3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.49 REVIEW – The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

The Scarpetta Factor
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 572
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Nov 18-29, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 49
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: It is the week before Christmas. A tanking economy has prompted Dr. Kay Scarpetta – despite her busy schedule and her continuing work as the senior forensic analyst for CNN – to offer her services pro bono to New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In no time at all, her increased visibility seems to precipitate a string of unexpected and unsettling events, culminating in an ominous package – possibly a bomb – showing up at the front desk of the apartment building where she and her husband, Benton, live. Soon the apparent threat on Scarpetta’s life finds her embroiled in a surreal plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable sex crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionaire with whom her niece, Lucy, seems to have shared a secret past.

Scarpetta’s CNN producer wants her to launch a TV show called The Scarpetta Factor. Given the bizarre events already in play, she fears that her growing fame will generate the illusion that she has a “special factor,” a mythical ability to solve all her cases. She wonders if she will end up like other TV personalities: her own stereotype.

Review: Faithful readers will know that I gobbled up the first 15 books in this series rather quickly (nearly back-to-back, really) a few years back. Then I hit a wall (like a lot of Cornwell readers seem to experience) and took a big break in reading these books. I read Scarpetta, book 16, in July of 2012. And for whatever reason, I decided to pick this one up now. I will say that these books are not as good as her earlier books; they are not even close to her older stuff. But I guess for one a year it’s not too terrible.

I think my main issue with this book is how l-o-n-g it seemed. At times it felt like it would never end; other times the pages flew by. But overall it might have been a tad too long (or it might just have been the fact that I picked this 500+ page chunker of a book up immediately after reading a 500+ page chunker before it…)

Once again I felt as if the characters weren’t like they used to be. Lucy is just down right angry. Like all the time angry. Benton sometimes feels like he’s not even there emotionally. I still can’t forgive Marino for what he did. Kay is changing too it seems. Or maybe it’s just me wanting these books to be like the earlier installments were and they just aren’t anymore.

Either way, this series is not as good as it once was. But I will probably continue to read one a year. Why? Because I have a very hard time breaking up with authors….

4/5, Alexander Hawke, AUTHOR, Author Debut, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.48 REVIEW – Hawke by Ted Bell

by Ted Bell

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 596
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov 9-17, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 48
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

HawkeBlurb: A direct descendant of a legendary English privateer, Lord Alexander Hawke is one of England’s most decorated naval heroes. Now, in the Caribbean on a secret assignment for the American government, Hawke must disarm a ticking time bomb – a highly experimental stealth submarine carrying forty nuclear warheads that has fallen into the hands of an unstable government just ninety miles from the U.S. mainland. But Hawke’s mission is twofold, for he has returned to the waters where modern-day pirates brutally murdered his parents when he was a boy – after a lifetime of nightmares, will vengeance be his at last?

Review: That moment when you realize that it’s been more than a week since you last read this book and have finished another one since then … and you know that you won’t do this review justice. *Sigh* Good thing I wrote down some notes immediately after finishing this book.

This is the first book in the Alexander Hawke series and overall it was pretty good. I did find that the beginning was a little slow to start. However, once the action really picked up (about the halfway mark), the book was just a non-stop roller coaster ride.

At 596 pages this is definitely a chunkster. And it’s my opinion that it might have been just a little too long. I don’t want to say that it necessarily dragged on endlessly, but it probably could have been shortened and tightened up a bit and not lost a whole lot.

I really enjoyed the characters. Alex is a complicated man with a troubled past (his parents were murdered when he was a boy; he witnessed the murder but his mind has blocked it). Victoria is interesting as well, I think there’s a lot more to her than we really get to see in this first book. It will be interesting to see how their love story plays out. And Ambrose … what a character! Funny! Overall the main characters are well-developed and interesting in their own way. Which definitely helps set up for what I hope will be a good series!

I think if I *had* to complain about something it would really be the multiple storylines. I sometimes had trouble remembering who belonged in what storyline and what was really going on in that particular storyline. It was a little overwhelming at times and I even found myself asking “what is this storyline again?” Nothing that is necessarily terrible, but something that I did struggle with (could have also just been my sporadic reading as well, though).

Overall a good book that I enjoyed and a great first book in what I hope turns out to be a good new series for me (…as if I need another series to keep track of…)

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, RATING, Read in 2013, Review Book, U-V-W, Virtual Author Book Tours

2013.47 REVIEW – The Thunderbird Conspiracy by R.K. Price

The Thunderbird Conspiracy
by R.K. Price

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 327
Rating: 4/5
Read: Nov 2-8, 2013
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 47
Format: Print
Source: Author for blog tour

BookCover6x9_Cream_330Blurb: The Thunderbird Conspiracy is the remarkable tale of Robert Kaye, a Hungarian freedom fighter who claimed he knew and collaborated with JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. R. K. Price’s second novel is also a tale of a Nebraska farm boy who was a great admirer of President Kennedy and a true patriot who desperately wanted to believe his government’s hurried conclusion that Oswald had no accomplice. Yet his own harrowing experience at the hands of his government created profound doubt in his mind, and it haunted him to his death.

These two men, one willfully acting, the other a true victim, became entangled in the most notorious crime of the 20th century. This saga of intrigue and murder was revealed to the author on a wintry Colorado day about three weeks before the farm boy’s ravaged heart gave out.

That man was R. K. Price’s uncle. His name was Bud Carlson. Price stashed away Bud’s account of Robert Kaye, letting it lay dormant for nearly forty years until he could corroborate his uncle’s story with the release of previously secret FBI files from the National Archives.

Now nearing the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination Price has brought Robert Kaye and Bud Carlson back to life. Their incredible story will leave you questioning just how and why JFK was taken from America far too early.


Review: If you are a loyal reader here you have probably figured out by now that I am a total JFK junkie. I seriously cannot get enough! So of course I jumped on the opportunity to read this book!!

Mr. Price definitely has a way with words! I was immediately swept up in the flow of this book and was more than happy to let it carry me to the end. The characters were so well-developed and I enjoyed getting to know them, even the secondary characters were fleshed out so well they didn’t feel secondary at all.

I’m going to be completely honest here, I’ve never been 100% convinced about the lone bullet theory. It just seems to much for me to comprehend. It is my personal belief that Oswald was a patsy (but this is where I have to say that I’m not entirely sure who he was a patsy for; I just don’t feel as if he did it all himself). So you can imagine that I gobble up everything about the Kennedy assassination just in an attempt to see if I can make sense of my feelings on the assassination itself.

I think what I liked about this book so much was that it was really fiction wrapped around fact. The whole idea that the author’s uncle’s story is what really brought this book about. Just, wow. It makes me wish I had a story like that to tell! And I think this personal connection with the author is what makes the book that much better.

Definitely a book that I would highly recommend. You don’t even have to be a conspiracy theorist to enjoy this book, you just need to enjoy a good mystery 😉

RK Price-1About the author:

R.K. Price is a Colorado native. He lived in Pueblo for a number of years, earning his way through college as a radio/television and newspaper reporter. He moved north to Denver in the mid 70s, joining a major advertising/public relations firm as a writer, producer and press agent. Later, he formed his own media relations and political consulting firm. He spent the early 1980s in Washington D.C. actively involved in national politics, and returned to Denver in the mid 80s to become an investment and mortgage banker — a profession he remains in today. He now lives in the Washington D.C. area with his wife Janet and daughter Sara in Alexandria, Va.

R.K. Price Website: http://rkprice.com/
R.K. Price Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rkpriceauthor
R.K. Price Twitter: https://twitter.com/RK_Price

Buy The Thunderbird Conspiracy:

Barnes and Noble
Book Depository 

Check out the rest of the tour:

So Many Precious Books Oct 18 Review & Giveaway
Dr. Bill’s Book Bazaar Oct 21 Review
Dr. Bill’s Book Bazaar Oct 22 Interview
Ordinary Girls Oct 24 Review
Rainy Days & Mondays Oct 25 Review
Fundimental Oct 28 Review
Fundimental Oct 29 Guest Post & Giveaway
Joystory Oct 30 Review
Rose & Beps Blog Nov 1 Excerpt
Cozie Corner Nov 4 Review (postponed)
Library of Clean Reads Nov 5 Review
Romance & Inspiration Nov 7 Review & Interview
Kate Eileen Shannon Nov 8 Review
Kate Eileen Shannon Nov 12 Guest Post
Tales of a Book Addict Nov 13 Review
Deal Sharing Aunt Nov 19 Review
Indies Reviews Behind the Scenes Dec 7 Live Interview


Challenge Wrap-Up, READING CHALLENGES 2013

Wrapping up RIP VIII

RIP8main200Well what a fun challenge! Of course it really wasn’t much of a challenge for a person who eats, lives and breathes mysteries and thrillers 🙂

I did finish the challenge, reading 6 books in total. When I first signed up, I had set aside a stack of 8 books that I really wanted to read from. Of that list, I only finished 1 and had to DNF 2 others. The other books that I fulfilled for this challenge were chosen as I went along.

Here’s what I read:

  1. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
  2. Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen
  3. Darkness First by James Hayman
  4. The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton
  5. Shadow Prey by John Sandford
  6. 11th Hour by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

I’m not really sure which one would be my favorite book out of this list, I enjoyed them all quite a bit. Two were by new-to-me authors and I finally started the Sookie Stackhouse series!!

Overall I had a really fun time with this challenge.

If you participated, how did you do?


3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, E-Book, Edelweiss, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, Review Book

2013.39 REVIEW – We Were There by Allen Childs, MD

We Were There: Revelations from the Dallas Doctors Who Attended to JFK on November 22, 1963
by Allen Childs, MD

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 192
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Sept. 11-12, 2013
Challenge: Eclectic Reader Challenge
Yearly count: 39
Format: E-Book
Source: Edelweiss

We Were ThereBlurb: A true collective account of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

There are few days in American history so immortalized in public memory as November 22, 1963, the date of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Adding to the wealth of information about this tragic day is We Were There, a truly unique collection of firsthand accounts from the doctors and staff on scene at the hospital where JFK was immediately taken after he was shot.

With the help of his former fellow staff members at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dr. Allen Childs recreates the horrific day, from the president’s arrival in Dallas to the public announcement of his death. Childs presents a multifaceted and sentimental reflection on the day and its aftermath.

In addition to detailing the sequence of events that transpired around JFK’s death, We Were There offers memories of the First Lady, insights on conspiracy theories revolving around the president’s assassination, and recollections of the death of Lee Harvey Oswald, who succumbed two days later in the same hospital where his own victim was pronounced dead.

A compelling, emotional read, We Were There pays tribute to a critical event in American modern history—and to a man whose death was mourned like no other.


Twice in a forty-five hour, thirty-one minute timeframe, Parkland Hospital was the center of worldwide attention. It was the temporary seat of the United States government, as well as the state of Texas. Our thirty-fifth president died in Trauma Room 1. At that moment, the ascendency of the thirty-sixth president of the United States occurred at Parkland. Two days later, it was the site of death of the president’s accused assassin. So reported a Parkland Hospital office memorandum dated November 27, 1963.

And we were there. (p. 8)

I am a JFK junkie. I am obsessed with everything about him, his family, presidency and assassination. Yeah, I’m a weirdo! I’ve been gobbling up everything I can get my hands on this year – and there’s a lot since it’s the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

This memoir is a collection of experiences from doctors who were at Parkland the day of the assassination. I don’t think I have ever read anything that comes from the actual doctors themselves. I found it very interesting to read their stories. But I must admit, being a non-medical person, it was very difficult at times for me to follow things. It became quite technical medically at certain points. And another thing, it seemed to be very repetitive. Most of the doctors had pretty much the same exact experience. But really, it’s an interesting book. It’s very emotional.

I think part of the reason that I’m so intrigued by the JFK assassination is really because of all the conspiracies. There are tons of conspiracies. Single bullet? Multiple shooters? CIA? Cuba? The list goes on and on.

Conspiracy theories have continued to rage for fifty years since that day, and they were not put to rest by the Warren Commission’s conclusion that there was a single shooter and a single bullet that killed President Kennedy and injured Governor Connally. The doctors at Parkland were the only ones who saw the neck wound before the emergency tracheotomy, and they were unanimous that the neck wound was an entry wound. In time most, but not all, no longer would believe this. (The bolding was done by me, p. 10)

If you ask people who are old enough to remember the assassination, they can almost always tell you exactly where they were when they heard the news (kind of like my generation with 9/11). I can only imagine what it would have been like for the doctors and staff of that hospital.

Some people started crying and sobbing uncontrollably – others like myself just stood there dazed, fighting back the tears. No one moved for a minute or so. (Jed Rosenthal, MD, p. 24)

I do want to leave you with a quote from the book. I think it speaks volumes about exactly what the doctors did for the President that day. For if you read this book, you will be amazed at what all they did do for him in Trauma Room 1.

I was witness to the frenzied resuscitative efforts displayed by the chiefs of all trauma-related services who had been called to the scene. As soon as he was placed from the gurney onto the emergency table, it was obvious from his ghastly head wound that he was DOA, and regardless of all the impressive medical acumen and experience present, there was no hope of restoring his life. He was flatlined from the onset. (Robert Duchouquette, MD, p. 62-63)

There’s not much else to say about this book. If you are a history buff or an assassination nut like I am, I highly recommend this book. It’s a short and quick read, but it’s very interesting and emotional.