Sunday, December 8, 2013

Grant County series by Karin Slaughter

Sara's ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, leads the investigation -- a trail of terror that grows increasingly macabre when another local woman is found crucified a few days later. But he's got more than a sadistic serial killer on his hands, for the county's sole female detective, Lena Adams -- the first victim's sister -- want to serve her own justice.

But it is Sara who holds the key to finding the killer. A secret from her past could unmask the brilliantly malevolent psychopath .. or mean her death.

A small Georgia town erupts in panic when a young college professor is found brutally mutilated in the local diner. But it's only when town pediatrician and coroner Sara Linton does the autopsy that the full extent of the killer's twisted work becomes clear.

Hi everyone! After not posting for more than two years, I'm not sure if anyone is even reading this. This blog is basically just for myself anyway. I am now graduated from school and got a job right after. I now have time to read and (hopefully) post some reviews occasionally.

 A co-worker recently got me hooked on Karin Slaughter. I was never a crime/mystery book reader, but I'm open to reading anything. After finishing the first Grant County book (and the next three), I couldn't get enough of them. I am on the second to the last book of the series. Her next series is Will Trent, which I plan to read.

One resounding base of Slaughter's books (at least her first series), is rape. I'm not thrilled about this, but the books do have other baselines. Her books are very easy to read and understand. I love the medical aspect of the books as well. These books are not for the squeamish, as some chapters include blown off heads and all that goo.

I look forward to posting again after a very long break, and maybe reading some of your comments!

Stars: 5/5

Monday, February 21, 2011

Ash by Malinda Lo

Synopsis: In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

Specs: YA fiction, fantasy, published in 2009, 264 pages.

I don't post reviews much anymore, but for Ash I am making an exception because I feel that I need to express my opinion about it more widely than just on Goodreads.

As a retelling of Cinderella, one of my many favorite fairy tales, this one sucked. Not only is it dull, but it has disturbing qualities that are offensive to me. Ash spends a big part of the book mourning and moaning about her dead mother...over...and over...and over. I know it must be hard to lose your mother, but when it's in a book it gets really repetitive.

It took me more than 100 pages to finally figure out that this was a lesbian book, which I definitely feel that it is dishonoring to the original Cinderella story. Ash is a gross and disgusting rendition, and I would urge no one to read this book. A few of the reviews are tagging Ash as a "modern fairy tale." A fairy tale needs no modernization, especially when you modernize it to such degradation that there is barely an essence of what the beautiful story was originally.

Rating: 0/0 stars.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Excavation by James Rollins

Synopsis: The South American Jungle Guards Many Secrets and a remarkable site nestled between two towering Andean peaks, hidden from human eyes for thousands years. Dig Deeper through layers of rock and mystery, through centuries of dark, forgotten legends. Into Ancient Catacombs where ingenious traps have been laid to ensnare the careless and unsuspecting; where earth shattering discoveries and wealth beyond imagining could be the reward for those with the courage to face the terrible unknown. Something is Waiting here where the perilous journey ends, in the cold, shrouded heart of a breathtaking necropolis; something created by Man, yet not humanly possible. Something wondrous. Something terrifying.

Specs: Adult fiction, action-adventure/thiller/science fiction, published in 2000, 416 pages.

I actually tried to get through this book two times before, but even though I got to the part with the exploding brain and "alive" corpse, I wasn't old enough to understand the science-fiction part of Excavation, so I stopped reading.

Now that I've finally finished it, I can say that I'm glad I did. I love the fast-paced, gun-toting, heart-thumping, bombs exploding, could-this-really-happen? style that Rollins' books have. But the thing that I don't like about Excavation is the excessive swearing, a gay character, and several evolution references. A lot of his books have these three things included in the writing, but I have to overlook those flaws because his books are too good not to read!

But my favorite so far is still Amazonia. WOW, that book is amazing! I definitely recommend that one to be the first Rollins' you read.

Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury

Synopsis: Holden Harris is an autistic eighteen-year-old who is bullied at school. Laura Reynolds is the head cheerleader who befriends Holden but has problems of her own at home. In her trademark way, Kingsbury tackles real-life issues of high school bullying, autism, adultery, and ultimately ... acceptance.

Specs: Adult fiction, Christian inspirational/autism, published October 2010, 304 pages.

Unlocked is a story about a teenage boy who developed autism when he was a toddler. Before that, he was a perfectly normal boy. Holden pretty much never communicated with anyone except with his cards with words and pictures on them. But since he met and befriended his childhood playmate Laura, he improved greatly, catapulted by listening to (and eventually singing in) the high school's rendition of Beauty and the Beast.

This newest Kingsbury novel is a harrowing and very true example of how kids with autism (and other disabilities) are treated in schools. Some teenagers don't know how to act around people who are different than they are, so they tease them and sometimes physically abuse them. This is what happened to Holden Harris.

Unlocked starts out depressing because Holden's mother is reminiscing about the days when Holden was normal, and autism hadn't nearly destroyed their family. But later in the book, Holden actually improves greatly through the medium of music. It's an inspirational and hopeful look into the disorder. And although that definitely doesn't happen with all kids with autism, it's important to have hope and to always keep trying to reach into their trapped minds.

I'm reluctant to rate Unlocked because it's about a heartbreaking (and incurable) disorder. But since that's what this blog is about, I'm rating this one on the author's storytelling abilities about autism, not on the subject matter alone.

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis: Sookie is trying to put past failed relationships behind her and has a new man in her life: the handsome and mysterious shapeshifter Quinn. But in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, and with the entire Louisiana supernatural community still reeling, Sookie is summoned by Sophie-Anne Leclerq (the Queen of Louisiana) to accompany her to a historic regional vampire summit. However, the conference -- where entire power bases could be gained or lost -- is filled with friction and ill will; and when delegates are found brutally murdered, Sookie finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy-ridden power play where the unlikeliest of suspects could be a cold-blooded killer.

Specs: Adult fiction, fantasy/mystery, published in 2006, 336 pages,
Sookie Stackhouse #7.

I can't get over how much this series has changed for me. Reading it is less fun and more of a process to get to the end. I'm less fascinated by the characters, and most even seem boring to me. It might be that the standards of the books I read are very high, or it might be that Harris is losing her touch book to book.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Obsessed by Ted Dekker

Synopsis: A deadly tale of ultimate obsession.

Stephen Friedman is making a good living in good times. He's just an ordinary guy. Or so he thinks. But one day an extraordinary piece of information tells him differently. It's a clue from the grave of a Holocaust survivor. A clue that makes him heir to an incredible fortune...a clue that only he and one other man can possibly understand. That man is Roth Braun, a serial killer who has been waiting for Stephen for thirty years. Roth was stopped once before. This time nothing will get in his way.

Specs: Adult fiction, thriller, published in 2004, 496 pgs.

Obsessed is AMAZING. I can't decide which Dekker book is better: Obsessed or Three. It took a while for me to get into it, but once I did I was hooked. The last 250 pages I just could not put the book down. It was physically impossible for me to get up off the couch and stop reading.

When orphan Stephen learns his supposed Jewish mom has just died, he becomes obsessed with learning about her history and getting into her house because he believes the Stones of David are hidden there. But it's difficult because now the house is owned by the son of a German Hitler-like sadist. So Stephen devises multiple and increasingly hilarious ways of gaining entrance to the house's basement.

