3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, Review Book

2011.63 REVIEW – The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper by Sally Carpenter

The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper
by Sally Carpenter

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 228
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Nov. 17– Nov.30, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 63
Format: Print
Source: Review Copy

Blurb: From 1975-79 teen idol Sandy Fairfax recorded 10 gold albums and starred in the hit TV series Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth. Now it’s 1993 and he’s a 38-year-old recovering alcoholic, forgotten and desperate for a comeback.

An easy gig – a guest appearance at a Beatles fan convention in Evansville, Ind. – turns deadly after a member of the Mersey Marvels tribute band is shot. When police suspect Sandy, and he fills in for the dead musician at a concert, the schoolboy shamus is back in action to find the killer.


Review: I was contacted directly by the author to review this book. While this is a little bit out of my comfort zone, I was immediately intrigued by this book when I found out that it was set in Evansville, Indiana. I grew up about an hour away from Evansville and actually lived in Evansville for my first semester in college (I transferred after one very unhappy semester).

I didn’t really know what to expect going into this book. The Beatles craze was before my time and I think that really affected how I felt about this book. It wasn’t bad, actually it was pretty funny in places. However, not being much of a Beatles fan (I’m only familiar with their most famous songs), I think most of the book missed the mark for me. However, I did like the references to a town that I am pretty familiar with, it made me remember some good times that I had when I was living there. The mystery part was good, and the characters were well-developed. While I would recommend this book to people, I honestly think this book would be best suited for Beatles fans.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I hate being behind….

Well after a busy Thanksgiving weekend, I am finally back home.

I have two (TWO!) book reviews to write. But I’m too tired to deal with that tonight.

Buster has an ear infection 😦 I hate it when my little pup is not feeling 100% I can tell it’s bothering him. We went to the vet today for medicine, so hopefully we can get it cleared up quickly.

I entered my 13th week today. I’m still nauseous. When will this go away? (Although I will admit it’s hit or miss now, not constant) I’ve only had it since week 5…..

Two weeks from today is our next doctor appointment. ANNNNNNND! We are having an ultrasound to hopefully determine boy or girl! YAY!!!!

My mom bought Stephen King’s new book (11/22/63) on the Nook; I guess I should get mine charged because I’m dying to read this book and I don’t really want to wait any longer on my library’s wait list.

We put our tree up this year. We actually haven’t put one up since 2007, our first year of marriage. We skipped it in 2008 because we closed on the house right after Christmas and didn’t want to deal with it that year. And then in 2009 and 2010 we were just plain lazy 🙂

I don’t really have much else to update right now. I hope to get those book reviews up in the next couple of days. I sincerely hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now on to the craziness (and I mean that in a good way) of Christmas 🙂

4/5, Alex Delaware, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2011, SERIES

2011.62 REVIEW – Over the Edge by Jonathan Kellerman

Over the Edge
by Jonathan Kellerman

Copyright: 1987
Pages: 433
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov.. 8– Nov.27, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 62
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Brace yourself for shock –

when Alex Delaware gets a phone call from a former patient, a young, troubled genius who suffered a devastating mental collapse….

when he drives through the night to save his life and winds up in a morass of murder….

when he uncovers the secret life of one of California’s leading families, and is witness to an explosion of murderous passions and shattering revelations….


Review: It’s been entirely too long since I read the first two books in this series. But that didn’t stop me from diving right in with no problems. This book starts out strong and never really lets up in the suspense department.

I was bummed with how little Milo was included in this installment, but I also understood that the interaction between Alex and Milo had to be limited because they were both working the same case – on opposite sides. I mention this because after looking back through my review for the previous book (Blood Test) I had specifically mentioned how little character development there truly was. I understand that Alex is the main character, but the supporting characters are always important in my opinion and I enjoy getting to know them just as well as the main character. Maybe in the next book 🙂

Overall, this was an action packed adventure. Alex kept running into wall after wall, but he never stopped. And I can only imagine what it would be like to go up against the kinds of people he was dealing with. An affluent family hiding behind their attorney – that would be hard for anyone to deal with.

So I would definitely recommend this book. And I hope that I don’t wait as long to get to the next book in this series as I did to get this book!

Miscellaneous Ramblings, Random Book Discussions

2012 Reading Goals

Well, it’s that time of year again. It’s when I sit down and start thinking about what I want to accomplish in the next year.

