5/5, Archie and Gretchen, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart
by Chelsea Cain

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 306
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 17-22, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 Celebrate the Author; 2010 Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 48

First Line: The rest stop off I-84 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River was vile, even by rest-stop standards.

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. And she has become somewhat of a celebrity, with fan websites, fan fiction, her image on t-shirts, in magazines, there’s even a tour that people can take for $35 that will take them to the sites of her murders. But no one knows where she is. Archie Sheridan, the man who she let live for unknown reasons, is still in the hospital … the psych ward to be precise. When they last parted they made a deal – Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But it seems as if Gretchen has reneged on her end of the deal. When some pretty gruesome evidence is found, it all seems to point back to Gretchen. This gets Archie back into action. He is determined not to let Gretchen harm anyone else. But is The Beauty Killer back in action or has the whole obsessiveness around Gretchen turned into something more evil?

Let’s see, I didn’t care for Heartsick. I LOVED Sweetheart. This one was pretty good. It was a quick and easy read. But my main disappointment in this book is that it seemed to have so little of Gretchen in it. This installment was more about Archie. Which is fine and it was interesting, but Ms. Cain – Gretchen is the meat of your story! However, the door was definitely left open for a fourth book in this series, which I will most definitely read if it does come to be.

5/5, Alex Delaware, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, SERIES

REVIEW: When the Bough Breaks by Jonathan Kellerman

When the Bough Breaks
by Jonathan Kellerman

Copyright: 1985
Pages: 351
Rating: 5/5
Read: Sept. 14-17, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 1st in a Series Challenge; A Well-Rounded Challenge; 2009 Celebrate the Author; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 47

First Line: It was shaping up as a beautiful morning.

Alex Delaware is a well-known and established child psychologist when he burns out at the age of thirty-two. But he gets involved when his friend, LA police detective Milo Sturgis, enlists his help as a “consultant” with the department. Charged with helping a terrified seven-year-old girl who might have seen the perpertrators of a horrific murder, he is intrigued with the entire case whereas the police seem less impassioned about it. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, he is caught up in a web of unimaginable evil and a forty-year-old secret.

I have read a few of the more recent Alex Delaware novels and have enjoyed them, so I was really excited to finally read the first in this series. I learned so much about who Alex and Milo really are that I had missed out on in the later books. I was so intrigued by all the twists and turns. Kellerman really wrote a great story with this one. I’m probably like the last person on earth to have read this book, but if you haven’t read this one before I highly recommend this one.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2009, S

REVIEW: She Loves Me Not by Wendy Corsi Staub

She Loves Me Not
by Wendi Corsi Staub

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 380
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 23-30, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009; Countdown Challenge
Yearly Count: 44

First Line: Her return to consciousness is a prolonged, painstaking process.

Widow Rose Larrabee is having a hard time coping with her husband’s sudden death. Although it’s been a year, she just isn’t coping well. And with two young children to raise and a job that is barely covering the bills, her stress level is through the roof. The last thing that she needs is someone stalking her. But that’s exactly the feeling that she is getting. It starts with a homemade valentine in her mailbox … a little creepy, but it doesn’t raise concerns yet. But when a box of chocolates mysteriously finds itself in the front seat of her car, the phone starts ringing in the middle of the night, and a heart-shaped gift appears one morning on her husband’s pillow, she starts to get the feeling that there’s someone out there watching her … and he’s hiding in plain sight. Will she figure out what is going on before it’s too late?

I have read Wendy Corsi Staub before and I remember enjoying her book. Well, this one definitely did not disappoint! When the ending came and the killer was revealed, it was someone that I hadn’t even considered!! There are so many twists and turns. Staub really created a character that I could connect with in Rose. And Christine was another great character. Sometimes books can be somewhat formulaic – I didn’t get that feeling from this book at all. I thought it was really well plotted. Although the ending was slightly abrupt, it was still a good way to end the book. I am definitely glad that I picked this book up off my shelf, it was really worth reading! I highly recommend this book and author to anyone that hasn’t given her a try before!

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, Harper Connelly, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2008, SERIES

REVIEW: An Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris

An Ice Cold Grave
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 280
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 20-23, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 43

First Line: The eastern seaboard is crammed with dead people.

Harper Connelly is called to a job in Doraville, North Carolina. She is hired to find a missing boy for a grieving grandmother. He is just one of several teenage boys that has disappeared from the area over the past five years. She ends up finding them all, buried at an old deserted house. Having done the job she was hired to do, all she wants to do is get out of town. Instead she finds herself attacked and in the hospital. While recovering Harper will learn more about Doraville, North Carolina, than she ever cared to know.

This is the third book in the Harper Connelly series. I have read online at Ms. Harris’ website that the fourth book due out later this year will be the final book in this series. I sure will be bummed out when this series ends. I have read the first three this year and I have really enjoyed all of them. I personally feel as if the first is still the best so far, but this was one was better than the second. I loved how Harper and Tolliver both grow as characters by leaps and bounds in this installment. I definitely recommend this series.

5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, M, Read in 2009

REVIEW: Executive Privilege by Phillip Margolin

Executive Privilege
by Phillip Margolin

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 443
Rating: 5/5
Read: Aug. 15-19, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2009
Yearly Count: 42

First Line: Brad Miller woke up at 6 a.m. even though his meeting with Roy Kineer, the retired Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, was scheduled for nine.

When private detective Dana Cutler is hired to follow college student Charlotte Walsh, never in her wildest dreams did she consider that the trail would lead her to the White House. But that is exactly what happens when Walsh turns up dead after a clandestine meeting with the President of the United States, Christopher Farrington. Her murder is blamed on the serial killer, the “D.C. Ripper.” Brad Miller, a junior associate in an Oregon law firm, still quite fresh out of law school, is given the case of the appeal of serial killer Clarence Little. Miller is stunned by Little’s insistence that he killed everyone that he was blamed for except for one: the death of the babysitter of then-governor, now-President Farrington. So a green lawyer and a small-time private eye have to come up with the hard evidence to prove that someone at the very highest level of the United States government is a brutal murderer and that it might very well be the President himself.

I LOVED this book!! It was fast paced and had twists and turns that kept me going all the way until the very end. Phillip Margolin is one of those authors that I have enjoyed every book that I have read of his and this one was definitely no exception. I really enjoyed the two story lines. Sometimes having two story lines is confusing to me, but Margolin definitely weaved his stories together beautifully. The characters were so well developed. I loved Brad and Ginny together! And Dana, well Dana was a firecracker!! The plot was really good too. I really recommend this book to anyone who loves a good thriller!!!

AUTHOR, D, Fiction, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2008

REVIEW: BoneMan’s Daughters

BoneMan’s Daughters
by Ted Dekker

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 401
Rating: 4/5
Read: July 19-12, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge; What’s in a Name 2 Challenge
Yearly Count: 36

First Line: The day that Ryan Evan’s world changed forever began as any other day he’d spent in the host desert might have begun.

The BoneMan is a serial killer who is looking for the perfect daughter. He has already killed six young women in his quest. After he takes a girl if she doesn’t live up to his potential he simply breaks their bones and leaves them to die. Intelligence officer Ryan Evans has not been the perfect daughter to Bethany – nor the perfect husband to Celine. He’s too tied up in his work and currently he’s overseas on assignment. Bethany and Celine have pretty much moved on from having any hopes of being a family together again. But Ryan is taken hostage in the desert and as his life is hanging in the balance he realizes what a mistake he has made in the past with his family. He returns to the States in order to start anew. But Bethany and Celine want no part of it. Before he knows it he’s out of their lives for good. That is until BoneMan takes Bethany. This causes Ryan to be out for blood. He will do whatever it takes to track down BoneMan and to save his only daughter …. he’s going to be the perfect father once and for all. But when the evidence begins to point towards Ryan as being the BoneMan he realizes that Bethany’s only chance at survival lies within Ryan. But BoneMan has a plan …. BoneMan knows that there can only be one father for Bethany, and he is determined that it is not going to be Ryan Evans.

