Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

First line: The little girl woke up the way she'd been trained: quickly and quietly.

From the inside cover: In four days, someone is going to kill me . . .
Detective D. D. Warren is hard to surprise. But a lone woman outside D.D.'s latest crime scene shocks her with a remarkable proposition: Charlene Rosalind Carter Grant believes she will be murdered in four days. And she wants Boston's top detective to handle her death investigation.

It will be up close and personal. No evidence of forced entry, no sign of struggle.
Charlie tells a chilling story: Each year at 8:00 p.m. on January 21st, a woman has died. The victims have been childhood best friends from a small town in New Hampshire; the motive remains unknown. Now only one friend, Charlie, remains to count down her final hours.

But as D.D. quickly learns, Charlie Grant doesn't plan on going down without a fight. By her own admission, the girl can outshoot, outfight, and outrun anyone in Boston, which begs the question: Is Charlie the next victim, or the perfect perpetrator? As D.D. tracks a vigilante gunman who is killing pedophiles in Boston, she must also delve into the murders of Charlie's friends, racing to find answers before the next gruesome January 21 anniversary. Is Charlie truly in danger, or is she hiding a secret that may turn out to be the biggest threat of all?

In four days, someone is going to kill me. But he's has gotta catch me first. 

My thoughts: This is Lisa Gardner's latest Detective D.D. Warren book and it had me hooked right from the beginning. I find with her books that I am on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what is going on and this one was certainly no exception. Things are certainly not what they seem to be in this book.

In Catch Me, we find Boston Detective D.D. Warren just back from maternity leave after the birth of her son, Jack. She is worried about an impending visit from her parents, whom she would rather just stayed in Florida, and is trying to solve what appears to be a serial murder spree on child predators. She then meets Charlie Grant, who asks D.D. to stop her from being murdered in four days. Charlie has spent the last year training and preparing herself for this, while working the overnight shift as a 9-1-1 operator in a nearby town.

As usual Lisa Gardner gives us multiple pieces of a puzzle, seemingly unrelated cases and yet as the story progresses, she weaves and interconnects all the pieces together into a story in such a way that you are compelled to continue reading in order to find out how all it's all going to turn out in the end. The novel is told in three narrative threads - that of D.D.'s investigation, the continuation of Charlene's story, and a third storyline involving a young boy who is being cyber stalked. It is a fascinating look at the lives of 9-1-1 operators, the unsung heroes of the police department, as well as a glimpse into the world of pedophiles and how they use the Internet to find their victims. It definitely leaves you wondering about the safety of the Internet for kids today.

I devoured this book in one day and while I am waiting for the next D.D. Warren book to come out, I think I am going to look into Lisa Gardner's FBI Profiler series.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Books in this series: 
  1. Alone                                     5.   Love You More
  2. Hide                                      5.5  The 7th Month
  3. The Neighbor                       6.  Catch Me
  4. Live to Tell

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: The 7th Month by Lisa Gardner (e-book)

First line: Have you ever contemplated killing someone?

Synopsis from B&N: In Lisa Gardner’s first-ever short story following thirteen bestselling novels, The 7th Month takes readers between the books and into a day in the life of Boston Detective D. D. Warren.

In her seventh month of pregnancy, D.D. should be taking it easy. Instead, she accepts a small consulting role on the set of a serial killer film shooting in Boston. D.D. figures she’ll be useful to someone for at least one night, serving as a police expert and making a little extra money in the bargain.

It seems like a simple task—until the previous film consultant, a former Boston cop, is found beaten to death. Suddenly D.D.’s date with Hollywood gets serious. Extremely pregnant, on the trail of a killer, and surrounded by a hundred and four murder suspects in the middle of a graveyard, D.D. must quickly unravel a tangled web of lies. As another cast member is attacked, D.D. realizes that like it or not, her priorities have changed—and her last desperate hope is that she can catch a killer before she and her unborn baby face mortal danger.

Packed with the suspenseful storytelling that has turned Gardner’s novels into New York Times bestsellers, The 7th Month reveals new insights into a beloved series heroine.

