REVIEW: The Inner Circle by Brad Meltzer

The Inner Circle
by Brad Meltzer

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 457
Rang: 5/5
Read: Nov. 18-25, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 60
Format: E-Book

First Line: He knew the room was designed to hold secrets.

“There are stories no one knows. Hidden stories. I love those stories. And since I work in the National Archives, I find those stories for a living. “Beecher White, a young archivist, spends his days working with the most important documents of the U.S. government. He has always been the keeper of other people’s stories, never a part of the story himself . . .Until now. When Clementine Kaye, Beecher’s first childhood crush, shows up at the National Archives asking for his help tracking down her long-lost father, Beecher tries to impress her by showing her the secret vault where the President of the United States privately reviews classified documents. After they accidentally happen upon a priceless artifact—a two-hundred-year-old dictionary that once belonged to George Washington—hidden underneath a desk chair, Beecher and Clementine find themselves suddenly entangled in a web of deception, conspiracy, and murder. Soon a man is dead and Beecher is on the run as he races to learn the truth behind this mysterious national treasure. His search will lead him to discover a coded and ingenious puzzle that conceals a disturbing secret from the founding of our nation. It is a secret, Beecher soon discovers, that some believe is worth killing for.

I was able to request this book directly from the publisher, Hachette Book Group, through the website http://netgalley.com. This is truly a great source for those who enjoy ARCs, but would like to have them in the e-reader format. Anyways, on to the review. I have never read a Brad Meltzer book before, even though I have two or three of his previous books on my shelves. However, when I first stumbled across the information regarding the upcoming release of this book, I was immediately intrigued. I was a history major in college, so anything with a Presidential/Historical aspect will usually catch my interest. And the fact that this book had murder, conspiracy and a little bit of history … well, it was a home run for me! I was immediately taken in with the storyline, I loved the whole idea of the president of the United States going into the National Archives to perhaps send and receive secret messages. I liked how the story unraveled right in front of my eyes, especially when I was trying my hardest to find out who Beecher, the main character, should trust and who he should not trust. I wanted to scream at Beecher sometimes because of how stupid he was acting because he was supposedly lovestruck. Overall, I truly enjoyed this book and I know that it will do well with other readers when it hits bookstores early in January 2011. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and I am definitely looking forward to getting to some of the other Meltzer books that I have in my TBR pile.

REVIEW: The General by Patrick A. Davis

The General
by Patrick A. Davis

Copyright: 1998
Pages: 401
Rang: 4/5
Read: Nov. 1-9, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 59

First Line: I nodded to the rigid marine sergeant stsanding by the door as I turned off the Pentagon’s Eisenhower Hallway into the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Air Force General Watkins, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been found dead – by a gruesome, torture-style execution not seen since its use by the Vietcong over twenty years ago. Assigned investigator Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Jensen discovers that this murder is only one link in a chain of hideous crimes, beginning with closely guarded secrets of the Vietnam War and extending to the highest levels of the U.S. government. With lives, careers, and history in the balance, Jensen is caught between blind allegiance to authority and a nobler, higher patriotism. His path to the truth is strewn with mines – and the answers he seeks will have shocking consequences.

Unfortunately, I did not write down my thoughts immediate after I finished this book and somehow time has slipped away from me since I finished reading. That said, I know I enjoyed this book, but I really can’t say much more about it than that. I remember there was a slow start, but once I got into it, the pages flew by. I need to remember never to let so much time go between finishing and writing the review so that I can have something of substance to say. Sorry, readers :)

REVIEW: City in Shadow by Evan Marshall

City in Shadow
by Evan Marshall

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 182
Rang: 4/5
Read: Oct. 29-31, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 58

First Line: Anna Winthrop arranged throw pillows on the twin bed, then stepped back to admire her handiwork.

Anna Winthrop sees a scared woman leave a note outside her apartment. It reads: HELP ME. So Anna sets out to do just that. She spots her out at a restaurant with a respected doctor. Then she sees her running in Grand Central Station. But each time the woman vanishes as quickly as she appears. Then her body is found in the Hudson River. All the while, a career-making story leads investigative journalist Nettie Clouchet to a human trafficking ring. A woman acts as bait trying to find her missing sister. And Anna’s cousin, Patti, visiting from Cincinnati, searches New York’s dark streets, without saying why. All roads lead back to the Kirkmore, an apartment building where some dirty secrets are being kept, more terrifying than ever imagined.

This was a review book sent to me courtsey of Julie at FSB Associates. Overall I thought that this was a good book. It’s in the middle of a series, something that I generally do not like to do, but when this book was pitched to me it really caught my attention. Like I said, overall it’s a good book. However, it was hard to get into at first simply because there were so many storylines going on. But once I got a good grip on who was part of what storyline, it was a good book to get into. I was surprised by some of the twists and turns the story took. I was also surprised by how stupid some of the characters could be! I found this to be an enjoyable read, and would be interested in reading the others in the Anna Winthrop series. Highly recommended.

REVIEW: Cross by James Patterson

Cross
by James Patterson

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 377
Rang: 5/5
Read: Oct. 25-29, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish That Series Challenge;  RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 57

First Line: “I’m pregnant, Alex.”

Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, D.C. Police Department, when his wife was gunned down by an unknown assailant. He wanted revenge, but his children needed him. So he poured himself into his job. But eventually he burned out. That’s what has led him to resign from the FBI and take up practicing psychology full-time. Things are going well in his life for the first time in a long time … at least until his old partner, John Sampson, shows up with a serial rape case asking for help. When a connection to Maria’s death pops up during the investigation, Alex may finally get the chance to seek vengeance for his wife’s death. Will he finally be able to get his answers?

This is the twelfth in the Alex Cross series and I still can’t get enough of this series! Overall I enjoyed this book. I’m glad that there was some closure for Alex regarding Maria’s death. But I have to admit, I didn’t really care for the way this book began. It was kind of confusing in places. But overall, it was still great. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good, quick read.

REVIEW: 14 by J.T. Ellison

14
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 402
Rang: 5/5
Read: Oct. 19-24, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge;  RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 56

First Line: Would the bastard ever call?

In the mid-1980s, the Snow White Killer terrorized Nashville. As abruptly as the killing started, it ended. Now it seems like the killer has started up again – four new bodies have been found that look exactly like the Snow White Killer’s work. Or is there a copycat? Nashville Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson has the gut feeling that it’s a copycat at work. But she’s also a bit distracted trying to plan her impending wedding. Taylor knows that she won’t be able to enjoy her three week honeymoon unless this case is wrapped up. But the twists and turns that the clues will take them on will surprise everyone in the end.

This is the second in the Taylor Jackson series. You can read my review of the first book, All the Pretty Girls. This book really sucked me in from the first page and I wanted to know the truth. There were definitely some pretty shocking twists and turns that made this book just that much better. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good thriller. Plus, I have the next two books on my shelves and am definitely looking forward to getting to them soon.

REVIEW: The Fun of Dying by Roberta Grimes

The Fun of Dying: Find Out What Really Happens Next!
by Roberta Grimes

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 149
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 8-15, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 55

From the back of the book:

If you wonder whether death ends life, how it feels to die, or what heaven might be like, this book is for you. If you worry about a lost loved one or fret about the death of a pet, all the answers to your questions are here. And if you are afraid of death, if you worry that your life has no meaning, or if you have given up on religions, then let this book ease some of your fears while it brings new meaning to your life. Nothing written here is based on the teachings of any religion. Instead, this book draws on more than a century’s worth of evidence to explain in detail how death feels, how it happens, and – most importantly – what comes next. Accounts of near-death experiences are just a small part of the afterlife evidence. A lot of the best death-related evidence was produced in the first half of the 20th century, and it has been ignored ever since by mainstream science and mainstream religions. When it is put together with more recent discoveries, it tells a consistent and amazing story. The Fun of Dying is a complete account of how dying feels and what comes next. Read it, learn the truth, and apply its lessons so you can enjoy your best life forevermore!

I received this book courtesy of Megan Renart at Phenix & Phenix Publicists. This was a quick and easy read, while I didn’t really agree with some of the points that the author made, overall I felt as if it was an interesting read. I haven’t read a lot of books regarding this topic so it was definitely a new learning experience for me. I’m not very religious, so my thoughts in regards to what happens after death are kind of vague. I personally liked the fact that the author made it perfectly clear early on in the book that she is not an “expert” in this field, that she has a career other than studying death (an attorney). I feel like that fact made this book just that much more readable. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about death and what happens afterward.

REVIEW: Predator by Patricia Cornwell

Predator
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 456
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 10-14, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish that Series Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 54

First Line: It is Sunday afternoon and Dr. Kay Scarpetta is in her office at the National Forensic Academy in Hollywood, Florida, where clouds are building, promising another thunderstorm.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida when a new case comes her way. With the help of her team, Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy, they will uncover a trail of surprising clues. Two sisters have gone missing, and the clues are confusing. Someone is trying to point Kay in a particular direction regarding this case. While another killer, one safely behind bars and involved in a psychiatric study with Benton, tries to send Kay in another direction. One by one, connections will be made and all leads will point to the psychopathic mind of a jailed serial killer’s mind.

I enjoyed this book … until the ending (or lack thereof). I suppose the next book in this series will begin where this one abruptly left off. There were quite a few unanswered questions in this book. Overall, though, I thought that this book was a lot better than the past couple of books in this series, but it’s still not nearly as good as the earliest book in this series.