Monthly Wrap Up

October 2009 Wrap-Up

October 2009 Wrap-Up

Here’s my end of the month wrap-up:

  1. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
  2. D is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton
  3. A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris
  4. Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson
  5. The Murder of Laci Peterson by Cliff Linedecker
  6. Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak
  7. The Double Eagle by James Twining

Here are some statistics in regards to my reading:

  • Books read: 7
  • Pages read: 2172
  • New Authors: 3
  • Fiction:6
  • Nonfiction: 1
  • Read for Challenges: 7

Once again I am pleased by the fact that this month out of the seven books I read, 6 of them was from my TBR pile; 4 of them had been on my shelves for more than a year. I fill my shelves up quicker than I can put a dent in them, but at least I’m making small progress!

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

REVIEW: The Double Eagle by James Twining

The Double Eagle
by James Twining

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 399
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 22-25, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 57

First Line: They were late.

Someone has managed to steal five Double Eagles from Fort Knox. These five $20 gold coins were some of the few still in existence. President Roosevelt ordered them destroyed during the Great Depression, and they are worth millions. When one of them turns up in the stomach of a murdered priest in France, FBI agent Jennifer Browne is put on the case. Browne knows that she needs to close this case in order to save her stalled career. Following all the clues leads her directly to art thief Tom Kirk. Kirk wants out of the game, and Browne can promise him a clean break, if he cooperates with her and helps her recover these coincs. This unlikly pair sets out on a breakneck race around the world and right into a surprising conspiracy of greed, power, and death.

I have had my eye on this book for a few years now. One of my co-workers’ wives recommended this book to me at a company Christmas party back in 2006 or 2007. It sounded interesting, but not something that was high on my priority list. But I kept coming back to it on my PBS reminder list and finally used the credit for it. And I can only say that I am disappointed I waited so long to meet James Twining’s work! I was totally taken pretty much from the first page. I was intrigued and couldn’t get through the pages quickly enough to figure out what was really going on. And when I got to the end, there was definitely a nice twist to the ending that surprised me. I really enjoyed all the descriptions about how Tom Kirk carried off his heists. This is a wonderful book I am definitely looking foward to getting around to the rest of the books in this series, and I doubt that I wait another two years to read the second book. I highly recommend this book.

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

REVIEW: Wait Until Twilight by Sang Pak

Wait Until Twilight
by Sang Pak

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 229
Rating: 3/5
Read: Oct. 19-21, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010
Yearly Count: 56

First Line: The sun sits flat against the blue sky like someone pressed it on there with a giant thumb.

Sixteen-year-old Samuel is looking for the perfect subject for his video project for school. He has heard rumors about these supposed alien triplets in town. With his interest picqued, he heads out to their house to find out what the real story behind the triplets is. Immediately upon seeing these deformed babies, he is physically ill. However, an intense obsession with them begins soon after.

I was contacted directly by the author in regards to receiving a review copy of this book. I was intrigued after reading a brief excerpt, I thought it sounded really interesting. However, I was kind of confused about the book at about the halfway mark. It’s not a bad book at all; in fact Sang Pak has released a wonderfully written debut novel. It was just that the overall story was a little weird in my opinion. But I’d definitely recommend others to read this book.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, L, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009

REVIEW: The Murder of Laci Peterson by Cliff Linedecker

The Murder of Laci Peterson
by Cliff Linedecker

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 222
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Oct. 13-19, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge ; RYOB 2009; Countdown Challenge 2010
Yearly Count: 55

First Line: Homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women in America.

I followed this case like nothing I had ever followed before or since. I was just absolutely obsessed with it. And yeah, I thought Peterson was guilty from pretty much day one. I don’t want to go into a lot of details of the case itself because anyone who was alive in America and paying the slightest bit of attention in 2002 after the disappearance of Laci to the end of 2005 that culminated with the guilty verdict and death sentence of Scott knows at least the basic facts of this case. All in all, I was like a lot of the American people, I fell in love with the young woman with the deep dimples who was excited to be having a baby boy in a few months. And I was outraged that her husband could possibly be responsible for killing her. To read the first line of this book that I quoted up above is absolutely sickening. Pregnancy is supposed to be the happiest time in a woman’s life. It’s really a miracle, a blessing. Having never been pregnant myself, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to carry a baby inside me. But I also cannot imagine the pain and hurt and betrayal that would accomany being murdered by your spouse either. But to know that you and your baby both were being murdered: unthinkable. There really isn’t nothing new in this book that anyone who paid attention to this case as it was unfolding wouldn’t already know. It was published before Scott Peterson went on trial for the murders of his wife and unborn son, so there is a huge chunk of the case not even covered in it. But I suppose if you want a pretty good description of the facts of the case, this would be a good choice. I have also read Laci by Michael Fleeman (last year I believe). I’m not sure which one would be the better choice, because the facts are the facts pretty much in this case. But if you’re a true crime fan, this is definitely a book and case that will prove to be interesting.

