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Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

>> Friday, October 30, 2009

Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Genre: Mystery/ Suspense
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 389
Clear Off Your Shelves
Source: purchased used

This really isn’t much of a mystery about who did the killing. Instead, it’s more of a mystery of whether or not and if so how the killer will get caught.

Nora Sinclair is gorgeous, charming, successful and perhaps a bit of a “Black Widow”. Within the first few pages she’s newly engaged to a wealthy businessman and then takes off for a visit with her equally wealthy husband in Boston. Soon she’s being investigated by the FBI as a result of the tendency of her men to die, and there seems to be a strong chance that the investigator is going to stupidly fall for Nora’s charms. There are a couple of side stories one regarding Nora’s mother and another revolving around a flashdrive with a file of offshore accounts.

This was a typical fast paced quick read from Patterson and one of his many co-authors. This is the first one I’ve read with Howard Roughan as the co-author and I thought it was a fun ride. It was nice that it didn’t have the gruesomeness that some of Patterson’s books can have. There was a combination of predictable Patterson formula, but enough twists to keep the action going. .

Patterson tends to be a publishing operation that you either like or hate. I’m on the like side. Not the kind of book I’d want a steady diet of, but nice for a palate cleanser here and there.

Rating 3/5


Baby Afghan for a Friend's Granddaughter

>> Thursday, October 29, 2009

I finished this the other day but couldn't post a picture till it had been delivered. I've done this pattern before, but never in solid yellow. I'm very happy with how it turned out.

Yarn - Lion Brand Baby Soft
Color - Pastel Yellow


Wordless Wednesday #4

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Redwood Tree - Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California

For more Wordless Wednesday, click


Ruined by Paula Morris

>> Monday, October 26, 2009

Ruined by Paula Morris
Genre: YA suspense, ghost story
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 309
Support Your Local Library Challenge #49
Source: Library

This was a very interesting and enjoyable ghost story that was perfect for this time of year. Isn’t the cover wonderful?

Fifteen year old Rebecca Brown has grown up in New York. Her mom died when she was young so it’s been just Rebecca and her father. When her dad has to take a work assignment in China, Rebecca is sent to live in New Orleans for 6 months with a long time friend of her father. Not only dismayed at having to live in a place and culture that are very different, Rebecca is none to sure about “Aunt Claudia” who makes her living telling fortunes for tourists. The prep school Rebecca attends is populated with a strict hierarchy of cliques that only intensify her sense of being an outsider. She’s fascinated with the nearby cemetery and one night meets a girl there. It doesn’t take Rebecca long to discover that Lisette is a ghost who’s been stuck in this area for over 150 years and won’t be at peace until her death is avenged.

Moody post-Katrina New Orleans, old line families and traditions, ghosts, voodoo curses, and too much truth hiding along the way make for an enjoyable story. I liked the combination of present day New Orleans with bits of history coming together around this young visitor from New York. As Rebecca learns more about the people at school and also about Lisette, she learns a lot of the history of New Orleans and its people (both the powerful and the powerless).

It was more of a suspense type of story with a character who happened to be a ghost than it was a creepy sort of ghost story. Lisette is not a ghost that will give you nightmares at all. That was just fine with me because I liked it a lot just the way it was. While some of the plot twists were blatantly telegraphed, there were enough surprising turns to keep me hooked.

Rating 4/5


Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

>> Friday, October 23, 2009

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Genre: Mystery
Series: #1 in a planned series
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 320
Support Your Local Library Challenge #48
Source: Library

I first heard about this book in a Bookbrowse newsletter and it sounded intriguing. Then I started seeing several positive reviews so I got myself on the library waiting list. I was not disappointed.

Kate Burkholder is the chief of police in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio. She grew up in Painters Mill within the close circle of her Amish family and culture. Sixteen years ago a series of brutal murders terrorized the town. By the time it was all over, teenaged Kate had decided that she did not want to join the Amish church. Placed under the bann by the church leaders she eventually left town and became a police officer. When she returned to take the job of Chief of the small police department her familiarity and history with the Amish members of the community was helpful. When a young woman is found brutally tortured and murdered, Kate has a major crime on her hands. Is it a serial killer? Is it the same killer from before? Will the secrets Kate and her family have kept for sixteen years come to light? Will those secrets cost Kate her job or even worse, the deaths of more women?

This is the first in a planned series and I can say I’m definitely going to be watching for the next book. I liked the character of Kate despite her flaws and issues. The other characters were interesting and it will be interesting to see how they’re developed in the next book.

I thought the mystery itself was well done. I didn’t figure it out early on and my best guess turned out to be wrong.

Be warned that there is a pretty high grisliness factor in this one. The crimes are brutal and it’s not for the faint of heart or nightmare prone.

Rating 4/5


Wordless Wednesday #3

>> Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Morning Ferry Ride - Between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen, B.C.

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.


2009 TBR Challenge Completed

>> Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009 TBR Challenge

This was my third year in a row of doing this challenge. This year I went into the 2009 TBR Challenge with some specific goals in mind.

These were the rules:

* the challenge is to read 12 TBR books in 12 months -- you can read those all in one month if you want, or one a month, or however you wanna do it.
* you need to have a list posted somewhere for others to see
* you CANNOT change your list after January 1st, 2009!!!
* you can create an Alternates list of MAXIMUM 12 books, if you want, in order to have options to choose from (you can read these in place of books on your original list).
* audiobooks and e-books ARE allowed
* re-reads are NOT allowed, as they aren't TRUE "TBRs"
* you CAN overlap with other challenges

I decided several months ahead of time that for the 2009 version of this challenge I was only going to list books that are ‘the next book’ in the many many series that I’m in the process of reading. So all 24 of the books that I listed were part of some series I’ve started but not completed or caught up to the current release.

I’m listed 12 primary and 12 alternates. My not so secret plan was to read all 24 and I’ve now officially completed that. The lists are here with links to my reviews.

Primary List
Love Lies Bleeding by Susan Wittig Albert
Aunt Dimity Digs In by Nancy Atherton
Coyote by Linda Barnes
Cross Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini
Chamomile Mourning by Laura Childs
Hammerhead Ranch Motel by Tim Dorsey
The Bookman’s Wake by John Dunning
Delusion by G.H. Ephron
4th of July by James Patterson
Buried Bones by Carolyn Haines
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Pardonable Lies by Jacqueline Winspear

Alternate List
Stalking the Angel by Robert Crais
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Lost City by Clive Cussler
Mary, Mary by James Patterson
Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs
Reunion in Death by J.D. Robb
Cold is the Grave by Peter Robinson
Play Dead by David Rosenfelt
Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter
To Darkness and Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming
A Body to Die For by Kate White
Higher Authority by Stephen White

Thanks to Jenn for hosting this one again. I was very glad to have a reason to focus on some of my in-progress series.


Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

>> Monday, October 19, 2009

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble
Genre: YA Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 310
Clear Off Your Shelves
Source: purchased new

The reason I added this book to my TBR list was
this review at Dolce Bellezza. I’ve been fascinated with the Romanov Dynasty and Imperial Russia ever since I read Nicholas and Alexandra by Robert K. Massie when I was in High School. When Bellezza talked about loving this book and said that “it has to do with Russia, Tzar Nicholas and his wife, Alexei, Anastasia and Rasputin to be specific”. I knew then and there that I had to get this book. None of my libraries had a copy, so off to the bookstore I went.

The story is told from the viewpoints of three characters. Anastasia Romanov remembers the beginning of the slaughter of her family in the basement, but is now trapped in a cabin with a witch. Anne Michaelson is a 16 year old Chicago high school student who has recurring and disturbing dreams in which she seems to be seeing the assassination of the Romanov family and Anastasia’s present circumstances through Anastasia’s eyes. Ethan is a handsome young man who keeps showing up in the same places as Anne. He claims to know the meaning of Anne’s dreams, but when he explains it just doesn’t seem possible. But when Anne finds herself with Ethan and running for their lives, it must be real. Right?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in just a few sittings. Preble does a great job of combining a thriller/suspense story in present day Chicago with a bit of historical fiction/speculation. What ties it all together is a blend of mysticism, magic and folklore. It all manages to work together in an interesting tale that pays homage to all the legends that Anastasia survived the slaughter of her family yet wraps it in a tale of magic that makes for great entertainment and a suspenseful story to the very end.

The three main characters are well written and true to their time and place. The dialog feels genuine. Anastasia’s letters to her family interspersed in the story are a great way of telling her story but could have been printed in a more readable font. I liked Anne and her best friend Tess. They’re smart kids, who come across as real present day teenagers. Anne is intelligent, with a sharp wit that had me giggling a couple of times.

Rating 4/5


Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

>> Friday, October 16, 2009

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
Genre: Mystery / Vampire / Romance
Series: #3 in the Sookie Stackhouse series
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 292
Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge #3, Clear Off Your Shelves
Source: purchased new

I’m enjoying this series a lot and I’m glad to have this challenge to encourage me to read it.

As with any series, it’s hard to write any sort of plot summary without giving away stuff that happened in the earlier books. So, if you haven’t read the first two you might want to skip the next paragraph, just to be safe.

Sookie’s vampire boyfriend, Bill is missing. He was acting a bit mysterious (well OK – more mysterious than normal) before he left town, but when Bill’s boss, Eric tells Sookie that Bill’s been kidnapped she’s stunned. Then when he tells her Bill’s been unfaithful to her, she’s angry as well as stunned. Finally Eric says he’s sending Sookie to investigate Bill’s kidnapping and she’s angry, stunned, but feeling obligated. Her mission is to go to Mississippi with an attractive and sexy werewolf who has a crazy ex-girlfriend. They are to visit a Vampire night club to use Sookie’s telepathic talents to find out if any of the humans there know anything about Bill’s whereabouts.

Yes, it sounds complicated, but life is just naturally complicated when your boyfriend is a vampire.

