Harry Potter, Read-a-Long

I just signed up for my first Read-a-Long!

I’ve seen a lot of people participate in these all over the blog-o-sphere, but I’ve never joined in mainly because the books involved have never appealed to me all that much. That changed tonight when I saw the Harry Potter Read-a-Long come through my Google Reader!! Hosted by Pretty Deadly Reviews it starts tomorrow! The seven books are going to be read in order, with each book getting 2 weeks to read. Hop on over and join in if this interests you as much as it does me 🙂

P.S. – There’s a super duper awesome Potter-themed prize at stake here people! Check it out here!!!

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Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, July 31, 2011

Another week gone by. Tomorrow is the first of August! Crazy! And the last half of the year is always the hardest for us financially. We have 9 birthdays between August and October, our car insurance, home insurance and real estate taxes all come due between October and December. Oh and then let’s not forget the 14 people we have to buy Christmas gifts for. Ahhh. It’s definitely not my favorite half of the year. But that really has nothing to do with the topic of my blog 🙂

I had a pretty good week, I did some great reading – I had hit a slump, I hope I’m out of it now. Here’s what happened here at the blog:

  • I shared my mailbox … I received 4 books and have already read 2 of them! Go me!
  • I proved to everyone that I have a drug habit … with my drug of choice being books 🙂

And I posted three reviews:

Like I said earlier, I hope I’m out of my slump, because I’m reading up a storm …. I guess it’s probably all in the books that I’m choosing right now, but it definitely feels good to want to read again now!

Hope everyone has a great week 🙂

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Jack Daniels, K, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.39 REVIEW – Whiskey Sour by J.A. Konrath

Whiskey Sour
by J.A. Konrath

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 276
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 28 – July 30, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 39
Format: Print
Source: Purchased online from Powell’s in 2010

Blurb: Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels is an insomniac Chicago cop with a train wreck of a personal life and a stalker bent on adding her to his murder list. Join Jack, her binge-eating partner, a sleazy PI, and two very stupid FBI agents on a wild hunt for the Gingerbread Man – a killer who makes Hannibal Lecter look like Huck Finn.

Review: I purchased this book online in 2010 from Powell’s. I went on this binge where I was gathering up some new series’ to start. I hate to admit that I let this one sit on my shelf for as long as I did. And honestly, I only read it when I did was because it is part of a large trade I have going with a fellow member of the Yahoo group MysteryBookSwap. That being said, I found this book to be hilarious. I’m already looking for the second in the series, Bloody Mary. I don’t think that there’s any other character quite like Jack Daniels in any book I’ve ever read. She’s believable, humorous, serious and likeable all at the same time. The storyline was really enjoyable, the bad guy was interesting, the supporting characters are good. I’m definitely glad that I read this book and I’m really looking forward to reading more in this serious. I would highly recommend this book.

Buying Books

I just couldn’t resist…..

… going to the library book sale. *Sigh* I know I should never have gone, but I’m like a person with a drug habit, with my drug of choice being books! This time I spent $7 and brought home 13 books (one of the books was an oversize paperback, for $1 while all the others were 50 cents each).


So there’s the visual of all my new goodies! Here’s the descriptions:

Virgin Lies by Roderick Anscombe: One summer day, Boston forensic psychiatrist Paul Lucas gets a call from his social worker wife, Abby: A nine-year-old girl has gone missing. Paul, an expert interrogator, is called in to help evaluate the testimony of the only witness: a homeless woman who happens to be a paranoid schizophrenic. Further interviews with other possible witnesses go nowhere, frustrating detectives and calling into doubt Paul’s role in the case. Believing the girl is alive but soon to die, Paul is pushed to the brink of a professional abyss – harangued by local media, distrusted by police, and pressured to save the day by Abby, whose stake in the search becomes deeply personal. With time running out, Paul has to make a choice: to uphold the central oath of his profession or to do whatever it takes to find the girl – even if he must crack the mind of a vulnerable patient, and risk everything he has in the process.

Father’s Day by John Calvin Batchelor: The year is 2003. President Ted Jay has invoked the 25th Amendment to the Constitution – Presidential vacancy, disability, and inability – temporarily transferring power to his Vice President, T.E. (Shy) Garland. But five months later, when the Chief Executive attempts to reclaim the reins of power, Garland refuses to step aside, setting in motion a bloody and ruthless plot that will tear America in two – and bring the most powerful nation on earth to the brink of a military coup.

