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

2011.64 REVIEW – Kill Alex Cross by James Patterson

Kill Alex Cross
by James Patterson

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 364
Rating: 5/5
Read: Dec. 19 – Dec. 24, 2011
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly Count: 64
Format: Print
Source: Library Copy

Blurb: Detective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene of the biggest casee he’s ever been part of. The president’s son and daughter have been abducted from their school – an impossible crime, but somehow the kidnapper has done it. Alex does everything he can but is shunted to the fringes of the investigation. Someone powerful doesn’t want him too close.

A deadly contagion in the DC water supply endangers the capital, and Alex sees the looming threat of the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced. He is already working flat out on the abduction, and this massive assault pushes him completely over the edge.

With each hour that passes, the chances of finding the children alive diminish. In an emotional private meeting, the First Lady asks Alex to please save her kids. Even the highest security clearance doesn’t get him any closer to the kidnapper – and Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes. A full-throttle thriller with unstoppable action, unrestrained emotion, and relentless suspense, Kill Alex Cross is the most gripping Alex Cross novel James Patters has ever written.

Review: Oh how I do love a good Alex Cross book! This is one of the very few book series that I am actually caught up on. And considering I haven’t really been reading (this is the first book I’ve finished in December), I *knew* Mr. Patterson’s Alex Cross would not disappoint me!

As usual this book sucked me in from the first page. It brought flashes back to me of the very first Alex Cross book, Along Came a Spider, where Alex is involved in a high-profile kidnapping. The terrorist portion of the storyline was very interesting as well, especially considering *SPOILER*: one of the terrorists gets away *END SPOILER*

Let’s just face it, I’m a huge fan of the Alex Cross series. I have nothing bad to say about this book. All I can do is recommend this series and this book to every single one of my readers.

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.

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!

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.

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

2011.60 REVIEW – Envy by Gregg Olsen

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.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, O, RATING, Read in 2011, READING CHALLENGES 2011, SERIES

2011.59 REVIEW – The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

The Keeper of Lost Causes
by Jussi Adler-Olsen
Translated by: Lisa Hartford

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 395
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Oct. 3– Oct. 8, 2011
Challenge: TwentyEleven Challenge
Yearly Count: 59
Format: Print
Source: Library Copy

Blurb: The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first installment of Jussi Adler-Olsen’s international bestselling Department Q series, features the deeply flawed chief detective Carl Mørck, who used to be a good homicide detective – one of Copenhagen’s best. Then a bullet almost took his life. Two of his colleagues weren’t so lucky, and Carol, who didn’t draw his weapon, blames himself.

So a promotion is the last thing Carl expects.

But it all becomes clear when he sees his new office in the basement. Carl’s been selected to run Department Q, a new special investigation division that turns out to be a department of one. With a stack of Copenhagen’s coldest cases to keep him company, Carol has been put out to pasture. So he’s as surprised as anyone when a case actually captures his interest. A politician vanished without a trace five years earlier. The world assumes she’s dead. His colleagues snicker abou the time he’s wasting. But Carl may have the last laugh, and redeem himself in the process.

Because she isn’t dead … yet.

Review: I’m honestly torn on how to rate this book. I’m not really sure where to begin, so I’ll just start from the beginning and work my way to the end (with as few spoilers as possible, of course).

This book alternates between the perspective of Merete Lynggaard, the politician who disappeared and everyone assumes is dead, and Carl Mørck, a detective who has survivor’s guilt after being involved in a shooting where his two colleagues weren’t as lucky as he was. I must say that when I first met Carl, I was not impressed. I wanted to shake him and say, “snap out of it!” But at the same time, I understood why he was feeling like he was … one of his colleagues lost his life and the other one is permanently paralyzed after a shooting in which Carl didn’t even pull his gun. But his attitude is not very likeable and I struggled with that throughout the entire book.

The next thing Carl knows he’s getting a promotion! That would definitely be the last thing anyone would expect, but they put him in the basement with Assad as his assistant. Now, let me just say that I loved Assad’s character. There was so much to him that was so surprising! He’s definitely a good match with Carl … it was really Assad’s interest that got Carl’s interest going in the Merete Lynggaard disappearance. And as Carl continues to dig deeper (while looking like he’s not doing anything) he realizes that there’s something not quite right about the case.

So now I’m to the point where I need to explain why I’m so torn on my opinion of this book. First of all, I didn’t like Carl’s character. Not one bit. He’s a jerk, plain and simple. He doesn’t care about his job anymore. He has a major beef with one of the detectives upstairs. He practically blackmailed his superiors because he knows how much money his new department has been allocated … and he knows that his department isn’t seeing all that money. He’s just not a nice guy.

But then there’s Assad. He’s a very likeable guy. He’s intriguing because we don’t really know anything about him. Carl doesn’t even believe him when he tells him he’s from Syria; Carl thinks he might be from Iraq. He’s definitely not who he says he is, that much is very clear. And he’s not doing what Carl thinks he’s doing when he sends him up to talk to Hardy, Carl’s paralyzed colleague. But then again, it’s really Assad who pushes Carl to work hard on this case. It’s Assad who gets him interested. It’s Assad who really comes up with some great ideas to work the case with.

So I guess the next logical question would be: will I read more in this series? I’m honestly torn. I’m not sure I could stand another book of Carl’s attitude. But at the same time, I would love to know more about Assad and who he really is. Overall, I put this book at a 3.5 rating, which is somewhere between good and really good. If I had liked Carl’s character just a little bit more, I could have given it a 4, but I just can’t bring myself to do that. I think I could recommend this book to other readers, but I don’t think it would be a good fit for everybody.

