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2007 Year in Review

>> Monday, December 31, 2007

This was the year of reading challenges for me. I completed 12 reading challenges. The variety and new horizons this led me to was quite interesting. I started the year out by overwhelming myself with challenges, but quickly learned to pick and choose which challenges I joined to in order to keep the reading enjoyable and not stressful. I have to leave time for what I call my “whimpulse” reads.

Challenges Completed
The Winter Classics Challenge
The Chunkster Challenge
The Southern Reading Challenge
The Summer Mystery Challenge
The Non-Fiction Five Challenge
The Medical Mysteries Challenge
The RIP II Challenge
The 2007 TBR Challenge
The Unread Authors Challenge
The 2nds Challenge
The Hometown Challenge
The From the Stacks Challenge

Overall I read less books, but more pages than last year. Those chunksters had an impact! As for audiobooks, I didn’t complete as many this year as I did last year, but that means less time was spent in the car so that’s not such a bad thing.

2007 statistics:

Books Read 74
Pages Read 28,904
Audiobooks 18

Best of 2007
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (the translation by Richard Pevear)
My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt
The Last Catholic in America by John R. Powers
The Girls by Lori Lansens
Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Heartsick by Chelsea Cain


2008 A to Z Reading Challenge

>> Sunday, December 30, 2007

My friend Joy has sucked me into another one! A couple of years ago I did my own personal A to Z reading adventure that ended up with me starting this blog. When I did this I was really structured and read through the author and title lists in strict alphabetical order. It was fun, but not something I’d do in that same way again.

Joy has started an
A to Z Reading Challenge for 2008

Being that many of us have joined several for the 2008 year, I'm thinking we will be able to just plug in authors and titles from existing challenge book lists to easily complete it.

All that's required is that you align the author's last name or the title of a book excluding "the", "a", etc.) with its corresponding letter in the alphabet. Each author and title entry must be a different book. I will be working on both the author and title lists at the same time; however, you may complete the alphabet lists anyway that suits your fancy. The challenge last throughout the 2008 year.

I love that this has a high level of flexibility – I don’t have to post my list of books ahead of time for one thing. I can just post the list of letters and start filling in the titles and authors as I read the books. The only real limitation is that the challenge is for 52 different books – I can’t use a book for both the author and title lists.

The other thing is that Joy has agreed to a deal to get me to join the challenge, so if she keeps up her part of the deal, I’ll have to do my best to finish the challenge ;-)


The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

>> Saturday, December 29, 2007

Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published 2003
Pages: 467

This was a departure for Patterson. Although it had his typical hero vs. really evil bad guys scenarios, it was set in the 11th century. It really did end up being a good mystery, adventure and thriller with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

From the back cover:

Hugh De Luc returns from the Crusades to discover that his terrifying nightmare has just begun. Merciless killers have slain his young son, kidnapped his wife, Sophie, and destroyed his town in their search for a priceless relic from the Crucifixion. Hugh's quest to find Sophie is one of the most pulse-pounding adventures, mysteries, and unforgettable love stories in all of thriller fiction.
It was a typical quick paced and quick reading Patterson book, but the setting and story were an interesting departure from his normal formula.


Audiobook: Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich

>> Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Genre: Light Mystery/ humor
Published 2006
Book on CD read by C. J. Critt

From Publishers Weekly:

At the start of this cool comedy thriller from bestseller Evanovich, her second novel to star Alexandra "Barney" Barnaby (after 2004's Metro Girl), Barney and her unfaithful NASCAR racing honey, Sam Hooker, find themselves in trouble after discovering the shrink-wrapped body of ruthless businessman Oscar Huevo in a rival racer's car hauler. The pair must pull together to protect a high-tech gizmo that can revolutionize racing-and save their lives. Evanovich burns some rubber and only hits the brakes a few times, thanks to her bright dialogue, race-track savvy and expert depiction of romantic mayhem. Though sometimes it seems as if she's still taking a test drive with this new cast of eccentrics, the pages fly by as the racy tension between Hooker and Barney adds heat to the fun. Action on the menu includes destruction of valuable race cars, a dognapping and a kidnapping. While Barney isn't likely to beat Stephanie Plum in a popularity contest, she's still a hoot.
This was a light, enjoyable audiobook for driving around town listening. Barney and Hooker are definitely not clones of Stephanie and Joe or Ranger, but they’re still fun. I’m pretty sure I’m developing a soft spot for Hooker and I think I love Beans (Hooker’s loveable Saint Bernard).


Sacred Cows by Karen E. Olson

>> Sunday, December 23, 2007

Published: 2005
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 290

From Publishers Weekly:
A phone call summons New Haven, Conn., crime reporter Anne Seymour from a beer-fogged sleep to cover a breaking story at the start of Olson's spirited debut, the winner of the first Sara Ann Freed Memorial Award. The dead body of a Yale undergrad lies at the foot of a luxury high-rise condo. Anne faces the usual stonewalling by the detective-on-the-scene-which smarts a little extra as he has recently vacated her bed. Dogged by a pesky fellow reporter, Anne struggles to keep her byline to herself, while she's warned off the case by her boss, her cop boyfriend and the university higher-ups. The plot thickens when she learns that the student was a high-priced escort, as is the next young female Yalie found murdered. A slave to her hormones, the smell of garlic and her driving ambition, the spunky, imperfect Anne is an engaging protagonist. Several other well-realized characters, some bovine humor and an miable sense of the Yale/New Haven community round out this enjoyable first.
I didn’t “love” this book, but I thought it was enjoyable and will read more by this author. Annie Seymour is a fun heroine – tough, yet trusting, cynical, with a sense of humor. It was a promising first novel and I look forward to more of Annie’s adventures.


“What’s in a Name?” Challenge

>> Thursday, December 20, 2007

The What’s in a Name Challenge, hosted by Annie looked like fun, so I’m signing up! The time frame is generous -- 6 books over 12 months (January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008), so it’s not too overwhelming to work into my challenge plans.

The Challenge:

Choose one book from each of the following categories.

