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March Reading Review

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  • Sharal Heinemann
    4 books read in March... Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore Rating: 8 * s Since I am otherwise engaged now, it seemed like the perfect time to read this
    Message 1 of 6 , Mar 31, 2007
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      4 books read in March...






      Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore
      Rating: 8 *'s



      Since I am "otherwise engaged" now, it seemed like the perfect time to read this book. I could relate completely with the main character as she goes through the ups and downs of planning her wedding.
      Gone by Lisa Gardner
      Rating: 9 *'s
      I was so afraid how this book was going to end and happily it didn't! I hope this author continues to write about Rainie and Quincy as this couple really shows what it takes to make it in a world full of violence and heartbreak.
      Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
      Rating: 9 *'s
      Wow! This book blew me away from the beginning and I still feel breathless by the ending. Excellent story that kept me guessing through the whole book.

      Tess Gerritsen is a genius!

      Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison
      Rating: 9 *'s
      Another fantastic installment of Rachel Morgan and the gang! Would have loved to seen more of Jenks so I'm hoping there will be more of him in the next one. Kisten is a fascinating character and I hope he continues on through the series.



      SharalCurrently reading THREE BEDROOMS IN CHELSEA by Liz Ireland and listening to A DIRTY JOB by Christopher MooreUp Next: LEXI JAMES AND THE COUNCIL OF GIRLFRIENDS by Melissa JacobsWhat am I babbling about? http://sharalsthoughtsandramblings.blogspot.com/ http://myspace.com/sharalsbooks See the books I've set free at: http://bookcrossing.com/referral/sharalsbooks
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    • Sharal
      4 books read in March... Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore Rating: 8 * s Since I am otherwise engaged now, it seemed like the perfect time to read this
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 1, 2007
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        4 books read in March...


        Otherwise Engaged by Suzanne Finnamore
        Rating: 8 *'s

        Since I am "otherwise engaged" now, it seemed like the perfect time
        to read this book. I could relate completely with the main character
        as she goes through the ups and downs of planning her wedding.


        Gone by Lisa Gardner
        Rating: 9 *'s

        I was so afraid how this book was going to end and happily it didn't!
        I hope this author continues to write about Rainie and Quincy as this
        couple really shows what it takes to make it in a world full of
        violence and heartbreak.


        Vanish by Tess Gerritsen
        Rating: 9 *'s

        Wow! This book blew me away from the beginning and I still feel
        breathless by the ending. Excellent story that kept me guessing
        through the whole book.

        Tess Gerritsen is a genius!


        Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison
        Rating: 9 *'s

        Another fantastic installment of Rachel Morgan and the gang! Would
        have loved to seen more of Jenks so I'm hoping there will be more of
        him in the next one. Kisten is a fascinating character and I hope he
        continues on through the series.


        Sharal
        Currently reading THREE BEDROOMS IN CHELSEA by Liz Ireland and
        listening to A DIRTY JOB by Christopher Moore

        Up Next: LEXI JAMES AND THE COUNCIL OF GIRLFRIENDS by Melissa Jacobs

        What am I babbling about?
        http://sharalsthoughtsandramblings.blogspot.com/
        http://myspace.com/sharalsbooks

        See the books I've set free at:
        http://bookcrossing.com/referral/sharalsbooks
      • Sherri
        I only got two books read in March....at least they were good reads. Creation In Death by J.D. Robb My Rating: 10 * s Description: Eve has seen this
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 2, 2010
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          <sob> I only got two books read in March....at least they were good reads.

          Creation In Death by J.D. Robb

          My Rating: 10 *'s

          Description: Eve has seen this crime scene before: the artfully arranged body of a young brunette, arms spread, palms up, body marked by the signs of prolonged and painful torture. Carved into her torso is the time it took her to die - in hours, minutes, and seconds. And on the third finger of her left hand has been placed a silver ring.
          Eve is catapulted back to a case nine years earlier, when a man whom the media tagged “The Groom” put the city on edge with a killing spree that took the lives of four women in fifteen days. Eve and her partner Feeney, her friend and mentor, couldn't stop him before he disappeared, only to resurface in other parts of the world to kill and kill again. But now The Groom seems to have come back to where he started.

          When it turns out that The Groom's most recent victim was employed by Eve's billionaire husband, Roarke, she brings him onto the case. A move that proves fitting when it becomes chillingly clear that the killer has made it personal. The corpse was washed in products from a store Roarke owns and laid out on a sheet his company manufactures. With the Groom's monstrous return, Eve is determined to finish him once and for all. Familiar with his methods, she knows that he has already grabbed his next victim.

          But his sights are set on the biggest challenge of his illustrious career - an abduction that will test his skills and that promises to give him satisfaction as he's never known. Time is running out on another woman's life…and for Eve.

          My Thoughts: I don't think I will ever get tired of this series. With each installment, the reader is given a different view into the characters that keeps us coming back for more.
          I enjoyed how this case is one from the past that brings back old resentments and frustrations and a side of Captain Feeney is revealed that I haven't seen before.

