Previously read...

Devious by Lisa Jackson

I used to devour these Lisa Jackson mysteries, especially the ones set in New Orleans and featuring Rick Bentz and Reuben Montoya, but this one just did NOT hold my attention.  At all.  Maybe it's me, maybe I've got too many other interesting things going on, but whatever it is, the sad fact is I didn't even finish this one.  Ah well, I tried and tried, but it felt kinda good to finally throw in the towel on it.  Now on to the next, whatever it may be.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Ok, clearly I'm on a Gillian Flynn bender at the moment.  Dark Places is also startlingly good.  It covers jumps back and forth from 1985 to present day, covering the murder of family, seemingly by the oldest son.  The youngest daughter survived the massacre and is the main present day narrator.  What kind of adult comes from such tragedy?  Libby Day is not a nice person.  She is apathetic to pretty much everything, until her money starts to run out and she begins to look into her family's murder as a way to profit.

Although Dark Places was my least favorite Gillian Flynn novel, that's kind of like saying vanilla is my least favorite ice cream.  I'll still devour it, and be glad about it.

But after three great Gillian Flynn novels in a row, I am on a serious book hangover at the moment.  It may be a while before I find anything worthy to follow these up with.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Ok, I know I said Gone Girl was great, but Sharp Objects was better.  This was Gillian Flynn's first novel, and seriously????  Who writes a first novel this good?  And since I've already read Gone Girl, I know she's not a one hit wonder.  The characters in this novel are beautiful and damaged in ways I cannot even begin to describe.  You feel - really feel - for them.  Once again, I can't say much without giving away the plot, but I will tell you that the story revolves around the murder of two little girls (over the course of a year) in a small town and the main character, Camille, is a newspaper reporter who is sent home to this small town to cover the story.

Read it.  Read it now.

That is all.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This one is next up on my reading list.  I have never read this author before, but the book has hit all the major bestseller lists and it has gotten great reader reviews.  I'll let you know what I think as soon as I get into it.

UPDATE:  O.M.G.  The best mystery I've read in a long, long, long time.  The writing is just beautiful.  The author is incredibly observant, and her descriptions of the characters, especially their personality traits, is amazing.  Plus the plot, which reads at first like a typical whodunnit mystery, has a couple great unexpected twists.  I can't tell you much without giving the whole book away, but I will tell you to go read it now!  Now I say!  

 Criminal by Karin Slaughter

I love Karin Slaughter's book series set in Grant County, Georgia, even though I hated it when she killed off Jeffery Tolliver, one of her main characters, several books back.  Somehow, she managed to use that plot point to combine her two series into one, and in this, the latest, Sarah Linton (Jeffrey's widow) and Will Trent of the GBI are an item, finally.

I'm two chapters in and love her writing as much as I ever did.  I really want to just sit down on my couch and finish it today, but sadly, the laundry isn't going to wash itself.

Update:  I stayed up late to finish this last night.  I haven't done that in a long time.  The story is told in two parts, one present day and one in 1975.  We finally learn the secret background between Amanda (Will's boss) and Will, and it goes back that far.  I love love love the chapters set in past, and I sincerely hope Karin Slaughter will continue to give us glimpses into "the old girls' club" and their start.  Amanda is a much more likable character now that I have her background, and so is her friend and partner Evelyn.  Well done, Ms. Slaughter.  

Down the Darkest Road by Tami Hoag

Lauren Lawton's 16 year old daughter disappears.  Her husband, overcome with grief, commits suicide.  Lauren knows who took her daughter, but there is absolutely no proof linking him to the crime.  Fast forward a few years, and the suspect is now stalking Lauren, taunting her and her remaining daughter.  The police are no help, because once again, there is absolutely no proof.  What would you do to avenge your daughter?  How far would you go to finally have peace of mind?  I loved this book, if for no other reason then because as a Mama, I can relate the the feeling of going any length necessary for your children.  If you like suspenseful, serial killer type books with a healthy dose of police procedural thrown in, you need to read this one.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Jenny is one of my all time favorite bloggers, and I usually laugh out loud at her absolutely freaking insane posts.  Her book, which reads pretty much like one really, really long blog post, was no exception.  She covered topics like squirrel puppets, dead dogs, being pregnant,  and mental illness with equal irreverence, which I love.  I actually saved this book for when I was on vacation, then ended up staying up way too late one night and reading it in own sitting, which sounds great in theory but may have been just a BIT too many taxidermy stories at once.  My advice, buy it, read it, but do it a chapter at a time like a normal person.

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse books long before True Blood was a show on HBO, and long before supernatural thrillers became truly mainstream.  I loved them then and I love them now.  This book revolves around the blood-draining death of a young girl in Eric Northman's front yard, and of course Sookie has to solve the mystery because Eric is being blamed.  My only complaint about this book is my own silly fault - since I watch the HBO series as well, I sometimes forget what's going on in the books, like who is really dead, or whatever.  Overall it was a quick and entertaining read.

