Challenge Wrap-Up

Finished Challenge – Initials Reading Challenge

Finished my fifth challenge today!! I finished Becky’s Initials Reading Challenge. I only kept two of my original 5 selections. But it was only because I was by chance picking up books with authors whose names had initials in them. When I signed up for this one I thought it would be a lot more difficult than it was, but I really enjoyed it!! Here’s my wrap up:

The rules were to read 5-8 books (I read 5) by authors whose names are initials.

I read:

  1. M.C. Beaton, The Deadly Dance
  2. J.F. Freedman, The Disappearance
  3. J.A. Jance, Name Withheld
  4. J.D. Robb, Glory in Death
  5. J.T. Ellison, All the Pretty Girls

Favorite: All the Pretty Girls (Ellison)
Least Favorite: The Deadly Dance (Beaton)

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, E, Fiction, Read in 2008

All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison

All the Pretty Girls
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 411
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Aug. 27-29, 2008
Challenge: Initials Reading Challenge, Suspense & Thriller Challenge – Serial Killer subgenre

First Line: “No. Please don’t.”

When a local Nashville girl is killed by a sadistic serial killer, Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson and her lover, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin find themselves working together to catch the “Southern Strangler.” Up-an-coming TV reporter Whitney Connolly is absolutely positive that The Southern Strangler is her ticket to the big times. She is being contacted by the Strangler. But she has no idea just how close the story is to herself. When the killer starts to spin out of control, Taylor and John have no idea where this case will take them, what it will uncover and how awful the truth actually is.

This book was really good! I thought that it had a slightly slow start, but once I got about 100 pages into it it really picked up and was an awesome read!!! This was a fantastic debut for Ellison, and I look forward to her book for many years to come!!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, Read in 2008

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Darkly Dreaming Dexter
by Jeff Lindsay

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 288
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 24-28, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: Moon. Glorious moon.

Dexter Morgan is not your average everyday man. He may be funny, charming and intelligent. But there’s another side of Dexter that you would not want to meet in a dark alley. He is a killer. If you receive a visit from Dexter, it is because you have done something that is repulsive enough to merit your death. When his sister, Deb, becomes intrigued by a serial killer preying on hookers in their city of Miami, she comes to Dexter to help her figure this killer out. But Dexter really isn’t sure he wants to catch this murderer, but rather find him so he can begin to understand him because there’s something about this guy that reminds Dexter of himself….

I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t really impressed by this book. It was really funny in quite a few spots. But overall, I didn’t really like it at all. I don’t think I’ve ever really read a book that included a character quite as unique as Dexter, but I doubt I’ll be continuing this series.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Eve Dallas, Fiction, R, Read in 2008, SERIES

Glory in Death by J.D. Robb

Glory in Death
by J.D. Robb

Copyright: 1995
Pages: 296
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 25-26, 2008
Challenge: Initials Reading Challenge

First Line: The dead were her business.

Beautiful and successful women are being brutally murdered. Their numerous business contacts and lovers provide Eve Dallas with a very long list of suspects. Unfortunately, Roarke is also on that list. For Eve she wants to trust the man she shares her bed with but her profession makes her investigate into areas that she wishes she could just live untouched. Once again murder will come between Eve and Roarke, but in the end, Eve will ultimately get the man and the murder suspect.

This book was MUCH better than the first in the series (Naked in Death). I read this one very quickly and enjoyed every minute of it!! I love the romance sprinkled throughout the mystery. I’m so glad that I’m finally getting around to this series and so glad that I have so many more books ahead of me 🙂

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, Read in 2008

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

by Stephanie Meyer

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 498
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 18-24, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: I’d never given much thought to how I would die – thought I’d had reason enough in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.

Isabella (Bella) Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father. She meets Edward Cullen, and is instantly mesmerized by his perfection. Until Bella moves into town, the Cullen family is able to keep their distance from the rest of the students. But Edward and Bella are drawn to each other for some reason. And Bella will not rest until she knows Edward’s secret. But Bella doesn’t immediately realize that there is a reason why the Cullen’s keep to themselves and that by wanting to get to know Edward she is putting herself and her loved ones at risk.

Okay, I’m going to be honest here, this is not my usual type of book. I have *NEVER* read a vampire book simply because I never thought I would enjoy one. And really other than the Harry Potter books (of which I’ve only read 1,4, & 5) I’ve never read very much young adult. But I have to say it, I absolutely LOVED this book! I was hooked on it and enjoyed it soooo much! I’ve already put myself on the waiting list for the second in the series at the library and can’t wait until I get to read it!!! I highly recommend this book!

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, Read in 2008

Judge & Jury by James Patterson

Judge & Jury
by James Patterson

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 416
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Aug. 20-22, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: My name is Nick Pellisante, and this is where it started for me, one summer out on Long Island at “the wedding of weddings.”

Aspiring actress Andie DeGrasse ends up as a juror in one of the biggest trials in quite some time. Mafia boss, Dominic Cavello, aka “The Electrician,” is connected to hundreds of horrendous crimes. But he’s not going to go down without a fight. Senior FBI agent Nick Pellisante has spent more than a few years tracking down Cavello and putting together the evidence for this case. He’s convinced that Cavello will try something in order to get out of this. And indeed he does, not once but twice. And it will be Nick and Andie that have to team up in the end to finally catch Cavello once and for all.

This book was just okay for me. It wasn’t spectacular. It was typical Patterson – it read quickly and somewhat kept my interest. I definitely prefer it when Patterson is the sole author. But this one was still good and suspenseful but the ending was just a little too neat and tidy in my opinion. It was just okay.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, Read in 2008

A Cold Dark Place by Gregg Olsen

A Cold Dark Place
by Gregg Olsen

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 372
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 16-19, 2008
Challenge: No challenge; personal read

First Line: Women with transparent vinyl purses that exposed the shredded remainders of coin wrappers stood in line.

Cherrystone, Washington is generally a quiet place. But in the span of one week they are the victims of a horrible tornado that devastates part of the town as well as learn that there was a triple murder of a well-liked family. Only one family member of the dead family is missing, oldest son Nick, and single mother and cop Emily Kenyon is determined to find him. But when her daughter, Jenna, declares that she feels that there is no possible way that Nick could have committed the slaughter Emily cannot believe the steps that Jenna will take to back up Nick. As Jenna disappears with Nick to who knows where, Emily must piece the puzzle together before a crazed serial killer kills them all.

This book was really amazing! I picked it during my overnight trip to Cincinnati because my Michael Palmer selection was horrendous. I was absolutely hooked!! I couldn’t get through it fast enough to find out what the ending would be! I highly recommend this book!!!!


2008 Challenge & Reading Update

I thought I would take some time and look to see where I was at in my challenges (personal and formal) and my overall reading. I meant to do this back in June when we were at the half year mark, but naturally I never got around to it. (Go figure).


  1. Numbers Challenge (5/5) Finished: 3/22/08
  2. What’s in a Name Challenge (5/5) Finished: 4/17/08
  3. Eponymous Challenge (4/4) Finished: 5/24/08
  4. Title Master Challenge (4/4) Finished: 6/29/08


  1. Back to History Challenge (3/12) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2008
  2. Celebrate the Author Challenge (8/12) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2008
  3. Initials Reading Challenge (3/5) April 1 – Nov. 30, 2008
  4. Medical Mystery Madness Challenge (0/3) June 1- Nov. 1, 2008
  5. Series Challenge Season 2 (2/7) June 1 – Nov. 30, 2008
  6. A Well Rounded Challenge (3/6) July 1 – Dec. 31, 2008


  1. 1% Well Read Challenge (0/10) May 1, 2008 – Feb. 28, 2009
  2. Presidential Reading Challenge (0/5) July 4, 2008 – July 4, 2009
  3. Book Awards II Challenge (1/10) Aug. 1, 2008 – June 1, 2009
  4. Suspense & Thriller Challenge (4/12) Jan 1, 2008 – Dec. 31, 2009


  1. 2008 2nds Challenge (0/4) Sept. 1 – Dec. 31, 2008


  1. Triple Eight (NOTE: I did NOT sign up for this because I wasn’t comfortable attempting it at the time. Instead I cut out 3 of the categories. So my personal challenge was to do 5 categories of 8 books for 40 total). (32/40) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2008
  2. Read 40,000 pages. Currently sitting at 27,548 which is 68% finished!!
  3. Read 75 books. Currently working on books 71 & 72!! Woo!! So I know for a fact that I am going to hit 75. When I reach 75 I’m going to bump it to 100.

So I’m doing quite well with all of my challenges with the exception of the Back to History Challenge. And I’m really disappointed in myself on that one since I was a history major in college. I just haven’t had much interest in reading anything historical and am contemplating dropping it. I’m also eyeing a new challenge, one where you ban your book buying! I’m probably going to sign up for it in the next few days.


  • Finished: 70
  • Abandoned: 9
  • Fiction: 56
  • Non-Fiction: 14
  • New-to-Me Author: 36
  • Female Authors: 25
  • Male Authors: 30

I am very pleased as to where I’m at right now. The only troubling figure is my number of abandoned books. And I was really disappointed that I just could not get into four of those nine. I really wanted to read them. Hopefully in a couple of years I can come back to them and give it a second try.

Well, there’s my update. How about everyone else?! Where are you at?

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Fiction, Read in 2008

Night Fall by Nelson DeMille

Night Fall
by Nelson DeMille

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 651
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 7-14, 2008
Challenge: Celebrate the Author; Triple Eight – 500+ Pages Category

First Line: Bud Mitchell drove his Ford Explorer along Dune Road.

July 17, 1996 – a date that most Americans will remember for quite some time. That was the night that TWA Flight 800 exploded in mid-air, just a few short minutes after take off, killing the 230 passengers and crew on board. The official conclusion: mechanical failure. But some of the people involved in the investigation simply cannot accept that explanation. The reason?: There is the possibility that a couple on a clandestine tryst on the beach may have videotaped the explosion. But that couple and the videotape has never been found – or have they?! On the fifth anniversary of the crash, John Corey and his wife attend the memorial service. And her past work on the investigation and her unanswered questions and lingering doubts will get him interested in the case and will land them both in hot water when all they’re trying to do is find out the truth behind the explosion of TWA Flight 800.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The only problem in my opinion with it was the fact that it was sooooo slow in the beginning. It really didn’t pick up pace until the second half of the book. However, those last few hundred pages just flew by and it was amazing! The ending was really, really good!!!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, D, Nonfiction, Read in 2008

Presumed Guilty by Matt Dalton

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 with Bonnie Hearn Hill

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 192
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 9-11, 2008
Challenge: Triple Eight – True Crime Category

First Line: On April 18, 2003, Scott Peterson, a thirty-year-old fertilizer salesman from Modesto, California, was arrested for the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child, whose bodies were identified the same day.

Matt Dalton was involved in the Scott Peterson case as a defense attorney alongside Mark Geragos in the early stages of the investigation. Matt was the attorney that had primary involvement with Scott while he was in jail after being charged. Dalton is convinced that Scott Peterson is stone cold innocent. In this book he goes into a lot of detail as to other explanations for Laci’s murder. He discusses theories such as the satanic cult group and that the burglary of the house across the street was related. He also says that he personally uncovered six witnesses who could place Laci alive on the morning of December 24, 2002. But the question that he really left unanswered is why those witnesses were never called to the stand in the trial. Now, he states somewhere along the way that it is up to the trial attorney to decide who gets called as a witness. And for anyone who watched this trial like I did, they know that Geragos did not exactly prove Scott innocent like he said he would in his opening statement. If I’m not mistaken, I believe Geragos even mentioned those six witnesses in that same opening …. so why were they not called?! If they could swear under oath that Laci Peterson was indeed alive and out and about when Scott Peterson was out fishing, why wouldn’t or couldn’t they testify?! As you can tell from my comments, I didn’t buy into this book whatsoever. If perhaps Geragos had called those witnesses to the stand during the trial, the ending would have been different. But as the jurors stated after the trial was over, there simply was no other alternative as to who could have possibly committed that horrendous crime. Overall, I felt that Dalton made a good case on some of the points that he pointed out, but in the end, he didn’t convince me anymore than Mark Geragos at trial convinced me.

There is one passage that I would like to quote from this book:

I again got the feeling I’d had when I first met him – that he was docile. He certainly didn’t seem to fit the profile of a psychopath, and he didn’t strike me as a killer. I couldn’t imagine this young man doing anything like what he’d been accused of. (p. 30)

The first thing I thought of when I read that ….. people said the same thing about Ted Bundy.