Sunday, March 22, 2009

Roses are Red by James Patterson

From the publisher: Roses Are Red, James Patterson''s sixth Alex Cross thriller, openswith the District of Columbia detective attempting to mend his nearly unraveledfamily. The year-long kidnapping of one''s intended (1999''s Pop Goes the Weasel) will dothat to a relationship. Christine, the kidnappee, is amenable with onereasonable condition: that her family''s horizon remain uncluttered by homicidalmaniacs. How unfortunate, then, that the joyous christening of their newborn sonis rudely interrupted by the FBI bearing news of several heinous murdersrequiring the attention of detective (and doctor of psychology) Cross."Three-year-old boy, the father, a nanny," Kyle said one more timebefore he left the party. He was about to go through the door in the sun porchwhen he turned to me and said, "You''re the right person for this. They murdereda family, Alex."As soon as Kyle was gone, I went looking for Christine. My heart sank. She hadtaken Alex and left without saying good-bye, without a single word.Which leaves Cross free to hunt the Mastermind, the barbarous brains behind awidening series of bank robberies in which employees or their family members areheld hostage and, when instructions aren''t followed to the finest iota,slaughtered. Given the cases'' glaring and unfathomable inhumanity, Cross''s long- time DCPD partner (the wonderful giant, John Sampson) gives way to the warm,attractive, and fiercely intelligent FBI Agent Betsey Cavalierre.The longer and harder Cross and Cavalierre remain on his trail, the bolder andmore brutal--and shiveringly close to home--the Mastermind''s strikes become.And, thanks mostly to lightning-short paragraphs and a point of view thatrappels from the first-person Cross to the third-person Mastermind, the taleprogresses at hot-trot speed to a bona fide doozy of a denouement. It''ll be overbefore you know it, so sit back, hold your breath, and enjoy the show. And staytuned for the next one. --Michael Hudson

My Review:
I don't have much to say about this book. I've been on a James Patterson kick lately. I'm trying to read all the Alex Cross books and I'm almost through them. This book is fairly well done. Every time you think they solve the case another criminal is found. It kept you in suspense and it kept you guessing up until the very last line. That being said, I would classify the series as classic literature. They are great mysteries but they don't make a reader question things like some other books I have read. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pop Goes the Weasel by James Patterson

From the Publishers:
Likened to a "young Muhammad Ali," Alex Cross, the Porsche-driving profiler, doctor, detective, and father of two has seen his fair share of vicious killers. From a bloodthirsty butcher who came after his family (Cat and Mouse) to a devilish duo working cross-country (Kiss the Girls), Cross has managed to outmaneuver all of his enemies. Until he meets the Weasel. A series of killings in the forgotten, crime-infested ghettos of southeast D.C. has sent Cross and his 6''9" 250-pound partner, John Sampson, in search of the "Jane Doe" killer. However, their racist, tyrannical boss George Pitman orders them to stay out of the southeast and investigate the high-profile murder of a wealthy white man. Cross already has suspicions that the murders are linked, but when Sampson''s ex turns up in an abandoned southeast warehouse kicked to death, the two detectives carry on with their original investigation. Meanwhile, Cross''s longtime love, Christine (Cat and Mouse), has taken prominence in his life, and it looks as if the two will finally get hitched--with one glitch: Cross puts everything he loves in jeopardy as he obsessively goes after the Weasel. Akin to a slick Hollywood action flick, Pop Goes the Weasel doesn''t have time for meaningful character development or thoughtful moral analysis. And it doesn''t need to. Its winning formula is based on short scenes (chapters average about 3 pages), addictive plot progression, and mean dialogue: "Sampson sighed and said, ''I think her tongue is stapled inside the other girl. I''m pretty sure that''s it, Alex. The Weasel stapled them together.'' I looked at the two girls and shook my head. ''I don''t think so. A staple, even a surgical one, would come apart on the tongue''s surface.... Crazy glue would work."--Rebekah Warren

My Review:
I really enjoyed this Alex Cross book. I hadn't really enjoyed the last 2 books as much but this book just flowed really well. The book kept me interested from beginning to end and it didn't feel like two separate plot lines were going on like the last novel did. I couldn't put this book down and I can't wait to read the next one. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cat and Mouse by James Patterson

From the publishers:
A murderer named Gary Soneji patiently waits in the basement of Alex Cross''s home in Washington. He has come to kill Cross and his family. That''s just the beginning of the greatest page-turner in years. Two mind-numbing killers -- one operating up and down the East Coast of America, one in Europe -- believe Cross is their only worthy opponent. They dare to ask the ultimate question: Is Alex Cross about to die? You won''t put CAT & MOUSE down until the question is answered.

My Review:
This book was entertaining but as far as Patterson books go I wasn't super impressed. It is almost like reading two different short novels in one; like he ran out of things to say for the first plot line and began a whole different one half way through. I enjoyed reading the second half more than the first though. In the end I give this 2.5 stars out of 5.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

From the publishers:
Every expectant parent will tell you that they don''t want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O''Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they''d been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of "luckier" parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it''s all worth it because Willow is, well, funny as it seems, perfect. She''s smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.

Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte should have known earlier of Willow''s illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?