So here’s the deal. I didn’t do very well on my challenges this year. I don’t really care though. I have enjoyed what I have read thus far for the challenges. So what if I only *successfully* completed 1 out of the 6 I signed up for? I still had fun. I knew I was taking on too many that I had to go searching for books to fit. At the time I didn’t care. But when it started to get down to the nitty-gritty (August/September/October), I started to pull away from those challenges. I started reading books that I wanted to read. I do this every single time I start to feel the crunch of a challenge deadline looming. But like I said, I don’t care. I have still enjoyed what I have read for the challenges, and for the most part I’m pleased with how I’m going to end the year in the challenge area.

But this post is supposed to be all about next year. 2012. (Think the world will end, lol!?) And here’s the deal. Those of you who follow my blog pretty regularly know that 2012 is going to be an insane year for my husband and I. Why is that? Well, if you haven’t already seen this post … it’s because in June we are expecting our first child. So most of next year is going to be focused on getting the house ready (we want new carpet upstairs) as well as the nursery (paint, furniture, decorations, etc.). Oh and then let’s not forget that when the actual baby comes I’m not going to be doing much reading, heck I will be lucky to get any sleep for a while!

So in 2012 don’t expect to see me as regularly as I would hope. I’m already starting to fall behind. My reading is already hitting a slump. Most of that is due to the fact that I’m either so tired I can’t keep my eyes open or I’m laying perfectly still trying to keep the nausea at bay. Although that latter part, it’s starting to (slowly) disappear. YAY!!

I would like to think that my reading is going to pick up a little bit here in the next few weeks, but the truth is, it’s only just getting started around here for us. See the abovementioned sentences about preparing for the baby.

I may sign up for a few challenges in 2012. There are a few that have already caught my eye. But I’m not entirely sure I want to commit to something officially when I know that I will have trouble completing it. However, I also know that it might help me get back into the swing of things after the baby and once somewhat of a schedule has been established. I’m still on the fence regarding this. But probably look to see some challenge sign-up posts from me in the coming weeks. I just can’t help myself, haha!

I also think I will be stepping back from accepting review books. The fact of the matter is that I just don’t enjoy it like I used to. It takes the spontaneity out of my reading and I tend to rebel against that. I have 2 review books that I need to get to ASAP and I’m just dragging my feet about getting them read. And I know I am going to love one of them.

So reading back through this it sounds so rambling and non-sensical in places. I apologize for that. I’m kind of writing it on the fly. But I wanted to put some of my thoughts to paper (so to speak) about what I wanted out of my reading in 2012. I’m not going to put a number on how many books I hope to read. I just know that after June I hope to read at least 1 book per month. I don’t think that’s too much of a stretch for me.

Oh and I also need to lay off the Paperbackswap and Bookmooch. Stay out of the bookstores. And get my grandmother to read slower, haha! Like any of that will ever happen 🙂

Baby Book Addict

Exciting!

Let me start by saying that this is unlike any post I’ve ever had here on the blog. It’s very personal and if that bothers you, I’m sorry.

Wow. My second doctor’s appointment was on Monday. I have never been so happy in my life. I got to take home this little keepsake:

That’s our baby! I can’t believe it!! So far everything looks great. The heartbeat was 163. I’ve only gained 1 pound (but it feels like 10!)

I think I had a stomach bug over the weekend. I was miserable on Sunday and into Monday morning. And let me tell you, this was not morning sickness. This was not being able to keep anything down. It was terrible. My doctor prescribed me a couple of days worth of nausea medicine because I was unable to keep even water down Sunday or Monday, but I only took two pills because I don’t want to take any unnecessary medicine right now. By Tuesday I was back to somewhat normal. Whatever normal is right now, haha!

I go back to the doctor Dec. 12th. Annnnnd! He thinks we might be able to find out what we’re having that day! I’m going to get spoiled with these ultrasounds! I had one the first appointment and then I got to take home the above picture during the second and then the third appointment we’re going to try to find out boy or girl.

All I can say is that June can’t come soon enough! I’m so ready to meet this little baby!!

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Nov. 14, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Well I had a good mailbox again this week. I really need to stay off of Paperbackswap!! Oh well. (I also received Assassin of Secrets from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program, but I’m not listing that book and you can read why here.)

