Monthly Wrap Up

April 2011 Monthly Wrap-Up

Another month gone by. Yikes. I just don’t know where the time seems to be going. Pretty soon I will be winging and then sailing my way toward Alaska!!! YAY!! I need a vacation so bad it’s not even funny. And with the flooding issues that Paducah has been facing this past week, well let’s just say that my husband (being the stormwater and drainage engineer for the city) needs the vacation as well. Anyways, I’m very pleased as to where my reading took me this month. So without further ado:

Visually:

I had my second DNF of the year:

Statistically:

  • Books Read: 5
  • Pages Read: 1,939
  • Rating Breakdown:
    • 5/5 –
    • 4/5 – 4
    • 3/5 – 1
  • New Authors: 0
  • Fiction: 5
  • Non-Fiction: 0
  • Favorite For the Month: Breakneck by Erica Spindler
  • Least Favorite For the Month: Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (DNF)
  • Number of Books I Acquired This Month: 6
  • Number of Books I Sent to New Homes This Month: 6
4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, S

2011.21 REVIEW – Breakneck by Erica Spindler

Breakneck
by Erica Spindler

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 412
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 22 – 26, 2011
Challenge:  No Challenge
Yearly Count: 21
Format: Print

First Line: The kid’s eyes snapped open.

Blurb: The first victim is murdered in his bed. A clean-cut college boy with no criminal record. Then a second victim is killed in the shower, then a third … each one striking closer to home for M.C. When loved ones become targets, M.C. must walk a fine line between upholding the law and taking it into her own hands. At stake is her job, her relationship with Kitt, and possibly, her life. The key to finding this emotionless killer lies in the stolen computers of his victims – a secret network of false identities and true evil where no one is who they seem. If M.C. hopes to capture Breackneck, she’ll have to put her own neck on the line…

Review: This was a fun, fast-paced read. I was immediately drawn in to the story and couldn’t hardly put it down at times. There was a lot of background that I had missed out on by not reading the first book in this series (and I say series loosely, seeing as how there’s only two books in this series so far). It would definitely be interesting to read the first book, which obviously focuses more on Kitt’s character whereas this book focuses on M.C. That fact aside, this was an enjoyable book and stood relatively well as a stand-alone. It was an interesting storyline, dealing with cyber thieves. And the ah-ha moment where the twist comes into the book wasn’t really all that big of a surprise, but it definitely made the book come together quite nicely. I have read other books by Erica Spindler, and remember liking them and this book is no different. If you want a good fast-paced read, this is a great book in my opinion. I think the only reason that I didn’t rate this book as a 5 was simply because there was time when I didn’t like M.C.’s characters. She had a tendency to take things into her hands way too much throughout the book. As a cop I think she should have been reeled in a little bit more, she went way off the reservation at times. There were obvious issues between M.C. and her partner Kitt, but it seemed as if it was all swept under the rug and kind of dismissed. I don’t know, I think there could have been some better character development, but again, I suppose that my issue could stem from the fact that I haven’t read the other book in this series. Either way, I would definitely recommend this book.

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, April 24, 2011

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Easter today. We are having Easter dinner here at our house today. We prefer to do at least one family meal a year at our house because we invite both of our families and then only have to have one meal, rather than the obligatory two meals for other events. 🙂 I know it’s been another quiet week here at the blog. I just haven’t really been in the mood for whatever reason. I know at the beginning of the year I was constantly scheduling various memes and whatnot. But for whatever reason, they just aren’t calling to me. Not to mention the fact that for the first time in AGES I didn’t even have a single book come into my house so I couldn’t participate in Mailbox Monday! I felt lost not having anything come into the house! Haha!

Briefly, here’s what happened here at the blog:

I only had two non-book review posts:

I had two reviews:

In non-bookish news, we got our fence put up! It’s gorgeous! I love it!! And Buster, well he’s trying to figure it out. He doesn’t understand why he’s not being taken out on the leash anymore. He keeps looking at us like, “aren’t you coming?” It’s kind of funny. The sad thing is that he’s dirty! I pay good money every month to get him bathed and groomed and he is going to get nasty out there in the backyard because it gets pretty muddy back there in certain places where we have little to no grass. Ugh. I told my mom it’s a shame that he’s a roll-in-dead-things type dog rather than a prissy little thing like her dog! Oh well. I hope everyone has a great upcoming week!

