Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Dead Man: Kill Them All

Goodreads Summary:
When Matt wanders into a struggling Nevada tourist trap recreation of an "old west" town, he's unaware that he's being trailed by a Special Ops team of professional mercenaries hired by a University desperate to learn the secret behind his resurrection...and that he's put everyone around him in dire jeopardy. The mercenaries have no intention of letting Matt escape...or let any witnesses survive. Matt finds himself in a deadly bind. Somehow he must rally the peaceful citizens into defending themselves against the sadistic, well armed mercenaries...or sacrifice himself to save them from certain death.

My Review:
And thankfully, the series continues...

Matt is on a new adventure in an "Old West" Nevada town. The sex is toned down in this one as Matt truly doesn't have time with all of the action he's partaking in (and really creating himself). I loved this installment and can't wait for the next one. I have to say that this one was far worth the wait. Molotov cocktail in the hands of teens upstairs in a whorehouse anyone? This book was just amazing and action packed from start to finish.

Matt is in search, once again, for Mr. Dark so he may rid the world (and have some peace of mind) from this evil. He finds himself in Nevada and in an attempt to escape the small town he discovers he's being searched for himself.

4/5 stars

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Dead Man: The Blood Mesa

Goodreads Summary:
The fifth book of The Dead Man series. Matt Cahill, the living dead man, confronts Mr. Dark and his evil atop a mesa in New Mexico.

My Review:
It's no surprise to find an excellent novel in The Dead Man series. They seem to be all hits. This one was fast moving and just as unique as the others. This time Matt finds himself at an archaeology dig where some very interesting remains are being unearthed.

As usual, Matt battles with ax-wielding intensity that makes for a non stop, action-packed read.
4/5 stars

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Motion to Kill

Goodreads Summary:
Richard Sullivan was at the top of his profession, a rainmaker in a powerful Kansas City law firm until his body washed up on the shores of a Missouri lake. Now questions about his death, and his life, reverberate through a firm that has more to cover up than it ever knew. Dark secrets pit partners against each other and their clients in a desperate struggle to stay alive.

My Review:
This was a great novel that was thoughtfully done and well crafted. Following the main character, Lou Mason, as he tries to find out who murdered his partner makes for a riveting read. Around every corner there seems to be an unexpected surprise and the closer Mason gets to the truth the more danger he is in evidenced by things begin blowing up around him and the dead bodies that keep appearing.

At first Lou is just seeking justice and then he is trying to stay alive on this quick-witted, fast-action thriller. It's different than most in this genre as it's a wonderful blend of police procedural and law. There's money at stake, a big name law partner has died, others may be next, and Lou decides to team up with the Sheriff to expedite things. There is no author to compare Joel Goldman to because this really was so unique and as far as one could get from a stereotypical thriller in any sub genre. And of course the two intelligent, attractive women trying to get Lou into bed just adds to the excitement. Extortion, explosions, murder, FBI, a hot sheriff and hot law partner, and sex. It seems damn perfect to me.
4/5 stars

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Dead Man: The Dead Woman

Goodreads Summary:
Fourth book about Matt Cahill, a man who died in an avalanche, but didn't. Now he sees evil where other people can't and is plagued by a being called Mr. Dark.

My Review:
This was one of my favorite installments. I found it to have an interesting storyline and for the first time there was a serial killer loose among all of the other supernatural forces at work in the book.

As usual this was a one session, couldn't put the Kindle down read and I'm eager to see what happens next. In this one Matt meets a hot woman, Abbey, who helps him along on his mission of discovering who he is and what his purpose is. After all, a man isn't brought back from the dead for no the serial killer is letting bodies pile up and Matt is searching for Mr. Dark, Abbey brings a sexy and unique aspect to the book. A must read!

5/5 stars

Monday, May 9, 2011

Case Histories

Goodreads Summary:
Set in Cambridge, England, it introduces Jackson Brodie, a former police inspector turned Private Investigator as he encounters three seemingly unconnected family tragedies - the disappearance of a three-year-old girl; the brutal murder of a husband; and the apparently motiveless murder of a solicitor's daughter.

My Review:
I really didn't like this book very much. I found it so slow moving and that stayed true from beginning to end. It's about 3 cold cases that a private investigator brings together and finds links that were not seen before. Case one involves the disappearance of a young child, case two involves a seemingly innocent young adult who is slashed to death on her first day of work at her fathers office, and case three involves an unstable mom who comes unhinged one day and lashes out at her husband.
3/5 stars

The Circle of Blood

Goodreads Summary:
As the assistant to her father, the county coroner of Silverton, Colorado, Cameryn Mahoney gets to witness all aspects of death, including the autopsy room. Yet somehow that feels easy, compared to her personal life. Now that her long-lost mother has made a surprise return, Cameryn's more confused than ever. Things only get worse when she and her mother pick up a mysterious young hitchhiker. Cameryn senses that the girl is running away from something, but before she can find out more, the girl is found dead a gun in her hand. Is it suicide? Or something even more sinister? Mixing forensic details and ripped-from-the-headlines themes, Alane Ferguson makes her reader's hearts pound yet again with this edge-ofyour- seat forensic mystery!

My Review:
I just loved this book and can't believe I started at number 3 in the series. This is, in fact, a series and I would advise anyone to start from book one.

This book has as much suspense and gore as any adult thriller. I found it hard to put down and totally enthralling. The story is about a 17 year old assistant coroner, Cameryn Mahoney, whose father is the coroner. The author clearly has done extensive research to bring this book to life. In a quiet town two people die on the same day, which is very rare. The second one presents as a suicide and the book hinges on this as Cameryn's mom could be the only suspect if she doesn't act fast...
4/5 stars


Goodreads Summary:
For use in schools and libraries only. Cal Thompson is a carrier of a parasite that causes vampirism, and must hunt down all of the girlfriends he has unknowingly infected before they can create even more of their kind.

My Review:
This book will appeal to anyone who enjoys biology. The author weaves actual biological facts about parasites into the story, which is about vampires that are also parasites according to the author. It's somewhat of a historical take on vampire lore integrated into a very interesting and fast paced story.

The main character, Cal, is somewhat of a vampire hunter while being a vampire himself (but all he requires is pretty much an Atkins diet). Before he knew what he was he infected several ex girlfriends with vampirism and must track them down before they become a harm to themselves and others. It's very much an action adventure vampire story. I thought it was pretty fast paced and interesting.
3.5/5 stars


Goodreads Summary:
When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

My Review:
When I started reading this earlier today I didn't think I was going to finish it. Actually I found the first 50 pages a little boring and moving quite slowly. I decided I would give it a few more pages before abandoning it...and that's all it took to hook me. I just couldn't put it down once I got past a certain point. This book is the first one I can fairly say was exactly like Twilight but with trolls (albeit pretty ones) rather than vampires.

The book begins with Wendy, a six year old, dissatisfied by her birthday party so much that her mother tries to kill her...literally attacks her with a butcher knife. As the story progresses an elusive boy at school, Finn, turns out to be the one there to take her to her other life, the life of a troll where it turns out the whole society is awaiting her arrival. She turns out to be a very special girl...
4/5 stars

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Dead Man: Hell in Heaven

Goodreads Summary:
Third book in the series about Matt Cahill, a man who'd died, but didn't, now wandering the country looking for answers. He sees the evil in people that others don't, possibly infected by Mr. Dark, the entity that he alone sees, that takes great delight in taunting him.

My Review:
This is book #3 in the series and I loved it just as much as the first two. The main character, Matt Cahill, is finally fully realizing that he is dead and he's taking on the role of saving the world quite well. In fact, he glories in the power a little bit in this installment and the result of that is endearing and funny. I love this character because he never seems to realize quite how good he is, and watching him struggle in an effort to do the right thing makes for great entertainment. How these authors created such a likable, out to save the world, good-natured character who also happens to be going down on women, whether in remembrances of things past, or in the present, in almost every book I'll never know. It does make it interesting and I'll admit it's done well. It's smoothly weaved in without mushy or overly sexual scenes. What can I say, these boys know how to write!

So Matt finds himself in a town called Heaven in this installment. It's exactly what it sounds like as it's the last stop for many. Matt is stuck in the middle of a feud that he must fix before he can continue on his mission of scouring the country to find the people who can shed light on who he is and his greater purpose. Once again, between a cyst filled evil, intestine leaking woman, and men fighting with animistic-type power, there are more than a few bodies left in Matt's wake, which after all, is why we're reading this to begin with. It's graphic in a good way and has just enough adult humor to make it a perfect mix and a perfect supernatural thriller in this reader's opinion.
4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Truth About Dating

Goodreads Summary:
Lifelong introvert Quinn Malone was sick of spending her evenings at home, doing crossword puzzles and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer re-runs. Successful, smart, and funny, 38-year old Quinn embarks on a quest to find a man, using blind dates, speed, and internet dating to get things moving. Quinn overcomes her shyness to suffer through dates that are so bad, they're funny (see the chapter on hunchbacks). With the help of good friends, she successfully transitions through the seven stages of dating: excitement (I've still got it!); infatuation (he makes me feel beautiful); disappointment (he looks nothing like his online photo); anger (why is he online if he's married?); fatigue (I can't bear the thought of another date); depression (I'm going to grow old and die alone); and acceptance (dating: it is what it is). Through the triumphs and heartbreaks of dating, and of life in general, Quinn uncovers the resilient, dynamic person she's always been. The question is, has Mr. Right been waiting in the wings all along?

My Review:
I can't even say how much I loved this book. I got it through and wasn't in the mood to read it really and then I read the first paragraph...and couldn't stop until I'd read the last. It was funny and so truthful. Actually I thought it was a true story until about halfway through and if you told me it was true I'd believe you.

The main character, Quinn Malone, is bound and determined to find a man she can marry and have kids with because her biological clock is ticking. She's 38 when the story opens. It follows her through speed dating, online dating, and all of the nightmares a woman or man has to go through in the messiness that is dating in your 30's or 40's in this day and age. It's utterly entertaining and painfully true.

What makes this story so unique, in my opinion, is the fact that Quinn is intelligent, educated, and totally down to earth. She isn't looking for someone to take care of her, but someone that shares her hobbies and likes that she can genuinely love. When she finds men that might be good marriage material, but that she knows deep down she wouldn't be truly happy with or love, she passes. I think that's what makes this character so endearing, she is searching more for true love than anything else and her support staff of friends makes for an entertaining and fun read.
4/5 stars

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Dead Man: Ring of Knives

Goodreads Summary:
BOOK #2 in the THE DEAD MAN, the new monthly action/horror series that readers and book critics alike are already hailing as "an epic tale" that compares to the best of Stephen King and Dean Koontz...

Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld that nobody else does. Now for him each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about, a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.


Matt believes a madman may hold the secret to defeating Mr. Dark, the horrific jester with the rotting touch. But to reach him, Matt must infiltrate a lunatic asylum, where he is soon caught up in a spiral of bloodshed and madness. His only chance of escaping with his life and sanity intact is to face the unspeakable terror that awaits him deep in the asylum's fog-shrouded woods...within the Ring of Knives.

My Review:
This was an excellent book. Literally breathtaking. Book 2 branches over into the supernatural more than the first one, but it's done in an interesting and believable way...if the idea of walking death can be believable. However, I think in this novel it is, although I'm still uncertain if the main character, Matt Cahill, has figured out yet whether he's good or evil. It's clear from the reader's point of view which one he is.

This story is about a man in search of his own identity. He went through a near death (and possibly just death) experience in the first book and he's trying to figure out exactly who he is and what his purpose is in this second book. This leads him on a search to an insane asylum where he wishes to interview a man who went through the same thing that he did in hopes of unraveling this mystery.

This series is a must read for anyone interested in mysteries, thrillers, or horror. The main character is trying to save the world and himself, one decaying corpse at a time, who could ask for more?
4/5 stars

You Can't Stop Me

Goodreads Summary:
From "New York Times"-bestselling author Collins and his writing partner on the bestselling CSI novelizations comes a page-turning, serial-killer thriller with a unique twist--the plot unfolds through the lens of America's hottest reality TV show. Original.

My Review:
This was a really good mystery. I liked how he used a TV reality show for the basis of the novel, but turned it into something good. Sheriff Harrow lost his wife and child to a murderer many years ago and now this serial killer seems to be back killing others. Harrow works on a reality show that tracks down killers and he recruits the best of the best in forensics, chemistry, computer science, etc. and with this crack team he turns this season's show into a search for the murderer of his own family and the families of many others who died at the killer's hand. It's a page turner, yet it's fun and light. I would recommend this book.
3/5 stars


Goodreads Summary:
Twenty years after surviving a school shooting Tanner Khan and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion. Although they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited, and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray, the troubled teen who killed many of the students.

Once they're inside the school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt long overdue and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears, putting the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare? Find out in this suspenseful thrill ride that will keep you guessing and engaged with a lovable cast of characters.

My Review
This was an interesting read and very unique. Quite unlike any book I have ever read. It was a supernatural thriller that also had several romantic subplots.

This book is about a school shooting and the survivors who are still trying to piece their lives together. Years later they meet at a class reunion and realize the horror has just begun.
4/5 stars

Monday, April 18, 2011


Goodreads Summary:
Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family. He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.

An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.

Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother’s words— Simply to endure is to triumph—and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?

Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.

My Review:
This is the story of a 13-year old poor girl from Nepal who lives in a hut. Her and her mother are making due, but her stepfather gambles away the little money they have. He finally decides to send her off to make money cleaning houses in the city. This is what the girl, Lakshmi, and her mother believe and they have heard wonderful stories of the riches to be made and seen the benefit of those living close by who've done the same thing. However, the stepfather knows he's selling her off into prostitution.

What makes this story so powerful is the ignorance and innocence of Lakshmi. The reader sees everything from her perspective, almost like a diary. The story is written as a long string of vignettes. It is haunting and brings to life the reality of children sold into prostitution. The author visited this area and did extensive research before writing this book, which is what makes it so powerful and realistic.
4/5 stars

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

Goodreads Summary:
“I’m a simple village girl who has always obeyed the orders of my father and brothers. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today I have decided to say no.”

Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.

Recently honored alongside Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice as one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, Nujood now tells her full story for the first time. As she guides us from the magical, fragrant streets of the Old City of Sana’a to the cement-block slums and rural villages of this ancient land, her unflinching look at an injustice suffered by all too many girls around the world is at once shocking, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable.

My Review:
This was a powerful story not not only about a young girl forced into marriage, but about a community plagued with young abused girls. They are married without their consent, turned into indentured servants, and beaten oftentimes by their husbands as well as other new family members they are forced to live with.

This specific story is about one girl's courage in speaking out against this travesty. She takes it upon herself, after being married to a man three times her age without her consent, to go to the courthouse seeking a divorce.
4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Goodreads Summary:
My name is Katniss Everdeen.
Why am I not dead?
I should be dead.

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.

My Review:
The last in the Hunger Games series. This one was really slow going. At first I was disappointed, but the ending made up for it. It really gave closure and I thought was quite fitting for the series. I'm glad I finished it as it was a very rewarding read.

Here Katniss is the face of the rebellion and she must figure out who is friend and who is foe. All the while she must decide what role she wants to play as well as what life she wants to lead. She has two love interests and must decide as both would bring her down very different paths.
4/5 stars

Catching Fire

Goodreads Summary:
Sparks are igniting.
Flames are spreading.
And the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and her longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol - a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before...and surprising readers at every turn.

My Review:
The second book in the three book Hunger Game series. Even though it's the middle book, it's by far my favorite. Loose ends are beginning to get tied up. Love interests are heating up and the games are getting exciting. There are so many twists and turns in this one it's almost impossible to put down.

I really don't know how to review this one without giving out spoilers for the first, but I want to try my best and I implore anyone who wants to read this series to not read the blurbs on the books after the first one. I was really upset to discover that the blurb on the back of the last book, Mockingjay, totally ruined Catching Fire for me by giving away the biggest and most important plot point in the book.

Anyway, this is a continuation of The Hunger Games and you get to follow the main characters as they become central to a rebellion they inadvertently started as well as becoming pawns for the capitol. Katniss is the main focus throughout and she never loses momentum and continually finds a way to provide for her family. This character is quite endearing. I wish there were more positive female role models like her. She is strong, focused, and more mature than most adults, which makes this book so powerful and ultimately so fulfilling.
4/5 stars

The Hunger Games

Goodreads Summary:
Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

My Review:
Oh this was like Twilight as far as me getting sucked into the story and the lives of the characters. And it wasn't like Twilight in the sense that it talks about important issues, has a strong female lead with very concise, tight writing. I really loved this one and highly recommend it.

This is about a North America of the future, one in which there is a capitol that rules the 12 districts that the people are divided into. Each year two children, one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from each district to fight to the death. The one survivor is the victor and these games take place to remind the residents of the districts that the capitol is in control. Those in the districts are poor, and conversely those who are better off live in the capitol. The story revolves around Katniss, who after her father's death, provides for her mother and sister by hunting. She is an intricately woven character who is a joy to follow through the series.
4/5 stars

While My Sister Sleeps

Goodreads Summary:
Molly and Robin Snow are sisters, and like all sisters they share a deep bond that sustains them through good times and bad. Their careers are flourishing --- Molly is a horticulturist and Robin is a world-class runner --- and they are in the prime of their lives. So when Molly receives the news that Robin has suffered a massive heart attack, she couldn't be more shocked. At the hospital, the Snow family receives a grim prognosis: Robin may never regain consciousness.

As Robin's parents and siblings struggle to cope, the complex nature of their relationship is put to the ultimate test. Molly has always lived in Robin's shadow and her feelings for her have run the gamut, from love to resentment and back. The last time they spoke, they argued. But now there is so much more at stake. Molly's parents fold under the devastating circumstances, and her brother retreats into the cool reserve that is shattering his own family. It's up to Molly to make the tough decisions, and she soon makes discoveries that destroy some of her most cherished beliefs about the sister she thought she knew.

My Review:
This one was pretty good, but not great. I thought there was a shallowness to the characters and while it moved pretty fast, I didn't feel much for any of them. It would be a great beach read, though.

This is about sibling rivalry in many ways. It is about a family who caters to Robin, the daughter who is in the running for the Olympics (in running, of course). The other daughter, Molly, tends to the family business, which is a very large nursery. Her passion is for plants and she loves her work, however, the entire family is devoted to Robin's Olympic dreams. The son creates a subplot as he struggles to hold his marriage together. The story begins with Robin having a heart attack during training and the family learning to cope as well as placing blame on each other for this event. As we weave through the adult lives of these children we learn the meaning of family and what we are willing to sacrifice for others.
3/5 stars

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Special Place

Goodreads Summary:
A Special Place, Peter Straub’s first published novella, will come to stand as one of the author’s most deeply unsettling works of fiction. A rumination on the nature of evil, the story centers on a boy, Keith Hayward, who is drawn by his nature to an irresistible fascination with death and the taking of life. His father’s brother, the good-looking, suave Uncle Till—the infamous ladykiller, who has led a shadowy career as a local celebrity—recognizes his nephew’s innermost nature and gleefully tutors him in art of doing ill without getting caught.

Even a cold-blooded sociopath must learn some lessons in survival, in seems, and Uncle Till is only happy to provide a tutorial, in the latest imaginative and disturbing work from one of America's most celebrated horror writers.

My Review:
Reading this book is like being inside the head of a serial killer...except we meet him when he's only 12 years old. And he's being coached by his uncle. It's shockingly realistic and at times extremely disturbing. I've read True Crime that upset me less than this book.

All that being said it was excellently written. The prose is tight, compact. This is a novella and really a character study of a boy who will later appear as a man in a full length novel. It can be read as a stand alone. It's about the relationship between an uncle, who is a sociopath, training his nephew in the ways of not getting caught and of how to acquire and manage "a special place."
4/5 stars

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Suspense

Goodreads Summary:
Hold on tight for a literary thrill-ride into the wickedly clever, frightening, and exhilarating world of Top Suspense, a sizzling collaboration of twelve master storytellers at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales. This pulse-pounding anthology - packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists - is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at So sit back, bite down on a piece of strong leather, and prepare to get hit by some gale-force suspense and writing so sharp it will draw blood.

My Review:
Overall this was a really great collection. Usually with compilations like this I get bored or feel the need to break it up with a novel after a few stories. With this one I read it all the way through and could have read more. The stories were in a good order, I think, and were all well written and interesting. They are thrillers but were very much in the spirit of noir in my opinion.

Stories in the order they appear:

-Unreasonable Doubt by Max Allan Collins
This is a story about a detective who is hired to follow an important woman in his life. It's by one of my favorite authors and has a very surprise ending.

-Death’s Brother by Bill Crider
What would you do for a woman you loved? What about just a really hot chick? This is a great story in a classic noir fashion...with a twist.

-Poisoned by Stephen Gallagher
A very creepy childhood story...

-Remaindered by Lee Goldberg
By far my favorite story. There is dialog in this one that I will probably always remember and even though it was a thriller, it was also laugh out loud funny.
This is about a man who was once on the bestseller list and as his career tanks he ends up on the remaindered table and doing book signings in K-Mart. However, he does still have a fan...

-Fire in the Sky by Joel Goldman
A great story about a small town, with a twist, of course.

-The Baby Store by Ed Gorman
This is such a great tale about genetically engineered babies being the norm. The ending is disturbing in the way it really holds up a mirror to humanity and what we are all capable of.

-The Jade Elephant by Libby Fischer Hellmann
A story about two burglars and a pawn shop...need I say more?

-The Big O by Vicki Hendricks
Wow, this is a story about one horny gal who is trailer park trash looking out for her baby, and definitely herself. The writing is sharp and the main character is well developed, even though the author only has the length of the short story to do so.

-The Chirashi Covenant by Naomi Hirahara
A not so typical Japanese woman wanting something more from life.

-El Valiente en el Infierno by Paul Levine
This story was fast paced and kept me on edge. In the end I actually found it to be touching and nicely done. It's about border crossers and the vigilante's they encounter.

-A Handful of Dust by Harry Shannon
An amazing story about a contract killer.

-The Canary by Dave Zeltserman
Sometimes a painting is worth more than its street value...

-The Chase by Top Suspense Group
This one was done in a round robin manner and as expected, it came out quite differently than the others. I liked that it had a high level of sexual tension and yet was the first story to include a crime boss.
4/5 stars

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The List

Goodreads Summary:
THE LIST is a bit of a departure for Konrath. It's a technothriller about a group of ten people who all have tattoos of numbers on the bottoms their feet, and don't know why.

One of them, a Chicago Homicide cop named Tom Mankowski, has had one of these strange tattoos since birth. When he investigates a violent murder and discovers the victim also has a tattooed number, it sets the ball rolling for an adventure of historic proportions.

My Review:
This was my second read, but it was just as good, if not better, the second time. It's really amazing that he can write horror that could also be categorized as a funny techno-thriller police procedural as well as a medical thriller to some extent. Oh and there is an appropriate level of love interest. This book is every genre and does them all amazingly well. I'd definitely recommended this book to anyone who enjoys horror.

This book is about two cops trying to track down a ring of killers while being aided by a female martial arts expert who has contacts in Hollywood (and is also one of the ones being hunted down). She seems more like a federal agent than someone in Hollywood and her actions reflect that. It's not fluffy, it's a strong thriller along with all of the other genres I mentioned above. It's also quite a page-turner and highly unpredictable.
4/5 stars

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Praying for Sleep

Goodreads Summary:
Praying for revenge...Psycho killer Michael Hrubek has escaped to find the woman who put him away. He'll show her what killing is all about...Praying for salvation...Lis knows he's out there. He's haunted every sleepless night, watching and waiting to take her to hell with him...And now Lis is Praying for Sleep.

My Review:
This book caused different feelings in me at different times. As I felt myself cringing I felt, at various times, disgust, awe, shock, horror, concern, confusion, resentment, and finally understanding. Sometimes books take us on a journey we aren't quite prepared for, but like anything new, we're usually grateful for the experience in the end.

Simply put and without spoilers or confusing you with names (he went Stephen King regarding the number of characters in this book). It's simply about an escaped paranoid schizophrenic who is seemingly going after the woman who testified against him in court. He is high functioning and much smarter than a "typical" schizophrenic. So, the chase he gives is on par with someone highly trained.
4/5 stars

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Rumblin: A Short Story

Goodreads Summary:
Phil Knite is so ready for a vacation, but he and his family get more of mother nature than they can handle. The rumblin', as described by the camp ranger, is something to be feared. When a wicked wind blows in from the north, Phil Knite and his family are forced to shack up with the rest of the campers in a cabin, and discover that the ranger is more than crazy and the rumblin' is deadly!

This book is based upon actual events and is written in the Twighlight Zone/Stephen King Style.

My Review:
So I must say I was initially thrown off a bit by the writing (I think a tad more editing is in order), and the slang felt wrong...that being said the story itself was really good. And I am a hard grader! Halfway through I realized I was in the room with all of those crazy people. The story really does take on a life of its own and pulls the reader in. All in all it was a good story and I'd rather have a solid story, which this was.

This is a short story about a family that goes camping and finds themselves in the midst of a natural as well as supernatural disaster, which causes all of the nearby campers, both good and bad, to crowd into one room. The action that unfolds is both disturbing and unexpectected!
3/5 stars

Monday, March 14, 2011

Living Dead Girl

Goodreads Summary:
After his estranged wife disappears, a husband returns to the remote lake house where their young daughter died, and he soon loses his grip on reality.

Paul Luden has been haunted by a memory he can't recall. Whatever happened to his marriage, to his two-year-old daughter, is too traumatic to remember, so his unconscious has chosen to block out key details. But when he receives a phone call from the small lake town where they'd lived, telling him that no one had seen or heard from his wife in ten days, he knows what he has to do.

He and his nineteen-year-old girlfriend drive from L.A. to Washington State where he's forced to confront his past. And as he pieces together his buried memories, Paul unravels mentally, falls into self-destructive trances and ultimately discovers the truth about his wife.

My Review:
There are few more disturbing books that I've read. I felt insane myself by the end and my mind is still swimming. I feel like the addiction this man has to his missing wife is the same addiction the reader feels for this book, it's more than a page-turner, it quite literally sucks the reader in.

This book is about a man's journey to find his missing ex-wife with his 19-year old girlfriend in tow. His mind is fragmented and the reader sees the story through this disturbed mind. All of the lives around him are deeply affected, including his own missing ex-wife as well as his 19-year old girlfriend. However, as usual, nothing is quite what it seems. There are no likable characters and I think that's a good reflection of the isolation this man feels because no one in his life, including himself, is faultless. His love for his wife (or ex) is so great it drives him and aids this insanity.
4/5 stars

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Help

Goodreads Summary:
Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody's business, but she can't mind her tongue, so she's lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women - mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends - view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't.

My Review:
This book is about what it was like living in Mississippi in the 1960's from the perspective of two black maid's and a young white female college graduate who pushed social boundaries by both wanting a writing career and not wanting to follow the segregation laws.

The book is written alternating the points of view of these three women, and it shows how they are much more the same than different.

This is the author's first book, but her writing is more like that of a seasoned writer. This is undoubtably one of the top ten books I've ever read. It begs so many questions about segregation, what it means to be human, and whether we are really different at all. It made me think of something I really have never given much thought to: because of segregation it wasn't just blacks who couldn't associate with whites but vice versa. A white person couldn't have a black friend in the 1960's because of segregation. This book incites so many profound questions, greatest of all being what does it mean to be human? It also makes one wonder if equality really exists and if not, will it ever?
5/5 stars

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ethan Frome

Goodreads Summary:
Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious, and hypochondriac wife, Zeenie. But when Zeenie's vivacious cousin enters their household as a "hired girl", Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent.

In one of American fiction's finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio toward their tragic destinies. Different in both tone and theme from Wharton's other works, Ethan Frome has become perhaps her most enduring and most widely read novel.(l

My Review:
This is an excellent novella. It being so short, by it's nature, I think it's a book everyone should read. It implicitly asks the questions: What does it mean to be married? To be in love? and What obligations do we really have to our spouse? Sometimes a person has to live with the choices that he/she has made and oftentimes we must put the feelings and needs of another in front of our own.

It is about Ethan Frome, a man who came to great hardship while chasing after a fantasy of another life, a happy life. It is about his relationship with his wife and the complications that her cousin brings to their household.
4/5 stars

Dexter is Delicious

Goodreads Summary:
Dexter Morgan's happy homicidal life is undergoing some major changes. He's always live by a single golden rule - he kills only people who deserve it. But the Miami blood-spatter analyst has recently become a daddy - to an eight-pound curiosity named Lily Anne - and strangely, Dex's dark urges seem to have left him. Is he ready to become an overprotective father? To pick up soft teddy bears instead of his trusty knife, duct tape, and fishing wire? What's a serial killer to do?

Then Dexter is summoned to investigate the disappearance of an eighteen-year-old girl who seems to have been abducted by a bizarre group...who just may be vampires...and - possibly - cannibals. Nothing like the familiar hum of his day job to get Dexter's creative dark juices flowing again. Assisting his bull-in-a-china-shop detective sister, Deborah, Dex wades into an investigation that gets more disturbing by the moment. And to compound the complication of Dexter's ever-more-complicated life, a person from his past suddenly reappears...moving dangerously close to his home turf and threatening to destroy the one thing tat has maintained Dexter's pretend human cover and kept him out of the electric chair: his new family.

From an uncharacteristically racy encounter in the Florida Everglades to the most bizarre fringe nightclub in the anything-goes Miami scene, Dexter Is Delicious is an ingenious journey through the dark recesses of Dexter's lovably cold soul. Jeff Lindsay is once again at the top of his game, with this new novel that will thrill fans of his bestselling series.

My Review:
Wow, this is probably the one I liked the least in the series. Dexter's character changed a lot and he was mostly about being a good person, which is a drastic change from his feelingless self. I would still read it as it's still a good story, just not nearly as good as the others.

It is gruesome at points, but unfortunately, not at his hand. It's about vampires and cannibals and a mad dash to save a young girl's life before it's too late and she's taken by both.
3/5 stars

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Worst Case

Goodreads Summary:
Best case: survival
The son of one of New York's wealthiest families is snatched off the street and held hostage. His parents can't save him, because this kidnapper isn't demanding money. Instead, he quizzes his prisoner on the price others pay for his life of luxury. In this exam, wrong answers are fatal.

Worst case: death
Detective Michael Bennett leads the investigation. With ten kids of his own, he can't begin to understand what could lead someone to target anyone's children. As another student disappears, one powerful family after another uses their leverage and connections to turn the heat up on the mayor, the press--anyone who will listen--to stop this killer. Their reach extends all the way to the FBI, who send their top Abduction Specialist, Agent Emily Parker. Bennett's life--and love life--suddenly get even more complicated.

This case: Detective Michael Bennett is on it
Before Bennett has a chance to protest the FBI's intrusion on his case, the mastermind changes his routine. His plan leads up to the most devastating demonstration yet--one that could bring cataclysmic devastation to every inch of New York. From the shocking first page to the last exhilarating scene, Worst Case is a non-stop thriller from "America's #1 storyteller"

My Review:
This was #3 of the Michael Bennett series and I want to first say that I didn't read the first two (and after reading this one I found that it's not necessary).

A well educated madman is snatching teens off of the street and Michael Bennett and his FBI counterpart, Emily Parker, are on a mad dash through New York city trying to save the kids before it's too late.

This was a good book, but not great. The biggest problem I had was with Bennett who didn't seem realistic. He did things and said things I can't imagine a cop doing and saying. This is a far cry from the Alex Cross books, however, it was still much better than other Patterson books that have been released in the last few years.
3/5 stars

Monday, February 21, 2011

Night Duty

Goodreads Summary:
Melitta Breznik's first novel opens in an operating room as a young female physician performs an autopsy on a man who had liver disease. This stark and clinical scene sets the stage for another kind of autopsy as the young pathologist reexamines her own life and the lives of her troubled family: her brothers, her dead mother, and her trying father now dying in a nearby hospital ward for alcoholics. Her reflections come to the reader as a stream-of-consciousness outpouring -- an "uncovering of one piece of memory after the other" -- that is at once dreamlike and yet utterly real, and all accomplished with a surgical care for detail and nuance. "This unerringly hushed narration, with its chillingly precise psychological gesture", wrote the Swiss news magazine Facts, "shows how liberating an insistent language can be when functioning as an engine of memory, when, both struggling against and accepting every last bit of pain, someone dares to plumb the all too familiar abyss of family relations".

My Review:
The only way I can describe this novel is as a type of formal stream of consciousness in the first person. It alternates between stream of consciousness and first person narration, which makes it unique and personal.

It's about a daughter who although her father was an alcoholic who was oftentimes absent, she has a love for him that is part need and part duty. Through her autopsies of others she is reminded and immersed into her past and autopsies her own life through both analysis and memories.

The writing flows nicely and the story is well developed. You get to know the protagonist, the daughter, as her work and family history defines her.

3/5 Stars

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dead Man: Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

Goodreads Summary:
Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life...until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld of unspeakable evil and horrific violence that nobody else does...

For Cahill, each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about...a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become...and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.

My Review:
This was a hold your breath, fly by the seat of your pants, page-turner. And every time I turned the page there was a new surprise. Very much in the style of Stephen King: the natural and supernatural exist in the same realm.

It's the story of a man, Matthew Cahill, who after going through a life changing experience returns only to discover that he is attuned in a special way, and is very much in sync with, those who are about to die. He has special powers that he does not yet understand and as the plot unfolds for the reader, it also unfolds for the protagonist, Matthew.

I would highly recommended reading this book. I read it in one sitting and even though I had a very tempting TBR pile, I never faltered from this book and simply couldn't put it down.

4/5 stars

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sister Carrie

Amazon Summary:
This epic of urban life tells of small- town heroine Carrie Meeber, adrift in an indifferent Chicago. Setting out, she has nothing but a few dollars and an unspoiled beauty. Hers is a story of struggle- from sweatshop to stage success-and of the love she inspires in an older, married man whose obsession with her threatens to destroy him.

My Review:
I was immediately hooked with this book. I can't believe a classic I knew so little about grabbed me so quickly. For me this book really wasn't depressing, but a realistic representation of the ways of the world when money is the center. Whether rich or poor every character in this book was focused on money and driven by little else.

I just loved this novel and the foreshadowing throughout sort of paralled the underbelly of the city. The protagonist, Carrie, steps off the train at the beginning of the novel as this naive country girl and in a very short time she figures out what her womanly wiles can win her, assuming she wants to live the life of luxury for free (don't we all)? But is there not always a price? Carrie subconsciously battles this question throughout the novel and the other characters take the ride with her. All the reader can do is brace himself or herself and try not to get hurt in the process.
4/5 stars

Friday, February 11, 2011


Goodreads Summary:
Dr. Victor Frankenstein, an ambitious young scientist, is consumed by a fanatic desire to create a living being. He fashions an eight-foot-tall creature and succeeds in animating him, but, horrified by his visage, perceives his creation to be a monster and frightens him away. The monster, wandering in search of human companionship, is spurned and repulsed by all he approaches and learns to hate and to kill. He confronts his maker with a terrible choice: unless Frankenstein creates for him a mate, he will go on a rampage of destruction.

Frankenstein, a masterpiece of 19th-century Gothic horror and considered to be the first science-fiction novel, is a subversive tale about the corrupt tendencies in humanity's most "civilized" ambitions.

My Review:
I read this for the first time when I was 19 and it was immediately my favorite book. I re-read it a few times after that and always loved it. Now, several years later, I picked it up again and am viewing it totally differently. As with everything else in life, I guess it's me that's changing. I think sometimes we want things to stay just as we remembered them, and I don't know if that will be the case or not with Frankenstein. It took me two weeks to get to page 50 and now that I'm here and the story is really starting I'm beginning to enjoy it again.

***Spoiler alert***

It's hard not to make a correlation between The Salem Witch Trials and the trial of Justine...and her trial also makes me think of The Scarlet Letter for this reason: her acquittal would, if it occurred, condemn her to a life of judgement by her community and also because of the mentions of a scaffold.

Now is the complexity I missed in my teens: The monster is telling his story to Frankenstein who is telling it to Robert who is writing it in a letter to Margaret. Now it's hard to separate out my own reactions as I want to think about how the various characters are reacting (mostly Frankenstein). I really want to think about it from his perspective, not from an outside one that as a teen made me feel sorry for the monster. I still do in some ways, but there are greater complexities going on here.

And as he claims he was initially good and speaks of eating berries it makes me wonder does the initial donor of body parts play a role in who he is or would good nurturing have been enough to keep him from killing?

So if you had a baby and abandoned it at birth and it came back years later and hurt your loved ones for revenge whose fault is it? I think that depends on whether or not the person knew what he/she was doing was wrong. They are both accountable in different ways and to different degrees, I think.