Monthly Wrap Up

September 2009 Wrap-Up

September 2009 Wrap-Up

Here’s my end of the month wrap-up:

  1. Tori Spelling, sTORItelling
  2. Charlaine Harris, Real Murders
  3. Jonathan Kellerman, When the Bough Breaks
  4. Chelsea Cain, Evil at Heart
  5. Paul Christopher, Michelangelo’s Notebook
  6. Robert B. Parker, The Godwulf Manuscript

Here are some statistics in regards to my reading:

  • Books read: 6
  • Pages read: 1662
  • New Authors: 3
  • Fiction: 5
  • Nonfiction: 1
  • Read for Challenges: 6

I am once again pleased to say that out of the 6 books I read in September, 3 came from my TBR mountain!! I hope to continue this trend of at least 50% of my monthly reads (hopefully more) will come from my personal books.

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Challenge Wrap-Up, READING CHALLENGES 2009

Finished Challenge – 2009 1st in a Series Challenge

J. Kaye over at J. Kaye’s Book Blog hosted this great challenge this year. The main page for this challenge can be found here. I am a huge series reader, so I was really excited to sign up for this one. I really enjoyed reading the books that completed this challenge for me. I met some really great new characters is what I hope will be some good series’!  Here is what I read:

  1. Deal Breaker, Harlan Coben (Myron Bolitar) REVIEW
  2. Final Jeopardy, Linda Fairstein (Alex Cooper) REVIEW
  3. Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris (Harper Connelly) REVIEW
  4. Real Murders by Charlaine Harris (Aurora Teagarden) REVIEW
  5. When the Bough Breaks, Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware) REVIEW
  6. Michelangelo’s Notebook, Paul Christopher (Finn Ryan) REVIEW
  7. The Chemist, Janson Mancheski (Cale Van Waring) REVIEW
  8. The Godwulf Manuscript, Robert B. Parker (Spenser) REVIEW
  9. Postmortem, Patricia Cornwell (Kay Scarpetta) REVIEW
  10. The Templar Legacy, Steve Berry (Cotton Malone) REVIEW
  11. The Cove, Catherine Coulter (FBI Thriller) REVIEW
  12. A Tisket, a Tasket, a Fancy Stolen Casket, Fran Rizer (Calamine Parrish) REVIEW

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009

REVIEW: The Godwulf Manuscript by Robert B. Parker

The Godwulf Manuscript
by Robert B. Parker

Copyright: 1973
Pages: 204
Rating: 3/5
Read: Sept. 28-29, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 1st in a Series Challenge; 2009 Celebrate the Author Challenge; Random Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 50

First Line: The office of the university president looked like the front parlor of a successful Victorian whorehouse.

Spenser, a private detective, is hired by a local university to find a rare manuscript that has been stolen. But when a body shows up, the cops are ready to throw the book at the dead man’s girlfriend. But Spenser has a feeling that the dead man and the missing manuscript are connected. But when people start to tell Spenser to back off from this case, that only makes him want to solve it even more.

Okay, so this was a weird book. It’s been on my shelf for a little bit and it sounded interesting. But it just wasn’t my thing. First of all, I really didn’t take to Spenser’s character. I mean, I guess he was okay, he had some witty remarks here and there, but overall his character did nothing to endear me. I also felt like the plotline was a little lacking in places. It was just an okay book honestly. I suppose I will eventually read the second in this series, but if it doesn’t improve I probably won’t continue.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009

REVIEW: Michelangelo’s Notebook by Paul Christopher

Michelangelo’s Notebook
by Paul Christopher

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 355
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 23-27, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 1st in a Series Challenge; 2010 Countdown Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 49

First Line: Maggiore Tiberio Bertoglio, wearing the uniform of one of the Mussolini Black Brigades – complete with ebony shoulder boards, bloodred-and-silver double-M collar tabs and a silver-and-black skull-and-crossbones insignia on the forepeak of his regulation bustina – sat in the backseat of the dusty Lancia staff car, arms crossed over his ches Il Duce-style, not feeling half as grand as he looked.

