Monthly Wrap Up

June 2009 Wrap-Up

June 2009 Wrap-Up

Here’s my end of the month wrap-up:

  1. Steve Berry, The Templar Legacy
  2. Fran Rizer, A Tisket, a Tasket, a Fancy Stolen Casket
  3. Carol Higgins Clark, Snagged
  4. Larry Watson, In a Dark Time
  5. The Goldman Family, If I Did It
  6. Charlaine Harris, Grave Surprise

Here are some statistics in regards to my reading:

  • Books read: 6
  • Pages read: 1803
  • New Authors: 3
  • Fiction: 5
  • Nonfiction: 1
  • Read for Challenges: 6
Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, June 29, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Mondays

Tuesday, June 23
No One Lives Forever by Jordan Dane
No One Lives Forever by Jordan Dane

Born to a childhood pitted by violence, Christian Delacorte is desperate for peace when he embarks on a new life with the woman he loves, Detective Raven Mackenzie. But soon his old life comes calling – in the tempting form of a mysterious woman assassin. Jasmine Lee is determined to collect an old marker from Christian. He owes her – big time – and she needs his help freeing her kidnapped lover, Nicholas Charboneau – a powerful mogul linked to Chicago’s underworld. Christian doesn’t trust her, but Jasmine entices him to leave Raven behind when she reveals his shocking connection to Charboneau. Christian has seven days to attempt an impossible rescue of the father he never knew. And when a woman assassin with ulterior motives makes a lousy ally, Christian is alone to face the stark reality that no one lives forever … and he might be the next to die.

AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, Harper Connelly, Read in 2009, SERIES

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

Grave Surprise
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 295
Rating: 4/5
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.

AUTHOR, Book Review, G, Nonfiction, Read in 2009

If I Did It by the Goldman Family

If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer
by The Goldman Family

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 202
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 17-22, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 31

First Line: I’m going to tell you a story you’ve never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it.

Unless you were living under a rock in 1994, you know this story. Nicole Brown Simpson & Ron Goldman were brutally murdered one night in June. Her ex-husband, the famous O.J. Simpson was the assumed killer. Practically everyone thought he had done it … but he walked away a free man. Although the Goldman family won in a civil trial, they never got the money out of Simpson that they were awarded. Until one day in 2006 when it came out that O.J. was going to write a book, a so-called confession. They fought him on it, they didn’t want something like that in print. But then they realized that maybe it should be published, but that they wanted the rights to it. Well, they eventually won and the book was published.

Okay, so I was a little young in 1994 … I’m going to out my age here, I was 9. However, I remember the trial in 1995. I remember specifically that I was at Walt Disney World with my grandparents and we could hardly pull my grandfather away from the TV to go to the park because he was glued to the trial. I was obviously too young to really know what was going on. But as I grew up and really got interested in true crime stories I saw many TV specials and books on the trial. I formed an opinion based on what I read. When this book came out a few years ago, I have to admit, I was intrigued. A confession? Really?! But I didn’t really want to buy it. So when I saw it in the library last week I snatched it up knowing now would be a great time to read it. And I have to say, the actual original manuscript written by the ghostwriter after extensive interviews with O.J., it was chilling. It sure seemed more of a confession rather than a “If I had done it, this is how I would have done it.” Whatever your opinion on whether or not O.J. did it, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in this trial.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, June 22, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox MondaysMonday, June 15
White House Ladies by Webb GarrisonWhite House Ladies by Webb Garrison

Stories about the forty-two men who have held the office of the American presidency are familiar. Although less well known, the first ladies are as intriguing as their mates. Some even make their husbands look bland and colorless. In this entertaining and informative compilation of stories about America’s first ladies, from Martha Washington to Hillary Clinton, Webb Garrison tells of the public roles these women have played and their private accomplishments and peculiarities. Here is an intimate view of the wives of the American presidents and their families.

