I use both a Nook and Kindle so if you see a book you wish to borrow just let me know and let's be

October 31, 2012

Book 49 of My 2012 Goal

The Concrete KissThe Concrete Kiss by David Grace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Concrete Kiss by David Grace is one of those books that once I picked it up, I didn't want to put it down. I found it extremely interesting and the suspense was great. It sort of reminded me of a bad cop/good cop type of situation but it was so much more than that. It in a way was two stories in one, Ned Danes trying to find the real killer and then there is the story of FBI Agent Phillip Abbott who is trying to find who killed his adopted daughter Jessica's parents. I don't want to write any spoilers and you can read the Author's Overview yourself so there is no need for me to repeat it but what I can tell you is that these stories are related and it all comes together. It may sound confusing but believe me it isn't, it does have a lot going on which of course has me turning page after page to see what happens next but it wasn't confusing at all.

The characters were developed well. I felt a connection with the main character, Ned Danes, rather quickly. This homicide detective stood up for what he knew was right and it cost him a 'promotion' right into the basement as head of the 'cold cases.' Then his determination plus standing for his principles really made me cheer him on. Not only was Ned's character totally developed but all the characters were developed nicely. Then there is Walter Plackman who is developed toward the end of the story in such a way that made a very large impact. I like the way the author lead me up to that point with the suspense building then finally the climax. I thought that was done effectively.

This is one story filled page after page of exciting action, suspense, and mystery that is sure to keep you up and reading long past your bedtime.

View all my reviews

October 29, 2012

Book 48 of My 2012 Goal

A Soldier's PromiseA Soldier's Promise by Aija M. Butler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Soldier's Promise by Aija & Thornne is a military love story that I found delightfully different. Even before I read the story I read the 'Book Dedication' which was heartwarming and sincere (I thank you!) and it had me thinking by this alone that this was going to be a real tear-jerker of a story. I wasn't wrong! I was amazed by just how accurate the feelings and thoughts are in the story. It portrayed military life of those left behind amazingly accurate right down to the change in feelings as time goes by. What I really found amazing is the way this love story is told. It gets to a point where the reader is invited into the characters' most intimate feelings by reading their love letters.

John Dixon was just promoted to Force Captain in the Navy Seals. He is sent on a mission to Puerto Rico where he actually violates his mission's objective by rescuing an obviously severely hurt young woman named Nicole (Nikki) Travorrez. Eventually they marry and have a son but by the time of birth John went on his next mission to Afghanistan. It is through this absence of John that the letters begin back and forth between Nikki and John. The reader learns of their family, fears, milestones young Jonathan makes and their deep love and passion for each other. I really found this a bit different than other love stories in that I am finding out 'the story' through letters. It was extremely effective in having the reader 'feel' the longing, loneliness, fears and all the other emotions that result when two people are apart for so long, one being in dangerous conditions with no 'time' set for returning home. I imagine this was the objective of the authors and I think they have achieved it very well.

I have to admit that I come from a long line of military persons so I have worn many 'hats' so to speak of being the daughter of a military dad, being the sister to military brothers, being a wife of a military husband, being the mother of a military son, and being in the military myself so I can tell you first hand from my real life experience that a lot of the 'feelings' in this book are accurate including the frustration Nikki feels when trying to get information on her husband when her letters went unanswered. People she talked to and even asked John how is Nikki and "the little man" now won't answer her and act as if they don't even know who she is and want proof she is married to John. She knew providing a copy of her marriage license would do no good and she is probably right so I found these situations totally believable.

The main characters, John and Nikki, are developed as the story goes on although the timing of it was interesting. The reader learns about John starting with the beginning of the story. He develops with the story and we learn more and more as time (the story) goes on but I am satisfied I 'know' him. Nikki on the other hand is revealed in bits and pieces, enough at the time to make sense of the story but much more slowly than John. She is like a bit of mystery and I still feel the reader needs to know more about her and her past. Of course this is just the first book and if the authors didn't create some curiosity for the reader then why would they read the second one? I think this is the authors intentions and they certainly did it well.

The ending was a major cliffhanger. I couldn't believe it stopped there because it has me screaming, "What Happens Next?" Now you know I have to read the second book and naturally the authors plan worked. I have to find out what happens. I should also tell you that there is a minor editing error but it doesn't take away from the story (my brain inserted the missing word automatically) also that there are some intense love making so I wouldn't recommend this for children however I would recommend it for everyone else. This is a love story, military style that I think is worth reading.

View all my reviews

October 27, 2012

Book 47 of My 2012 Goal

First Time HardFirst Time Hard by Colin Holcombe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First Time Hard by Colin Holcombe is a suspense fiction that I wouldn't really call a quick read. It is a story about how doing such an innocent thing like buying a bronze statue that you like from a pawn shop can turn your whole world upside-down. Richard Drake, an antique dealer and valuer, found this out first hand when he bought what he called 'Tex', a bronze statue of a cowboy on a horse from a pawn shop. Richard liked the statue and wanted it for his home where he proudly displayed it. Little did Richard know that this statue would have him regretting that he ever laid eyes on it.