So from Paperbackswap:

 Computers, poetry and Samurai lore were successful businessman Tadeo Kurobashi’s passions. So it stood to reason that the ancient “art” of hara-kiri would be his suicide method of choice. But Detective J.P. Beaumont wasn’t certain that the dead software magnate had any choice in the matter of his own demise – despite the bloody Samurai sword Kurobashi clutched in his lifeless hand. Especially since an error in the time-honored death ritual indicated cold-blooded homicide … of a most traditional sort.

 

 
 Her male-bashing pop-psych bestseller created a storm of controversy on the talk-show circuit. Now Professor Hope Devane is dead, brutally slashed on a quiet street in one of L.A.’s safest neighborhoods. The LAPD’s investigation has reached a dead end, and homicide detective Milo Sturgis turns to his friend Dr. Alex Delaware for a psychological profile of the victim – and a portrait of a killer. Hope Devane had very different public and private faces. The killer could be any one of the millions who read her book, or someone from the personal lives she kept so carefully separate. As Alex and Milo dig deeper into her shadowy past, they will set an elaborate trap for her killer … and reveal the unspeakable act that triggered a dark chain of violence.

 Peter Hale is a young attorney with a lot to prove. Crossing his father, one of Portland’s most powerful lawyers, was a costly mistake. Now, cut loose from his job and from his inheritance, Peter’s landed in the public defender’s office of a small Oregon town – and in the middle of a high-profile case that could make or break his career. His mentally retarded client, accused of the savage murder of a college coed, faces the death penalty. And Peter faces a choice – between the pursuit of headlines and the pursuit of truth, between the compulsion to save himself and the courage to save his client – in a devastating trial by fire.

 
 The papers call him the Ice Man. David Nash, defense attorney – cool, unruffled, practically unbeatable in the courtroom. Most of his clients are guilty. A few may be monsters. Suddenly the Ice Man is assailed by doubts and unanswerable questions. What is the cost of each victory, each rapist or murderer set free – to society and to Nash’s soul? Then comes a case that may be Nash’s redemption. A client whose innocence he can believe in, a rising lawyer and family man accused of the brutal murder of an undercover vice cop. But as the case moves toward trial, new doubts grip him: What is truth and what is carefully fabricated falsehood? Is Nash, a master at handling juries, being manipulated himself? And by whom? By the time Nash’s perfect case is finished, the questions become a matter of life and death.

 An epic story that movies with force, passion, and authority, Balance of Power begins when President Kerry Kilcannon and television journalist Lara Costello at last decide to marry. But the momentous occasion is followed by an unspeakable tragedy – a massacre of innocents by gunfire – that ignites a high-stakes game of politics and legal maneuvering in the Senate, the courtroom, and across the country, which the charismatic but untested young President is determined to win at any cost. But in the incendiary clash over gun violence and gun rights, the cost to both Kilcannons may be even higher than he imagined.

 
 Long estranged from her blue-blooded New England family, attorney Caroline Masters is summoned home to defend her niece against charges of murder. Police found twenty-two-year-old Brett Allen blood-splattered and incoherent near the scene of the crime, the weapon covered with her fingerprints. Caroline has doubts of her own about Brett’s innocence. But as the sensational trial heats up, she’ll find disturbing inconsistencies in the testimony of the toughest challenges of her life and career – from trusting her former lover, state prosecutor Jackson Watts, to risking the federal judgeship she’s worked her whole life for, to exposing a dark family secret that could save her niece or destroy them both…

 

  In the high-stakes, high-pressured world of presidential politics, where predators carry microphones and one misstep can savage a lifetime of achievement, Kerry Kilcannon is the rarest player of all. Kilcannon believes he can make the system work. And he may just die trying. Driven by the violent nightmare of his childhood, fueled by forces that few could understand, and burdened by secrets no one must know, Kilcannon is running for President – and entering the crucial battleground of California with seven days to go. But for Kilcannon, there are hurdles that his courage, charisma, and compassion may not overcome: the network correspondent he still loves; the reporter bent on the exposure; the rival who’ll do anything to win; and the fanatic who believes that he must murder Kilcannon to protect the right to life…

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2011

2011.61 REVIEW – The Confession by John Grisham

The Confession
by John Grisham

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 515
Rating: 5/5
Read: Oct. 25– Nov.7, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 61
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, Travis Boyette abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donte Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.

Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donte is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess. But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?


Review: My grandmother gave me this book with a glowing recommendation of it. I also had two co-workers gush about it as well. So when I picked it up, I knew that it would probably be pretty good. But I had no idea just how good it would be. I was hooked from pretty much the first page. And while it took me forever to read it had absolutely nothing to do with the book itself (again, life is getting in the way).

I could go on and on about this book. I could tell you why it’s so powerful and such a great read. But really, it’s something that a person needs to read themself. I am 100% against the death penalty, and I felt as if this book really points out some of the flaws in the justice system and the death penalty itself.

I have only read one other John Grisham book (The Client) and I read that years ago. I have just about every one of his books on my shelf, so I’m not entirely sure as to why I haven’t read more of them. But either way, I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

Random Book Discussions

In A Bit of a Conundrum

I don’t even really know where to begin, honestly. I didn’t want to have to even discuss this but it seems I’m going to have to. As part of the September batch on the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program, there was a book called Assassin of Secrets by Q.R. Markham. I was lucky and snagged a review copy. My copy came in the mail this week … the same week that it came to light there was a plagiarism issue and that the publisher was pulling all the books. Fun, right? Of course I hopped online and dug into what was really going on. Apparently there were some espionage fans who have found out that there was blatantly obvious plagiarism. And apparently I’m not talking an idea or a few sentences. Apparently there are entire passages. (You can read more about that here) Wow. I don’t even know what to say about this. So here I am with my review copy in hand … and I’m disappointed. Majorly disappointed because I was soooo looking forward to reading this book. Out of the September batch this was honestly the book I wanted to win the most. I was overjoyed when I found that I was going to be getting a copy! And then this happens.

In a way, I can empathize with the author. When I was still in college I was in an English lit class with a pretty tough professor. He was nice enough, but very tough. He sent me an email one day asking me to stop by during his office hours one day that week. I was a little concerned, but not overly. I knew that I had just turned in my rough draft on the big paper we had to do, but I felt as if my writing and research was solid. Let’s just say that I was blindsided when I got into the meeting only to have him tell me that I was facing borderline plagiarism and that he might have to report me. Whoa. My world was rocked that day. I thought my entire college career was over, and I was only a freshman! But I got lucky. It was only my rough draft and when I told him my side of things we both realized that it was a misunderstanding and that I had failed to cite my sources thoroughly enough. He let me re-work my rough draft and when I turned it back in, with sources out the wazoo, all was okay. I learned a lot from that experience. After that, every paper I wrote was cited to the ninth degree. My teachers loved it, my fellow peer reviewers hated it. But I was determined never to let that happen again.

Now, as I stated earlier, I can kind of empathize with the author a little bit. However, my experience was unintentional. And it was not a work of fiction. I have always marveled at how so many authors can come up with so many creative ways to write novels. Book after book published by authors and each one feels so different. So when I learned that there was a plagiarism issue with a book I had received to review, well I was shocked. And disappointed. And angry. Needless to say, LibraryThing’s powers that be have contacted the publisher who has stated that we do not need to return the book, but that we do not need to review it either. And I’m not going to review the book. As much as I am curious to see what the book reads like (since I know that I am not familiar enough with James Bond to find the plagiarized passages), I am determined not to give this “author” a moment of my time.

I also feel as if some editor somewhere has egg on their face. Who reads these books? Who checks for this sort of thing? In the world of the internet and computers, you can’t possibly tell me that there isn’t a quick check on these things. In fact I know there is. My abovementioned professor had access to a database that allowed him to electronically submit every paper he received for a plagiarism check. You cannot tell me that there isn’t some sort of system in the publishing world.

Someone failed. And it’s not just Q.R. Markham. In my opinion, Markham is a disgrace to all the other honest, hard-working authors.

Have any of my other fellow bloggers received this book to review? If so, had you read it before this all came to light? If not, are you still planning on reading this? What do you plan on doing with your copy now? I have seen where interest in this book has gone up because of this scandal. For me, I have no interest in reading this book anymore. But I’m curious how others feel about all of this.

Mailbox Monday, Meme

Mailbox Monday, Nov. 7, 2011

Mailbox Mondays

Here’s what came this week (now if only I could finish the book I’ve been reading for the past two weeks … and it’s not because it’s bad, it’s because I’m just not reading). The first was a wish list book from Paperbackswap, the second is a LibraryThing Early Reviewers win.

England in the 1880s was a society in transition, shedding the skin of Victorianism and moving towards a more modern age. Promiscuity, moral decline, prostitution, unemployment, poverty, police inefficiency … all these things combined to create a feeling of uncertainty and fear. The East End of London became the focus of that fear. Here lived the uneducated, poverty-ridden and morally destitute masses. When Jack the Ripper walked onto the streets of the East End he came to represent everything that was wrong with the area and with society as a whole. He was fear in a human form, an unknown lurker in the shadows who could cross boundaries and kill. Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History is not yet another attempt to identify the culprit. Instead, this book sets the murders in their historical context, examining in depth what East London was like in 1888, how it came to be that way, and how events led to one of the most infamous and grisly episodes of the Victorian era.

 Maggie Silver is solidly middle class, with a mortgage to pay and an ill mother to support. She does her best to scramble up the ladder at an exclusive, high-powered PR firm in Southern California, whose clients are movie stars and famous athletes. Now, Maggie is being asked to take on her toughest client yet: Senator Henry Paxton, distinguished statesman from Southern California, who also happens to be the father of Anabelle, Maggie’s former high school best friend. Senator Paxton’s young, female aide has been found murdered, and it is up to Maggie to run damage control and prevent a scandal. Thrown back into the Paxton’s glamorous world, Maggie is unexpectedly flooded with memories from the stormy years in high school when her friendship with Anabelle was dramatically severed after a tragedy that neither of them has been able to forget. As Maggie gets further embroiled in the lives of the Paxtons, she realizes that the ties of her old friendship are stronger than she thinks.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Empty Coffin, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2011, SERIES

2011.60 REVIEW – Envy by Gregg Olsen

Envy
by Gregg Olsen

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 285
Rating: 5/5
Read: Oct. 17– Oct. 24, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 60
Format: Print
Source: Library Copy

Blurb: Evil comes in all sorts of flavors. Some bitter. Some deceptively sweet. That’s what Katelyn discovers on the day she dies. One minute she’s a depressed teen with a loser life. The next, she’s lying on a stainless steel slab, eyes glassy, skin frosted over, and very, very dead. Was it: Suicide? Murder? Who’s to blame?

Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan stumble upon the truth, which is far more disturbing than they could have ever imagined … and which sheds light on another secret, a hidden past even they don’t know about.

Inspired by a ripped-from-the-headlines true crime about cyberbullying, Envy is the gritty first volume in a new bone-chilling series that takes you to the edge – and pushes you right over.


Review: More time has passed since I finished this book than I had intended. I didn’t immediately write a review of this book because I wanted it to set in a little bit. (Well, I should know better than to put anything off, I’m such a procrastinator).

This is a first in a new Young Adult series by an author who writes adult fiction books that I love. I’m not a huge YA reader, but I do read a few YA books a year, and this is definitely a book that I’m glad I got the chance to read.  It will definitely be interesting to see what happens in the future installments.

For the most part, this is a mystery, but there is a slight paranormal edge to it. Being a person who is not a huge paranormal fan, I was not put off by the slant it had at all. I have always been intrigued by twins and the relationship that they have, so I really enjoyed following Hayley and Taylor and seeing them interact. Being young ladies who are starting to have boyfriends, Hayley having a boyfriend whereas Taylor did not, definitely made for some interesting passages. The jealousy over feeling left out was evident.

I would have liked to have known more about Katelyn. I felt as if there was a lot that the reader never knew about her. Like how on earth she ever got to be friends with a girl like Starla in the first place! And when it was finally revealed what Katelyn had done to Starla, well it was so little in comparison to what Starla (but was it really her? 😉 did for revenge.

Port Gamble is portrayed as a very small town. The accident that occurred there years before would have devastated the entire community. And then to have something happen again years later, well it seems like that would be almost too much for such a small place to deal with. Being from a small town myself, it made me recall how the entire town felt when two popular teenagers were killed in a terrible car accident my senior year (one of whom was in my class). It’s amazing how something like that can really touch so many different people’s lives.

Okay, so I realize that I’ve now rambled on about this book and really haven’t said much at all. It’s just one of those books where you don’t want to really say too much. All I can say is that I would highly recommend this book and I am eagerly anticipating the 2012 release of Betrayal.