Category Archives: Countdown Challenge
Well, I didn’t finish the Countdown Challenge. Oh well. I tried. Hard. But for some unknown reason I really struggled with it. When I signed up I thought it would be easy to accomplish, especially since I joined late and it was retroactive to August 2008 and I had so many books already done. However, I didn’t do too bad; I completed 39 out of 45 books which is 86% complete. Not bad in my opinion. I’m going to sign up for the second year of this one (which starts today) and try again
Here is what I managed to read for this challenge:
- Heart of Ice by Gregg Olsen
- The Osiris Alliance by Jack Ford
- The 8th Confession by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
- BoneMan’s Daughter by Ted Dekker
- The Dyodyne Experiment by James Doulgeris & V. Michael Santoro
- Dancing with Ana by Nicole Barker
- Swimsuit by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
- A Cold Dark Place by Gregg Olsen
- One Last Scream by Kevin O’Brien
- Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman
- Trust Me by Brenda Novak
- Quicksand by Iris Johansen
- The Chemist by Janson Mancheski
- Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain
- The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard
- All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison
- Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
- Last Known Victim by Erica Spindler
- The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver
- In the Woods by Tana French
- I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark
- Over Your Dead Body by David L.
- A Necessary Evil by Alex Kava
- Judge & Jury by James Patterson
- New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
- The Witness by Sandra Brown
- The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry
- Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
- Presumed Guilty: What the Jury Never Knew About Laci Peterson’s Murder and Why Scott Peterson Should Not Be on Death Row by Matt Dalton
- Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
- To the Power of Three by Laura Lippman
- Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris
- Night Fall by Nelson DeMille
- Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
- Black Creek Crossing by John Saul
- White Hot by Sandra Brown
She Loves Me Not
by Wendi Corsi Staub
Read: Aug. 23-30, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009; Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 44
First Line: Her return to consciousness is a prolonged, painstaking process.
Widow Rose Larrabee is having a hard time coping with her husband’s sudden death. Although it’s been a year, she just isn’t coping well. And with two young children to raise and a job that is barely covering the bills, her stress level is through the roof. The last thing that she needs is someone stalking her. But that’s exactly the feeling that she is getting. It starts with a homemade valentine in her mailbox … a little creepy, but it doesn’t raise concerns yet. But when a box of chocolates mysteriously finds itself in the front seat of her car, the phone starts ringing in the middle of the night, and a heart-shaped gift appears one morning on her husband’s pillow, she starts to get the feeling that there’s someone out there watching her … and he’s hiding in plain sight. Will she figure out what is going on before it’s too late?
I have read Wendy Corsi Staub before and I remember enjoying her book. Well, this one definitely did not disappoint! When the ending came and the killer was revealed, it was someone that I hadn’t even considered!! There are so many twists and turns. Staub really created a character that I could connect with in Rose. And Christine was another great character. Sometimes books can be somewhat formulaic – I didn’t get that feeling from this book at all. I thought it was really well plotted. Although the ending was slightly abrupt, it was still a good way to end the book. I am definitely glad that I picked this book up off my shelf, it was really worth reading! I highly recommend this book and author to anyone that hasn’t given her a try before!
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Read: Aug. 9-11, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 41
First Line: I know things I don’t want to know.
On the beautiful beaches of Hawaii a beautiful swimsuit model disappears. Kim McDaniels’ parents immediately fly to Hawaii in order to find their daughter. Ex-cop Ben Hawkins is now a reporter for the L.A. Times. He is given the assigntment of covering the McDaniels disappearance. He starts to get the feeling that this might be the one big story that he’s been searching for. And he also realizes that the local cops just might botch this, so he begins his own investigation. But the killer has a plan in mind. He’s planning his own next move, and it has Ben Hawkins in the middle of it.