Sookie is feisty and I love it when she gets angry at her vampire ‘friends’. These are sexy, fun, slightly icky at times but not really grossly gory books. Once again Sookie finds herself in dangerous situations by just trying to do the right thing. The series continues to build on the culture of the vampires and other supernatural creatures.

I kind of missed Sam not being in this one so much, but dangit – I love Bubba!!

Rating 4/5


Audiobook – Still Life by Louise Penny

>> Thursday, October 15, 2009

Still Life by Louise Penny
Series: #1 in the Inspector Armand Gamache series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2005
Read by: Ralph Cosham
Source: Library

I’ve had this series on my radar for a while now, but when I discovered it was available on CD from my library, decided that I’d try the audio version. I was very glad I did and plan to continue the series in this format.

Three Pines is a small sleepy village outside of Montreal. On an early October Sunday morning (the day before Thanksgiving in Canada), a local woman is found dead in the woods. Inspector Armand Gamache is called in from Montreal to investigate. While at first, Jane Neal’s death appears to be a tragic hunting accident, it’s soon clear that this investigation is going to be more complex. There are many characters introduced. A mix of interesting locals in Three Pines with intertwined histories and relationships make the suspect pool a large one. Inspector Gamache and his able (and in one case, not so able) team make for an interesting group of investigators.

Since the series continues in Three Pines, I’m presuming that many of the villagers, as well as some of the investigators will be recurring characters. Nevertheless, I was kept guessing as to the outcome of the investigation. I thought this was a well done and entertaining mystery. It’s not exactly a cozy since there are actual police investigating the crime, but the location in the village and Inspector Gamache’s personality and approach make me want to classify this as a ‘gentle mystery’. Not bloody and gory, but more character story than fast paced action.

I’m looking forward to continuing with this series and will likely continue with the audio format. Inspector Gamache is a great character who has his flaws, but also has a dedication to his job and to teaching the next generation of investigators. His patience and frustration with a young investigator on the case made for an interesting side element to the primary mystery.

This is the first book I’ve listened to that’s read by Ralph Cosham. I liked his reading a lot. He’s got a perfect voice for Inspector Gamache and does the rest of the story and characters very well.

It was pure coincidence that while in the process listening to this story taking place on and around Thanksgiving Day in Canada that I spent this past weekend in Victoria, BC enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner with friends.

Rating 4/5


Wordless Wednedsay #2

>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Foggy morning - Bethany, Oregon

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

>> Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Series: #6 in the Harry Potter seriesGenre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 652
TBR 2009 Challenge #12, Clear Off Your Shelves

Yes, I’m probably the last person on the planet to still be reading the end of this series for the first time. My excuse is that I’ve been keeping pace with the movies and not reading ahead of the next movie. I did finally read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last year and watched that movie. I have been delaying this one until the release date for the movie on DVD is coming soon (December). So that’s why I haven’t read it until now. Since there’s only one more in the series after this I do plan to read it pretty soon after I watch this movie.

I’m not going to bother with a plot summary since you’ve all read it. If you are the rare person who hasn’t, you don’t want to see a plot summary anyway.

Suffice it to say I still just enjoy the heck out of this series and plan re-read the series as soon as I finish the last book. At this point the plan is to listen to them all on audio, but that’s subject to change after I listen to the first one.

Still one of my favorite series ever.

Rating 5/5


Wordless Wednesday #1

>> Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yaquina Bay Bridge - Newport, Oregon

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here


Homer & Langley by E. L. Doctorow

>> Friday, October 2, 2009

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
Genre: Fiction
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 208
Support Your Local Library Challenge #47

This is a fictional story based on real people. The Collyer Brothers were somewhat infamous recluses and compulsive hoarders who lived in New York. By the time they died in the mid 1940’s their home was filled with junk.

Doctorow used this true story as a basis for Homer & Langley. These were the real names of the Collyers, and he does use a lot of the real story of them, but at the same time he also takes the story far from truth (by about 30 years to start with). If you want to learn more about the real Collyer Brothers here’s a link to
the Wikipedia entry about them.

The story is told by Homer, the brother who lost his sight at a fairly young age. Homer and Langley were raised by wealthy parents and despite Homer’s vision problems they had a pretty good and seemingly normal life. As Homer tells his story, the problems began when Langley went to fight in World War I. Within a short time, their parents died in the Spanish Flu epidemic, and then Langley returned from Europe having been exposed to mustard gas. Whether Langley’s increasingly odd behavior started before or after his wartime experience is not clear, but what is clear once he and Homer are living on their own in the family home is that Langley is not exactly on the same wavelength as most of normal society.

Nevertheless the brothers live in and gradually fill their house with newspapers for a grand project of Langley’ and pretty much all sorts of things that may become useful one day.

Since Doctorow takes the story on into at least the mid 1970’s it’s clearly not a biography of the real Collyers. It is an interesting story of brothers dependent on each other and interested in while at the same time excusing themselves from society. The obsessive hoarding and other aspects of probable mental illness seen through the blind eyes of Homer as he tells the story is interesting, but not compelling.

While I thought the book was good, I was actually glad it was fairly short at 208 pages..

Rating 3/5


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