5/5, Alex Cross, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.32 REVIEW – Cross Fire by James Patterson

Cross Fire
by James Patterson

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 356
Rating: 5/5
Read: June 26 – June 28, 2011
Challenge:  What’s in a Name 4 Challenge
Yearly Count: 32
Format: Print

First Line: It had been months since Kyle Craig had killed a man.

Blurb: Detective Alex Cross and Bree Stone’s wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington, DC’s most corrupt: a dirty congressman and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked insiders, sparking a blaze of theories – is the marksman a hero or a vigilante? The case explodes, and the FBI assigns Agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that the killings are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims’ movements – information that only a Washington insider could possess. As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in DC and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good.

Review: Without a doubt, this is my absolute favorite series. Ever. This particular installment was better than the last few have been. Kyle Craig is back in the forefront in this book and that always makes for a good story! We see Alex in such a happy place, as happy as I think he’s ever been since his wife was murdered. Every single time that I read these books it really makes me wonder how many more there will be. My biggest fear is that the series will eventually end. I know it’s inevitable, but I don’t want to have to think about it. Also, without revealing any spoilers, there’s something really interesting on the last page that makes me look forward to future books! I would highly recommend this book and this series overall!

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Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Bookish Websites/Organizations/Apps, etc. (aside from book blogs — things like Goodreads, Project Night Night, Paperbackswap, etc.)

Oh my, this will be fun!! Here goes:

  1. PAPERBACKSWAP! Fore sure, this has to be, first and foremost, my absolute favorite bookish website! I am unbelievably addicted. In July I will have been a member there for 4 years. And let me just tell you, this one website has singlehandedly grown my TBR pile into a TBR mountain of amazing proportions. But I love it! And for the most part, aside from two transactions that I can think of, I have had really good luck with this website.
  2. Bookmooch. I am a recently new member of this website. I was a member of Frugal Reader before they shut it down unannounced (and to the chagrin of many members) and I am a ex-member of swap.com. (My problem with that website was HAVING to give my credit card to them to put on file – not a good practice, in my opinion). Personally, I like to be a member of a secondary swap site because a lot of my books are pretty common best-sellers that tend to not move quickly on PBS. But those same books will move rather quickly on Bookmooch it seems (and I was always sending books out on Frugal Reader – I really was bummed about that site!)
  3. Shelfari. I use this website in conjunction with a Yahoo group that I am a member of in order to show my books available for trade at any given time. I am not good about keeping it up-to-date – which wouldn’t be so difficult if I didn’t bring books into my house left and right. It’s a neat website that I find very easy to use and browse.
  4. My local library’s website – mclib.net – is another favorite of mine. I am able to search the catalog from the comfort of my own home and place books on the wait list. I love the wait list! My town is not known for its good bookstore selection, whether new or used, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that my local library is a wonderful library with lots and lots of NEW releases!
  5. I have downloaded the Nook app onto my iPhone. I absolutely love that I can access my Nook books at any time from my phone. However, I must say that I am incredibly guilty of never even using the app. HAHA! However, I have it whenever I’m ready to use it 🙂
  6. I am a casual user of Goodreads and Library Thing. For a while I was really using Goodreads religiously. Then I got behind. And I never caught myself back up. I need to do that because I really like how it has the pretty much unlimited shelf building possibilities. Library Thing, although my account was technically opened in 2008 I have not really made use of it before this year. I am seriously considering purchasing the lifetime membership and starting to do everything over at that website because I do like it. Plus I enjoy looking through the LT Early Reviewers options. Although I have yet to receive a book it’s lots of fun to go through what’s coming out soon.
  7. FictFact.com . I stumbled across a reference to this website late last year on someone’s blog (wish I could remember who had it linked on their site, but it’s not coming to me right now). This site lets you track all the book series that you are reading, or want to read. I highly recommend this one. I love it. I can quickly check which book is next in a series and it also allows me the option of “skipping” a book if it’s a series I’m not really following religiously (i.e.: the Kinsey Millhone series).  Plus they’ve got a spot where it shows a calendar of up-coming releases for your series. Love this site, seriously! SIGN UP FOR IT! NOW!
  8. fantasticfiction.com . This is my go-to website every single time I want to look up something from a particular author. Sometimes I like to just go on there and browse using the “similar authors” section at the bottom of each author’s page. This is definitely a great resource in my opinion.

Well, I think that’s all that I have. I hope to find some new resources reading through everyone else’s lists!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, June 27, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with June’s location being at Bluestocking’s Thoughts on Books.

Another good mailbox this week. Three books came in:

     John Clark is the man who conducts the secret missions President Ryan can have no part of. Whether hunting warlords in Japan or druglords in Colombia, Clark is efficient and deadly but even he has ghosts in his past. And nowhere more than the peril he must face in Rainbow Six: a group of terrorists the world has never encountered before. This is Tom Clancy’s most shocking story ever – closer to reality than any government would care to admit.

