Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sexy, sexy.

I knew it!

You Are More Like Angelina Jolie

Bad girl with a heart of gold.
You are smart, sexy, and strong willed.
You aren't against stealing another girl's man...
If he's better off with you!

How quirky am I?

For those who know me, you may or may not be surprised.

For those who don't, you may or may not care.

Your Quirk Factor: 48%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Water for elephants

I wasn't sure that I'd like WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, c2006, ISBN 978-1-56512-499-8) because it's not a thriller/suspense but I thought I'd give it a shot because many of my patrons were raving about it and I'm glad I did.
The story is told in flashbacks by Jacob Jankowski, the main character who is presently living in a nursing home at the age of 90 or 93, but lived the life of a traveling circus veterinarian during the great Depression in his 20's.
The first sentence is:

Only three people are left under the red and white awning of the grease tent: Grady, me, and the fry cook.

When Jacob's parents die in a car accident, Jacob leaves Cornell just before sitting down for his final exams and jumps the rails to land on board a train of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth where he becomes the working vet for the circus menagerie. While there he meets and falls for the married Marlena, the equestrian star, and her cruel husband, August. And last but not least, Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the show's last hope.
What I found myself enjoying most was the jargon of the circus and the lush setting painted by the author. I could imagine being at the circus during its height in the 1920's, the sideshows and the animal shows. This was a spectacular read!

I am legend

In preparation for the release of the movie, I read I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson (Tor, c1995, ISBN 0-7653-5715-1).
The main character, Robert Neville, is living alone in Compton (driving distance from Santa Monica and the Los Angeles Public Library) starting in January of 1976. Everyone around him is dead -- or undead, and he's just trying to survive -- and hoping to find someone else like himself.
The story starts:

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when the sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.

The didn't find this short story, which was written in 1954, to be too dated. I did however, find the movie tie-in to be a bit of a stretch since in the story, Neville is a white man with blond hair and blue eyes and the movies stars Will Smith. That will take a whole lot of suspension of disbelief but I'll manage cuz I like me a vampire movie.
The version that I read also contained the short stories BURIED TALENTS, THE NEAR DEPARTED, PREY, WITCH WAR, DANCE OF THE DEAD, DRESS OF WHITE SILK, MAD HOUSE, THE FUNERAL, FROM SHADOWED PLACES, and PERSON TO PERSON. All stories had a horror or supernatural bent to them and I enjoyed them all.

You've been warned

YOU'VE BEEN WARNED by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Co., c2007, ISBN 978-0-316-01450-2) was up next and mmmm...not my favorite.
In it, Kristin Burns is a shutterbug and works as a nanny in Manhattan to the Turnbull family, caring for Dakota and Sean, hating Penly, the Mrs. and loving (in all ways) Michael, the Mr.
When she sees a gruesome murder's end result at the Falcon Hotel, it's like deja vu - she's seen the scene before. Next, she begins getting ominous and threatening messages, people appear to warn her, and she thinks she's going crazy. But is it possible someone is out to kill her? But who? And why?
The book starts:

It's way too early in the morning for dead people.

This book had some kind of supernatural element to it -- ghosts and stuff -- but it just didn't work for me. I picked it up because I am both a shutterbug and I was a nanny outside of Boston for several years and both subtopics appealed to me. It's a good thing, however, that Patterson's books read sooooo quickly because I would have put this one down had I not read the first 50 pages in 10 minutes.

The empress's tomb

Next up, THE EMPRESS'S TOMB by Kirsten Miller (Bloomsbury USA, c2007, ISBN 978-1-59990-047-6).
This is the second book in the Kiki Strike series and just as much fun as the first. Again, set in New York City (this time with a lot happening in and around Central Park) the Irregulars (Ananka Fishbein, Kiki Strike, Betty, Dee Dee, Luz, Oona and newly inducted Iris) are back along with some new characters, Kasper and Lester Liu, Oona's father.

In this book, 14-year-olds Ananka, Kiki and the rest of the Irregulars encounter a Chinese mummy, a ghost, trained squirrels and old enemies as they try to stop an art forgery ring and safeguard the secret streets hidden beneath NYC.

The book begins:

The whispers began the day she arrived on horseback at the gates of the Emperor's palace.

My favorite parts of these books are the tricks and tips at the end of the chapters. This book includes hints on how to appear mysterious, how to detect intruders, things to learn by going through the trash and much more. These are not to be missed.

The ending was open to carry on with the story, which excites me, because I truly enjoy my time with Kiki Strike and the rest of the girls. These books make me feel young again and wistful for the days when I might have done some of the same things that these adventurous girls do.

All the pretty girls

Next up for me was ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS by J.T. Ellison (Mira, c2007, ISBN 978-0-7783-2443-0), a debut novel.
Set in Nashville, Tennessee, Homicide Lieutenant Taylor Jackson is working with Dr. John Baldwin, FBI profiler and boyfriend.

A serial killer is snatching up women, killing them and leaving them in various locales along with a memento - a body part from the last kill. TV reporter Whitney Connolly thinks this is the big story to launch her to the top and get her out of Nashville, but will it?
This was a taut, thrilling read and I look forward to more from this author. It is a great example of why 'God don't like liars'.

It begins:
"No, Please don't."

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Creation in Death

My next read was CREATION IN DEATH by JD Robb (GP Putnam's Sons, c2007, ISBN 978-0-399-15436-2) and although I read it out of order because I got my copy free through a drawing and had to review it, it read great as a stand-alone. I've only read the first five in the series and this is #27 but all of the characters were known to me (except for the serial killer) so that was a good thing.

The book begins:
For him, death was a vocation.