          Eve and her team take on the bad guy with their usual tenacious determination that fans of this series enjoy and expect. I am getting close to the end of the series and am wondering what I am going to do when I am caught up and between books.


          Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter

          My Rating: 9*'s

          Description: I'm Jackie Laurens and eighteen months ago if you looked at my life on paper, you'd think it was fabulous: gorgeous husband, Daniel, twelve years of marriage, two kids, big house. The not-so-good part? I discovered Daniel was having an affair.

          Playful and smart, a coming-of-middle-age story of a woman not ready to give up on love and life.

          He got the second home and the Porsche. She got the kids and a broken heart. Now, Jackie, post-divorce and heading toward the big four-oh, is on vacation in sunny Hawaii and staring down her upcoming birthday --- alone. But not for long. She's soon falling for Kai, her gorgeous, much younger surf instructor, and the wild passionate fling they have becomes the the biggest surprise of Jackie's life.

          Back home in Seattle, Jackie has to struggle with single parenthood ... and memories of Kai. He hasn't forgotten her. Yet thousands of miles of ocean --- not to mention an age difference that feels even wider --- separate them. And, of course, her friends disapprove. When a choice must be made, can she, will she risk everything for her chance at happiness?

          My Thoughts: Very enjoyable story of a newly single mom who finds herself on holiday in Hawaii alone for her fortieth birthday. Surfing lessons and a flirtation with the sexy surf instructor ignites sparks she doesn't anticipate and she finds her life changes in ways she never expected.

          I really liked Jackie and found her to be an easy character to relate to. There were major similarities in Jackie's life to mine that I found a little un-nerving but the story was very easy to get into.

          Sherri
          Currently reading SPYING IN HIGH HEELS by Gemma Halliday & listening to THE ASSOCIATE by John Grisham

          Up Next: THE GHOST AND THE DEAD DEB by Alice Kimberly

          What am I babbling about?
          http://sharalsthoughtsandramblings.blogspot.com/
          http://myspace.com/sharalsbooks

          See the books I have set free at:
          http://bookcrossing.com/referral/sharalsbooks

          Swap Your Paperback Books - PaperBackSwap.com





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        • Sherri
          March turned out to be a great reading month..hopefully it continues into April. Here s how I did: Title: Marked (House of Night #1) Author: P.C. Cast &
          Message 4 of 6 , Mar 31, 2011
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            March turned out to be a great reading month..hopefully it continues into April.
            Here's how I did:


            Title: Marked (House of Night #1)
            Author: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
            Publisher: St. Martin’s
            Publication Date: May, 2007
            Paperback: 306 pages
            Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal Romance
            Rating: 6/10

            Description: The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own,
            except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In
            this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where,
            after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult
            vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are
            chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends,
            and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked
            as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the
            House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the
            Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given
            gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her
            destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.

            My Thoughts: As a fan of vampyre and paranormal romance, it seemed that
            everytime I was in a bookstore or in Wal-Mart, this series would stand out on
            the shelf and draw me near with curiosity. I cannot pinpoint what was so
            compelling about the series or this book in particular, but everytime I saw it
            and I had to pick it up and hold the book, running my hand down the cover and
            then turning it over to read the back, even though I read it every other time I
            encountered this book. Even now, writing this review, I find myself moved to
            pick the book up again and run my hands across the cover.

            As stories go, there are others that held my attention so profoundly I found it
            hard to do anything else while reading. The House of Night series didn’t draw me
            in the way I was anticipating, but I found myself immediately curious about the
            characters so when I thought this story was just OK, I was surprised at how much
            I was enjoying it after all. Immediately upon starting the book, my attention
            was grabbed when Zoey is marked by a Tracker. A Tracker is a vampyre (can’t get
            over the spelling) who marks select humans to become vampyres. In this series,
            once a human is marked, a mark literally appears on their forehead, probably so
            all the humans around them can freak out and go ballistic, like Zoey’s mother
            and step-father (whom she refers to as the Step-Loser) do. The marked individual
            is now a fledgling and they have to go to the House of Night, which is nothing
            more than a private school to learn the vampyre culture and prepare for their
            change. Unfortunately, not all fledglings are successful in becoming vampyres.
            If their bodies reject the change, they appear to die a very sudden and painful
            death. I’m hoping there will be more about that in future books as it is a
            little confusing still for me.

            I found the characters to be interesting starting with Zoey and her grandmother
            to the Goddess Nyx and Zoey’s mentor, Neferet, a High Priestess. Zoey quickly
            makes friends with four other students that I liked too and there’s a romance
            blooming between her and Erik Night, another student. And even in vampyre
            stories involving young adults, there has to be a clique of mean girls and this
            one delivers.

            Overall, this is not a bad beginning to another young adult vampyre series.
            There are currently eight published installments and two more looming on the
            horizon. I cannot honestly say I will stay with the series, but for the moment I
            am intrigued and have ordered the second book.


