4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: Crimson Rain by Meg O’Brien

Crimson Rain
by Meg O’Brien

Copyright: 2002
Pages: 394
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 26-28, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 51

First Line: Life, some say, is only an illusion – an illusion we create ourselves, in our own minds, then project onto the screen of our days.

Paul and Gina Bradley wanted nothing more than a perfect family when they first got married. After receiving the frustrating news that they would not be able to have children of their own, they set out to adopt. Twin girls soon came their way and they thought that their lives were complete. But something was wrong with one of the twins, Angela. After a terrifying event, Paul and Gina make the difficult decision to return Angela to the orphanage for the safety of the other twin, Rachel. Sixteen years later the Bradley family is falling apart. Paul and Gina have drifted apart after what they went through with Angela. When Rachel comes home from college for Christmas break, it’s like she’s a completely different person to Paul and Gina. When Rachel disappears shortly after Christmas Paul and Gina must come together for the sake of their daughter. But the turn of events that happen in their quest to find Rachel will have some surprisingly vengeful results.

This was an enjoyable read. Although in some places it felt a little predictable and formulaic, there were some definite surprises throughout the book. There were some typos, which is a big pet peeve of mine (if you name a character Vicky, do not call her Vicki on the very next page). The ending definitely had a surprising twist. This book was an easy and enjoyable read, but it probably isn’t one that will be very memorable in the long run.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Sept. 27, 2010

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with September’s spot being at Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

This week I had three books come into my house. Here’s what I received:

The Bookman’s Wake by John Dunning (From PBS)
     Denver cop-turned-book-dealer Cliff Janeway is back, lured by an enterprising ex-cop into going to Seattle to bring back a fugitive wanted for assault, burglary, and the possible theft of a priceless edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” The bail jumper turns out to be a young, vulnerable woman who calls herself Eleanor Rigby, and who happens to be a gifted book scout. Janeway finds Eleanor enchanting – and is equally intrigued by the deadly history surrounding the rare volume. Stalked by people willing to kill to get their hands on it, a terrifid Eleanor slips from Janeway’s grasp and disappears. To find her, Janeway must unravel the secrets surrounding the book and its mysteirous maker, for only this knowledge can stop the cruel hand of death from turning another page.

The Third Option by Vince Flynn (From PBS)
     Mitch Rapp, the CIA’s most lethal and efficient counterterrorism operative, is putting into play a meticulous plan to take out a notorious sponsor of terrorism – when he falls prey to government forces with an agenda of their own. Dr. Irene Kennedy is named the successor to dying CIA Director Thomas Stansfield – a choice that enrages many inside the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. And her detractors will resort to extreme measures to prevent her from taking the reins. But what the Washington conspirators and backstabbing insiders do not know is that Mitch Rapp won’t tolerate being their pawn. And he will stop at nothing to find out who has set him up.

Who Killed Bobby?: The Unsolved Murder of Robert F. Kennedy by Shane O’Sullivan (From PBS)
     On June 5, 1968, a jubilant Robert F. Kennedy and his supporters celebrated a first place finish in the California primary, hopeful the crucial win would propel him to the Democratic nominatino for the presidency, and on to the White House. Following a rousing victory speech that practically lifted the roof off the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, there was a last-minute route change as he left the stage. Instead of heading downstairs for another speech, the candidate was directed into the kitchen patnry en route to a press conference. Moments later, in the pantry, shots rang out. The senator lay on th efloor, mortally wounded. Five bystanders were also struck. The assailant was Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a 24 year old Palestinian immigrant who’d come to California at age 12. Sirhan was arrested and, at first, no one doubted he was the lone assassin – but was he really? This is just one of many key questions posed by Shane O’Sullivan, an independent researcher turned investigative journalist, in his exhaustive re-examination of the assassination.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, P, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: Run for Your Life by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

Run For Your Life
by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 338
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Sept. 22-25, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 50

First Line: Getting stuck on a bus in New York City, even under normal circumstances, is a lesson in frustration.

NYPD Detective Michael Bennett is still trying to adjust after the death of his wife, Maeve, a year ago. Between trying to take care of his ten children and his job, he doesn’t have a lot of time to himself. But that’s his life and he has to find a way to move on, and he does – he throws himself into every case that comes his way. But the latest one that he has caught is incredibly confusing. There have been numerous seemingly random shootings around the city in a short time span. There’s no apparent connection at first, but Bennett has the strange feeling that it is anything but random. Fighting the flu at the Bennett household and a madman terrorizing the streets of New York City, Bennett has a few hours to find the identity of the man who calls himself the Teacher and track him down and stop him before he can cause any more chaos.

This book is the second in the Michael Bennett series. I’m still not 100 percent sold on this series. I don’t know if I just can’t grasp the fact that a New York police detective is trying to raise 10 adopted children or if it’s the fact that Alex Cross is my favorite series ever, but for whatever reason, this book and the first in the series Step On a Crack just isn’t catching my attention. I will probably seek out the third one in this series simply because I like reading James Patterson’s books, but it will never be as good as the Alex Cross series. that being said, this was a decent book. It was an interesting storyline. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something that I would rave about to other people.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, P, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

The Postcard Killers
by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 420
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 20-21, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010
Yearly Count: 49

First Line: “It’s very small,” the Englishwoman said, sounding disappointed.

NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe’s greatest cities. Unfortunately, it’s not a vacation. Instead he’s there working a case. His daughter, Kimmy, was brutally murdered in Rome a few months earlier. He has been on a mission ever since, for the same killers have apparently murdered other young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt and Stockholm. Kanon teams up with a Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has received a postcard from the killers. It will take a lot of effort on Kanon to convince the Swedish police to let him in on the case. And when he is finally brought onto the case, it will be a race against time to stop the killers once and for all.

Before I really get into my opinion, I have to say that the first line quoted above was in reference to the Mona Lisa on display at the Lourve in Paris. I have been there and seen the Mona Lisa, and I must say, I was very disappointed as to how small the painting was as well! Anyway, this was a good read altogether. However, it was incredibly predictable. And it was billed as “the scariest vacation thriller ever” on the cover of the book, well I must disagree. I didn’t find it very scary whatsoever. However, I did enjoy it and I would recommend it, but it was a little bit formulaic in spots.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Sept. 20, 2010


Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with September’s spot being at Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

 This past week, I only had two books come into my mailbox (which is probably a good thing, if you saw the size of my to-read pile – er, mountain!) I received one book from PBS and one book for review.

From PBS:

Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Cases by Dr. Henry Lee

CRACKING CASES takes the reader through the entire investigative process of five murder cases, with world-renowned forensic expert Dr. Henry C. Lee as your guide. Dr. Lee is considered by many to be the greatest criminalist in the world. He gained wide-spread public recognition through his testimony in the televised O.J. Simpson trial and has dedicated his life to establishing the truth at crime scenes no matter where the trail of evidence leads him and no matter which side these scientific findings eventually assist. In each case, Dr. Lee presents an easily understood, detailed scientific explanation of how he investigated the murders, analyzed the evidence, and used forensic techniques that played a critical role in finally bringing the criminals to justice. The reader is treated to an absorbing discussion of how forensic experts examine blood-spatter evidence and use blood identification, DNA analysis, and other scientific technologies developed in the world’s best laboratories. CRACKING CASES is a fascinating insider’s look by an international authority into the pursuit of justice in some of the most grisly criminal cases of recent times. Anyone who enjoys reading true crime and detective stories will surely find this book captivating.

From Anna Suknov at FSB Associates for review:

 City in Shadow by Evan Marshall

A Hidden Manhattan Mystery – A frightened woman leaves a note reading HELP ME outside Sanitation supervisor Anna Winthrop’s apartment . . . A career-making story leads a journalist to a human-trafficking ring . . . A woman acts as bait in an effort to track down her missing sister . . . and Anna’s visiting cousin Patti prowls New York’s dark streets, but won’t say why. All roads lead to the Kirkmore, a sinister apartment tower harboring a secret more horrifying than anyone could ever have imagined.

So I’m looking forward to both of these books, especially the new review book! I’m also looking forward to seeing what goodies everyone else has received this past week 🙂

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, T

REVIEW: The Black Sun by James Twining

The Black Sun
by James Twining

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 416
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 12-19, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 48

First Line: Ash cash. That’s what medical students call it.

In Maryland a Nazi Enigma machine is stolen from the National Cryptologic Museum. In a London hospital, an Auschwitz survivor is murdered in his hospital bed, his arm severed and taken by his murderers. In Prague, a seemingly worthless painting is stolen from a synagogue. Three cities. Three crimes. Is there a connection? Former art thief Tom Kirk does not seem to think that there is a link between these three incidents, but when he begins to investigate he realizes that there is some sort of a connection, and he will be in a race against time to figure out the connection and connect all the dots in order to find a fabled hidden treasure.

This is the second in the Tom Kirk series. I enjoyed this book, but I think the first book was much better. I was a history major in college, so naturally I will always enjoy any book with a historical slant to it. This one had some slow spots and some fast spots, but overall I enjoyed it and would recommend it.


Yeah, I’m Ready!


So, I’m a HUGE Salukis Basketball fan, and you cannot imagine how excited I am about the 2010-2011 season. Unfortunately, our team has had a slight fall from grace the past few years, and we probably won’t be much better this year, but that doesn’t keep me from being OVERLY excited about the season starting October 30th!! I’ve got a countdown going on like there’s no tomorrow, and I am ready! GO DAWGS!!!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Sept. 13, 2010


Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with September’s spot being at Bermudaonion’s Weblog.