     It’s a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Pretender is back … and he’s got helpers. As The Pretender’s disciples perpetrate their sick homages – stretching police and the FBI dangerously thin – Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll – she’s beside herself and ready to snap. The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch…

     Detective Alex Cross and Bree Stone’s wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington, DC’s most corrupt: a dirty congressman and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked insiders, sparking a blaze of theories – is the marksman a hero or a vigilante? The case explodes, and the FBI assigns Agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that the killings are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims’ movements – information that only a Washington insider could possess. As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in DC and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good.

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, June 26, 2011

Well … I haven’t been keeping up with these weekly wrap ups lately. In fact, I haven’t done a single one since before we left on our Alaskan vacation back in May. I guess I got out of the habit, but I’m going to try to get back into it. I’ve been in somewhat of a reading slump. I mean, honestly, I’ve been reading, but I have just been reading a little bit at a time here and there. I just haven’t felt much like reading. (Although I did devour a book in two days this past week. And I still can’t stop raving about it!) Yesterday I celebrated my birthday early with my family. I got some pretty good gifts and some money. That will definitely come in handy when we go to Vegas next week for my birthday! My husband bought me New Kids on the Block/ Backstreet Boys tickets a long time ago for out there. I couldn’t resist, they will be there on the 3rd and my birthday is on the 5th. I figured, hey, let’s just take one day off work and go! So we are! I’m like a giddy teenager just thinking about it. I am a little young for the NKOTB fan base (although I do know most of their songs), but BSB was my obsession for at least 3 years (approximately ages 12-14). I suppose I don’t need to say that my husband is NOT looking forward to this, but hey, I don’t care! It’s my birthday gift! HAHA!

Okay, so I suppose I should tell you all what went on here at the blog this past week:

And I posted two reviews:

So that’s about it for this past week. Hope everyone has a good week 🙂

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

2011.31 REVIEW – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 288
Rating: 5/5
Read: June 21 – June 22, 2011
Challenge:  Take a Chance 3 Challenge; TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 31
Format: Print

First Line: “Sir?” she repeats. “How soon do you want it to get there?”

Blurb: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself – a truth he never wanted to face.

Review: I waited for what seemed like forever waiting on the wishlist over at PaperBackSwap for this book. To put it the best way I can think of: this book was worth the wait. For real. This book was so haunting. Some points really resonated with me. Not being that far removed from high school (okay, well, 8 years), I know what those years were like. I remember them. Vividly. I was in Hannah Baker’s shoes when I got stood up at the movies (although technically her date showed up, eventually). I was somewhat of an outcast my junior year. I lost almost all my friends that year. Over something really stupid that I still can’t really put my finger on … but boy, do I still remember the one person who was at the center of the whole debacle. Ugh. I have my own Valentine Day memory like Hannah had hers, although mine wasn’t over a survey – although we did have those surveys! So I really related to Hannah’s character. Although I myself never considered suicide, I can understand the pain that this character went through when no one else was even aware. I was there. I felt some of that pain. I think that this book should be required reading for all young adults. High school can be brutal, and people suffer. A lot of the time others aren’t even aware of the pain and suffering that some people are going through. To read this book in a classroom I think could really open up some great discussions. I wish our high school had had a Peer Communications class like this fictional high school had. That would have been a wonderful class to experience. Overall, I simply cannot say enough good things about this book. I read it as quickly as I could. It sucked me in immediately.

4.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2011

2011.30 REVIEW – Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Lost Souls 
by Lisa Jackson

Copyright: 2008, 2009
Pages: 488
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: June 15 – June 21, 2011
Challenge:  No Challenge
Yearly Count: 30
Format: Print

First Line: Where am I?

Blurb: Kristi Bentz wants to write true crime. All she needs is that one case that will take her to the top. She finds it when she enrolls at All Saints College after learning that four girls have disappeared in less than two years. All four girls were “lost souls” – troubled, vulnerable girls with no one to care about them, no one to come looking for them if they disappeared. The only personal that believes Kristi is her ex-lover, Jay McKnight, a professor on campus. The police think the girls are runaways, but Kristi senses there’s something that links them – something terrifying. As Kristi gets deeper into her investigation, she gets the feeling she’s being watched and followed – studied, even. Then the bodies start turning up, and Kristi realizes she is playing a game with a killer who has selected her for membership in a special club from which there will be no escaping death….

Review: Vampires, sex, murder … this book has it all. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think it was a little on the long side for the story it was trying to tell, but honestly, that didn’t take away too much from the book itself. Having read Lisa Jackson’s books before, they are usually guaranteed to be a good thriller, but sometimes this one felt a little pushed in places. It’s hard to explain what I’m really trying to say. It was a good book, no doubt about it. But it didn’t feel entirely believable. I think that was my issue with it. Maybe that’s just me not buying into the whole commercialized vampirism and whatnot (now, if you want a good vampire story, check out Blood Oath). However, I suppose if the vampire element had been left out of this book, it would have felt like a gazillion other thriller books with very similar plots. Overall, I would recommend this book. But I think it’s a very forgettable read.