            Title: The Good Ghoul’s Guide To Getting Even (Beth Frasier #1)
            Author: Julie Kenner
            Publisher: Berkley
            Publication Date: April, 2007
            Paperback: 256 pages
            Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal Romance
            Rating: 6/10

            Description: Elizabeth Frasier's ticked off. Her junior year of high school was
            going just fine. But thanks to a bunch of jerkwad vampire jocks, she ended up
            undead, and with a thirst that a thousand Diet Cokes couldn't quench. Now she's
            out for blood-and revenge. And she knows exactly what to do...Elizabeth's read
            Salem's Lot. Separate the good vamps from the bad and wipe out the crowd that
            did her in. On top of that, she's got to figure out how to be mortal
            again-unless universities start accepting dead girls.

            My Thoughts: This was a very fast read told from Beth’s point of view. The
            ending left me hanging which didn’t come as a surprise as I knew there is a
            second book. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that this story could have
            been done in one entire book instead of being separated. At any rate, as I said
            before, this was a very fast read and entertaining for the most part. Beth
            doesn’t waste a lot of time in “setting the scene” of what happens to her. My
            first impression of Beth is that she is your typical overachiever teenager (do
            they even exist?) who is pretty obsessed about what college she wants to attend
            and has made up her mind that staying in Austin, Texas is not an option. One of
            the things I found strange for me was she didn’t seem to mourn the fact that
            being undead meant her life had ended. She needs blood to survive and there are
            vampire hunters out there with only one agenda, which is killing her. She didn’t
            seem to be affected by what her parents would say or do. Nope. She probably
            isn’t going to tell them. No, instead, she seems more put out and pissed off
            that her plans for college seem to have been derailed. Even, as a vampire, she
            remains more concerned about remaining Valedictorian. That having been said, it
            didn’t put me off of the story. I liked that Beth continued to want to live a
            normal life or as normal as she could without fully turning undead and becoming
            evil. I liked that her best friend stuck by her once she got over the initial
            freaking out moment. And I liked that Beth manages to find a little romance
            along the way.

            I prefer this author’s demon-hunting soccer mom series, but if you are looking
            for a light vampire themed romance that isn’t bogged down in details and isn’t
            too heavy on angst and turmoil, give this one a try.


            Title: You Had Me At Halo
            Author: Amanda Ashby
            Publisher: NAL Trade
            Publication Date: August, 2007
            Paperback: 288 pages
            Genre: Paranormal Romance
            Rating: 7/10

            Description: Heaven can wait, but not for long.

            She’s halfway to heaven…and she’s just been pulled over.

            Holly Evans has just seen her own body laid to rest, and if it had been up to
            her, she wouldn’t have chosen that particular polyester dress for the event.
            Still, she could live with that (so to speak), if it guaranteed a quick jump to
            Level 3 of the afterlife, which she hopes will feature both reruns of Friends
            and reunions with long-lost loved ones.

            But Holly has some mortal baggage to unload first, starting with the matter of
            how she died. Yes, she drowned in her bathtub under suspicious circumstances,
            but she did not kill herself. Holly had too much to live for, from her recent
            promotion to taking the next big step in her relationship. OK, her life had a
            few loose ends, but whose doesn’t? Holly’s heavenly shrink isn’t buying it. He
            says she has to return to Earth to straighten things out. The problem is, she’ll
            need to borrow someone’s body to do so, and the body in question belongs to none
            other than computer geek Vince Murphy. Oh, and although Vince was supposed to
            have vacated the premises, he apparently never got the memo.

            Now Holly has forty-eight hours to resolve her issues while sharing arms, legs,
            and … other things with a guy she barely noticed while she was alive. But the
            real surprise is what life has to offer when you have only two days to live it.

            My Thoughts: First time reading this author and liked the premise of the life
            after death / reincarnation theme. Holly is a likeable character who at first
            comes across as a little self-centered and shallow. I had to forgive her,
            however, because how is one supposed to act when they are viewing their own
            funeral and finding out that everyone thinks they committed suicide? Holly
            doesn’t seem to adjust to Heaven very well and has brought all of her “earthly”
            baggage with her. One of the things that I liked about her was that even during
            the bleakest of times, she manages to weather it with determination to continue
            forward. She doesn’t let all of the rules of Heaven drag her down and sets her
            mind to doing what she has to do so she can advance out of Level 1 and catch up
            to her parents. In order to do that, she has to return to Earth and occupy the
            body of a living human and resolve all of the issues she is holding on to. She
            doesn’t count on being put into Vince Murphy’s body and that she would have to
            share his body with him. Apparently, he was supposed to die and she was going to
            take his place. I really enjoyed how they try to adjust to one another and
            though Vince’s acceptance of the situation seemed to be a little fast (I don’t
            think I would accept it so easily), they become a good team working together.

            Vince was a great character. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” came
            to mind many times while reading. On the outside, he appears to be a computer
            geek and maybe a little anti-social. Before Holly died, she barely noticed his
            existence and even turned him down when he asked her out a while back. I enjoyed
            getting to know Vince and discovering more to his personality with each turn of
            the page. Once Holly gets past the fact that he works with computers and works
            with other geeks, she begins to see Vince for his true nature and it doesn’t
            take long before Holly realizes what a great guy he truly is. There were several
            humorous scenes. One of my favorites is Holly in Vince’s body trying to talk to
            her best friend, Gemma, but Gemma doesn’t realize it’s really Holly and she
            freaks out a little thinking he’s stalking her.

            Overall, this story was entertaining and enjoyable with a few surprises thrown
            in. If you like lighthearted romance with a paranormal theme, give this one a
            try.


            Title: I’m Watching You
            Author: Karen Rose
            Publisher: Warner
            Publication Date: October, 2004
            Paperback: 474 pages
            Genre: Romantic Suspense
            Rating: 8/10

            Description: I KNOW THEIR CRIMES

            Star prosecutor Kristen Mayhew has a dangerous secret admirer. He seems to knows
            her every thought, her every move. He sends her letters. And he kills the
            criminals she herself is powerless to stop.

            I HUNT DOWN THE GUILTY

            This avenger even knows Kristen’s deepest secret—the one that has kept her from
            surrendering her heart to Abe Reagan, the police detective sworn to protect her.
            Like Kristen, Reagan is haunted by the loss of something precious that he can
            never regain. But in the shadow of a calculating serial killer, the two turn to
            each other and dare to rediscover passion...even as the messages and vicious
            murders continue. Even as the killer’s thirst for retribution makes Kristen a
            target for murder.

            My Thoughts: Very enjoyable story filled with intense and, at times quite
            disturbing scenes of violence and retribution. At the center of this story is
            prosecutor Kristen Mayhew who begins receiving letters and photos from someone
            who is seeking vengeance against the criminals who have escaped the wheels of
            justice. Police Detective Abe Reagan is assigned to protect her when she begins
            receiving threats from the family of one of the vigilante’s victims.

            I really loved Kristin and Abe. They are both damaged emotionally and carrying
            very painful pasts. I enjoyed how they were able to work through the painful
            baggage they are carrying and begin to build a relationship built on trust. This
            story also has a lot of interesting secondary characters, including Abe’s entire
            family, Abe’s coworkers and even the vigilante, whom I found myself feeling a
            lot of sympathy for.

            I recommend this author if you are looking for character driven stories that
            keep your interest trying to work out who the villain is while delivering
            romance and suspense.


            Title: The Postcard Killers
            Author: James Patterson
            Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
            Publication Date: August, 2010
            Hardcover: 400 pages
            Genre: Mystery / Thriller
            Rating: 8/10

            Description: PARIS IS STUNNING IN THE SUMMER

            NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But
            the sights aren't what draw him—he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each
            café through the eyes of his daughter's killer.

            THE KILLING IS SIMPLY MARVELOUS

            Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in
            Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm
            have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard to the
            local newspaper that precedes each new victim.

            WISH YOU WERE HERE

            Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has just
            received a postcard in Stockholm—and they think they know where the next victims
            will be. With relentless logic and unstoppable action, The Postcard Killers may
            be James Patterson's most vivid and compelling thriller yet.

            My Thoughts: Patterson gets major points from me for delivering another story
            that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with each page. Just when you
            think he has pulled out all the stops and can’t shock you anymore than he
            already has, BAM! There he goes again! As shocking and intense as the story was,
            it wasn’t one of my favorites. I didn’t feel much of a connection to the
            characters though I was intrigued by them and curious to see what Jacob was
            going to do once his daughter’s killers were brought to justice. I have felt a
            much stronger connection to other Patterson characters like Lindsey Boxer and
            Michael Bennett. Those characters I am practically in love with. But, even so, I
            gave this story high marks for the “in your face” rollercoaster ride of a story.

            Jacob Kanon is a damaged character. He has seen horrible things in his life and
            experienced his share of heartbreak so when his daughter and her boyfriend are
            brutally murdered while on vacation in Rome a year before, he becomes a man
            obsessed. He shows up in Stockholm and makes contact with, almost to the point
            of stalking, Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson. He places himself into the
            investigation, almost to the point of interfering and obstructing it. He comes
            across as brash and abrasive and though his behavior is completely
            understandable given the circumstances, I was surprised that he didn’t end up in
            jail or getting himself killed. Dessie is a complex character. In love, she has
            batted for both sides of the team and has been unsuccessful with both. Her
            family history is slightly shady but she appears to be straight forward and
            committed to solving these murders. The attraction between Jacob and Dessie is
            made known fairly early on in the story so the romance twist between them
            doesn’t come as a surprise and doesn’t enhance or take away from the core story.

            The characters I actually found the most riveting and was the most focused on
            were the suspected killers, Sylvia and Malcolm Rudolph. Upon first meeting them,
            I assumed they were a married American couple vacationing in Europe. These
            characters are what gives the story the “in your face” rollercoaster ride. With
            each page, more is revealed about this couple making them more complex and
            drawing the reader into their web. Some of the things that are revealed are
            quite shocking but instead of turning the reader off of the story, it draws them
            in even further. Are they innocent or guilty? Are they the monsters that Jacob
            Kanon believes them to be or are they innocent tourists who have been wronged by
            the Swedish justice system? You are going to have read the book to find out so
            climb aboard, buckle up and hang on for one hell of a ride!


            Title: At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3)
            Author: Jeaniene Frost
            Publisher: Avon
            Publication Date: December, 2008
            Paperback: 342 pages
            Genre: Paranormal Romance
            Rating: 10/10

            Description: It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life.
            With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals
            from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her
            true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover has finally been
            blown, placing her in terrible danger.

            As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him
            once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to
            help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the
            true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't
            help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save
            herself—and Bones—from a fate worse than the grave.

            My Thoughts: So often, a series begins to get stale and redundant by the third
            book. Happily, that doesn’t seem to be the case with this series and if this
            book is any indicator, it won’t. My failure to read this book sooner is why
            there was so much confusion when I read “First Drop of Crimson” in January. Now
            that I have rectified that situation, I can happily report that this At Grave’s
            End was well worth the wait! I cannot gush enough about how much I love Cat and
            Bones. As a couple and individually, these two characters sure know how to get
            the job done.

            This story really opens up more of the Night Huntress world that I wasn’t aware
            of. We get to see more about Cat’s father, Max and what a truly deviated and
            pitiful excuse of a former human he truly was. We get to see more of Cat’s mom
            and there are some interesting twists and surprises with Justina that I
            thoroughly enjoyed reading. We see one of Cat’s men, Tate, getting more of a
            storyline and so far, I am enjoying the triangle his character is trying to
            create with Cat and Bones. I definitely see potential there for Tate to get his
            own book.

            I know if I decided to leave my current career path and become a vampire slayer,
            then Cat is the one I would want to mentor and train me. This series and in
            particular, this book, delivers everything I look for and want in my reading
            selections. In addition to the intense action and fighting scenes, there’s humor
            and even some very heart wrenching sad moments.

            I can’t think of one thing in this book that didn’t work for me so instead I
            will say if you haven’t yet read this series, get off your tush and get started.
            You’ll be glad you did.

            Sherri

            Currently reading GOOD GIRLS GOSSIP by Theresa Alan & listening to WHAT'S A
            GHOUL TO DO? by Victoria Laurie

            Up Next: INFINITY by Sherrilyn Kenyon

            What am I babbling about?
            http://sharalsthoughtsandramblings.blogspot.com/
            http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1318571455

            See the books I have set free at:
            http://bookcrossing.com/referral/sharalsbooks

            Swap Your Paperback Books - PaperBackSwap.com





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          • sweetlowrain
            Thanks for sharing. I was wondering about Postcard Killers. Happy reading Lorraine
            Message 5 of 6 , Mar 31, 2011
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              Thanks for sharing. I was wondering about Postcard Killers.
              Happy reading
              Lorraine

              --- In BookCrossing@yahoogroups.com, Sherri <sharalsbooks@...> wrote:
              >
              > March turned out to be a great reading month..hopefully it continues into April.
              > Here's how I did:
              >
              >
              > Title: Marked (House of Night #1)
              > Author: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
              > Publisher: St. Martin’s
              > Publication Date: May, 2007
              > Paperback: 306 pages
              > Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal Romance
              > Rating: 6/10
              >
              > Description: The House of Night series is set in a world very much like our own,
              > except in 16-year-old Zoey Redbird's world, vampyres have always existed. In
              > this first book in the series, Zoey enters the House of Night, a school where,
              > after having undergone the Change, she will train to become an adult
              > vampire--that is, if she makes it through the Change. Not all of those who are
              > chosen do. It’s tough to begin a new life, away from her parents and friends,
              > and on top of that, Zoey finds she is no average fledgling. She has been Marked
              > as special by the vampyre Goddess, Nyx. But she is not the only fledgling at the
              > House of Night with special powers. When she discovers that the leader of the
              > Dark Daughters, the school's most elite club, is misusing her Goddess-given
              > gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her
              > destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends.
              >
              > My Thoughts: As a fan of vampyre and paranormal romance, it seemed that
              > everytime I was in a bookstore or in Wal-Mart, this series would stand out on
              > the shelf and draw me near with curiosity. I cannot pinpoint what was so
              > compelling about the series or this book in particular, but everytime I saw it
              > and I had to pick it up and hold the book, running my hand down the cover and
              > then turning it over to read the back, even though I read it every other time I
              > encountered this book. Even now, writing this review, I find myself moved to
              > pick the book up again and run my hands across the cover.
              >
              > As stories go, there are others that held my attention so profoundly I found it
              > hard to do anything else while reading. The House of Night series didn’t draw me
              > in the way I was anticipating, but I found myself immediately curious about the
              > characters so when I thought this story was just OK, I was surprised at how much
              > I was enjoying it after all. Immediately upon starting the book, my attention
              > was grabbed when Zoey is marked by a Tracker. A Tracker is a vampyre (can’t get
              > over the spelling) who marks select humans to become vampyres. In this series,
              > once a human is marked, a mark literally appears on their forehead, probably so
              > all the humans around them can freak out and go ballistic, like Zoey’s mother
              > and step-father (whom she refers to as the Step-Loser) do. The marked individual
              > is now a fledgling and they have to go to the House of Night, which is nothing
              > more than a private school to learn the vampyre culture and prepare for their
              > change. Unfortunately, not all fledglings are successful in becoming vampyres.
              > If their bodies reject the change, they appear to die a very sudden and painful
              > death. I’m hoping there will be more about that in future books as it is a
              > little confusing still for me.
              >
              > I found the characters to be interesting starting with Zoey and her grandmother
              > to the Goddess Nyx and Zoey’s mentor, Neferet, a High Priestess. Zoey quickly
              > makes friends with four other students that I liked too and there’s a romance
              > blooming between her and Erik Night, another student. And even in vampyre
              > stories involving young adults, there has to be a clique of mean girls and this
              > one delivers.
              >
              > Overall, this is not a bad beginning to another young adult vampyre series.
              > There are currently eight published installments and two more looming on the
              > horizon. I cannot honestly say I will stay with the series, but for the moment I
              > am intrigued and have ordered the second book.
              >
              >
              > Title: The Good Ghoul’s Guide To Getting Even (Beth Frasier #1)
              > Author: Julie Kenner
              > Publisher: Berkley
              > Publication Date: April, 2007
              > Paperback: 256 pages
              > Genre: Young Adult - Paranormal Romance
              > Rating: 6/10
              >
              > Description: Elizabeth Frasier's ticked off. Her junior year of high school was
              > going just fine. But thanks to a bunch of jerkwad vampire jocks, she ended up
              > undead, and with a thirst that a thousand Diet Cokes couldn't quench. Now she's
              > out for blood-and revenge. And she knows exactly what to do...Elizabeth's read
              > Salem's Lot. Separate the good vamps from the bad and wipe out the crowd that
              > did her in. On top of that, she's got to figure out how to be mortal
              > again-unless universities start accepting dead girls.
              >
              > My Thoughts: This was a very fast read told from Beth’s point of view. The
              > ending left me hanging which didn’t come as a surprise as I knew there is a
              > second book. Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that this story could have
              > been done in one entire book instead of being separated. At any rate, as I said
              > before, this was a very fast read and entertaining for the most part. Beth
              > doesn’t waste a lot of time in “setting the scene” of what happens to her. My
              > first impression of Beth is that she is your typical overachiever teenager (do
              > they even exist?) who is pretty obsessed about what college she wants to attend
              > and has made up her mind that staying in Austin, Texas is not an option. One of
              > the things I found strange for me was she didn’t seem to mourn the fact that
              > being undead meant her life had ended. She needs blood to survive and there are
              > vampire hunters out there with only one agenda, which is killing her. She didn’t
              > seem to be affected by what her parents would say or do. Nope. She probably
              > isn’t going to tell them. No, instead, she seems more put out and pissed off
              > that her plans for college seem to have been derailed. Even, as a vampire, she
              > remains more concerned about remaining Valedictorian. That having been said, it
              > didn’t put me off of the story. I liked that Beth continued to want to live a
              > normal life or as normal as she could without fully turning undead and becoming
              > evil. I liked that her best friend stuck by her once she got over the initial
              > freaking out moment. And I liked that Beth manages to find a little romance
              > along the way.
              >
              > I prefer this author’s demon-hunting soccer mom series, but if you are looking
              > for a light vampire themed romance that isn’t bogged down in details and isn’t
              > too heavy on angst and turmoil, give this one a try.
              >
              >
              > Title: You Had Me At Halo
              > Author: Amanda Ashby
              > Publisher: NAL Trade
              > Publication Date: August, 2007
              > Paperback: 288 pages
              > Genre: Paranormal Romance
              > Rating: 7/10
              >
              > Description: Heaven can wait, but not for long.
              >
              > She’s halfway to heaven…and she’s just been pulled over.
              >
              > Holly Evans has just seen her own body laid to rest, and if it had been up to
              > her, she wouldn’t have chosen that particular polyester dress for the event.
              > Still, she could live with that (so to speak), if it guaranteed a quick jump to
              > Level 3 of the afterlife, which she hopes will feature both reruns of Friends
              > and reunions with long-lost loved ones.
              >
              > But Holly has some mortal baggage to unload first, starting with the matter of
              > how she died. Yes, she drowned in her bathtub under suspicious circumstances,
              > but she did not kill herself. Holly had too much to live for, from her recent
              > promotion to taking the next big step in her relationship. OK, her life had a
              > few loose ends, but whose doesn’t? Holly’s heavenly shrink isn’t buying it. He
              > says she has to return to Earth to straighten things out. The problem is, she’ll
              > need to borrow someone’s body to do so, and the body in question belongs to none
              > other than computer geek Vince Murphy. Oh, and although Vince was supposed to
              > have vacated the premises, he apparently never got the memo.
              >
              > Now Holly has forty-eight hours to resolve her issues while sharing arms, legs,
              > and … other things with a guy she barely noticed while she was alive. But the
              > real surprise is what life has to offer when you have only two days to live it.
              >
              > My Thoughts: First time reading this author and liked the premise of the life
              > after death / reincarnation theme. Holly is a likeable character who at first
              > comes across as a little self-centered and shallow. I had to forgive her,
              > however, because how is one supposed to act when they are viewing their own
              > funeral and finding out that everyone thinks they committed suicide? Holly
              > doesn’t seem to adjust to Heaven very well and has brought all of her “earthly”
              > baggage with her. One of the things that I liked about her was that even during
              > the bleakest of times, she manages to weather it with determination to continue
              > forward. She doesn’t let all of the rules of Heaven drag her down and sets her
              > mind to doing what she has to do so she can advance out of Level 1 and catch up
              > to her parents. In order to do that, she has to return to Earth and occupy the
              > body of a living human and resolve all of the issues she is holding on to. She
              > doesn’t count on being put into Vince Murphy’s body and that she would have to
              > share his body with him. Apparently, he was supposed to die and she was going to
              > take his place. I really enjoyed how they try to adjust to one another and
              > though Vince’s acceptance of the situation seemed to be a little fast (I don’t
              > think I would accept it so easily), they become a good team working together.
              >
              > Vince was a great character. The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” came
              > to mind many times while reading. On the outside, he appears to be a computer
              > geek and maybe a little anti-social. Before Holly died, she barely noticed his
              > existence and even turned him down when he asked her out a while back. I enjoyed
              > getting to know Vince and discovering more to his personality with each turn of
              > the page. Once Holly gets past the fact that he works with computers and works
              > with other geeks, she begins to see Vince for his true nature and it doesn’t
              > take long before Holly realizes what a great guy he truly is. There were several
              > humorous scenes. One of my favorites is Holly in Vince’s body trying to talk to
              > her best friend, Gemma, but Gemma doesn’t realize it’s really Holly and she
              > freaks out a little thinking he’s stalking her.
              >
              > Overall, this story was entertaining and enjoyable with a few surprises thrown
              > in. If you like lighthearted romance with a paranormal theme, give this one a
              > try.
              >
              >
              > Title: I’m Watching You
              > Author: Karen Rose
              > Publisher: Warner
              > Publication Date: October, 2004
              > Paperback: 474 pages
              > Genre: Romantic Suspense
              > Rating: 8/10
              >
              > Description: I KNOW THEIR CRIMES
              >
              > Star prosecutor Kristen Mayhew has a dangerous secret admirer. He seems to knows
              > her every thought, her every move. He sends her letters. And he kills the
              > criminals she herself is powerless to stop.
              >
              > I HUNT DOWN THE GUILTY
              >
              > This avenger even knows Kristen’s deepest secretâ€"the one that has kept her from
              > surrendering her heart to Abe Reagan, the police detective sworn to protect her.
              > Like Kristen, Reagan is haunted by the loss of something precious that he can
              > never regain. But in the shadow of a calculating serial killer, the two turn to
              > each other and dare to rediscover passion...even as the messages and vicious
              > murders continue. Even as the killer’s thirst for retribution makes Kristen a
              > target for murder.
              >
              > My Thoughts: Very enjoyable story filled with intense and, at times quite
              > disturbing scenes of violence and retribution. At the center of this story is
              > prosecutor Kristen Mayhew who begins receiving letters and photos from someone
              > who is seeking vengeance against the criminals who have escaped the wheels of
              > justice. Police Detective Abe Reagan is assigned to protect her when she begins
              > receiving threats from the family of one of the vigilante’s victims.
              >
              > I really loved Kristin and Abe. They are both damaged emotionally and carrying
              > very painful pasts. I enjoyed how they were able to work through the painful
              > baggage they are carrying and begin to build a relationship built on trust. This
              > story also has a lot of interesting secondary characters, including Abe’s entire
              > family, Abe’s coworkers and even the vigilante, whom I found myself feeling a
              > lot of sympathy for.
              >
              > I recommend this author if you are looking for character driven stories that
              > keep your interest trying to work out who the villain is while delivering
              > romance and suspense.
              >
              >
              > Title: The Postcard Killers
              > Author: James Patterson
              > Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
              > Publication Date: August, 2010
              > Hardcover: 400 pages
              > Genre: Mystery / Thriller
              > Rating: 8/10
              >
              > Description: PARIS IS STUNNING IN THE SUMMER
              >
              > NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But
              > the sights aren't what draw himâ€"he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each
              > café through the eyes of his daughter's killer.
              >
              > THE KILLING IS SIMPLY MARVELOUS
              >
              > Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in
              > Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm
              > have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard to the
              > local newspaper that precedes each new victim.
              >
              > WISH YOU WERE HERE
              >
              > Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has just
              > received a postcard in Stockholmâ€"and they think they know where the next victims
              > will be. With relentless logic and unstoppable action, The Postcard Killers may
              > be James Patterson's most vivid and compelling thriller yet.
              >
              > My Thoughts: Patterson gets major points from me for delivering another story
              > that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat with each page. Just when you
              > think he has pulled out all the stops and can’t shock you anymore than he
              > already has, BAM! There he goes again! As shocking and intense as the story was,
              > it wasn’t one of my favorites. I didn’t feel much of a connection to the
              > characters though I was intrigued by them and curious to see what Jacob was
              > going to do once his daughter’s killers were brought to justice. I have felt a
              > much stronger connection to other Patterson characters like Lindsey Boxer and
              > Michael Bennett. Those characters I am practically in love with. But, even so, I
              > gave this story high marks for the “in your face” rollercoaster ride of a story.
              >
              > Jacob Kanon is a damaged character. He has seen horrible things in his life and
              > experienced his share of heartbreak so when his daughter and her boyfriend are
              > brutally murdered while on vacation in Rome a year before, he becomes a man
              > obsessed. He shows up in Stockholm and makes contact with, almost to the point
              > of stalking, Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson. He places himself into the
              > investigation, almost to the point of interfering and obstructing it. He comes
              > across as brash and abrasive and though his behavior is completely
              > understandable given the circumstances, I was surprised that he didn’t end up in
              > jail or getting himself killed. Dessie is a complex character. In love, she has
              > batted for both sides of the team and has been unsuccessful with both. Her
              > family history is slightly shady but she appears to be straight forward and
              > committed to solving these murders. The attraction between Jacob and Dessie is
              > made known fairly early on in the story so the romance twist between them
              > doesn’t come as a surprise and doesn’t enhance or take away from the core story.
              >
              > The characters I actually found the most riveting and was the most focused on
              > were the suspected killers, Sylvia and Malcolm Rudolph. Upon first meeting them,
              > I assumed they were a married American couple vacationing in Europe. These
              > characters are what gives the story the “in your face” rollercoaster ride. With
              > each page, more is revealed about this couple making them more complex and
              > drawing the reader into their web. Some of the things that are revealed are
              > quite shocking but instead of turning the reader off of the story, it draws them
              > in even further. Are they innocent or guilty? Are they the monsters that Jacob
              > Kanon believes them to be or are they innocent tourists who have been wronged by
              > the Swedish justice system? You are going to have read the book to find out so
              > climb aboard, buckle up and hang on for one hell of a ride!
              >
              >
              > Title: At Grave’s End (Night Huntress #3)
              > Author: Jeaniene Frost
              > Publisher: Avon
              > Publication Date: December, 2008
              > Paperback: 342 pages
              > Genre: Paranormal Romance
              > Rating: 10/10
              >
              > Description: It should be the best time of half-vampire Cat Crawfield's life.
              > With her undead lover Bones at her side, she's successfully protected mortals
              > from the rogue undead. But though Cat's worn disguise after disguise to keep her
              > true identity a secret from the brazen bloodsuckers, her cover has finally been
              > blown, placing her in terrible danger.
              >
              > As if that wasn't enough, a woman from Bones's past is determined to bury him
              > once and for all. Caught in the crosshairs of a vengeful vamp, yet determined to
              > help Bones stop a lethal magic from being unleashed, Cat's about to learn the
              > true meaning of bad blood. And the tricks she's learned as a special agent won't
              > help her. She will need to fully embrace her vampire instincts in order to save
              > herselfâ€"and Bonesâ€"from a fate worse than the grave.
              >
              > My Thoughts: So often, a series begins to get stale and redundant by the third
              > book. Happily, that doesn’t seem to be the case with this series and if this
              > book is any indicator, it won’t. My failure to read this book sooner is why
              > there was so much confusion when I read “First Drop of Crimson” in January. Now
              > that I have rectified that situation, I can happily report that this At Grave’s
              > End was well worth the wait! I cannot gush enough about how much I love Cat and
              > Bones. As a couple and individually, these two characters sure know how to get
              > the job done.
              >
              > This story really opens up more of the Night Huntress world that I wasn’t aware
              > of. We get to see more about Cat’s father, Max and what a truly deviated and
              > pitiful excuse of a former human he truly was. We get to see more of Cat’s mom
              > and there are some interesting twists and surprises with Justina that I
              > thoroughly enjoyed reading. We see one of Cat’s men, Tate, getting more of a
              > storyline and so far, I am enjoying the triangle his character is trying to
              > create with Cat and Bones. I definitely see potential there for Tate to get his
              > own book.
              >
              > I know if I decided to leave my current career path and become a vampire slayer,
              > then Cat is the one I would want to mentor and train me. This series and in
              > particular, this book, delivers everything I look for and want in my reading
              > selections. In addition to the intense action and fighting scenes, there’s humor
              > and even some very heart wrenching sad moments.
              >
              > I can’t think of one thing in this book that didn’t work for me so instead I
              > will say if you haven’t yet read this series, get off your tush and get started.
              > You’ll be glad you did.
              >
              > Sherri
              >
              > Currently reading GOOD GIRLS GOSSIP by Theresa Alan & listening to WHAT'S A
              > GHOUL TO DO? by Victoria Laurie
              >
              > Up Next: INFINITY by Sherrilyn Kenyon
              >
              > What am I babbling about?
              > http://sharalsthoughtsandramblings.blogspot.com/
              > http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1318571455
              >
              > See the books I have set free at:
              > http://bookcrossing.com/referral/sharalsbooks
              >
              > Swap Your Paperback Books - PaperBackSwap.com
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
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              >
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