Tom Clancy’s Op-Center: Acts of War: Kurdish terrorists have attacked a dam inside the borders of Turkey, threatening the water supply of their very homeland. It is not insanity, but the first step in a deceptively simple plan: force all-out war in the Middle East, drawing in the major players in the new world order. What the terrorists don’t know is that a new Regional Op-Center is now on-line in Turkey. A mobile version of the permanent crisis management facility, the ROC is a cutting-edge surveillance and information mecca. And its team can see exactly what the Kurdish rebels are trying to do. But the terrorists are more resourceful than anyone thinks. They also have ways of obtaining classified information. And the Regional Op-Center – the United States’ newest toy – is a prize not to be passed up…

Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy: It’s the early 1980s – and historian, teacher, and recent ex-Marine Jack Ryan is now a CIA officer on loan to the British SIS. On his very first day, an extraordinary document crosses his desk. Because of government repression in Poland, the new Pope, John Paul II, has threatened to resign his papacy. In Moscow, another man is contemplating the very same document. Yuriy Andropov, the chairman of the KGB, does not like what he reads, does not like what it means for him or for his nation. All it takes is one man to cause everything he has worked for to crumble. All it takes is one man to stop him. The Pope is very powerful, but he is also mortal…

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King: In 1915, Sherlock Holmes is retired and quietly engage din the study of honeybees when a young woman literally stumbles into him on the Sussex Downs. Fifteen-years-old, gawky, egotistical, and recently orphaned, the young Mary Russell displays an intellect to impress even Sherlock Holmes – and match him wit for wit. Under his reluctant tutelage, this very modern twentieth-century woman proves a deft protegĂ© and a fitting partner for the Victorian detective. In their first case together, they must track down a kidnapped American senator’s daughter and confront a truly cunning adversary – a bomber who has set trip wires for the sleuths and who will stop at nothing to end their partnership.

Dead Souls by Michael Laimo: For eighteen-year-old Johnny Petrie, the dilapidated farmhouse in Maine meant a way out. When the letter arrived saying he had inherited an estate from a man he’d never heard of before, Johnny knew he could finally escape the hell of living with his religious zealot mother and drunken father. He didn’t realize that the hell he was moving into would be far, far worse. The previous owner of the estate was Benjamin Conroy, a man obsessed with securing eternal life for himself and his family – even if he had to kill them to do it. Conroy’s ultimate ritual, a perverse ceremony of blood and butchery, went hideously wrong, denying him the immortality he sought, leaving him and his family dead. But now that Johnny has arrived at the house, Conroy’s spirit will have a second chance…

The Bourne Ultimatum by Robert Ludlum: At a small-town carnival two men, each mysteriously summoned by telegram, witness a bizarre killing. The telegrams are signed Jason Bourne. Only they know Bourne’s true identity and understand the telegram is really a message from Bourne’s mortal enemy, Carlos, known also as the Jackal, the world’s deadliest and most elusive terrorist. And furthermore, they know what the Jackal wants: a final confrontation with Bourne. Now David Webb, professor of Oriental studies, husband, and father, must do what he hoped never to do again – assume the terrible identity of Jason Bourne. His plan is simple: to infiltrate the politically and economically omnipotent Medusan group and use himself as bait to lure the cunning Jackal into a deadly trap – a trap from which only one of them will escape.

Twenty-Seven Bones by Jonathan Nasaw: There are twenty-seven bones in the human hand. And there are three dead bodies on the island of St. Luke – each victim missing a hand. It’s the strangest, most disturbing series of murders the Caribbean has ever known – and one of the few crimes that could pull FBI Special Agent E.L. Pender out of retirement. In all of his years, he’s never faced such a diabolical underworld drenched in superstition. At the heart of this darkness is a husband-and-wife team with a perverse plan so powerfully consuming, so brilliantly evil, that Pender can only watch and wait … as the grisly hand of fate reaches out for its next victim.

Eclipse by Richard North Patterson: Damon Pierce is a gifted California lawyer whose work is starting to seem soulless. Then, from out of nowhere, two life-altering events take place: First, Damon’s wife announces that she’s leaving him. Next: A woman from his past reappears. Damon could never forget Marissa Brand Okari, his one-time great love. Now, she’s in trouble … and Damon decides to do everything in his power to help her. Marissa’s husband, Bobby Okari, is a freedom fighter in a corrupt West African nation – one that’s being torn apart by global lust for its vast supply of oil. One day, during a solar eclipse, Bobby leads a high-profile protest rally against an American oil company … only to see everyone in his home village massacred by government troops. Already an enemy of the country’s savage dictator, Bobby is promptly arrested. Now it’s up to Damon to take on Bobby’s case and save him – and Marissa – from almost certain death. And risk his own life in the process.

Chain of Evidence by Ridley Pearson: Detective Joe “Dart” Dartelli made one critical mistake in his police career: He chose to ignore a piece of evidence in a case labeled a suicide that may have been a murder. The dead man was himself a vicious woman-killer who more than deserved his fate, but that ignored evidence pointed to Dart’s former mentor, the brilliant forensic specialist Walter Zeller. Now another suicide victim turns up – the body of a wife beater – and the evidence clearly shows that the death was self-inflicted … or does it? Zeller was the best at reading and understanding the forensics of a crime scene – could he have manipulated it? Worse, why has Zeller disappeared? It terrifies Dart to suspect that Zeller is in fact on some twisted vigilante crusade, but Dart also knows that if he’s right, only he can stop it.

Interview With the Vampire by Anne Rice: This is the story of the Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial  moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are. Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

The Doomsday Key by James Rollins: Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma Force have only days to solve an apocalyptic puzzle dating back centuries. Aided by two women from his past – one his ex-lover, the other his new partner – Gray must uncover a horrifying secret that threatens America and the world, even if it means sacrificing the life of one of the women at his side. The race is on – from the Roman Coliseum to the icy peaks of Norway to the lost tombs of Celtic kings – and the future hangs in the balance. For humankind’s ultimate nightmare is locked within a talisman buried by a dead saint – an ancient artifact known as … The Doomsday Key.

Murder in the House by Margaret Truman: He died beneath the Statue of Freedom, clutching a 9-mm pistol in his hand. But as dawn rose, the politician would die again – in a hail of rumor and character assassination. Now one man suspects the shattering truth: that the congressman’s suicide was a carefully planned murder. In the heart of the free world, a furious struggle begins: to reclaim a man’s innocence, expose a woman’s lie, and stop a chilling conspiracy of murder that reaches halfway around the world…

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, Review Book, U-V-W

2011.38 REVIEW – Lonely Deceptions by D.R. Willis

Lonely Deceptions
by D.R. Willis

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 193
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: July 25 – July 27, 2011
Challenge: Criminal Plots Reading Challenge; TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 38
Format: Print
Source: Review Copy

Blurb: After Nick accidentally overhears a conversation between Lou Evans – his boss and owner of Lou-Paul Machine Shop – and a mysterious person, he unwittingly becomes a pawn in a game of international proportions. When Lou gruffly asks him to take possession of prototype blueprints, Nick has no idea that the blueprints contain a dark secret – a secret with the potential to kill. Combined with unwanted attention from a local police officer as well as a skeletal, dangerous former FBI agent, Nick’s normal life is suddenly not that at all, and no one can guarantee his safety – not even the beautiful FBI agent who has been assigned to the case. Lou may not be who he says he is, and, unfortunately for Nick, his downfall may be that he is the best machinist around and the only one Lou can count on to help him carry out a perilous mission.

Review: I received this copy to review courtesy of Hannah at BohlsenPR. Overall I thought the book was good, but there were some weird spots for me. First, I felt as if the beginning was slow and confusing. It took nearly 60 pages before I started to understand what was going on. And then at the end, when the big secret was revealed, I wasn’t all that impressed. I suppose I was expecting it to be a bigger conspiracy by the way it was played up throughout the entire book, either that or I missed something. That being said, the middle of the book was really good. I felt that this had the best writing, the best storyline and the best character development. This book read as if it could be the first in a planned series. I’m not sure what the plans are for this author, but I feel as if a second book in this series could definitely answer some questions that I had. My curiosity would lead me to want to read another book with Nick Davis as the main character. But like I said, I’m not sure that there is a plan for a series, the ending just left it open for the possibility. Overall, I would recommend this book as it was an enjoyable read.

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

2011.37 REVIEW – The Chancellor Manuscript by Robert Ludlum

The Chancellor Manuscript
by Robert Ludlum

Copyright: 1977
Pages: 438
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 21 – July 24, 2011
Challenge:  Take a Chance Challenge 3
Yearly Count: 37
Format: Print
Source: Bookmooch point

Blurb: DID J. EDGAR DIE A NATURAL DEATH? . . .  OR WAS HE MURDERED? Inver Brass-a group of high-minded and high-placed intellectuals who see a monstrous threat to the country in Hoover’s unethical use of his scandal-ridden private files.  They decide to do away with him-quietly, efficiently, with no hint of impropriety.  Until best-selling thriller writer Peter Chancellor stumbles onto information that makes his precious books like harmless fairy tales.  Now Chancellor and Inver Brass are on a deadly collision course, spiraling across the globe in an ever-widening arc of violence and terror.  Hurtling toward a showdown that will rip Washington’s intelligence community apart-leaving only one damning document to survive . . .