This is really a complicated story to try and explain. It is written as a book within a book. Being a pretty big fan of James Patterson, I must say that this one was a slight disappointment for me. First of all, I really did not take to Ben Hawkins’ character one bit. I felt disconnected from him throughout the entire book, and to me that connection with the narrator is a very important part of the whole book experience. Now that’s not to say that I didn’t like the book in general, there were definitely some great parts, but I just didn’t think that it was really up to par in my opinion. I don’t really know what to say about this book if you want the truth. It just really didn’t speak to me much.
Dancing with Ana
by Nicole Barker
Read: Aug. 3, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; A Well-Rounded Challenge; Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 39
First Line: “Christine McCady’s hair is especially shiny today,” Jenny told the three girls sitting with her at the lunch table.
Four sixteen-year-old friends, Beth, Jenny, Rachel and Melanie are struggling to find out who they are as young women. And they’re also struggling with the fact that there’s always going to be someone skinnier, someone prettier, someone with better hair, the list can go on and on. But for Beth, life is going especially tough for her and she hasn’t even really realized it yet. Her father has left their family for a younger woman, she’s falling in love with her best friend, and she is determined to get down to her “target” weight of 110 pounds. She’s so determined that she has enlisted the help of her closest friends to diet together. But their diets are dangerous – they’re hardly eating. The horrible headaches and dizziness finally makes Beth’s friends realize that they have no business dieting like they’re doing. But Beth is determined. However, when she hits 110 pounds, she realizes that she’s not as happy as she had expected to be. In fact, she’s actually even more depressed. But as she keeps going, her friends and new boyfriend are finally able to step in and help her realize that she doesn’t need to do all this dieting in order to be pretty and happy.
I’m going to include a small selection from page 164 that really highlights what has been going on with Beth. The first girl talking in this blurb is Christine, McCady, the most popular girl in school.
She paused at the door. “By the way, love what you’ve done with yourself. Ten more pounds and you’ll be super hot!”
And she was gone.
Beth looked at herself in the mirror, and for the first time, saw the dark smudges under her eyes. Her hair hung loose, laying flat against her head. Her skin was very pale. Hesitantly, she lifted her oversized t-shirt, exposing her stomach. All of her ribs showed, and her stomach was sunken in. For the first time, she saw how frail her arms looked.
She also finally saw how she’d chosen to deal with her father’s abandonment … by destroying herself.
I was contacted directly by the author, Nicole Barker, to read and review this book. I received it in the mail yesterday and sat down with it last night and read it in one sitting. It was that good. I could really relate with Beth’s character; I was a milder version of her my junior year in high school. Barker’s descriptions of the new love that all four of the girls finally began to experience reminded me of those first few months of young love with my husband when we were in high school. I find it kind of ironic that at the age of 24 I find myself enjoying YA reads, whereas when I was 15 or 16 and should have read a book like this I wanted no part of them. I honestly believe that women of all ages could really relate to the girls in this story, I highly recommend this book to everyone.
The Dyodyne Experiment
by James Doulgeris & V. Michael Santoro
Read: July 20-25, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge;
Yearly Count: 37
First Line: Summer days in New York City could either be hot and oppressive or sparkling and glorious.
A research team has developed an amazing new technology: a computer system that can track people secretly with unimaginable accuracy. The system is called DaNA, and it is spread as a virus that can pass to others that the original person comes into contact with. What would make the country want to use this technology? Well, the idea behind it is that it can be used to track down criminals’ accomplices really trying to hone in on the drug cartel. But the research team gets orders from Homeland Security that they must put this system into use, before they can really test it out and work out all the kinks. What they find is unbelievable – six nuclear bombs hidden is six cities across the country. But as the team rushes to track down the terrorists in charge of these bombs, they find out something worse is happening …. DaNA is mutating and is spiraling out of control.
