FINISHED CHALLENGE: Finish The Series Challenge 2010

Well, I finally finished this challenge. It was a much needed challenge for me. And although I read quite a few books that are part of a series this year, I was only able to get caught up on 3 challenges (which was my original goal). Here’s what I finished:

 So overall, I’m very pleased with where I’m at. Because in addition to these series that I was able to catch up with, I was able to read 12 books in the Kay Scarpetta series and 4 in the Alex Cross series.

REVIEW: Worst Case by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Worst Case
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 356
Rang: 5/5
Read: Dec. 4-6, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 63
Format: Print

First Line: The stocky man with the salt-and-pepper hair felt light-headed as he crossed beneath the marble arch into Washington Square Park.

The son of one of New York’s wealthiest families is snatched off the street and held hostage. But this kidnapper isn’t demanding money. Instead, he quizzes his prisoner on the price others pay for his life of luxury … and wrong answers are fatal. Detective Michael Bennett heads the investigation. With ten kids of his own, he can’t understand what could lead someone to target anyone’s children. When another student from a powerful family disappears, the FBI sends in its top abduction specialist: Agent Emily Parker. Bennett’s job and love life suddenly get even more complicated. Before Bennett has a chance to protest the FBI’s intrusion on his case, the killer mastermind changes his routine. His plan leads up to the most devastating demonstration yet – one that could bring cataclysmic ruin to every inch of New York City.

This is the third in the Michael Bennett series, and it is the most current one until the fourth is due to release in 2011. Personally, I felt like this was the best book in the series so far. I had been a little unsure about Bennett’s character (partly because he simply isn’t Alex Cross, my all-time favorite series character), but in this book I really started to like him. I enjoyed the storyline of the book, the villain was original. There’s starting to be a little bit of romance in Bennett’s life for the first time since his wife’s death in the first book. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this series to anyone.

REVIEW: Cross by James Patterson

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: Predator by Patricia Cornwell

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 Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 349
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 4-5, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; Finish That Series Challenge
Yearly Count: 46

First Line: He is coming for me.

A mummy is discovered in the basement of the Crispin Museum in Boston. Nobody knew that it was there, so there is a great deal of excitement surrounding its discovery. Medical Examiner Maura Isles is invited to the hospital to attend the CT scan of the mummy. But what is found during the CT scan is unmistakable – a very modern bullet in the mummy’s leg. This turn of events brings Detective Jane Rizzoli onto the case. The discovery of this modern-day murder victim prompts a search of the Crispin Museum, where remains of another murder victim is found. Realizing that there is a maniac on the loose, Jane Rizzoli becomes very curious about one of the employees of the museum, a woman who seems to have a lot to hide. Having to deal with a murderer who is very proficient in ancient death rituals, it will take a lot of effort from Maura and Jane to track down and stop the Archaeology Killer.

This is the seventh in the Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles series and it just keeps getting better and better. This one I read over the course of 24 hours and just loved every moment of it! It was such a fast-paced book with great twists and turns, and the ending was really surprising for me. I really enjoyed the Egyptian aspect to it, having always been interested in Egypt and mummies. I highly recommend this series to everyone who loves a great mystery. Plus, now we Tess Gerritsen fans can enjoy the Rizzoli & Isles series on TV as an added bonus :) I already have the most recent book in this series on hold at the library and am anxiously awaiting my turn for it!!

REVIEW: The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

The Mephisto Club
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 351
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 30-Sept. 3, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; Finish That Series Challenge
Yearly Count: 44

First Line: They looked like the perfect family.

Evil is walking the streets of Boston. And it’s Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli who catch the first case on Christmas. The murder scene looks like a strange satanic ritual has occurred. But the clues eventually lead them to psychiatrist  Joyce O’Donnell – a woman that Jane absolutely detests. They uncover that O’Donnell belongs to a strange club, the Mephisto Club, which is dedicated to proving that Satan himself exists among us. But it becomes clear that someone is targeting the members of the Mephisto Club. Has someone infiltrated their club, or have they simply drawn the attention of an evil entity?

