Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Fast Do You Read?

Have you ever wondered how fast you actually read? Check out this little quiz from Staples to find out exactly how fast you read. I found out I read 28% faster than the national average...yay me!

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

Friday, March 30, 2012

REVIEW: Indulgence In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Indulgence in Death (In Death, #31)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: November, 2010
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 10/10

Description: When a murder disrupts the Irish vacation she is taking with her husband, Roarke, Eve realizes that no place is safe — not an Irish wood or the streets of the manic city she calls home. But nothing prepares her for what she discovers upon her return to the cop shop in New York City. . . .

A driver for a top-of-the-line limousine service is found dead — shot through the neck with a crossbow. The car was booked by an executive at a venerable security company whose identity had been stolen. Days later, a stunning, high-priced escort is found killed at Coney Island, a bayonet stuck in her heart. And again, the trail leads to a CEO whose information has been hijacked.

With a method established, but no motive to be found, Eve begins to fear that she has come across that most dangerous of criminals, a thrill killer, but one with a taste for the finer things in life — and death. Eve does not know where or when the next kill will be, or that her investigation will take her to the rarefied circle that Roarke travels in — and into the perverted heart of madness. . . .

My Thoughts: When I grow up, I want to be Eve Dallas. In addition to her quick wit, razor sharp intelligence and ability to zero in on the perpetrators of a crime faster than you can say “whodunit,” Eve happens to be married to the richest man on the planet, who is Irish and gorgeous and talks pretty and takes her on vacation to the Emerald Isle. Even better, this lavish fairytale lifestyle Eve lives hasn’t spoiled her or changed her. She still gets her hands dirty and, much to Roark’s annoyance gets herself bloodied on occasion as well.

Indulgence opens with Roark and “his cop” on a much deserved vacation visiting Roark’s family in Ireland. I absolutely love it when Roark’s family makes an appearance. There are so many of them, there’s no way to remember them all and they are loud and boisterous and full of life and love. I also love how Eve is overwhelmed and out of her element when she is around them. She has never had any family so she struggles with how to interact with them. Roark never knew his family for most of his life either, but he adapted much quicker than Eve did. Unfortunately, murder doesn’t stay in New York and when a murder occurs not far from the family farm, Eve’s instincts kick in and she indirectly assists the local law enforcement, much to the happiness and delight of one of Roark’s young cousins who idolizes Eve. Fortunately, the case is resolved quickly and Eve and Roark resume their relaxation.

Back home in New York, there is no rest and relaxation and Eve is going full steam ahead upon her return when she is called to investigate the murder of a limo driver killed in a most unusual fashion…by a crossbow. Not long after that, another murder occurs. This time, the victim is a high priced highly successful escort who is found dead at Coney Island. As the body count piles up, all of the victims seem unrelated to one another, but the common denominator is how the trail leads Eve and her crew to different CEO’s whose identities have been stolen and used to perpetrate the crimes.

Once again, I found this story riveting. Different unrelated victims murdered by extreme methods but Eve manages to connect the dots and does so quickly. While I’m still trying to process and absorb the scene unfolding around me and how the victims are connected, Eve has already focused on a prime suspect. I don’t know how Peabody manages to keep up, but she does so I’m the only one struggling trying to put it all together. I’m still amazed at how this series has evolved. Still entertained and still connected to the characters. It doesn’t feel like a book when I am hanging out with Eve, Peabody and the rest of the gang. J.D. Robb is a master at bringing these characters to life without making them predictable or boring. Now that I’m nearly caught up with this series, I don’t know how I am going to manage the waiting period between each book. It will be torture, but since the series does not show any signs of slowing down, the torture will be minimal.

Indulge yourself…read this series, but start at the beginning and watch the magic unfold…

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

REVIEW: Piper's Fury by Rachel Firasek

Title: Piper’s Fury (Passion of the Soul #1)
Author: Rachel Firasek
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication Date: May, 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance
Rating: 7/10

Description: It's an empath thing...

Using your "powers" to help the Dark Hills Police Department hunt down serial killers doesn't leave much time for dating. Not that Piper Anast is complaining. The last thing she needs is some guy brushing up against her and pumping his pornographic thoughts into her head.

When she meets Bennett Slade, a sexy, tormented vampire, Piper stumbles headlong into a telepathic connection with his missing daughter. She can't leave the kid to the evil surrounding her unwanted visions, nor can she resist her draw to Slade. He's the first guy she's been able to touch vision-free in, well, forever. As she and Slade close in on the evil creature holding his daughter, Piper's powers morph into a deadly fury. To save Slade's daughter-and herself, Piper must face down demons she never knew she had and trust the one thing she keeps from everyone.
Her heart…

My Thoughts: New to me author Rachel Firasek delivers an entertaining and enjoyable story about a woman who doesn’t play well with others but is in the business of helping others. When we first meet Piper, she is a child who has been suddenly orphaned. Fast forward to the present and the woman Piper has become is someone who shields herself from others. The touch of other people brings visions she would rather not see. The opposite sex is drawn to Piper in a sexual nature and though Piper is used to it, she does not appreciate it.

Piper works with the Dark Hills Police Department helping her friend Tally look for missing people. As an empath, Piper is able to draw images of someone’s memory from an item they own in the hopes that it will provide enough clues to lead the police to finding them. When Piper meets Bennett Slade, she is shocked that his touch doesn’t result in crude visions and instead of making her trust him, her guard goes up even higher. Slade’s wife was murdered years ago and his daughter was kidnapped. He asks for Piper’s assistance in locating her and Piper refuses. Initially, I was a little annoyed at Piper’s attitude. She’s got a huge chip on her shoulder and when she gets angry, she can be quite mean. Piper relents and agrees to help Slade, only after having a dream about his daughter. She suspects Slade is not being honest with her and thinks he might have had something to do with his wife’s murder and daughter’s disappearance.

I liked Slade immediately, though his existence as a vampire was not revealed soon enough for me. I got a quick sense that Slade is drawn to Piper and is desperate for her help. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell Piper what he is and when she finds out, she’s less than happy. I enjoyed the author’s take on Slade’s breed of vampire. He can walk in daylight and doesn’t sleep in a coffin like the vampires we are used to. Instead, Slade is part of a race of people who have to consume blood as a medical necessity. Though Piper is upset when she learns the truth, she has to trust Slade because the evil being responsible is not like anything Piper has come face to face with before.

I eventually warmed up to Piper once I realized her attitude and apathy towards people shielded a woman who has seen unspeakable horror and endured pain nobody should have to experience. I also admired how she connects to Slade’s daughter and the lengths she is willing to go through to rescue her. Though she is easily annoyed at the woman who raises her, she risks everything to ensure her safety as well.

Overall, this was a good start to a series that looks to be intriguing and I am very curious what Piper will do with what she has discovered at the end of Piper’s Fury.

Friday, March 16, 2012

REVIEW: Murder Your Darlings by J.J. Murphy

Title: Murder Your Darlings (Algonquin Round Table Mystery #1)
Author: J.J. Murphy
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: January, 2011
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: 8/10

Description: I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under my host.
- Dorothy Parker

On this particular morning, legendary wit Dorothy Parker is not the one under Manhattan's famed Algonquin Round Table. Someone else is --- and he's not dead drunk, just dead.

When a charming aspiring writer from Mississippi named Billy Faulkner becomes a suspect in the murder, Dorothy decides to dabble in a little detective work, enlisting the help of tablemates Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott, Robert Sherwood, and other famous and fabulous literary cohorts.

With a marvelous Manhattan mystery on their hands, it's up to the Algonquins to outwit the true culprit --- preferably before cocktail hour --- and before the clever killer turns the tables on them...

My Thoughts: New to me author J.J. Murphy delivers a fresh and entertaining start to a historical mystery series that revolves around the Algonquin Round Table with Dorothy Parker front and center. Mr. Murphy does a commendable job of bringing the Depression-era time period to life and with plenty of snarky sarcasm and wisecrack dialogue from the characters. Though the mystery itself does not seem too complicated a case, I found myself so immersed in the story and the characters that I had a very difficult time trying to figure out whodunit. In the end, I was very surprised.

The only problem I had with this story was the numerous references to Mrs. Parker’s lack of funds. Repetitive comments made by Mrs. Parker about her inability to pay for cab fare, food or drink frustrated me. I kept expecting her to be arrested on a theft of services charge for consuming food or beverage or hiring a taxi that she couldn’t pay for. The story has several scenes of Mrs. Parker and Mr. Benchley making jokes and sarcastic comments, so I was left to wonder if the comments about her bankrupt status were also another of their standing inside jokes with one another.

Overall, I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of mysteries and if you’re not a fan, I recommend it for the entertaining characters and witty dialogue. I will be looking for the next book in the series as Dorothy Parker is a success in not just poetry and writing but also holds her own with murder cases.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

REVIEW: Beach Road by James Patterson

Title: Beach Road
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: May, 2006
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 8/10

Description: Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His principal clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and mega-celebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll.

Then a friend of Tom's is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star's mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century.

Tom recruits Manhattan super-lawyer Kate Costello to help. She's a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend, but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer-and what emerges is staggering.

The final scenes of Beach Road unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock.

My Thoughts: When I pick up a James Patterson novel, I am guaranteed to be entertained, sometimes shocked, but always entertained. In Patterson’s novels, I almost always find stories filled with very interesting characters; even the villains are intriguing. I can’t ignore the fact that they reel me in, regardless of whether I love or hate the character. Patterson’s ability to make these characters come to life and leap off the page is very impressive. In Beach Road, he does it again.

Tom Dunleavy is a likeable guy. He’s a guy you could be buddies with. After his career with the NBA is sidelined, he becomes a lawyer, though he’s not a very prominent lawyer.

Kate Costello is tough as nails. If you are the underdog, you will want her in your corner. She demonstrates a dogged determination to do the right thing; she even walks away from her law firm rather than defend a man she knows is guilty. She is one of those people that will walk through fire for the people she cares for. She used to care for Tom Dunleavy until he broke her heart and she hasn’t forgiven him yet.

Dante Halleyville is a young man that bad luck seems to follow. Raised by his grandmother, he struggles to overcome the adversity that has plagued his life and rise above the tragedy that has followed him. He is talented and intelligent and is on his way to a superstar career in the NBA. When he is accused of murder, his life hangs in the balance.

This book is narrated by several points of view. Tom, Kate, Dante and Loco, a local drug dealer, who has a keen sense of what is going on, offer their perceptions on the events surrounding them. Tom and Kate agreed to defend Dante and are convinced he’s being set up. Convincing a jury of enough reasonable doubt leaves Tom and Kate with their work cut out for them.

This story was a little slow to get going in the beginning, but it changes direction without warning and takes off at high speed. Suddenly, I am caught in the story watching the events unfold, unable to look away. With every visit Tom and Kate make to Dante in jail, the tension mounts. If Dante is innocent, then the killer is still out there and loose ends will need to be tied up. I found myself worrying about the safety of Dante, Tom and Kate. Defending Dante doesn’t sit well with the community and Tom and Kate aren’t highly experienced lawyers.

This isn’t one of James Patterson’s best stories, but Beach Road is a story that will pull you in and rip the rug out from under you. When everything is revealed, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I was shocked and surprised and that is what Patterson is good at. Fans of James Patterson will enjoy this story knowing they are in for a great ride and readers new to his books will enjoy the suspense and intense twists.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

New Additions To The TBR Pile In February

February is usually a bad month for me when it comes to acquiring new additions to the TBR pile, thanks to the annual VNSA booksale held in Phoenix. This year however, I did not purchase any books for myself at the booksale. Surprise, surprise I know. Of the new books acquired in February, one is electronic, so there are no storage issues with it and two are audiobooks, so again, no storage issues. So with just only one paper bound book entering the home in February, I would say that's pretty good.

The Appeal by John Grisham

Description:Politics has always been a dirty game. Now justice is, too.

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it.

Who are the nine? How will they vote? Can one be replaced before the case is ultimately decided?

The chemical company is owned by a Wall Street predator named Carl Trudeau, and Mr. Trudeau is convinced the Court is not friendly enough. With judicial elections looming, he decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. The cost is a few million dollars, a drop in the bucket for a billionaire like Mr. Trudeau. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mold him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice.

Beach Road by James Patterson

Description: Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His principal clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and megacelebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll.

Then a friend of Tom's is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star's mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century.

Tom recruits Manhattan superlawyer Kate Costello to help. She's a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend-but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer-and what emerges is staggering.

The final scenes of Beach Road unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock.

Awakening by Scarlett Valentine

Description: Ysbail of Ellesmere is a pawn in her guardian's war. For decades there has been unrest between the marcher lords and Owain Gwynedd ap Gruffydd, King of Gwynedd. The most recent war had been the bloodiest she could remember in her eighteen years. Madog ap Maredudd, Prince of Powys, and his allies lost untold numbers of men at the hands of Owain's soldiers. When a settlement of truce is presented to Madog, it's at Ysbail's expense. She is to marry Bedwyr ap Owain, one of King Owain’s bastard sons, and his most notorious henchman. If all the rumors and stories she's heard are true, she knows her marriage will be rife with horror and fear.

Since proving himself worthy with his sword, Bedwyr fights at his king's side. He's shed oceans of blood and sent untold numbers of men to their graves. He's become what his name foretold—the grave-knower. He's afraid of nothing, least of all death. All men fear him, including those who fight at his side, and sometimes even his own king. Terror of him lives within women's hearts; only the bravest of whores accept him into their beds. And children weave their own tales of the monster they hear him to be, embellishing the details to their own gruesome degrees.

When King Owain informs Bedwyr that he's to marry Ysbail of Ellesmere as part of a peace settlement with Madog, Bedwyr is furious. A man such as Bedwyr can only survive on the battlefield. For without love, hatred will send a man like him to the edge of insanity. Then push him over. But when Bedwyr sees Ysbail for the first time, blood-thirst turns to blood-lust, and he vows to show her that she should have no fear of him.

29 by Adena Halpern

Description: What if you closed your eyes, blew out the candles, and your wish came true?

Ellie Jerome is a young-at-heart seventy-five-year-old who feels she has more in common with her twenty-nine-year-old granddaughter, Lucy, than her fifty-five-year-old daughter, Barbara. Ellie's done everything she can to stay young, and the last thing she wants is to celebrate another birthday. So when she finds herself confronted with a cake full of candles, Ellie wishes more than anything that she could be twenty-nine again, just for one day. But who expects a wish like that to come true?

29 is the story of three generations of women and how one magical day shakes up everything they know about each other. While Ellie finds that the life of a twenty-something is not as carefree as she expected, the sheer joy of being young again prompts her to consider living her life all over. Does she dare stay young for more than this day, even if it means leaving everyone she loves behind?

Fresh, funny, and delightful, 29 is an enchanting adventure about families, love, and the real lessons of youth.


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)