Sunday, December 29, 2013

Innocence by Dean Koontz

Started: 12/19/13
Finished: 12/29/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 338
Genre: suspense
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "He lives in solitude beneath the city, an exile from society, which will destroy him if he is ever seen.
"She dwells in seclusion, a fugitive from enemies who will do her harm if she is ever found.
"But the bond between them runs deeper than the tragedies that have scarred their lives. Something more than chance-and nothing less than destiny-has brought them together in a world whose hour of reckoning is fast approaching."
Opinion: The beginning and middle were well developed. The ending seemed rushed. It was interesting how every other chapter was a flashback of Addison's life and then what was currently going on in present day.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Started: 5/24/13
Finished: 12/15/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 444
Genre: Fiction-Literature
Grade: A
Reason for reading: bookray through
Blurb: A story about how a book was made about the black maids who worked for white families in Mississippi.
Opinion: I had seen the movie based on this book and loved it. The book is better than the movie. I liked how it took the prespective of 3 different women and how the stories intertwined with each other-not an easy thing to accomplish. Highly recommend.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

Started: 12/8/13
Finished: 12/14/13
Year; 2013
Pages: 387
Genre: Mystery/Lawyer
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Mickey Haller gets the text 'Call me ASAP-187,' and the California penal code for murder immediately gets his attention. Murder cases have the highest stakes and biggest paydays, and they always mean Haller has to be at the top of his game.
"When Mickey discovers that the victim was a prostitute he once represented and thought he had rescued, he knows there is no way, he'll let this one go. The case is suddenly about more than the guilt or innocence of the defendant-it's about finding out what happened to a woman he cared for, a woman who he learns was back in L.A. and back in the life. Far from saving her, Mickey might have been the one who put her in danger.
"Mickey must follow his gut instinct directly into a dangerous world of intrigue and double-dealing to get justice for both of his clients, living and dead. As he faces the 'gods of guilt'-the jurors who will deliver the ultimate verdict-he's forced to struggle with his personal demons for a shot at his own redemption."
Opinion: The ending of this was fantastic. Great little trial situation. Definitely recommend for anyone who likes legal procedural books or Connelly.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich

Started: 12/6/13
Finished: 12/8/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 295
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for readingL borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum knows better than to mess with family. But when powerful mobster Salvatore "Uncle Sunny" Sunucchi goes on the lam in Trenton, it's up to Stephanie to find him. Uncle Sunny is charged with murder for running over a guy (twice), and nobody wants to turn him in-not his poker buddies, not his bimbo girlfriend, not his two right-hand men, Shorty and Moe. Even Trenton's hottest cop, Joe Morelli, has skin in the game, because-just Stephanie's luck-the godfather is his astual godfather. And while Morelli understands that the law is the law, his old-world grandmother, Bella, is doing everything she can to throw Stephanie off the trail.
"It's not just Uncle Sunny giving Stephanie the run-around. Security specialist Ranger needs her help to solve the bizarre death of a top client's mother, a women who happened to play bingo with Stephanie's Grandma Mazur. Before Stephanie knows it, she's working side by side with Ranger and Grandma at the senior center, trying to catch a killer on the loose-and the bingo balls are not rolling in their favor.
"With bullet holes in her car, henchmen on her tail, and a giraffe named Kevin running wild in the streets of Trenton, Stephanie will have to up her game for the ultimate takedown."
Opinion: You would think that Stephanie, by now, figure out who she wants to be with: Morelli or Ranger. Outside of that romantic threesome, Stephanie continues to be as clumsy as ever and accidentally solving cases. Some funny laugh out loud mements, in particular when it came to this random giraffe running the streets.

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Litter of the Law by Rita Mae Brown & Sneaky Pie Brown

Started: 11/25/13
Finished: 11/29/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 223
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from the book jacket): "Autumn has descended and crops are being harvested all over Crozet, Virginia, ideal conditions for a scenic drive for Harry and husband Fair. Bucolic views are all well and good, but Harry's nose for trouble leads her straight to a cornfield's macabre scarecrow-an all-too-real murder victim that frightens all but the noisy crows.
"This accountant's gruesome death is only the first of many disturbing events in this normally pastoral corner of the world. While Harry tends her beloved grapes and sunflowers, a killer edges closer-as does Harry's protective menagerie of animals.
"Halloween's approach brings with it bona fide terror and a beloved local tradition that threatens to become fatal. Rooting out the guilty in the treacherous center of a lucrative conspiracy requires Harry's farmer's wisdom-along with the quick wits and extraordinary senses of Sneaky Pie, Pewter, and Tucker. A vicious murderer may know the lay of the land far better than Harry does, but that's about to change. It's up to her vigilant four-footed companions to make sure tht the unearthing of this plot is not Harry's last act."
Opinion: Not a bad little mystery however it is not as good as previous ones. The antics of the 4-legged creatures are relatable for any pet owner. Overall, a decent and fun read.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Dust by Patricia Cornwell

Started: 11/21/13
Finished: 11/28/13
Pages: 495
Year: 2013
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in the US history when she's awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.
"A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT, and it's suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipman, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she's been murdered, mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, Scarpetta doubts it's a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with computer genius niece, Lucy.
"At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipman, but she's covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluorences brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, DC. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don't want the killer caught."
Opinion: Fairly good Scarpetta book. A little long but nicely ties up at the end. Marino and Lucy play the same critical supportive roles that they always have in Cornwell's books.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Execution of Willie Francis by Gilbert King

Started: 9/23/13
Finished: 11/20/13
Year: 2008
Pages: 300
Genre: History
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "On May 3, 1946, in picturesque St. Martinville, Louisiana, a seventeen-year-old black boy was scheduled for execution by electric chair inside a tiny redbrick jail. Charged with the murder of a local Cajun pharmacist. Willie Francis's trial had been brief and a guilty verdict was never in doubt. Willie's appointed lawyers called no witnesses, presented no evidence, and had not filed a single appeal once he was sentenced to die by electrocution.
"As the noontide church bells began to toll, a crowed of townspeople gathered in the streets surrounding the jailhouse. Inside, the executioners-still smelling of liquor after spending a late night in the local taverns-strapped Willie into the electric chair. Three hundred pounds of oak and metal, the chair had been dubbed 'Gruesome Gertie.' At 12:08pm, the executioners flipped the switch. Willie screamed and writhed under his restraints. The chair shuddered and slid across the floor. But Willie Francis did not die.
"Having miraculously survived, Willie was soon informed that the State would put him to death again in six days. Letters and telegrams began pouring into St. Martinville from across the country-spurred on by editorials and radio commentaries. Americans of all colors and classes were transfixed by the fate of this young man. Had he been saved from death by the hand of the Almighty? Could Louisiana really electrocute someone twice? Was the boy innocent-the victim of secrets and lies told by powerful whites in the cursed town of St. Martinville?"
Opinion: An interesting story of how someone actually got electrocuted two times in America. It seems that justice was not truly served for Willie Francis. Very well written and contains several factual stories.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Started 11/4/13
Finished: 11/17/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 531
Genre: Thriller
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "On highways acress America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless-mostly old, lots of polyster, an married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
"Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes 'Doctor Sleep.'
"Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's souls and survival."
Opinion: Great sequel to "The Shining." Classic King. Great story, plot, action, etc.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Crime of Julian Wells by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 10/26/13
Finished: 11/3/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 292
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "When famed true-crime writer Julian Wells's body is found in a boat drifting on a Montauk pond, the question is not how he died, but why? The death appears to be an obvious suicide, but why would the celebrated Julian Wells have taken his own life? And was this his only crime? These are the questions that first intrigue and then obsess Philip Anders, Wells's best friend and the chief defender of both his moral and his literary legacies.
"Anders's first clue is an Argentinean crime, which he believes was the great writer's last book idea as well as the beginning of his life's downward spiral. As Anders gathers the missing parts of Wells's life, the journey grows more and more dangerous and complex. Soon the friend and the man Anders thought he knew becomes shrouded in mystery, and the ever-deepening puzzle threatens to consume him entirely."
Opinion: Not as strong as Cook's other books but certainly intriguing nonetheless. Anders, along with readers, are taken on a journey that one might not expect, no matter how close they were with Julian Wells.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Don't Know by Leah Hager Cohen