In CREATION, set in a futuristic New York City (2060) and after a nine year hiatus, "The Groom" is back, picking his victims - this time they are all employed by companies owned by Eve's husband, Roarke. But is Roarke the key, or is it Eve? I am a big fan of Robb's IN DEATH series and will continue to read them all as time allows.

Southern Roots

I have a confession. I am a Food Network addict. I watch these cooking shows and food travel shows and food information shows like a closet anorexic but anyone who knows me knows that that ain't happenin'! I love me some food!
My stepson asked me one day the pick 3 question. Which 3 food network stars would I pick? To hang with, it would definitely be Rachael Ray. For that one time dinner party it would be Emeril Lagasse and for my live in cook it would be none other than Paula Deen.
So I was thrilled that Paula wrote a memoir. I mean, if she's gonna cook for me daily I need to know a little bit about her, right?
In IT AIN'T ALL ABOUT THE COOKIN' by Paula Deen (Simon & Schuster, c2007, ISBN 0-7432-9285-5).

The first sentence is:
I never call myself a chef.

In this book, Paula shares some of her deepest secrets, the disaster of her early adulthood, the recovery she made and the empire she built. Her story was at times heartwrenching and at times heartwarming. My favorite part about the book is it is written just like she talks. If you picture the words in your head as you're reading, you can hear her infectious southern twang loud and proud! And sprinkled throughout the chapters are some good lookin' recipes, y'all!

I may have been born on the West Coast and raised in the Midwest but I'm pretty sure I'm a southern girl (minus the grits!) at heart.


Wow! I've been fortunate to read several good books in a row which, during the late autumn months, is important because I tend to get really moody with the approach of winter and I need something to distract me from the impending doom that winter brings.
My next book was HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain (St. Martin's Minotaur, c2007, ISBN 978-0-312-36846-3) and yowza, is it a doozy.
Set in Portland, Oregon, Archie Sheridan, a retired detective, has been called back in to work on a new serial killer case. Archie's claim to fame was tracking and capturing the infamous Gretchen Lowell aka the Beauty Killer but not before being caught by her and tortured for 10 agonizing days. Now, with Gretchen safely in prison, Archie is trying to capture yet another disturbing serial killer and brings in Susan Ward, a newspaper reporter, to follow him and do a series on him and his work although he has an alterior agenda for doing so.
Reviewers are likening Gretchen Lowell to a female Hannibal Lector although I preferred this book over Harris' SILENCE OF THE LAMBS.

The book starts out:
Archie doesn't know for sure that it's her until that moment.

Perfectly Plum

If you read my blog, you know I am a sucker for everything Janet Evanovich writes. Well, my next read, PERFECTLY PLUM: UNAUTHORIZED ESSAYS ON THE LIFE, LOVES AND OTHER DISASTERS OF STEPHANIE PLUM, TRENTON BOUNTY HUNTER (Benbella Books Inc., c2007, ISBN 978-1-933771-04-5) is not written by Janet Evanovich but is about my favorite series written by her.

The book begins:
You wanna talk disasters?

And it continues to illustrate the many found throughout her Stephanie Plum books in humorous essays regarding everything from whether or not Stephanie could get car insurance, Lula as a sidekick and who she should choose? Ranger or Morelli?

PS -- I'm a total Ranger babe. That man just exuuuuudes sensuality. I hope she picks Morelli. That leaves Ranger for me and all the other women out there who find him simply irresistible.

The Tunnels

THE TUNNELS by Michelle Gagnon (Mira, c2007, ISBN 978-0-7783-2446-1) was a new book and a new author to me.
Set in Middletown, CT, FBI's Special Agent Kelly Jones has been summoned to work a spooky case. Women have been found slaughtered underneath a prestigious New England college (one that happens to be Kelly's alma mater) and they seem to be connected: their fathers are all wealthy, powerful men. With her partner Roger Morrow and former FBI agent Jake Riley, Kelly will get to the bottom of it -- even if it costs her her life.

The book begins:
"Seriously? You've never been down there? And you're what, a junior?"

With a hint of old gothic romance, THE TUNNELS was a stellar debut and I look forward to more by this author.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

C.J.'s Fate

Okay, this book is more than a little cheesy (it was also published in 1984 and I was only 13) but if you're a Kay Hooper fan, I suppose it's worth a read since it only tops in at 200 pages.
C.J.'S FATE by Kay Hooper (Bantam Books, c1984, ISBN 978-0-553-59048-7) set in Aspen, Colorado features C.J. Adams, a research librarian, who always has her nose in a book and loves her history. Twenty years of matchmaking by her magic circle of friends has C.J. fed up so while they are all in Aspen for the wedding of one of the friends, C.J. decides to beat them all to the punch and picks a hottie from the hallway and takes him as her "lover." Little did she know that Fate Weston just may be her fated destiny.

It begins:
"C.J., can't you put that book down for ten minutes?"

So, you know how I feel about romances and Harlequins, right? Well, gack, this book is right up there with the lot. I actually bought it while I was going on vacation because I read on the back cover that the main character C.J. was a librarian and it was by Kay Hooper. I've read every Bishop special crimes unit novel written by her. I was hoping for something similar. Instead, I got mind numbing relationships ala 3 days and Indians with purple eyes and friends who just don't know when to stop, already!
On the flip side, it did pass my 50 page test and I read the whole thing, so that's saying something...I'm just not sure what!

With all due respect to Kay Hooper, I will patiently wait for BLOOD DREAMS to come out and I will be skipping the other newly released 2-in-1 combo SOMETHING DIFFERENT/PEPPER'S WAY.

Back to the ookie spookies for me. Up next is THE TUNNELS by Michelle Gagnon.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mount TBR (To be read)

I get questioned all the time what I mean when I refer to Mount TBR. And I'm not the only one who prays to this mountain. Many others have their own Mount TBR.

Let me introduce you to my Mount TBR. This is my pile of books that I am currently choosing from. These are books that I have not read. These are books I hope to read in the near future. This doesn't even begin to touch my collection -- these are just the books I can see.
And this was taken in January of '07. It's grown! It's much, much worse!
My husband fears for his life. I tell him that's what he gets for putting the shelves up on his side of the bed.

You should see what's under the bed...and in the closet...and in the trunk of my car...and on top of my dresser...and in tub after tub after tub in the basement.

Can someone say, "ADDICT?" Brought to you by the letter B for book and the number 666 as in the devil made me do it.


My most recent and most enjoyed read in the past two months was THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO: HOW MY MOTHER RAISED 10 KIDS ON 25 WORDS OR LESS by Terry Ryan (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, c2001, ISBN 0-7432-1123-5). Set in Defiance, Ohio, this book is the story of Evelyn Ryan who wrote jingles and entered contests for more than 20 years to keep her family of twelve afloat. While her husband, Kelly, an alcoholic drank most of his paycheck away, Evelyn would write poems and entries to numerous contests to win small amounts of cash to pay the bills, grocery runs to put food on the table, and numerous other prizes she'd sell for cash or give away as gifts. The book, written by Terry "Tuff" Ryan, 6th of the 10 children is a brutal yet honest depiction of life during the 40's, 50's and 60's illustrating hard times and happy times alike.

It starts:

The ordinarily sleepy town of Defiance, Ohio, emitted an industrious hum on hot days, a subtle pulse of activity - like the buzz of distance bees.

It is unfair to not mention some of the other characters in the book -- Mammy the cat who could open up doors -- Charley the chicken -- Dortha, her first friend from the Affadaisies.

This is a wonderful, feel-good book that I hope everyone reads, but if you're not a reader, check out the movie. It's almost as good.

Crime Seen

Surprise! It's another series...

Victoria Laurie's CRIME SEEN (Obsidian, c2007, ISBN 978-0-451-22201-5) was one of my most recent reads.
The story begins:

The way I see it, there are two kinds of people in this world: cat people and dog people.

In this book, the fifth in the series, Abby is recovering from her gunshot wound from the last book at home in Royal Oak, MI and has agreed to help her boyfriend, Dutch,with some of his unsolved cases to get her feet wet again. What she "sees" while looking at one of her cases causes her to go undercover to help a man who was jailed unjustly years ago. With her new 'partner' in tow, Candice Fusco PI, trouble is bound follow.
This is a typical Abby Cooper romp with all of the usual characters including Eggy the dachshund.


Next up, INFERNO by Karen Harper (Mira, c2007, ISBN 0-7783-2404-4). Set in remote Vermillion, Montana, Lauren Taylor, a pilot contacts the FBI when she sees a picture of a man in a magazine wanted for arson. She calls because she's seen her plane as she flew him into her town. Brad Hale is the hunky FBI agent sent to track down this man that Lauren, and only Lauren, has seen before he sets the drying town surround into a roaring blaze for grins and giggles.

The book begins:

The sound of sirens always soothed his soul.

Here is what I like about Karen Harper's books:
1) Great settings - I enjoy the lush landscape she paints with words
2) General plots - General storyline always makes me want to read the book
3) Characters - Good character development

Here is what I don't like about her books:
1) I always feel like I have to have a huge suspension of disbelief once I hit about page 10

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure that the FBI doesn't allow civilians to get involved on a manhunt for a suspected arsonist/murderer "just because"...
I may read more by Karen Harper but they won't be a priority; they will unfortunately be filler.

Reality TV in a book

It's YA time again!

I'm a big reality TV junkie...I've watched them all and some I continue to watch. (Yes, I am even watching KID NATION) and I can't help it. There is just something so real about it in a very unreal-like fashion and I get reeled in every flippin' time.

So, imagine my excitement when I read a review about a book about reality TV and for kids no less. I couldn't wait to read it!
SURVIVING ANTARCTICA: REALITY TV 2083 by Andrea White (Eos, c2005, ISBN 0-06-055456-8) is about a group of five 14-year-olds who are deprived by chance of the opportunity to continue their education and they reenact Scott's 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole as contestants on a reality show and aided by a Department of Entertainment employee when things get a little too real.
The book starts out:

What chance did Stephan Michael have of winning his Toss?

Although it's set 75 years in the future, the teens are reenacting something that happened almost 100 years in the past so it made for an interesting mixture of science fiction and history. I think this is a great way to get history lessons to kids of this age -- especially the reluctant reader types. I will be recommending this book to my patrons who fall into exactly this category.

Dirty Martini

I never realized how many series I read until I started keeping this blog, went AWOL for a while and then had to post book after book after book...

I didn't think I read that many series. Guess I was wrong!
The series du jour is the Jack Daniels series by JA Konrath and the book is #4 in the series, DIRTY MARTINI (Hyperion, c2007, ISBN 978-1-4013-0279-5).

In Chicago, Illinois, "The Chemist" is wreaking his own kind of havoc avenging the death of someone he loved. While extorting money from the city he is poisoning the residents with a multitude of deadly toxins by contaminating food around the city.
The book begins:

No security cameras this time, but he still has to be careful.

I'm a big fan of Konrath's and have enjoyed all of the Jacqueline Daniels books. This book, although scary in its own right (because let's face it. Who wants to worry about their greens from the grocery store being POISON free?) but I actually preferred his other three books where the violence and gore was a little more "in your face." I heard that there were quite a lot of people who didn't appreciate the gore and violence however, so he decided to write a book that was 'as' scary but more mental rather than physical. It's too bad people can't keep their opinions to themselves (like moi...)