So I picked this one up at the library after reading a review of it on someone’s blog … and once again I have forgotten whose blog I read about it on (I really should start writing that stuff down so that I can link reviews!) Anyways, I picked it up and was immediately sucked in. I have never read a Ted Dekker book before and this one was really enjoyable for me. It was well written and fast paced. The suspense was wonderful. The way that he bounced between differing points of view was interesting, you  never knew what was really going to happen next. I found myself hoping that Ryan would prevail in the end, that he would save Bethany from BoneMan, even if he was beaten down psychologically. I know that I only rated this a 4 and my reason was really because of the cookie-cutter ending. I’m not saying that I didn’t like the ending, but it was too neat for my tastes. Overall I really recommend this book, I found it fascinating! Dekker really created a superb serial killer in BoneMan …. also – could BoneMan return in a future book?? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out….

AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, P, Read in 2009

REVIEW: Sail by James Patterson

by James Patterson

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 414
Rating: 5/5
Read: July 15-19, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 2009 RYOB
Yearly Count: 35

First Line: Easing through the marina’s sapphire-blue water at a leisurely three-knot clip, Captain Stephen Preston took a long pull off his Marlboro Red, casually flicking the ash into the cool island breeze.

The Dunne family is out on a summer vacation sailboat trip. For mother Katherine, this is a time to really re-connect with her three children, Carrie, Mark, and Ernie after really losing touch with them for the past four years after the loss of their father. Carrie and Mark, both older teenagers, want no part of this get-away, but they go along because their mother and Uncle Jake really want them to. Ten-year-old Ernie is still at an age where he doesn’t mind going. But what awaits the Dunne family out on the open water will surprise all of them. None of them are really ready for their boat to explode, leaving them stranded in the middle of the ocean with only a life raft and a little bit of water and crackers. But eventually they float over to a deserted island, where they will wait patiently for the Coast Guard to come get them – hopefully. What the Dunne’s don’t realize is that the Coast Guard fear the worst for them. They are unable to find their boat (or what’s left of it actually) and when they finally do come upon the wreckage, they call off the search, essentially declaring the Dunne family dead. But the Dunne’s are made of tougher stuff than that! When a bottle with a message from Ernie finds its way to land, the search for the Dunne’s is back on. But there is only one problem … there is someone out there that wants to make sure that the Dunne family doesn’t come back alive from that boating trip.

If I’m ever in a reading slump, I can almost always count on being able to pick up a James Patterson book and flying through it. This one was no exception. Although it took me a little longer than normal to read it, it wasn’t because it was not a good book. In fact, it was a really good book. I would have to say that out of all the James Patterson books that I have read to date, this one is really high up on my list of favorites. I guess after being so burned out and slightly disappointed in the Women’s Murder Club books this one was a real treat for me. It felt more like a normal Patterson book for me. I enjoyed the suspense. I actually felt for the characters. At one point in the book, while on the deserted island, Katherine has an unfortunate encounter with a rather large snake … I felt myself shuddering right along with Katherine while reading about the ordeal. I was glad to see Carrie pull out of her funk because of what she went through with her family. I felt relieved at the end because Peter really did end up getting what he deserved. The characters were just believable, which to me is an all-important part of any book. I can’t say enough good things about this book. If you haven’t picked it up, I really hope that you give it a try if you run across it somewhere – it’s that good of a book in my opinion.

AUTHOR, Book Review, C, FBI Thriller, Fiction, Read in 2009, SERIES

The Cove by Catherine Coulter

The Cove
by Catherine Coulter

Copyright: 1996
Pages: 262
Rating: 4.5/5
Read: July 1-4, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; 1st in a Series Challenge
Yearly Count: 33

First Line: Someone was watching her.

The daughter of a murdered high-powered lawyer is on the run. She can’t remember the murder of her father, but she fears that she is at fault. She ends up in a quaint little town on the doorstep of her aunt’s house. However, an FBI agent is hot on her trail. In fact, he’s followed her to The Cove. But what they find out about The Cove is chilling, it’s not as quaint a town as the residents would like outsiders to believe. In fact, there’s evil residing here and it will be up to Sally and the FBI agent, James Quinlan to figure out what is going on in The Cove while simultaneously trying to figure out what happened to Sally’s father.

Okay, so I’ve had numerous Catherine Coulterbooks on my shelves for years. (Of course this was not one of them, this was a library book, lol). I have to say that after a slow start I really enjoyed this book! However, the whole whirlwind romance of Sally and James was a little unbelievable (they met, fell in love and got engaged in about the blink of an eye). Other than that, I thought the suspense was great, I couldn’t figure out what was going on in The Cove, but I knew something was! If you’ve never given this series a try, I definitely recommend this book!!!

AUTHOR, Book Review, G, Nonfiction, Read in 2009

If I Did It by the Goldman Family

If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer
by The Goldman Family

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 202
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 17-22, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge
Yearly Count: 31

First Line: I’m going to tell you a story you’ve never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it.

Unless you were living under a rock in 1994, you know this story. Nicole Brown Simpson & Ron Goldman were brutally murdered one night in June. Her ex-husband, the famous O.J. Simpson was the assumed killer. Practically everyone thought he had done it … but he walked away a free man. Although the Goldman family won in a civil trial, they never got the money out of Simpson that they were awarded. Until one day in 2006 when it came out that O.J. was going to write a book, a so-called confession. They fought him on it, they didn’t want something like that in print. But then they realized that maybe it should be published, but that they wanted the rights to it. Well, they eventually won and the book was published.

Okay, so I was a little young in 1994 … I’m going to out my age here, I was 9. However, I remember the trial in 1995. I remember specifically that I was at Walt Disney World with my grandparents and we could hardly pull my grandfather away from the TV to go to the park because he was glued to the trial. I was obviously too young to really know what was going on. But as I grew up and really got interested in true crime stories I saw many TV specials and books on the trial. I formed an opinion based on what I read. When this book came out a few years ago, I have to admit, I was intrigued. A confession? Really?! But I didn’t really want to buy it. So when I saw it in the library last week I snatched it up knowing now would be a great time to read it. And I have to say, the actual original manuscript written by the ghostwriter after extensive interviews with O.J., it was chilling. It sure seemed more of a confession rather than a “If I had done it, this is how I would have done it.” Whatever your opinion on whether or not O.J. did it, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in this trial.

AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Cotton Malone, Fiction, Read in 2009, READING CHALLENGES 2008, SERIES

The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry

The Templar Legacy
by Steve Berry

Copyright: 2006
Pages: 475
Rating: 5/5
Read: June 3-7, 2009
Challenge:  2009 100+ Reading Challenge; Countdown Challenge; 1st in a Series Challenge; Suspense & Thriller Challenge – Religious thriller subcategory
Yearly Count: 27

First Line: Jacques De Molay sought death, but knew salvation would never be offered.

Cotton Malone, once an agent for the US Justice Department, is enjoying a peaceful life in Copenhagen as a antiquarian book dealer. But all of that changes when his former boss tries to meet up with him while she is on vacation. However, he finds out rather quickly that she is not on vacation; she is not an any type of operation, but she is up to something. As he sets out to figure out what it is that his former boss does not want to let him in on, he quickly finds himself involved in an ancient puzzle that has mystified scholars for ages. The more involved he finds himself, the more dangers the stakes become, and the more intrigued Cotton Malone becomes. For there is one very powerful man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even with Cotton in his way.

I’ve been keeping my eye on this book for a while, but I had been slightly unsure about reading it. However, after seeing Angels & Demons in the theater, my interest in this type of book has been renewed (I also have Angels & Demons waiting anxiously on my TBR pile for me). So I checked this book out of the library the last time I was there. And let me tell you – I was absolutely hooked on this book from about page one!! I loved it. I loved the historical/religious aspect of it intertwined with the fast paced race-around-the-clock action!! I highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it yet!