I liked how every few chapters, the narrative switched back to his mother and her time in a Jewish concentration camp. It was horrific to experience these things with her and her friends, but it was even more horrific because it actually happened. What's amazing is that people are now saying this never happened, especially considering that there is physical proof. I know it's a bit lengthy, but this is a really good quote from Eisenhower Memorial Commission:

"During the camp inspections with his top commanders Eisenhower said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha personally tour the camp and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves. Later on Ike wrote to Mamie, “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.” He cabled General Marshall to suggest that he come to Germany and see these camps for himself. He encouraged Marshall to bring Congressmen and journalists with him. It would be many months before the world would know the full scope of the Holocaust — many months before they knew that the Nazi murder apparatus that was being discovered at Buchenwald and dozens of other death camps had slaughtered millions of innocent people.General Eisenhower understood that many people would be unable to comprehend the full scope of this horror. He also understood that any human deeds that were so utterly evil might eventually be challenged or even denied as being literally unbelievable. For these reasons he ordered that all the civilian news media and military combat camera units be required to visit the camps and record their observations in print, pictures and film. As he explained to General Marshall, “I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’”(

Blink of an Eye by Ted Dekker

Synopsis: The future changes in the BLINK of an eye...or does it?

Seth Borders isn't your average graduate student. For starters, he has one of the world's highest IQs. Now he's suddenly struck by an incredible power--the ability to see multiple potential futures.

Still reeling from this inexplicable gift, Seth stumbles upon a beautiful woman named Miriam. Unknown to Seth, Miriam is a Saudi Arabian princess who has fled her veiled existence to escape a forced marriage of unimaginable consequences. Cultures collide as they're thrown together and forced to run from an unstoppable force determined to kidnap or kill Miriam.

Seth's mysterious ability helps them avoid capture once, then twice. But with no sleep, a fugitive princess by his side, hit men a heartbeat away, and a massive manhunt steadily closing in, evasion becomes impossible.

An intoxicating tale set amidst the shifting sands of the Middle East and the back roads of America, Blink engages issues as ancient as the earth itself...and as current as today's headlines.

Specs: Adult fiction, thriller, published in 2002, 400 pgs.

There's actually two of these books: Blink and Blink of an Eye. They're the same book, but with slightly different changes. When I ordered the library book, I happened to get Blink of an Eye.

Dekker definitely delivers the heart-pumping, eyes-open-wide thriller in Blink of an Eye, which I really liked. There's barely a dull moment with the car chases, and running for their lives across the country. And I have to say "barely" because some of the Muslim scenes between the leaders (I can't for the life of me remember their names since they all sound the same) was dragging.

For personal and patriotic reasons, I felt the Muslim cult throughout this book was disturbing to say the least. I was especially confused by Miriam's view on her Muslim culture. She talked about love and how her god is a loving god, but yet she was a devout Muslim. That does not make sense because Muslims are hateful toward anyone who is not a Muslim, and the Koran tells them to kill those people who aren't a part of their cult.

Reivew: Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis: After her only cousin, Hadley, is murdered by one of the undead, Sookie travels to New Orleans to close out the young woman's apartment and collect her things. The unsavory job gets complicated quickly; Hadley was the "honeybun" of the bisexual vampire Queen of Louisiana, the seemingly ageless bloodsucker Sophie-Anne Leclerq. The queen has recently married another powerful sovereign in an attempt to forge a formidable alliance, and tensions in the supernatural community are running high. But when Sookie and her new love interest, a were-tiger named Quinn, are inexplicably kidnapped, the mind-reading waitress must unravel the mysterious circumstances of her cousin's murder before she ends up dead as well.

Specs: Adult fiction, fantasy/mystery, published in 2006, 324 pgs, Sookie Stackhouse #6.

The series is going a little downhill for me. I don't know if it's because Bill and Sookie aren't together anymore or the plot lines in the recent books I've read don't interest me as much as the first books, or maybe it's both.

I don't think the vampire monarchy aspect is interesting either, so this book wasn't a whole bunch of fun, that's for sure. I'm not looking forward to the next book where all the vampires get together for their meeting.

But I'll still keep reading to see if Bill and Sookie patch things up, and no one tell me what happens in the books I haven't read yet!