I received this book from Merritt Talbott at Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for review. I don’t normally read books like this, but the blurb that she presented me just sounded too good to pass up. And when I finally got to reading the book, I have to say that I was definitely not disappointed! I found it to be a fast read, even with everything going on. It was easy to read as well, especially with some of the names and subplots it could have gotten confusing at times, but I had absolutely no problem with it. I really took to Sarah’s character, I thought that she was really well written and believable (which is something very important in my opinion). Overall I’m glad that I was given the opportunity to read this book, because I probably never would have seen or heard anything about it if I had not been contacted about it simply because it is a little out of my comfort zone, but I really do recommend this one to anyone.
by Ted Dekker
Read: July 19-12, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge; What’s in a Name 2 Challenge
Yearly Count: 36
First Line: The day that Ryan Evan’s world changed forever began as any other day he’d spent in the host desert might have begun.
The BoneMan is a serial killer who is looking for the perfect daughter. He has already killed six young women in his quest. After he takes a girl if she doesn’t live up to his potential he simply breaks their bones and leaves them to die. Intelligence officer Ryan Evans has not been the perfect daughter to Bethany – nor the perfect husband to Celine. He’s too tied up in his work and currently he’s overseas on assignment. Bethany and Celine have pretty much moved on from having any hopes of being a family together again. But Ryan is taken hostage in the desert and as his life is hanging in the balance he realizes what a mistake he has made in the past with his family. He returns to the States in order to start anew. But Bethany and Celine want no part of it. Before he knows it he’s out of their lives for good. That is until BoneMan takes Bethany. This causes Ryan to be out for blood. He will do whatever it takes to track down BoneMan and to save his only daughter …. he’s going to be the perfect father once and for all. But when the evidence begins to point towards Ryan as being the BoneMan he realizes that Bethany’s only chance at survival lies within Ryan. But BoneMan has a plan …. BoneMan knows that there can only be one father for Bethany, and he is determined that it is not going to be Ryan Evans.
So I picked this one up at the library after reading a review of it on someone’s blog … and once again I have forgotten whose blog I read about it on (I really should start writing that stuff down so that I can link reviews!) Anyways, I picked it up and was immediately sucked in. I have never read a Ted Dekker book before and this one was really enjoyable for me. It was well written and fast paced. The suspense was wonderful. The way that he bounced between differing points of view was interesting, you never knew what was really going to happen next. I found myself hoping that Ryan would prevail in the end, that he would save Bethany from BoneMan, even if he was beaten down psychologically. I know that I only rated this a 4 and my reason was really because of the cookie-cutter ending. I’m not saying that I didn’t like the ending, but it was too neat for my tastes. Overall I really recommend this book, I found it fascinating! Dekker really created a superb serial killer in BoneMan …. also – could BoneMan return in a future book?? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out….
by Charlaine Harris
Read: June 20-24, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 32
First Line: I didn’t like Clyde Nunley the first time I met him face-to-face in the old cemetery.
Harper Connelly is back in this second installment. This time around, she finds herself in Memphis, Tennessee. She has been called in by Professor Clyde Nunley to demonstrate her ability for his Occult Studies class. They end up in an old cemetery on campus where Harper goes to work identifying the people in the old graves as well as what they died from. But she finds someone she never expected to be there – a little girl that she had failed to find the previous year. Now Harper and her step-brother Tolliver set out to find out how Tabitha got where she was and how it could not possibly be a coincidence that Harper ended up finding her in the end.
I really enjoyed this book. I really think that this is a fun and interesting series. I have really taken to Harper as a character, I think that she’s believable even with her strange ability. I am definitely looking forward to reading the third in this series as soon as it comes available at my library, as well as the long-awaited fourth book which is due out later this year.
The Templar Legacy
by Steve Berry
Read: June 3-7, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge; 1st in a Series Challenge; Suspense & Thriller Challenge – Religious thriller subcategory
Yearly Count: 27
First Line: Jacques De Molay sought death, but knew salvation would never be offered.