I will be drinking these until Joe comes out with a new book.

Undead and unpopular

Fifth in the series by Mary Janice Davidson, UNDEAD AND UNPOPULAR (Berkley Books, c2006, ISBN 978-0-425-21599-9) has the regular crew planning a wedding when some European vampires show up to pay their respects and cause quite a commotion. Plus there's a zombie in the attic and Betsy hates zombies! What's a girl to do?

The book's first sentence:

"There's a zombie in the attic," George the Fiend informed me over breakfast.

Easy and entertaining reading, set in my geographical region (Midwest and to the north) -- read in one day!

Beyond Reach


In Karin Slaughter's newest book, BEYOND REACH (Delacorte Press, c2007, ISBN 978-0-385-33947-6) we finally get to read Lena's story. Sixth in the series, taking place in Elawah, Georgia and Grant County, Lena gets a phone call that her Uncle Hank is in a bad way, so she goes home to find out what's going on and what she finds is a meth mess. When she is arrested, Jeffrey Tolliver and Sara Linton come to Elawah to help her and then everyone is in a mess of trouble.
As a side story, Jeffrey and Sara are trying to adopt but she has a nasty malpractice suit hanging over her head.
The book begins:

What had they given her?

The book ended with my mouth hanging wide open, eyes bugging out from shock. For those who like to read the end of the book first, DO NOT DO THAT with this one!
Well, you can do what you want, but OMG, total shocker!
Just fair warning, because the book was a great read but the ending made it for me and had I read the ending first, I would have been totally disappointed in the book; probably would have just skipped it altogether.

The face of death

So I alternate, as I mentioned earlier, between adult fiction (read GUTS AND GORE) and easy on the heart YA fiction. The last book was YA so guess what this is...

THE FACE OF DEATH by Cody McFadyen (Bantam Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-553-80466-9) is the 2nd book in the Smokey Barrett series.

In this book, Smokey is starting to clean out the ghosts of her dead husband and daughter and move on with her life with her newly adopted daughter Bonnie when a call comes in - a 16-year-old girl has a gun to her head and is asking for Smokey specifically. This begins the story of Sarah Langstrom, orphaned as a child by "The Stranger" and she has lost everyone she loves since to violent ends. When she asks for Smokey's help, Smokey gives it...Smokey style.

The book starts:

I dream of the face of death.

Although this book didn't SHOCK and AWE me like SHADOW MAN, Mr. McFadyen has been permanently put on my list of authors I will read from here on in. A great storyteller with the ability to draw me right into the book, he has found a new and true fan in me.

Kiki Strike

Do you notice a pattern with my reads? How I intersperse adult fiction with young adult fiction? I have actually grown to enjoy my YA reads although I sure railed against it for a long time. Even as a child of eight and nine I was reading adult books. I've always felt that the YA material was too juvenile for me. I'm not sure if I have grown to appreciate it or if I found out that that's not always the case. As in this book.

KIKI STRIKE: INSIDE THE SHADOW CITY by Kirsten Miller (Bloomsbury Children's Books, c2006, ISBN 1-58234-960-6) is a fabulous romp through a hidden subterranean world of New York City. The book includes five delinquent Girl Scouts, each with their own special talents (Ananka Fishbein, Betty, Oona, Luz and Dee Dee) led by Super Spy Kiki Strike. Together they explore the underground tunnels of NYC called the Shadow City - while Kiki has an agenda of her own. The book is also filled with fun and interesting tips including how to follow someone, the perfect disguise, etc. Written for the 12-15 year old set, I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all of my old peers and co-workers from Camp Tahigwa.

The book begins:
Until the age of twelve, I led what most people would consider an unexceptional life.

Cut to the bone

My next read was Shane Gericke's (pronounced YERKEY) CUT TO THE BONE (Pinnacle Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-7860-1814-7).

The second in a series after BLOWN AWAY, Emily Thompson (detective) and Marty Benedetti (detective commander) are back in Naperville, Illinois to face a new bad guy (the Executioner) along with their Chief Hercules Branch. This was a quick and very enjoyable read. BLOWN AWAY blew me away...this book cut me to the bone. What's next...heart attack bugaloo? I'll start loading up on my antioxidants early.

The book begins:

Naperville, Illinois
11:58 A.M.

The blue velvet curtain drew back like it was movie night, allowing Johnny Sanders to stare through the bullet-proof window.

High Noon

Next up was HIGH NOON by Nora Roberts (GP Putnam's Sons, c2007, ISBN 978-0-399-15434-8). Set in Savannah, Georgia, this book features Police Lieutenant Phoebe McNamara and Duncan Swift. Phoebe is a single mother of Carly and lives with her agoraphobic mother stemming from an incident when she was young and her family was taken hostage.
Now, Phoebe works as a hostage negotiator and a bad guy is terrorizing her family once again. But maybe he doesn't realize the force that is Phoebe McNamara, (but he will) as she fights back...and with a vengeance.

Exhilarating story -- yet another reason why I am glad that I now read Nora Roberts. This and her JD Robb books. Wow!

This book begins:

Jumping to your death was a crappy way to spend St. Patrick's Day.

Dead Girls' Dance

In the DEAD GIRLS' DANCE by Rachel Caine (NAL Jam Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-451-22089-9), the second book in the Morganville Vampire series, Shane's dad has come back to Morganville to do some vampire killing and much trouble ensues. The same cast of characters (Claire Danvers, Shane Collins, Michael Glass and Eve Rosser) are featured. While I enjoy these books because of the vampires, they are definitely YA books although they are fun, fast reads.

This book begins:

It didn't happen, Claire told herself.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fear no evil

Well, I feel properly chastised and terribly guilty. A friend of mine found and forwarded to me that Lesa Holstine had tagged me as a

on her blog July 12 and then here I go and quit submitting entries on July 27th. My head is hung in shame.

And then I went on vacation,came back and tried to get back into the swing of things. Have I succeeded? I don't know... but I have read some books which I will post info about.

The book of course, is FEAR NO EVIL by Allison Brennan (Ballantine Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-345-49504-4) and it is the final book in this trilogy.

Set in San Diego, California Lucy Kincaid should be preparing for graduation but instead is facing a vicious execution. Lured by an online predator, she is destined to die horribly, live on the Internet, while hundreds of heartless viewers watch and vote on the method of slaughter. Her only hope rests with Kate Donovan, an FBI agent who took on the same sadistic killer once before.

The book begins:

The sick and depraved had voted: death by stabbing.

This book brings back all the favorites from the previous two books including Dillon and Jack Kincaid, Quinn Peterson, FBI and introduces us to Trask, a bad man. This book was my favorite of the trilogy -- very engrossing.

Friday, July 27, 2007


My most recent read was THE QUICKIE by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge(Little, Brown & Co., c2007, ISBN 0-316-11736-4).

When Lauren Stillwell sees her husband cheating on her she does the only thing to do: she cheats back. However, while glowing in that post-coital way, she witnesses her husband fighting with the man she's just slept with and sees them drive off together.

One glitch: Lauren's lover turns up dead and Lauren must make some tough choices, both personally and professionally. Some could cost her her job, others may cost her her life.

The first sentence:

I knew this was a terrific idea, if I didn't say so myself, surprising Paul for lunch at his office down on Pearl Street.

I hadn't read any reviews of this book so when I got to certain point I said, "WHOA!" and then my heart started beating again and I finished the book in a matter of hours.

Typical Patterson here, but it was a great book to relax me after reading my last book, SHADOW MAN.

Shadow Man

SHADOW MAN by Cody McFadyen (Bantam Books, c2006, ISBN 978-0-553-58993-1) is my favorite read so far this year! This is what I've been waiting for!

Smoky Barrett is the coordinator for the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime aka Death Central in LA. Six months earlier, Smokey was brutalized, raped, scarred and her husband and daughter murdered by a madman. Now, she is tracking another ruthless killer who believes he is a descendant of Jack the Ripper and he has asked for Smokey personally. The Shadow Man stalks, threatens and hurts Smokey and her team (Callie, Alan & James) to get them to do what he wants. And what he wants if for them to hunt him, because they are the best.

When he comes knocking on her door, Smokey answers. With a vengeance and a realllly big gun!

The book begins:

I have one of the dreams.

I cannot say I loved this book anymore than I already have but I'll give it a shot.

McFadyen has the cop down to a T. I live with one and I kept looking up from my book saying, "Honey, listen to this..." My favorite chapter of the book was an interrogation. It sounded just like my husband.

Fair warning: This book is very dark. It is very violent. It is very graphic. And a dog gets hurt. So if you are opposed to any of these things, I do not recommend it. However, if you are not, get ye to a bookstore or a library and request this book. Because I mean it. It was fabulous.


Up next, was PEEPS by Scott Westerfeld (Penguin Group, c2005, ISBN 1-595-14083-2). Yeah, I know...I was on a vampire kick this month.

First of all, you need to know that PEEP stands for Parasite-positive, or short for vampire, more or less. Set in New York City, Cal Thompson is a carrier and he shares several characteristics with the Peeps although he's not a full blown Peep. He works with a group called Night Watch that works at keeping the Peeps under control and to aid in keeping normal humans safe and he has been trying to track down the women he infected with the parasite via sexual contact to get them the help that they need. When he meets Lacy, or Lace for short, he gets a bead on the woman, Morgan, who infected him and the two of them set out to track his progenitor down.

The story begins:

After a year of hunting, I finally caught up with Sarah.

I'm a big fan of Westerfeld and I'm working my way through all of his books. I'm not huge into science fiction and fantasy type material but Westerfeld has played a big part in my changing opinion of this type of book. I like that the books he writes are for the young adult crowd so my head isn't swimming with words and concepts that are too hard for me to follow or believe. His has the right consistency and I've enjoyed eating his books up!

If you read this book, be prepared! The even chapters are filled with information about real parasites and let me tell you, some of them are positively "icky". (How's that for an adult word?!?)

Don't Scream

Next up, was DON'T SCREAM by Wendy Corsi Staub (Zebra Books, c2007, ISBN 0-8217-7972-9).

10 years ago Rachel Lorent plunged to her death with her sorority sisters Brynn, Tildy, Cassie and Fiona all present. They swore they would never tell.

But now, someone is sending the four surviving friends menacing notes and wicked messages and lurking in the sleepy little town of Cedar Crest, Massachusetts. When the first one dies, the rest become panicked as well they should.

Because payback is hell and it's just beginning.
The book starts:

"...and I do solemnly swear that I will never ever tell another living soul what happened here tonight..."

DON'T SCREAM is a terrific thriller from Wendy Corsi Staub. Her books would appeal to lovers of Mary Higgins Clark, Mariah Stewart, Allison Brennan, Danielle Girard and Erica Spindler. Check this one out!

