Thursday, February 25, 2010

Killjoy - Julie Garwood

MY THOUGHTS: This one actually was rather suspenseful and intriguing, and the character relationships were astonishing. A great read, through and through.

FROM THE BACK COVER: "Avery Delaney's razor-sharp mind and ability to decipher evidence have made her an expert crime analyst for the FBI. Now she will have to use her skills on a case that hits painfully close to home.

Avery's beloved aunt Carolyn was on her way to a posh spa in the Colorado mountains, but she never arrived. With scant clues and fewer resources, Avery must now track Carolyn down - and outmaneuver a brilliant killer named Monk, who is part of an elaborate plot of madness and lethal vengeance."

EXCERPT: from page 43

"Avery had forgotten much of her childhood, but she remembered that phone call clearly. She had just celebrated Carrie's birthday, a belated event since Avery had been in the hospital on the actual date, and was helping the housekeeper put the vegetables on the table before they all sat down to dinner. Avery had placed the mashed potatoes next to Uncle Tony's plate when Aunt Carrie answered the phone. A funeral director was calling to tell her that Jilly had been cremated in a fiery car crash, but there were enough of her remains left to put in an urn. He wanted to know what Carrie wanted done with the ashes and the personal effects, which included a charred driver's license. Avery was standing in front of the bay window staring out at some frantic hummingbirds when she overheard Carrie tell the man to throw them into the nearest dumpster. She could recall every second of that moment."


As one of the reviews states, "she [Garwood] has mastered the art of creating characters who live and breathe in compelling, page-turning stories." For once, a review that I will one hundred percent agree with. The character development was brilliant. I felt as if I knew each thought of each of the characters, but yet, they could still surprise me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Third Victim - Lisa Gardner

MY THOUGHTS: Gun violence, school shootings and the ability to manipulate the minds of our nation's youth lay the foundation for this novel by this New York Times bestselling author. "Riveting, hold-your-breath suspense" is what is written on the cover, and I would almost agree. The element of suspense is definitely present, and I must admit, I was quite enthralled. Once getting past the initial shock of a story about a school shooting in the wake of our nation's problems, the story sucked me in and I was hooked.

FROM THE BACK COVER: "An unspeakable act has ripped apart the idyllic town of Bakersville, Oregon, and its once-peaceful residents are demanding quick justice But though a boy has confessed to the horrific crime, evidence shows he may not be guilty. Officer Rainie Conner, leading her first homicide investigation, stands at the center of the controversy. It's hitting too close to home, bringing back her worst nightmares, threatening to expose her secret sins. But with the boy's life at stake, she won't let anything stop her from finding the real killer.

With the help of FBI profiler Pierce Quincy, Rainie comes closer to a deadly truth than she can imagine. Because out there in the shadows a man watches her and plots his next move. He knows her secrets. He kills for sport. He's already brought death to Bakersville and forever shattered the community. But what he has really come for is Rainie - and he won't leave until he has destroyed her...."

EXCERPT: from page 41

"Danny didn't move. His gaze swung wildly from side to side, and Rainie could nearly smell the panic rolling off his skin. He was dressed in black jeans, a black T-shirt, and white running shoes. She couldn't see any more weapons on him, but it was hard to be sure. He came from a house loaded with firearms, and she knew Shep had taken him hunting from the time he could walk."


To read a novel based upon school shootings in the wake of the recent disasters in our grade schools up to our colleges is quite surreal. At first I didn't even want to read the story because of it's nature, but I pressed on and was surprised at the emotions I felt. It wasn't so much sadness that came over me, but a sense of understanding at how the shooters must feel, and the manipulation they must endure in order to commit such wild acts of violence. A good story for a reader with a strong stomach.

Cold As Ice - Anne Stuart

MY THOUGHTS: I'm not the kind of girl who enjoys romance novels, especially not when it comes to typical stories of some hunky brute and some careless damsel in distress. I typically would prefer if the novels I read had no love angle at all. However, this story had what I would consider an absolutely brilliant story. It's hard to describe what exactly this novel is about without killing the plot, but I will say that it is a perfect mix of suspense, romance, and thrill. Yes, though I just stated that I hate romance in the novels I read, I absolutely loved the angle the author took with this book.