My thoughts: I have really come to enjoy reading about Detective D.D. Warren and so when I found this eSpecial book, I had to read it. It takes place right between the previous book, Love You More and Lisa Gardner's new book, Catch Me, which came out this month.

This was a fast, quick moving story. D.D. is put on desk duty now that she is pregnant and ends up taking a job as a consultant to a movie production team. The previous consultant disappears and then is found dead. D.D. quickly moves from movie consultant back to police detective. The entire story takes place in one day and on top of trying to solve this murder, D.D. is also trying to figure out things with boyfriend Alex.

Before each of the 7 chapters are parts of a "murder blog" which contains steps on how to commit murder. Each step contains details on how to select a victim, how to choose a weapon, and goes up to the proper disposal of a body. They are quite eerie.

Overall, this was a great fill-in between the previous book, Love You More, and the upcoming book, Catch Me. Even though it was a short story, it was filled with the usual suspense that I have come to love from Lisa Gardner.

(I purchased this e-book.)

Books in this series: 
  1. Alone                                     5.   Love You More
  2. Hide                                      5.5  The 7th Month
  3. The Neighbor                       6.  Catch Me
  4. Live to Tell

Review: Private London by James Patterson

First line: Hannah Shapiro was having a wonderful day.

From the back cover: For Hannah Shapiro, a beautiful young American student, this particular nightmare began eight years ago in Los Angeles, when Jack Morgan, owner of Private - the world's most exclusive detective agency - saved her from a horrific death. She has fled her country, but can't flee her past. The terror has followed her to London, and now it is down to former Royal Military Police Sergeant Dan Carter, head of Private London, to save her all over again.

Dan Carter draws on the whole resources of Private International in a desperate race against the odds. But the clock is ticking... Private may be the largest and most technologically advanced detection agency in the world, but the only thing they don't have is the one thing they need - time. 

My thoughts: As many of you know, I love most of James Patterson's books. I read many of his series - Alex Cross, the Women's Murder Club, Michael Bennett, and most recently the Private series. I read the first one in this series, called Private, and loved it. When that book came out there was talk that JP was going to be partnering with international authors to write parts of this series. Private London is the result of one of those partnerships. The only problem is that the book was only released in the UK. Fortunately for me, I have family (my brother and his family) living there and last month, my mom was over in London visiting my brother and picked a copy of Private London up for me. Needless to say, I was thrilled!!!

Private London follows the pattern that most of James Patterson's books follow. There are the short chapters that just beg you to read one more until you realize you're at the last page. There are also the multiple plots going on in the one book - which naturally leads to a lot of mini-cliffhangers as the book flows back and forth between the different plots. The primary story in Private London is about Hannah Shapiro, who early in life is forced to watch unspeakable acts committed on to her mother during a kidnapping. Later in life, she travels to London to attend school and her past seems follows her as she finds herself once again the victim of a kidnapping. It's up to Dan Carter, head of Private's London office, to save her. At the same time, there is also the case of women being abducted and when their bodies are finally found, they appear to have been mutilated. Dan Carter's ex-wife, a detective, is involved in that case.

There are the usual twists and turns and everytime you think you have it figured out, another wrench is thrown in. I was captivated with the story and read it in one sitting. I still don't know where this book fits in with the rest of the Private series, but I do know that it comes before Private Games (which also happens to be set in London). Whatever the case is, I am glad I was able to get a copy of this book and I look forward to reading more of the Private books.

(This book was given to me as a gift.)

Books in this series:
  1. Private
  2. Private London
  3. Private: #1 Suspect
  4. Private Games - due out 2/13/12

Monday, February 27, 2012

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: By the King's Design by Christine Trent


First line: "Remember what I told you, brothers."

From the back cover: Strong-willed Annabelle Stirling is more than capable of running the family draper shop after the untimely death of her parents. Under her father's tutelage, she became a talented cloth merchant, while her brother Wesley, the true heir, was busy philandering about Yorkshire. Knowing she must change with the times to survive, Belle installs new machinery that finishes twice the fabric in half the time it takes by hand. But not everyone is so enthusiastic.

