4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, R, RATING, Read in 2011, Review Book

2011.55 REVIEW – The Guardian by Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

The Guardian
by Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 443
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 13– Sept. 15, 2011
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly Count: 55
Format: E-Book
Source: NetGalley

Blurb: Plunge into the world of seen and unseen forces in The Guardian. Anna Riley has just come into possession of a two-thousand-year old scroll that God gave to John the Disciple. Her mission—to guard the scroll and unlock its secret. Jason Lang, her protector, has his work cut out for him as they begin their journey around the world, facing corruption and dodging bullets—all the while trying to keep his attraction to Anna at bay. Will he succeed in defending the woman he’s vowed to protect? Will Anna, forced to trust other people to stay alive, fulfill the challenge that she’s accepted?

Review: I requested this book from NetGalley having been immediately intrigued by the description. And I must say that I was not disappointed. While I am not a particularly religious person, that didn’t really affect my enjoyment of the book. Personally I felt as if the characters were well-developed and likable. And the action. Wow, was this a great thrill ride of a book! It was non-stop from the first page to the last page. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good thrilling read.

And an interesting sidenote: I was originally unaware that one of the authors (Cheuvront) was actually part of the country band LoneStar, who I personally think has some really good songs.

Harry Potter

HP Read-a-Long Post #4

Okay, so having finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (and not really reviewing the book, sorry, but I just didn’t have any words for the book), I have been pondering the discussion question …..

What is one memory you have, happy enough to conjure a full-formed Patronus? And what form do you think yours would take?

I’m just slightly stumped on this question.

First of all, I can immediately tell you what the happy memory would be: it would be my wedding day. I had never been so happy/nervous/excited/terrified all at the same time, and I haven’t felt that way since either. It’s such a happy memory for me. We had a small ceremony at the MGM Grand Hostel in Las Vegas, with only our immediate families. We then took lots and lots of pictures, it was like a photo shoot and I loved it! Then we had a great dinner with all of our guests at the Italian restaurant in the hotel. It was a wonderful day (if a little hot!) and I will never forget it. Oh and I have to brag a little bit about our honeymoon suite: this thing was the size of an apartment! There’s a neat little story behind how we scored such an awesome room. The week that we got married was the same week that the Academy of Country Music Awards were in town and at the MGM. For whatever reason, someone failed to check out of the suite we were supposed to get. So, we got an upgrade! And wowzers, was it amazing!! Oh, and the best man and maid of honor got their picture taken with Taylor Swift … I didn’t get any pictures, but I did ride in the same elevator as Bucky Covington. So yeah, it was a pretty memorable wedding week 🙂

So the part of the question that has me stumped is really what form my Patronus would take. I’m just not sure. I can’t answer that part for whatever reason.

3/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011

2011.54 REVIEW: The Blue Edge of Midnight by Jonathon King

The Blue Edge of Midnight
by Jonathon King

Copyright: 2002
Pages: 265
Rating: 3/5
Read: Sept. 11– Sept. 13, 2011
Challenge: Take a Chance Challenge 3
Yearly Count: 54
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: On a night that will haunt him forever, ex-cop Max Freeman killed a twelve-year-old child in self-defense in a Philadelphia shootout. Since then he has lived a solitary existence on the edge of the Florida Everglades, where he answers to no one save the demons tormenting his conscience. But when he finds the corpse of a child along a shadowy riverbank, he’s pulled back into the twisted maze of law and order – as a murder suspect. Now Freeman has no choice but to hunt down a killer who has committed the unthinkable – even if it takes him to the darkest places of the soul…

Review: I only picked up this book to fulfill a challenge requirement. While it would not be my favorite book, it wasn’t a bad book. There was just something about the book itself that bothered me. I don’t know if it was the (what I call) flowery dialogue. By this I mean that there were long, drawn-out descriptions in places where it (in my opinion) was unnecessary. But then again, I am not a fan of a lot of words, as I’ve said before here on my blog, I’m a “just the facts, ma’am” type of girl. Or if it was just the fact that I didn’t really get the main character, Max. He was a strange guy, there were a lot of unknowns about him and he just was … strange. That’s the only way I could describe it. Honestly, I’m not sure I will ever read any more in this series, I just didn’t get the book. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it definitely wasn’t great. In the words of Simon Cowell, it was utterly “forgettable.”