FROM THE BACK COVER: "The job was supposed to be dead easy - hand-deliver some legal papers to billionaire philanthropist Harry Van Dorn's extravagant yacht, get his signature and be done. But Manhattan lawyer Genevieve Spenser soon realizes she's in the wrong place at the wrong time, and that the publicly benevolent playboy has a sick, vicious side. As he tries to make her his plaything for the evening, eager to use and abuse her until he discards her with the rest of his victims, Genevieve must keep her wits if she intends to survive the night.

But there's someone else on the ship who knows the true depths of Van Dorn's evil. Peter Jensen is far more than the unassuming personal assistant he pretends to be - he's a secret operative who will stop at nothing to ensure Harry's deadly Rule of Seven terror campaign dies with him. But Genevieve's presence has thrown a wrench into his plans, and now he must decide whether to risk his mission to keep her alive, or allow her to become collateral damage...."

EXCERPT: from page 85

"He couldn't afford to let her go...she had already seen too much. She was a smart woman - give her time and she could put together far too much information on the Committee. She'd jeopardized the lives of the men and women who risked everything. It was an equation with only one solution, whether he liked it or not.

'I specialize in losing battles,' she said. 'I'm not going to die, and neither is Harry. You, I'm not so sure about.' She rose, stretching with all the intensity of a lazy cat, and smiled at him with utter sweetness. 'In the meantime I think I'll take a shower and change into something more comfortable, and then we can continue our negotiations.'"

MY RATING: 10/10

It's not often that I find a book I really love. This one had the perfect mix of thrill and excitement in order to keep me interested. I just didn't want to put this one down. I even got sucked into the romantic part of the story, which is surprising. Anne Stuart did a brilliant job and for that, she receives my first 10/10.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

High Crimes - Joseph Finder

MY THOUGHTS: I've read a lot of crime novels, and I'll have to admit that this one was a lot different than the others. The author, a writer for the New York Times and the Washington Post, offers his insights into the CIA in this highly classified military case involving a court martial and covert operations.

EXCERPT from page 22:

"For a few minutes, she sat still, breathing heavily, trying to regain control. The reality of what had just happened - or, rather, the unreality of it - was just beginning to sink in. While Annie sat in the back seat, licking at an ice-cream cone, her fright apparently having subsided, Claire's thoughts were in turmoil. What had she just witnessed? If Massie was lying to her, as she assumed, then why had Tom run away? And where had he learned to do such things?"

MY RATING:  6/10

The review on the cover of this book reads as follows: "Exciting...deliciously absorbing...full of hairpin turns!" And though I did enjoy reading this book, I hardly believe it to be "deliciously absorbing." I had no problem in putting this book down to take a break. Nor did I find it full of "hairpin turns."  There were a few curve balls thrown into the  mix, but for the most part, like any crime novel these days, the story was simple and fairly predictable, an easy read.

The Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follett

MY THOUGHTS: A good friend of mine who is very into books recommended this novel to me quite some time ago, and regrettably, I just got around to reading it. Though it seemed to go on forever and ever and ever and ever, I did enjoy it thoroughly. I wasn't too pleased with the ended as it seemed rather abrupt, a stark contrast with the rest of the novel, but it did tie up all the lose ends, as some novels tend to miss.

EXCERPT:  From page 71:

"A numb coldness settled over Tom like a fog. She was gone. He stared at her face.How could she  not be there? He willed her to move, to open her eyes, to draw breath.  He kept his hand on her chest. Sometimes a heart might start again, people said - but she had lost so much blood. . . . ."


Like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed this story. Though at times I wished to skip over several of the 983 pages, overall, the novel was able to entice the reader to forage on. Several points of view lent an even more open perspective to the trials and tribulations endured by each of the main characters and rich details led to intense visualizations of 12th century England.

I would highly recommend this novel to readers with a strong will and an intense curiosity.