Beautiful art history student Finn Ryan is just an intern when she discovers something amazing: a Michelangelo drawing that has been mislabeled and seemingly forgotten about. But this is no ordinary Michelangelo. Finn is pretty certain that it is from Michelangelo’s missing notebook. After a confrontation with her immediate supervisor, Finn is fired from her intern position and her boyfriend is killed that same night, stealing the sketches that she had made of that drawing. Not knowing what is going on, Finn flees while she still can, to the address that her mother gave her before she moved to NYC. It brings her face to face with an antiquarian book dealer, Michael Valentine. Together, they will unravel the mystery of this Michelangelo and try and discover a secret that has been well-kept since the final days of World War II … a secret that has ties to the Vatican … a secret that could get Finn and Valentine killed.

This book starts out really good. It has a lot of fast paced action. But then at times it’s also kind of confusing because it flashes back and forth between the present day with Finn and Valentine and the last days of World War II. It took me quite some time to even begin to figure out what was going on and why the flashbacks kept happening, but overall I thought that this was a good book. I have the other three books in the Finn Ryan series and I’m definitely looking forward to getting to them. I will say that I gave this book a 4 overall simply because it was a little hard to follow in places. So overall this is a great book that I highly recommend.

5/5, Archie and Gretchen, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart
by Chelsea Cain

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 306
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 17-22, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 Celebrate the Author; 2010 Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 48

First Line: The rest stop off I-84 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River was vile, even by rest-stop standards.

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. And she has become somewhat of a celebrity, with fan websites, fan fiction, her image on t-shirts, in magazines, there’s even a tour that people can take for $35 that will take them to the sites of her murders. But no one knows where she is. Archie Sheridan, the man who she let live for unknown reasons, is still in the hospital … the psych ward to be precise. When they last parted they made a deal – Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But it seems as if Gretchen has reneged on her end of the deal. When some pretty gruesome evidence is found, it all seems to point back to Gretchen. This gets Archie back into action. He is determined not to let Gretchen harm anyone else. But is The Beauty Killer back in action or has the whole obsessiveness around Gretchen turned into something more evil?

Let’s see, I didn’t care for Heartsick. I LOVED Sweetheart. This one was pretty good. It was a quick and easy read. But my main disappointment in this book is that it seemed to have so little of Gretchen in it. This installment was more about Archie. Which is fine and it was interesting, but Ms. Cain – Gretchen is the meat of your story! However, the door was definitely left open for a fourth book in this series, which I will most definitely read if it does come to be.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Sept. 21, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Mondays

Thursday, September 17
Booked to Die by John Dunning Booked to Die by John Dunning

Tough, book-loving Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway wants to nail Jackie Newton – a suspected psychopath who just barely beat the rap for a series of vagrant killings. Janeway is certain is sleazy, sadistic nemesis is to blame for the recent murder of a down-and-out rare book hunter – and treats Newton to a rather brutal helping of off-duty justice that ultimately costs the overzealous cop his badge. A civilian once more, Cliff Janeway now has time to pursue his true passion – the buying and selling of valuable first editions – and to get to the bottom of the unfortunate bookscout’s still-unsolved slaying. For somewhere undercover, in the bizarre, cutthroat world of bookmen and collectors, someone is dealing death along with vintage Chandlers and Twains.

I received this book from a trade at the Yahoo group MysteryBookSwap. I bought one of the later ones in this series without knowing it was a series and was pleased to get this first one in the mail.