Cotton Malone, once an agent for the US Justice Department, is enjoying a peaceful life in Copenhagen as a antiquarian book dealer. But all of that changes when his former boss tries to meet up with him while she is on vacation. However, he finds out rather quickly that she is not on vacation; she is not an any type of operation, but she is up to something. As he sets out to figure out what it is that his former boss does not want to let him in on, he quickly finds himself involved in an ancient puzzle that has mystified scholars for ages. The more involved he finds himself, the more dangers the stakes become, and the more intrigued Cotton Malone becomes. For there is one very powerful man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even with Cotton in his way.
I’ve been keeping my eye on this book for a while, but I had been slightly unsure about reading it. However, after seeing Angels & Demons in the theater, my interest in this type of book has been renewed (I also have Angels & Demons waiting anxiously on my TBR pile for me). So I checked this book out of the library the last time I was there. And let me tell you – I was absolutely hooked on this book from about page one!! I loved it. I loved the historical/religious aspect of it intertwined with the fast paced race-around-the-clock action!! I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet!
The 8th Confession
by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro
Read: May 28-31, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009; Suspense/Thriller Challenge – Police Procedural Category
Yearly Count: 26
First Line: The old chrome-yellow school bus crawled south on Market Street at half past seven that May morning.
The seemingly perfect murder has been committed in San Francisco. Isa and Ethan Bailey, young millionaires in the prime of their life have been found dead in their beds. How or why they have died is a mystery. Not even Claire can explain to her friend Detective Lindsay Boxer what happened to the Baileys. And as other young wealthy and healthy millionaires are dying in the same manner, they realize that they have to figure out what is killing these people and who and quickly. But as Lindsay is working that case, her friend, reporter Cindy Thomas, is on her about a homeless man, Bagman Jesus, who has been found murdered, shot brutally on the streets. But the man is not as saintly as his street name indicates. As Cindy works that case on her own, sparks begin to fly between Cindy and Lindsay’s partner, Rich Conklin. But as Lindsay and Rich get closer to the truth in the millionaire deaths, one of them will have a scare.
Okay, so I stated in my last review of the 7th book in this series that I wasn’t impressed with 6 or 7 and that I would read 8 and that that might be it for me with this series. Well I just finished the 8th and I have to say …. I am back on the Women’s Murder Club bandwagon! I absolutely loved this book!! I thought that the writing was better, the plot line was much better, the characters developed a lot more and overall I was very pleased after reading this book. It definitely made me look forward to a ninth if there will be one (the inside of the cover states that this will be the only installment for this year – are they ending this series soon?). So I am happy to report that I enjoyed this book immensely and that I recommend everyone read it
The Osiris Alliance
by Jack Ford
Read: May 6-11, 2009
Challenge: 2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 22
First Line: The big bolt on the cell door slammed open, echoing like a thunderclap in the silence of the prison hallway.
When the US government gets wind of a possible nuclear arms smuggling deal going down, federal prosecutor Adam Stark opens an investigation. But when he begins to run into dead ends, he finds help from an unlikely source – television reporter Megan Delaney. Her own investigation into rumors surrounding the arms deal has led her to the Osiris Corporation, but she doesn’t know where it goes from there. Pairing up, they discover a small time crook who has an interesting piece of the puzzle – a stolen diary that gives all the answers and then some. But the diary’s owner wants his property back, and will go to great lengths to get it returned to him before Adam and Megan get their hands on it.
I received this book from Shelby Sledge with Phenix & Phenix Publicists to review. I have to admit that I was very excited to get this opportunity. I have seen the author, Mr. Ford, on television numerous times (I’m a former Court TV junkie!) and figured by the description of the book that this would be a really great read. I have to say, I was NOT disappointed!! I thought that the writing was concise and well done, the plot was intriguing and well thought out and the overall book was immaculate. I was entertained from start to finish – and let me tell you, I really enjoyed the historical twist to the book. I truly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a good read and I look forward to any future books that Mr. Ford writes.