Started: 10/14/13
Finished: 10/26/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 114
Genre: Psychology
Grade: B
Reason for reading: received through Early Reviewers on
Blurb (from back cover): "In an enlightening narrative, Leah Hager Cohen explores why we so often attempt to hide our ignorance, and why we'd be better off coming clean. Weaving entertaining, personal reporting with eye-opening research, she considers both the ramifications of and alternatives to this ubiquitous habit in arenas as varied as education, finance, medicine, politics, warfare, trial courts, and climate change-as well as casual social interactions. She considers how race, gender, age, power, and privilege may influence our ability to confess knowledge or ignorance. But more than jut encouraging readers to acknowledge their ignorance, Cohen argues that we have much to gain by celebrating uncertainty. These three little words can in fact liberate and empower, and increase the possibilities for true communication. So much becomes possible when we honor doubt and embrace a natural part of being human: not knowing."
Opinion: As someone who isn't afraid to admit that I don't know something, I truly appreciate this candid look at why some say it. The research behind the few reasons why is solid. The research is reinforced by the several personal stories that the writer and others have given to why they have said those three words. When one is trying to save face by saying I don't know, Cohen shows why it is just better to open yourself to the vulnerability of not knowing everything. Cohen also states when it is better to not say I don't know so it is fair on both sides of the spectrum. Overall, a fun read with the personal stories mixed into the quality research.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Growing Up Psychic by Chip Coffey

Started: 10/19/13
Finished: 10/25/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 155
Genre: biography
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "No one knows more about psychic kids than Chip Coffey and no expert on psychic kids is better known throughout the world. These kids are widely misunderstood, misjudged, and misdiagnosed. In Growing Up Psychic, Chip Coffey offers indispensalb einformation for anyone who interacts with these extraordinary youngsters-parents, educators, medical professional, mental health clinicians, members of the clergy, paranormal investigators-and adults who faced the challenges of growing up psychic."
Opinion: Some good advice to parents and kids themselves in how to handle being psychic. I wanted more stories about his life and dealing with being psychic instead of advice.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Amateurs by Marcus Sakey

Started: 9/11/13
Finished: 10/19/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 370
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Alex is failing as a father. Ian keeps dangerous secrets. Jenn is pining for adventure; Mitch is pining for Jenn. Four friends just scraping by, finding comfort in each other and the hope that things will get better. But as their twenties fade in the rearview mirror, none of them are turning out to be who-or where-they hoped.
"In a time when CEOs steal millions while their employees watch savings dwindle, these four are tired of the honest approach. They've decided to stop waiting and start taking.
"But a supposedly victimless crime has become a bloody nightmare. People have been killed. Ruthless men pursue them. Tensions they thought were long-extinguished are flaring. As their world unravels, each will have to choose between their life and the lives of others.
"And for four people pushed to the ragged edge, the only thing more dangerous than the men chasing them might be their best friends."
Opinion: I don't understand how there are not more fans of Sakey. This book takes readers on a rollercoaster ride with twists and turns. I found myself asking what I would do if I was ever put into a situation like this and my answer is I have no idea. Great book.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guilt by Jonathan Kellerman

Started: 9/6/13
Finished: 10/18/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 378
Genre: mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "A series of horrifying events occur in quick succession in the same upscale LA neighborhood. A backyard renovation unearths an infant's body, buried sixty years ago. And soon thereafter, in a nearby park, another disturbingly bizarre discovery is made not far from the body of a young woman shot in the head. Heading LAPD homicide detective Milo Sturgis to link these eerie incidents is brilliant psychologsit Alex Delaware. But even the good doctor's vast experience with matters both clinical and criminal might not be enough to cut down to the bone of this chilling case-and draw out the disturbing truth.
"Backtracking six decades into the past stirs up tales of a beautiful nurse with a mystery lover, a handsome, wealthy doctor who seems too good to be true, and a hospital with a notorious reputation-all of them long gone, along with any records of a newborn, and destined for anonymity. But the specter of fame rears its head when the case unexpectedly twists in the direction of the highest echelons of celebrity privilege. Entering this sheltered world, Alex little imagines the macabre layer just below the surface-a decadent quagmire of unholy rituals and grisly sacriface."
Opinion: Not as good as Kellerman's previous Delaware/Sturgis books. Still interesting and I could only imagine the research that he did in order to write this book.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The End of Alice by A. M. Homes

Started: 10/15/13
Finished: 10/17/13
Year: 1996
Pages: 270
Genre: Literature
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "Only a work of such searing, meticulously controlled brilliance could provoke such a wide range of visceral responses. Here is the incredible story of an imprisoned pedophile who is drawn into an erotically charged correspondene with a nineteen-year-old suburban coed. As the two reveal-and revel in-their obsessive desires, Homes creates in The End of Alice a novel that is part romance, part horror story, at once uncerving and seductive.
Opinion: I'll admit it, I got lost throughout the book. What was flashback? What was his story? What was the coed's story?  When I could tell what was what, it was well written and graphic. Not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The October List by Jeffrey Deaver

Started: 10/11/13
Finished: 10/15/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 308
Genre: Mystery
Grade: DNF
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Gabriela waits desperately for news of her abducted daughter. At last, the door opens. But it's not the negotiators. It's not the FBI. It's the kidnapper. And he has a gun.
"How did it come to this?
"Two days ago, Gabriela's life was normal. Then, out of the blue, she gets word that her six-year-old daughter has been taken. She's given an ultimatum: pay half a million dollars and find a mysterious document known as the 'October List' within 30 hours or she'll never see her child again."
Opinion: Great idea of having a book done in reverse. However, this just did not grab me. It takes a lot for me to not finish a book and this is one of the few that I've never finished....and even more rare, one done by one of my favorite authors.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Started: 8/12/13
Finished: 10/11/13
Year: 1998
Pages: 304
Genre: Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. That they eat, sleep, and work side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls only increases the tension. And just when it appears things can't get any worse, Amy's sexuality beings to unfold, causing a vast and icy rift between mother and daughter that will remain unbridgeable unless Isabelle examines her own secretive and shameful past."
Opinion: Many mothers and daughters don't get along at some point during their lives. This book does a great job in describing how both sides feel about the other, especially when certain stories are told. Overall, well written and it causes readers to care about Amy and Isabelle-perhaps to go as far as routing for one or the other.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dexter's Final Cut by Jeff Lindsay

