Sunday, December 30, 2012

Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul edited by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Marty Becker, Carol Kline, Amy Shojai

Started: 12/26/12
Finished: 12/27/12
Year: 2005
Pages: 378
Grade: B+
Genre: Inspiration/Pets
Reason for reading: Cat lover, grabbed off TBR shelf
Blurb: Several short stories of how cats have affected people's lives.
Opinion: Another great Chicken Soup book, this time geared towards cats and the impact that they have had on people. Some stories were extremely touching and made me even happier of owning my 3 cats.

The Other Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey

Started: 12/17/12
Finished: 12/24/12
Year: 2003
Pages: 274
Grade: B+
Genre: African-American literature/romance
Reason for reading: grabbed from TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): " The central couple's biggest challenge is timing. He works days; she works nights. Instead of growing together, they're rapidly drifiting apart, coexisting on stolen phone calls from work, punctuated by occasional bedroom encounters that leave them both feeling even emptier and more alone. When she finds out about his affair-and starts her own-the delicate fabric of their marriage is torn irrevocably asunder. Or is it? In Dickey's expert hands, what begins as a seemingly unforgivable betrayal seques into the sexy and searing story of a man and a woman at a privotal turning point in their relationship. Only time will tell whether they'll let it all go...or whether they can hold on to the love that drew them together in the first place."
Opinion: Certainly makes you question what you would do if you were in the situation as any of these characters. Well done book.

Time's Witness by Michael Malone

Started: 12/4/12
Finished: 12/17/12
Year: 1989
Pages: 537
Grade: C
Genre: mystery
Reason for reading: grabbed from TBR
Opinion: It was very easy for me to be distracted from reading this story. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Started: 11/26/12
Finished: 12/4/12
Year: 1992 (this edition)
Pages: 312
Grade: C
Genre: literary fiction
Reason for reading: grabbed off TBR pile
Blurb: A painting of a man identifies who he is.
Opinion: Not the best classic that I've read but the idea of how a painting captures and destroys a man was interesting.

Worth More Dead by Ann Rule

Started: 11/17/12
Finished: 11/23/12
Year: 2005
Pages: 418
Grade: A
Genre: True Crime
Reason for reading: borrowed from mom
Blurb (from back cover): "Former Marine sergeant and judo instructor Roland Pitre Jr. claimed it was all an elaborate plan to win back his wife's love-it wasn't supposed to end with her dead body in the truck of a car. Nearly twenty years later, he acknowledged that he had hired someone to kill his estranged wife in 1988, though his alleged excuse for why a monstrous 'mistake' happened is a shocking and convoluted as the crime itself. Eventually, he was charged with first-degree murder in the long-unsolved death of Cheryl Pitre, after a mysterous witness betrayed Pitre to save his own skin. Tracing back the dark and bloody path of Pitre's life, two generations of detectives found a chain of brutal and terrifying crimes by a man who manipulated the courts and prisons to walk free."
Opinion: Another great collection of true crime stories by Ann Rule. These cases are all about people that were worth more dead than alive and how people around them caused their deaths.

Hex and the Single Girl by Valerie Frankel

Started: 11/16/12
Finished: 11/20/12
Year: 2006
Pages: 290
Genre: fiction/romance
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "Emma Hutch's upscale Manhattan clients call her the 'Good Witch.' Her uncanny telepathic abilities enable her to plant images into unsuspecting minds, which has made her New York's most successful professional matchmaker. After all, what bachelor, confirmed or otherwise, could deny his true destiny when the woman he can't seem to stop thinking about suddenly appers right in front of him? Now an all-too-perfect blonde socialite needs Emma's help to snare the most eligiblity single man in the city-all in a day's work for the Good Witch.
"Except William Dearborn-visual artist, software genius, total hunk, and dedicated hedonist-is not so easily snared. And he's becoming a little too interested in the desperate matchmaking sorceress who's been following him all around town incognito. Emma doesn't have to be psychic to know what's going on in his mind, Williams' having very wicked thoughts indeed about the Good Witch...and Emma likes it! But she's got to resist his special brand of magic...or else her witchy career is going up in flames."
Opinion: An average romance. Interest take having a "witch" that can force images into others' minds.

