Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly

About the book: Harry Bosch is assigned a homicide call in South L.A. that takes him to Fortune Liquors, where the Chinese owner has been shot to death behind the counter in an apparent robbery.

Joined by members of the department's Asian Crime Unit, Bosch relentlessly investigates the killing and soon identifies a suspect, a Los Angeles member of a Hong Kong triad. But before Harry can close in, he gets the word that his young daughter Maddie, who lives in Hong Kong with her mother, is missing.

Bosch drops everything to journey across the Pacific to find his daughter. Could her disappearance and the case be connected? With the stakes of the investigation so high and so personal, Bosch is up against the clock in a new city, where nothing is at it seems.


My thoughts: This was a twisty, action packed murder mystery that kept me reading. I have come to really enjoy this author's work and this one was no exception. I enjoyed visiting Hong Kong with Harry Bosch: it's as close as I'll ever get. The twist at the end broke my heart for the daughter's sake. If you like Harry Bosch books, you'll like this one.

Rating: B

Wife for Hire by Janet Evanovich

About the bookHank Mallone knows he's in trouble when Maggie Toone agrees to pretend to be his wife in order to improve his rogue's reputation. Will his harebrained scheme to get a bank loan for his business backfire once Maggie arrives in his small Vermont town and lets the gossips take a look? Maggie never expected her employer to be drop-dead handsome, but she's too intrigued by his offer to say no . . . and too eager to escape a life that made her feel trapped. The deal is strictly business, both agree, until Hank turns out to be every fantasy she ever had.

My thoughts: This is a quick, easy read that is a lot of fun. The little mystery was small town charming, the romance a little steamy without being too much, and the characters were likable and the setting was great. If you have ever read any of this author's work you pretty well know what to expect. I liked it!

Rating: B

All the Flowers Are Dying by Lawrence Block

About the book: "A man in a Virginia prison awaits execution for three hideous murders he swears, in the face of irrefutable evidence, he did not commit. A psychologist who claims to believe the convict spends hours with the man in his death row cell, and ultimately watches in the gallery as the lethal injection is administered. His work completed, the psychologist heads back to New York City to attend to unfinished business."

Meanwhile, Matthew Scudder has just agreed to investigate the ostensibly suspicious online lover of an acquaintance. It seems simple enough. At first. But when people start dying and the victims are increasingly closer to home, it becomes clear that a vicious killer is at work. And the final targets may be Matt and Elaine Scudder.


My thoughts: This is the 16th in the Matthew Scudder series and the first one I've read. The mystery was a good one, keeping me listening. However, for my taste in reading, the sadistic acts preformed by the bad guy went into too much detail especially since there were three children involved. I will probably go back and try to read some of the earlier books to see where this all started. I would not suggest you start this series with this book. I wish I hadn't.

As I stated above I listened to this one. It was read by the author. On one hand I liked hearing the actual author. On the other hand all the characters sounded alike.

Rating: C 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Murderous Procession by Ariana Franklin

About the book: Adelia is back in this thrilling fourth installment of the Mistress of the Art of Death series.


In 1176, King Henry II sends his ten-year-old daughter, Joanna, to Palermo to marry William II of Sicily. War on the Continent and outbreaks of plague make it an especially dangerous journey, so the king selects as his daughter’s companion the woman he trusts most: Adelia Aguilar, his mistress of the art of death. As a medical doctor and native of Sicily, it will be Adelia’s job to travel with the princess and safeguarding her health until the wedding

Adelia wants to refuse—accompanying the royal procession means leaving behind her nine-year-old daughter. Unfortunately, Henry has arranged for the girl to live at court, both as a royal ward and as a hostage to ensure that Adelia will return to the king’s service. So Adelia sets off for a yearlong royal procession. Accompanying her on the journey are her Arab companion, Mansur, her lover, Rowley, and an unusual newcomer: the Irish sea captain O’Donnell, who may prove more useful to Adelia than Rowley would like.

But another man has joined the procession—a murderer bent on the worst kind of revenge. When people in the princess’s household begin to die, Adelia and Rowley suspect that the killer is hiding in plain sight. Is his intended victim the princess . . . or Adelia herself?

Paperback: 400 pagesPublisher: Berkley Trade; Reprint edition (March 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425238865

First line: Between the parishes of Shepfold and Martlake in Somerset existed an area of no-man's land and a lot of ill feeling.

My Thoughts: I have thoroughly enjoyed all 4 books in this series. I have been wanting to read this one for quite a while and when I finished it I looked up the author to see when I could expect the next book to be published. While the problems in this book are solved it ends in a cliff-hanger. I was so sad to read that Ariana Franklin, the pen name of author Diana Norman, died in January 2011. Now I'll never know what happens to Adelia and Rowley, to O'Donnell, Ulf  and all the other characters I've come to love. 

Over the course of this series I've enjoyed the sense of time and place that Franklin brought to her writing.  It has been facinating. The Author's Notes at the end of each book explain some of her research, which brings exciting and educational details to this series. If you like historical fiction, murder mysteries or forensic novels you'll like this series. 


Excerpt: "Also," the king said, "out of our charity and in the service of God, we have given our permission to certain devout pilgrims to the Holy Land that they may cross the Channel with you this evening and travel by land in the safety of my daughter's train."
  Adelia's mouth twitched. Henry loathed pilgrims; they were exempt from paying any tax for the pilgrimage's duration and left a hole in his revenue.


Links:
Diana Norman  (Ariana Franklin)
Ariana Franklin (Books, Announcement of her death)
Joan of England, Queen of Sicily

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Product Description

You can run from the grave, but you can't hide . . .
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield is now Special Agent Cat Crawfield, working for the government to rid the world of the rogue undead. She's still using everything Bones, her sexy and dangerous ex, taught her, but when Cat is targeted for assassination, the only man who can help her is the vampire she left behind.
Being around him awakens all her emotions, from the adrenaline kick of slaying vamps side by side to the reckless passion that consumed them. But a price on her head—wanted: dead or half-alive—means her survival depends on teaming up with Bones. And no matter how hard she tries to keep things professional between them, she'll find that desire lasts forever . . . and that Bones won't let her get away again.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Internationally acclaimed crime writer Jo NesbΓΈ's antihero police investigator, Harry Hole, is back: in a bone-chilling thriller that will take Hole to the brink of insanity.

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother's pink scarf.

Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he's received and the disappearance of Jonas's mother - and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised - and constantly revised - by the killer.

Fiercely suspenseful, its characters brilliantly realized, its atmosphere permeated with evil, The Snowman is the electrifying work of one of the best crime writers of our time.

Half Way to the Grave by

Product Description

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father—the one responsible for ruining her mother's life. Then she's captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.
In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She's amazed she doesn't end up as his dinner—are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn't have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blue-Eyed Devil by Robert Parker

Product Description

Once, Appaloosa law was Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. Now it's Amos Callico, a vindictive, power-hungry tin star with bigger aims-and he could use Cole and Hitch on his side. This time the paid guns aren't for hire, which makes Callico a very vengeful man. But threatening Cole and Hitch ignites something just as dangerous.
 

  • Paperback: 304 pages

  • Publisher: Berkley (May 3, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0425241459

  •  
    First line: Law enforcement in Appaloosa had once been Virgil Cole and me.
     
    My Thoughts: This is fourth entry in the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch series. I have found this western series to be very entertaining and liked this one as much as the other three. This story, which is told mostly in dialog, moves right along, it is a quick easy read that keeps you interested. The bad guys are the kind you love to hate and the good guys might not be as good as you think. The characters have been well developed over the course of the series. I love the quirky dialog between Cole and Hitch. I was so sad to find that this popular author has passed away.
     
    Rating: B
     
    Excerpt:
    He didn’t show it. But I knew Virgil was getting restless. It drove him crazy when people rambled on, except when it was him.
    “So, I thought to myself, Lamar, here’s a chance to get some first-rate help. If you boys will agree, I’ll hire you, and if there’s trouble, you’ll take care of it.”
    “How much?” Virgil said.
    Speck told him.
    “You don’t have anybody sitting lookout?” Virgil said.
    “The police arrested my last one,” Speck said. “Turns out he was wanted in Kansas.”
    “Kansas,” Virgil said, and looked at me.
    “The police keep a sharp eye in Appaloosa,” I said.
    “We run our own show,” Virgil said. “Post a list of rules, people obey them or they leave. People give us trouble, we shoot them.”
    “Shoot?”
    “You think people gonna obey the rules ’cause they like us?” Virgil said.
    “Well, ah, no, of course not, I guess.”
    “They obey the rules ’cause they know we’ll shoot,” Virgil says. “Which means maybe, now and then, we’ll have to.”
    “Well, I . . . certainly. You know this work best.”

    The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

    Product Description: The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment - at work and at home. Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful roadmap to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!

  • Hardcover: 192 pages

  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 22, 2007)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0470100281

  • First line: It was Monday and Mondays were never good for George.

    My thoughts: After reading The No Complaining Rule last year our principal chose this book, by the same author, for our book study this year. I found it to be a quick, entertaining read. I liked that the author got his message across with this story. It seemed a little goofy (I had to roll my eyes in a couple of places) but the message is a good one. The story concentrates on work and how a leader and others can banish the negative, embrace the positive and become more productive. It helps you think about how you are living your life and how to make it better. The principles he sets down are easy to understand and apply.



  • Rating: B
    Excerpt: When you get to work you have another choice. You can catch people doing things right or you can catch them doing things wrong. Guess which of those two activities energizes people more?


  • Tuesday, September 6, 2011

    Persuasion by Jane Austen

    About the book: At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.

  • Paperback: 272 pages

  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (April 29, 2003)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0141439688


  • First line: Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynch Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect, by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed.

    My Thoughts: After reading Pride and Prejudice last year and enjoying it I thought I'd give Austen another try. I found this book at a used book store and snatched it up. I didn't enjoy it quite as much but still liked it quite a bit. This was a seemingly simple love story with a lovely ending. However it also an interesting commentary of the times as well as quite funny in places. Read it, you'll like it!

    Rating: A+

    The Spy by Clive Cussler


    Book Discription: Detective Isaac Bell, hero of The Chase and The Wrecker, returns in the remarkable new adventure from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author.

    It is 1908, and international tensions are mounting as the world plunges toward war. When a brilliant American battleship gun designer dies in a sensational apparent suicide, the man's grief-stricken daughter turns to the legendary Van Dorn Detective Agency to clear her father's name. Van Dorn puts his chief investigator on the case, and Isaac Bell soon realizes that the clues point not to suicide but to murder. And when more suspicious deaths follow, it becomes clear that someone-an elusive spy-is orchestrating the destruction of America's brightest technological minds... and the murders all connect to a top- secret project called Hull 44.

    But that is just the beginning. As the intrigue deepens, Bell will find himself pitted against German, Japanese, and British spies, in a mission that encompasses dreadnought battleships, Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet, Chinatown, Hell's Kitchen, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Isaac Bell has certainly faced perilous situations before, but this time it is more than the future of his country that's at stake- it's the fate of the world.

  • Paperback: 544 pages

  • Publisher: Berkley (May 31, 2011)

  • Language: English

  • ISBN-10: 0425241750

  • ISBN-13: 978-0425241752


  • First Line: The Washington navy yard slept like an ancient city guarded by thick walls and a river. 

    My Thoughts: I have read more of the Dirk Pitt novels than any of Cussler's others and have enjoyed them all. This one is the second Issac Bell book for me and I enjoyed it as well. I like the WWI setting. The author does a great job giving it the feel of the time. Reading about the "modern" technology was fascinating. This was a long book but a quick, exciting read. I have to go back and pick up the middle Issac Bell book! Those of you who like action adventure books will like this one.

    Rating: B+

    The Priest's Graveyard by Ted Dekker

    Product Description:
    Two abandoned souls are on the hunt for one powerful man. Soon, their paths will cross and lead to one twisted fate.

    Danny Hansen is a Bosnian immigrant who came to America with hopes of escaping haunted memories of a tragic war that took his mother's life. Now he's a priest who lives by a law of love and compassion. It is powerful men and hypocrites who abide by legal law but eschew the law of love that most incense Danny. As an avenging angel, he believes it is his duty to show them the error of their ways, at any cost.

    Renee Gilmore is the frail and helpless victim of one such powerful man. Having escaped his clutches, she now lives only to satisfy justice by destroying him, regardless of whom she must become in that pursuit.

    But when Danny and Renee's paths become inexorably entangled things go very, very badly and neither of them may make it out of this hunt alive.

    Judge not, or you too will be judged.

    First Line: "There is nothing new under the sun, now is there Renee."


    My Thoughts: First let me say that I am a fan of Ted Dekker's books. With this being said, this one will not be among my favorites. I liked the premise:  A vigilante priest who takes justice into his own hands and a recovering heroin addict together try to bring down evil. It started out: the first chapter that contained the history of the priest was a great set up. Then ....... The ending was not up to par compared to other Dekker books I've read. In fact it was somewhat of a let down for me. I could not get into the characters. Another thing that disappointed me in this story (by a Christian writer) was the use of more sexual situations and inappropriate language than is generally found in Christian fiction. His earlier books were not like this and were much better reads.  I will continue to read this author's books but I would suggest you read some of his others first.

    Rating: C