Glass Houses

My next book is the first in a series for young adults (The Morganville Vampire series) by Rachel Caine. GLASS HOUSES (NAL Jam, c2006, ISBN 0-451-21994-5) is set in Morganville, Texas.
Claire Danvers is 16-years-old and a college student which causes some problems in and of itself. When she is hazed mercilessly at the dorms, she worries for her safety and looks for a place off campus to live. She meets Eve Rosser at the Glass House and with a nod from the other roommates, Shane Collins and Michael Glass, she is allowed to move in.
But then she finds out the town is overrun by vampires and life gets a little crazy as living in a town overrun by vampires might get.

The book starts:

On the day Claire became a member of the Glass House, someone stole her laundry.

I found this to be a fun start to an interesting series and I would recommend it to anyone who is fans of the Westerfeld books, the Darren Shan books, and even adults like myself who like the vampire books by Charlaine Harris and Mary Janice Davidson.

Break your mother's back

Next, I read STEP ON A CRACK by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Co., c2007, ISBN 978-0-316-01394-9).

Set in New York City, the story revolves around Detective Michael Bennett who has 10 - YIKES! - kids and a wife who is dying of cancer.

When the first lady dies, hundreds turn out for her memorial service and the mourners at the church are taken hostage by some unknowns. Michael Bennett, with experience as a hostage negotiator, is on the job.

Like most of Patterson's books, this one was a real page turner and nice break from his serials. I could see this turning into a series as Detective Bennett was a real, down-to-earth guy, just trying to do right by his family and getting sucked into the rat race that we call life.

An enjoyable read.

It begins:

The back of the table captain's cream-colored evening jacket had just turned away when Stephen Hopkins leaned acrosss the secluded corner booth and kissed his wife.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lucky Number 13

Aah, how I hated for it to end.

What? Why, I'm talking about Janet Evanovich's latest book, LEAN MEAN THIRTEEN (St. Martin's Press, c2007, ISBN 0-312-34949-1).

Set in "the Burg", in Trenton, New Jersey, this is of course the 13th in a long line of number books featuring Stephanie Plum, the hunky Joe Morelli and the delicious Ranger. Also making appearances are Lula, Connie, Joyce Bernhardt, Grandma Mazur, Stephanie's parents and her ex-husband Dickie Orr.

It begins:

For the last five minutes, I'd been parked outside my cousin Vinnie's bail bonds office in my crapola car, debating whether to continue on with my day, or return to my apartment and crawl back into bed.

That's all I have to say about the book. This is one series where I keep everything really close to the vest because so many of my readers read this series and I'm not taking away from their enjoyment.

But I will say this: Duck! That's not an exploding car!

6th Target

June was definitely a months for sixes for me. The sixth month, the sixth Sookie Stackhouse book, 6th TARGET and I read 6 books. I had to throw the last one in there, although true, I couldn't have a 666 post.

The 6TH TARGET by James Patterson (Little, Brown & Co., c2007, ISBN 978-0-316-01479-3) is the 6th book in the Women's Murder Club books featuring Lindsay Boxer, Yuki Castellano, Cindy Thomas, and Claire Washburn in sunny San Fran, CA.

In this book, Claire is a victim along with four others on a ferry shooting. Lindsay collars him, Yuki prosecutes him and Cindy writes about him. There is a second storyline with missing children.

Definitely typical Patterson. 1 page chapters, good and quick story. His books don't challenge me at all (and I'm not sure they ever did) but I don't think he is trying to be a Salinger or a McCarthy.

I know several people on one of my list-servs who just groan when they hear Patterson's name mentioned as being read. But the fact remains, whether he's writing the books, has a co-writer or a ghost writer, he has a formula that works, people eat up his stuff and he sells a lot of books.
He must be doing something write.

The book starts:

A killer in waiting, Fred Brinkley slumps in the blue-upholstered banquette on the top deck of the ferry.

I see that starting this fall on ABC, the Women's Murder Club comes to prime-time. I don't know if I'll watch it because I have the characters in my head already and I don't want them to be ruined by actors that don't fit the image I have. But, who knows? The show might be broken down into 45 second spots and quite palatable. We'll see. Take a look.

Definitely Dead

DEFINITELY DEAD by Charlaine Harris (Ace Books, c2006, ISBN 978-0-441-01491-0) is #6 in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Set in Bon Temps and New Orleans, Louisiana Sookie's cousin Hadley, a vampire girlfriend to the Queen vampire of New Orleans has been killed and is now "definitely dead" (hence the title.) Sookie has to go take care of Hadley's estate but certain somebodies don't want Sookie digging to deep and they'll do anything in their power to stop her.

Charlaine Harris has this thing with sexy male otherworldly characters this book hosts Quinn, a steamy, sexy weretiger that Sookie hooks up with.
This is a very fun series and I look forward to each new installment.

It begins:

I was draped over the arm of one of the most beautiful men I'd ever seen, and he was staring into my eyes.

I heard that song before

In I HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster, c2007, ISBN 978-0-7432-6491-4), Kay Lansing meets and marries the wealthy Peter Carrington in a whirlwind affair. Shortly thereafter, Peter is indicted on double murders and Kay fights to figure out who the bad guy is to free her husband.

Set in Edgewood, New Jersey (as far as I can tell, a fictional location) this book was typical MHC stuff.
In my opinion, people who read her books (and I'm one of them) read her books because she writes a very formulaic story; there aren't ever a lot of surprises. Decent storytelling, same story-different characters syndrome but the bad guy always loses and the good always prevails.

And who doesn't like a happy ending?

The first sentence:

My father was the landscaper for the Carrington Estate.

To whom it may concern

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN by Kay Cervetti (Camel Knee Publishing, c2000, ISBN 0-9701781-0-7) is an autobiographical account of a woman's search and discovery of her birth mother. She also finds out she has many more siblings.

The author is a local author and I found her book when I was browsing through a local library (not my own.) I read it for the local flavor as well as the successful end result. For those who may not know, I have a brother who was given up for adoption in 1968 and I've been looking for him since my father told me about him in 1988. But alas, to know avail. I hoped to glean some helpful information from this book but her search was very quick and pretty painless. Mine is almost 20 years and going strong...

If you know of any guys who were born here in Dubuque, IA on July 19, 1968 and were given up for adoption, please pass this post on to them. It could bring a family together and end my search once and for all.

First sentence?
Yeah, I forgot to write it down...Sorry!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blind Fear

My next read was BLIND FEAR by Lynn Abercrombie (Pinnacle, c2006, ISBN 0-7860-1728-7).

Set in Atlanta, Georgia it starts with a young rookie officer searching out retired Hank Gooch (fuzz that was) to help locate Officer Mechelle Deakes who has disappeared. Deakes has been kidnapped, blinded and locked in a room and has a certain amount of time to solve one of their old cold cases or she will die.

This book is written in 3rd person and is apparently the second in a series although I don't think that matters as this story is fine if read as a stand-alone.

The first sentence:

Hank Gooch ran the glowing bar of steel through the blazing tube of the propane forge one more time, pulled it out, thrust it into the water.

I enjoyed the story but I didn't care for the dialogue. I have a picky-picky thing about writing dialogue per the locale. I understand that if they live in Atlanta, Georgia they are going to have an accent but to see it written is just weird to me. I guess I want to envision in my head the way they talk...I don't want the author to do it for me. The words are one thing, the inflection another.

Like I said, picky-picky.

Moon Called

Aside from Janet Evanovich, I am finding out (somewhat to my chagrin) that my favorite genre has become fantasy, or I guess anything that includes vampires or werewolves.

Patricia Briggs' book, MOON CALLED (Ace Books, c2006, ISBN 0-441-01381-3) has the latter.

It begins:

I didn't realize he was a werewolf at first.

Set in the Tri-Cities, Washington, Mercedes aka Mercy Thompson works as an auto mechanic and she takes a new wolf on to work at her shop and soon, wolves and people alike are trying to kill her and Adam, her neighbor and the Alpha pack leader.

This book has a lot of werewolf politicking happening in it, but it is a great, quick and easy fantasy read.

First in a series, the second BLOOD BOUND, quickly made it to my TBR pile.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Kettle Corn

Are you all familiar with the joys of kettle corn? I had always thought I'd had it, until I attended one of our local fairs recently and had some pushed upon me. Apparently I was wrong because although I'm not a beeg popcorn-eater, I do love kettle corn.

It was too late for me to return and get a bag for myself but I found two things:
Velma's Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn and microwaveable kettle corn in the aisle of my local grocery store. Although not as sweet as the kind you get at fairs, it's a definite keeper snack since I can limit myself to an individual bag versus a 5-lb bag.

That doesn't mean I won't splurge.

Yummy! Kettle corn makes life good.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Things that make me laugh

Simple things in life make me laugh. I especially love to laugh at life and other people.
Like this guy for example.
Married to a cop, I know that sometimes the job can get to be too much and it's good to see this guy laughing at himself (or someone off camera) during his dance moves.

I'm recommending dance lessons for my husband's force!

The winner

The winner of my portion of the Dorothy-L contest is Patty Andersen. Thanks to all of the members who played and submitted recipes! I'll be back to my Hook, Line and Stinker posts directly after the weekend.


Saturday, June 9, 2007


For my Dorothy-L cohorts, you have come to the right place.

Please send your name and favorite recipe to me at

All recipes will be compiled for the Dorothy-L recipe Wiki. Woo Hoo!

Entries will be accepted through June 23rd and the winners of Kaye's and my contest will be posted on the 25th. Good luck to you all!

While you're here, feel free to take a look around. See you on Dorothy-L.


Friday, June 1, 2007


Harlan Coben has written another engrossing story with THE WOODS (Dutton, c2007, ISBN 978-0-525-95012-7).
20 years ago, four teenagers went into the woods. Two were found murdered. Two were never seen again. One of those teenagers was Paul Copeland's sister. Now, two decades later, Paul works as the County Prosecutor for Essex, New Jersey and one of the missing from the past is found murdered, with newspaper clippings leading the police to him. Is it possible that his sister could still be alive?

Although this is written in first person, I was completely absorbed in this great story with secrets running rampant and a surprise ending. I have enjoyed all of Coben's stand-alones; I have never read his Bolitar series but I've heard others rave about it.

This book begins:

I see my father with that shovel.

Have a safe and happy weekend!

See No Evil

Hey! Welcome to my 150th post on THE HOOK, LINE AND STINKER! Wow! It's hard to imagine that I've been maintaining this for that long. I have a short attention span when it comes to a lot of things and tend to lose interest quickly. I still have a hard time posting as frequently as I'd like but that's more of a time issue rather than a lack of interest. I applaud those people out there who are professional bloggers -- I know I could never do it.

In the second book of Allison Brennan's trilogy, SEE NO EVIL (Ballantine Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-345-49503-7)has a familiar cast of characters; some are from the first book, some are not.

From Amazon:
A troubled teenage girl has been charged with the grisly murder of her stepfather. The evidence is damning: Emily was found alone at the scene with blood on her hands, and an incriminating e-mail she wrote outlines a murder plot identical to the method of the brutal slaying. But deputy district attorney Julia Chandler believes her niece is innocent, and she’s determined to keep the promise she made to protect her dead brother’s daughter – even if it means hiring private eye Connor Kincaid . . . the man who blames her for forcing his resignation from the police department.

Together Julia and Connor uncover a chain of unsolved violent crimes tied to an unorthodox therapist whose anonymous online patients purge their anger by posting lethal fantasies. But someone in the group has turned vigilante, turning the game of virtual murder into a flesh-and-blood vendetta.

The first sentence:

The teenaged girl had the gun in her hand.

I really enjoy Allison Brennan's books, each one better than the last. This series is no exception. Set in San Diego, California, the book has great locale, interesting character dynamics and relationships and evil teenagers (aren't they all?!?). I have one more book left in this trilogy which I hope to finish in the next month, before she puts out another one.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Not so Hot-Cha-Cha

HOT STUFF by Janet Evanovich and Leanne Banks(St. Martin's Paperbacks, c2007, ISBN 0-312-94146-3) was definitely not my favorite Evanovich book and I think fans of Janet's PLUM books will be disappointed with this. (To be fair, I've never read Leanne Banks so I can't give an honest opinion to her writing, but I've read plenty of JE's books!) To me, it was a formulaic read, one that I've read before only with different main characters, different cops and different dogs, yet the same. The only saving grace for me on this book was that it was set in Boston, MA which I called home for several years.

In this book you have Cate Madigan (aspiring teacher/by night bartender) Kellen McBride Kostner (ex-cop and PI) and Beast (Bull Mastiff, havoc-creating pooch). The girl is running from the bad guys, the ex-cop is trying to watch after her and solve the crime at the same time and the dog is just getting in the way. Throw in a couple of support characters, some adorable and some annoying and you have this book.

The 1st sentence:

Cate Madigan had mentally stripped the guy across the table from her, and he'd come up short in every possible way.

I will always rave about the Stephanie Plum books because she is just my FAVORITE, but I may have to step back and quit reading these just-add-water books because they're not really doing anything for me.


RASH by Pete Hautman (Simon & Schuster, c2006, ISBN 0-689-86801-4) was one of my most current reads and a fulfillment of my "MUST READ YOUNG ADULT FICTION" thingie that I've got going on.

In this book, in the United Safer States of America of the late twenty-first century, there is an obsession with safety and even "minor anti-social impulses" are criminal.

Bo Marsten is sentenced to work in a prison camp making pizzas for McDonald's after giving a rash to some schoolmates and fighting with a peer over a girl. It is here that he is recruited to play football, an illegal sport but one in which Bo is quite skilled. While in the Canadian tundra, at this camp surrounded by polar bears, Bo also begins to question the society in which he's been raised and finds that sometimes breaking the rules is necessary, especially living in a time where safety is more important than freedom.

The book begins:

Gramps, who was born in 1990, once told me that when he was my age the only way to wind up in prison in the USSA (back when it had only one S) was to steal something, kill somebody, or use illegal drugs.

I enjoyed this book and have added Hautman's book GODLESS to my to-be-read list. It's kind of a sports book with a football angle, a futuristic fantasy with the time thing and it smacks of HOLES by Louis Sachar (a book I read when it first came out!), whether intentional or not.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Wicked Snow

A WICKED SNOW by Gregg Olsen (Pinnacle Books, c2007, ISBN 978-0-7394-8068-7) was my latest read.

From Publisher's Weekly: Hannah Griffin has spent most of her life trying to forget the notorious Christmas Eve house fire that claimed her family and turned up almost two dozen other bodies buried in their yard; though the case remained unsolved, Hannah's mother became, posthumously, the de facto prime suspect. Twenty years later, Hannah's a happily married mother of one, a crime scene investigator for Santa Louisa, Calif., and a lifetime away from her traumatic Oregon childhood—until a series of mysterious events indicates that her mother may still be alive. Hannah reopens the case, as well as old wounds, after enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Jeff Bauer, the still-haunted chief officer from the original investigation. Thanks to Olsen's true-crime work, the case's particulars—both grisly and mundane—all carry genuine weight, though his characters can be cloying: Hannah's neuroses occasionally seem more dingbat than damaged, and Agent Bauer's tough-but-tender act is a familiar one. That said, Olsen's flashback narrative shines with lurid, carefully distributed details, and if it ultimately overshadows the present-day plot, his bizarre, many-layered mystery will keep fans of crime fiction hooked.

The first sentence:

The girl remembered the snow and the evil that came with it.

This book is written in 3rd person, jumps back and forth between the past and present. I would have written probably almost a carbon copy of the Publisher's Weekly review as my thoughts were quite similar. One thing I did love is that when I looked up the town in Oregon, Rock Point, I found this. Very cool!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Murder with reservations

Nearly a month ago, Elaine Viets, author, contributor to this site (that's Elaine on the far right!) and member of Dorothy-L (which is how I know her) suffered from a stroke and had to have emergency brain surgery.

Now on the mend, Elaine is having to deal with the fact that her newest book, MURDER WITH RESERVATIONS (NAL, c2007, ISBN 0-451-22111-7) came out May 1, 2007 and she is unable to tour and promote her book.

That's where several other authors, bloggers, readers, friends and I come in. We are all doing Elaine's promotions for her so that she can focus on getting well.

If you find yourself at the bookstore looking for something to read, go check out Elaine's DEAD END JOB mysteries and look for this book along with the rest of the series. If you are a library user, request that Elaine's books be purchased for the library.

Here is a list of events being held for Elaine as she recuperates and a really good deal: buy 2 of Elaine's books and the Mystery Lover's Bookshop will ship one to the library of your choice for free.

Now, if only I could tell you about Elaine's experience with a hotel buffet...I'll leave that for her to do.


And don't Elaine's books. Thank you.

This public service announcement brought to you by a voracious reader and a big fan of Elaine Viets'.