November 25, 2008

(108) The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver


Jeffery Deaver is best known for his Lincoln Rhyme series of books. One of which was made into a movie The Bone Collector with Denzel Washington & that Husband Stealer.

I haven't read the series, because I don't really like starting a series that have a million books & I didn't start with the first one. Like the Born In Death series, or the John Sanford series. I know I would enjoy them, but committing to reading the whole series at once is overwhelming.

When I read the synopsis for The Bodies Left Behind & saw that it wasn't a Lincoln Rhyme novel, I decided to give it a shot.

The book is action packed, a little too much so. Just when you think things are going to have a conclusion, he throws another thing into the mix. I can see the book becoming a movie. But other than the Husband Stealer, I can't think of a good female action star.

But, back to the plot. Deputy Brynne McKensie is cooking dinner at home when she gets a call from work. A 911 call from one of the nearby lake homes. She is asked to go check things out. And that is when all hell breaks loose. Brynne enters the fight for her life & the struggle to find her way back home. And of course there are enough twists & turns that will leave you dazed, but you will enjoy the end! I promise!

November 19, 2008

(107) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer


With the upcoming release of Twilight, the movie, I decided to re-read the book that the movie is based on.

For the record, I want to state that I read the book long before it became the huge phenomenon that IS Twilight. For years, I have hand sold this book & the sequels to anyone who is wanting a good romance, to anyone buying for teen girls. And there are always those people who are hesitant to purchase a vampire love story. Twilight is written by a practicing Mormon Mother. There is absolutely nothing questionable in this book. Heck, there is barely kissing.

So, why has Twilight & Edward Cullen taken over the hearts & minds of millions of women? Well, I think it is because we all want to be loved & cherished by a man like Edward loves & cherishes Bella. One of the girls at work, just finished the whole series. And she told me that while reading the series, she broke up with the guy she was dating. Just because the books reminded her what she wanted in a relationship & what she won't compromise. GOOD for her!

Expecting men to be like Edward is a bit unrealistic, though. Edward is a fictional character. Heck, he is a mythical character. Yet, it is not the mythical part that is so attractive. It is the fact that he loves Bella unconditionally. It is the fact that he would fight to the death for her. It is the fact that he puts her wants & needs above his at all time. We all hope that those qualities in a man are not as mythical as Edward.

If you are one of those few females left on the planet that have not read Twilight, I do encourage you to do so. It will not raise your IQ or solve the world's woes. But it will be an opportunity to escape for a few hours & remember what it is like to fall in love for the first time.

November 15, 2008

(106) The Pre-Nup by Beth Kendrick



Three women have been best friends since college. Mara, Ellie, & Jen. All three are at varying stages in their relationships. And at the center of each relationship problem is a little document called The Pre-Nup.

For Ellie, her marriage is over. There is no hope of a reconciliation. But the Pre-Nup as stated will leave her destitute & possibly losing custody of her daughter. Can she plead her case & save her divorce?

For Jen, her marriage to Eric is on the rocks, but the Pre-Nup could cause her to lose everything she has worked so hard for. But will it all be worth it without Eric?

And there is Mara. Mara is engaged to Josh. She is planning her wedding & looking forward to their future together. But Mara, the high powered lawyer may lose it all when a Pre-Nup is introduced, they may not make it to the alter.

Beth Kendrick writes a fun little book about three friends. Three friends who stick together when the chips are down. Three friends who take care of each other when they are at their lowest point. The Pre-Nup is not only a book about relationships, but more a book about friendships. And no matter what happens, your truest friends will always be there for you.

November 12, 2008

(105) Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch


If you could pick an age in your life where you could go back & start over, what age would you choose?

I am going with age 19. When I made the decision to not go back to finish college. While I am THRILLED with where I work & what I do, I now wonder how much different my life would have been if I had stayed in school for all four years.

For Jill, the main character of Time of My Life, she doesn't get a choice. She is so discontent with her life & her marriage that she is thrilled to wake up & discover that she is back in the year 2000. The week before she breaks up with her ex-boyfriend & meets her future husband.

The author has done an excellent job at illustrating how just one or two different decisions can make a huge difference in how the rest of our lives play out. And even though Jill has the opportunity at a "do-over", she realizes that things that are meant to happen WILL happen.

Time of My Life is not really a chick-lit book, like the cover suggests. It is an emotional look at whether being happy with your life is as easy as it sounds. It is a great book & I see it as a future favorite of book clubs all over America.

November 9, 2008

(104) Good Luck by Whitney Gaskell



What would you do if you won $34 Million dollars?

Let's see. I would first of all, set up trust funds for all of my nieces & nephews. I would write a check for a million dollars to both sets of my parents. And then I would hire a financial consultant & invest a chunk. After a spending spree, of course. A house in the Shoal Creek area & a new Lexus SUV. That would be my spending spree. *grin*

Lucy Parker is having a hell of a day. She was just accused of sexually harassing a student, which resulted in her losing her job. Her beloved VW broke down & she walked in on her boyfriend having sex with a random girl with fake books. It is, without a doubt, the worst day of her life. And then she wins the lottery.

After the shock wears off, Lucy tries to figure out what to do next. The media has made her a prisoner in her own home. So when an old college friend offers her refuge in her Palm Beach mansion, she goes. She finds herself entrenched in a world she does not know. A world of Porsche convertibles, personal stylists & $900 pair of jeans. She finds herself being turned upside down & inside out. Will she ever find her way back to the person she was before?

Whitney Gaskell has written a fun little book. We all have played the "What If..." game. Whitney Gaskell just put it on paper. And I would be remiss to not point out the props she gives to Barnes & Noble. Her description was spot on in regards to selling the Membership card, that I actually laughed out loud. She MUST have been a bookseller in a prior life. It seriously cracked me up.

Check out this essay by Whitney Gaskell regarding the back story. http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v489/charlotteg/January30048-1.jpg. I would like to say that you could buy the book at B&N, but for some reason we were told to pull the book as "defective" with no reason. But I was able to snag a copy before they were pulled. No matter where you buy it, just buy it. You won't be disappointed.

November 7, 2008

(103) Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan


One of the most tragic things that can happen to a family, to parents, is to have a child go missing.

Ever since I was a little girl & the child of my dad's classmate went missing. Johnny Gosch. The Gosch family was from the same small town that my Dad grew up in. I remember when he went missing. I remember being afraid to go anywhere after it happened. But ever since Johnny Gosch, I have been fascinated by the stories of our country's missing children.

Fast forward to 2008 & children are still going missing. Little Caylee Anthony has been the most recent one to capture the attention of America. But there can be success stories, as well. Finding Shawn Hornbeck after four years, for example. Absolutely that is a success story.

Songs For the Missing is an incredibly well written look at what happens in a small Ohio town when an eighteen year old girl goes missing. The story reminds me a lot of the a local girl, Kara Kopetsky. I thought of her often when reading this book. http://www.findkarakopetsky.com/

The police aren't all that convinced that Kim is in danger. They thing she ran away that summer day. But her friends & family know different.

Songs For the Missing is a parents worst nightmare. But author, Stewart O'Nan does such an incredible job telling the story from all sides. From Kim's boyfriend, to her best friend, to her little sister, to her Father . You get to experience this tragedy from all of their view points. The book is well written, engaging, & heartbreaking all at once. You won't be able to put it down. The book is not a fast paced thriller, but a slow & steady character piece. And worth every minute it takes you to read the book.

November 3, 2008

(102) Testimony by Anita Shreve



W-O-W

Anita Shreve has hit it out of the ballpark with her new book, Testimony. It is an insightful, 360 degree look at what happens when a scandal erupts at a prestigious, upper crust New England private school.

The story is told in alternating voices. And it took me several chapters to realize that the chapters were being told as if it were truly testimony in a trial. (yes, I am a dork). From the Headmaster, who tried to keep the situation involving three upper class boys & a fourteen year old freshman, within the four walls of the school. To the roommate of the girl involved, to the parents of the students involved. The book tells the Testimony of all those involved.

Some readers may find it a bit confusing, because each person's Testimony starts at a different point in time. For the Headmaster, it started when his car flipped over on the icy road several years before the incident. For the girlfriend of one of the boys, her Testimony starts when she & Silas first discovered each other. But all of the testimonies come together to tell the story of what happened that Saturday night.

Testimony explores the privileged world of New England Private Schools and the communities they are set in. And how to the two, very different worlds, sometimes collide, wreaking havoc on many in the process. Well written & easy to read, once you start to read Testimony, you won't want to stop.

November 1, 2008

(101) The Shack by Wm Paul Young


I am likely going to Hell.

I am likely the only person on the planet who did not like The Shack.

The book started out interesting enough. The story of the Great Sadness was really & truly sad. I kept thinking back to Kelsey Smith, a local girl who made national news when she was abducted from Target & found murdered a few days later. What Mack went through, is what I imagine the Smith's went through. And I can't even begin to imagine what that kind of anguish feels like.

Sadly enough, they did not find Mack's daughter, Missy. And the next few years take a toll on his entire family. One day Mack receives a note in the mailbox. A note from "Papa" (his wife's name for God) calling him back to the Shack. It starts a series of events that will change Mack's relationship with God.

And that is where I lose interest in the book. The rest of The Shack is basically the author's interpretation of what God is to him. I mean, we all have a vision of what God would be like if we were to run into Him & having a chance to "hang out" so to speak. Well, this book is Paul Young's vision & it did nothing for me.

I can see why people like this book. People who have had a hard time putting a face to the name, so to speak. Mack spends his time with "Papa" (a big black woman) trying to make sense of his tragedy & why God would put him & his family through that.

The ending wraps everything up nice & neatly, which is just another reason for me to groan & mock. I told you I was going to Hell.