The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts by Lilian Jackson Braun

Started: 11/10/12
Finished 11/16/12
Year: 1990
Pages: 218
Grade: B
Genre: mystery
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "When Mrs. Cobb heard unearthly noises in the antique-filled farmhouse, she called Jim Qwilleran for help. But he was too late. It looked as if his kindly ex-housekeeper had been frightened to death- butby whom? Or what? Now Qwilleran's moved into the historic farmhouse with his two cat companions-and Koko the Siamese is spooked. Is it a figment of feline imagination-or that clue to a murder in Moose county? And does Qwilleran have a ghost of a chance of solving this haunting mystery?"
Opinion: Another good mystery by Braun. The mystery was well developed and not solved until the end.

Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson

Finished: 11/13/12
Year: 2006
Pages: 422
Grade: B
Genre: mystery
Reason for reading: grabbed off TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "Caterer Goldy Schulz's lucrative new gig, preparing breakfasts and conference room snacks for a local law firm, is time-consuming, but she's enjoying it...until the night she arrives to find Dusty, the firm's paralegal, dead. The deceased also happened to be Goldy's friend and neighbor, and now Dusty's grieving mother is begging Goldy to find out who murdered her daughter.
"Just because the police are on the case doesn't mean Goldy can't do a little snooping herself. While catering a party at the home of one of the firm's lawyers, she just happens to overhear an incriminating conversation. She also discovers a few tasty clues in the kitchen. Before long, Goldy finds herself knee-deep in suspects. But one of them is incredibly dangerous...and very liable to cook Goldy's goose."
Opinion: Another good mystery by Davidson. Goldy's character continues to be witty and enjoyable as she cooks and attempts to solve the mysteries that she continues to stumble upon.

Breathless by Dean Koontz

Started: 10/24/12
Finished: 11/1/12
Year: 2009
Pages: 337
Grade: B
Genre: Mystery
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): "In the stillness of a golden September afternoon, deep in the wilderness of the Rockies, a solitary craftsman, Grady Adams, and his magnificient Irish wolfhound, Merlin, step from shadow into light...and into an encounter with enchantment. That night, through the trees, under the moon, a pair of singular animals will watch Grady's isolated home, waiting to make their approach.
"A few miles away, Camillia Rivers, a local veterinarian, begins to unravel the threads of a puzzle that will bring to her door all the forces of a government in peril.
"At a nearby farm, long-estranged identical twins come together to begin a descent into darkness....In Las Vegas, a specialist in chaos theory probes the boundaries of the unknowable...On a Seattle golf course, two men make matter-of-fact arrangements for murder...Along a highway by the sea, a vagrant scarred by the past beings a trek toward his destiny."
Opinion: Typical plotline by Kootnz but interesting little creatures that he created that were truly a mystery.

Cottonwood Winter by Gary Slaughter

Started: 10/1/12
Finished: 10/26/12
Year: 2008
Pages: 400
Grade: C
Genre: Literary Fiction
Reason for reading: grabbed it off the TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): "This clever Christmas story interweaves events on the Allied front lines in eErope with mysteries on the home front, during the last winter of the Second World War.
"The disappearance of B. R. Santa, the treat of an elite German espionage agent, the unexplained appearances of assorted grape-vine Christmas wreaths all over town, and many more mysteries are to be solved by Jase Addison and Danny Tucker, the young heroes of the Cottonwood novels.
Opinion: I haven't read the other books in the Cottonwood series so I'm not sure if I would have a more positive attitude about the stories if I had read them. The boys Jase and Danny are enjoyable characters.