Soon, riled up by Belle's competitors, the outmoded workers seek violent revenge. Her shop destroyed, Belle travels to London to seek redress from Parliament. While there, the Prince Regent, future King George IV, commissions her to provide fabrics for his Royal Pavilion. As Belle's renown spreads, she meets handsome cabinetmaker Putnam Boyce, but worries that marriage will mean sacrificing her now flourishing shop. And after Wesley plots to kidnap the newly-crowned King - whose indiscretions are surfacing - she finds herself entangled in a duplicitous world of shifting allegiances.

Painting a vivid portrait of life in the British Regency, Christine Trent spins a harrowing tale of ambition, vengeance, love, and complex loyalties against the dynamic backdrop of the early Industrial Revolution.

My thoughts: I have come to love Christine Trent's novels and this one was no exception. I love how she takes trades of whatever time period she is writing in and brings them to light. She has explored the life of a dollmaker (The Queen's Dollmaker), the wax-working apprentice to the great Madame Tussaud (A Royal Likeness) and now a cloth merchant.

I have to admit that I am not all that familiar with the Regency Period, but Christine Trent somehow makes it come to life. By the King's Design is set in the early 19th Century, right at the start of the Industrial Revolution. After her parent's shop was destroyed by the Luddites, Annabelle sets out for London in an attempt for retribution. She manages to catch the Prince Regent's eye and is summoned to visit him. He offers her the opportunity to provide the fabrics for his new palace, which helps bring more business to her new shop in London.

Annabelle is a strong-willed, determined character. She is of the insistent opinion that she needs no man (as the times require) to either help her run her business or her life and constantly  finds herself surrounded by men that feel differently. Not surprising, when she meets Putnam Boyce, a cabinet maker, she keeps him at arms length, unwilling to give up her independence. When things with her brother, Wesley, get out of hand, it is Put that is there to help Belle.

I loved all the details on being a draper and on cabinetmaking - you learn just what was and wasn't popular back in this time period as well as quite a lot of details about the trade itself. I also loved all the cameos throughout the book - Jane Austen had a small part in the book as well as Madame Tussaud and Claudette Laurent, the latter two who were prominent characters in Christine Trent's previous novels.

Christine Trent has quickly become one of my favorite authors and I cannot wait to read her next book, Lady of Ashes, due out sometime in 2013, which is about a Victorian undertaker.


About the author: Christine Trent writes historical fiction from her two-story home library. She lives with her wonderful bookshelf-building husband, three-precocious cats, a large doll collection and over 3,000 fully catalogued books. She and her husband are active travelers and journey regularly to England to conduct book research at historic sites. It was Christine's interest in dolls and history that led to the idea for her first novel, The Queen's Dollmaker.

Christine Trent's novels include The Queen's Dollmaker and A Royal Likeness. She is currently working on her 4th novel, Lady of Ashes, which will be released in 2013.  

You can find more information about Christine and her books by visiting her website or you can find her on facebook. You can find a complete list of the tour schedule for By the King's Design here

I received a complimentary copy of By the King's Design from Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.


Giveaway Information:

Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours, I have one copy of By the King's Design to give away to my readers.  Giveaway is international.

To enter please leave a comment below and include your email address (only comments with email addresses will be entered in the giveaway).



- +3 additional entries become a follower of Always With a Book. If you are already a follower you will automatically receive the bonus entries (just leave the name you follow under). 

- +1 additional entry each, please help spread the word by blogging, posting on sidebar, tweeting or posting this giveaway on Facebook. 
All entries can be in one comment.

Thanks to everyone for entering! Good luck!

GIVEAWAY ENDS MARCH 11th

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (2.27.12)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.

It was a crazy week. My brother-in-law was admitted to the hospital and on the ICU/CCU floor all week. I spent all week with her at the hospital and because they were out of state visiting a friend when he was admitted, we had to stay in a hotel all week. Needless to say, while I did get some reading done, I did not get to the many reviews I have to still do. Hopefully this week will be quieter and I will make a dent in that list.

