Saturday, May 31, 2008

Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark

It has been ten years since twenty-one-year-old Charles MacKenzie Jr. ("Mack") went missing. A Columbia University senior, about to graduate and already accepted at Duke University Law School, he walked out of his apartment on Manhattan's Upper West Side without a word to his college roommates and has never been seen again. However, he does make one ritual phone call to his mother every year: on Mother's Day. Each time, he assures her he is fine, refuses to answer her frantic questions, then hangs up. Even the death of his father, a corporate lawyer, in the tragedy of 9/11 does not bring him home or break the pattern of his calls.

Mack's sister, Carolyn, is now twenty-six, a law school graduate, and has just finished her clerkship for a civil court judge in Manhattan. She has endured two family tragedies, yet she realizes that she will never be able to have closure and get on with her life until she finds her brother. She resolves to discover what happened to Mack and why he has found it necessary to hide from them.

Where Are You Now? is a fairly predictable mystery. And while Clark's work is comforting in its predictability, her recent books haven't thrilled me. They aren't bad, they're just not great either. But, even still, sometimes it's nice to curl up with a book that you know will be a quick read and a decent mystery. 3 stars

Friday, May 30, 2008

Beverly Hills Dead by Stewart Woods

Rick Barron, a former Beverly Hills cop, has risen to head of production of Centurion Pictures, and he's at the top of his game. But tensions are high in Hollywood, and when Rick's friend Sidney Brooks, a successful screenwriter, receives a subpoena from the House Un-American Activities Committee, Rick isn't surprised. The witch hunt is spreading, and those under investigation are Rick's closest friends-even his wife, the glamorous starlet Glenna Gleason.

Beverly Hills Dead is the follow up to Prince of Beverly Hills. I love Stuart Woods, and while this isn't my favorite series of his, I still can't wait to read anything he writes! I do love how he weaves the characters from all his different series together. You never know who will pop up where! 3.5 stars


I was tagged by Kathleen's Book Reviews for an author meme.

1. Who’s your all-time favorite author, and why?

Diana Gabaldon! I love the Outlander series and have read them all multiple times. There is so much to this series. Anybody that discounts it as just romance is truly missing out! I am not as crazy about the Lord John series, but plan to get to them too.

2. Who was your first favorite author, and why? Do you still consider him or her among your favorites?

As a kid I loved all the Nancy Drew books, so I guess Carolyn Keene. I seem to remember favorite titles (The Indian in the Cupboard, Tuck Everlasting, Bridge to Terebithia) more than I remember authors.

3. Who’s the most recent addition to your list of favorite authors, and why?

I just recently started reading Victoria Laurie's Abby Cooper series and love it! I don't usually read cozies, but Abby is such a fun character that you can't help but love all the messes she gets herself into.

4. If someone asked you who your favorite authors were right now, which authors would first pop out of your mouth? Are there any you’d add on a moment of further reflection?

Diana Gabaldon. John Sandford, Harlan Coben, Jeffery Deaver and Stuart Woods are always great. I also enjoy Anita Shreve and Elizabeth Berg.

5. Tagged:

Literary License
Lori's Reading Corner
Love To Read
Lyza Danger Gardner

Rules: Link to the person that tagged you, post the rules somewhere in your meme, answer the questions, tag six people in your post, let the tagees know they’ve been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog, let the tagger know your entry is posted.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen

“The life of a good dog is like the life of a good person, only shorter and more compressed,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anna Quindlen about her beloved black Labrador retriever, Beau. With her trademark wisdom and humor, Quindlen reflects on how her life has unfolded in tandem with Beau’s, and on the lessons she’s learned by watching him: to roll with the punches, to take things as they come, to measure herself not in terms of the past or the future but of the present, to raise her nose in the air from time to time and, at least metaphorically, holler, “I smell bacon!”

This is a short book, I read it in a half hour, but anyone who has loved a dog will relate. Its 82 pages made me laugh and made me grateful for the years I, hopefully, still have with my dogs. The book is also filled with beautiful photos of all different kinds of dogs. 4 stars

Playing with the Grown-ups by Sophie Dahl

For Kitty, growing up at Hay House amongst bluebell woods and doting relations is heaven. But for her mother, the restless Marina, a bohemian beauty who paints and weeps with alacrity, this comfortable domesticity cannot provide the novelty and excitement she craves. Marina is utterly beguiling, but more often than not Kitty can only gaze on her antics with awe and toe-curling trepidation.
When Swami-ji, Marina’s Guru, sees Marina’s future in New York, the family relocates, leaving Kitty exiled in a colorless boarding school. Reprieve comes in the form of the Guru’s summons to the ashram; but then, just as Kitty is approaching enlightenment, she and Marina are off again, leaving for an England that is now fast and unfamiliar. This time no god, man, or martini can staunch Marina’s hunger for a happiness that proves all too elusive. And Kitty, turning fifteen, must choose: whether to play dangerous games with the grown-ups or begin to put herself first.

Sophie Dahl's debut book had loads of promise, but didn't quite live up to my expectations. The quirky characters were fun, and the writing, at times, was absolutely wonderful. Other times, though, the writing seemed very choppy as if parts were missing as we moved from scene to scene. Overall, still an enjoyable book and an author to follow. 3.5 stars

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Buy a Friend a Book Giveaway!

Lori has another wonderful giveaway on her site! Check out Lori's Reading Corner for all the details. It's part of Buy a Friend a Book week, which is the first week in July.

Come join us and spread the word!

Tuesday Thingers!

So the question this week is- how many books do you have cataloged in your LibraryThing account? How do you decide what to include- everything you have, everything you've read- and are there things you leave off?

Right now I have 773 books in my library. Because I am lazy, the only books that get added with any regularity are the ones I get from BookMooch. This happens because I can click a button to add them! The books I get from PBS or other sources only get added when I've read them so I can tag them as Read 2008. Maybe it's time to do an upload to LT from PBS...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Books for Free contest!!

Time to check out another great book contest! This Book for Free Keep checking back for the next contest. Now for the rules...

1. Blog about a book written by one of your favorite authors. Tell us why you like it, what’s good about it, and your favorite parts. Make sure to post my button/banner in the post, or mention about this game in your post.
2. If you have no blog, you can post about it in a bulletin/message board of your choice. Leave the link in the comment form below.
3. Mention this site at
4. Paste one of my buttons from the sidebar. (if you have questions about pasting buttons, please e-mail me, or click on contact me at my navigation bar.)
5. Leave your comment here with a link to your specific post to be eligible to win.
6. You can post more than once, about different authors, if you have more than one blog. (But only one blog post per blog).


My book of choice would have to be the newest Lucas Davenport book, Phantom Prey by John Sanford. I have been following this series since the beginning and that characters feel like old friends at this point! I can't wait to read the next installment.

Takeover by Lisa Black

Forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is investigating a grisly murder when she gets word that her fiance has been taken hostage with seven others in a bank robbery. Arriving at the scene, she discovers that the policy have brought in Cleveland's best hostage negotiator. Handsome, high-profile Chris Cavanaugh hasn't lost a victim yet, but Theresa wonders if he might be too arrogant to save the day this time around.

Lisa Black's debut is a tight, riveting thriller. The action moves smoothly from the crime scene to a dramatic hostage situation during a bank robbery. Tension mounts as one of the hostages is injured, and the twists and turns throughout the book make it hard to put down. Takeover's dramatic ending is surprising and high-impact. I recommend this to mystery lovers and will be looking for more by this author. 4 stars

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay

In this charming novel about the eccentricities and passions of booksellers and collectors, a captivating young Australian woman takes a job at a vast, chaotic emporium of used and rare books in New York City and finds herself caught up in the search for a lost Melville manuscript.

This book has an absolutely wonderful cast of eccentric and odd characters, which make the story much more entertaining. The story moved a little slow at times for me, but was ultimately an enjoyable book. 3.5 stars

Killer Insight by Victoria Laurie

When a childhood friend of Abby's from Denver, Colorado, finds herself short one bridesmaid, it doesn't take a professional psychic to see the opportunity for a much-needed getaway. But one bridesmaid after the next is mysteriously flying the coop, and Abby's intuition tells her their final destination isn't pretty. With the wedding party falling apart and her gift of sight never quite so foggy, Abby has to save the date, and herself, from becoming the next taffeta-clad target.

Yet another wonderful Abby Cooper book! I enjoyed this one a little more than the third in the series. It had a little more actual mystery to it, and Abby was very likable throughout the entire book. 4 stars

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Vision of Murder by Victoria Laurie

When Abby gets roped into investing in a fixer-upper, she has no idea she'll go from real-estate mogul to real-life ghostbuster. After the deal is closed, phantom inhabitants of the house replay a violent night from long ago that ended in the murder of a beautiful blonde. The only way to evict the house's spectral tenants--and save Abby's handyman from flying drills--is to uncover the dead woman's identity and solve her murder.

I love this series, and this was another fun installment! The characters just keep getting better and better. Can't wait to see what's in store for Abby next. 4 stars

Last Breath by George D. Shuman

A ruthless serial killer with an unthinkable MO has left a trail of tortured, murdered women in western Maryland and seems to have gone to ground in the backwoods of Pennsylvania. With no leads or any sign of a suspect, investigators must call on the woman whose talent inspires skepticism, but whose results are unparalleled. When she is put in contact with the hand of any dead body, she relives the memory of the departed's final experience. While investigating this case, she is privy to the most savage and terrifying scenes imaginable. However, because the killer is aware of her methods, he keeps his identity just beyond her reach until she resolves to put herself directly in harm's way. When the fiend sets his sights on Sherry, this seemingly helpless woman must demonstrate an almost inhuman strength of will and of body as she attempts to capture the deranged killer without having to pay the ultimate price in exchange.

I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first in the series, 18 Seconds. The third book in the series is out later this year and I will check it out. Hopefully it is back on par with 18 Seconds. 3 stars

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pay It Forward Book Exchange

Please join me in Lori's Pay it Forward book exchange! You can enter at Lori's Reading Corner to register to win 5 brand new books!

Rescuing Sprite by Mark Levin

Although Mark Levin is known as a constitutional lawyer and a nationally syndicated broadcaster, he is, first and foremost, a dog lover. In 1998, he and his family welcomed a half-Border Collie/half-Cocker Spaniel they named Pepsi into their lives. Six years later, his wife and son persuaded him to adopt a dog from the local shelter, a Spaniel mix. It turned out he was older than originally thought, and he was the most beautiful dog they'd ever seen. They named him Sprite. Their lives would never be the same.

I didn't enjoy this book at all, and wouldn't have finished it if it hadn't been so short. The writing was simple and flat. The author came across as out for attention with all his name dropping. Read Marley and Me instead if you want to read a great dog book! 1.5 stars

The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky

Deborah Monroe and her daughter, Grace, are driving home from a party when their car hits a man running in the dark. Grace was at the wheel, but Deborah sends her home before the police arrive, determined to shoulder the blame for the accident. Her decision then turns into a deception that takes on a life of its own and threatens the special bond between mother and daughter.

This book wasn't anything special for me, but was still an enjoyable read. 3 stars

Accidental Happiness by Jean Reynolds Page

After her husband's unexpected death at thirty-six, Gina Melrose becomes a "live-aboard" on his boat, docked at a marina in coastal South Carolina near the home she and Ben once shared. But Gina's temporary, borrowed existence of numb survival is shattered by the sudden appearance of Ben's unpredictable ex-wife Resse, and Reese's charming young daughter, Angel. After the shock of their arrival, Gina realizes that she's inexplicably drawn to them.

This is a great book! I loved all the characters and will be looking for more by this author. 4.5 stars

Bride Island by Alexandra Enders

Six years ago, Polly Birdswell—drinking and deeply unhappy—made a decision that changed her life forever. Believing she could spare her young daughter a legacy of self-destruction, she left her husband and child and moved north to a coastal town in Maine. There, close to Bride Island, the beloved family retreat she considers her true home, she set about getting sober and remaking her life.

Bride Island started out a little slow for me, but once I got a little further into it I enjoyed it. While a good read, it was nothing amazing. 3 stars

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody

Diablo Cody was twenty-four years old when she decided there had to be more to life than typing copy at an ad agency. On a whim, she signed up for amateur night at Minneapolis's seedy Skyway Lounge. She didn't win a prize that night, but she discovered that stripping delivered a rush she had never experienced before, and too many experiences to not write about it. While she didn't fit the ordinary profile of a stripper, she had a supportive boyfriend, was equal parts brainpower and beauty, was from a good family, and was out to do a little soul searching, she soon immersed herself in this enticing life full-time.

I loved this book! It was absolutely hilarious and very well written. The descriptions were wonderful, and I even learned a thing or two about adult entertainment. 4.5 stars

Better Read Than Dead by Victoria Laurie

Word of Abby's talents reading tarot cards has reached a mob boss who wants her help in some business matters and he doesn't take no for an answer. When the police seek out her psychic intuition to shed light on a masked man who's been attacking women, Abby finds herself working both sides of the law on her own, leading her to wonder, why didn't I see this coming?

I don't usually read cozies, but I really enjoy this series. Abby is a fun character, and I can't wait to see what trouble she gets in next! 4 stars

While I Was Gone by Sue Miller

Despite having a loving husband, three vivacious daughters, a beautiful home in rural Massachusetts, and satisfaction in her work, Jo Becker's mind is invaded by a persistent restlessness. Then, an old roommate reappears to bring back Jo's memories of her early 20s. Her obsession with that period of her life and with the crime that concluded it eventually estrange Jo from everything she holds dear, causing her to tell lie after lie as she is pulled closer to this man from her past--and to a horrible secret.

I usually enjoy Oprah's book selections, but this one just didn't really do it for me. It was an ok read, but nothing special. 3 stars