Entering Normal by Anne D. LeClaire

Started: 9/24/12
Finished: 9/29/12
Year: 2001
Pages: 289
Grade: B+
Genre: Literary Fiction
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from the bookjacket): " Rose Nelson is a middle-aged woman with a broken past, harboring a sorrow from which she things she will never recover. Five years after her teenaged son's death, she is still sealed off from life, enveloped by grief and remorse. Then Opal Gates and her five-year-old son, Zack, move in next door.
"Determined to start anew, twenty-year-old Opal has left her family and Zack's father in North Carolina. Initially, Rose cannot bear the sight of the young mother and son. But with Opal's arrival in the small Massachuetts town, Rose is reluctantly drawn into the world she has avoided, irrevocably pulled into the lives of the freewheeling Opal and her child so full of promise. When Zack is injured,  Rose instinctively lies to protect Opal from a single mistake that changes the lives of everyone involved. Faced with a custody battle that threatens to take away her son, realizing that each choice she has made can be used as ammunition against here, Opal must now consider : What sacrifices must a mother be willing to make if she is to keep her child?"
Opinion: This story was a tearjeaker. I was quickly absorbed by learning about Rose and Opal and how their lives mesh with each other.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay

Started: 8/17/12
Finished: 8/20/12
Year: 2006
Pages: 280
Genre: Literature
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from paper book jacket): "On an ordinary morning in Fox Harbor, Wisconsin, Meg and Rex Van Dorn's lives are irrevocably altered when a drunk driver-Meg's onetime best friend, Cindy Ann Kreisler-slams into the Van Dorns' car, killing their six-year-old son, Evan. As Meg recovers from her own injuries, She and Rex are shocked when Cindy Ann receives a mere slap on the wrst. In their rage and grief, they buy a boat to sail around the world, hoping to put as much distance as possible between themselves and Cindy  Ann. But when Meg returns to Fox Harbor for a family wedding, she's forced to face the complex ties that bind her to the woman who has destroyed her peace.
Opinion: A heart-wrenching story where ultimately forgiveness is key. Great story.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Laguna Heat by T. Jefferson Parker

Started: 8/10/12
Finished: 8/16/12
Year: 1985
Pages: 322
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "Laguna...where every day the sun makes a promise the nightime breaks, while the super rich live out expensive fantasies in posh beach houses and drown their memories in Cuervo Gold margaritas...
Laguna...where trouble has swept in like a Santa Ana wind, blowing the cover off a world of torture, murder, and blood red secrets...
Laguna...where a crazed killer has turned paradise into a Disenyland of depraved violence-with a fiery vengeance-and where homicide cop Tom Shephard unravels a grisly mystery that reaches back across forty years of sordid sex, blackmail, and suicide into the dark corner of his own past, and sweats out a deadly truth in the sweltering...Laguna Heat."
Opinion: I'm a big fan of Parker's and somehow I missed this when I started reading his books.  A solid background to Shephard's character.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Peril at End House by Agatha Christie

Started: 7/9/12
Finished: 8/9/12
Pages: 224
Year: 1957 (this edition)
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Blurb (from back cover): "Three near-fatal accidents in three days. As Miss Buckley told of her nattor brush with death, Hercule Poirot felt a thrill of fear. Were these accidents-or attempted murder?"
Opinion: Another Christie classic. A good plot with the case not being solved into the last few pages.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

Started: 5/24/12
Finished: 5/24/12
Year: 2007 (this edition)
Genre: Humor/Relationships
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "For ages women have come together over coffee and cocktails to analyze the puzzling behaviour of men. He's afraid to get hurt again. Maybe he's intimided by me. He's just got out of a relationhip. Greg Behrendt and fellow Sex and the City writer Liz Tuccillo are hear to say that men are not that complicated, even if they'd like you to think they are. And there are no mixed messages."
Opinion: I think that most humans can relate to this book. Very amusing comments about relationships and the idealistic nature of women.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Blind Spot by Judy Mercer

Started: 12/6/11
Finished: 1/17/12
Year: 2000
Pages: 449
Genre: Mystery/thriller
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "Good news doesn't come at 4 am. The call that comes in the predawn stillness of a warm Los Angeles night shocks Ariel Gold awake. A friend has been blinded. The assault on Laya is brutal, the result tragic, the method insidious. The LAPD thinks it's a case of product tampering, with the 'unlucky' Laya a random victim. Ariel's not so sure. As a correspondent fo the TV newsmagazine Open File, she is in a unique position to satisfy her doubts. As a friend, she won't quit until she has. But the claims of friendship, Ariel soon finds out, can prove complicated-and dangerous..."
Opinion: An enjoyable and exciting read.