I do not write spoilers and you can read the author's overview for yourself so there is no need for me to re-write it here instead I rather focus on my personal thoughts of the book. With that said I felt the story was choppy and seemed to jump around a bit in the beginning which at the time I thought it was annoying but later realized that it was because the boys playing with air rifle was an event that took place many years prior to the time of when the rest of the story takes place. The 'choppiness' is the author's style of writing where he opened the chapter with an event, Mrs Harper falling down the staircase, then wrote about what lead up to this event afterwards in the chapter instead of opening the chapter with what lead up to the event and ending it with her falling down the stairs. To me this went against a smooth flowing story since the natural timeline is thrown off and it took a bit of getting use to but it all this came together in the end.

There are many characters in this story and many of them were major and I felt they were well developed for the most part and I found them believable. The author did not have everyone as a hero who saved the day instead he used what I thought could be a normal reaction you would expect from any person put in that situation. Some would be brave, some would totally break down to tears and beg for their lives, and some would lose their bladder control when facing certain death. About the only ones I had a hard time believing were the twins, Craig and Kevin. I found it hard to believe that anyone could be that evil. I also found it hard to believe that others would let them get away with murder and turn a blind eye toward it but as much as I hate to admit it, things like this do/did take place and I only have to turn on the news or look back in history to find it.

The story has a little bit of everything in it from murder to mistaken identity and I found the tortures and amputation a bit gruesome. The twins are the kind of people you not only would fear but you learned to hate them quickly. It did seem to drag in parts and have more detail than necessary for 'uneventful' moments in the story which further added to the dragging. There were some formatting and minor spelling errors, 's' instead of 'z' and the word 'cottoned' instead of 'caught' but nothing that really took away from the story. In fact, I am not even sure if the 'cottoned' is an error or some slang term used where the author comes from. Despite this, I found it to be an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to those who enjoy suspense.

View all my reviews

October 20, 2012

Book 46 of My 2012 Goal

White Rabbit (Omnibus Edition)White Rabbit by Stuart Oldfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

White Rabbit by Stuart Oldfield starts off as most books do introducing the main character which is Simon Cadwallader and setting the location. The story starts off innocent enough and we learn it is Simon's birthday and he is visiting his young daughter at his ex-wife's house. His daughter has a white rabbit that she named Loofah which is kept in the yard although Simon did see it in the house or at least he thought he did. Simon leaves the house feeling really down and pulls over at the side of the road and this is where the story becomes strange.

It reminds me of the story of Alice in Wonderland when she fell into the rabbit hole only this altered reality would make Sigmund Freud blush. When I first came to this part, I was ready to put the book down never to pick it up again. All the while I was wondering what kind of drugs the author was on because this 'world' had to be the side effects of some really powerful stuff. I figured I would read just a little more to see if it gets any better and to my surprise I found myself really drawn into this strange world where Simon can't remember where he was going or even his name. The only name he can remember is Loofah and he thinks that this is his name. I wasn't turned off by the strangeness any longer instead I rather enjoyed the author's imagination and his beautiful use of words. He describes these places in great detail although it was never boring nor was it an overkill of details. In other words it didn't stall the story yet it was enough so I can actually 'see' the place and the happenings as I read. His knowledge and use of words grabbed my attention and I envy his ability to write with such passion.

In this world the road signs have letters swimming about them but not spelling anything and have to be coaxed to do their job and tell him which town is which way, dogs that talk and dress in uniforms, plants that want sex and molest you if you stand in one place too long and so much more. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations that Loofah finds himself in because among all this weirdness where nothing is what it seems the author had the ability to include a lot of humor. My favorites are the scene at the cinema when he wanted to see a movie and the sign said Aliens 1 and Aliens 2 now playing (I swear that ticket girl is my mother) and also the computer that talked to him, egged him on, badgered him the whole time then tried to bite him with the keyboard. (I told you this place was weird). These were just in the beginning of the book. There are pages and pages of humorous situations as well as sexual ones. It amazes me the way the author can make going to the gas station for gas such a hot and sensual experience.

The whole time Loofah was in this strange place he was looking for the way out to go back to the life he had forgotten. He learns that he is like a chess piece in a game that is being played only he cannot tell right away who is friend and who is foe. He has a task to do although it is not clear at the beginning and he is told he must complete the task in order to go home. On this quest he encounters others but can't tell who is telling the truth and trying to help him and who is trying to do him in. Everyone poses as being helpful, but it seems he never gets a straight answer just 'riddles' (for lack of a better term) that he needs to figure out who or what they are, such as; 'Two Sides of the Same Coin' and 'The Woman who looks both ways'. As the story progresses more and more becomes clear although Loofah encounters other strange creatures and the danger intensifies despite his determination to go home.