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

2011.58 REVIEW – State of the Union by Brad Thor

State of the Union
by Brad Thor

Copyright: 2004
Pages: 523
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 25– Oct. 2, 2011
Challenge: Take a Chance 3 Challenge
Yearly Count: 58
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: With the fragile peace between the world’s nations shattered, Harvath must unravel a brilliantly orchestrated, fiendishly timed conspiracy intent upon bringing the United States to its knees. Teamed with beautiful Russian Intelligence agent Alexandra Ivanova and a highly trained CIA paramilitary detachment, Harvath races from the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., to the streets of Berlin, the coast of Finland, and into the heart of Mother Russia herself before returning home for a final showdown with an enemy from America’s past more sinister and deadly than has even been seen before…

Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book!! Having liked the previous book (Path of the Assassin), but not really enjoying the whole Middle Eastern theme involved, I was really excited to read about Cold War-era Russian spies. For me, that’s more up my alley than the what the previous book dealt with. This book was definitely action packed. Scot Harvath manages to find himself in all kinds of trouble, no matter where he goes, it seems! And his sense of loyalty to those closest to him is amazing, he definitely puts himself in harm’s way for his friend, mentor  and boss, Gary Lawlor. I am definitely enjoying this series. We didn’t get to see a lot of Meg in this installment, but hopefully in the next book we will get to learn more about her and Scot and where they go to.

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

2011.57 REVIEW – Path of the Assassin by Brad Thor

Path of the Assassin
by Brad Thor

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 503
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 19– Sept. 25, 2011
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly Count: 57
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: After rescuing the President from kidnappers, Navy SEAL turned Secret Service agent Scot Harvath shifts his attentions to rooting out, capturing, or killing all those responsible for the plot. As he prepares to close out his list, a bloody and twisted trail of clues points toward one man – the world’s most feared, most ruthless terrorist, Hashim Nidal. Having assembled an international league of Islamic terrorist networks in an ingenious plot to topple both Israel and America, Harvath and his CIA-led team must reach Nidal before it’s too late. One problem remains – they have no idea what the man looks like. With no alternative, Harvath is forced to recruit a civilian – a woman who has survived a brutal hijacking and is now the only person who can positively identify their quarry.

Review: This was a very good book. It was fast paced and exciting. It definitely makes me look forward to the next book and seeing what happens with Meg and Scot. I enjoyed that Meg is such a strong female character. She is able to keep up with Scot so easily, it’s definitely refreshing to see such a strong female character. The only thing that I had trouble with was the Israel terrorist plot line. I’m not all that up-to-date or interested in Israeli terrorists and the like and so I find it difficult for me to read about. Other than that I found this to be a highly enjoyable book and am definitely looking forward to continuing this series with the third book.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2011, Review Book, U-V-W

2011.56 REVIEW – It’s Classified by Nicolle Wallace

It’s Classified
by Nicolle Wallace

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 325
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 15– Sept. 18, 2011
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly Count: 56
Format: Print
Source: Review Book

Blurb: Charlotte Kramer, America’s first female president, is beginning her second term and is determined to make her mark on history though events do seem to be conspiring against her. Melanie Kingston, her best friend, just signed on as secretary of defense. Will their relationship survive? Dale Smith is the senior communications advisor to the vice president and knows a secret that could not only ruin her own career, but put the credibility of the White House on the line. Tara Meyers is the most popular vice president in recent history, but does her public image march her private life? When a classified terror threat is made public, all the weaknesses of this presidency are laid bare – and with the country’s safety at stake, someone in the White House isn’t taking any chances.

Review: I requested this book from Atria Books after seeing it offered in a glocalpen.com email. I was immediately intrigued by the description of the book. This sounded like a book that I would love. When I received the book in the mail, I will admit that I was a little disappointed to find that it was actually a sequel. I don’t normally like to read books out-of-order, so I was a little leery before I even began the book – was I going to be able to understand what was going on? Would my lack of knowledge from the first book hurt my opinion of this book? But I cleared my mind of those thoughts and began reading.

There might be some spoilers in this review, so proceed with caution 🙂

And read is just about all I did! From the first page I was absolutely hooked. Throughout reading I could tell that there were probably some things from the first book that would have been important for me to get a good understanding of what was really going on. But honestly, that didn’t have much of an effect on my opinion of this book.

Told in alternating chapters, the reader gets to see into the daily lives of Dale, the media liaison for the vice president; Tara, the vice president; and Charlotte, the president. When the book opens up on Dale being interrogated in some kind of legal proceedings, we immediately understand that something big has happened. But it takes awhile for the true story of what is going on with the vice president to emerge. But once it does, wow, is it a big revelation for the entire book. After the reader understands what is going on it’s just a downward spiral from there.

There are definitely some shady things going on within the Kramer White House. Secret affairs, cover-ups, leaks, mental breakdowns. It would definitely be an interesting place to work. But I must say that I was immediately suspicious when a certain staffer gained the trust of Dale so easily. He was …. slick. There was just something about him. And after finishing the book, I was immediately aware of how spot on I was about him.

I sincerely hope that the author writes another book with these characters. It will be interesting to see what happens to Charlotte Kramer as she continues in her second term as president. She has promoted the abovementioned slick guy to a position extremely close to her. And someone has tipped Dale to the fact that the fundamentally accepted version of events might not have been the way things occurred. It would definitely be great to see what else happens.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book who enjoys a strong line of female characters and a great storyline with superb writing.

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.