Started: 10/5/13
Finished: 10/10/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 352
Genre: Thriller
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It all start with Hollywood. A major new police drama is set to be filmed in Miami-and blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is told he will be shadowed by Robert Chase, the brooding heart-throb actor who will star as...a Miami blood spatter analyst. Life may imitate art, but Dexter is none too pleased by having someone scrutinize his job and his life...or be anywhere near his dark hobby.
"The mood around the production turns suddenly serious when the body of a brutally murdered woman is found in a dumpster in the heart of the city. As police investigate and the Hollywood crew is aflutter with the excitement of a 'real' crime, Dexter gets a particulary sinister feeling about this killer, and what the act may signify. Meanwhile, a curious thing happens: Dexter is spending time with his new Hollywood counterparts-observing the ease with which they fake the most basic human emotions-and he realizes he may have finally found His People. He also gets closer to Jackie Forrest, the sexy star who is cas as the tough detective (and who is tailing his sister, Detective Deborah), and soon he's tempted by the luxury of the five-star life...and possibly by Jackie herself. Dexter is suddenly on a personal journey that leads toward the dark question...of who he really is...and, more alarmingly, on a course that will alter his life forever.
Opinion: Even though I predicted who the main killer was early on in the book, I still found it enjoyable to read. Dexter's relationship with his true self and everyone around him is still fascinating to me.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Preservationist by Justin Kramon

Started: 9/30/13
Finished: 10/4/13
Year: 2013
Genre: Suspense
Grade: A-
Reason for reading: asked by author to review
Blurb (from back cover): "To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has happened to him.
"Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships, he'd been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, 'a great beast of a birthday,' as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam's attention. But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia."
Opinion: If you have read "Finny" by Justin Kramon and are expecting the same type of literary story, then you will be disappointed. "The Preservationist" is a contrasting difference which shows Kramon's ability to write in more than one genre. Like as in "Finny," "The Preservationist" has strong character development. Through this character development, Kramon is able to make readers feel the suspense and fear that the main characther, Julia, feels throughout the story, especially at the end. Kramon allows for readers to get conclusions of certain plot twists in a subtle way. It isn't spelled out like in many other stories. Overall, I really enjoyed this and I hope that Kramon continues the path to either writing another psychological suspense or surprise me again and go in a different direction with his talent.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Cloud of Unknowing by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 9/21/13
Finished: 9/25/13
Year: 2007
Pages: 310
Genre: Literature
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "David Sears grew up in the shadow of his brilliant younger sister, Diana, convinced by their father that she would accomplish great things. Instead, she married and had a son, Jason, who-like David and Diana's father-is schizophrenic. Her husband, Mark, a geneticist, never made peace with Jason's condition.
"Perhaps this is why, when Jason drowns, Diana will not accept the authorities' conclusion that his death was accidental. Or perhaps Diana is going mad. She begins to send David faxes and e-mails about ancient murders, driven by her growing belief that the earth is Gaia, a living witness to her son's murder who could give evidence in the case she is building againsst her husband. David soon fears for his own family's safety as the seductive qualities of Diana's manic energy become impossible to ignore."
Opinion: An interesting tale told in present day (conversation with a police detective) and in flashbacks that appear to be current day. A compelling story of how a family deals with schizophrenia and how it effects generations.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Last Talk with Lola Faye by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 9/19/13
Finished: 9/21/13
Year: 2010
Pages: 275
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Lucas Page, once an ambitious historian, now resigned to mediocrity, visits St. Louis to give a sparsely attended reading-nothing out of the ordinary. Except among the yawning attendees is someone he did not expect: Lola Faye Gilroy, the 'other woman' he has long blamed for his father's murder decades earlier.
"Reluctantly, Luke joins Lola Faye for a drink. As one drink turns into several, these two battered souls relive, from their different perspectives, the most searing experience of their lives. Slowly but surely, the hotel bar dissolves around them and they are transported back to the tiny southern town where this defining moment-a violent crime of passion-is turned in the light once more to reveal flaws in the old answers. As it turns out, there is much Luke doesn't know. And what he doesn't know can hurt him. Trapped in an increasingly intense emotional exchange, and with no place to go save into his own dark past, Luke struggles to gain control of an ever more threatening conversation, to discover why Lola Faye has come and what she is after-before it is too late."
Opinion: A simple idea: a conversation with someone from the past, turns into a really good novel. Cook does a great job in turning this simple idea into compassion for both main characters.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Quest for Anna Klein by Thomas H. Cook

Started: 9/18/13
Finished: 9/19/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 346
Genre: Fiction/Mystery
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Thomas Danforth has lived a fortunate life. The son of a wealthy importer, he wandered the globe in his youth, and now, in his twenties, he lives in New York City and runs the family business. It is 1939 and the world is on the brink of war, but his life is untroubled, his future assured. Then, on a snowy evening walk along Gramercy Park, a friend makes a fateful request-and involves Thomas in a dangerous idea that could change the fates of millions.
"Danforth is to provide access to his secluded Connecticut mansion, where a mysterious woman will receive training in firearms and explosives. Thus begins an international plot carried out by the strange and alluring Anna Klein-a plot that will ensnare Thomas in more ways than one. When it all goes wrong and Anna disappears, his quest across a war-torn world begins..."
Opinion: Interesting tale during World War II. It is told between flashbacks and current time which makes it interesting to go back and forth between time. The ending is what made it not be graded a C.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Decadence by Eric Jerome Dickey

Started: 9/14/13
Finished: 9/18/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 350
Genre: erotica/romance
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Four years have passed in the life of Nia Simone Bijou, and she is approaching the height of her artistic powers. A film she has written is poised for international success, the studio is eager for a sequel, and the media are fascinated by her work. Yet her imaginative mind is wandering.
"Though Nia is much desired-by the mysterious, often unavailable international businessman, Prada, with whom she enjoys unprecedented attraction; by the fit local veteran, Brett, who puts her through her paces, most often during grueling road training sessions-her first love, Chris, is never far from her thoughts. When Nia receives an invitation to the exclusive pleasure palace known as Decadence, her romantic world gives way to an abundance of sensory experience she could never have imagined.
"Even as the Hollywood premier of her potentially career-changing film approaches, she is drawn further into this forbidden lifestyle. Under the influence of glamorous, sensuous new friends, Nia abandons all caution, and her ability to balance truth and fantasy becomes increasingly blurred. Will her relationship with Prada survive countless temptations? Will her professional achievements be fiven over to impulsive indulgence? Does decadence know any bounds?"
Opinion: This book has a plot mixed in with a lot of erotic scenes. At times the erotica could be a little too much. In this day and age, safer sex should have been approached more than it was and it made the main character and several supporting characters not care about themselves or their partners. I found that part distracting.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Ghost Hunter's Favorite Cases by Hans Holzer

Started: 7/3/13
Finished: 9/11/13
Year: 2003
Pages: 650
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "These gripping tales of American psychic experiences cover a wide range of Han Holzer's ventures in that shadowy area between death and life; from famous Hollywood ghosts; to confused colonial apparitions; to even a few White House visitations.
"These real-life tales of hauntings and ghostly occurrences demonstrate that the Other World is always with us, and that psychic phenomena can happen anywhere, at any time, even in the homes of the most skeptical."
Opinion: Some interesting stories and some odd hauntings. Some stories have been legends and have been retold several times. A good collection of some paranormal cases.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood

Started: 9/4/13
Finished: 9/7/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 292
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "On the day John F. Kennedy is inaugurated, Claire, an uncompromising young wife and mother obesessed with the glamour of Jackie O, struggles over the decision of whether to stay in a loveless marriage or follow the man she loves and whose baby she may be carrying. Decades earlier, in 1919, Vivien Lowe, an obituary writer, is searching for her lover who disappeared in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. By telling the stories of the dead, Vivien not only helps others cope with their grief but also begins to understand the devastation of her own terrible loss. The surprising connection between Claire and Vivien will change the life of one of them in unexpected and extraordinary ways.
Opinion: Fairly predictable who is who in the book but done is such an intriguing and delicate way establishing their connection.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

Started: 9/2/13
Finished: 9/4/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 348
Genre: Literature/fiction
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Leslie Anne Greene Carter is the Last Original Wife among her husband Wesley's wildly successful Atlanta social set. His cronies have all traded in the mothers of their children that they promised to love and cherish-'til death did them part-for tanned and toned Barbie brides.
"As if losing the social life and close friends she adored wasn't painful enough, a series of setbacks shake Les's world and push her to the edge. She's had enough of playing the good wife to a husband who thinks he's doing her a favor by keeping her around. She's not going to waste another minute on people she doesn't care to know. Now she's going to take some time for herself-in the familiar comforts and stunning beauty of Charleston, her beloved hometown. In her brother's stately historic home, she's going to reclaim the carefree girl who spent lazy summers sharing steamy kisses with her first love on Sullivans Island. Along Charleston's live-oak and palmetto-lined cobblestone streets and under the Lowcountry's dazzling blue sky. Les will indulge herself with icy cocktails, warm laughter, divine temptation, and bittersweet memories. Daring to listen to her inner voice, she will realize what she wants...and find the life of which she's always dreamed."
Opinion: A great story for anyone, especially women, who are fighting against who they truly are. Good inspiring characterization in Leslie.