I will admit, this was not my favorite book. I have liked every book in the Rizzole and Isles series so far, but this one fell a little short for me. I didn’t really care for all the information about evil, Satan, the Bible, you get the point. I also didn’t like the back and forth the book had because Ms. Gerritsen was tying two separate story lines in the same book and didn’t connect them until near the very end. It just wasn’t my favorite book. I hope that the next book in this series is better.

REVIEW: Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

Body Double
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 391
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 22-25, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010;  RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 42

First Line: That boy was watching her again.

Maura Isles is shocked to come home from a conference in Paris to find a dead body in a car parked in front of her house. What’s even worse is the fact that the body looks exactly like Maura. For an only child, Maura is shocked. But a DNA test confirms that the dead woman is indeed her twin sister. Confronted with this new information, Maura becomes curious about the mother who put her up for adoption. But what she will finds out is not necessarily all wonderful. Sometimes the past is better of remaining buried.

This is the fourth in the Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series. I have to admit, I love the new tv show based on this series that is on TNT. While there are a lot of differences between the tv series and the book series, they are both enjoyable. This particular book was very interesting. It really gave the reader quite a bit more insight into who Maura is as a person. This is definitely a great series, it’s medical-ish, but definitely not too much. Overall, I would recommend this series to anyone who loves a great read.

REVIEW: Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell

Blow Fly
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 467
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 1 – 6, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish that Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 39

First Line: Dr. Kay Scarpetta moves the tiny glass vial close to candlelight, illuminating a maggot drifting in a poisonous bath of ethanol.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is settling into her new life as a private consultant when she agrees to investigate a cold-case in Louisiana. But she soon receives news that Jean-Baptiste Chandonne has asked to see her – on death row. Giving the monster the audience that he craves, Kay tries to figure out what exactly is going through his mind in terms of an endgame. But she soon realizes that he is pointing her in the direction of the cold-case she is investigating in Louisiana. She must figure out how there could possibly be a connection in that case while trying to deal with a revelation that will change her life forever.

DISCLOSURE: This post will have SPOILERS. I had some real issues with this book. First of all, I’m not sure how I’m going to like Dr. Scarpetta as a private consultant, but I guess time will tell as I continue reading this series. But my real gripe was that you cannot kill a character off only to bring him back two books later and play the witness protection program card. PLEASE! It was sickening to think back to the past two books and think about all the grief Kay had gone through only to find out that the two people closest to her knew all along that her grief was not necessary! I was like, seriously? You’re going to bring him back? It probably would have been better off if Ms. Cornwell had just left him dead. And the reason why he was in the witness protection program, well that bothered me also. How on earth could he possibly have been involved with who he was? I was just really irritated by the way this book panned out. I’m going to continue reading this series, but I’m not sure how much further I’m going to be going with these books.

REVIEW: The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell

The Last Precinct
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2000
Pages: 468
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 27-31, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010; Finish That Series
Yearly Count: 38

First Line: The cold dusk gives up its bruised color to complete darkness, and I am grateful that the draperies in my bedroom are heavy enough to absorb even the faintest hint of my silhouette as I move about packing my bags.

After survivng an attack by a suspected serial killer, Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is put in a spotlight she has never experienced before. She is under suspicion of murder – something that she works with every day of her working life; something that she would never have anything to do with. She has to try and proceed with life as if nothing was different. But when a female assistant district attorney from New York comes to town trying to make the connection between her case in New York and the so-called Werewolf mruders in Richmond. But Kay will be tested in every way imaginable and she will be confused as to who she can trust in this awful time of her life.

This is the 11th book in the Kay Scarpetta series and I have to admit, that at first I didn’t really like it. After about the 100 page mark, I really wanted to throw in the towel and be done with this book, but I kept with it. Overall, I’m glad that I finished this book, but it didn’t end in any truly surprising way. There were a few twists and turns along the way that were interesting, but overall I was not all that impressed with this instsallment. However, that’s not to say that I don’t want to continue on with this series and see where Ms. Cornwell takes Kay, because I’m interested to know where she goes from here, but I hope that theese books get better, not worse like I’ve heard from some people.