Well this past week my mailbox was a little lighter 🙂 I received two books from PBS:

Under Cover of Daylight by James W. Hall
          James W. Hall’s haunting debut novel first introduced the rugged character Thorn and the breathtaking South Florida landscape where he lives. Thorn’s past includes a savage act of revenge on the drunken hit-and-run killer of his parents. Now, fifteen years later, Thorn still cannot escape that moment, or the darkness he took into his soul that night. Not even his best friend, Sugarman, knows the truth. Not even Sarah Ryan knows the depths of her lover’s pain. Then suddenly, the nightmare begins again as Thorn’s foster mother is found slaughtered. Thorn can almost taste the rage as he stalks her killer and waits.

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
          A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it’s only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer’s twisted work becomes clear. Sara’s ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation — a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he’s got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county’s sole female detective, Lena Adams — the first victim’s sister — want to serve her own justice. But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010

REVIEW: 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan

31 Bond Street
by Ellen Horan

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 349
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: Sept. 5-11, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge 2010
Yearly Count: 47

First Line: For a boy who watched boats, his room was the perfect perch.

It was the crime of the century! Dr. Harvey Burdell was murdered in his own home in 1857 New York, with no witnesses and no clues as to the killer’s identity. Dr. Burdell was rumored to be a shady businessman, so one would think that there would be a lot of suspects to investigate. But the coroner quickly concludes that Emma Cunningham murdered the doctor. Cunningham, the housemistress, claims to have been married to Dr. Burdell. But the coroner and the district attorney, Abraham Oakey Hall, quickly dismiss the idea of marriage, claiming the marriage certificate is a fake. They conclude that Mrs. Cunningham, a wealthy widow who has spent most of her money, as well as her daughter’s dowry, was simply looking for a wealthy man to trick into marriage and then she killed him so that she would have all of his money for herself. But Cunningham swears she is innocent, she did not and could not have killed Dr. Burdell. Only one person in the entire city believes her: defense attorney Henry Clinton. Clinton takes on the case, having to give up his lucrative law practice with another highly respected defense attorney in order to defend Mrs. Cunningham. It will take Clinton everything he has in order to prove Cunningham innocent.

This is a richly detailed historical fiction set in 1857 New York City. It was a wonderful book. It was a great blend of historical fiction and crime fiction. The author opens the book with the murder and then takes the reader back and forth, alternating between the backstory of how Mrs. Cunningham and Dr. Burdell came to know each other and the present of how the murder case against Mrs. Cunningham progresses. Dr. Burdell was definitely involved in some shady business transactions, and poor Mrs. Cunningham seems to have been caught up in his lies and placed in an unfriendly light by some corrupt politicians. Her defense attorney, Henry Clinton, was an enjoyable character, and his wife Elisabeth was a wonderful addition to this book. I found it truly amazing that Mr. Clinton was able to do all that he could for Mrs. Cunningham, when so many other people were against her, he never backed down. He was convinced that she was innocent, and it was all he could do to prove that to everyone. I normally do not read historical fiction, I enjoy it but sometimes I have trouble following it. But this book was such a wonderful read. It really took my favorite genre, crime fiction, and blended so well with the historical aspect (history was my major in college :)) to produce a very enjoyable read that I think almost everyone would enjoy.

I discovered this book through the reviews at two wonderful blogs, I will share their reviews:

Random Book Discussions

Why Do I Even Go to the Library?

So at the beginning of 2010, I kind of made a resolution that I would read more books off of my shelves than the ones at the library. And for the most part, I have done really good at sticking to that. But here recently, I have been wanting to read books that are new releases. And I absolutely refuse to buy hardback books since I can devour a book in a few days’ time, wasting the money that I shelled out for the book. So I went to the library on Saturday (my husband was out of town and was not there to keep me from going to the library, haha!). I came home with two books. The first one I finished within 24 hours of going to the library, the second one I am reading right now. But here’s the deal: I have close to probably 300 books on my bookshelves to be read! So why do I continually feel the need to go to the library? I guess it’s the fact that there are books out there that I don’t have and yet I want to read them. But I’ll never be able to own every book that I ever want to read – that would be unrealistic. But as I read the posts in my Google Reader and follow people’s blogs to other new blogs that I have yet to discover, I find more and more books that look intriguing. It’s like an unending circle. I don’t get a lot of books for review, and to be honest, I don’t really want to anymore. So most of my new release have to come from the library. But however you look at it, it still comes back to the fact that I have so many books on my personal shelves unread, I have absolutely no business setting foot inside a library. As I was perusing the Mailbox Monday posts yesterday, I realized how pitiful my post probably looked to others: sure, I had probably more books than most normal people get in 4 weeks’ time, but none of them were new. They weren’t shiny new review books, ARCs, or new releases pre-ordered from various sites. They were books from PBS and Powell’s that have been out quite a few years that will probably sit on my shelves for ages anyway. It’s like a vicious circle for me: get new-to-me books off of PBS, Powell’s or from my grandmother, for them to sit on my shelves while library book after library book is put ahead of them. Why do I do it to myself? I will probably never change my ways, I already have 6 other books on hold at the library that I for sure want to read as soon as they become available for me. But it still makes me scratch my head in amazement that I can have so many books on my shelves and still go to the library!