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Harry Potter, Harry Potter, R, RATING, Read in 2011, Read-a-Long, SERIES

2011.53 REVIEW – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
by J.K. Rowling

Copyright: 1999
Pages: 435
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 8– Sept. 12, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 53
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort. Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, “He’s at Hogwarts … he’s at Hogwarts.” Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Review: Harry Potter, oh how I love you! In my own opinion, the latter books are definitely better than the earlier ones. So I’m definitely excited that we’re getting to this point in the read-a-long! (Because we’re getting closer to my personal favorite in the serie: Book 5!!).

I don’t really feel as if I need to “review” these books. But if I must ……

I love them. Everyone should read them.

End of review. 🙂

Meme, Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011

Top Ten Books I Read Because Of Another Blogger (In honor of BBAW!)

Okay, so I went back through my review index here on the blog to make my picks for this week’s topic. I only have 6 on my list … I would have had more, but there were quite a few books I had read based on blogger recommendations that I just didn’t like. I omitted those. And I must admit that for most of these books I simply cannot remember what blogger helped me make my decision. So, here’s my list:

In alphabetical order:

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher …. I had seen this one here and there around the book blog world, not sure whose review eventually made me want to read this book, but I am so glad that I did. I absolutely devoured this book. I would highly recommend this book.
  2. BoneMan’s Daughter by Ted Dekker …. I read this one back in 2009 on the recommendation of another blogger and thoroughly enjoyed it. Looking back at my review, I had an issue with the ending, but it’s been so long ago that I don’t remember what that issue was (I really should keep better notes on paper for times like this!).
  3. The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky …. I also read this one in 2009, and while I don’t remember a whole lot of it, I remember the bare bones of what it was about. I also remember enjoying it. And now I’m sitting here wondering to myself why I haven’t read anything else by Barbara Delinsky since then…
  4. 31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan …. I don’t normally read a lot of historical fiction. But every time I do I thoroughly enjoy it. This one made my Top Ten list last year. I thoroughly enjoyed it and read it based on the recommendation of Wendy at Caribousmom.
  5. The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard …. I have no idea who made me get my hands on this book, and although I read it a few years ago and obviously most of my recollection of this book is a little limited, I will say that I still remember really liking this book.
  6. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens …. Wow. I am 100% certain that this book is going to make my Top Ten books for 2011. I loved it. I have seen it all over the book blog-o-sphere, but it was Samantha at Booked on a Feeling whose review finally made me pick this one up.
Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday ,Sept. 12, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Mailbox Monday is on tour, with September’s location being at Amused by Books.

Another slim mailbox this week. But I got two really good looking books! I’m excited and they will probably be bumped to the top of the list 🙂

A win from BookTrib.com:

 Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends. When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to “investigate.” But their search – aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books – went nowhere. Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood – and to her estranged friend – when Rose’s remains are finally discovered. Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again. But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she’s not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance – or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.

From Bookmooch:

 On a night that will haunt him forever, ex-cop Max Freeman killed a twelve-year-old child in self-defense in a Philadelphia shoot-out. Since then he has lived a solitary existence on the edge of the Florida Everglades, where he answers to no one save the demons tormenting his conscience. But when he finds the corpse of a child along a shadowy riverbank, he’s pulled back into the twisted maze of law and order – as a murder suspect. Now Freeman has no choice but to hunt down a killer who has committed the unthinkable – even if it takes him to the darkest places of the soul…

Sunday Wrap-Up

Sunday Wrap-Up, Sept. 11, 2011

Ten years ago. Today. Wow, doesn’t seem possible, does it? I think it’s best if I don’t even try to put into words what my feelings are. I’m just going to leave my readers with the above picture. (And a plug to enter my giveaway of a 9/11 related book: CLICK HERE!!)

So I know it’s been a little quiet here on the blog. It’s been a very long week for me. Work has been hectic … the 10th is payables day for me, and so I did mine on Friday. And unfortunately my computer at work is not recognizing the network, so I was having to bounce back and forth between the other two bookkeepers’ computers to get my work done. Ugh. Talk about messing me up. I have what I do on payables day down to a science and the no computer issue definitely threw me out of whack. We called Peachtree and they said it was in our DSL router. So next week we’re going to have to call Frontier and get them out there to see what’s going on. The Peachtree guy said he thinks it’s probably a firewall in the router that’s got me blocked, but that it was a little beyond him. Great. Maybe next week we’ll get going again 🙂

In case you missed it, here’s a quick wrap-up of what went on at the blog this past week:

And two reviews:

So that’s about it. I need to get reading. Plus I have to post my review of the 3rd Harry Potter book, since our next discussion question will be this week. I’m really enjoying this read-a-long! It’s been too long since I’ve read all the books :):) Hope everyone has a great up-coming week!

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, Scot Harvath, SERIES, T

2011.52 REVIEW – The Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor

The Lions of Lucerne
by Brad Thor

Copyright: 2002
Pages: 507
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 7– Sept. 10, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 52
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: On the snow-covered slopes of Utah, the unthinkable has happened: the President of the United States has been kidnapped, and his Secret Service detail massacred. Only one agent has survived – ex-Navy SEAL Scot Harvath. He doesn’t buy the official line that Middle Eastern terrorists are responsible, and begins his own campaign to find the truth – and exact revenge. But his search makes him a marked man by the sinister cabal behind the attack. Framed for murder by the conspirators, Harvath goes on the run, taking the fight to the towering mountains of Switzerland. There, he finds an unlikely ally: the beautiful Claudia Mueller of the Swiss Federal Attorney’s Office. Together they must brave the subzero temperatures and sheer heights of treacherous Mount Pilatus – and their only chance for survival is to enter the den of the most lethal team of professional killers the world has ever known…

Review: First of all, I must state that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was exciting from page one until the end. The suspense never let up. The hoops that Scot’s character had to jump through … most men wouldn’t have made it as far as he did. And Claudia’s character, she was an amazingly strong female character. I liked that Mr. Thor imagined such a tough lady (fiction novels need more characters like Claudia!). This is the first in the Scot Harvath series, I have most of the others already on my shelf waiting patiently for me. I can honestly say that I hope to be getting to the other books quickly. If they’re as good as this book was then I will have found a new favorite series. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this book. It was fun and easy to read. The characters are interesting. The storyline and the conspiracy were incredibly believable. The writing was very clear and precise. This was just an all-around great book that I would highly recommend.

Book Giveaway

Book Giveaway: We’re Not Leaving by Benjamin J. Luft, M.D.

I am giving away my copy of  We’re Not Leaving: 9/11 Responders Tell Their Stories of Courage, Sacrifice, and Renewal by Benjamin J. Luft, M.D.

We’re Not Leaving is a compilation of powerful first-person narratives told from the vantage point of World Trade Center disaster workers – police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and other volunteers at the site. While the effects of 9/11 on these everyday heroes and heroines are indelible, and in some cases have been devastating, at the heart of their deeply personal stories – their harrowing escapes from the falling Towers, the egregious environment they worked in for months, the alarming health effects they continue to deal with – is their witness to their personal strength and renewal in the ten years since. These stories, shared by ordinary people who responded to disaster and devastation in extraordinary ways, remind us of America’s strength and inspire us to recognize and ultimately believe in our shared values of courage, duty, patriotism, self-sacrifice, and devotion, which guide us in dark times.

You can read my review here.

The giveaway will close on September 28th at 6pm central time with the winner being announced that evening.

If you are interested in winning this book, I invite you to fill out this form. Good luck!!

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

2011.51 REVIEW – We’re Not Leaving by Benjamin J. Luft, M.D.

We’re Not Leaving: 9/11 Responders Tell Their Stories of Courage, Sacrifice, and Renewal
by Benjamin J. Luft, M.D.

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 300
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 3– Sept. 7, 2011
Challenge: What’s in a Name 4 Challenge
Yearly Count: 51
Format: Print
Source: Review Copy

Blurb: We’re Not Leaving is a compilation of powerful first-person narratives told from the vantage point of World Trade Center disaster workers – police officers, firefighters, construction workers, and other volunteers at the site. While the effects of 9/11 on these everyday heroes and heroines are indelible, and in some cases have been devastating, at the heart of their deeply personal stories – their harrowing escapes from the falling Towers, the egregious environment they worked in for months, the alarming health effects they continue to deal with – is their witness to their personal strength and renewal in the ten years since. These stories, shared by ordinary people who responded to disaster and devastation in extraordinary ways, remind us of America’s strength and inspire us to recognize and ultimately believe in our shared values of courage, duty, patriotism, self-sacrifice, and devotion, which guide us in dark times.

Review: I received this book courtesy of Rebecca with The Cadence Group. Wow.

I don’t know what else to say about this book. The events surrounding 9/11 are such a sensitive topic and with the 10th anniversary knocking on our door, I was immediately interested in getting this review opportunity. The emotions of the people who lent their stories to this book just pour out from the pages. As a reader, my heart broke numerous times just reading what people went through.

Personally, I watched the events unfold on television from the safety of my midwestern high school through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old. At the time I don’t think I really understood what was going on, I didn’t really grasp the enormity of what I was seeing. And then again, I did. I knew this was serious. I had studied all about the different wars that America had fought through the years. But this was no war (at the time) … this was an attack on our soil against our people.

This book really opened my eyes to what everyone went through. You can only feel so much watching things on television. But hearing the words of some the people who lived through this, well that puts things in an entirely different perspective. That makes it more real to someone like me.

I think that the introduction does a good job at explaining what this book is all about. From page xvii:

The testimony in this book is different in that it speaks both from and to the soul. Through their deeply personal and unique perspectives, the stories of 9/11 responders in their own voices, help us understand the human impact of the World Trade Center disaster and encourage us all to heal.

Healing. That’s something that we all had to do together. As a country. And I don’t think we’ve healed entirely. I think that 9/11 is still a sore that is opened up at any given moment.

One of the things that struck me when I was reading this book was the amount of guilt that a lot of the responders felt. Countless people were running into the madness when so many people running away. And yet some people still feel guilt. Guilt because they couldn’t save everyone. I can’t understand what that feels like, obviously, having not been there.

I felt like what I did wasn’t enough and that it was a defeat and that so many people died. (Page 12)

The enormity of what happened on that fateful day in New York City was a lot for me to understand. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to visit New York City in 2008. I went to Ground Zero. I can’t tell you what it felt like to see that big gaping hole in the middle of the city. The emptiness of it spoke volumes. All around you skyscrapers are everywhere in New York City. That’s the norm. But there was just … nothing. And to know what used to be there and what happened, it’s just unbelievable. I was also able to go inside the museum. Wow. Definitely do that if you have the opportunity.

Everything with the World Trade Center, depends on where you were – people standing to the left of you might’ve been killed; people standing to the right of you could’ve survived. It was just all [in] the positioning. (Page 56)

That one sentence says all that can be said about who lived and who died in the Towers. It was all a matter of where you were and when you were there. There was no rhyme or reason to it.

“Where were you when….?” that will be the age-old question that will be asked countless times over the next decades. And just like those who were alive when JFK was assassinated, every single person will be able to tell you exactly where they were when they first heard. For me it was 1st period Algebra II class, junior year. That day will stay with me for the rest of my life. As it should. It’s part of our history now. We can only learn and grow from it.