5/5, Alex Cross, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson

Pop Goes the Weasel
by James Patterson

Copyright: 1999
Pages: 461
Rating: 5/5
Read: Oct. 14-18, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge ; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 54

First Line: Geoffrey Shafer, dashingly outfitted in a single-breasted blue blazer, white shirt, striped tie, and narrow gray trousers from H. Huntsman & Sons, walked out of his town house at seven-thirty in the morning and climbed into a black Jaguar XJ12.

Alex Cross is back! In this installment of the Cross series, Alex is up against a guy that no one is looking for. Jane Does are being murdered in the Southeast. No one seems to care. No one seems to see a connection. Except for Alex Cross. He cares. He sees a connection with these Jane Does. He spends his off-duty time investigating these murders. But his supervisor pulls him off the case. There are more important cases in his opinion than a case that really doesn’t exist within the department. But when Alex’s fiancee is kidnapped, Alex doesn’t know what to do. As time goes on, he moves on. He dives right back into his work on the Jane Doe murder cases. He dubs the killer “The Weasel”. But when he finally catches up to the Weasel he gets the shock of a lifetime – the Weasel has diplomatic immunity. But instead of invoking his immunity, he waives it in order to try and beat Alex Cross. This puts Alex up against his most interesting character yet.

I just love this series! It is so much better than his Women’s Murder Club books are. This one was a really good installment though. It was full of twists and turns and I loved the character that Patterson created in Shafer aka The Weasel. I personally thought that he was a creepier villain than Gary Sonjei was. As a reader, I really felt Alex’s pain when his fiancee went missing. I really feel a connection with Cross’s character, and I just love his Nana’s character!! I look forward to getting around to the next one in this series to see how Alex’s relationship with Christine continues to develop. I highly recommend this series to anyone, and I felt like this was another strong book in the series.

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

REVIEW: A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

A Bone to Pick
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 1995
Pages: 262
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 10-13, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge ; RYOB 2009;
Yearly Count: 53

First Line: In less than a year, I went to three weddings and one funeral.

Roe Teagarden has had an interesting year. After her crime discussion group disbanded, it seems like life has been a roller coaster – with her personal life on a permanent downfall. But her life will be turned upside down when she is told that she has inherited everything that Jane Engle owned. Jane was a member of the abovementioned discussion group but it wasn’t like she was Roe’s best friend. So why would Jane leave her everything? Roe is unsure but she is impressed by the inheritance. But when she finds a skull in Jane’s window seat she is completely baffled. Knowing Jane, Roe is positive that she had not killed somebody, but why on earth would Jane Engle have a skull in her house? She finally realizes that Jane would have wanted Roe to figure out the puzzle that Jane left behind. But Roe begins to suspect that one of her new seemingly ordinary neighbors is a cold-blooded murderer.

I recently read the first in this series, Real Murders and was not very impressed overall. This one was a lot better. But my one main complaint is that halfway through the book it’s like the mystery part of the book was thrown out. On the positive side there was a lot of character development in this installment, but the actual murder mystery part of this book was kind of sporadic. Overall it’s a good story and it was a quick and enjoyable read, but I felt like there could have been a lot more to the actually mystery part of this book.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Oct. 12, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Mondays

Monday, Oct. 5
Children of Dust by Eteraz Children of Dust: A Memoir of Pakistan by Ali Eteraz

Children of Dust is a searing memoir revealing the truth about militant Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan and the culture shock of moving to the U.S. Astonishingly honest, darkly comic, and beautifully told, Children of Dust is an extraordinary adventure that reveals the diversity of Islamic beliefs, the vastness of the Pakistani diaspora, and the very human search for home.