Monday, September 02, 2013

The View from Penthouse B by Elinor Lipman

Started: 9/2/13
Finished: 9/2/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 252
Genre: Literature
Grade: B-
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Unexpectedly widowed Gwen-Laura Schmidt is still mourning her husband, Edwin, when her older sister Margot invites her to join forces as roommates in Margot's luxurious Village apartment. For Margot, divorced amid scandal (hint: her husband was a fertility doctor) and then made Ponzi-poor, it's a chance to shake Gwen out of her grief and help make ends meet. To further this effort she enlists a third boarder, the handsome, cupcake-baking Anthony.
"As the three swap money-making schemes and timid Gwen ventures back out into the dating world, the arrival of Margot's paroled ex in the efficiency apartment downstairs creates not just complications but the chance for all sorts of unexpected forgiveness."
Opinion: A lot of potential but the story lacked something and I cannot put my finger on it. Some good laugh out loud moments.

Love Saves the Day by Gween Cooper

Started: 8/25/13
Finished: 9/2/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 312
Genre: Fiction/Literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "When five-week-old Prudence meets a woman named Sarah in a deserted construction site on Manhattan's Lower East Side, she knows she's found the human she was meant to adopt. For three years their lives are filled with laughter, tuna, catnaps, music, and the unchanging routines Prudence craves. Then one day Sarah doesn't come home. From Prudence's perch on the windowsill she sees Laura, the daughter who hardly ever comes to visit Sarah, arrive with her new husband. They're carrying boxes. Before they even get to the front door, Prudence realizes that her life has changed forever.
"Suddenly Prudence finds herself living in a strange apartment with humans she barely knows. It could take years to train them in the feline courtesies and customs (for example, a cat should always be fed before the humas, and at the same exact time every day) that Sarah understood so well. Prudence clings to the hope that Sarah will come back for her while Laura, a rising young coporate attorney, tries to push away membories of her mother and the tumultuous childhood spent in her mother's dusty downtown record store. But the secret joys, past hurts, and life-changing moments that make every mother-daughter relationship special will come to the surface. With Prudence's help Laura will learn that the past, like a mother's love, never dies."
Opinion: A sweet and touching story told in a cat's, their main human's, and another human's perspective.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King

Started: 8/27/13
Finished: 8/31/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 361
Genre: Non fiction
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Arguably the most important American lawyer of the twentieth century, Thurgood Marshall was on the verge of bringing the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court when he become embroiled in an explosive and deadly case that threatened to change to course of the civil rights movement and cost him his life.
"In 1949, Florida's orange industry was booming, and citrus barons got rich on the backs of cheap Jim Crow labor. To maintain order and profits, they turned to Willis V. McCall, a violent sheriff who ruled Lake County with murderous resolve. When a white seventeen-year-old Groveland girl cried rape, McCall was fast on the trail of four young blacks who dared to envision a future for themselves beyond the citrus groves. By day's end, the Ku Klux Klan had rolled into town, burning the homes of blacks to the ground and chasing hundreds into the swamps, hell-bent on lynching the young men who came to be known as 'the Groveland Boys.'
"And so began the chain of events that would bring Thurgood Marshall, the man known as 'Mr. Civil Rights,' into the deadly fray. Associates thought it was suicidal for him to wade into the 'Florida Terror' at a time when he was irreplaceable to the burgeoning civil rights movement, but the lawyer would not shrink form the fight-not after the Klan had murdered one of Marshall's NAACP associates involved with the case and Marshall had endured continual threats that he would be next."
Opinion: An interesting case where it continues to amaze me the closed mindedness of others, just based on a person's skin.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Started: 8/20/13
Finished: 8/27/13
Year: 2008
Pages: 270
Genre: Fiction
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "At the edge of the continent, Crosby, Maine, may seem like nowhere, but seen through this brilliant writer's eyes, it's in essence the whole world, and the lives that are lived there are filled with all of the grand human drama-desire, despair, jealousy, hope and love.
"At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town and in the world at large, but she doesn't always recognized the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive's own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse."
Opinion: This was a heartfelt collection of short stories all intertwined around Olive Kitteridge.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout

Started: 8/13/13
Finished: 8/16/13
Year: 2006
Pages: 294
Genre: Literature
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "In the late 1950s, in the small town of West Annett, Maine, a minister struggles to regain his calling, his family, and his happiness in the wake of profound loss. At the same time, the community he has served so charismatically must come to terms with its own strengths and failings-faith and hypocrisy, loyalty and abandonment-when a dark secret is revealed."
Opinion: I had read an interview in The Writer magazine and thought that I would enjoy her books. This one left me disappointed. It wasn't horrible but I was expecting a little more. I will read her other ones before I totally write her off.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy

Started: 8/9/13
Finished: 8/13/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 324
Genre: literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Stoneybridge is a small town on the west coast of Ireland where all the families know one another. When Chicky Starr decides to take an old, decaying mansion set high on the cliffs overlooking the windswept Atlantic Ocean and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, everyone thinks she is crazy. Helped by Rigger (a bad boy turned good who is handy around the house) and Orla, her niece (a whiz at business), Chikcy is finally ready to welcome the first guests to Stone House's big warm kitchen, log fires, and understated elegant bedrooms. John, the American movie star, thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian are forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, have been shaken by seeing too much death practicing medicine; Anders hates his father's business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired schoolteacher, criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone's relief; the Walls are disappointed to have won this second-prize holiday in a contest where first prize was Paris; and Freda, the librarian, is afraid of her own psychic visions."
Opinion: Very typical Binchy. Great character development.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

Started: 8/8/13
Finished:  8/9/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 319
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: she doesn't recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else's. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.
"Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn't a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she's being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What's more, she can elude surveillance-like a trained agent.
"Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help-but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn't trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all.
Opinion: Not a bad mystery. Had me trying to figure out who Lizette was and how she fit into the prologue.