Emotionally riveting and profoundly moving, Handle with Care brings us into the heart of a family bound by an incredible burden, a desperate will to keep their ties from breaking, and, ultimately, a powerful capacity for love. Written with the grace and wisdom she''s become famous for, beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult offers us an unforgettable novel about the fragility of life and the lengths we will go to protect it.

My Review:
This book was quite compelling. It revolves around a young girl with Brittle Bone Syndrome. This girl breaks bones quite easily. Her parents are in the middle of a wrongful birth lawsuit. Essentially, they should have been informed beforehand that their daughter could potentially have this disease and if this was told to them they could have made the decision to abort their special needs child. As someone who has worked with children and adults with disabilities I found it very hard to agree with this kind of case. I found myself yelling at the mother wanting her to end her lawsuit. It becomes a fine line when you start questioning who has the right to live. It can be extremely difficult to raise a child with any kind of disability but they can bring so much joy to your life. I enjoyed reading this book but like I say it was at times really difficult and frustrating to read. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hate or sympathize with the mother. The father also got so wrapped up in the trial that he forgets all about his other daughter. Overall I give this novel a 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

From the publishers:
Mike and Tia Baye decide to spy on their son Adam, who has become moody and withdrawn since his friendas suicide. The software they install on his computer exposes every website visited, every e-mail and instant message sent or received. But each keystroke draws them deeper into a maze of mayhem and violence that could destroy them all.

My Review:
I have to admit I read this book in one day. The story just drew me in. It also dealt with the issue of the right of privacy vs the role of a parent to keep their child safe. Mike and Tia install spyware on their son's computer because he was acting weird after the suicide of his best friend. I am not sure where I stand on the issue. On one hand, I think of course he is acting weird, his best friend just killed himself. I think it is a little much to install spyware on his computer and monitor his every move. If he ever found out, all the trust that has taken years to build is so easily broken. On the other hand, in the novel it turns out their son is in some serious trouble and his parents were able to help him out of it. One may say, if this is at the cost of losing some trust then so be it. I think you need to find a balance. No one said parenting was easy.
Other than that, the storyline sucks you in and you really can't put the book down. There are a few side stories and in the end they are all brought together brilliantly. I give this book 4.5 out 5

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Chocolate Lovers' Club and The Chocolate Lovers' Diet both by Carole Matthews

From the publishers: The Chocolate Lovers' Club: There’s one thing that Lucy Lombard can’t live without, and that’s chocolate—creamy, delicious chocolate. Sharing her obsession are three other addicts: Autumn, Nadia, and Chantal. Together they form a select group known as The Chocolate Lovers’ Club. Whenever there’s a crisis, they meet in their sanctuary, a cafe called Chocolate Heaven. With a cheating boyfriend, a flirtatious boss, a gambling husband and a loveless marriage, there’s always plenty to discuss.... The Chocolate Lovers' Diet: The feisty members of THE CHOCOLATE LOVERS' CLUB are back in a mouth-wateringly delicious new novel. Lucy Lombard thought her ‘Happily Ever After’ was all sewn up when her gorgeous boss Aidan declared his love for her, but she’s just caught him in bed with another woman. As always, she’s not the only one with problems – Autumn’s new boyfriend has yet to meet her parents, Nadia’s husband swears he’s given up gambling but she just can’t trust him, and Chantal is hoping to save her marriage, but not in quite the way she’d expected. It’s not surprising that these girls are going to need a lot of chocolate to see them through the challenges that lie ahead…

My Review:
I decided to review both books together as I read them one after another and I also believe them to just be one continuing story. They were at best okay. I found the main character Lucy to be quite irritating. A woman who never really finds herself and relies on her happiness and success to derive from men. That being said, none of the women in this book are that inspiring. The closest would be Autumn but for most of the books she spends her time being a doormat for her drug addicted brother. Chantal decides she is not getting enough sex from her husband so of course decides to hire a gigolo. Who does this??? Nadia I find to be a strong character. She is forced to pick up and leave when her husband racks up their debt again with a gambling addiction. I won't say I completely hated the books. They were funny and entertaining and after reading the first book I did want to read more. I just think that some of the messages in the book may not be that good. I give these books 2 and half stars out of five.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Drood by Dan Simmons

From the publishers: On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever.
Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying?
Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens''s life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens''s friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author''s last years and may provide the key to Dickens''s final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.

My review:
I quite enjoyed this book. It was a little long but if you're able to keep reading you get hooked. I found it amazing how Simmons was able to incorporate so many facts about Charles Dickens' life into the novel. The narrator, Wilkie Collins, is unreliable at best. As a reader you have to try to figure out what is really happening and what is a part of Wilkie's laudenum induced hallucinations. Even at the end of the novel you are never quite sure if Drood ever really existed. Some of the book got a little long winded but I think it all went to setting the scene. I have to say that I am also unimpressed with Dickens as a character. Not that the writing was bad but regardless of biographies on Dickens I have always had a deluded image of him in my mind. That being said, Dickens in this book was an arrogant know it all who had no problem letting people know exactly what he thought. I would definitely not enjoy knowing a man like that. The book was macabre but it drew me in from the beginning to the end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars