Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tough Cookie by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy is trying to keep herself a float while her kitchen is being redone again. The sinks did not meet the standard so now she is left scrambling. Hosting a TV cooking show was not on her list but she finds herself enjoying it. Until it all seems to go downhill, and now she is being asked a lot of questions. She does not want to look bad but her curiosity still gets her. She needs to know what is going on or so she thinks. She has so much to do that she wonders if she will come out unscathed.

Ms. Davidson does it again! I love this series. I feel so at home with Goldy and her friends and family. I also love reading the recipes that she creates. I know I could never do much with food but Goldy is a whiz and a half!

Goldy is so sweet with her son Arch. I really like the relationship that they share. It is a good one but even Arch acts like a teenager now and then, which is to be expected. Marla was back and I was so happy to see her again! She has me in stitches the entire time she is there. Other people surfaced in the book, which made me very happy. The characters are so real and the ideas that they have are fun. The criminal in this book surprised me. I did not see it coming though I rarely do anyways.

This is one series I hope to finish this year. If I keep this up I should have it done by June if I keep reading one a month. I hate to see it end but I have enjoyed it thoroughly and who knows maybe she comes out with another one this year.

Diane Mott Davidson/ 291 pages/ Cooking/ Mystery/ 5 out of 5

This is the last one of the month. Tomorrow I start TheManning Sisters by Debbie Macomber. I will also post a review for a book I read while ago as well as my books for this month and stats!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman

Sophie is so focused on her current life that she has pretty much forgotten her best friend Carrie. They have not talked in a long time so Sophie is completely shocked when she finds out Carrie died in a car accident. As the social worker is reminding her of the agreement she had made on Bella’s Christening day, Sophie is not sure what to do. She does not want to see the two girls hurt but is unsure if she can take care of them.

Ms. Coleman writes a compelling story and a situation that could happen at any time. I loved the storyline since the emotions came across as very real. Sophie has a lot of struggles and that is what makes her so interesting.

Sophie is career focused but finds out that it is not important. She does not want anything bad to happen to either girl and that is what makes her decide to take them. She wants the father involved and so does her own search to find him. Bella and Izzy are a handful but both well behaved girls. Bella acts older than six and that is what broke my heart. She wanted to stay strong for her little sister. Izzy is having a more difficult time with it than Bella since she does not understand what happened. I wanted to wrap my arms around both girls. To lose their mom at such a young age was so sad. Louis had a lot of responsibility to take on being the father and having left his wife and kids. He now realizes how stupid it was of him and is trying to make things better but will it work?

I was swept up in this book immediately. This premise has written quite a few times but I felt that Ms. Coleman had put her own spin on it. I was pleased with the book and how it ended. That is not always easy to do is to make people happy. You have your own ideas and so you put them on the page. I will definitely want to read more by this author.
Rowan Coleman/ New Author/ Kids/432 pages/ 5 out of 5

I read this one last week but with my crazy work schedule I never got it typed up till now. :)

The Art Thief by Noah Charney

Pieces of art are being stolen and nothing seems connected. Or is it? That is the job of Inspector Wickenden. Genevieve Delacloche takes care of the society dedicated to the painter Kasimir Malevich. When one of his best paintings is stolen, she gets help from not only the Inspector but she has him call in Gabriel Coffin. Yet all seems right in the end, but is there truly honor among thieves?

Mr. Charney has done a fabulous job of confusing me until the end. Things that I thought were right were not. Having the knowledge about art truly helped me understand how they verify paintings once they acquire them from either people who donate them or if they win them through an auction.

Genevieve works for this society because her father at one time sold a painting to be able to take care of some debts. It happened to be by the painter Malevich and now working for the society she can keep an eye on all his paintings and hopefully acquire the one that was sold. Inspector Wickenden is the only man I did not see with any fault. He wanted the truth to be solved and put his whole heart into it. I really appreciated his efforts to do what he needed to but he never crossed the line. Gabriel Coffin helps solve cases but he also lectures all around the world. He tries to bring in as much income as he can. His secrets are very surprising.

I was disappointed in a couple of these characters. I expected better but was left flat. I knew people would do anything to get what they want but I felt the ones who were behind it all went way too stinking far! It almost got to the point where it pissed me off. I have read a quick blurb for his next book and I hope it will be much better. I don’t like giving up on authors.

Noah Charney, New Author, Art, Thieves, 304 pages, Simon and Schuster, 3 out of 5

Next up is Four Wives by Wenday Walker. :) After that finally a review book for CTR.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Peppermint Twisted by Sammi Carter

Abby Shaw is back again. This time she seems to be taking on more than she can handle. Abby is asked to step in and confront Felicity Asbury after she is named head of the committee for the arts festival. Problems only continue when Felicity is found dead in Divinity’s parking lot. Abby is looked at as the main suspect. She is not going to be duped when she knows she did not do it. So she must solve the case yet do it secretly. In this small town that is a huge task not to mention trying to keep herself safe. Can she figure out who is so twisted to do it or be in great danger?

Sammi Carter is a fabulous writer! It seemed to take forever to get this novel out but it was definitely worth the wait! She writes real characters that you feel for. I loved being around the small town of Paradise, Colorado. The characters also have their quirks. That what makes each one so unique.

I loved being back with Abby to see not only what obstacles that she was up against but how she would handle them. That girl has more guts than I ever could. Her family is still completely against her owning Divinity and willing to see her fail. I also liked seeing Pine Jawarski again. He is such a sweetie. I just wish he would get things figured out. Maybe in the next one?

Okay so I do not know if there is another book coming but I hope so. This author has captured my attention and I enjoy every book. All three are great but definitely read in order so if you have not read this series please start with Candy Apple Dead. I will be waiting for the next installment with bated breath.
Sammi Carter/Cozy Mystery/Candy/244 pages/4 out of 5

Next up is a review book called The Accidental Mother by Rowan Coleman.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

Amy Redwing is dedicated to rescuing and taking care of Golden Retrievers. She even went so far as to found an organization to do just that. She is seen as rather reckless at times when it comes to getting the dogs out of homes. Especially her boyfriend Brian McCarthy, he really does not understand why she does it and honestly wishes she would stop. It won’t be until they meet a beautiful golden retriever named Nickie that things will begin to make sense for him. Though at the same time, Amy starts to feel like she is being followed and watched. Someone wants her to become fearful and hunted just like the animals she is always saving. But will anyone be able to save her this time?

Dean Koontz has done it again! This man just boggles my mind how he creates the stories that captivate you. I was enthralled from page one and then as Amy’s back-story is revealed and as I slowly put the picture together I was in awe! His characters run the gamut of cruelty and nice. Yet that is what makes them so real. This is one author who is completely become my favorite!

Amy has told no one of her past. She thinks it is safer that way. I can understand that sometimes it is just better to let the past be in the past. Yet when Brian experiences things of his own, Amy realizes she needs to tell him everything. He might be the one who can help her get through this mess. The dogs in this story were amazing what they had been through and how well they were healing. I also appreciated how realistic Mr. Koontz could be at times with some of the dogs in the story not making it.

I appreciated the fact at how discreet Mr. Koontz kept the details of the horrible lives of some of the dogs. This was one compelling story not only because of the dogs but also of Amy and Brian. The twists and turns in this book had me going for a loop. Not to mention the unexpected thing that kept happening from time to time. Nickie was a sweet dog and I can only imagine how sweet Trixie, Mr. Koontz’s dog was. This is one book I highly recommend!

Dean Koontz/Thriller/354 pages/4 out of 5/Dogs

Even though the copy I had from the library was rather smokey, I could not put this book down!

Third Degree by Greg Iles

Laurel is having one of the worst days ever. She came home early from school to find her husband Warren tearing apart their house looking for something. She initially thought it had something to do with the audit that was going to happen at his doctor’s office but when he blindsided her with the fact that he had found a love letter to her. Her world crashed around her not to mention the fact that she had found out she was pregnant this morning but didn’t know who the father was. Now she has to try to calm her hubby down before the kids come home and hope she can keep her secret.

Greg Iles is a fantastic writer. He devises scenes that are not easy to wrap your mind around. The situations are similar to other books but the thing I like the most is how Mr. Iles makes his characters react to it. That is what sets his books apart. Yet I had a difficult time getting past how some of the characters were not wanting to pay for their crimes.

Laurel did what a lot of women do today by looking for love in other places than their husband. That is her first mistake not to mention the fact that she won’t get caught. Warren seems obsessed with finding out who wrote the letter to his wife. It overtakes him as part as his OCD. It just became surprising how important that was to him. Nothing else mattered not even his kids; Warren needed to know the truth. The man became very creepy and reminded me again why adultery is so horrible.

This book was quite the thriller not only for the fact that Laurel was trying to figure out how to keep her kids safe. But also she wanted her lover to remain unknown. This one was not one of my favorites by him but still he is one of my favorite authors. Mr. Iles really knows how to make you think and I appreciate that. I will read his next one and I have a few of his older ones that I have not read yet.

Greg Iles/385 pages/ Thriller/ Family/3 out of 5

I finished this one and The Darkeste Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz this wekeend. both very well written and authors I have really come to like their writing style. :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Leftovers by Laura Wiss

Blair and Ardith are best friends. They are sick of kids at school judging them and making their life set for them by the gossip that goes around. So they set out to do something unforgivable. They do it because of their backgrounds. They feel forgotten and left over.

Ms. Wiss presents a compelling story that makes you think. She never puts her opinion on the table. She writes so you can make your own decisions. You are able to view a world that could happen to any young girl. It is something that will keep you turning pages.

Blair was sick of her mom deciding her life for her so she set out to do what she wanted. She made sure to keep up appearances but leaving her mom in the dark. Ardith wanted to leave her family. She rarely brought anyone home. She kept herself safe by a padlock on her bedroom door.

Eye opening does not even begin to describe this book. The parents presented in this book outraged me. There has got to be a balance somewhere that parents can be involved but not too restricting. Consequences need to happen but I thought these parents were not wanting to be involved in their kids’ lives and that upset me the most. This is one I recommend not only for teenagers but for parents too. It is a good short read that will have you questioning everything. I definitely want to read more by this author.
Laura Wiss/ Review Book/ 4 out of 5/ Young Adult Fiction/Friends/196 pages

I read this one for Simon and SChuster. Right now I am working on Third Degree by Greg Iles.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs is trying to find a way to get income now that she is no longer in the service of wealthy London aristocrats. Ten years after serving as a nurse on the front lines, she comes back to open her own detective agency. The first assignment looks to be a rather simple infidelity case. But upon further investigation, Maisie sees how difficult it will really be and she has to revisit the horrors of her past and the ghost she left behind. Can she do it and still give the peace of mind her client needs?

Ms. Winspear’s writing pleased me. She presented characters that not only tried to make the world better in some cases that happened even in the smallest aspect. I was pleased with how well it was written and the flashbacks gave it some meat that I enjoyed. The mystery took some time to solve and Ms. Winspear made sure that Maisie got all the help she could.

Maisie was a woman I could cheer for. She used her resources to the best of her ability. She made sure never to abuse anyone because she wanted to repay him or her for what they did. I liked how she was a friend to Maurice. The man was a great character and very smart. He helped her learn before she ever made it to Cambridge. Definitely an ally she could rely on whenever she needed to bounce ideas off of someone.

This book had its sad moments but all in all, Maisie even got something out of doing her mystery solving. The next one cannot get to me fast enough. The storyline was good and the interview at the end of the book was fantastic! I got a good look into the author and how she was able to write this book. It impressed me! This is an author to go out and read!

Jacqueline Winspear/ New Author/ 294 pages/ Mystery/Historical/ 5 out of 5

Now off to read Leftovers by Laura Wiss. :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Play Dirty by Sandra Brown

Griff Burkett was finally a free man. Cheating during a game while playing for the Cowboys sent his to jail, now he is trying to rebuild his life. Foster Speakman has a plan in mind and needs Griff’s help. He and his wife are the perfect couple except they have no children. That is where Griff comes in. But can he agree to the terms presented to him? Or will everything fall apart around them? Yet things must be settled and Grif is not sure what to do about that and the situation presented to him by the Speakman’s.

Sandra Brown is a fantastic write who weaves the plot that leaves you spell bound. Her characters are full of complexities that make the plot well rounded. I could not get enough and the twists and the turns left me on the edge of my seat.

I really felt for Laura Speakman. She was willing to do anything for her hubby even though she didn’t agree with it. It took a lot of guts for her to agree to Foster’s terms. But she made sure that she had her say as well. She was not going to agree till she had not only talked to Griff but also made sure he knew what was expected of him. Griff was in a tough spot.

I really liked this book and cannot wait for the next Sandra Brown book. I have quite a few that I have not read yet so I hope to read another one soon! She is a good writer that never ceases to amaze me!
Sandra Brown/Adult Fiction/ 404 pages/ 5 out of 5

Now I am working on Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. I hope it's a good book. Will let you know. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blaze by Richard Bachman

Blaze has had a hard life but things chance once he meets George Rackley. He feels like he is accepted again even if that means a life of crime. But the two of them come up with a scheme so that they don’t have to do any other crimes ever again. They plan on kidnapping a baby. But not just any baby, an heir to a fortune. Things go bad when George is killed and now Blaze is all on his own. Can he go through with it after all or will he chicken out now that he is alone?

Richard Bachman is a good writer. He knows how you to get interesting from page one till the end. I was pulled into this story and had to find out what was going to happen to not only Blaze but the baby that they had picked. It had slow moments for back story but all in all it made sense and was important. It really helped get a feel for the characters and their motivations in life.

I truly felt sorry for Blaze. If his father had been a better father, he probably would have had a completely different life. But being thrown down the stairs twice would truly mess up your life. He just wanted something better for himself and he got chances at it. Thought it never seemed to pan out, which bummed me out a lot. George was your typical guy who wanted to find someone to work with as well as make a plan and stick to it.

This was a good book and one that was a good read. The flashbacks were good to read because as I said before you got a better feel for the characters. That helped me actually feel for them. I definitely want to read more by this author.

At the end of the book is a short story by Stephen King called Memory. It was well written and sounds like that one is being turned into a story. So it will be interesting to see what is done with it.

Richard Bachman/285 pages/ Thriller/ 4 out of 5

Right now I am working on Play Dirty by Sandra Brown.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dec Reads and Stats

Between working after Christmas through New Year's and then working 4 days in a row this past weekend, I have not been able to post my reads and stats for last month. SO here they are!

263. The Tokyo Look Book by Philomena Keet 11-29-07 through 12-01-07 A
264. Ask Now The Beasts by Ruth Rudner 12-01-07 through 12-03-07 A+
265. Mew for Murder by Clea Simon 12-03-07 through 12-05-07 A
266. In the Blood by Rick R. Reed 12-05-07 through 12-08-07 B
267. The Vision: Book 1 The Green Stone of Healing by C.L. Talmudge 12-09-07 through 12-14-07 A
268. The Fallout: Book 2 The Green Stone of Healing by C.L. Talmadge 12-14-07 through 12-17-07 A
269. Sliced Ice Cream by Tammy Lynn Whisman 12-17-07 through 12-18-07 B
270. Hell for the Holidays by Chris Grabenstein 12-18-07 through 12-20-07 A+
271. Minx by Megan Blythe 12-20-07 through 12-21-07 C
272. The Scent of Rosa’s Oil by Lina Simoni 12-21-07 through 12-23-07 A
273. Not Quite A Mom by Kirsten Sawyer 12-23-07 through 12-24-07 A+
274. The Handyman by Jodi Lynn Copeland 12-24-07 through 12-25-07 A+
275. Blood Dreams by Kay Hooper 12-25-07 through 12-28-07 A
276. The Murder Game by Beverly Barton 12-28-07 A+

Total Books Read: 14
New Authors: 11
Fiction: 11
Non-Fiction: 3
TBR: 0
Chunksters: 0
Christmas Books: 1
Books Reviewed: 12
From the Stacks: 8
Books I bought: 1
Books Given to me: 4
PBS Sent: 2
PBS Received: 2
Total Pages Read: 3, 808 pages

I am still working on the numbers for the year. :)