Haunted Theaters by Tom Ogden

Started: 8/6/13
Finished: 8/7/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 256 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "The hard part isn't finding theaters that are haunted-it's finding theaters that aren't. Haunted Theaters comprises thirty-five suspenseful stories of spooky visitations and supernatural happenings in historic theaters, opera houses, and other stages from Broadway to America's many regional theaters, from Canada to London's West End. Each tale is guaranteed to entertain-and have you clenching your teeth."
Opinion: Some very interesting stories about some haunted theaters. Was interesting to read about the ones that I've actually been to.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Poppet by Mo Hayder

Started: 8/2/13
Finished: 8/6/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 378
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Something is not right at the Beechway psychiatric unit. First one resident turns violently to self-harm, then another to suicide-both of them recalcitrant patients with no prior history of self-directed violence. Whispers between the inmates have traveled to the staff that the place is being terrorized by a creature called The Maude. Clinic higher-ups dismiss this as superstition, but the surviving victim certainly saw something. And what of the drawing the dead woman left behind, showing the creature wearing the sweater of a recently released patient? Staff nurse AJ LeGrande calls on Detective Jack Caffery to investigate, and what he learns about what's going on inside and outside the hospital will shock readers and place even individuals beyond the ward walls are in danger. And what of Flea Marley, the police diver whose dark secret Caffery has been keeping? Can he save her from herself, or will she take him down with her?
Opinion: Caffery and Marley seem to take a backseat to AJ and the happenings around the hospital. Definitely a good plot twist at the end that reminds me that everyone is a little abnormal in order to try to be normal.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Started: 8/1/13
Finished: 8/1/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 323
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It's a hot, muggy evening, and the last thing Hannah wants to do is squeeze into a pair of pantyhose for the Grand Opening of the refurbished Albion Hotel. But with Hannah's famous Red Velvet cupcakes being served in the hotel's new Red Velvet lounge, she can't bring herself to back out.
"The party starts off with a bang with the unexpected arrival of Doctor Bev, a Lake Eden legend who left town in shame after she two-timed her fiance one too many times. Bev's splashy appearance on the arm of a wealthy investor is the talk of the night. But the gossip comes to a screeching halt when a partygoer takes a mysterious dive of the hotel's rooftop garden.
"The victim is the sheriff's secretary, Barbara Donnelly, and she is barely clinging to life. The question is, did she fall-or was she pushed? As the police investigate, the only one who isn't preoccupied with the case is Doctor Bev. She's too busy trying to stir things up with her old flame Norman, who's reunited with Hannah.
"Just as Hannah's patience with Bev runs dangerously thin, her rival is found dead at the bottom of Miller's Pond. The only clue the police have is the Red Velvet Cupcake Bev ate right before she died-and the tranquilizers someone seems to have baked into it. To everyone's shock, Hannah is now the unlikely target of a murder investigation-and she's feeling the heat in a way she never has before..."
Opinion: Even though I haven't heard any of Fluke's books in several years, I haven't felt like I've missed any part of Hannah's life. Predictable little cozy mystery with several great sounding recipes which I might try.

The Kill Room by Jeffrey Deaver

Started: 7/25/13
Finished: 8/1/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 477
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It was a 'million-dollar bullet,' a sniper shot delivered from over a mile away. Its victim was no ordinatry mark: he was a United States citizen, targeted by the United States government, and assassinated in the Bahamas.
"The nation's most renowned investigator and forensics expert, Lincoln Rhyme, is drafted to investigate. While his partner, Amelia Sachs, traces the victim's steps in Manhattan, Rhyme leaves the city to pursue the sniper himself. As details of the case start to emerge, the pair discovers that not all is what it seems.
"When a deadly, knife-wielding assassin begins systematically eliminating all evidence-including the witnesses-Lincoln's investigation turns into a chilling battle of wits against a cold-blooded killer."
Opinion: Another great Rhyme/Sachs book by Deaver. Not predictable but follows the characters along nicely.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey

Started: 7/18/13
Finished: 7/24/13
Year: 2007
Pages: 331
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "On the South Side of Chicago, you're only as strong as your reputation. Danny Carter and his best friend Evan earned theirs knocking over pawnshops and liquor stores, living from score to score, never thinking of tomorrow...until, in the roar of a gun blast, everything changed.
"Years later, Danny has built a new life: a legitimate career, a long-term girlfriend, and a clean conscience. He's just like anyone else. Normal. Successful. Happy. Until he spots his old partner staring him down in a smoky barroom mirror...
"Now, with all he loves on the line and nowhere to turn, Danny realizes his new life hinges on a terrible choice: How far will he go to protect his future from his past?"
Opinion: A great debut book from Sakey. Great twists and turns with an ending that most would not predict.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

Started: 7/16/13
Finished: 7/17/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 285
Genre: suspense/horror
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): " Professor David Ullman is among the world's leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton's Paradise Lost. Not that David's is a believer-he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a 'phenomenon,' he turns her down. She leaves plane tickets and an address on his desk, advising David that her employer is not often disappointed.
"That evening, David's wife announces she is leaving him. With his life suddenly in shambles, he impulsively whisks his beloved twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, off to Venice after all. The girl has recently been stricken by thte same melanchly moods David knows so well, and he hopes to cheer her up and distract them both from the troubles at home.
"But what happens in Venice will change everything.
"First, in a tiny attic room at the address provided by the Thin Woman, David sees a man restrained in a chair, muttering, clearly insane...but could he truly be possessed? Then the man speaks clearly, in the voice of David's dead father, repeating that last words he ever spoke to his son. Words that have left scars-and a mystery-behind.
"When David rushes back to the hotel, he witnesses Tess perched on the roof's edge, high above the waters of the Grand Canal. Before she falls, she manages to utter a final plea: Find me.
"What follows is an unimaginable journey for David Ullman from skeptic to true believer. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David must track the demon that has captured his daughter and discover its name. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever."
Opinion: Having never read Paradise Lost I did not find myself lost in the references. This was full of action and excitement. A good read.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Story of X by A.J. Molloy

Started: 7/13/13
Finished: 7/15/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 329
Genre: erotica/romance
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): "Shy American student Alexandra Beckman-X to her friends-arrives in Naples desperate for adventures beyond the sheltered life she has led. She is there to study the Camorra,  an infamous Italian crime organization. But in the sun-soaked, ancient city streets, her research leads her to a man like no one else she has ever met.
"Irresistibly handsome, Lord Marcus Roscarrick is an Italian aristocrat with a mysterious past. Yet underneath his refined exterior, X senses a man who is well acquainted with danger.
"Soon they begin a passionate affair, and X is drawn into Roscarrick's world-a world she never dreamed existed. But as she falls ever more deeply under Roscarrick's spell. X must decide whether she dares to submit entirely to this shadowy realm of dark desire.
Blurb: This wasn't full of erotica which I was glad to read. Enough action and romance mixed into the erotica.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

The Two Deaths of Daniel Hayes by Marcus Sakey

Started: 7/1/13
Finished: 7/2/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 388
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The only sign of life for miles is an empty BMW. Inside the expensive car he finds clothes that fit perfectly, shoes for his tattered feet, a Rolex, and an auto registration in the name of Daniel Hayes, resident of Malibu, California.
"None of it is familiar.
"How did he get here? Who is he? Who was he? While he searches for answers, the world searches for him-beginning with the cops that kick in the door of his dingy motel with guns drawn. Lost and alone, the man who might be Daniel Hayes flees into the night.
"All he remembers is a woman's face, so he sets off for the only place he might find her. The fantasy of her becomes his home, his world, his hope, And maybe, just maybe, the way back to himself."
Opinion: This was a really good mystery with a severe twist at the end. Great story.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ghosts and Legends of the Carolina Ghosts by Terrance Zepke

Started: 6/29/13
Finished: 6/30/13
Year: 2005
Pages: 159
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from back cover): A collection of twenty-eight stories ranging from hair-raising talks of horror to fascinating legends from the folklore of the North and South Carolina shores.
Opinion: Some interesting historical stories about the past on the Carolina shores. Would be nice to visit some of the areas mentioned in the book.