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Book Blogger/A Bookish Person

Okay so I haven’t participated in one of these in forever and I thought I’d go ahead and jump on in with this week’s question. I don’t know that I will be able to come up with ten, but we will see.

  1. Last night I was in Wal-Mart grocery shopping, as we were passing the book section I saw this little girl who was probably 8 begging her dad to look at the books. Being a book lover myself, I get butterflies in my stomach every time I see a child wanting to read. With all the TV, video games, movies, blah blah blah, it warms my heart to see a child who wants to look at books. I love that.
  2. I love interacting with other readers on my blog and other people’s blogs. Commenting back and forth is such a wonderful experience when you’re talking about books. I love that!
  3. I love all the great books that I find out about that I might not have ever heard of otherwise through various people’s blogs. It has really expanded my reading horizons.
  4. Being a little OCD about organizing my books, I really love that there are all kinds of different books sites out there – Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing. I use all three sites in one form or another and love being able to organize them in different ways than I have on my shelves.
  5. PaperBackSwap. Do I really have to elaborate on this? This one site has single-handedly grown my book collection into unimaginable proportions. I can’t stay away from it. I am addicted. (Oh and I’m a member of BookMooch as well).
  6. Yahoo groups have some really great reading groups. MostlyBooks is probably my favorite. But there’s also ANovelChallenge which is the sister group to the ANovelChallenge blog.
  7. Reading Challenges. I am addicted to those as well. I try to keep my participation to as few as possible because I always feel like a failure when I don’t complete a challenge (even though, I know that that is not the case at all).
  8. I love that there are people all over the world who have various blogs and talk about their love for books. Me being in the United States I was in shock and awe when I first found out that there are people all over coming together in the book blog world to share their love for books. That’s a wonderful thing in my opinion.

Well, I think that’s it. Some of these I don’t think I really explained myself in the best way possible, but this particular post was hard for me to put words to my feelings on all these things. I love being a bookworm, it is something that I am proud of. I love that I can bring my love for books out through the posts on my blog for others all the world over to see. The book blog community is wonderful and I am so glad that I am a part of it. 🙂

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, June 20, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with June’s location being at Bluestocking’s Thoughts on Books.

It was a slim mailbox this week, with only one book coming in. However, this was a PBS wishlist book that I waited FOREVER for and that I’m going to be picking up as soon as I finish my current read because I’m super excited for it!!!

     Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a first-hand witness to Hannah’s pain, and learns the truth about himself – a truth he never wanted to face.

DNF Books

2011 DNF #4 – What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen

What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James & Jack the Ripper
by Paula Marantz Cohen

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 341
Format: Print

Blurb:  An invalid for most her life, Alice James is quite used to people underestimating her. And she generally doesn’t mind. But this time she is not about to let things alone. Yes, her brother Henry may be a famous author, and her other brother William a rising star in the new field of psychology. But when they all find themselves quite unusually involved in the chase for a most vile new murderer – one who goes by the chilling name of Jack the Ripper – Alice is certain of two things: No one could be more suited to gather evidence about the nature of the killer than her brothers. But it anyone is going to correctly examine the evidence and solve the case it will have to be up to her.

I’m actually very disappointed that I couldn’t get into this book. I waited on the PBS wishlist for quite some time for this book and was so looking forward to it. I don’t know what it was about it, I just didn’t like it. I only got about 75 pages into it and decided that I was uninterested. I thought about putting it aside and coming back to it later, but I figured it was only a 50-50 chance that I would actually pick it back up, so I’m DNFing it for the year.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, SERIES, Taylor Jackson

2011.29 REVIEW – The Cold Room by J.T. Ellison

The Cold Room 
by J.T. Ellison

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 401
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 8 – June 14, 2011
Challenge:  No Challenge
Yearly Count: 29
Format: Print

First Line: Gavin Adler jumped when a small chime sounded on his computer.

Blurb: Homicide detective Taylor Jackson thinks she’s seen it all in Nashville – but she’s never seen anything as perverse as The Conductor. Once his victim is captured, he contains her in a glass coffin, slowly starving her to death. Only then does he give in to his attraction. Later, he creatively disposes of the body by reenacting scenes from famous paintings. Strangely, similar macabre works are being displayed in Europe. Taylor teams up with her fiance, FBI profiler Dr. John Baldwin, and New Scotland Yard detective James “Memphis” Highsmythe – a haunted man who has eyes only for Taylor – to put an end to The Conductor’s art collection. Has the killer gone international? Or are there dueling artists, competing to create the ultimate masterpiece.

Review: I love this series, there is just something absolutely haunting about the stories J.T. Ellison can weave. There were some new characters introduced in this installment, one of whom I really hope will continue to be an integral part – the new detective, Renn McKenzie. In this particular book there has been a lot of changes within the Nashville Metro Police Department. These changes have directly impacted Taylor Jackson’s work life, so it was very interesting to see just how Taylor would handle them as a person. I sincerely hope that Taylor and Baldwin get married sooner rather than later, because I think they’re a great couple. I’m definitely interested in seeing where they go together in future books. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who hasn’t tried it before.