Review: I chose this book solely for a challenge. Honestly, it’s not even a book that I had ever heard of. But when I was looking over my choices to fulfill this section of the challenge, this book immediately stood out for me based on the blurb. This was my first time reading a Robert Ludlum book, although I have 4 or 5 of his already on my shelves. But the description of this book immediately sucked me in. I like conspiracies. I don’t necessarily believe in them, but I enjoy them immensely in books, movies and television shows. That said, this book was right up my alley. I enjoyed it, but it’s not something that I will remember a year from now. The ending was long and drawn out in my opinion. It probably could have been wrapped up in about 10 pages and yet it dragged on for a good 30 or 40 pages. I felt as if Mr. Ludlum was a little long-winded in places that weren’t really necessary. Of course, this goes back to my preferences, it’s just not something that I like in books. However, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book. I actually did enjoy it quite a bit, it was a fun and interesting read. The beginning was a little slow, but the last two-thirds of the book flew by. I would definitely recommend this book and I will for sure be reading more Robert Ludlum in the future.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, July 25, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is still on tour, with July’s location being at A Sea of Books.

From Bookmooch, requested solely for a reading challenge:

 DID J. EDGAR DIE A NATURAL DEATH? . . .  OR WAS HE MURDERED?
Inver Brass-a group of high-minded and high-placed intellectuals who see a monstrous threat to the country in Hoover’s unethical use of his scandal-ridden private files.  They decide to do away with him-quietly, efficiently, with no hint of impropriety.  Until best-selling thriller writer Peter Chancellor stumbles onto information that makes his precious books like harmless fairy tales.  Now Chancellor and Inver Brass are on a deadly collision course, spiraling across the globe in an ever-widening arc of violence and terror.  Hurtling toward a showdown that will rip Washington’s intelligence community apart-leaving only one damning document to survive . . .

From PBS, a wishlist book:

 Amelia Wilkes’s strict father does not allow her to date, but that doesn’t stop the talented, winsome high school senior from carrying on a secret romance with her classmate Anthony Winter. Desperately in love, the two envision a life together and plan to tell Amelia’s parents only after she turns eighteen and is legally an adult. Anthony’s mother, Kim, who teaches at their school, knows – and keeps – their secret. But the couple’s passion is exposed sooner than planned: Amelia’s father, Harlan, is shocked and infuriated to find naked pictures of Anthony on his daughter’s computer. Just hours later, Anthony is arrested. Despite Amelia’s frantic protests, Harlan uses his wealth and influence with local law enforcement and the media to label Anthony a deviant who preyed on his innocent daughter. Spearheaded by a zealous prosecutor anxious to turn the case into a public crusade against “sexting,” the investigation soon takes an even more disturbing and destructive turn. As events spiral wildly out of control and the scandalous story makes national news, Amelia and Anthony risk everything in a bold and dangerous attempt to clear the names and end the madness once and for all.

From a MysteryBookSwap member for a birthday book:

 In St. Peter’s Basilica, a man sits in a confessional asking forgiveness for a murder he’s about to commit. And a young priest begins a desperate journey to stop him. It’s the beginning of a ruthless race to find a rumored cache of sacred texts that could be one of the most explosive discoveries of all time. For as Clara Tannenberg and a team of renegade archaeologists journey deep into an Iraq on the brink of war, another far more sinister group is determined to get there first. Sweeping from the time of the biblical patriarchs to the front lines of the Iraqi conflict, from the horrors of Nazi Germany to the back rooms of Washington, D.C.

For Review:

 When Nick Davis, a forty-something small town machinist, spots an intruder’s shadow through the mist of an early morning storm. He is oblivious that the seemingly random occurrence will lead him on a path that will change his life forever. After Nick accidentally overhears a conversation between Lou Evans – his boss and the owner of Lou-Paul Machine Shop – and a mysterious person, he unwittingly becomes a pawn in a game of international proportions. When Lou gruffly asks him to take possession of prototype blueprints, Nick has no idea that the blueprints contain a dark secret – a secret with the potential to kill. Combined with unwanted attention from a local police officer as well as a skeletal, dangerous former FBI agent, Nick’s normal life is suddenly not that at all, and no one can guarantee his safety – not even the beautiful FBI agent who has been assigned to the case. Lou may not be who he says he is, and, unfortunately for Nick, his downfall may be that he is the best machinist around and the only one Lou can count on to help him carry out a perilous mission.