Once I got use to the 'weirdness' of this universe which was shortly after Loofah 'arrived' in this place, I really loved the book. I admit it is really long since it is four books in one (Book 1: The One Who Is Two, Book 2: Friends and Enemies, Book 3: Red Tape, Book 4: Woman Who Looks Both Ways) so it is far from a quick read. I would recommend this to adults only due to the sexual content and the language. Hats off to the author for such a great story.

View all my reviews

October 16, 2012

Book 45 of my 2012 Goal

Key West Bounce: A Jack Marsh Action ThrillerKey West Bounce: A Jack Marsh Action Thriller by Mike Pettit
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Key West Bounce is one of a series of books in the Jack Marsh Action Thriller. I think it is the second book, "Smackdown" being the first and I don't know if any more are planned in the future but my guess would be "yes" since two books make for a very limited series plus the ending of this book hints at another thrilling adventure of the main character, Jack Marsh. The reason I am making you aware of this is because I did not read the first book so my review is on "Key West Bounce" as a stand alone book.

Jack Marsh is the owner of the Sand Bar in Key West. Jack being an honest man is offered a side job that will either be the death of him or make him very rich. Maybe it was due to his past Marine experience in Kuwait and Baghdad that keeps him wanting some sort of adrenaline rush from danger or maybe it is as simple as pure greed but Jack chooses to take the side job of finding and bringing out some sunken gold from the Florida Straits. He knew it would not be an easy job because of the Cuban DGI and others would claim the gold as theirs and have no problem killing him for it.

The author, Mike Pettit, gives a gradual introduction to the main character and the major plus minor characters. I thought the characters were well developed and this was not done all at once which would have boggled down the story with all these details. Instead, the background of the characters were worked into the story at the appropriate time giving just enough information to make sense of what was going on at the time. Although there were a lot of characters throughout the story those that played minor roles were not developed to such detail that it filled pages of unnecessary information about their backgrounds. Again, the author provided just enough information on them to make sense of their roles in the story without bogging it down.

Usually the beginning of a story where the introductions to the characters and the setting is described is a slow spot in the book and at times boring but that is not the case here. I was never bored or really found any stalling of the story. It always progressed forward and that usually meant someone was about to kill or be killed (or at least try). There was enough kidnapping, killing, stranding, beating, and betrayal to satisfy my action craving. The story itself was a fast-moving, action packed adventure. (Can we hope for a movie or TV miniseries?)

The settings were described in such detail that it felt like I was there and watching the action taking place. I am not talking about just one major event lost among the pages, I mean that with just about every turn of the page something was going on. Some of it was serious in that it was a matter of life and death and many did die, but at times it was amusing with some of these characters and their actions. I really had to laugh at the way the cook fished and the feast he prepared. It was believable at most points as there really could have been sunken treasure (still can be) and adding to that believability was the fact that the author mixed real history with it. I did notice a few editing errors however, they were not that distracting.

At no time did I feel I was at a disadvantage by not reading the other book in the series. Key West Bounce does stand on its own and I highly recommend it.

View all my reviews

October 3, 2012

Book 44 of my 2012 Goal

One Rode inOne Rode in by Albert Zayat
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One Rode In was one of the most difficult books I have read yet. I don't even know how to review it since I really didn't understand it. There was so much psychological and mystical stuff going on that one thing I can say is it is not boring but that seems to be my problem, for me there was too much going on. Don't get me wrong, I understand the story as a whole, it is about Cal, a writer who goes to a town called Fate to write about a bar shooting that took place about 14 years ago that somehow missed the headlines back then. Cal was lucky enough to unearth it and he really needed to do a great story to save his job as a writer. In fact, I really enjoyed the part where he is at the bar and discovering the life of Malcolm but I don't get all the 'weirdness' of the story. By this I mean the mystical things and brother thunder and sister lightning, the three brothers, the watch going backwards, Master and Mother, Bobbles, the Dr. on the radio, and all this was in the beginning including more, never mind the pages after pages of the rest of it. I sat reading for hours and put the book down just to ask myself "what did I just read?" Now this does not mean the author, Albert Zayat, was a bad writer, on the contrary, he is excellent but what it means is I am not into this deep of a psychological thriller. I am more of the kind of person that enjoys reading before bed and I do it to relax not to lose sleep trying to figure out what just happened or what it was that I just read for the past few hours.

The author has a style all his own and his descriptions and use of words were excellent but at times that was the 'fault' in the story. After reading page after page of description of something which really was a great description but it had nothing to do with the progression of the story and just seemed to add to my confusion and frustration. But then again, maybe this is the psychological part that I obviously and freely admit that I didn't understand and by not understanding this book I can't honestly give a good review. My review is suppose to be my personal experience with the story and as I said I got the plot but missed the whole jest of it so I am just giving a neutral rating. Understand though this doesn't mean the book is no good or the author should stick to writing directions on milk cartons, it means it was not the kind of book I enjoy reading or understand. I think the imagination of the author is outstanding and I would even go as far as to bet someone who really is into this psychological and mystical stuff would enjoy this book immensely and the author's unique style of writing.

View all my reviews