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.

REVIEW: Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen

Ice Cold
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 322
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Oct. 6-9, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish that Series Challenge
Yearly Count: 53

First Line: She was the chosen one.

Maura Isles goes to Wyoming for a medical conference. There she meets a man that she went to college with and she makes a split second decision to go skiing with him, his daughter and two of his friends. That uncharacteristic decision will put her life at risk. Getting lost a snowstorm, they end up in a place called Kingdom Come. And Kingdom Come is not somewhere they want to be, it’s an abandoned village with some strange clues left behind. Several days later Jane Rizzoli, back in Boston, receives word that Maura’s charred body has been found in a mountain revine after a terrible car accident. Jane is determined to find out exactly what happened to her friend, but the investigation that she becomes involved in out in Wyoming will prove quite interesting. There are some people who will do anything in order to keep the truth about the people who used to reside in Kingdom Come, but Jane just can’t let things go.

This is the most recent installment in the Rizzoli and Isles series and I have to say I really enjoyed it! I must say, though, that there were some spots in the book that were just unbelievable to me. And I’m very interested to see what the next book in this series will bring based on the ending of this book. I have really enjoyed catching up with this series, and I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a great read!

REVIEW: The Collectors by David Baldacci

The Collectors
by David Baldacci

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 511
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 20-Oct. 5, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 52

First Line: Roger Seagraves walked out of the U.S. Capitol after an interesting meeting that, surprisngly, had had little to do with politics.

The assassination of the Speaker of the House of Representatives has rocked the nation. And the Camel Club has found a chillingly interesting connection between his death and the death of the director of the Library of Congress’s Rare Books and Special Collections Division. Oliver Stone, the Camel Club’s unofficial leader has found that someone is selling secrets to some of America’s worst enemies. When Annabelle Conroy, the greatest con artist of her generation breezes through town for the funeral of the Library of Congress’s director, her ex-husband, she intrigues Oliver Stone for many different reasons. But she will eventually join forces with the Camel Club in order to find out who is behind the murder. The Camel Club will need all the help they can get because the people that they are up against have no intentions of being caught or leaving any witnesses.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Camel Club when I read it a few months back, and this book, the second in the series, was just as good in my opinion. I have really taken to the characters involved in the Camel Club, and I also really enjoy David Baldacci’s writing. I don’t really have any bad things to say about this book, I’m interested in continuing this series to see if we learn more about who Oliver truly is (or was, I should say). I highly recommend this series to anyone.

REVIEW: Crimson Rain by Meg O’Brien

Crimson Rain
by Meg O’Brien

Copyright: 2002
Pages: 394
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 26-28, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 51

First Line: Life, some say, is only an illusion – an illusion we create ourselves, in our own minds, then project onto the screen of our days.

Paul and Gina Bradley wanted nothing more than a perfect family when they first got married. After receiving the frustrating news that they would not be able to have children of their own, they set out to adopt. Twin girls soon came their way and they thought that their lives were complete. But something was wrong with one of the twins, Angela. After a terrifying event, Paul and Gina make the difficult decision to return Angela to the orphanage for the safety of the other twin, Rachel. Sixteen years later the Bradley family is falling apart. Paul and Gina have drifted apart after what they went through with Angela. When Rachel comes home from college for Christmas break, it’s like she’s a completely different person to Paul and Gina. When Rachel disappears shortly after Christmas Paul and Gina must come together for the sake of their daughter. But the turn of events that happen in their quest to find Rachel will have some surprisingly vengeful results.

This was an enjoyable read. Although in some places it felt a little predictable and formulaic, there were some definite surprises throughout the book. There were some typos, which is a big pet peeve of mine (if you name a character Vicky, do not call her Vicki on the very next page). The ending definitely had a surprising twist. This book was an easy and enjoyable read, but it probably isn’t one that will be very memorable in the long run.

REVIEW: Run for Your Life by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Run For Your Life
by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 338
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Sept. 22-25, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 50

First Line: Getting stuck on a bus in New York City, even under normal circumstances, is a lesson in frustration.

NYPD Detective Michael Bennett is still trying to adjust after the death of his wife, Maeve, a year ago. Between trying to take care of his ten children and his job, he doesn’t have a lot of time to himself. But that’s his life and he has to find a way to move on, and he does – he throws himself into every case that comes his way. But the latest one that he has caught is incredibly confusing. There have been numerous seemingly random shootings around the city in a short time span. There’s no apparent connection at first, but Bennett has the strange feeling that it is anything but random. Fighting the flu at the Bennett household and a madman terrorizing the streets of New York City, Bennett has a few hours to find the identity of the man who calls himself the Teacher and track him down and stop him before he can cause any more chaos.

This book is the second in the Michael Bennett series. I’m still not 100 percent sold on this series. I don’t know if I just can’t grasp the fact that a New York police detective is trying to raise 10 adopted children or if it’s the fact that Alex Cross is my favorite series ever, but for whatever reason, this book and the first in the series Step On a Crack just isn’t catching my attention. I will probably seek out the third one in this series simply because I like reading James Patterson’s books, but it will never be as good as the Alex Cross series. that being said, this was a decent book. It was an interesting storyline. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something that I would rave about to other people.

REVIEW: The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

The Postcard Killers
by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 420
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 20-21, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010
Yearly Count: 49

First Line: “It’s very small,” the Englishwoman said, sounding disappointed.

NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe’s greatest cities. Unfortunately, it’s not a vacation. Instead he’s there working a case. His daughter, Kimmy, was brutally murdered in Rome a few months earlier. He has been on a mission ever since, for the same killers have apparently murdered other young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Stockholm. Kanon teams up with a Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has received a postcard from the killers. It will take a lot of effort on Kanon to convince the Swedish police to let him in on the case. And when he is finally brought onto the case, it will be a race against time to stop the killers once and for all.

Before I really get into my opinion, I have to say that the first line quoted above was in reference to the Mona Lisa on display at the Lourve in Paris. I have been there and seen the Mona Lisa, and I must say, I was very disappointed as to how small the painting was as well! Anyway, this was a good read altogether. However, it was incredibly predictable. And it was billed as “the scariest vacation thriller ever” on the cover of the book, well I must disagree. I didn’t find it very scary whatsoever. However, I did enjoy it and I would recommend it, but it was a little bit formulaic in spots.

REVIEW: The Black Sun by James Twining

The Black Sun
by James Twining

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 416
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 12-19, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 48

First Line: Ash cash. That’s what medical students call it.

In Maryland a Nazi Enigma machine is stolen from the National Cryptologic Museum. In a London hospital, an Auschwitz survivor is murdered in his hospital bed, his arm severed and taken by his murderers. In Prague, a seemingly worthless painting is stolen from a synagogue. Three cities. Three crimes. Is there a connection? Former art thief Tom Kirk does not seem to think that there is a link between these three incidents, but when he begins to investigate he realizes that there is some sort of a connection, and he will be in a race against time to figure out the connection and connect all the dots in order to find a fabled hidden treasure.

This is the second in the Tom Kirk series. I enjoyed this book, but I think the first book was much better. I was a history major in college, so naturally I will always enjoy any book with a historical slant to it. This one had some slow spots and some fast spots, but overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it.