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, July 24 2011

Another week down. It’s amazing how quickly time seems to fly by now. When I was a teenager it seemed as if time inched by. Now in my mid-twenties, with 30 being closer than 20, I can’t keep track of where the time goes. Sometimes I feel like I’m at an awkward age. Not really age, but I’m definitely at an awkward stage in life, it seems. I’m 26. I’ve been married 4 years. If I hear one more question about why we don’t have children, I’m going to scream. Out loud. At the top of my lungs. Seriously. It’s no one’s business but my own. Leave it alone. *Okay, I’ll get off my soap box now*

I got out of my reading slump a little bit. That was definitely a nice feeling. I finished two books this week and I’m almost halfway through the one I’m reading now.

Here’s what happened:

And I posted two reviews:

Hope everyone is staying cool wherever they are. It’s been unbelievably and unbearably hot here in the Midwest. I hope this heat breaks soon. I’m not necessarily ready for snow, but a cool fall will be great! I think the problem is that we had such a short spring here where we live. We had such a rainy spring that there was no time to enjoy the warmer, but not yet hot, weather before the stifling summer heat set in.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I’ve determined I’m crazy!

Okay, well, I’ve probably been crazy for quite a while, but that’s beside the point.

I was looking at my bookshelves this morning, absolutely flabbergasted that they have gotten so full so quickly. I have known for some time that I’m a little out of control with bringing books into the house. My husband doesn’t even blink when 10 books come in the mailbox in 1 week. It doesn’t phase him a bit anymore – he’s used to it! The problem with this …. I can’t read as fast as I’m bringing books in!! It really has gotten out of hand.

All this thinking came about because next weekend is my library’s book sale. They have one every January and July. I missed January’s this year because I was out of town that weekend. I’m going to be in town next weekend and really want to go. But as I was looking at my shelves this morning, I realized that there were at least 3 books still there from LAST July’s library book sale! This got me very curious and I had remembered that I had written a post last year about the goodies that I came home with last year. You can find that here. I was browsing the list, I brought home 12 books for $6. Pretty good deal if you ask me. I went on Friday last year, on Saturday’s they have a $2 bag full policy – but if you wait until Saturday, the selection is slimmer – so I paid “full” price, 50 cents per book. Still not bad in my opinion, when you look at brand new books prices or used book store prices.

But that’s beside the point of this post. The point is the fact that of those 12 books from last year’s library book sale, I have not read any of them. Two of them I traded on Paperbackswap, obviously unread.

So the question then becomes, do I really need to go to the book sale next weekend? Absolutely not. Does that mean that I will resist the urge and not go? Highly doubtful.

I know I’m not the only book crazy person in the world … but, how does everyone reel themselves in and control themselves? Any advice would be most welcome 🙂

4/5, 87th Precinct, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, Random Book Discussions, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.36 REVIEW – Cop Hater by Ed McBain

Cop Hater
by Ed McBain

Copyright: 1956, renewed 1984
Pages: 236
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 17 – July 20, 2011
Challenge:  TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 36
Format: Print
Source: PaperBackSwap point

Blurb: Swift, silent, and deadly – someone is knocking off the 87th Precinct’s finest, one by one. The how of the killings is obvious: three .45 shots from the dark add up to one, two, three very dead detectives. The why and the who are the Precinct’s headaches now. When Detective Reardon is found dead, motive is a big question mark. But when his partner becomes victim number two, it looks like open-and-shut grudge killings. That is, until a third detective buys it. With one meager clue, Detective Steve Carella begins his grim search for the killer, a search that takes him into the city’s underworld to a notorious brothel, to the apartment of a beautiful and dangerous widow, and finally to a .45 automatic aimed straight at his head.

Review: This is the first book in the 87th Precinct series. I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, it is definitely a different read than what I’m used to. I don’t read a lot of books that are this old, some of the slang terminology was a little difficult to follow and the police procedures are way different from anything that goes on today. For example, a person being “heeled” was (as best as I could figure) akin to “packing heat”. Little things like that made the book a little different for me. The storyline was interesting, and the bad guy in this book, well I had it completely wrong. I enjoyed this one and I will more than likely read the next book eventually.