5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Mickey Haller, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.16 REVIEW – The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

The Lincoln Lawyer
by Michael Connelly

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 505
Rating: 5/5
Read: March 27– 30, 2011
Challenge: Criminal Plots Reading Challenge; TBR Dare
Yearly Count: 16
Format: Print

First Line: The morning air off the Mojave in late winter is as clean and crisp as you’ll ever breathe in Los Angeles County.

Blurb: For defense attorney Mickey Haller, the clock is always running. With two ex-wives, four Lincoln Town Cars that he uses as offices, and dozens of guilty clients, he can’t afford to miss a trick. When he gets picked by a Beverly Hills rich boy arrested for assault, Mickey sees a franchise case: a nice, long, expensive trial with maximum billable hours – until it hurtles him into the last place he wants to be. Suddenly hustling, cynical Mickey Haller is confronted with pure evil and someone who may be truly innocent. Now, for a lawyer who has always gone for the easy score, getting justice means taking the deadliest risk of all.

Review: Oh. My. Gosh. This book was (in the words of Dickie V.) AWESOME, BABY! I wanted to hurry up and read this book since I want to go see the movie this weekend. Well, let me just say, that I didn’t have to worry about finishing the book. It was just that good – I flew through it!! One thing that kind of bothered me was the number of times Mr. Connelly used the “do you know the difference between a lawyer and a fish?” joke, once was funny, twice was okay, but the third time was too much. And I really understood the context as to why he brought the joke out all three times, but it was a little overkill. (And no, I am not a lawyer). The main character, Mickey Haller, did not always come across as a really great guy. He was a little shady at times, but he knew it and didn’t try to hide it and I think that’s what made him so endearing as a character in the end in my opinion. The guy on trial in this book, Roulet, well he was definitely something else …. pure evil, as Haller noted so well. I must say as I was reading this book I was thinking of the actors who have been cast in this movie, I think they’re going to be spot on!! I would definitely recommend people to read this book, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, March 28, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with March’s spot being at I’m Booking It.

Well, if you didn’t notice, I didn’t participate in last Monday’s edition of Mailbox Monday … why, you ask? Well, it’s because for the first time in AGES, I did not receive a single book. Not one book. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. Zero. It was actually kind of sad, but definitely a good thing because I’ve got 4 different PBS Box-of-Books going right now. I discussed my insanity in a post you can view here. However, some of these books I’m already second-guessing. They will probably be re-listed and not read, but I’ll go ahead and mention them anyway.

I had three PBS wishlist books come in this week:

     At first, it sounds like the answer to a parent’s prayers: an elite boarding school in the Oregon mountains where wayward kids turn their lives around. But behind the idyllic veneer lie disturbing rumors of missing students and questionable treatments. Jules Farentino knows her half-sister, Shaylee, has been going off the rails lately. She’s just not sure Blue Rock Academy is the answer. Accepting a teaching position there lets Jules keep an eye on Shay, but also confirms her fears. One student is found hanged, another near death. Something sinister is at hand – and Jules may already be too late to stop it. As a brutal snowstorm sweeps in, cutting off the remote campus from the rest of the world, Jules will discover the Academy’s darkest secrets, and confront a murderous evil without limits, without remorse, without mercy …

     There have been countless attempts to solve the brutal murders committed by Jack the Ripper more than a hundred years ago. It seems that almost everyone has their own theory and their own suspect, ranging from the reasonably likely to the entirely preposterous. What this most famous of British criminal cases has always required is a professional eye to analyze the evidence with all the benefits of modern investigative techniques. Now that has been provided in the shape of the man most qualified to solve the case: former British murder squad detective Trevor Marriott. His long and arduous investigation dispels the rumors, fantasies and urban legends which have for so long stalked through the shadowy world of this vile killer. The results are startling: for many years it has been accepted that Jack the Ripper killed only five women, but now it can be revealed that up to nine were victims. And, most astonishingly of all, a new prime suspect never previously considered has emerged, with evidence linking him not only to the Whitechapel cases, but to murders all over the world.

     On a cold night in a remote Swedish farmhouse, an elderly farmer is bludgeoned to death, and his wife is left to die with a noose around her neck. The only other clue the police have is one that they wish they didn’t: the dying woman’s last word is “foreign.” In the first riveting installment in the internationally bestselling Wallander series, police inspector Kurt Wallander doggedly investigates the horrible crime, as he contends with his own demons and tries to keep the public outcry for vengeance against an already reviled immigrant community at bay.

Remember those PBS Box-of-Books I mentioned? Two of them came in this week (13 books):

     When a NASA satellite discovers an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory – a victory with profound implications for NASA policy and the impending presidential election. To verify the authenticity of the find, the White House calls upon the skills of intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic scholar Michael Tolland, Rachel travels to the Arctic and uncovers the unthinkable: evidence of scientific trickery – a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy. But before she can warn the president, Rachel and Michael are ambushed by a team of assassins. Fleeing for their lives across a desolate and lethal landscape, their only hope for survival is to discover who is behind this masterful plot. The truth, they will learn, is the most shocking deception of all.

     Despite a full schedule, frazzled suburban single mom Jan Jeffry has agreed to lend a hand during a two-day gathering of her friend Shelley’s former high school girls’ club. So while the reunited ladies are dishing dirt, Jane is sweeping it up – and she inadvertently becomes privy to all sorts of interesting postgraduate gossip and long-smoldering resentments. But then a corpse turns up among the one-time student body, the unfortunate victim of some rather nasty after-school activities. And unless Jan gets to the bottom of a sordid senior-year scandal, more alumnae are sure to die at the hands of a calculating classmate who’s majoring in murder.

     With the kids packed off on their summer road trips, suburban mom Jane Jeffry grabs the opportunity to enroll in a writing course at the community center. But when a classmate keels over dead after sampling a tasty treat from an impromptu student buffet, Jane realizes that the pen may be mightier than the sword … but poison beats them both. There’s a culinary killer among the local would-be literati. And before the demise of a disagreeable old biddy can be written off, Jane plans to cook the culprit’s goose in his or her own creative juices.

     Tom Clancy’s Op-Center is a beating heart of defense, intelligence, and crisis management technology. It is run by a crack team of operatives both within its own walls and out in the field. And when a job is too dirty, or too dangerous, it is the only place our government can turn. But nothing can prepare Director Paul Hood and his Op-Center crisis management team for what they are about to uncover – a very real, very frightening power play that could unleash new players in a new world order…

     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, where her band will perform at a Fourth of July concert. Chappy Tinka, heir to a thumbtack fortune, and his ditzy wife, Bettina, are their hosts. Regan joins them at “Chappy’s Compound,” an oceanfront estate where they encounter Bettina’s guru Peace Man, Chappy’s bumbling sidekick Duke, a feng shui specialist obsessed with rearranging furniture – and a party guest 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 to Brigid grows, and Regan must discover the truth before it’s too late…

     When Alvirah and Willy become caught up in a Christmas mystery, all of Alvirah’s deductive powers and Willy’s world-class common sense are called upon. It begins when an unmarried woman leaves her newborn on the rectory doorstep of a Manhattan church. Meanwhile, a small-time thief and drug peddler is absconding from the church with a treasured artifact, a chalice adorned with a single star-shaped diamond. To elude the police, he grabs the stroller and disappears. Seven years later, the young mother returns to the church where her child was kidnapped while Alvirah and Willy are helping the neighborhood kids prepare for a Christmas pageant at an after-school shelter. But the future of the shelter is threatened when the city condemns the site and it is learned that the brownstone to which the shelter was moving has been willed to a smooth-talking couple, tenants in the building. Suspecting that the will is a fake and the tenants con artists, Alvirah sets out to discover the truth. Soon she finds herself in the middle of the puzzle of the missing child and chalice.

     Alvirah Meehan, the lottery winner turned amateur sleuth, teams up with private investigator Regan Reilly to solve another Christmas mystery. This time they get in the middle of a case involving a beautiful eighty-foot blue spruce that has been chosen to spend the holidays as Rockefeller Center’s famous Christmas tree. The folks who picked the tree don’t have a clue that attached to one of its branches is a flask chock-full of priceless diamonds that Packy Noonan, a scam artist just released from prison, had hidden there twelve years ago. An excited Packy breaks his parole and heads to Stowe, Vermont, to reclaim his loot. Once there, he is horrified to discover that his special tree will be heading to New York City the next morning. With a bumbling crew consisting of Jo-Jo, Benny, and an unsuccessful poet, Milo, he knows he has to act fast. What Packy does not know is that Alvirah and Regan are on a weekend trip to Stowe with Alvirah’s husband, Willy; Regan’s fiance Jack; Regan’s parents, Luke and Nora; and Alvirah’s friend Opal, a lottery winner who lost all her winnings in Packy’s scam. On Monday morning when they’re supposed to head home, they learn that the tree is missing, Packy Noonan may be in the vicinity, and Opal has disappeared.

     In picturesque Branscombe, New Hampshire, on the night before the village’s first (any many hope annual) Festival of Joy, a group of employees at the local market learn they have won $180 million in the lottery. But the one worker, Duncan, who decided at the last moment not to play, is nowhere to be found. And while a second winning ticket was purchased in the next town, that winner hasn’t come forward. Could Duncan have secretly bought it? Alvirah Meehan, amateur sleuth, and private investigator Regan Reilly have arrived in town for the festival. And as they dig beneath the surface, they find that life in little Branscombe is not as tranquil as it appears. But while Alvirah and Regan have to put aside their visions of an old-fashioned weekend in the country, this fast-paced holiday keeper is sure to keep you dashing through the pages.

     Sterling Brooks has been cooling his heels in the Celestial Waiting Room for forty-six years, waiting for admission to heaven. Finally, just days before Christmas, he’s summoned before the HEavenly Council and found unworthy; throughout his life he had been hopelessly self-absorbed. To redeem himself, he is given the chance to go back to Earth and find someone to help. At New York’s Rockefeller Center skating rink, Sterling encounters Marissa, a heartbroken seven-year-old whose father and grandmother have been forced into the Witness Protection Program; they had overheard two gangsters hatch a sinister plot to collect money from a debtor. Able to travel through time and space, Sterling devises a master plan to reunite little Marissa with her family in time for Christmas. Along the way, he discovers within himself what it takes to earn his wings.

     Accidents happen, as the saying goes. But three fatal accidents don’t happen within days of each other – at least not in Blacklin County, Texas. The first was bad enough: John West, burned to a crisp when he was hit by a car while holding a can of gasoline. Then Pep Yeldell, best known for stealing cars and wives, drowned in an old swimming pool. Sheriff Dan Rhodes has an itch he can’t scratch, a hunch that these two deaths were murder. A third body makes three to many and puts Rhodes onto the cleverly concealed trail of a killer. But it leads him literally up a tree and on the receiving end of a rifle, and definitely unprepared to meet his own death by accident.

     For Colorado caterer Goldy Schulz, accepting a series of bookings at Hyde Castle is like a dream come true. It’s not every day that she gets to cook authentic Elizabethan fare – especially at a real castle that was brought over from England and reassembled stone by stone in Aspen Meadow. Goldy is determined that everything will go right – which is why, she figures later, everything went terribly wrong. It begins when a shotgun blast shatters her window. Then Goldy discovers a body lying in a nearby creek. And when shots ring out for the second time that day, someone Goldy loves is in the line of fire. Could one of her husband Tom’s police investigations have triggered a murder? Or was her violent, recently paroled ex responsible? With death peering around every corner, Goldy needs to cook up some crime-solving solutions – before the only dish that’s left on her menu is murder.

     It’s been a rough month for Kendra. Her boyfriend and sidekick, Jeff Hubbard, P.I., has gone missing – right after they decided to move in together. It sounds like a case of cold feet until the authorities find his car submerged in a canal. Kendra’s panicked inquiries lead her to Jeff’s Aunt Lois, an ex-pole dancer and full-time eccentric, who had taken her dog Flisa, a sweet-natured Akita mix, to a company that promised to clone the pup. But poor Flisa never made it out alive. And then, one of the cloners is murdered… As Kendra picks up the scent of Jeff’s investigation, she wonders: Was Jeff kidnapped? If not, why hasn’t he contacted her? Is he protecting his revenge-driven aunt? Or worse … could he be the killer? Kendra is hounded by questions, and for the first time, she’s not sure she wants the answers…

     Someone knocking on the door at 3 a.m. is never good news. For V.I. Warshawski, the bad news arrives in the form of her wacky, unwelcome aunt Elena. The fire that has just burned down a sleazy SRO hotel has brought Elena to V.I.’s doorstep. Uncovering an arsonist – and the secrets hidden behind Elena’s boozy smile – will send V.I. into the seedy world of Chicago’s homeless … into the Windy City’s backroom deals and bedroom politics, where new schemers and old cronies team up to get V.I. off the case – by hook, by crook, or by homicide.

Challenge Wrap-Up, READING CHALLENGES 2011

Completed Challenge: Mystery & Suspense Challenge

Well, here it is only March and I have finished my first reading challenge. Of course this is the easiest challenge I have signed up for, seeing how it is that I primarily read mystery/thrillers/suspense books. Overall, I’m really pleased with what I read for this challenge. I might have stretched one of the books, classifying it as a mystery/thriller book, when it might not have been. But I considered it to fit that category, so it works 🙂 Here’s what I read:

  1. Double Cross by James Patterson
  2. Judas Kiss by J.T. Ellison
  3. Where Are the Children? by Mary Higgins Clark
  4. Cross Country by James Patterson
  5. Divine Justice by David Baldacci
  6. Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
  7. Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson
  8. The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson
  9. The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer
  10. Blood of My Brother by James LePore
  11. I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
  12. Supreme Justice by Phillip Margolin

In years past with this challenge I have tried to read books that are from different sub-genres within the mystery/thriller genre. This year I elected not to do that, hence the reason I was able to complete the challenge so quickly. I always like to pick a favorite and least favorite book from the challenges that I finish, so my FAVORITE would have to be: Supreme Justice by Phillip Margolin and my LEAST FAVORITE would probably be: Cross Country by James Patterson. I’m definitely glad that I participated in this challenge, and it really helps me to know that I’m 1/6th of the way finished with the challenges that I signed up for this year!! I would like to say a BIG THANKS to Book Chick City for hosting this great challenge again!

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011

2011.15 REVIEW – Supreme Justice by Phillip Margolin

Supreme Justice
by Phillip Margolin

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 385
Rating: 5/5
Read: March 25 – 27 , 2011
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense Challenge; TBR Dare
Yearly Count: 15
Format: Print

First Line: John Finley’s eyes snapped open.

Blurb: Policewoman Sara Woodruff, on death row for murdering her lover, John Finley, is appealing her case to the United States Supreme Court. But the unexpected resignation of a prominent justice could sink her appeal. Then a second justice is attacked for no apparent reason. Called in to quietly investigate, P.I. Dana Cutler finds disturbing links between the Woodruff appeal, the ominous incidents in the justices’ chambers … and a shootout that occurred years before on a small freighter docked upriver in Shelby, Oregon, with only one survivor: John Finley. Joining forces with former colleagues Brad Miller and FBI Agent Keith Evans, who helped bring down a president in Executive Privilege, it’s not long before Dana discovers a deadly secret in the heart of the U.S. intelligence community.

Review: WOW! That’s all I can say about this book. My only wish is that I could have remembered more about Executive Privilege, in which the main characters (Brad, Ginny & Dana) were featured in. And although some details of the previous escapades they found themselves in were mentioned, it really didn’t take away from the storyline in this book. This book featured so many twists and turns that I just absolutely devoured it! I read most of it yesterday and woke up first thing this morning determined to finish it before I did anything else. This particular story went back and forth between the storyline of Sarah Woodruff’s murder trial and Brad Miller’s time as a Supreme Court clerk until the storylines finally intersect. And as soon as the storylines merge, the story really took off in my opinion. The way that Margolin connected the storylines was really impressive, I thought. I might be a little biased, seeing as how Phillip Margolin is definitely one of my favorite authors. However, I can’t say enough good things about this book, if you’re a fan of fast-paced thrillers, then definitely give this book a try!

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, March 27, 2011

Another week. Where do these weeks keep going? I really wish I knew! It’s like I blink and it’s almost April! Oh well. It was an eventful week for me. I had to go to the dentist (I hate dentists, sorry!) and it was my first time going to a new one here in Paducah – everyone was really nice, so I’m glad I found a good one! That was on Monday. On Tuesday, I had to wait for the guys to come and fix our leak and hardwood floors that buckled from the leak. That was fun. Oh and then I also had to wait for the air conditioning guy to come and fix our A/C, we had a defrost board go bad. That was a lot of fun. So all in all, it was a VERY expensive week. And although I only worked 3 of the 5 days this week, they were very long days at work. I work in a concrete company and rain is not good for pouring concrete. Oh and let’s not talk about the fact that it’s Spring and yet it is absolutely FREEZING out there! We even had snow flurries yesterday! But, I live in western Kentucky, so it could be 70 tomorrow, you never know what the weather will do around here. Although I don’t think 70s is happening yet, maybe by the middle of the week…. *wishful thinking, at least!*

I think I had a good week here on the blog:

  • I actually did NOT have a Mailbox Monday – I know, right? Couldn’t believe it either!!
  • I did talk about my bookish pet peeves on Top Ten Tuesday
  • I admitted my addiction to owning books
  • I finally spilled the beans about wanting to take a break from accepting review books.

I posted one review: Blood of My Brother by James LePore

So there you have it – that’s my weekend update. Oh one more thing!!! I FINALLY GOT AN iPHONE!!! YAY! I am so happy! My husband got his back in February when Verizon announced and I have been (not so) patiently waiting to get one! It is only a gazillion times better than my old Blackberry was. LOVE IT! Well, I think that’s it. Have a great week! And GOOOO BUTLER (that’s who I got in the office pool) – but I’m really rooting for Kentucky!


Something I’ve Been Pondering

When I first began this blog back in 2008 I kept seeing all kinds of more professional looking blogs that were receiving wonderful books from publishers/authors/publicists for review. I wanted to be one of those people SO BAD. So I moved my blog over to WordPress thinking that I would be able to set up my blog more to my liking (and I accomplished that).

I finally got my break with my first review book, The Chemist by Janson Mancheski at the start of 2009. Since then I haven’t necessarily been bombarded by offers (I probably receive 1 offer a week), but I have declined way more than I have accepted. I am very particular about what books I take on for review. I accepted a few early on that I really didn’t enjoy. I didn’t want to feel trapped in a book I didn’t like, so what did I do? I became more cautious – I did more research when a book was originally pitched. I gave most of the people who contacted me regularly more detailed likes and dislikes. And I learned that it was okay to say no. That started to work out wonderfully for me, I got some really good books that I really enjoyed, and a lot of them were books that I never would have picked up in a bookstore or library. 

So what happened next? I got burned out. I never accepted/reviewed that many review books. In fact, if you look at my category list, I only have 11 listed, but I know for a fact that I have reviewed more than that, and when I look back at my nearly 500 posts from the past 3 years, I count 22 review books total on this site, with 2 more reviews pending for future blog tours. That’s 24 total books – books that could have come off of my personal shelves. And trust me, if you ever saw the true depth of my TBR shelves … well, those 24 books coming off my shelves might not make a dent, but they couldn’t have hurt anything.

Now I’m starting to get email pitches from people who I honestly wonder if they have even ever see my blog. I have a relatively clearly stated preference list on my blog under “Review Policy”. I am very particular. I have to be – there are too many books out there for me to waste my time reading books I don’t enjoy. So what happens? Now I’m beginning to do something that I never wanted to do – I have been hitting the “delete” button before the “reply” button to people who obviously do not care what my blog focuses on. If it’s someone who I am familiar with from past dealings, I always reply. But if it’s someone who is obviously sending out a mass email without having visited my blog – they’re not getting a response from me. And I hate that. I hate being that person that never replies.

So what does this all add up to? I am seriously considering getting out of the review loop. I don’t like to have to schedule my reading. I want to read what I want when I want. And yeah, I still have most of that freedom seeing as how I’m not taking on too many books. But it’s really starting to lose its appeal to me. I will be completely honest, I don’t have a very big blog; I don’t have a lot of readers. The impact of my reviews are not nearly as impressive as some other more well-established bloggers out there. I almost feel bad for accepting books that I know won’t get the publicity from my blog that they truly deserve. I feel as if I am taking away from another blogger who could do more for the book in the long run as far as pimping it out.

Recently I have noticed that more and more people are kind of stepping away from review books for 3-6 months. I will probably be doing this in the near future. I feel guilty accepting review books. I have a huge supply of books here at the house. I have a pretty much unlimited budget when it comes to purchasing books (even though I’m too cheap to buy books new). I have a grandmother who reads just as voraciously as I do (who does buy books new, though only paperbacks). I have a great local library. I am constantly on PBS. It seems a little silly for me to accept books for review anyway.

I feel a little guilty about having to make this decision. But I honestly feel as if it’s the right move for me. I need to read my books. I need to free up my reading. I need to get back to what I love the most. And if that means giving up something that I wanted so bad in the beginning, then so be it.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Admitting a problem

Hello, my name is Tara, and I am a book-aholic.

Why am I just now admitting that, you may ask? Well, besides the fact that it is common knowledge: it’s because I am going to be completely embarrassed by this coming Monday’s post for Mailbox Monday. Why, you may once again ask? Well …*ducking head in shame* … it’s because in the past two weeks alone I have been a busy little bee on the PBS Box-of-Books page. I have 24 books coming to me because of 4 transactions. Oh, and then there’s the two wishlist books…… (Of course this also means that I was able to get 24 books to new homes). But really, 24 – er, actually 26? I am thoroughly embarrassed. I have to hide these big box trades from my husband – not because he cares, but because he just shakes his head in astonishment and it makes me feel guilty. This week (not counting Friday and Saturday’s possible mail) I have already received 12 books. Now, 7 of the books won’t be delivered to me for a while because of a emergency on the other person’s end, but still. It’s just the fact of the matter.

So, dear readers:

  • Do I have a problem? Yes.
  • Do I care? Not really.
  • Will I change? Highly doubtful.

So there it is. My admission. In all it’s glory posted on the internet for all the world to see 🙂

On a side note – I got my iPhone! YAY! I am a happy girl! And tonight is more March Madness! GO BUTLER!!! (Why Butler? Because that’s who I got in the office pool). Hope everyone has a great weekend!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, L, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, Review Book

2011.11 REVIEW – Blood of My Brother by James LePore

Blood of My Brother
by James LePore

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 313
Rating: 4/5
Read: March 1 – 4, 2011
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense Challenge 2011
Yearly Count: 11
Format: Print

First Line: In July of 1967, Jay Cassio, who would be turning five in September, started a prekindergarten program at St. Lucy’s School on Sheffield Street in Newark, New Jersey’s oldest, largest, and about to be most turbulent city.

Blurb: When Jay Cassio’s best friend is murdered in a job clearly done by professionals, the walls that he has built to protect himself from the world of others begin to shatter. Dan Del Colliano had been his confidante and protector since the men were children on the savage streets of Newark, New Jersey. When Dan supports and revives Jay after Jay’s parents die in a plane crash, their bond deepens to something beyond brotherhood, beyond blood. Now Jay, a successful lawyer, must find out why Dan died and find a way to seek justice for his murder. Isabel Perez has lived a life both tainted and charmed since she was a teenager in Mexico. She holds a powerful sway over men and has even more powerful alliances with people no one should ever try to cross. She desperately wants her freedom from the chains these people have placed on her. When Jay catapults into her world, their connection is electric, their alliance is lethal, and their future is anything but certain.

Review: I received this book to review for the Pump Up Your Book blog tour. This book was very well written, there were some great themes throughout, but especially what effects your choices have in the long run. There is no sugar-coating the ruthlessness of people. I found it very interesting to see how Jay’s childhood shaped the man that he became – as well as the lifelong friendship he was to have with Dan. Isabel’s character really showed adversity over anything is truly possible. This entire book showed just how important friendship and loyalty to those friends can really be. To be completely honest, I found Jay’s character to be slightly overzealous at times. That’s not to say that I disliked his character, I just sometimes felt as if he was two steps over the line. I also would have really preferred more background into what happened with Jay’s parents and how Danny came to his “rescue” after their deaths. In the blurb on the back of the book it is mentioned, so I felt as if it was a very important aspect of Jay’s life, but there was no real elaboration into the matter like I anticipated. It was mentioned and discussed, but not to the depth that I had looked forward to. Perhaps more information there would have explained more insight into why Jay was so overzealous in the hunt for the truth behind Danny’s murder. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it’s not one that I would have picked up at the bookstore, but I am definitely glad I was given the opportunity to read it. There were flashbacks to Jay’s childhood as well as Isabel’s childhood, and to be honest I sometimes got some of the characters mixed up, but that didn’t take away from my final opinion of this book – it’s just a writing style that sometimes doesn’t work for me completely. I would highly recommend this book.

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves (all those things that annoy you in a story, with book covers, bookstores, etc. My (Jamie’s) personal pet peeve–stickers on my books!)

I love this week’s topic!! I only came up with nine, though. Here goes:

  1. GRAMMATICAL ERRORS! I hate, hate, HATE grammatical errors. I was on the high school newspaper for three years (the feature editor the last year) and then I was a history major in college (lots and lots of papers to write). I am a huge stickler for grammar. I am almost always guaranteed to find an error if there is one, and I am very quick to point that out in any review that I post. Now, the ARC’s and other uncorrected proofs that I have been able to read, well, I take somewhat of an exception for those – I will notice the mistakes, but I always hope that they will be fixed before the final product is released. I should have been a copy-editor, pretty sure I missed my calling there 🙂
  2. My local (national) bookstore (I will refrain from calling them out) is terrible for having the most unorganized shelves. Books will be strewn on the floor, in the wrong spots, upside down on the shelves, it’s just a total mess. And this is not just during the mad rush of the holidays, this is 365 days of the year. It makes me feel as if they do not even care for their books. It’s really a shame, actually. It really makes me hate going into that bookstore, and I love bookstores! Just not that one.
  3. Dog-eared pages. My grandmother does this with every book she reads and I have been known to do it once or twice in my life, but it actually pains me to do so. The page will never lay flat once it has been dog-eared. It just irritates me.
  4. Stupid women characters who are blinded by lust. So yeah, I’m not much of a romance reader, and part of that stems from the fact that most of the women characters that I have encountered in romance novels are irritatingly stupid. They get all caught up by some man who sweeps them off their feet, and then they proceed to put themselves into increasingly dangerous positions. I want my women characters to be smart and witty, not dumb and blind.
  5. Flowery dialogue. What do I mean by that? Well, I am a “just the facts, ma’am” type of gal. I don’t need a lot of fancy words and lyrical paragraphs. I want it straight forward and blunt. I find that anytime I read a book that could be considered “lyrical”, well I tend to skip over paragraphs after the first line because I don’t care. I don’t want all that description. Just spit it out.
  6. Books that are hyped up. I fight the urge to read those books because I know, invariably, I will be let down. Take The DaVinci Code. I read it 3 years after it came out. The first Harry Potter book – yeah, read it after about the 3rd movie came out! For whatever reason, I just never want to read the “popular” book. I rebel against them. And you know what? About 98% of the time, I end up not even liking the book.
  7. I read a lot of books that are part of a series (actually, I’m slightly addicted to series reading) and here lately I’ve been reading a lot of books that are part of a series pretty much back-to-back. In doing that, you notice a lot of things. Here recently, I read the first three books in the Diane Mott Davidson Goldy Schulz series. In the first part of the second book we are introduced (briefly) to a new boyfriend in Goldy’s life – well at the end of the first book she was involved with the cop. It didn’t appear that much time had elapsed, but I didn’t understand where the other boyfriend came from. It was from left field, and it actually irritated me. Also, last year I read a lot of the Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta books (though I’ve now given up on that series) and I noticed that Ms. Cornwell was almost always setting her books around Christmas: why?!  (Oh and don’t even get me started on what she did with Benton Wesley’s character). Little intricacies like that a reader notices, and things like that tend to bug me.
  8. Books that are too long. Yep, you know these – the books that are 500 pages long, but honestly, some editor could have cut at least 100 pages out. I’ve even had a book like that already this year! I guess it boils down to my preference of having short and sweet dialogue. I don’t know, but it does annoy me to no end. 
  9. One of my biggest pet peeves: having to re-read a few paragraphs just to figure out who is talking! Transition sentences, people! Transition sentences (and sometimes paragraphs) was pounded into my head as a history major in college, they are so important! But it appears that they are not important in fiction. And honestly, I can understand why, but really? If a reader has to go back a few sentences and count out “he said, she said, he said, she said” just to figure out who is talking – it’s pretty bad. That should never happen.
Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, March 20, 2011

Well here it is – another week past. I watched a lot of basketball this past week. My bracket is totally messed up – thanks to Morehead State. Oh well. It’s been a really interesting tournament so far, I love this time of year! March Madness is the best!!!! I root for the SIU Salukis, and although we are not in the post-season, we had one team in the Big Dance (Indiana State, who lost Friday night to Syracuse), two teams (Missouri State and Wichita State) in the NIT and 3 other teams in either the CBI or the CIT tournaments. Six teams in post-season play out of a 10 team league is pretty good in my opinion.

On the book front, well I’m watching more TV than I am reading. I’m even watching games online at work, so I haven’t really been reading a lot there either! But I am reading, I did finish and review one of James Patterson’s book. And right now I’m reading Deed So by Katharine Russell, a review book that I’m scheduled for a tour stop through Pump Up Your Book in early April. So I am reading!

Here at the blog, I had a few posts this past week:

  • I shared my mailbox – I keep wondering when I’m going to get my head on straight and stop trading so many book on PBS … probably never 🙂
  • I let you glimpse my wishlist – posted two books that are coming out during my birthday month that are part of two series that I really enjoy (Happy birthday to me!)

I posted one review:

So here we are, another week down. Another week to go. This coming week will be busy for me, I have a dentist appointment (go ahead and kill me now – sorry if any of my readers are dentists/hygenists) and I also have the guys coming on Tuesday to fix the leak that caused our hardwood floors to buckle and rip up half the floor in the dining room and replace the ruined wood. Sometimes I think that the hardwood floors that we put in when we bought the house was the best and worst investment we ever made – this is the second time that we’ve had buckling problems due to water leaking in our house, at least it was in a different place. Oh the joys of homeownership. But the really good thing I’m looking forward to – I will hopefully be getting the iPhone this week :):) My family’s company is on a business plan and that’s what my phone is on and finally there is a line that is up for renewal (not mine, but they let us use each other’s renewals) so I’m getting the iPhone! YAY!!!!!! My husband got his back in February when they came out on Verizon and I’ve been really jealous ever since, haha!

So that’s really my entire update for the week. I guess until next week ….. GO MARCH MADNESS!