Friday, October 22, 2010

94. Riverside Park by Laura Van Wormer

Riverside Park caught my eye will browsing at the library. Set in one of my favorite locations, I thought it would be right up my alley. It was a great book to sneak in a few pages here and there as my schedule allowed it and I enjoyed it. I give Riverside Park a B.

From Amazon:
Along the banks of the Hudson River is one of New York's premier enclaves, Riverside Park, where up-and-comers rub shoulders with those who have already made it.
Once deliriously happy, Amanda and Howard Stewart now teeter on the brink of infidelity—and financial ruin.
Media titan Cassy Cochran's storybook marriage hides the secret at the core of her existence.
Beautiful, privileged Celia Cavanaugh's life is spiraling out of control—and she's taking a naive teenage boy down with her.
Headstrong single mother Rosanne DiSantos struggled for years to better herself…and now realizes she despises the life she worked so hard to achieve.
Proud father Sam Wyatt refuses to see his family destroyed by an act of desperation—and will do anything to preserve their happiness.
The widespread branches of this urban family entwine in a stirring, multifaceted story of love denied, love revealed and love remembered.

Of course when I am about halfway through, if not more, I realize that Riverside Park is part of a series, or at least the characters appear in another story. That irritates me because I love to get the full backstory. Who knows, maybe down the road I will pick up some of the previous books, but now the story is too fresh in my mind. This is just an easy escape read about the lives of tennants in a fantastic building in New York City's Manhattan. I so love NYC and enjoy reading books set there. While nothing Earth shattering or new, it was a great escape when I had 10 minutes blow drying my hair to read.

93. The Other Side of the Door by Nicci French

I absolutely adore Nicci French books, which are writen by a London based husband-wife team. Their suspense is always great and I was so surprised to learn that a new book had been released. Normally I am on top of things like that. The Other Side of the Door was fantastic and I give it an A-.

From Amazon:
Who is more dangerous? An enemy? A friend? Or a lover?Bonnie Graham stands in the open door of her friend’s apartment. She is alone, except for the dead body lying in a pool of blood on the floor. What happened? What will Bonnie do now? Whom can she turn to? And what role has she played in the murderous events?Bonnie is a music teacher who has spent a long, hot summer in London rehearsing with a band to play at a friend’s wedding. It was supposed to be fun, but the band members find the complicated knots of their friendships—some old, some new—unraveling as the days themselves unwind. What was meant to be a summer of happiness, love, and music turns deadly as lovers betray one another, passions turn murderous, and friendship itself becomes a crime. Everyone tells lies. But is anyone prepared to tell the truth to uncover a murderer?Nicci French, the author of eleven internationally bestselling novels including Killing Me Softly, Catch Me When I Fall, and Losing You, delivers a sexy, intricate thriller about the temptation of secrets, the weight of lies, and the price of betrayal and suspicion.

Now I have been extremely busy lately, working two jobs and averaging 60 plus hours a week. I finished this book a couple of weeks ago and just haven't had the time to blog about it, but this ending is still sticking with me. It reminded me of an old Hitchcock film with such a twist and surprise that really left me hanging and wanting more. I thought the premise was really great too. If you haven't read a book by Nicci French, I would highly recommend it!

92. Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

I continue to read the Stephanie Plum books each year because I so used to love the series. I have been disppointed by several of the past books, and from reading around the blogosphere, it seems to me that quite a few bloggers agree with me. I have since stopped buying the books and now only get them from my library. Sizzling Sixteen didn't do much sizzling for me, and I can only give it a B-.

From Amazon:

Trenton, New Jersey, bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, Uncle Pip didn’t specify if the bottle brought good luck or bad luck. . . .
Vinnie, of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds, has run up a gambling debt of $786,000 with mobster Bobby Sunflower and is being held until the cash can be produced. Nobody else will pay to get Vinnie back, leaving it up to Stephanie, office manager Connie, and file clerk Lula to raise the money if they want to save their jobs.
Being in the business of tracking down people, Stephanie, Lula, and Connie have an advantage in finding Vinnie. If they can rescue him, it will buy them some time to raise the cash.
Finding a safe place to hide Vinnie turns out to be harder than raising $786,000. Vinnie’s messing up Mooner’s vibe, running up pay-per-view porn charges in Ranger’s apartment, and making Stephanie question genetics.
Between a bonds office yard sale that has the entire Burg turning out, Mooner’s Hobbit-Con charity event, and Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle, they just might raise enough money to save the business, and Vinnie, from ruin.
Saving Vincent Plum Bail Bonds means Stephanie can keep being a bounty hunter. In Trenton, this involves hunting down a man wanted for polygamy, a turnpike toilet paper bandit, and a drug dealer with a pet alligator named Mr. Jingles.
The job of bounty hunter comes with perks in the guise of Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, and the dark and dangerous security expert, Ranger. With any luck at all, Uncle Pip’s lucky bottle will have Stephanie getting lucky---the only question is . . . with whom?
Sizzling Sixteen . . . so hot, the pages might spontaneously combust!

All I really have to say is eh. Not much bounty hunting going on, not much resolution with the whole Joe and Ranger diabcle, and not much Grandma Mazur, my favorite Plum. While I don't regret reading the book, I was disappointed but so glad I didn't break down and buy it after waiting 3 plus months from the library to get it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

91. Mothers and Other Liars by Amy Bourrett

Mothers and Other Liars is another trade paperback I just wasn't willing to pay full price for. I just can't spend $14 for something that will take a day for me to read... it just doesn't make good sense to me! I ended up getting it from my favorite place- the library and enjoyed it. I give it a B.

From Amazon:
How far will a mother go to save her child?
Ten years ago, Ruby Leander was a drifting nineteen-year-old who made a split-second decision at an Oklahoma rest stop. Fast forward nine years: Ruby and her daughter Lark live in New Mexico. Lark is a precocious, animal loving imp, and Ruby has built a family for them with a wonderful community of friends and her boyfriend of three years. Life is good. Until the day Ruby reads a magazine article about parents searching for an infant kidnapped by car-jackers. Then Ruby faces a choice no mother should have to make. A choice that will change both her and Lark's lives forever.

I thought this was such a different premise and a very interesting one at that. Ruby, in a sense, grows up with Lark. One day while reading a magazine, she sees her whole life changing before her eyes. It's difficult to go into too much without giving it away so I will tread lightly. I liked Ruby but thought that she too was a bit selfish. I would never want to be in her position. I also thought the ending was a bit far fetching, but overall I enjoyed the book.

90. Outside the Ordinary World by Dori Ostermiller

Outside The Ordinary World was a book I spotted while browsing at the book store. I hate buying trade paperbacks because of their price, so I jotted down the name and looked to see if my library had it. Luckily, the did. I wasn't overly impressed with the book though and give it a B-.

From Amazon:
Sylvia Sandon is at a crossroads in her life. A wife and mother of two daughters, she and her city-planner husband grapple with the escalating renovation of their antique farmhouse--a situation that mirrors the disarray in Sylvia's life. Facing a failing marriage and a famished career as an art teacher, Sylvia finds herself suddenly powerless to the allure of Tai Rosen, the father of her most difficult art student. As their passion ignites, Sylvia is forced to examine her past, and the seeds of betrayal that were sown decades earlier by her mother's secret life. Eloquently written and deeply thought-provoking, Ostermiller's OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY WORLD crosses many years and miles--from the California brushfires in the 1970s to New England during the first half of this decade. Raised Seventh Day Adventist, Sylvia must reconcile the conflicting values exhibited by her parents--a mother involved in an extramarital affair and a father who was emotionally distant and abusive--while coming to terms with her own disturbing role in her family's dissolution and father's tragic death. While infidelity is a subject often explored in fiction, Ostermiller shines a razor-sharp lens on the gray areas surrounding betrayal, the complex interplay of religion, and the powerful legacy passed down from one generation to the next. At the same time, she reveals the redemptive power of the human spirit to love, transform, and forgive despite family history.

I really disliked Sylvia. Even know, a week after finishing the book, I still don't like her- at all! I thought she was selfish and only thought of herself for most of the book. I did like the way the story was told, though, from the 1970s when Sylvia was growing up, to present day when she is a mom of two. It took me awhile to finish this book and there just wasn't much to keep my attention for a lot of the time, so I was disappointed. I thought it could have been done in a much better way.