Saturday, June 30, 2012

Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg

The description of the book does not disappoint. I loved that the author kept the chapters short so the book was fast paced. It added to the tension and suspense throughout the story. There were many characters to keep track of in this story but the way the author structured the story allowed the reader to keep up and not forget a character. The author started the book with a chapter dedicated to the different characters in the book. Throughout the book each chapter seemed to come from a point of view of an individual character. It was fascinating to see what was happening to each character as the story progressed.

As the story progressed, the tension mounted. I found myself rooting for Kevin Brace and hoping that Nancy Parish could find a way to prove he did not commit the murder. I also found myself as frustrated as Parish when she could not get Brace to talk to her. I could really put myself in the shoes of all the characters because of the way the author wrote the book.

The only negative I found with this book was all the references to hockey. I am a hockey fan but it did not seem necessary to the story and at times it was a distraction.

For the first time, I enjoyed an ending like Mr. Rotenberg wrote. I do not want to give away the ending but I really enjoyed the way he ended this book.

Three book reviews in one post: The First Cut, The Dirty Secrets Club, The Thief Taker

I was having a bad day and picked up Dianne Emley's book at the grocery store. I was glad that I did pick it up. It took a bit at the beginning to get into the book but once I got started I couldn't put it down. I was happy to find a new author that entertained me as much as some of the bigger more established authors. Plus Dianne Emley is very approachable to her fans and will return email. I found her book to be great and her to be a great person!

I was not sure how this book was going to be when I first started it. As I continued to read, it sucked me in and I could not put the book down! I was entertained by all the twists and turns throughout the book and I look forward to reading more of Meg Gardiner's books.

I picked this book up at the bookstore because it was on sale and I wanted to read something different. I definitely got a good book for my money. This is not the time period I typically read but I enjoyed the entire book. I found myself full of emotions as I finished the book. I have passed the book on to my mother-in-law because I know it is a book she will thoroughly enjoy!

The Fall by David Fulmer

I really enjoyed this book. David Fulmer wrote a little differently than he has in the past and I think he did it successfully. I loved the fact that the main character is not a detective, police officer, investigator, etc. It made the main character easier to relate to and put yourself into his shoes. I love some of the twists at the end of the book. Even though you have an idea who the bad guys are, Fulmer was still able to put some twist in the end that make you surprised. I loved Fulmer's character development in this book and the conflicts between a couple of the characters. I could definitely relate to the town, the people, and the conflicts. Definitely worth reading!

A Darker Place by Laurie R. King

I had only read one other Laurie R. King book before I read this book. I was honestly a little disappointed in this book. I did not feel the tension I expected to feel as I read the book. I like the subject matter: cults. I did not feel like the main character was in jeopardy of her life. I got the feeling that the main character was in control of the situation the entire time. I think that I might have felt more tension if there was more emphasis on how hard it was for the main character to get out of the cult. I never felt like her life was in danger in the cult and that she could get out any time she wanted leave. Towards the end of the book, it picked up and I started enjoying the story more. This definitely doesn't prevent me from reading other Laurie R. King books. I am still a fan!

Cold Wind by C.J. Box

I have not read all the C.J. Box books but I have enjoyed all the books I have read by him. This one is no exception. I was not sure Box could top his second book in this series (it starts with an exploding cow) but he has topped it with this book!

The dynamic between all the characters is well written. Some of the characters were so well written that they were truly terrifying.
You could feel the tension between Joe Picket and his mother-in-law. If you have not read the previous books, it can be hard to understand the tension between Joe Picket and his friend Nate, but that does not detract from the story. You can still enjoy the book without reading all the previous books in the series.

I enjoyed reading through the twists and turns that Joe Picket goest through in order to find the truth about his father-in-law's death. I found myself tense as the story was unfolding and I could not put the book down.

The Haunted E-Book by J.L. Bryan

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. Initially I thought it sounded a little predictable but I was interested in how the author would develop the story.

At the beginning I found myself a little lost in which story I was reading but after a few chapters, I got the hang of it. I did take time to stop on occasion and straighten out the order of each of the sub-stories in the book.

Although I was confused a few times, I thought this was an interesting way to present this book. It allowed the suspense level to stay elevated throughout the story.

I will say that I had this book in the e-book version and I believe that I would not have enjoyed the suspense of the book if it had been the paperback version. There is something about reading an e-book about a haunted e-book.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Black Swan by Chris Knopf

When I found out I was going to receive this book, I borrowed the first book from the library. I could not get into it so I put it down and picked up this book. I felt like this book was much more entertaining.

The book started out with action immediately. Sam and his girlfriend, Amanda, are caught in a storm while sailing. They get stranded on an island and encounter some questionable characters. Soon bodies start turning up and no one is able to get on or off the island due to the storms. Sam takes it upon himself to find out what is happening on this island.

I found the book entertaining and suspenseful. At times the descriptions became a little too technical but I did not feel it detracted from the overall feel of the book. I am sure some of those descriptions were beneficial to someone who knows more about boats but to people, like myself, who do not know much about boats it was too much to truly comprehend.

The character development was well written. Although I had not read the previous books, I did not find it made it hard to read this book. Knopf did a good job giving background on the characters so new readers would understand them but not so much detail that previous readers would be bored.

After reading this book, I am interested in picking up the first book again. I look forward to reading more Chris Knopf books in the future.

The Last Key by Rob Steiner

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I enjoyed Steiner's descriptions of the characters and the terrain. I found myself going through a gamut of emotions while reading this book. Although some of the emotions were not pleasant, it made me want to continue reading to see what happened next. I have recommended this book to some friends who love these types of stories and I know they will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed it. I hope Steiner decides to write more in the future.

Reunion by Jeff Bennington

This book is about a group of students who survive a school shooting and what their lives are like 20 years later. I knew the subject matter could be sensitive to some people but I found that the author did a great job of giving it respect but also changing it enough so it was a good fiction story.

I enjoyed how the author developed each of the characters and adequately described how different people would be affected by PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). Each character faces challenges with coping after experiencing the trauma of the school shooting and they have to decide if going to the school reunion will be beneficial to them. It seems to me that this would be a very realistic challenge for those who have survived a school shooting.

Without including spoilers, I have to add that I loved the twists that were presented in this story. I also found the spiritual undertone was not the central focus of this story but a great secondary story line. The author did a wonderful job of including the spiritual ideas without turning off the reader.

I was recommended this book and I will definitely recommend it to other readers. I hope Bennington continues to write.

Heaven Is For Real by Todd Burpo

I was given this book by my mother-in-law and she told me it was a great read that you could finish in a couple of hours. She was right.

This book made me smile. This story gave me hope for how wonderful Heaven will be when I get there. I knew it would be a magical place but "seeing" it through the eyes of a child made it more real. I felt that the father did a wonderful job presenting the son's descriptions of what he saw in Heaven. It seemed to be presented in an honest and clear way.

I am glad that the family decided to let the world know what their son experienced. I know it touched my life and I hope that it touches many more lives.

I have already recommended this book to other family members.

You're Next by Gregg Hurwitz

I really enjoyed this book. I have never read a Gregg Hurwitz book but I am so grateful that I have been introduced to his writing.

This book hooks you from the very start. Mike Wingate is left abandoned as a child and cannot remember anything about his father except that he had blood on his sleeve. He spends his childhood waiting for his dad to come back for him. He befriends another young boy and the two are constantly in trouble. Mike decides to change his life around but Shep continues a life of crime.

Years later, Mike has a family and his own business when things start going bad for him. He has to call his old friend Shep to help him sort through all the things that are going wrong and to help protect his family.

Hurwitz has written a fantastic psychological thriller. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the entire book. I was never sure how Mike was going to get through all the difficulties in his life.

Hurwitz did a great job of building on Mike's past. As I read, I was reminded of things that happened to Mike in his childhood. Herwitz gave the reader Mike's childhood history through flashback chapters. I like that he broke up the current time and the flashbacks by chapters. It allows the reader to keep the past and present straight.

I will definitely read more Hurwitz books.

Connected by Kathryn Gayle

This book caught my attention right from the start. I liked how the author developed the characters. The descriptions of the emotions the characters were experiencing was perfect for me. I thought the the story line was well developed and kept me reading late into the night. It was hard to put my Kindle away because I wanted to know how the story would be resolved. I would definitely recommend this book to others.

Cleveland Creep by Les Roberts

I have never read a Les Roberts book until I received this one through Early Reviewers. I was worried that I would not be able to follow along in the story since I did not know anything about the main character, Milan Jacovich. I was pleased that as I read through the book, the author gave descriptions about the character, his life, and his past. Although I did not know all the references to past experiences that Jacovich had, I could still understand the idea of what he had been through in the past.

I enjoyed the writing style and the character development throughout the book. Once I got started with the book, I didn't want to stop reading it. I love books like this one that keep me guessing and I do not know the outcome early in the book. I will definitely look into reading the earlier Milan Jacovich books.

Vigilante by Stephen J. Cannell

This is only the second Stephen Cannell book that I have read. The face that I have not read the previous novels did not affect my understanding in this book. The book was entertaining and frustrating at the same time. I had no idea who was the murderer or how all the pieces would fit together. I was frustrated because I was so mad at the media guy for twisting cases to make police officers look bad. I loved how Scully & Hitch balanced each other out and worked their way through the case. Cannell did a great job walking the reader through the logic that Scully & Hitch used to solve the murder. I look forward to going back to the beginning and reading more of the Shane Scully series.

Last Known Victim by Erica Spindler

This is the first Erica Spindler book that I have read. I found it was a fast paced book. It was an easy read and the author continued the suspense throughout the book. There were quite a few character to keep track of and I have a feeling if I had read previous books that the characters would have meant more to me. Overall this book has me interested in more Erica Spindler books as quick and entertaining reads.

Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson

This books was okay. I enjoy a fast paced, easy read at times and Patterson always delivers. I found myself a little surprised that there was a twist so early on in the story. I wasn't sure where the book could go from that point forward. After a few more chapters, I had a strong suspicion as to what would happen next and I wasn't wrong. Although I found the book quite predictable the entire second half, it was entertaining for the most part. It will not prevent me from picking up another Patterson book because I do enjoy an easy read at times.

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith

I wasn't sure about this book when I first started it but before I knew it, I was hooked. The main character, Geiger, is one of the types of characters that you hate to admit you like and want to know more about him. I love the opposite personalities of Geiger and his worker Harry. The author did a wonderful job developing the characters but keeping you guessing and wanting to know more. The book really picks up speed as you continue reading it. I will definitely look into more Mark Allen Smith books in the future.

Force of Nature by C.J. Box

This is another great book by C.J. Box. I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous Joe Pickett novels and this one does not disappoint. (This book can be read without reading the previous books but I would recommend reading at least one other previous Joe Pickett book because it would help the reader understand the gravity of the situation between Joe and Nate.)

After a triple murder, Nate is suspected of committing the crime and is back on the run. Joe has to make the decision about if he wants to know what Nate is keeping secret and what is bringing people after him. Everyone who has ever known Nate is in danger and he has to get things figured out before the people he loves the most are killed.

After reading all the previous Joe Pickett novels, I was anxious to know what makes Nate the mysterious character he has been throughout the series. Nate's story did not disappoint. Nate's story was not just handed to you. You had to patiently wait till Nate was read to tell it. It kept the suspense up until the very end.

Box did a great job describing the characters that Nate was up against. I know nothing about falconry but Box did a wonderful job explaining the art and giving the reader the desire to know more about it. There were parts in the story that I felt a little lost about falconry but by the end, I learned how it all tied in to the story line.

This is a great book. I would recommend any C.J. Box book to anyone who likes a good mystery and would like to learn a little something about living out west. I find I always learn something new from his books.

The Dunn Deal by Catherine Leggitt

This is the first Catherine Leggitt book I have read. I'm not a huge fan of the cozy mysteries because I get frustrated with the main characters (standard citizens) becoming sleuths. I find myself wanting the character to use common logic and not go into weird and dangerous situations. That being said, I really enjoyed this book.

The book opens with the death of Christine Sterling's friend (and neighbor's son-in-law), Officer Dunn. Christine knows something more has gone on and that Office Dunn did not jump off the cliff. She starts nosing into the investigation and soon finds herself around some unsavory characters. Her life and her dog's life may soon be in jeopardy.

Although Christine is an older lady who kind of butts into a murder investigation, I found her endearing. I love that she is not perfect. She questions God and she gets annoyed when her best friend Zora Jane wants to pray at every moment. Christine seems so real. She tries to keep her faith strong but comes across very human.

I love that the author brings many aspects to life. She is able to write about Jesse's hearing loss in such an accurate way. The author did well bringing in Christian faith throughout the book. There are people in life who constantly want to pray or talk about salvation and other around them get uncomfortable but they know they should be open about faith as well. The author did a great job writing with this conflict included.

As I mention above, I am not a big fan of cozy mysteries but this one was one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will definitely look into finding more of her books.

Trail of Blood by Lisa Black

I enjoyed the way Lisa Black wrote this book. The transition between the 1930's case and the present day case was written well. Although I had an idea who the guilty person was early on in the book, it was challenging to put all the pieces together to "make a case" against that person. It is fascinating that part of the book was based on a real case. I am interested in using the bibliography information in the back of the book to research the case more.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I wasn't sure how this book would be but it was recommended to me by a friend. I started it on Saturday and finished it by lunch on Sunday. It was a great book!

Beatrice (aka Tris) has reached her 16th birthday and now has to make the decision as to which faction she will join for the rest of her life. There is no going back on her choice...she will stay with her parents or she will leave them and hurt them. In the process, Tris finds out that she doesn't test the same as most people and this brings attention to her...and it could lead to serious trouble. The only thing keeping her going is to make her family proud and her new friends. As times progresses, Tris soon finds out what strength she really has within her.

I enjoyed the character building of the people as well as the factions. I found myself thinking about what faction I would want to choose to live within.

The author has a vivid imagination and describes the areas she has in her mind so well that the reader can definitely put themselves within the scenes of the story.

I found myself on edge because of the conflict that Tris has to face when she enters her new faction. I also find myself angry at the "bullies" within the story. I feel it goes to the author's ability to write good characters when you are feeling emotions towards those characters.

I knew this book was the start of a trilogy and I was nervous that the end would leave me hanging too much. I was pleasantly surprised. The author was able to leave the reader hanging without making the reader frustrated. There was some resolution at the end of the story that allows you to be patient while you wait for the next book...but you still want that next book to come out sooner than later.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to other fans of YA dystopian stories. In fact, I have already sent the book to a family member.

77 Shadow Street by Deen Koontz

I was initially intrigued with this book. I started reading and was sucked into the story line. But after a bit, I was disenchanted with the story. I found myself not caring if I finished the book. I continued to try to fight through it and finish the book. I did get it finished but I felt let down and I kind of regretted reading it. Dean Koontz has definitely written better books in the past and I hope he comes out with a better book in the near future.

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

I have a friend who has talked about the Mortal Instruments Series for awhile now. I thought I would get into it as well.

I found the first half of this book captivating. It took me no time to get through the first 200 pages. I loved all the conflict between the characters. I was captivated by how Clary was transforming herself through the challenges she was facing.

As I passed the half-way point, I didn't find myself as hooked on the story. I enjoyed the action but it eventually seemed like the book has just gone on a little too long. It felt as though the author was trying to add more and more when the story didn't need that much. I found myself slightly disappointed in how the relationship between Jace and Clary changed. I guess I felt it was too predictable and I would have liked their relationship to have stayed the same. I did like how Luke's involvement changed and how his character developed in the second half of the story.

Overall, this was a good book. It wasn't one of the best I have read but I did enjoy it. I am planning on reading the second book in the series to see how the story line develops in that book. I will know more if this is a series that I will finish after reading the second book.