At the City's Edge by Marcus Sakey

Started: 6/19/13
Finished: 6/25/13
Year: 2008
Pages: 346
Genre: Mystery/suspense
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb: Brother, former soldier, comes home and seeks to change a community and revenge for his brother's death.
Opinion: Lots of action and obvious that Sakey did his research on gangs. Great book.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fifty Shades of Dorian Gray

Started: 6/24/13
Finished: 6/25/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 233
Genre: erotica
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from back cover): "Meet artist Rosemary Hall and follow her inevitable downfall brought by her lust for the famous Dorian Gray-a tale both familiar and new in this brilliant erotic mash-up of one of the world's most beloved novels. With a mix of old fashioned Victorian debauchery and erotic, twenty-first-century lut this cleverly sexed-up classic will leave you wanting more!
Opinion: I felt that this was more of a parody of the classic Dorian Gray novel. The erotica was there in the beginning and about  non existant from halfway in the book.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kinsey and Me by Sue Grafton

Started: 6/17/13
Finished: 6/19/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 283
Genre: Short stories
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The nine stories that open the book are each gems of detection. So much has happened in the decades since Kinsey made her debut that it's easy to forget she was part of a seismic shift in the private-eye novel, as women ceased to be loyal sidekicks and came into their own, with strong voices and decidedly strong opinions. The same fiesty voice, rapier with, and irreverent observations readers fell in love with in A is for Alibi permeate these stories, proving just how fully formed Kinsey was from the beginning.
"The thirteen stories that form the second part of the book were written in the decade after Grafton's mother died. These stories feature Kit Blue, a younger version of Sue herself. They are dark with their undercurrent of sadness and muted pain. Grafton's family was troubled, as so many families are, but her wise and sensitive telling traces a remarkable voyage, from anger to understanding to forgiveness, and finally, to the realization of a profound love. The emotional impact is enormous.
"Sue has in the past briefly mentioned the alcoholism of both her parents, which seems to have begun around the time her father returned from the war. Some things we never discover about our parents, and Sue did not know what led to this dependency. But with it came a childhood lacking in supervision. She was free to read everything and roam everywhere, to let her imagination take her as far as she could go. But the dark side of such limitless freedom was emotional turmoil.
"Sue is a very private person and has never before opened this up to public view. That she does so now speaks to her having come to terms with the past. Still, as she writes, 'we live in a confessional age, but I don't want to be perceived as plundering my own sorry story for fun and profit. At the remove of some fifty years, I still find myself reluctant to lift the veil on a period of my life that was chaotic and confused.
"'I wish life could be edited as deftly as prose. It would be nice to go back and write a better story, correcting weaknesses and follies in the light of what I now know. What I've noticed, though, is that any attempt to trim out the dark matter takes away some of the good that was also buried in the muck. The past is a package deal and I don't believe there's a way to tell some of the truth without telling most. Wisdom comes at a price, and I have paid dearly for mine.'"
Opinion: The Kinsey stories are typical Kinsey material-entertaining and fun. The more personal stories were interesting and lets readers into Sue's personal life.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Clairvoyant by Hans Holzer

Started: 6/13/13
Finished: 6/17/13
Year: 1976
Pages: 166
Genre: Biography
Grade: B
Reason for reading: Borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Uschi Troll was born in Vienna in the 1950's. She had her first psychic experience at the age of four; by the time she was eleven, she had bewildered and frightened her parents-and herself-with the extent of her powers. Only gradually was she able to accept her unusual gift, as she moved from school to school, from relationship to relationship...
"When Uschi decided that it was time to tell her story, she told it to Hans Holzer, knowing that he, a world-renowned expert on psychic phenomena, would tell it with insight and truth. Holzer traces Uschi's life from private school in a baroque castle in Salzburg to study and exploration of parapsychology at the University of Los Angeles, and then to London as a society clairvoyant. In her twenties, her powers widely known, Uschi went back to Austria, where she was finaly able to resolve two troublesome conflicts: feeling quality over using her talents to amass a fortune and feeling disillusioned with a world that neither fully understood nor accepted, but as always poised to take advantage."
Blurb: An interesting look at a psychic's life.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Perfect Marriage by Kimberla Lawson Roby

Stated: 6/12/13
Finished: 6/13/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 174
Genre: Literature
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Denise and Derrick Shaw are the perfecrt American couple. Happily married for fifteen years, they have a wonderful daughter, Mackenzie, successful careers, and a beautiful house in a posh Chicago suburb. They are attractive, respected...and hiding a shocking secret: a dangerous addiction to drugs.
"It started innocently enough. Denise occasionally used prescription drugs to help her deal with the long hours and demanding nature of her job. Derreck, also under pressure at work, began using cocaine socially with some of his colleagues.
"They can quit whenever they want to. At least, that's what Denise would like to believe..
"As her job becomes more stressful, Denise can no longer get through the day without a fix. Derrek realizes his harmless habit has become anything but, and desperately wants to get clean. However, his attempts are derailed when there is a sudden family tragedy. Once soul mates, now this husband and wife are quickly losing the immense love that had been the cornerstone of their marriage. With her parents spiraling out of control, Mackenie makes an unexpected move to take matters into her own hands. Is her sacrifice too late-or is there still hope? Is there a final chance to save the Shaw family?
Opinion: A powerful story in a short book. Readers immediately feel for this family and see how quickly innocent using becomes deadly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blood Money by James Grippando

Started: 6/10/13
Finished: 6/12/13
Year: 2013
Pages: 342
Genre: Suspense/mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "It is the most sensational murder trial since O. J. Simpson's. The nation is obsessed with Sydney Bennett, a sexy nightclub waitress and good-time girl accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter fro cramping her party life. When he had agreed to defend Sydney, Jack Swyteck knew he'd be taking on the toughest and most controversial case of his career.
"Millions of 'TV jurors' have convicted Sydney in the court of public opinion.
"When the shockking verdict of not guilty is announced, citizens across the country are outraged, and Jack is bombarded by ther fallout: angry, profanity-laced phone calls and even outright threats. Media-fed rumors of 'blood money'-purported seven-figure book and movie deals-ratchet up the hysteria, putting Jack's client and everyone around her at risk."
Opinion: High-paced action with some side twists. A great read.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Lively Ghosts of Ireland by Hans Holzer

Started: 6/6/13
Finished: 6/10/13
Year: 1967
Pages: 182
Genre: Paranormal
Grade: C
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "Holzer and a medium, in most cases his psychic friend Sybil Leek, investigated may spectral phenomena, which took them from the rocky Kerry Coast to the windswept hills of Tara. They found disembodied Irish characters everywhere-clinging to castle walls and inhabiting drafty rectories-all anxious to reveal their melancholy stories.
Opinion: For the time that it was written, it gives good descriptions of possible paranormal activity in Ireland.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson

Started: 6/2/13
Finished: 6/5/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 264
Genre: biographical/paranormal
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb: This is a following up to Ghost Hunting. More cases are discussed and more ghost hunting evidence/ways of examining are discussed.
Opinion: Some great cases and some that make you go Hmmmmm.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell

Started: 5/27/13
Finished: 6/1/13
Year: 2012
Pages: 463
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over the two thousand miles away in Boston. She has no idea why.
"But as events unfold with alarming speed, Scarpetta begins to suspect that the paleontologist's disappearance is connected to a series of crimes much closer to home: a gruesome murder, inexplicable tortures, and trace evidence from the last living creatures of the dinosaur age.
"When she turns to those around her, Scarpetta finds that the danger and suspicion have penetrated even her closet circles. Her niece Lucy speaks in riddles. Her lead investigator, Pete Marino and FBI forensic psychologist and husband, Benton Wesley, have secrets of their own. Feeling alone and betrayed, Scarpetta is tempted by someone from her past as she tracks a killer both cunning and cruel."
Opinion: Fits right in with Cornwell's other Scarpetta books. Did drag a little bit in the middle when cases were being introduced but in the end it all made sense.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mystery by Jonathan Kellerman