1. A book with a color in its title. Examples might include: The Amber Spyglass, The Red Pony, Blue Blood

2. A book with an animal in its title. Examples might include: The Hound of the Baskervilles, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julie of the Wolves

3. A book with a first name in its title. Examples might include: Jane Eyre, the Harry Potter books, Anne of Green Gables

4. A book with a place in its title. Examples might include: From Russia with Love, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Out of Africa

5. A book with a weather event in its title. Examples might include: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Red Storm Rising, Tornado Alley

6. A book with a plant in its title. Examples might include: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Name of the Rose, Flowers for Algernon

--You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category. (For example, you can use The Red Pony for either a "color" book or an "animal" book, but not for both.)

These are the books I’ve chosen:

  1. A book with a color in its title: Leavin' Trunk Blues by Ace Atkins
  2. A book with an animal in its title: The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais
  3. A book with a first name in its title: Peter the Great by Robert Massie
  4. A book with a place in its title: London Bridges by James Patterson
  5. A book with a weather event in its title: Black Wind by Clive Cussler
  6. A book with a plant in its title: Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs


The English Breakfast Murder by Laura Childs

>> Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Published: 2003
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 265

This is the fourth book in Laura Childs Cozy series "The Teashop Mysteries"

Theodosia Browning is the owner of The Indigo Tea Shop in Charleston, South Carolina's historic district. She's also an amateur sleuth. This series has all the expected cozy elements - light mystery, a quirky cast of characters, a teensy bit of romance and lots of atmosphere. I love the descriptions of Charleston and the area. I'd love to go back and visit there again someday. The descriptions of the tea blends makes me want to curl up with a hot cup of tea while reading these.

From the back cover:

It is a truly exhilarating experience for Theo - helping Charleston's Sea Turtle Protection League shepherd hundreds of tiny green loggerheads safely into the sea. But just as she's about to celebrate all her hard work with some hearty Lung Ching tea and spicy gumbo, she spots a dead body bobbing in the waves. It turns out to be local art dealer Harper Fisk - a man with an eye for fine antiques. Could his death have anything to do with the sunken treasure and gold bullion rumored to be somewhere near Halliehurst Beach? Deep in her heart, Theo knows that murder is indeed brewing in Charleston - and it's up to her to get to the bottom of it before teh culprit's greed stirs him to kill again . . .
It’s not even as serious a mystery as that intro makes it seem. Expect light, expect enjoyable, expect to want some tea and a ticket to Charleston.


2008 TBR Challenge

>> Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yay! It’s Back! MizBooks has opened the door for signing up for the 2008 TBR Challenge. I’ve been working on my list for weeks.

For this challenge you should....

** Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2008 - that you've been wanting to read (that have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.

** OPTIONAL: Create a list of "Alternates" (books you could substitute for your challenge books, given that a particular one doesn't grab you at the time)

** Then, starting January 1, 2008, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2008. :o)

This time around I’m posting a list of alternates. One of my difficulties last time was that I only had my original list of 12 and wasn’t too impressed with a couple of them. I’m also not going to be hung up on the one a month plan. I’m going to read at least 12 before the year is out, but I’ll read them when the time is right for me.

The Primary 12:



Booked to Die by John Dunning

>> Monday, December 17, 2007

Published: 1992
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 321

I have a new series to read and it’s all Booklogged’s fault!!

In the past few months, she has read several of this series and with each review it became more and more of a priority for me to read this first one and get started.

From the inside flap:

Denver cop Cliff Janeway probably knows as much about books as he does about homicide. His living room resembles an adjunct to the public library. He's aware that a first edition of a Stephen King can bring as much as a first edition of Mark Twain and that a copy of Raymond Chandler's Lady in the Lake is worth close to $1,000. And he realizes that, contrary to popular belief, "older" doesn't necessarily mean "more valuable."

He also knows that valuable volumes can be hidden in plain view among otherwise ordinary book collections. It's not easy to find such books, but some people seem to have an extraordinary almost superhuman, talent for honing in on the treasures.

Such a man was bookscout Bobby Westfall. Bobby never made a bundle, but he'd once earned $900 in a single weekend and had generally spotted enough valuable books to keep himself and his beloved cats fed and housed. Now Bobby is dead, murdered at the witching hour on Friday the thirteenth, his body dumped under a
ladder in a dark alley. It's not a good end for a superstitious man.

Janeway is sure he knows who did it: flashy businessman Jackie Newton, who is known to have a pathological hatred for drifters. He's suspected of a string of killings in New Jersey and California, but nobody's been able to win a conviction. Janeway came close, but then the star witness got scared. Now Janeway hopes he'll have another chance at a man whose destruction has become his personal goal.

But Janeway's in for some surprises before he finds the proof he needs -- surprises that will affect his professional and personal life in profound and shocking ways.
I liked the Janeway character a lot and the other characters and mystery were interesting and well written. The inside information and stories of bookscouts and book dealers was thoroughly enjoyable. I look forward to continuing with this series.

Thanks Booklogged!! You definitely steered me in the right direction with this one.


From the Stacks Winter Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Friday, December 14, 2007

The From the Stacks Challenge was hosted by Michelle at Overdue Books. This was my first repeat challenge. I participated last year as my very first challenge, so was excited to participate again this year.

The rules were the same as last year. Between November 1st and January 30th read 5 books that you have already purchased have been meaning to get to, have been sitting on the nightstand and haven't read before.

The books I chose for this challenge were:

The best book: Wow! It’s hard to choose between I Am the Messenger and Heartsick because they are so completely different styles. I’d have to say it was a tie between these two

What book could I have done without? All were enjoyable for what they were – some for a thrill ride, some for pure escapism. Wives and Sisters was probably the one I’d that was just OK.

Any new authors? Yes, Natalie Collins and Chelsea Cain were new-to-me authors. I haven’t decided whether or not to read more of Collins’ books, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting Chelsea Cain’s next book.

Books I did not finish: finished all I started

What did I learn? That if I can use books I’ve already got on my TBR list, I can usually find a way to participate in a challenge. I wasn’t going to do any more this year, but when it’s books I already have or want to read anyway and I can overlap with other challenges, I’m probably going to sign up.

This was a fun challenge and I hope to participate again if it’s available next year.


2nds Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Thursday, December 13, 2007

The 2nds Challenge was hosted by my friend Joy who challenged us to:

Between October 1st and December 31st read 3 books by authors that you have only read one other.

I selected three books for this challenge:

The best book: I Am the Messenger was by far my favorite, although I did enjoy Birds of a Feather.

What book could I have done without? Human Croquet was a huge disappointment. I’ve read two of Kate Atkinson’s books now and have felt let down by both

Any new authors? No, all were second reads by definition of the challenge

Books I did not finish: finished all I started

What did I learn? In Birds of a Feather I learned quite a bit about life in England after World War 1. I haven’t read much about that location and time frame so the economic hardships and the troubles the veterans went through was fairly new to me.

Thanks Joy! This was a fun challenge


I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

>> Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Published: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 357
From the Stacks #5 , 2nds Challenge #3

I read, loved and recommended The Book Thief like crazy. I wasn’t sure that anything else by the same author could hold up, but this one was wonderful too. It’s very different from The Book Thief, but once again Zusak has written a book with its own unique atmosphere and cadence. There are so many wonderful phrases and moments in this that I could have easily flagged even more quotes than I did.

19 year old Ed Kennedy is an underage taxi driver who is a bit of a loser. He lives in a shack with a smelly old dog that was his dad’s. His mother continually berates him and tells him how he’s not as good as his brother. He spends many evenings playing cards (poorly, of course) with his friends. He’s hopelessly in love with his friend and co-worker, Audrey.

The book opens with Ed and his friends on the floor in the middle of a bank robbery. Ed becomes an unwitting hero and soon he starts receiving odd messages on playing cards. It’s difficult to explain what happens without giving away too much of the story. It’ll be much better for you to experience it right along with Ed.

I love the way Zusak writes. Nearly every page holds a gem.
Why can’t the world hear? I ask myself. Within a few moments I ask it many times. Because it doesn’t care, I finally answer, and I know I’m right. It’s like I’ve been chosen. But chosen for what? I ask.

When her hands reached out and poured the tea, it was as if she also poured something into me while I sat there sweating in my cab. It was like she held a string and pulled on it just slightly to open me up. She got in, put a piece of herself inside me, and left again.
She looks at the swings, and I can see she’s imagining what they’d look like if the kids weren’t there. The guilt of this holds her down momentarily. It appears to be there constantly. Never far away, despite her love for them.

I realize that nothing belongs to her anymore and she belongs to everything.

Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say
Just in what they are.


Unread Authors Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Unread Authors Challenge was sponsored at Sycorax Pine. Between September 1, 2007 through February 28, 2008. Participants needed to read six books by authors they had never read before.

This was my original list:
· Tess Gerritsen - The Surgeon
· Erica Spindler – Forbidden Fruit
· Linda Barnes – A Trouble of Fools
· Chris Bohjalain – Buffalo Soldier
· Cory McFayden – Shadow Man
· Robert Crais – The Monkey’s Raincoat

But I ended up substituting the two Hometown Challenge books for the last two on the list so I could wrap up this challenge this month – so these two were included instead.
· April Henry - Circles of Confusion
· Chelsea Cain – Heartsick

The best book: Hard to choose because the genre differences make them hard to compare

What book could I have done without? Forbidden Fruit was my least favorite.

Any new authors? All were new authors by definition of the challenge

Books I did not finish: Finished them all. Even though I changed my original list, I still plan to read both of those books soon.

What did I learn? That I’m enjoying the fact that these challenges are making me actually pick up and read some of those books that have been languishing on my TBR list for far too long. A Trouble of Fools, The Buffalo Soldier and The Surgeon have all been on my list for a long time and I was glad to finally read all three of them.

Thanks to Por of Tor for the kick in the TBR


Hometown Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Monday, December 10, 2007

The Hometown Challenge was hosted by Callista over at S.M.S. Book Reviews.

Your challenge if you choose to accept it is to read at least ONE book from November 1, 2007 to March 1, 2008 that either takes place in your hometown or is written by an author who lives in your hometown. It can be the place you were born or where you live now, whichever.
I selected two books for this challenge:

The best book: Heartsick was a page turner and a thrill ride. Circles of Confusion was enjoyable too, but more of a cozy mystery. I thought Circles of Confusion was a bit too local-focused in that some of the references would be confusing for readers not from this area. Chelsea Cain did a better job of capturing the local flavor, but retaining the broad appeal of her book.

What book could I have done without? They were both enjoyable.

Any new authors? Both were new authors for me (although I had read Chelsea Cain’s newspaper columns).

Books I did not finish: finished and enjoyed them both

What did I learn? That there was a fun series by a local author that I’d missed (The Claire Montrose series by April Henry) and that Chelsea Cain can write a heck of a thriller. I can’t wait till she writes another one.

Thanks to Callista for hosting this one and inspiring me to check out a couple of local authors I’d missed!


Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

>> Sunday, December 9, 2007

Published: 2007
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Pages: 324
Unread Authors #6, Hometown #2 , From the Stacks #4

I already knew of Chelsea Cain from reading her weekly column in the local paper. I had missed the fact that she’d written this book till
Joy clued me in about it. This was certainly not the same as her newspaper columns!

This thriller grabbed me in the first few pages and I hated to get off the train and go to work because I wanted to keep reading. Fair warning – it’s a bit gruesome in places.

Two years ago Detective Archie Sheridan was kidnapped and tortured for 10 days by the very serial killer he’d been hunting for years. That killer, Gretchen Lowell, is safely tucked away in prison, but Archie is called back from his medical leave to head up the team investigating a new serial killer in town. This time, hoping to fend off media criticism, a newspaper reporter is assigned to profile Archie and the investigation. Susan Ward is a pink haired smart mouthed young reporter who doesn’t necessarily do what she is told.

The story of Archie’s previous ordeal with Gretchen is interwoven with the present time investigation. There are plenty of familiar local references for Portlanders without being too insider-ish for folks not from this area.


2007 TBR Challenge Wrap-Up

>> Thursday, December 6, 2007

The 2007 TBR Challenge was hosted by MizBooks, who challenged us to:
** Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2007 - that you've been wanting to read (have been on your "To Be Read" list) for 6 months or longer, but haven't gotten around to.** Then, starting January 1, 2007, read one of these books from your list each month, ending December 31, 2007. :o)

These are the 12 books I chose for this challenge (with links to my blog posts):
January -
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
February -
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
March -
Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton
April -
Total Control by David Baldacci
May -
Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank
June -
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles
July -
Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
August -
The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch by Marsha Moyer
September -
A Piece of Heaven by Barbara Samuel
October -
Forbidden Fruit by Erica Spindler
November -
Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson
December -
The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

The best book: A tie between Les Miserables and The Three Musketeers – both originally written in French, so the choice of which translation was a concern. I loved the translations I read of both of these, and would recommend them.

  • Les Miserables: the Signet Classics edition translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee
  • The Three Musketeers: the 2006 translation by Richard Pevear (which is now out in trade paperback with a truly unfortunate cover – the hardcover dust jacket pictured in the link was so much better it’s ridiculous)
What book could I have done without? None of them were complete duds, but I’d say that Human Croquet was the one I liked the least. A few others were just so-so (Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Enemy Women, The Second Coming of Lucy Hatch).

Any new authors? Yes, Hugo, Dumas, Jiles, Lamott, Moyer, Spindler, and Bohjalian were all new authors for me.

Books I did not finish: I finished read all that I planned

What did I learn? I learned that planning my reading 12 months in advance can be frustrating. I found myself not wanting to wait till the next month to read one of the books on my list quite often. I also learned that for a year-long challenge like this I really need to have some alternates available. A few of the books I really wasn’t in the mood for at the time, but went ahead and finished them because of the challenge. I’m definitely planning on participating in the 2008 TBR Challenge, but I’m going to make some changes based on my experience this year. First of all – I’m not planning to stick with the one book per month plan. I’ll select 12 and read them when I darn well please. I don’t care about challenge prizes, I care about reading books. I’ll also list a bunch of alternates – that way if I start one of the challenge books and find that I’m just not in the mood for it, I’ll have a list of alternates to choose from.


The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian

>> Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Published: 2002
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 420
TBR Challenge #12, Unread Authors #5

Two years ago Laura and Terry Sheldon’s twin 9 year old daughters died in a flash flood. Now they are foster parents to a 10 year old African-American boy named Alfred. Terry and Laura are still dealing with their grief and guilt over the loss of their daughters. Alfred is a child of the system who has lived in too many households in his young life. He is a quiet loner who has never really felt like he belongs anywhere. Paul Hebert, the retired professor who lives next door to the Sheldon’s takes an interest in Alfred and they find a common interest in the story of The Buffalo Soldiers Cavalry unit.

This book is told in several different voices – Laura, Terry, Alfred, the neighbors and also the woman whose involvement with Terry threatens what remains of the Sheldon’s marriage. It’s not just about the foster care system, nor is it about a couple dealing with their grief, guilt and marital tensions. It is about each of the characters and their fears, doubts and needs in terms of what family means to them.

There is sadness in the loss of the Sheldon girls and the impact that has on their parents as well as people who knew them and even Alfred, who never met them. There is joy in the relationship between Alfred and Paul Hebert. There is heartache in many of the characters as their relationships are tested.

. . . and every minute he felt like he was walking on glass. You moved slow in this house, as if everything – and that included the people – was just about to break.
I thought this was a very good book. I found it to be touching in many places and thought provoking for many reasons.


Audiobook - Miss Julia Stands Her Ground by Ann B. Ross

>> Monday, December 3, 2007

Genre: Light humorous fiction
Published 2006
Book on CD read by Cynthia Darlow

This was number 7 in this series starring Julia Springer. She’s a ‘woman of a certain age’ from Abbotsville, North Carolina. I enjoy this series for driving around town audiobook listening. It’s a comedy of manners type of book. The returning cast is an enjoyable set of foils for Miss Julia.

In this one, Hazel Marie’s evangelist uncle Vernon Puckett returns. He’s threatening to publicly question whether Little Lloyd is really the son of Julia’s late husband. Although no one can quite figure out what Vernon’s up to, they’re all sure it’s no good. Miss Julia just wants to keep it all out of the public view and protect her ‘family’, but as usual, misunderstandings and confusion reign.

Perfect for light car listening.


Decades 08 Challenge

>> Sunday, December 2, 2007

3M is hosting another Decades Challenge – appropriately named Decades 08. I didn’t participate in the 2007 version of this, but the rules for the 2008 version make it just too hard to pass up:

The rules are simple:
1. Read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades in ‘08.
2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.
3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.
4. You may change your list at any time.
With that list of rules, how could I not join in?

Here’s my initial list, but I may well end up taking advantage of that #4 rule before this one’s over.
· 1880’s Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
· 1890’s War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells
· 1900’s A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
· 1910’s The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
· 1920’s The Inimitable Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
· 1930’s The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
· 1940’s City Boy by Herman Wouk
· 1950’s Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
· 1960’s The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
· 1970’s Trinity by Leon Uris
· 1980’s Peter the Great by Robert K. Massie


Circles of Confusion by April Henry

>> Friday, November 30, 2007

Published: 1999
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 333
Unread Authors #4, Hometown #1

This one was added to my list when I was looking for Portland authors and settings for the Hometown Challenge. Since it’s also a new author, I’m substituting it in for the Unread Authors Challenge too.

Claire Montrose is leading a predictable life in Portland, Oregon. Although her job is unusual (approving or rejecting vanity license place applications for the Dept. of Motor Vehicles) she's been there long enough to be bored with it. When Claire's Aunt Cady dies and leaves everything to Claire, things become less predictable.

Aunt Cady didn't have much more than a trailer filled with junk, but under the bed, Claire finds an old suitcase containing a bracelet, her aunt's diary, some pamphlets from Nazi Germany and a small painting that takes her breath away. Claire's boyfriend is sure the painting is junk, but her roommate (an elderly survivor of Dachau) and a local antiques dealer are not so sure.

When Claire decides to take the painting to New York to research it's history and how her aunt came to possess it, she soon finds herself in the middle of a mystery and apparently in some serious danger.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a light cozy style mystery, but one that kept me entertained and turning the pages. I will most definitely be looking for and reading more of April Henry's Claire Montrose series.


More Challenges (and a couple of adjustments)

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I’ve got a few more challenges I want to join for 2008, so I’m trying to be strategic in planning what books I can read that will qualify for more than one challenge. I’m also trying to wrap up as many of my current challenges as I can before the end of December.

Part of it is a compulsion to finish what I can by the end of 2007 and make the 2008 challenges list a whole new spreadsheet page (yes I’m a spreadsheet dork). The other part is to keep myself sane and have time for non-challenge books when I want to read them.

So – look for upcoming posts about
The Decades 08 Challenge, The TBR 2008 Challenge, and the What’s in a Name Challenge.

In the meantime, I’m modifying my list for the
Unread Authors Challenge to include the two books I’m going to read for The Hometown Challenge. By doing this I can finish up both of those in December.


Wives and Sisters by Natalie R. Collins

>> Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Published: 2004
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 321
From the Stacks #3

From the back cover:

Decades ago, young Allison Jensen and her best friend Cindy were separated in the woods. Cindy disappeared forever. Allison survived amid a web of small-town secrets and lies that greeted every anguished question she asked about that fateful afternoon.Years later, Allison has come home to the bedroom community of Farmington, Utah-back to the devout tyranny of her father, back to the close-knit society she rejected, and back to the conspiracy of silence that has plagued her with nightmares of guilt and loss. Out of her patchwork memory, the truth is emerging. So is Allison's rage-and her hunger for justice. Now, in a courageous and terrifying voyage of self-discovery, it's up to Allison to avenge the guilty...
This was a fast paced book that I read in just a couple of days. The author is clearly anti-Mormon – I need to say that up front. Personally, I feel that the same story could have been told with any small town fundamentalist, patriarchal background, but the author’s history led her to use the LDS church.
The mystery of what happened to Cindy and the shattered family life of Allison and her siblings is hard to read at times because of some clearly abusive family behavior, it was definitely an emotional story. The villain is a twisted and dangerous stalker. The people who seem to be helping Allison may or may not be the good guys.
It’s hard for me to say whether or not I liked this book. I enjoyed the mystery/suspense part of the story, but the heavy handed anti-Mormon agenda of the author overwhelmed it.


Trojan Odyssey by Clive Cussler

>> Monday, November 26, 2007

Published: 2000
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 463
Challenge: From the Stacks #2

Clive Cussler’s books are formulaic nearly comic book adventure type stuff and just darn fun. Don’t pick up a Cussler book expecting anything more than that.

This one has all the usual elements – lots of techno diving and underwater stuff, a megalomaniac who wants to take over the world, a beautiful woman or two, death defying rescues by Dirk Pitt and his sidekick Al Giordino, excruciating detail about Pitt’s classic car collection, . . . you get the idea. Oh, and guess what -- Dirk Pitt saves humanity yet again.


Running Blind by Lee Child

>> Thursday, November 15, 2007

Published: 2000
Genre: Mystery/ Thriller
Pages: 486
From the Stacks #1

From the back cover:

Across the country women are being murdered, victims of an extraordinarily disciplined and clever killer who leaves no trace evidence, no fatal wounds, no signs of struggle, and no clues to an apparent motive. Even the elite team of FBI agents assigned to the case is baffled by the ingenuity of these perfect crimes. But who’s committing them? Why? And how? So far, there’s only one connection: each victim knew Jack Reacher. And this time, even he’s running blind.
This is the fourth book in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher Series and I’m pleased to say that I’m still enjoying the heck out of it. Jack is a great hero who gets better with every book. A former military policeman, who is happiest when he’s living without attachments or roots, Jack can’t seem to keep himself from intervening to help an underdog.

As the book opens Jack gets himself involved in helping out a restaurant owner who is being shaken down by a pair of mob goons. Next thing he knows he’s hauled in by the FBI because he fits their profile in an investigation into a serial killer. It turns out that the killers victims are all women who Jack knew when he was in the military. I really don’t want to say more about the plot because Child is great at doling out the clues, information and red herrings as the story progresses.

Another well constructed mystery with a likeable, but flawed hero. I need to go buy the next book in the series!


A Trouble of Fools by Linda Barnes

>> Friday, November 9, 2007

Published: 1987
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 203
Unread Authors Challenge #3

Carlotta Carlyle is a 6’ 1” tall redheaded former Boston cabdriver and ex-cop turned private investigator. Business has been slow, so when the elderly Margaret Devens shows up wanting someone to find her missing brother, Carlotta decides to take the case. When two thugs beat up Margaret and Carlotta finds out there’s a hidden pile of cash involved, it’s clear that this isn’t a run of the mill missing persons case.

It’s not that I’m scared. I can take care of myself. I grew up in Detroit and compared to the kids of the Motor City, most of the punks around here don’t know what tough means. I’m not scared of the streets. Maybe I’m afraid of the great I-Told-You-So. You know how it goes: “Gee, Carlotta, none of this would have happened if you’d had the sense to stay indoors.”
Carlotta is a fun character and I look forward to reading more of this series. This first book introduces us to characters from both of Carlotta’s former jobs – the cab company and the Boston police. There’s also a bit of a side story involving a young girl that Carlotta mentors through the “Big Brothers/Big Sisters” organization. It’s a quick and fun read.


Russian Reading Challenge

>> Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sharon at ExLibris is hosting yet another challenge that I cannot resist. The Russian Reading Challenge runs from January through December 2008. She’s actually made this challenge very flexible.

This challenge is a twelve month challenge, but the minimum number of books to read is only four. Why? Many Russian novels are quite lengthy, so it may take more than one month to read one book. Also, it keeps the burden to a minimum if you are, like me, participating in several reading challenges. You are welcome to read more, though!

Both fiction and non-fiction are acceptable here, as well as short stories and poetry. Authors read should either be authors who wrote (write) in Russian or authors who wrote (write) about Russia and Russians. The challenge begins January 1, 2008 and ends December 31, 2008, so you have plenty of time to be thinking about your book list. Oh, yes, there may even be some prizes in store throughout the year!

I’m planning on reading these four books:

1/9/08 - editing to adjust my book list. I'm taking The Kitchen Boy out of the list for this challenge (I'm still going to read it, but not for the challenge). I decided that I wanted to stick with fiction by Russian authors and non-fiction about real Russians. The book I'm adding is by a contemporary Russian author:


Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson

>> Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Published: 1997
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 348
TBR Challenge #11, 2nds Challenge #2

From the inside cover:

Once upon a time, in far-off England, there was a small village surrounded by a mighty forest, where a dark stranger, one Francis Fairfax, arrived to build a stately home. Fairfax Manor was renowned throughout the land for its feudal pleasures, its visit from the Queen, and the mysterious beauty of Lady Fairfax, who one day cursed the Fairfax name and vanished into the forest, never to be seen again except in a ghostly haze.
Fast-forward to 1960...Over the centuries the forest has been destroyed, and the Fairfaxes have dwindled, too; now they are the local grocers to their suburb of Glebelands, a family as disintegrated as its ancestral home. It is here that young Isobel Fairfax awakens on the morning of her sixteenth birthday, a day that will change everything she knows and understands about her past and her future.
Helping celebrate (if one could call it that) are the members of her strange and distracted family: There is Vinny, Maiden Aunt from Hell; Gordon, Isobel's father, who disappeared for seven years; and Charles, her elder brother, who divides his time between searching for aliens and waiting for the return of their long-gone mother, Eliza.
And back again...As her day progresses, Isobel is pulled into brief time warps and extended periods of omniscience, from the days of the first Fairfax to the roaring twenties to World War II, through which she learns the truth about her family and about her mother, whose disappearance is part of the secret that remains at the heart of the forest.
I kept trying to think of a word to describe this book and I just kept coming back to the words “odd” and “quirky”. This book has moments of humor (both light and quite dark), moments of mystery, moments of heartbreak, and moments of downright strangeness.

The story is intentionally disjointed. The narrative goes back and forth between the present and the past and eventually the reader is completely unsure of which is which. The main character also has a tendency to jump around in time and periodically finds herself in the past which contributes to the sense of time confusion for the reader.

The first ¾ of the book was quirky, but interesting, but the last part turned into something that felt like it came out of a David Lynch movie and just didn’t hold up as well as it could have.


Themed Reading Challenge

>> Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wendy at Caribousmom has given us a challenge within a challenge – come up with your own theme. The Themed Reading Challenge runs from January through June 2008. Participants must choose at least 4 books that share a theme and you get to pick your own theme.

There are many creative themes that folks are coming up with for this one. Check out the participants list on Wendy’s blog to find some great book lists.

I pondered my TBR list and came up with and tossed out several different themes before deciding on mine. My theme for this challenge is Books that have One Word Titles. I’m planning on reading these four books:

I’m not nearly as creative as some of the other participants, but I think my theme will provide a fun variety of books to read.

Thanks Wendy!


Sudden Death by David Rosenfelt

>> Thursday, November 1, 2007

Published 2005
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 305

This is the fourth book in the Andy Carpenter series and just as enjoyable as the others have been. I just love books that combine a satisfying mystery story with humor and interesting characters. Andy is still a wise cracking guy who pulls courtroom theatrics. The cast of regulars are there, but don’t overwhelm the new mystery story.

This time around Andy is called to a police stand-off where NY Giants running back Kenny Schilling is armed and holed up in his house refusing to cooperate with the police who want to question him in the disappearance of NY Jets wide receiver Troy Preston. When Preston’s body is found, Kenny finds himself on trial for murder and Andy finds himself with a client he’s not quite sure is innocent.

The story takes some twists and turns, there are a couple of side stories that keep the action rolling in addition to the murder trial itself, but it’s a quick and fun read. Will the real killer be identified?, Will Pete Stanton ever stop finding ways to spend Andy’s money? Will Laurie leave Andy and move to Wisconsin?, Will Edna ever really do any secretarial work? Will Marcus ever utter a complete sentence?

The one question I can answer is that Tara is still the best dog EVER!

I’m beginning to think that my favorite book of all time would be to have Harlan Coben and David Rosenfelt get together and have Myron Bolitar and Andy Carpenter work together on a case or two. Now, THAT would be fun.


Hometown Challenge

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Hometown Challenge is hosted by Callista over at S.M.S. Book Reviews. There isn’t an official challenge graphic yet, so I’m using a photo of my hometown – Portland, Oregon.

Your challenge if you choose to accept it is to read at least ONE book from November 1, 2007 to March 1, 2008 that either takes place in your hometown or is written by an author who lives in your hometown. It can be the place you were born or where you live now, whichever.

I’ve selected two books for this challenge:

Both authors live in Portand and both books are set in Portland, so I think I’ve managed to score a double double with my choices.

I’m looking forward to reading both of these.

Thanks to Callista for hosting this one!


From the Stacks Reading Challenge 07

>> Monday, October 29, 2007

I’m really glad that Michelle at Overdue Books is hosting this challenge again this year. Last year this was my very first blogger’s challenge so I’m excited about my first repeat challenge.

The rules are the same as last year. Between November 1st and January 30th read 5 books that you have already purchased have been meaning to get to, have been sitting on the nightstand and haven't read before.

Books I’ve chosen for this challenge:

Thanks Michelle – This is perfect for a few books I want to read before the 2008 challenges kick off.


RIP II Challenge Wrap-up

>> Sunday, October 28, 2007

The RIP II Challenge, hosted by Carl, was one that I’d had to pass up last year and had been looking forward to for months. I’d been marking books as possibilities for this one all year.

Carl made this challenge quite flexible with several options for participants. I’m opted to take on “Peril the First” which was to read four books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that you choose.

I chose 4 books for this challenge:

The best book: The Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I’m not sure why I’ve never read this one, but I’m really glad I finally did.

What book could I have done without? Five Mile House was just OK – not bad, but the weakest of the four I read for the challenge

Any new authors? All were new authors for me.

Books I did not finish: I finished read all that I planned

What did I learn? I loved reading other participants reviews and have several books already listed as possibilities for next years RIP challenge

Thanks Carl! This was fun and I’m looking forward to next year.


The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

>> Thursday, October 25, 2007

Published 1860
Genre: Gothic Suspense
Pages: 629

Although I’d read many positive reviews about this book, I really didn’t know much about the plot. Since that made the story all that much more suspenseful, I won’t go into plot details in my comments here. I really didn’t know what to expect, and although I didn’t love it, I liked it and I’m glad I read it.

This is a long and complicated story that is well described by the label “Gothic Suspense”. It opens with an eerie meeting on a dark road outside of London. Walter Hartwright encounters a strange woman clad all in white. He helps her to find the way to London and later finds out that she has apparently escaped from a nearby asylum. This book has a large cast and a complex story told by several different narrators. There are secrets, plots, escapes, reunions, danger, suspicions, you name it.

There are many memorable characters – some for their treachery, some for their comic relief, some for their devotion to each other. There are triumphs as well as sadness and loss. There is a lot of plot, but Collins did an amazing job of keeping the surprises coming and wrapping up all of the loose ends by the end.

I was pleasantly surprised at how readable this was to a modern reader. I’ve read quite a few classics in the past couple of years and have struggled with the writing style at times. Yes, this seems overly wordy and flamboyant, but is really quite readable for its age.

I only wish I had read it at a time when I wasn’t as busy. This would have been a good book to curl up with and just lose myself in the atmosphere and ups and downs of tension. I think if I’d been able to read when my schedule wasn’t so overwhelming I might have loved it, but my feeling right now is that I liked it and I’m perfectly OK with that.


Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear

>> Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Published: 2004
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 311
Challenge: 2nds Challenge #1

This is the second book in the Maisie Dobbs series. When I read the first one I had described it as a gently told period piece. My only and minor disappointment in the first book of the series (Maisie Dobbs) was that there wasn’t much of a mystery to it and that it was primarily introducing the recurring characters and setting them up with their backstories. I was pleased to see that this second book has more of a mystery to be solved and that it retains the gentleness and atmosphere in the storytelling that I enjoyed so much in the first book.

When reading this book I could easily envision it unfolding in my mind much like watching a black and white movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon while curled up on the couch under a quilt with a cup of tea.

Maisie is a 30 something single woman in 1930 London working as a private investigator. She and most of the characters in the book are still coping with the aftereffects of World War I and an economic depression. This setting and time period are nearly characters themselves in the book.

The investigation that kicks off the story seems simple enough. The successful and powerful owner of a chain of shops hires Maisie to find his runaway daughter. This runaway is herself in her 30’s and this is not the first time she’s run from her father’s apparent controlling environment. Maisie begins by learning more about the missing Charlotte Waite and her friends, but when the friends keep ending up as murder victims, Maisie is soon investigating much more than a missing person case.

I liked that there was more mystery to this one, and I liked that it was a very atmospheric type of story. I was a bit annoyed by the pseudo-psychic intuition moments that Maisie has and felt that they only served to diminish her excellent investigative skills. Ultimately it’s Maisie’s investigative abilities and not her pseudo-psychic abilities that solve the case. The ongoing stories of Maisie, her father and her friends continues to be an interesting backdrop to the mystery.

I’m definitely looking forward to continuing with this series.


Audiobook - Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich

>> Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Genre: Light humorous mystery
Published 2004
Book on CD read by CJ Critt

I tend to prefer light and fun books for driving around town audiobooks and this one was perfect for that. Having read all of the Stephanie Plum series I decided it was time to try out another Evanovich series. As I expected it was similar to, but not quite the Stephanie Plum series.

In this one, Alexandra Barnaby (known as Barney) is a gearhead who spent her summers and after school time working in her father's garage. After getting an engineering degree but then getting out of the car business, she's now in a dead end job at an insurance company in her home town of Baltimore.

A late night phone call from her brother in Florida changes all that. When her brother "Wild Bill" disappears with NASCAR driver Sam Hooker's boat, Barney heads to Florida. The usual Evanovich hijinks ensue. Crazy charactersabound. Some of them have parallels in the Plum series, as well as some new ones. Barney's foil and eventual love interest, "NASCAR Guy" Hooker is an annoying, yet likable partner in adventure for Barney. Vehicles explode, bad guys have bad accents, and it's all predictable and fun. Emphasis on the fun.

For commute time listening it was an enjoyable audiobook. If you're looking for depth, pick something else.


Forbidden Fruit by Erica Spindler

>> Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Published: 1996
Genre: Romantic suspense fiction
Pages: 504
TBR Challenge #10, Unread Authors Challenge #2

This was my first book by Erica Spindler and at the halfway point, I still hadn’t decided whether I liked it or not. This book hard to categorize. It’s the first venture into suspense writing by a former romance novelist. Part of it was a romance, with a large dose of privileged high school girl and boy from the wrong side of the tracks story. Another part of it was a multi-generational story of women descended from a New Orleans madam and included a mother who could make Joan Crawford seem like June Cleaver. Yet another part was a suspense story of a detective hunting for a serial killer who may or may not also be the killer of the detective’s mother.

Lily Pierron is a former New Orleans area madam who is estranged from her daughter and doesn’t know her granddaughter at all.