Stolen Prey by John Sanford

Typically I consider the Prey series to be filler reading - something that's always interesting but not terribly taxing, something I can read when nothing else catches my eye.  But this time, I got bored early on and never really recovered.  Since I'm a strict "one book at a time" kind of gal, I found myself not reading at all for several days because I just wasn't interested in going back to this one.  Maybe it's me, maybe it's him, but I think I may be breaking up with John Sanford.  I didn't even finish it.

Play Dead by Harlan Coben

I love Mr. Coben, it's true, but this, his first novel, just didn't do it for me.  The story line was kinda convoluted from the start and the writing was pretty bad.  I'm not going to try to describe the plot because even though I read 70+ pages of it, I'm still not entirely sure what was going on.  What I will say is that I'm glad that somewhere between this book and Tell No One,  Mr. Coben learned how to write a damn fine mystery.  It's just proof that if at first you don't succeed...

Defending Jacob by William Landay

This was a really great story, one that stands out to this girl who reads so much titles and authors blur and blend into one big mess of now wait, who died in that one?  Anyway, Defending Jacob is about Andy Barber, an ADA, who is assigned the case of a teenaged boy stabbed to death in a local park.  That's all well and good until his son, a classmate of the victim, becomes a suspect.  The book takes you though the trial, mostly from Andy's point of view, and you learn early on that Andy is being questioned by the Grand Jury, but you don't learn until the end that... Well, I'll let you find out for yourself.  Read this one.  Really. 

Plain Truth by Jodi Piccoult

This is one of those books that I've pretty much always assumed that I've already read.

Except I hadn't.  Well, until now.  

The story revolves around a young Amish girl who is accused of hiding a pregnancy and killing her newborn baby to hide the truth.  It also revolves around the lawyer (a cousin, once removed) who is conveniently available to defend her and to spend several months on the Amish farm in preparation for the trial.  The truths about what happened the night the baby was born unfold slowly, so slowly, and the story is well told.  You get a great deal of information about the Amish culture without any of the preachiness that surrounds a lot of books set in Amish country, and the story is a good one.   I pride myself on being able to figure out plot lines early on when I read a book, but with this one I didn't even try.  I was to interested in what I was reading.  And to me, THAT is the sign of a good book.

Miracle Cure by Harlan Coben

The basic idea of this novel is a good one.  What happens when three doctors, working together, find a cure for AIDS, but some political machine wants to keep it from becoming public knowledge?  I adore Harlan Coben's writing (and his shiny bald head) but for some reason this one just did not do it for me.  It was early-ish in his career (1991, I believe) and the characters were unlikeable and dry, and the plat kind of hard to follow.  To make what was going to be a long story short, I didn't finish it.  I just didn't. And I finish pretty much everything I start, so that's a pretty big statement.  If I would have read this a long time ago, I'm not sure I would have read Coben's later - and MUCH better - works, and that would have been a tragedy.

Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

Since I liked Save Me so much, I immediately downloaded this one to give it a shot.  The basic premise deals with some current issues like blended families and what happens within the step-family scenario when the step-mom and dad divorce.  Are the step-kids still related to the now ex-step-mom?  How many more hyphens can one relationship endure?  Of course there's a big mystery to be solved, and lots of intrigue and such, but the family themes appealed to me the most about this novel.  And then there was the one character that I disliked so immensely, for no particular reason other than he was acting unreasonably, that it almost ruined the whole book for me.  Almost.  Overall, worth the read.

Save Me by Lisa Scottoline

I enjoy a good lawyer story, but this particular Lisa Scottoline is much more Jodi Piccoult than John Grisham.  Oh, sure, there are lawyers, because everybody is always suing somebody for something - as is the American way - but the main character is Rose, who is a stay at home mom volunteering at her kid's school one day when an explosion happens.

She herds some kids out, then goes back in for her own daughter, but one of the girls she thought she had gotten to safety turned around and went back into the burning building...

What follows is everybody looking to place blame, and it falling squarely on Rose.  It brings up a lot of interesting points and thoughts about who is responsible for what kid when, and has definitely made me think about my role as a school volunteer.

There are twists and turns to keep it interesting, and of course a mystery to be solved - What caused the explosion?  Was it deliberate? - but Rose and her feelings as she deals with her own personal guilt is what's got me carrying my nook with me everywhere I go.

Update: The second half of the book wasn't nearly as good as the first half, but I was so invested in the characters by then that it didn't matter.  Read it.  It's good.

Victims by Jonathan Kellerman

I like Alex Delaware just fine, but Milo is the reason I've been reading Jonathan Kellerman books for 15 years.  Milo, the detective with the ugly, poorly fitting suits, the penchant for unreasonable amounts of Indian food, the doctor boyfriend, and the uncanny ability to stumble into every serial killer and whack job in a 100 mile radius.


I love me some Milo, and even though I can hardly distinguish one of Kellerman's books from another, I'm going to keep reading them.

Unless something happens to Milo.  Then we've got a problem.

Home Improvement: Undead Edition - Short Stories

This collection of short stories, edited by Charlaine Harris and some other people that I can't remember, is pretty much like most short story collections I've read.  There are good stories, bad stories, and quite a few in between.  This particular collection is built around the concept of home improvement projects meets the supernatural and/or undead.

It's about as rotten as it sounds.

With the exception of the Sookie Stackhouse story that leads off the book, and a surprising Patricia Briggs vampire story that I thoroughly enjoyed, I mostly skimmed this one.

Don't bother.

Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Mr. Coben is a witty, clever writer.  I'm about 100 pages in, and I'm thrilled with the interesting characters and the story line so far, which is based around Megan - a former stripper -who saw something terrible and maybe somebody died (that's yet to be determined) and now is living a nice, quiet life in the suburbs with her clueless husband and typical teenagers.  But she misses the stripper life, or at least the thrills and excitement that went along with it.  There's also Megan's former beau, who has had his entire life go down the toilet since Megan up and left 17 years ago.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this one so far.  I'll keep you posted...

UPDATE:  Done, and done.  Enjoyable, even though I totally figured out who the killer was 150 pages  in.  But that's ok.  I enjoy his writing and this one, while not nearly in the league of Gone For Good or The Woods, is still worth the time and the dollars.  

The Confession by John Grisham

I haven't read a Grisham book for a decade or so, ever since he went from writing good stuff to turning out formulaic legal thrillers, but RJ and I have been watching The Firm on tv (which is a pretty good show, by the way), and I got kinda interested in his stuff again.  Sadly, he's never even come close to topping A Time to Kill, his first novel, and it's looking more and more unlikely that he ever will.

I'm about two thirds of the way through this one, and the story and plot are interesting - an innocent man is on death row for murder and at the last minute the real killer comes forward and confesses - but the character development is disappointing, even for someone who is know for only writing about three main character types.  I will definitely finish it, though, because I want to know what happens, kind of in a bigger picture sort of way.  This is one where he definitely missed the mark a little with the characters.  I WANT to feel something for them, I really do, but I'm having a hard time caring about them.  Unlike the last thing I read, which was...

UPDATE: Ok, I just finished this one.  Sadly, the last third of the book reads more like a term paper on the death sentence.  This was a book with a lot of potential, but due to dry, dry writing, it just missed the mark a little bit.

The Litigators by John Grisham

Ok, this one was pretty good.  It starts with a lowly lawyer in a big box firm having a little mental breakdown (been there, done that, got the t-shirt) and running away from his nice office and nice little job and secure little life.  He ends up drunk and on the wrong side of town (again, haven't we all?),  then basically walks into a little ambulance chasing law office where he demands a job.   And gets it.

He chases ambulances for a while and finds it much more interesting than his previous job, then he and his partners stumble onto a class action suit in which they take on a big pharmaceutical company.  I won't tell you whether they win or loose, but I will tell you that I cared about the characters in this one, even the generic, supportive wife who never makes too many demands and greatly resembles all the generic supportive lawyer wives Grisham has ever written about.

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

I don't have much to say about this one.  If you like Stephanie Plum, read this book because it's just about like all the other ones.  If you don't like her, don't read it.  Nothing major happens, Stephanie still can't make up her freakin' mind long enough to choose between Joe and Ranger, and several cars get blown up.  You know, the usual.  I read it in about three days while on the treadmill, and it didn't make any major neurons fire in my brain, but I won't waste time wishing for those hours back, either.

The Affair by Lee Child

I love love love Jack Reacher.  I don't know why.   Really.  Military stuff doesn't interest me very much, and Lee Child is clearly writing with a male fan base in mind, but it doesn't matter.   I love Reacher, and this book is one of the best.   This is the Reacher backstory that fans have been waiting for.  It is set in a time and place when Reacher was still in the military, and although he already has a lot of the same characteristics that we all grow to love, he's a little... softer, somehow.  Nicer, maybe.  Anyway, great characters plus great plot equal a great read.

By the way, when I found out One Shot, the first Reacher book written, had been optioned as a movie, I was beside myself with excitement.  When I found out Tom Cruise was going to play Reacher, I was beside myself with fury, angst, and fury.  He is SO WRONG for this part.  So, so, wrong.  But I bet I'll see it anyway.  I solemnly vow to hate it, though.

The Drop by Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly never fails to keep me interested with his Harry Bosch novels.  They are good, soild police procedurals, and Harry and I go way, way back.  In this book, Harry has not one, but two cases on his agenda, one decades old and the other dealing with the suspicious death of the son of his biggest adversary.  These books are always a good read, if not too terribly distinguishable from the last.

Click here to return to the Library

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover