have had a migraine all day and have worked too much through it, so I am going to jump in a hot shower and go to bed. Happy Reading all!

13. Irresistible by Ethan Black

Uh-oh... in attempts to get some things in order around the house and up my reading time, I've been spending some time away from the computer and now I am behind in my reviews and my blog reading. Irresistible is a book I've had on my shelves for awhile and I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I'm glad I did... it was a good suspense read and different from those that I typically read. I give it a B+.

Back cover:
Devastatingly sexy and deceptively lethal Nora Clay moves undetected through New York City, shadowing her unsuspecting prey. Once she has seduced her victim, she will leave him sweating, hungry for more. Until she stabs out his life in a flash of fury and steel. That is how TV producer Paul Anderson meets his grisly end.
In the middle of Manhattan's worst heat wave in twelve years, sex crimes detective Conrad Voort is assigned the disturbing case. At the murder scene he finds a taunting message scrawled on the wall: I know you. And the killing is far from over. For Nora Clay "knows" other men. Including Conrad Voort. Now, as he pursues one of the most elusive and brilliant killers he has ever confronted, the hunter becomes the hunted...

This was a different type of suspense book because right from the start the reader is aware of who is doing the killing but not the why. Voort is a really likeable character, one who is sympathetic and kind, and you really find yourself cheering for him and success everywhere. Nora is one messed up girl, but once you get to know more of her story, things become a bit more clear. The suspense continues to build throughout the story and the thrills keep coming. I thought setting the crime during a heat wave adds to the thrill of the book. There are some other story lines running through the book that I felt like I was missing out on because Irresistible is a part of a series, but it didn't bother me too much. I definitely plan on checking out more of Mr. Black's work in the future.

I have one more review to finish that I hope to get to sometime later on today. I am enjoying my week off from subbing, though I am still working everyday at my online job and my mom's office, but I hope to keep up the great pace of reading I have going on right now. I also hope to check in with everyone else soon and read about the great books you have been reading! Happy Reading all!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

12. Too Much Money by Domenick Dunne

I am a huge true crime buff and can't get enough of those types of shows on TV. I've been a fan of Domenick Dunne's show on Tru TV and even own a few of his books though I haven't read any. When I read a review of his newest, I decided to place a hold on it through my library. I quickly read it and enjoyed it. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
My name is Gus Bailey…It should be pointed out that it is a regular feature of my life that people whisper things in my ear, very private things, about themselves or others. I have always understood the art of listening. The last two years have been monstrously unpleasant for high-society journalist Gus Bailey. His propensity for gossip has finally gotten him into trouble—$11 million worth. His problems begin when he falls hook, line, and sinker for a fake story from an unreliable source and repeats it on a radio program. As a result of his flip comments, Gus becomes embroiled in a nasty slander suit brought by Kyle Cramden, the powerful congressman he accuses of being involved in the mysterious disappearance of a young woman, and he fears it could mean the end of him. The stress of the lawsuit makes it difficult for Gus to focus on the novel he has been contracted to write, which is based on the suspicious death of billionaire Konstantin Zacharias. It is a story that has dominated the party conversations of Manhattan's chattering classes for more than two years. The convicted murderer is behind bars, but Gus is not convinced that justice was served. There are too many unanswered questions, such as why a paranoid man who was usually accompanied by bodyguards was without protection the very night he perished in a tragic fire. Konstantin's hot-tempered widow, Perla, is obsessed with climbing the social ladder and, as a result, she will do anything to suppress this potentially damaging story. Gus is convinced she is the only thing standing between him and the truth. Dominick Dunne revives the world he first introduced in his mega-bestselling novel People Like Us, and he brings readers up to date on favorite characters such as Ruby and Elias Renthal, Lil Altemus, and, of course, the beloved Gus Bailey. Once again, he invites us to pull up a seat at the most important tables at Swifty's, get past the doormen at esteemed social clubs like The Butterfield, and venture into the innermost chambers of the Upper East Side's most sumptuous mansions.

I so love diving into a juicy story of the rich and famous, and though this book is fiction, I did see a lot of similarities to cases I have heard in the news. Mr. Dunne also adds in real people into the story such as Laura Bush and Prince Charles which helps add to the believeble factor. This story has all of the backstabbing, gossip, and child like behavior of those who are richer than anyone could ever imagine being. With days filled of lunches and then preparing for the party at night, I never get sick of reading about the wealthly. I probably would have graded this book higher, but a lot of useless information was repeated more than once and it grated on my nerves a bit. I also felt like the ending was rushed a bit, but I do know Mr. Dunne died late last year, so I wonder if perhaps his health took a turn for the worse and it impacted the story. All in all, I enjoyed it and am probably going to dust off the other books I have by Mr. Dunne.

Today I went to the library and picked up 6 books, most of them having to do with New York City in one way or another. I feel a binge of NYC books coming up, which is something I tend to do once in awhile. Mid-winter break is next week, so hopefully there will be plenty of time to read and organize and clean around here. I enjoyed my snow day yesterday which is when I finished Too Much Money, but didn't get much done, so I have to make a list of things I want to finish. I hope everyone is enjoying their week! Happy Reading!

Monday, February 8, 2010

11. The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble

I read about The Girl Next Door on Bookish NYC's blog when she mentioned it is centered around the residents of a building in New York City. Of course my interested was raised as soon as I read that as I am always on the lookout for a good book where New York is a main character. I am so glad that I checked it out and spent a good portion of my weekend when I was working reading it. A wonderful book, and one I give an A-.

From Amazon:
What makes a house a home?
For Eve Gallagher, home is miles away in England since she and her husband relocated to an apartment building on New York's Upper East Side. And life isn't coming up roses.
What makes a neighbor a friend?
Violet has lived in the building for decades, but she's always kept herself apart, until Eve's loneliness touches her heart.
What makes a wife a lover?
Jason Kramer in apartment 6A is no longer sure he loves his wife, but he's head over heels for Rachel Schulman in 6B.
What makes the girl next door the woman of your dreams?
Meeting Emily Mikanowski from 3A turns Trip Grayling's world upside down. It's love at first sight, but he needs help from Charlotte, the shy romance novel addict in 2A, if he's going to get his girl.
What they all have in common is an address, but it is also a home where their lives and secrets intertwine. Come in and enjoy this bittersweet story of friendship and love.

As I mentioned above, New York City almost plays a character in the book, but even more so, the building that everyone lives in plays a greater role. I really enjoy books like this that allow me to get inside several different characters' heads and see how each one perceives perhaps the same exact occasion. All of the characters were likeable and there were quite a few twists and turns throughout the story. It is nice to get away from the grit and suspense of my usual books, so I was really excited to read this one. While Eve is the main character, we get to know several of the other characters in the story and what makes them tick. We see Eve mature throughout the move to a new city and country that isn't something she's always dreamed of and make an unlikely lifelong friend. My favorite character was Charlotte, though, and I was thrilled to see that Ms. Noble is currently writing a sequel where her and Emily play a bigger role in the story. Please hurry up and finish Ms. Noble!

Up next is my usual suspense and another library book and recommendation from a book blog, though of course I don't remember which one. This one is called Good People by Marcus Sakey and I hope it turns out to be a great one too! Hopefully midweek things will slow down a bit for me and I will be able to sneak in a few pages here and there until then. Well, I gotta go... the kids are about to come into class. Happy Reading everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

10. Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks

I read about Faces of the Gone by Mr. Parks on someone's blog and immediately placed it on hold through my local library. I think it was definitely the type of book I needed to read after my railure with the Carlene Thompson book and I whizzed through it. I give Faces of the Gone a A-.

From Amazon:
Four bodies, each with a single bullet wound in the back of the head, stacked like cordwood in a weed-choked vacant lot: That’s the front-page news facing Carter Ross, investigative reporter with the Newark Eagle-Examiner. Immediately dispatched to the scene, Carter learns that the four victims—an exotic dancer, a drug dealer, a hustler, and a mama’s boy—came from different parts of the city and didn’t seem to know one another. The police, eager to calm jittery residents, leak a theory that the murders are revenge for a bar stickup, and Carter’s paper, hungry for a scoop, hastily prints it. Carter doesn’t come from the streets, but he understands a thing or two about Newark’s neighborhoods. And he knows there are no quick answers when dealing with a crime like this. Determined to uncover the true story, he enlists the aide of Tina Thompson, the paper’s smoking-hot city editor, to run interference at the office; Tommy Hernandez, the paper’s gay Cuban intern, to help him with legwork on the streets; and Tynesha Dales, a local stripper, to take him to Newark’s underside. It turns out that the four victims have one connection after all, and this knowledge will put Carter on the path of one very ambitious killer.

I loved Carter. I thought he was such a down-to-earth guy, a realistic reporter that will go to lengths to get a story, but not too act so stupid that he is unebelieveable. He seems like a genuine, nice down-to-earth character and one that comes across as someone I would love to hear talk about their lifes and stories in a bar. Mr. Parks does a fantastic job injecting some humor into the story, and Tommy is the perfect way to do this. He had me laughing the entire time when he was making fun of Tommy's pleated pants. The humor was perfect and lightened the mood of anotherwise grim story. I will definitely be on the lookout for more books featuring Carter Ross in the future... Faces of The Gone was the first in a new series!

I am at school right now and it's time to get the kids ready to go home. I hope everyone is having a great week... thank God tomorrow is Friday!!! Happy Reading everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2010

9. If You Ever Tell by Carlene Thompson

If You Ever Tell is a book that had been sitting on my shelves for far too long so I decided to pick it up and give it a try. I was a bit disappointed, however, and can only give it a B-.

Back cover:
It took everything in Teresa Farr's power to return to her hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. Eight years earlier, she had walked in on the savage murders of her father and stepmother- both of whom she hated. She barely managed to save herself and her eight-year-old stepsister, Celeste. But even after notorious serial killer Roscoe Lee Byrnes confessed, people still wondered if Teri was the guilty one. And with Celeste unable to remember that night, or speak at all, those suspicions never went away...
Now Celeste is beginning to remember. Now Byrnes has recanted his confession. And someone is using a series of bizarre, taunting events to exact terrifying "justice". As Teri desperately races to uncover the truth, she's finding that everyone she loves has secrets they would kill to keep buried. And in the bright mountain sunlight, an evil conealed all too well is reaching out to silence her and Celeste forever...

This book was just blah. The suspense part was the miniority in the book, in my opinion, and focused much more on Teri and her family and friends. There was a lot of repeating of events as Teri thinks back to the scene that was just played out in the previous chapter, and in some cases, the previous paragraph. Teresa isn't the most likeable character, either. She's selfish and a lot of her thoughts were about her and how everyone's actions affected her. There was also quite a bit of romance in the story and it wasn't billed that way, so I was a bit disappointed. I don't know if I've lost my reading mojo or what, but I just couldn't get into this book that much. I've read previous books by Ms. Thompson and enjoyed them, so this was a bit of a letdown. I hope the next book I read grabs me more than this one did.

That's it for me tonight. Work has been crazy and as a matter of fact, I am tutoring online right now. I think some students are about to enter, so I must get off. Have a great night everyone and Happy Reading!