Hope Pierron St. Germaine left her mother’s home to build a new life where no one knew of her mother or her past. She’s now a wealthy member of New Orleans society who keeps her past a secret and obsessively battles her own inner demons and what she feels is a ‘darkness’ that is the destiny of all the women in her family .

Glory St. Germaine has no knowledge of her mother’s past and has never even met her grandmother. A child of privilege she leads a life of luxury, but is obsessively controlled and punished by her mother for reasons she doesn’t understand.

Victor Santos is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who has to make his own way after the brutal murder of his mother. He has connections to all of the Pierron women and ultimately hopes to bring his mother’s murderer to justice.

It’s a somewhat disjointed novel, parts of which are better than others. I wasn’t too thrilled with the high school romance section of the book, but the rest of it did hold my interest and kept me entertained. It wasn’t a top book of the year for me, but it was a decent start for a new- to-me author, and I’ve heard good things about some of her later books, so will likely read more of her books.


The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

>> Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Published 2006
Genre: Ghost story/ Gothic Suspense
Pages: 406

From the inside cover flap:

When Margaret Lea opened the door to the past, what she confronted was her destiny. All children mythologize their birth...So begins the prologue of reclusive author Vida Winter's collection of stories, which are as famous for the mystery of the missing thirteenth tale as they are for the delight and enchantment of the twelve that do exist.

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life historiesfor herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

Margaret succumbs to the power of Vida's storytelling but remains suspicious of the author's sincerity. She demands the truth from Vida, and together they confront the ghosts that have haunted them while becoming, finally, transformed by the truth themselves.

The Thirteenth Tale is a love letter to reading, a book for the feral reader in all of us, a return to that rich vein of storytelling that our parents loved and that we loved as children. Diane Setterfield will keep you guessing, make you wonder, move you to tears and laughter and, in the end, deposit you breathless yet satisfied back upon the shore of your everyday life.

This book was one of the hot books last fall. I waited to read it for a couple of reasons. At first, it was because I wanted to wait till it wasn’t the book everyone seemed to be reading at the same time, and later because I wanted to save it for this year’s RIP challenge. I’m glad I waited, because it was a perfect RIP book.

It’s very gothic, with a little bit of Jane Eyre, a teensy tad of Flowers in the Attic, and bits and pieces from other gothic and ghost stories. Primarily it’s a book about stories – some true, some not. As a reader I loved all the little comments about books and reading. I liked the way the intricately woven mystery built throughout the book. The twists and turns and hints keep coming. It definitely held my interest and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not sure it’ll make my top 5 of the year, but maybe my top 10.

Here are just a few quotes that I tagged along the way:

I never read without making sure I am in a secure position. I have been like this ever since the age of seven when, sitting on a high wall and reading The Water Babies, I was so seduced by the descriptions of underwater life that I unconsciously relaxed my muscles. Instead of being held buoyant by the water that so vividly surrounded me in my mind, I plummeted to the ground and knocked myself out. I can still feel the scar under my fringe now. Reading can be dangerous.
People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them.
Whether by luck or accident I cannot say, but I found my way to the library a full twenty minutes earlier than I had been commanded to attend. It was not a problem. What better place to kill time than a library? And for me, what better way to get to know someone than through her choice and treatment of books?
Human lives are not pieces of string that can be separated out from a knot of others and laid out straight. Families are webs. Impossible to touch one part of it without setting the rest vibrating. Impossible to understand one part without having a sense of the whole.
Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you?


Medical Mystery Madness Challenge Wrap-up

>> Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Medical Mystery Madness Challenge was a fun one hosted by Twiga that I just couldn’t resist. I love mysteries and I’ve read and enjoyed quite a few medical mysteries. Twiga made this one simple – 2 or more medical mystery thrillers between June 1 and November 1. I decided that this would be a good opportunity to read some new authors.

I chose 4 books for this challenge:
Privileged Information by Stephen White
Final Diagnosis by Gary Birken
Isolation Ward by Joshua Spanogle
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

The best book: The Surgeon by Tess Gerritson. I can’t wait to read more of her books. I’ll also be reading more by Stephen White and possibly Joshua Spanogle

What book could I have done without? Final Diagnosis was just not good enough to make me seek out any more books by the author.

Any new authors? All were new authors for me.

Books I did not finish: I finished read all that I planned

What did I learn? I learned that I should have started reading Tess Gerritsen several years ago. I also learned from reading other challenge participants blogs that I need to read something by Michael Palmer soon.

All in all, I enjoyed the majority of the books I read for this challenge. Thanks to Twiga for hosting this one – It was fun.


can you see me now?

>> Friday, September 28, 2007

made a few template adjustments today, so please let me know if anything looks out of place or strange.



The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

>> Thursday, September 27, 2007

Published: 2001
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 350
Challenges: Medical Mystery Madness Challenge #4, Unread Authors Challenge #1

Dr. Catherine Cordell is a trauma surgeon working in Boston. She moved there two years ago to restart her life after she became the final attempted victim of a horrific serial killer in Savannah, Georgia. She managed to kill him before he killed her.

Detective Thomas Moore is still mourning his wife’s death from a brain aneurism two years ago. His nickname at work is “Saint Thomas Moore” because he’s always the good guy.

Detective Jane Rizzoli is an all business cop who struggles with the fact that her family doesn’t see her job as important because she’s ‘just a girl’. She’s also battling the ‘just a girl’ label at work, where she’s the only female detective in the homicide division.

These three people’s lives become entwined when a brutal serial killer begins killing women in Boston. The crimes are eerily like those of the killer who nearly made Dr. Cordell one of his victims. As Moore and Rizzoli investigate, they soon discover that the criminal they’re looking for seems to have a connection to and may in fact be stalking Dr. Cordell.

This was my first book by Tess Gerritsen and it will definitely not be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed this combination of police procedural, medical procedural and thriller. The twists and turns were sometimes predictable and sometimes surprising. The characters are interesting and intelligent. This one grabbed my attention right from the start and was hard to put down.

It was exactly what I needed because I felt like I’d been slogging through my last few books.


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