Challenge Wrap-Up, READING CHALLENGES 2011

Completed Challenge: TBR Dare

Um, yeah, so as I was shutting down my computer last night due to the wicked storm that came through my area last night, I realized that this challenge actually ended April 1st! Yeah, I guess I totally missed that! I’m not sure what I was thinking. Haha! Oh well, it did me good to continue working on it. Not included in this list are the 3 review books that I picked up this year. Although I didn’t make my original goal of 20 books, I’m really pleased with how much I did get read. I have so many books on my shelves here at the house it’s not even funny. I’m going to restrain myself and continue reading my books for as long as I can. Last year I read 45 of my own books and only 11 library books (and 11 review books) – I liked that breakdown, and I’m wanting to continue that trend. So without further ado, here’s what I read for this challenge:

  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. Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson
  6. Divine Justice by David Baldacci
  7. Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
  8. Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson
  9. The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson
  10. The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer
  11. The Sherlockian by Graham Moore
  12. I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
  13. Supreme Justice by Phillip Margolin
  14. The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
  15. The Vig by John Lescroart
  16. The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry
  17. Killing Her Softly by Beverly Barton
4/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011

2011.20 REVIEW – Killing Her Softly by Beverly Barton

Killing Her Softly
by Beverly Barton

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 404
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 17 – 22, 2011
Challenge:  TBR Dare; What’s in a Name 4
Yearly Count: 20
Format: Print

First Line: Lulu Vanderley was rich, blond and beautiful.

Blurb: The woman has been waiting impatiently on her satin sheets. Her lover knows exactly how to satisfy her. But this time, he has something else planned … something that will really take her breath away. In the courtroom, defense lawyer Quinn Cortez has a reputation as a ruthless predator who always gets what he wants. In the bedroom, it’s no different. Quinn is an accomplished seducer with a long list of conquests. But now, someone has brutally slaughtered one of them, and Quinn has no memory of the night he was found in her home. Annabelle Vanderley wants justice for her murdered cousin, and if Quinn Cortez swears he can find the true killer, she’s willing to give him the benefit of a doubt. But then another body is discovered … and another … each victim an ex-lover of Quinn’s. Now, consumed by dread, Annabelle wonders just how close she may be to a twisted psychopath for whom her pain would be the ultimate pleasure.

Review: I have mixed feelings about this book. I rated it a 4 out of 5 based solely on the plot line. However, there was more romance than I prefer in my books with a woman who falls head over heels in love with a suspected murderer almost immediately. (I believe it was last month when there was a Top Ten Tuesday that dealt with pet peeves and stupid women who fall in love made the list. Yeah, you can re-visit that post here.) Other than that one issue with this book, I really enjoyed this. I spent the entire book trying to figure out who the bad guy was. I went back and forth countless times trying to figure it out, and honestly, I didn’t get it until it was revealed. So I really enjoyed that aspect of the book. It was very suspenseful. I know this book is listed as romantic suspense, but I’ve read other Barton books and have never been that bothered by the romance, maybe this book had more than usual – either that or I just never liked Annabelle’s character. It also didn’t help that I wasn’t real fond of Quinn Cortez’s character either, he was too much of a slimy womanizer – although in the end he was definitely reformed. I don’t know, the best way I can really describe my opinion of this book is that I’m torn.

4/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Cotton Malone, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.19 REVIEW – The Alexandria Link by Steve Berry

The Alexandria Link
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 485
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 8 – 17, 2011
Challenge:  TBR Dare; TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 19
Format: Print

First Line: George Haddad’s patience ended as he glared at the man bound to the chair.

Blurb: “You have something I want. You’re the only person on earth who knows where to find it. Go get it. You have 72 hours. If I don’t hear from you, you will be childless.” Cotton Malone’s teenage son has been kidnapped, and an anonymous e-mail from those responsible proves they will stop at nothing to get their hands on a coveted prize: the legendary lost Library of Alexandria, which vanished 1,500 years ago. Within that vast reserve of 500,000 manuscripts, one holds the key to ultimate power – a revelation so shocking it could fundamentally alter modern geopolitics. Pursued by a lethal mercenary, Malone crosses the globe in search of this vast bounty of wisdom. His quest will lead him to England and Portugal, even to the highest levels of American government – and the shattering outcome, deep in the Sinai desert, will have worldwide repercussions.

Review: The last 200 pages of this book made the first 300 pages that I suffered through made this book entirely worth it. There were spots that were just too much for me. I am not a religious person and I found myself skipping over whole passages discussing the Bible and the Holy Land and how the Bible was fundamentally changed in translation. However, I still enjoyed this book. And honestly, I loved the conspiracy part of the book. And once the climax occurred, the book flew by for me. It was just getting to that point that was a little difficult to me. But I toughed it out because I remembered how much I enjoyed the first Cotton Malone book, The Templar Legacy, and I was just patiently waiting for the break-neck thrill ride that I know Steve Berry is capable of writing to happen. I’m glad I stuck with it, because it was honestly a great ending. I already have the third book in this series on my shelf and I hope to get to it quicker than I got to the second book after the first. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys fast-paced thrill-packed adventure!

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, April 17, 2011

Well another week gone by. I know things were quiet here at the blog this past week. That’s partly because I stepped away from the computer a little bit this past week. Does that mean that I got a LOT of reading done during that time? Or maybe cleaning the house? Laundry? ANYTHING PRODUCTIVE? Nope. Nada. Zilch. Zero. NOTHING accomplished. There were actually two nights in a row that I didn’t even turn my computer on. And you know what, it was kind of nice!! Of course that also means that I’m having slightly guilty feelings due to this. Oh well, life goes on. I did post two things this week that I had scheduled:

One review: A World I Never Made by James LePore

And I shared my very slim mailbox – oh and guess what, I don’t even have anything to contribute to tomorrow’s Mailbox Monday. It’s kind of a nice relief 🙂

So that’s pretty much it. Maybe this coming week will be more productive for me. Have a great week!!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, April 11, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with April’s spot being at Passages to the Past.

Slim mailbox this week, but that’s definitely a good thing right now 🙂 I recently signed up for Bookmooch, this is the first book I’ve mooched:

  To pay for her last semester of school, college senior Lily Madison makes the difficult decision to donate her eggs to a fertility clinic. There she meets Peter Kelly, another penniless student who supplements his tuition money by visiting a sperm bank. Bound by their secret, and by a powerful attraction, they continue to think of each other even as life takes them in different directions. Nineteen years later, Pete – now a wealthy entrepreneur – sees Lily in an airport, and falls for her all over again. But while they enjoy their unlikely reunion, a news story about the fertility clinic they visited long ago will have shocking repercussions for both of them…

And this was a PBS Wish List book that I’ve waited a long time for:

    Although the private lives of political couples have in our era become front-page news, the true story of this extraordinary and tragic first family has never been fully told. The Lincolns eclipses earlier accounts with riveting new information that makes husband and wife, president and first lady, come alive in all their proud accomplishments and earthy humanity. Award-winning biographer and poet Daniel Mark Epstein gives a fresh close-up view of the couple’s life in Springfield, Illinois (of their twenty-two years of marriage, all but six were spent there), and dramatizes with stunning immediacy how the Lincolns’ ascent to the White House brought both dazzling power and the slow, secret unraveling of the couple’s unique bond. The first full-length portrait of the marriage of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln in more than fifty years, The Lincolns is written with enormous sweep and striking imagery. Daniel Mark Epstein makes two immortal American figures seem as real and human as the rest of us.

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

2011.17 REVIEW – A World I Never Made by James LePore

A World I Never Made
by James LePore

Copyright: 2008. 2009
Pages: 262
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 1– 5, 2011
Challenge:  Criminal Plots Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 17
Format: Print

First Line: Dad, I don’t owe you or anybody an explanation, but I think you’ll appreciate the irony of a suicide note coming from a person who has abhorred tradition all of her life.

Blurb: Pat Nolan, an American man, is summoned to Paris to claim the body of his estranged daughter Megan, who has committed suicide. The body, however, is not Megan’s and it becomes instantly clear to Pat that Megan staged this, that she is in serious trouble, and that she is calling to him for help. This sends Pat on an odyssey that stretches across France and into the Czech Republic and that makes him the target of both the French police and a band of international terrorists. Joining Pat on his search is Catherine Laurence, a beautiful but tormented Paris detective who sees in Pad something she never thought she’d find – genuine passion and desperate need. As they look for Megan, they come closer to each other’s souls and discover love when both had long given up on it. Juxtaposed against this story is Megan’s story. A freelance journalist, Megan is in Morocco to do research when she meets Abdel Lahani, a Saudi businessman. They begin a torrid affair, a game Megan has played often and well in her adult life. But what she discovers about Lahani puts her in the center of a different kind of game, one with rules she can barely comprehend. Because of her relationship with Lahani, Megan has made some considerable enemies. And she has put the lives of many – may even millions – at risk.

Review: I received this book as part of the Pump Up Your Book blog tour. This was definitely a thrill ride of a book from the first page. The storyline was a little more complex than I really prefer in my books and alternating storylines aren’t my favorites either, but overall I still enjoyed it. The characters were very well-developed. I don’t read a lot of political thrillers overall, but I really enjoyed this one. Mr. LePore is a very talented author, he definitely has a way with descriptions. To be completely honest, the plot felt a little bit rushed, but I think that was because he was trying to have such a complex story in a short 262 pages. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thrilling roller coaster ride of a book! Having just previously read and reviewed Blood of My Brother, I can only hope that Mr. LePore has a long and prosperous writing career.