The Ritual Bath by Faye KellermanThe Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman

Detective Peter Decker of the LAPD is stunned when he gets the report. Someone has shattered the sanctuary of a remote yeshiva community in the California hills with an unimaginable crime. One of the women was brutally raped as she returned from the mikvah, the bathhouse where the cleansing ritual is performed. The crime was called in by Rina Lazarus, and Decker is relieved to discover that she is a calm and intelligent witness. She is also the only one in the sheltered community willing to speak of this unspeakable violation. As Rina tries to steer Decker through the maze of religious laws the two grow closer. But before they get to the bottom of this horrendous crime, revelations come to light that are so shocking that they threaten to come between the hard-nosed cop and the deeply religious woman with whom he has become irrevocably linked.

I have several of her other books on my shelf, and wanted to start this series from the beginning. So I received this as part of the abovementioned trade. Definitely looking forward to starting this series!

5/5, Alex Delaware, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman

When the Bough Breaks
by Jonathan Kellerman

Copyright: 1985
Pages: 351
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 14-17, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 1st in a Series Challenge; A Well-Rounded Challenge; 2009 Celebrate the Author; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 47

First Line: It was shaping up as a beautiful morning.

Alex Delaware is a well-known and established child psychologist when he burns out at the age of thirty-two. But he gets involved when his friend, LA police detective Milo Sturgis, enlists his help as a “consultant” with the department. Charged with helping a terrified seven-year-old girl who might have seen the perpertrators of a horrific murder, he is intrigued with the entire case whereas the police seem less impassioned about it. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, he is caught up in a web of unimaginable evil and a forty-year-old secret.

I have read a few of the more recent Alex Delaware novels and have enjoyed them, so I was really excited to finally read the first in this series. I learned so much about who Alex and Milo really are that I had missed out on in the later books. I was so intrigued by all the twists and turns. Kellerman really wrote a great story with this one. I’m probably like the last person on earth to have read this book, but if you haven’t read this one before I highly recommend this one.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Sept. 14, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Mondays

Tuesday, September 8
Shakespeare's Landlord Shakespeare’s Landlord by Charlaine Harris

Disguising herself with short hair and baggy clothes, Lily Bard has started over in the sleepy town of Shakespeare, Arkansas, where – working as a cleaning lady – she can sweep away the secrets of her dark and violent past. When Lily discovers the dead body of her nosy landlord, her plan to live a quiet, unobserved life starts to crumble. Lily doesn’t care who did it. But as the unwanted attentions of the police chief and a suspicious community fall on her, she soon realizes if she doesn’t unmask the murderer, her life might do more than crumble … it might end.

After loving the Harper Connelly series and enjoying the first of the Roe Teagarden series, I put this one on my PBS wishlist and received it rather quickly. So I’m looking forward to trying out this series as well.

Friday, September 11
The Daughter by Jasmine Cresswell The Daughter by Jasmine Cresswell

Fifteen-year-old Maggie is convicted of her mother’s murder. Maggie’s guilty of many things … But not of that. Seven years later she escapes from prison. Maggie Slade’s been on the run for seven years now. Seven years of dead-end jobs. Seven years of never forming friendships, never falling in love. Seven years of living without a future because she’s a woman with a past. And then she meets Sean McLeod. A cop. And they fall in love. Only two things can happen – he can turn Maggie in or she can escape again. Or … they can learn to trust each other. And find a way to prove an Archbishop’s guilt – and Maggie’s innocence!

I received this one today as part of a two book box from PBS. I’ve never even heard of this author, and I’m not sure how this one will end up being, but it sounded interesting and I figured I’d give it a shot.

Trust No One by Christiane Heggan Trust No One by Christiane Heggan

Eight years ago an innocent woman was killed in a terrorist bombing. Now a powerful politician is brutally murdered and an old man dies in a strange accident. Somehow these deaths are parts of the same puzzle – a puzzle that consumes one woman’s life. Julia Bradshaw had every reason to hate her ex-husband, but she didn’t kill him in cold blood. Now the prime suspect in Councilman Paul Bradshaw’s death, Julia is caught up in something more than a case of misinterpreted circumstantial evidence. When reporter Steve Reyes arrives in Monterey to investigate the murder, Julia realizes that there might be a more sinister reason for Paul’s death, one relating to a mysterious terrorist group. A group Steve knows more about than he’s letting on. Desperately trying to put the pieces together and clear her own name, Julia begins to trust one man … when her every instinct is telling her to trust no one.

This was the second book in the two book box from PBS. I’m not sure how this one will be either, but it sounds pretty good so we’ll have to see!!

Meme

Meme: My Life in Books

Okay, so I’ve seen this meme pop up in my Google reader more than a few times. So I thought I’d take it on! Here goes:

Using only books you have read this year (2009), cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a book title.

Describe Yourself: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
How do you feel: In a Dark Time by Larry Watson
Describe where you currently live: The Maze by Catherine Coulter
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: The Cove by Catherine Coulter
Your favorite form of transport: Sail by James Patterson
Your best friend is: Perfect by Harry Kraus, MD
What’s the weather like: Cat & Mouse by James Patterson
Favourite time of day: The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard
What is life to you: 7th Heaven by James Patterson
Your fear: Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
What is the best advice you have to give: All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard
Thought for the Day: The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinksy
How I would like to die: Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris
My soul’s present condition: Heartstopper by Joy Fielding

READING CHALLENGES 2009

Countdown Challenge 2010

Countdown2010

Well there is a second year of the Countdown Challenge! I didn’t finish the 2009 version of this challenge, but I enjoyed it and am determined to finish the 2010 challenge. We’ll see how it goes. Here are the rules as laid out by 3M at 1morechapter:

  1. The goal of this challenge is to read the number of books first published in a given year that corresponds to the last digit of each year in the 2000s — 10 books from 2010, 9 books from 2009, 8 books from 2008, etc. The total number of books required, therefore, is 55.
  2. This challenge lasts from 9/9/09 through 10/10/10.
  3. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and your lists may change at any time.
  4. Sign up using Mr. Linky.
  5. Have fun reading!

So I’m looking forward to this one! I will be keeping my list here as I go:

2010 (complete)

  1. The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
  2. Burn by Ted Dekker & Erin Healy
  3. Victim Six by Gregg Olsen
  4. The 9th Judgment by James Patterson
  5. Never Let You Go by Erin Healy
  6. The Alexandria Letter by George R. Honig
  7. Damaged by Alex Kava
  8. Death on the D-List by Nancy Grace
  9. 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan
  10. The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

 

2009 (completed)

  1. Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain
  2. Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
  3. The Eleventh Victim by Nancy Grace
  4. The Murder of King Tut by James Patterson & Martin Dugard
  5. Grave Secret by Charlaine Harris
  6. Children of Dust by Ali Eteraz
  7. Decoding the Lost Symbol by Simon Cox
  8. Conflicts with Interest by Michael Ruddy
  9. 18 Billion by Jack Gresham

2008

  1. The Aztec Heresy by Paul Christopher
  2. Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
  3. Exposed by Alex Kava
  4. Final Breath by Kevin O’Brien
  5. The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen

2007

  1. The Book of Names by Jill Gregory & Karen Tintori
  2. The Dying Game by Beverly Barton
  3. The Next Killing by Rebecca Drake
  4. Step on a Crack by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

2006

  1. Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
  2. The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
  3. The Black Sun by James Twining
  4. The Collectors by David Baldacci

2005 (completed)

  1. Michelangelo’s Notebook by Paul Christopher
  2. The Double Eagle by James Twining
  3. No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark
  4. The Camel Club by David Baldacci
  5. The President’s Assassin by Brian Haig

2004

  1. London Bridges by James Patterson
  2. Body Double by Tess Gerritsen

2003 (completed)

  1. The Murder of Laci Peterson by Cliff Linedecker
  2. The Sorority: Eve by Tamara Thorne
  3. The Sorority: Merilynn by Tamara Thorne

2002 (completed)

  1. Four Blind Mice by James Patterson
  2. The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen

2001 (completed)

  1. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen