Friday, October 25, 2013

(55) The Creeper

Title: The Creeper: A Novel by Tania Carver
Publisher: Little Brown
468 pages
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis: Suzanne Perry is having a vivid nightmare. Someone is in her bedroom, touching her, and she can’t move a muscle. She wakes, relieved to put the nightmare behind her, but when she opens the curtains, she sees a Polaroid stuck to the window. A photo of her, sleeping, taken during the night. And underneath,the words: “I’m watching over you.”
Her nightmare isn't over. In fact, it’s just beginning. Detective Inspector Phil Brennan has a killer to hunt. A killer who stalks young women and insinuates himself into their lives.But the more Phil investigates, the more he delves into the twisted psychology of his query, Phil realizes that it isn't just a serial killer he’s hunting but something—or someone—infinitely more calculating.

Review: This is the 2nd book in this series.  The first book The Surrogate was another nail biter but this book freaked me out.  Stalkers freak me out in general but when one lives in your house and watches you, drugs you and does creepy things to you when you think you are asleep its worse.  I think what gives me the willies is that this kind of stuff does happen.  It doesn't jump the shark, it is a sick twisted mind that does this and there are people like that out there.  I really enjoyed this book.  I love the characters and the creep factor. There were some issues that I wish an editor had caught but they didn't take away the enjoyment of this book.  If you are looking for a fast paced nightmarish thriller this is one for you. I may have to sleep with the lights on for a night or two.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

(54) Bad Luck and Trouble

Title: Bad Luck and Trouble: A Jack Reacher Novel by Lee Child
Publisher: Dell Fiction
477 pages
Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: From a helicopter high above the California desert, a man is sent free-falling into the night . . . and Jack Reacher is plunged into the heart of a conspiracy that is killing old friends.

Reacher has no phone, no address, no ties. But a woman from his former military unit has found him using a signal only the eight members of their elite team would know. Then she tells him about the brutal death of one of their own. Soon they learn of the sudden disappearance of two other comrades. But Reacher won’t give up—because in a world of bad luck and trouble, when someone targets Jack Reacher and his team, they’d better be ready for what comes right back at them.

Review: I feel like I'm late to the game with these books, and I haven't started from the beginning but it doesn't seem like you really need to.  I didn't feel like I was missing anything jumping in somewhere in the middle of this series.  Jack Reacher is nothing like Tom Cruise.  I see why there was a big hub bub when he was cast to play him. Jack is a large man, tall and wide.  He seems anti-social and lives life by his own rules.  He drifts from place to place does what he pleases but when his friends are in trouble he is right there to help them get out.  There isn't a lot of thinking when reading these kinds of books, its like a romance novel for adrenaline junkies.  When you want to kick some butt you pull out one of these.  I liked it. I like Jack and I think I'm gonna have to read more of these.  

(53) The Guilty One

Title: The Guilty One: A Novel by Lisa Ballantyne
Publisher: William Morrow
480 pages
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: An eight-year old boy is found dead in a playground...and his eleven-year old neighbor is accused of the crime. Leading the defense is London solicitor Daniel Hunter, a champion of lost causes.

A damaged boy from a troubled home, Daniel's young client, Sebastian, reminds Daniel of his own turbulent childhood - and of Minnie, the devoted woman whose love saved him. But one terrible act of betrayal irrevocably shattered their bond.

As past and present collide, Daniel is faced with disturbing questions. Will his sympathy for Sebastian and his own memories blind him to the truth? What happened in the park - and who, ultimately, is to blame for a little boy's death? Rethinking everything he's ever believed, Daniel begins to understand what it means to be wrong...and to be the guilty one.

Review: I wanted this book to make an impression on me.  It had the potential to but since I started this review back in May and then forgot about it until I just stumbled upon it today, I have to say that this one just faded away. It had potential.  The story flip flopped back and forth between when Daniel was a child to modern day when Daniel is defending a boy who reminds him of his past.  I liked the premise, I even liked the beginning but somewhere along the line it fell flat.

The story seemed predictable and ultimately it is more about Daniel than it is about Sebastian.  Did Minnie betray Daniel out of misguided love? The lack of details left me not really caring that much.  Since this is Lisa Ballantynes first novel I hope that her next ones give us a little more to sink our teeth into. Characters that aren't memorable don't last, and neither do the writers who write them.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

(52) Janes Melody: a novel

Title: Jane's Melody: A Novel by Ryan Winfield
Publisher: Atria books
337 pages
Genre: Romance

Synopsis: That's the question a grieving mother must answer when she takes in a young street musician she believes can shed light on her daughter's death—only to find herself falling for him.

Review: I needed something light after reading my last book.  I kept seeing ads for this book on facebook (so their advertising worked on me!) so I thought I would check it out.  I was pleasantly surprised.  While there were a few things that didn't suspend my disbelief overall I found the book to be entertaining and fun.

Drug addiction, alcohol addiction and grief all play big roles in this book and while that may seem heavy it didn't weigh the story down.  Unfortunately I know a few people who have lost their children to drugs and the grief experienced is twice as raw and three times as painful as what is portrayed in this story but I will let that go since its supposed to be a romance novel and there is always some disbelief in those.

Learning to let go and move forward is a big part of this story.  I enjoyed it and thought it was well done.  It had the usual romantic sap but it wasn't too over the top.  Highly enjoyable fun.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

(51) Buck

Title: Buck: A Memoir by MK Asante
Publisher: Randomhouse Publishing
272 pages
Genre: memoir

I received an advanced e-galley of this book through netgalley.com. It was released August 20, 2013

Synopsis: MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become a revered pioneer in black studies. But things fell apart, and a decade later MK was in America, a teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of North Philadelphia. Now he was alone—his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison on the other side of the country—and forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.

Review: Drugs, crime, broken families, and violence is nothing new to this Philly girl but it may be new to some.  This is a story of a brilliant writer who almost lost his battle to grow up. Through diary entries written by his mother and chapters told in the voice of his 15 year old self this is a book that holds you captive. Even though I know this book is written by the voice in the story I still found myself holding my breath in places hoping that things would work out.

This is the story of so many young urban people.  Parents either absent or on drugs, schools that are more like prisons, where teachers have given up hope, and the streets become the schools. The murders, the friends who die too young, the helpless feeling and the lure of drugs and money.  This story is written in a way that is accessible.  That will speak to so many, or at least be familiar.  While we are living in a slightly different time the troubles are still relatively the same.

MK has shared his pain and written a book that could be any inner city kids story, except this one doesn't end in a coffin, it ends with a career, a way out through education.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

(50) The Heavens Rise

Title: The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice
Publisher: Gallery Books
336 pages
Genre: horror

I received an advanced e-copy of this book through netgalley.com It is due to be released October 15, 2013.

Synopsis: It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.

An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.

Niquette is living proof that things done can’t be undone. Nothing will put her family back together again. And nothing can save her. But as Niquette, Ben, and Anthem uncover the truth of a devastating parasite that has the potential to alter the future of humankind, Niquette grasps the most chilling truths of all: someone else has been infected too. And unlike her, this man is not content to live in the shadows. He is intent to use his newfound powers for one reason only: revenge.

Review: This book started out with a bang.  It was creepy, fast paced and spooky, by the middle I was struggling and the end was a disappointment.  The settings were pure NOLA and the characters were strong with the exception of Nicky who left before we really had a chance to fully know her. I was routing for Nicky and Anthem's relationship and Ben just seemed like the quirky sidekick until half way through when he became the main character and the glue that holds everyone together.

Christopher Rice loves his hometown.  He knows exactly how it feels and how it moves.  He understand all the different parts of it and how they fit together in a quirky mix.  If you love NOLA this book definitely has great descriptions and feeling.  I wanted to visit Elysium, I wanted to see the pool that ruined the love of a lifetime, but Katrina ruined it, just as it ruined most of the city that Christopher and I both love.  For this alone I can't totally discount this book.  There were parts of this book I really enjoyed but then others that were just so over the top and rushed that I felt let down.

I've read several of Christopher Rice's other books and I've found them to be a bit all over the place as well.  Some I liked (Density of Souls), some were just so so for me. I guess I would have to characterize this one as a so-so read.


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