I received this book to review from FSB Associates. I usually don’t read books like this but for some reason the description of this book really drew me in and intrigued me. So I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes!

The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha

Vatican City, 1978: On September 29, the world awakens to news of the shocking, sudden death of Pope John Paul I, elected only thirty-three days earlier. The Vatican’s official response: His Holiness died of unknown causes, “possibly associated with a heart attack.” The pope’s body is embalmed within twenty-four hours, preventing any possibility of an autopsy. London, 2006: Journalist Sarah Monteiro returns from vacation to find a mysterious envelope stuffed in her mailbox. Inside is a list of unfamiliar names and a coded message. At first, Sarah is merely puzzled by the strange delivery. But when a masked intruder breaks into her home, she knows that the list has put her in danger. Drawn into a vortex of hidden identity and double crosses, Sarah soon learns that the contents of the envelope hold th ekey to unveiling corruption beyond anythign she has ever investigated – a plot that implicates not only unscrupulous mercenaries and crooked politicians but also princes of the Church, and perhaps even her own family. Indeed, the appearance of the envelope brings to light a number of long-unanswered questions: What really happened during the brief reign of John Paul I? Whose plans were cut short that fatal night in September 1978? And who might have benefited from the pope’s sudden demise?

I received this one from my wish list on PBS. It sounds SOOOO good and I’m really looking forward to this one!!

Tuesday, Oct. 6
Iced by Carol Higgins Clark Iced by Carol Higgins Clark

P.I. Regan Reilly has high hopes for her Aspen vacation – such as meeting an unmarried man! But a mystery soon has the chic detective snooping rather than skiin. Million-dollar paintings have been disappearaing, and an old friend of Regan’s – a folksy ex-con named Eben Bean – has vanished too. Everyone except Regan believes Eben has gone bad … again. Her hunt to find him points to the families who founded this once frontier town, including a wild and wooly seventy-something lady harboring a shocking secret. Now as new snow blankets Aspen, Regan may be learning a new winter sport – trying to catch a killer while running for her life.

I’ve read the first two in this series and when I was offered a box on PBS and found this one on her shelf, I was happy to pick it up and get back to this series!

Twanged by Carol Higgins Clark Twanged by Carol Higgins Clark

Sleuth Regan Reilly is hired as a bodyguard for singer Brigid O’Neill, a rising country star who has been receiving threatening “love notes.” Brigid also possesses a “magical” Irish fiddle said to be cursed – whoever takes it out of Ireland will have an accident or face death. Still, Brigid brings it to the Hamptons for a Fourth of July concert and Regan joins her. Chappy Tinka, heir to a thumbtack fortune, and his ditzy wife, Bettina, are their hosts at “Chappy’s Compound,” where a party guest is soon found floating facedown in the pool. Is the curse of the fiddle real? Is there a murderer in the house? As the concert nears, the menace grows, and Regan must discover the truth before some country tunes turn into a funeral march.

This was the second book that I picked for the box from PBS and the fourth in this series.

Thursday, Oct. 8
The Vanished Man by Jeffery Deaver The Vanished Man by Jeffery Deaver

Forensic expert Lincoln Rhyme and his protegee Amelia Sachs are called in to work the high-profile investigation of a killer who seemingly disappeared into thin air just as the police closed in. As the homicidal illusionist baits them with grisly murders that grow more diabolical with each victim, Rhyme and Sachs must go behind the smoke and mirrors to prevent a horrific act of vengeance that could become the greatest vanishing act of all …

I have read the first book in this series and am looking forward to continuing on with it and found this one on another PBS’ers shelf for a box.

The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen

It is a boiling hot summer in Boston. Adding to the city’s woes is a series of shocking crimes in which wealthy men are made to watch while their wives are brutalized – a sadistic demand that ends in death. The pattern suggests one man: serial killer Warren Hoyt, recently put behind bars. Police can only assume an acolyte is at large, a maniac basing his attacks on the twisted medical techniques of the madman he so admires. At least that’s what Detective Jane Rizzoli thinks. Forced to reconfront the killer who scarred her – literally and figuratively – she is determined to finally end Hoyt’s awful influence. But this time around, the vendetta is more vicious than she ever would have imagined.

I recently read The Surgeon and found this one for the abovementioned box because I’m looking forward to continuing with this series.

Shiver by Lisa Jackson Shiver by Lisa Jackson

A serial killer is turning the Big Easy into his personal playground. The victims are killed in pairs – no connection, no apparent motive, no real clues. It’s a very sick game, and it’s only just begun. Abby Chastain left New Orleans long ago and for good reason. Now she’s back where she feels watched, as if the devil himself is scraping a fingernail along her spine. It doesn’t help that Detective Reuben Montoya is convinced she’s somehow the key to unlocking these horrible crimes – a mystery that has something to do with Our Lady of Virtues Mental Hospital, a decaying old asylum where unspeakable crimes were once committed, and a human predator may still wait. As more bodies are found in gruesome, staged scenarios, Montoya and Abby are in a desperate race to stop a killer whose terrifying crimes are bringing them even nearer to a shocking revelation. For the past is never completely gone. Its sins must be avenged. And a twisted psychopath is getting close enough to make them … Shiver.

This was the third and final book that I chose for the PBS box. I really enjoy Lisa Jackson’s books and am always on the lookout for more of her books and was pleased to see this one available to try out.

Challenge Wrap-Up, READING CHALLENGES 2009

Finished Challenge – A Well-Rounded Challenge 2009

Teddy Rose hosted this wonderful challenge this year. The idea behind this challenge is to read books for challenges that you’re currently signed up for. I can tell you that this challenge really jump started me back up on my challenges, specifically the Celebrate the Author Challenge (which I was really behind on). Here is what I read:

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Kinsey Millhone, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: ‘D’ is for Deadbeat by Sue Grafton

‘D’ is for Deadbeat
by Sue Grafton

Copyright: 1987
Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 6-10, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; A Well-Rounded Challenge 2009 ;2009 Celebrate the Author Challenge; RYOB 2009; 2009 What’s in a Name Challenge
Yearly Count: 52

First Line: Later, I found out his name was John Daggett, but that’s not how he introduced himself the day he walked into my office.

Kinsey Millhone figures her latest job will be an easy one. All she has to do is deliver a $25,000 check to a fifteen-year-old boy. She was a little leery of Alvin Limardo, but she took the job, and his retainer check. But when the check bounced, she knew that something wasn’t quite right. Trying to track Alvin down, she finds out that Alvin is actually John Daggett, a drunk who was just released from prison. But by the time Kinsey tracks him down again, he’s dead. And unfortunately there is a very long list of people who was more than happy to see him end up dead. So how does a private investigator get a dead man to pay up?

This is the fourth installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. I found this book to be slow to start, but it had a really great middle and then a below-par ending. It really is kind of unbelievable in regards to all the trouble that Kinsey manages to find. But I like her character. This one was definitely better than the first three books in this series were. I guess she was still developing as an author back then. But I’m going to repeat something that I know that I mentioned in my reviews of the first three in this series: it’s hard to pack a really great action-filled story into 240 pages. I know that as this series progresses, the books become longer in length, and I hope that that’s due to Grafton being able to develop the characters a little bit more. That’s something that I really look for in a series, but I haven’t seen much development so far.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Jane Rizzoli, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

The Surgeon
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2001
Pages: 359
Rating: 5/5
Read: Oct. 3-5, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 Celebrate the Author Challenge; 2010 Countdown Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 51

First Line: Today they will find her body.

He is dubbed The Surgeon. He slips into women’s homes unnoticed and does horrendous things to their bodies. Things that are so precise, it indicates that he is a man of medicine. The only clue is another surgeon, Dr. Catherine Cordell. Two years ago she was attacked and fought back and ultimately killed her attacker. But everything Cordell has worked to build will come crashing down when The Surgeon begins to do his work in Boston – he will re-create almost identically the ordeal that Cordell went through.

Okay, so I’ve read a later book in this series, Vanish, a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it. I’ve had this one on my shelf for over a year now and finally picked it up! And I am definitely glad that I did pick this one up, I was really surprised by it. I loved it! I am not one who normally reads and/or likes medical type books. But this one was a little different than your typical medical thriller. There was an actual story kind of outside of the hospital to this book. Sure, there was a distinct medical aspect to the book, but as the reader I was not bogged down with a lot of medical terminology. I found it to be a really easy read and very suspenseful! Highly recommended!