Tuesday, June 29, 2010

48. The Unquiet by John Connolly

The Unquiet was an impulse grab while looking and browsing at my local library. This was a new to me author, and to be truthful, I'm not sure why I finished it. It was long and a bit confusing and I give it a C.

From Amazon:
But that is the nature of revenge. It escalates. It cannot be controlled. One hurt invites another, on and on until the original injury is all but forgotten in the chaos of what follows.John Connolly's originality and talent for storytelling have quickly made him one of today's preeminent thriller writers. Now, inThe Unquiet,private detective Charlie Parker returns to untangle a horrifying story of betrayal, unclean desires, and murder -- a story of never-ending evil whose conclusion is not yet written.Daniel Clay, a once-respected psychiatrist, has gone missing. His daughter insists that he killed himself after allegations surfaced that he had betrayed his patients to foul and evil men -- but when a killer obsessed with uncovering the truth behind his own daughter's disappearance comes seeking revenge, long-forgotten secrets begin to emerge. Hired by Dr. Clay's daughter to protect her from the predator on the loose, tortured and ingenious private detective Charlie Parker finds himself trapped between those who want the truth to be revealed and those who will go to any length to keep it hidden.John Connolly masterfully intertwines secret lives and secret sins with the violence that so often lies beneath the surface of the honeycomb world in this gripping page-turner. Fast-paced, hypnotic, and elegantly written, The Unquiet is John Connolly at his chilling best.

Like I mentioned above, this was a long book with tiny print. There were a ton of characters that were difficult to keep track of. As a matter of fact at the end of the book, as all of the bad guys were being revealed, I had to look back at the beginning to find out who some of them were. I thought that there was too many things going on that definitely could have been left out. I almsot didn't finish the book and should have given up and I am not sure why I didn't. I probably won't be checking out more from Mr. Connolly. Happy Reading!

47. Lost by Joy Fielding

I've always enjoyed Ms. Fielding's books and picked up a couple off of her backlist a couple of weeks ago while I was at my local library. Lost was ok, definitely not my favorite by her, but a good, quick read. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
Julia Carver a twenty-four -old model and aspiring actress is moving in with her mother Cindy, after living with her father past 10 years Julia's return is a huge adjustment for Cindy and her sister Heather. As a child Julia was willful and self absorbed, as an audit she is even worse. When Julis disappears Cindy assumes that she is staying with friends. But after days and nights pass without any word Cindy suspects that something terrible has happened to her daughter and begins a frantic search.

I had a hard time liking a lot of the characters. They were really annoying. I am not sure why, but they all seemed to be a bit selfish. Heather was probably one of the only likeable characters. At first a lot of people thought Cindy was overreacting, and perhaps she was, because Julia is an adult, but I guess you can trust a mother's instinct. I thought Cindy's friends were really annoying in particular, expecting her to attend a movie festival while her daughter was missing. It was somewhat insensitive and I was a bit surprised by it. The ending was somewhat a surprise, but I thought it was a little far-reaching. Overall a good read but nothing that will probably stay with me for a bit. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

46. Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult

I while ago, I started this book but put it down for some reason. I can't remember now, but I am so glad I gave the book a second chance. While it came in over 400 pages long, I devoured it in one day. I give Salem Falls an A-.

From Amazon:
A handsome stranger comes to the sleepy New England town of Salem Falls in hopes of burying his past: once a teacher at a girls' prep school, Jack St. Bride was destroyed when a student's crush sparked a powder keg of accusation. Now, washing dishes for Addie Peabody at the Do-Or-Diner, he slips quietly into his new routine, and Addie finds this unassuming man fitting easily inside her heart. But amid the rustic calm of Salem Falls, a quartet of teenage girls harbor dark secrets -- and they maliciously target Jack with a shattering allegation. Now, at the center of a modern-day witch hunt, Jack is forced once again to proclaim his innocence: to a town searching for answers, to a justice system where truth becomes a slippery concept written in shades of gray, and to the woman who has come to love him.

There were so many interesting themes running through this book and different subjects that made the book so un-put-downable. I thought the the girls' playing with the occult was an interesting way to tie in the modern-day witch hunt that does occur in this story. Unfortunely, I think this is something that could happen way too easily nowadays and I was devasted as I continued to read. Ms. Picoult is such a fantastic author and I can't wait to continue reading her backlist.

45. Mercury in Retrograde by Paula Froelich

I read about Mercury in Retrograde in some magazine I was reading (I have been checking a ton of old issues out of my local library lately. Sometimes I go years without reading a magazine and then I get stuck on reading them). It sounded cute so I checked it out of my local library. It was cute and I give it a B+.

From Amazon:

Penelope Mercury, an intrepid reporter at the New York Telegraph, has pounded the pavement for five years from city borough to borough, carrying out her boss's eccentric orders to break stories that seem inconsequential to everyone but him. Finally, she is inches away from being promoted to her dream job -- covering courtroom drama for the paper -- but after one spectacularly disastrous day, she is fired instead.
Lena "Lipstick Carcrash" Lipp encrass has a pretty fabulous life, even by a socialite's standards, as a top editor at the high fashion magazine Y. Long lunches with her girlfriends and afternoons spent shopping at Bergdorf's are all in a day's work. But when Lena's always indulgent parents abruptly cut off her cash flow and kick her out of her beloved West Village duplex for refusing to work for the family business, she is forced to confront the reality of what it takes to pay the bills.
Dana Gluck, a workaholic lawyer, had been married for two years to a man who was perfect on paper but increasingly critical in reality. She hoped that her dreams of motherhood would be fulfilled soon, which surely would also fix their marriage problems. Instead, her husband leaves her for an exchange student/model who, to make matters worse, promptly gets pregnant.
When fate conspires to have these three very different women move into the same SoHo apartment building, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might be the best thing that could have ever happened to them.

While parts of the story seem to follow a formula a bit, it was still a breezy, easy read for the summer. I loved all of the characters, though I wish there would have been more of Dana. She was a character that I thought a lot of people could probably relate to. And no, my hubby hasn't left me, but her life decisions she makes are a good lesson to us all. I used to read nothing but chick lit and have left most of it behind, but on a hot summer day, sometimes chick lit is the perfect way to cool down and relax. This would probably be classified as the perfect beach read.

44. Tell Me No Secrets by Joy Fielding

A couple of weeks ago while browsing at one of my local libraries, I realized there were a few of Ms. Fielding's books on her backlist that I hadn't read. I had to rectify that immediately and picked up Tell Me No Secrets. It was just an ok read, somewhat predictible, and I give it a B.

From Amazon:

Eight years after her mother mysteriously disappeared on her way to a doctor's appointment, Chicago prosecutor Jess Koster's panic attacks have returned--as she fights to convict a sadistic rapist who may have killed his latest victim. But Rick Ferguson--the man who threatened to kill Connie DeVuono if she pressed charges and then smiled at the news of her disappearance--may not even be the man behind Jess's stifling fear. Puzzling over the question of who sent her a urine-soaked letter garnished with pubic hairs, she wonders ``how many men [she had] managed to alienate in her young life'' It's a good question for a workaholic prosecutor--especially when you add Jess's hostility toward her lovesick father, her controlling brother-in-law Barry Peppler, her bedroom-minded colleague Greg Oliver, and Terry Wales, the Crossbow Murderer she's trying to nail on murder one. Even the two men she can bring herself to trust--her provocative new romantic interest, Adam Stohn, a shoe salesman; and her protective ex-husband, Don Shaw, who turns out to be Rick Ferguson's own attorney--are pulling her apart by their appeals to her loyalty. Maybe she's just imagining seeing Ferguson's face in so many crowds. But she's not imagining the vandalism to her car or the break-in to her house; and the prognosis on her pet canary doesn't look too good either.

I figured out who the bad guy was fairly early on, though I wasn't sure if I was 100% correct. It was a bit difficult to really like the amin character as I thought she was selfish and kind of self absorbed at times, but overall it was a good book. This one was fairly old though, written in 1993, so it was a bit dated. While not my favorite by Ms. Fielding, it was still an enjoyable book and one I was happy to read.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

43. Rapture by Thomas Tessier

I picked up Rapture while browsing at my local library (where else would I be?!?). It was a new to me author and a fairly old book, but a quick enjoyable read. I give it a B.

Back cover:
Jeff has always loved Georgianne, ever since they were kids- with a love so strong, so obsessive, it sometimes drives him to do crazy things. Scary things. Like stalking Georgianne and everyone she loves, including her caring husband and innocent teenage daughter. Jeff doesn't think there's room in Georgianne's life for anyone but him, and if he has to, he's ready to kill the others... until he's the only one left.

I read this book very quickly as it was an easy read. While not the most suspenseful book and with some predicitiably, I found myself getting more and more sucked in as I turned the pages. I thought there were some cop-outs in the way the story was told but all in all I had fun reading it. It was a great way to pass by some time as my summer vacation nears. Happy Reading!

42. Songs of the Humpback Whale by Jodi Picoult

I may be late to the game of Ms. Picoult's novels, only really discovering them in the last year or so, but I am definitely making up for lost time. Songs of the Humpback Whale was a wonderful book and I have to give it an A.

From Amazon:
Sometimes finding your own voice is a matter of listening to the heart....
Jodi Picoult's powerful novel portrays an emotionally charged marriage that changes course in one explosive moment....For years, Jane Jones has lived in the shadow of her husband, renowned San Diego oceanographer Oliver Jones. But during an escalating argument, Jane turns on him with an alarming volatility. In anger and fear, Jane leaves with their teenage daughter, Rebecca, for a cross-country odyssey charted by letters from her brother Joley, guiding them to his Massachusetts apple farm, where surprising self-discoveries await. Now Oliver, an expert at tracking humpback whales across vast oceans, will search for his wife across a continent -- and find a new way to see the world, his family, and himself: through her eyes.

I felt that this book did an excellent job of showing that there are always more than one side to a story. The way that Ms. Picoult chooses to tell the story only helps the reader understand where everyone is coming from and their reactions to one single event. While I didn't always like Jane (at one point in the story, I couldn't stand her) it only goes to show how believable the characters were. I tend to enjoy these types of characters more often than not because who is real life in liked by everyone, or I guess more importantly who is deserving to be liked by everyone all of the time. Yet again, another winner by Ms. Picoult.

Monday, June 7, 2010

41. Murder of a Royal Pain by Denise Swanson

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I'd missed a new book by one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. While browsing at the bookstore I noticed that there was not one but two books I hadn't read in the Scumble River series. I immediately checked this one out of my local library and flew through it. I give Murder of a Royal Pain an A-.

From Amazon:
When school psychologist Skye Denison stumbles over the body of pushy “Promfest” chairperson Annette Paine during a Halloween fundraiser, it looks like a clear-cut case of promicide. Annette was not the only prom mom desperate to see her daughter crowned queen. But she was also wearing the same witch costume as Skye, so which witch was the intended victim?

I so enjoy this series. I love Skye and the attitude that she has of being happy with herself and making no excuses. Maybe because I work in schools I enjoy seeing the situations she puts herself in because of her job, but returning to Scumble River is always enjoyable. While maybe not the most suspenseful books, I always know I am in line for a pleasant way to pass an afternoon. If you haven't read any books from this series and enjoy cozies, I would highly suggest you check them out!

40. Half Price Homicide by Elaine Viets

I have loved Ms. Viets' Dead-End Job Mystery series since the beginning. As a matter of fact, it is one of the few cozy mystery series that I still follow after glomming them for quite awhile. I always look forward to the newest one but was a bit disappointed with Half Price Homicide. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
At Snapdragon, a high-end designer consignment shop, Helen is at the beck and call of snobby- yet frugal-customers. That alone is a deadly combination, especially with Chrissy, a drool-worthy fashionista who walks in with a purse to sell, and ends up screaming at her husband and another customer. Helen is used to dealing with snobby women, controlling husbands, and fashionable politicians. But she's about to have to handle a brand new type of unsatisfied customer-a murderer. Chrissy is found dead in Snapdragon's dressing room, with the hand-painted scarf Helen was just holding tied around her neck. And Helen goes from being low on society's totem pole to high on the police's suspect list.

I guess in the same vain as the Stephanie Plum books, I am looking for some type of resolution to Helen hiding from the authorties and her ex-husband Rob. While there was some resolution, Ms. Viets opened up another can of worms that just won't seem to allow Helen and her fiancee to settle down and live happily ever-after. This book also seemed to lack a bit in the mystery department and most of it focuses on Helen tying to clear up her past. I have to admit I enjoyed the books more before Helen settled down with Phil and worry that she may not have to continue to bounce from one dead end job to the next. With all of that being said, I still enjoyed this quick read, finishing it in one day. I am a bit behind on my reviews, of course! Happy Reading!