I received this book from my PBS wishlist. Although a little old (no Laura Bush) I am looking forward to reading this book. I enjoy history and I thought that this would be a great way to learn about all the first ladies.

Friday, June 19
The Dyodyne Experiment by Doulgeris & SantoroThe Dyodyne Experiment by James Doulgeris & V. Michael Santoro

A research team at Dyodyne Labs has developed a remarkable new technology: a microscopic computer system with the ability to secretly track people with pinpoint accuracy. The system, code-named DaNA, is transmitted as a benign virus that passes the tracking system to all who come in contact with its host. The government sees the system as the perfect way to track down a criminal’s accomplices, making it invaluable in bringing down the drug cartel. But when the biggest terrorist attack in U.S. history devastates New York City, the Department of Homeland Security orders the team to launch the untested system to find those responsible. What they uncover is unthinkable – six nuclear bombs hidden in six major cities. And the bombs, controlled by a powerful underground alliance, are part of a much larger global conspiracy. As the team at Dyodyne rushes to track down the terrorists holding the country hostage, they discover yet another threat: DaNA is mutating and may be impossible to control…

I received this book from Merritt Talbott at Phenix & Phoenix Publicity for review. I hope to get to this one quite quickly since it sounds really interesting!!

Saturday, June 20
No One Left to Tell by Jordan Dane No One Left to Tell by Jordan Dane

The body of a brutally slain man is found on the holy grounds of a chapel, and a cryptic message pinned to his chest unravels the lives of people touched by a dark secret. Detective Raven Mackenzie and her partner uncover the dead man’s connectin to a powerful female crime boss, leading them to her mysterious head of security, Christian Delacorte, who soon becomes the prime suspect. Yet when Raven sifts through Christian’s past, she discovers the man is plagued by deeply rooted nightmares – and a shadowy childhood tragedy linking him to the case. Convinced his past holds the key to finding the real killer, she defies her partner, following her gut instincts and trusting her undeniable bond with Christian. But Raven shares her own date with destiny when she crosses paths with a heartless killer. And when he unleashes his rage, there will be no one left to tell.

I received this book from FrugalReader. I have been seeing the name Jordan Dane pop up randomly on sites that I was on, as well as browsing through some of my online buddies’ wish lists. She sounds like an author that I would love, so I ordered this book (and another one of hers) from FrugalReader and I’m definitely looking forward to them!!!!

Also – as a side note … I didn’t receive them in my mailbox (I went to the bookstore, bad Tara) … but this week I also purchased:

  • Drop Shot by Harlan Coben
  • High Five by Janet Evanovich
  • The Death List by Paul Johnston
  • Down River by John Hart
  • Dance of Death by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Read in 2009, U-V-W

In a Dark Time by Larry Watson

In a Dark Time
by Larry Watson

Copyright: 1980
Pages: 243
Rating: 3/5
Read: June 15-19, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 30

First Line: The third body was found this morning.

Wanekia, Minnesota is being plagued by a murderer loose in town. Young girls are being found strangled at the high school. The third one has recently been discovered. In a small town like Wanekia, everyone is a little on edge knowing that someone is out there hunting down teenage girls. For English teacher Peter Leesh, he puts pen to paper after the third girl is found dead. He decides to keep a journal of all the activities in and around Wanekia until the murderer is finally stopped once and for all.

Okay, so I wanted to love this book so badly. I read White Crosses last year and absolutely LOVED it! This one however, I was slightly disappointed in. It started out really well, but when I got to the middle of it it started to drag. To be brutally honest, I could have skipped the entire middle section of this book. The ending was rather predictable as well – everything was neatly solved with no loose ends. Peter even went so far as to explain where all of his co-workers ended up at the end of the year – really, did we need that?! So yeah, I just wasn’t real impressed overall.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, June 15, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Mondays

Wednesday, June 10
Blood Test by Jonathan Kellerman Blood Test by Jonathan Kellerman

A sick child was missing – in an even sicker world. Five-year-old Woody Swope was desperately ill – and his one hope for cure was the clinic. But someone had a different idea. Woody had been kidnapped, and with every passing day, his chances of survival plummeted hideously. That was why child psychologist Alex Delaware and his ally, homicide detective Milo Sturgis, had no time to waste, and bent all the rules as they hunted through a human jungle of California health cults, sex-for-sale haunts, and dreams-turned-into-nightmares to find a child who was the only innocent in a world of guilt….

I got this book in my mailbox today from FrugalReader. I have the first book in the Alex Delaware series (haven’t read it yet though) and wanted to have the second one handy because I intend to get to When the Bough Breaks here pretty soon. Plus it’s a book that I have had my eye on for a while since I enjoy this series.

Saturday, June 13
Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler Pacific Vortex! by Clive Cussler

Dirk Pitt, death-defying adventurer and deep-sea expert, is put to the ultimate test as he plunges into the perilous waters of the Pacific Vortex – a fog-shrouded sea zone where dozesn of ships have vanished without a trace. The latest victim is the awesome super-sub Starbuck, America’s deep-diving nuclear arsenal. Its loss poses an unthinkable threat to national defense. Pitt’s job is to find it, salvage it, before the sea explodes. In a furious race against time, Pitt’s mission swirls him into a battle with underwater assassins – and traps him in the arms of Summer Moran, the most stunningly exotic and dangerous woman ever to enter Pitt’s life. As the countdown heads toward disaster, Clive Cussler plummets his hero onto an ancient sunken island – the astonishing setting for the explosive climax of Pacific Vortex!

I got this book from FrugalReader. I have read Raise the Titanic last year and wanted to check this series out from the beginning (I’m kind of obsessive about series and reading them in order). I like adventure type books for some reason – I think it’s the pace that they seem to take. So I’m definitely looking forward to getting around to this one.

Every Dead Thing by John Connolly Every Dead Thing by John Connolly

Hailed internationally as a pge-turner in a league with the fiction of Thomas Harris, this lyrical and terrifying bestseller is the stunning achievement of an “extravagantly gifted” (Kirkus Reviews) new novelist John Connolly superbly taps into the tortured mind and gritty world of former NYPD detective Charlie “Bird” Parker, tormented by the brutal, unsolved murders of his wife and young daughter. Driven by visions of the dead, Parker tracks a serial killer from New York City to the American South, and finds his buried instincts – for love, survival, and ultimately, for killing – awakening as he confronts a monster beyond imagining …

I got this book as part of my first trade at the Yahoo group MysteryBookSwap. I have read two books in this series and wanted to read the first one. I enjoyed Parker as a character and I’m definitely looking foroward to this one!!

Reading Challenge Update

2009 Mid-Year Reading & Challenge Update

Well, it’s that time again!!! I’m once again doing my mid-year reading and challenge update. I have to admit, I went back to my 2008 version and I was doing much better this time last year than I am this year. However, this year has been a roller coaster ride for me. My husband, Nathan, and I bought a house and spent a lot of January/February getting it ready to move in. Then we got a puppy, Buster and we’ve been busy with him a lot. So my reading has really suffered. I’ve also had trouble doing my reading for challenges; I’ve been reading what I whatever I pick up, not really anything for any challenges other than the 100+ Reading Challenge, the Countdown Challenge, and the Read Your Own Books challenge. Challenges that I re-joined this year that I enjoyed last year (Celebrate the Author & What’s in a Name) haven’t been appealing to me for some reason. I don’t know. But I do know that I’m going to press myself for the rest of the year to get those challenges that I’m really far behind on worked out so that hopefully I can complete all my challenges this year 🙂 Anyways – on to the update:

FINISHED CHALLENGES:

  1. Suspense & Thriller Challenge (12/12) Finished: 6/10/09

ON-GOING CHALLENGES (ENDING IN 2009):

  1. 1st in a Series Challenge  (7/12) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2009
  2. 100+ Reading Challenge (29/100) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2009
  3. Celebrate the Author Challenge (3/12) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2009
  4. Countdown Challenge (33/45) Aug. 8, 2008 – Sept. 9, 2009
  5. Presidential Reading Challenge (0/5) July 4, 2008 – July 4, 2009
  6. Read Your Own Booksk Challenge (19/50) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2009
  7. What’s in a Name 2 Challenge (3/6) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2009

PERSONAL CHALLENGES:

  1. Read 40,000 pages. Currently sitting at 9,824, which is 24.56%

Okay, so I’m probably not even going to read one book for the Presidential Reading Challenge, which bums me out because I have numerous books laying around the house that would fulfill the requirements, but I have no drive to read any of them. I’m bummed that I’m going to end that one with such poor results. I’m also way behind on my 100+ challenge, but that one I’m not as concerned about. I’m not really upset with the number of books that I’ve read this year; I’m really pleased with the overall quality of books that I have read so far rather than the quantity.

READING UPDATE:

  • Finished: 29
  • Abandoned: 2
  • Fiction: 29
  • Non-Fiction: 0
  • New-to-Me Author: 14
  • Female Authors: 15
  • Male Authors: 10

Well, overall I guess I’m not doing so badly considering all that is going on in my life right now. I guess it’s just slightly disappointing because I had such a prolific year last year. But the year isn’t over yet and like I stated up above, my quality of reading this year has been really pleasing so I really shouldn’t complain that I’ve only read 28 books rather than 50 at this time last year.

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

AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Read in 2009, SERIES

Snagged by Carol Higgins Clark

Snagged
by Carol Higgins Clark

Copyright: 1993
Pages: 306
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: June 13-14, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 29

First Line: Richie Blossom tumbled from the side of his bed as he bent over in an awkward attempt to pull on his brand-new pair of panty hose.

In Miami for a wedding, Regan Reilly meets the bride’s Uncle Richie. He has produced seemingly indestructible panty hose. With the panty hose convention in town, he has plans to sell his invention to the highest bidder. But panty hose manufacturers will do nearly anything to keep Uncle Richie from putting these on the market – perhaps even kill. So after two attempts on his life are made, Regan finds herself surrounded by numerous suspects while trying to keep an eye on Uncle Richie.

Okay, so I read the first Regan Reilly book, Decked, two years ago. I enjoyed it. But this one was really good! There was just enough humor sprinkled throughout the mystery that it was a really good mix. To be honest, I was surprised at the ending of it – I had no idea who the killer really was – and it was a pleasant shock! Overall I liked this book and will definitely look forward to continuing this series.

Challenge Wrap-Up

Finished Challenge – Suspense & Thriller 2008/2009 Challenge

I just finished the Suspense & Thriller 2008/2009 Challenge! The rules were to read twelve books total; six in 2008 and 6 in 2009. And each book had to belong to one of the subcategories that were listed on the challenge homepage. There were a lot of different categories to choose from, but I found myself repeating many of the categories and that’s why it took me so long to finish this challenge. However I was pleasantly surprised to see that the last book I read (A Tisket, a Tasket, a Fancy Stolen Casket) would fit nicely into the cozy mystery category to complete this challenge. Plus this is my first completed challenge for 2009 so it’s a great big sigh of relief for me!!! Here’s what I read:

  1. J.T. Ellison, All the Pretty Girls (serial killer thriller)
  2. W.E.B. Griffin, By Order of the President (military thriller)
  3. Laura Lippman, To the Power of Three (drama thriller)
  4. Patricia Cornwell, Postmortem (forensic mystery)
  5. James Patterson, The 8th Confession (police procedural thriller)
  6. Fran Rizer, A Tisket, a Tasket, a Fancy Stolen Casket (cozy mystery)

Favorite: All the Pretty Girls (Ellison) and To the Power of Three (Lippman)
Least Favorite: Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Lindsay)