Started: 5/24/13
Finished: 5/27/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 320
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: borrowed from the library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The closing of their favorite romantic rendezvous, the Fauboug Hotel in Beverly Hills, is a sad occasion for longtime patrons Alex Delaware and Robin Castagna. And gathering one last time with their fellow faithful habitues for cocktails in the gracious old venue makes for a bittersweet evening. But even more poignant is a striking young woman-alone and enigmatic among the revelers-waiting in vain in elegant attire and dark glasses that do nothing to conceal her melancholy. Alex can't help wondering what her story is, and whether she's connected to the silent, black-suited bodyguard lingering outside the hotel.
"Two days later, Alex has even more to contemplate when police detective Milo Sturgis comes seeking his psychologist comrade's insights about a grisly homicide. To Alex's shock, the brutalized victim is the same beautiful woman whose lonely hours sipping champagne at the Fauboug may have been her last.
"But with a mutilated body and no DNA match, she remains a mysterious in death as she seemed in life. And even when a tipster's sordid revelation finally cracks the case open, the dark secrets that spill out could make Alex and Milo's best efforts to close this horrific crime not just impossible but fatal."
Opinion: The characters continue to be well developed and pick up just like you would expect them to. Great little twists and turns throughout the book.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz

Started: 5/15/13
Finished: 5/23/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 451
Genre: Horror
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The Pendlerton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartlan city, a Gilded Age palace built in the 1800s as a tycoon's dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents-a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager among them-the Pendleton's magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.
"But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in the strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton's past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a deadly tide from which few have escaped."
Opinion: A decent horror book with several characters-different from his traditional couple with a dog facing an unknown demon.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style by Brad and Barry Klinge

Started: 5/12/13
Finished: 5/13/13
Year: 2011
Pages: 223
Genre: Biographical
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from library
Blurb (from book jacket): "The unusual is business as usual for brothers Brad and Barry Klinge, founders of Everyday Paranormal. With their state-of-the-art mobile ghost lab, the Klinges take a high-tech approach to investigating America's most notoriously haunted places, which has yielded some of the most definitive proof of ghosts' existence to date.
"In Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style, Brad and Barry reveal the events that led to the formation of Everyday Paranormal and their television show, Ghost Lab. They recall the eerie early experiences that convinced them that ghosts really do walk amond us, and vividly re-create their first forays into ghost hunting, their mishaps and close calls, and the bizarre characters they met along the way-both living and dead.
"A nonstop ride through America's haunted hotels, crumbling mansions, abandoned prisons, and other infamous sites, Chasing Ghosts, Texas Style is sure to captivate cynics and believers alike-and to change the way you think about ghosts."
Opinion: An interesting look at how the Klinge brothers became involved into studing the paranormal. I've always like their scientific approach to debunking and truly finding what out what is going on in "haunted"locations.

Good People by Marcus Sakey

Started: 5/4/13
Finished: 5/12/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 316
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Blurb (from back cover): "Tom and Anna Reed are young, middle-class, and in love. But financial pressures and the struggle to have a baby are wearing them down. So when they find $370,000 in their tenant's apartment, 'happily ever after' seems one risky decision away.
"But before the week is over, they'll know exactly where the money is from-and come face-to-face with brutal men who have been double-crossed. Men who won't stop until they get revenge.
"Nothing in life is free, and for Tom and Anna, happiness may cost more than they can bear to pay."
Opinion: A simple conflict taken to a whole new level. And it being done in a fantastic way. This is the first book that I read by Sakey and I will be reading more.

Chosen Prey by John Sandford

Started: 5/3/13
Finished: 5/9/ 13
Year: 2001
Pages: 294
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from book jacket): "An art history professor and writer and cheerful pervert, James Qatar had a hobby; he took secret photographs of women and turned them into highly sexual drawings. One day, he took the hobby a step further and...well, one thing led to another, and he had to kill her. A man in his position couldn't be too careful, after all. And you know something? He liked it.
"Already faced with a welter of confusion in his personal life. Deputy Chief Lucas Davenport decides to take this case himself, hoping that some straightforward police work will clear his head, but as the trail begins to take unexpected turns, it soon becomes clear that nothing is straightforward about this killer. The man is learning as he goes, Lucas realizes, taking great strides forward with each murder. He is becoming a monster-and Lucas may have no choice but to walk right into his lair..."
Opinion: A decent thrill ride where the reader would think that it was solved much earlier on and then a surprise twist.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Started: 4/29/13
Finished: 5/3/13
Year: 1999
Pages: 379
Genre: mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): "Assaulted by the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, the American-born Dr. Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist for the Province of Quebec, digs for a corpse where Sister Elisabeth Nicolet, dead for over a century and now a candidate for sainthood, should be lying in her grave. A strange, small coffin, buried in the recesses of a decaying church, holds the first clue to the cloistered nun's fate.
"The puzzle surrounding Sister Elisabeth Nicolet's life and death provides a welcome contrast to discoveries at a burning chalet, where scorched and twisted bodies await Tempe's professional expertise. Who were these people? What brought them to this gruesome fate? And where are the children?
"Homicide Detective Andrew Ryan, with whom Tempe has a combustive history, joins her in the arson investigation, From the fire scene they are drawn into the worlds of an enigmatic and controversial sociologist, a mysterious commune, and a primate colony on a Carolina island. Tempe is overwhelmed by the case, confused by her mounting attraction to Ryan, and plagued by worries about her sister Harry's search for spiritual awakening."
Opinion: Some unique cases that are magically tied in with each other. Even though it is fiction, it contains some great detailed forensic work.

Before I Say Goodbye by Mary Higgins Clark

Started: 4/23/13
Finished: 4/29/13
Year: 2000
Pages: 332
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from book jacket): "When Adam Cauliff's new cabin cruiser, Cornelia II, blows up in New York harbor with him and several close buisness associates aboard, his wife, Nell MacDermott, is not only distraught at the loss but wracked with guilt because she and Adam had just had a serious quarrel and she had told him not to come home.
"The quarrel was precipitated by Nell's decision to try to win the congressional seat long held by her grandfather Cornelius MacDermott. Orphaned at age ten, she had been raised by 'Mac,' as she called him, and was always at his side on Capital Hill. Politics was in her blood, and Adam had known her ambitions when they married. Suddenly, however, he became opposed to her plan to run for Congress.
"Nell, like her great-aunt Gert, possesses psychic gifts, which her grandfather scoffingly dismisses as "flights of fantasy.' As a child she had been aware of the deaths of both her parents and grandmother at the exact moment they died.  She knew because at that very moment she sensed their presence near her.
"Even though Nell has the rare gift of extrasensory perception, she is much too level headed to accept most of the claims made by many so-called psychics and is skeptical about Aunt Gert's fascination with mediums. After Adam's death, however, Gert begs Nell to see a medium, Bonnie Wilson, who has contacted her, claiming she is in touch with Adam. Still regretting her last angry words to Adam, Nell agrees, hoping that she will be able to reach him through the medium and part from him in peace.
"As the investigation into the boat's explosion proceeds, Nell is shocked by the official confirmation that it was not an accident but the result of foul play. Adam, an architect, had been involved in a major construction project on land he had recently purchased and which had since had a spectacular rise in value.
"Was Adam the target of the explosion? Or was it Winifred Johnson, his self-effacing, fifty-two-year-old assistant, who knew too much about bribery in the construction business and who was openly in love with him? Or was it Sam Krause, a builder with a questionable reputation who was involved in the new project? Or Jimmy Ryan, the debt-ridden construction foreman whose wife, after his death, discovers money hidden in their home? Or was it Peter Lang, the wealthy man-about-town real-estate entrepreneur, whose minor traffic accident caused him to miss the fatal meeting on the boat?
"As Nell searches for the truth about Adam's death, she carries out instructions from Adam transmitted through the medium. What she does not know is that she is being closely watched, and the nearer she comes to learning what actually happened on the boat that night, the nearer she is to becoming the next victim of a ruthless killer."
Opinion: This story had an interesting little twist near the end that in hindsight, should have been predicted.

Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love by Norine Dresser and Fredda Wasserman

Started: 4/19/13
Finished: 4/23/13
Year: 2010
Pages: 198
Genre: Psychology/Grief
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed it off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love consists of moving narratives about end of life and grief. These personal histories are complemented by practical guidelines for those caring for their loved ones through the last stages of life. For those who are grieving, the true-to-life-stories demonstrate how others have navigated through the tidal wave of emotions and reactions that chracterize the grief process. For health care professionals and those who are offering support to grievers, Saying Goodbye to Someone You Love provides a new perspective on the challenges of caring for the dying and living with grief."
Opinion: This book deals with dealing death of a loved one who does not die suddenly. Some great personal stories and some good guidelines of how to attempt to deal.

Here on Earth by Alice Hoffman

Started: 4/16/13
Finished: 4/29/13
Year: 1997
Pages: 293
Genre: literature
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "After nineteen years in California, March Murray returns to the small Massachusetts town where she grew up. For all this time, March has been avoiding her own troubled history, but when she encounters Hollis-the boy she loved so desperately, the man who has never forgotten her-the past collides with the present as their reckless love is reignited. This dark romantic tale asks whether it is possible to survive a love that consumes you. The answers that March Murray discovers are both heartbreaking and wise, as complex as they are devastating-for in heaven and in our dreams, love is simple and glorious. But is is something altogether different here on earth..."
Opinion: The ending seemed very rushed and certain characters didn't make sense in sticking together.

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

Started: 4/10/13
Finished: 4/16/13
Year: 2002
Pages: 385
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed it off the TBR pile
Blurb (from book jacket): "She was a 'Jane Doe,' an unidentified white female whose decomposed body was discovered near a quarry off California's Highway 1.  The case fell to the Santa Teresa County Sheriff's Department, but the detectives had little to go on. The woman was young, her hands were bound with a length of wire, there were multiple stab wounds, and her throat had been slashed. After months of investigation, the case remained unsolved.
"That was eighteen years ago., Now, the two men who found the body, both nearing the end of long careers in law enforncement, want one last shot at the case. Old and ill, they need someone to do the legwork for them, and they turn to Kinsey Millhone. They will, they tell her, find a closure if they can just identify the victim. Kinsey is intrigued with the challenge and agrees to work with them.
"But revisiting the past can be a dangerous business, and what begins with the pursuit of Jane Doe's real identity ends in a high-risk hunt for her killer."
Opinion: This book fits right in with Grafton's Alphabet series. It was fun returning to Kinsey's life after not having visited in a long time. Lots of little twists and turns.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt

Started: 3/25/13
Finished: 4/10/13
Pages: 347
Year: 2002
Genre: True Crime
Grade: C
Reason for reading: TBR pile
Blurb: This is the story about 3 teenagers who were allegedly involved in a satanic cult and killed three younger kids.
Opinion: There are several end notes in this book that would have been more effective if they weren't there (as part of the book) or as foot notes. Very distracting going back and forth. Overall it is an interesting story but the way that it was organized is why it got the grade I gave it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Under Currents by Ridley Pearson

Started: 2/5/13
Finished: 2/21/13
Year: 1988
Pages: 435
Genre: Police procedural
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from back cover): "Seattle is a city paralyzed by fear. A serial killer is loose on its streets. And as each new victim surfaces-chest slashed, eyes taped open-the tide of panic arises.
"Driven by guilt and frustration, too exhausted to consider stopping, Detective Lou Boldt thinks he's finally gotten the break he needs to end the Cross Killer's twisted spree. But each new clue contradicts another. And each new corpse mocks Boldt's efforts.
"To fathom the silent tale told by the latest corpse washed up in Puget Sound, Boldt has to go beyond every state-of-the-art method at his disposal. But as he gets closer to the truth, he travels deeper into the tortured mind of a relentless killer...into the depths of his own fear...and into a whirlpool of madness more frightening than his worst nightmares."
Opinion: This was a well written and fast paced book that kept me interested until the last page.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Started: 1/29/13
Finished:  2/10/13
Year: 2003 (this edition)
Pages: 246
Genre: Mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: grabbed off the TBR shelf
Blurb (from book jacket): "Four seekers have come to Hill House, a scary old abandoned mansion: Dr. Montaque, an occult scholar who had been looking for an honestly haunted house all his life; Theodora, a lovely and lighthearted girl there mostly on a lark; Luke, the adventurous future heir of Hill House; and Eleanor, a strange and lonely woman well acquainted with poltergeists and other psychic phenomena. At first their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable noises and slamming doors. But Hill House is gathering up powers and will soon choose one of them to make its own."
Opinion: Very different than the movies that were based on one of the original ghost story writers. Jackson has a way with building subtle suspense in her stories.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Started: 1/25/13
Finished: 2/1/13
Year: 1965 (this edition)
Pages: 192
Genre: mystery
Grade: B
Reason for reading: collecting all of the Christie books
Blurb: A mysterious woman is found dead in a prominent citizen's library.
Opinion: Jane Marple is made to think about whodunit in this well developed mystery.

Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver

Started: 1/15/13
Year: 2009
Pages: 548
Genre: Suspense
Grade: B+
Reason for reading: borrowed from mom
Blurb (from back cover): " Roadside crosses are appearing along the highways off the Monterey Peninsula, not as memorials to past accidents but as markers for fatalities yet to come...and someone, armed with information gleaned from careless and all-too-personal blog postings, intends to carry those killings. Kathryn Dance and CBI team know when the attacks will take place, but who will be the victims? Her body language expertise leads her to a recent fatal car crash, and to the driver, Travis Brigham, a gaming-obsessed teen who's become the target of vicious cyberbullies. And when Travis disappears, Kathryn must lead a furious manhunt in the elusive world of bloggers and social networking where nothing is as it seems..."
Opinion: Another great book by Deaver. It certainly had me guessing until the end. Full of twists and unexpected turns.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Copper Beech by Maeve Binchy

Started: 12/28/12
Finished: 1/15/13
Year: 1992
Pages: 391
Grade: B
Genre: Literary fiction
Reason for reading: grabbed off TBR pile
Blurb (from back cover): "In the Irish town of Shancarrig, the young people carve their intials-and those of their loves- into the copper beech tree in front of the schoolhouse. But not even Father Gunn, the parish priest, who knows most of what goes on being Shancarrig's closed doors, or Dr. Jims, the village doctor, who knows all the rest, realizes that not everything in the placid village is what it seems.
"Unexpected passions and fears are bringing together the lives of many such as the sensitive new priest and Miss Ross, the slight, beautiful school teacher...Leonora, the privileged daughter of the town's richest family and Foxy Dunne, whose father did time in jail...and Nessa Ryan, whose parents run Ryan's Hotel, and two very different young men. For now the secrets in Shancarrig's shadows are starting to be revealed, from innocent vanities and hidden loves to crimes of the heart...and even to murder."
Opinion: Each chapter was about a different character in the small village. In each chapter, I became more and more interested in all of them despite their very obvious differences.