Books Completed last week
  • By the King's Design by Christine Trent (review book)
  • Private Games by James Patterson (mine)
  • Destiny by Carly Phillips (library book)
Reading Now: 
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (mine, book club book)
  • The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice (library audio book)
Next:  
  • Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (library book)
  • Agony of the Leaves by Laura Childs (review book)
Reviews completed last week
Other Posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • Private London by James Patterson
  • The Seventh Month by Lisa Gardner
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips 
  • Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer
  • A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr 
  • By the King's Design by Christine Trent (to be posted later today!) 
  • Private Games by James Patterson
  • Destiny by Carly Phillips
Contest information:  
  • New contest to be posted later today!

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Review: The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker (audio)

From the back of the audio case: Since she was born, Truly has paid a price for her large size. Her father blamed her for her mother's death in childbirth, and he was ill-equipped to raise either this giant child or her sister, Serena Jane, the epitome of feminine perfection. When their father died, the sisters were separated, Serena Jane to live a life of privilege and Truly to live on the outskirts of town, subject to abuse and humiliation from her peers.

But Serena Jane's beauty turns out to be as much a curse as a blessing, as it attracts the interest of the ruthless Bob Bob Morgan. When Serena Jane flees town, it is Truly who must become mother to her eight-year-old nephew while facing relentless cruelty from her brother-in-law. But when Truly finds her calling as a naturopathic healer, she finds some control over her life, as well as the possibility of love in unexpected places.

Read by: Carrington MacDuffie

My thoughts: This is a charming, endearing tale that tackles many serious issues - bullying, rape, alcoholism, physical disease, and depression just to name a few. The story focuses on the life of Truly, a girl in Aberdeen who has a disease that makes her grow unusually fast. Her size makes Truly an outcast her entire life, a problem that is compounded when the town insists on comparing Truly to her perfect and beautiful sister Serena Jane. Truly leads a difficult life, and it is only made more challenging by decisions others make for her. It is only once Truly decides to take her life into her own hands, that she is able to escape the stigma of being the "little giant" and find happiness.

This is a difficult book to categorize. With its one-room schoolhouse, provincial politics and herb lore, it sometimes feels old-fashioned, like it could have been set in the 19th century instead of in the 1960s and 1970s. But with its sly humor, social commentary and elegant mixing of genres, Tiffany Baker's debut is definitely set in the modern literary world. Weaving medicine, love, witches' potions and deception into an original script, Tiffany Baker shows just how talented she is and I look forward to seeing what is next for her.
 
(I borrowed this audio book from the library.)

In My Mailbox (85) 2.26.12

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store. 
 



For Review:
 
The Sister Queens
by Sophie Perinot

An historical fiction novel about sisters Marguerite and Eleanor, one who becomes Queen of France and one who becomes Queen of England.


 
 

 
From the library:
 
Destiny
by Carly Phillips

The latest in Carly Phillip's Serendipity series...already devoured this one in one sitting!!!


 
 
 
 
 
 

 
What's in your mailbox?

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday...What Are You Reading? (2.20.12)



It’s Monday What Are you Reading , hosted by Sheila, is the perfect way for me to begin my week and allows me to focus on what needs to be read and to see what I have or have not accomplished the previous week. I also enjoy discovering new books by visiting other participants blogs.


Books Completed last week
  • Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer (library audio book)
  • A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr (e-book)
Reading Now: 
  • By the King's Design by Christine Trent (review book)
  • The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice (library audio book)
Next:  
  • Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (mine, book club book)
  • Private Games by James Patterson (mine)
Reviews completed last week
Other Posts related to books:
Books for which I need to finish reviews:
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
  • Private London by James Patterson
  • The Seventh Month by Lisa Gardner
  • Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
  • First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips 
  • Heat Wave by Nancy Thayer
  • A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
Contest information:  

What about you?  What does your reading week look like this week?  Whatever it is, happy reading and have a good week!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (84) 2.19.12

In My Mailbox (IMM) is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. Every week I'll post what books I've received either by mailbox/library/store. 
 



For Review:
 
The Sumerton Women
by D.L. Bogdan

Another historical fiction novel set during the Tudor period by a new-to-me author - and I am participating in the blog tour for this in April.


 
 

 
Purchased:
 
Private Games
by James Patterson

The newest James Patterson book - of course I had to buy it!!! This one is part of the Private series and I am hoping to read it this week.


 
 
 
 
 
Madame Tussaud
by Michelle Moran

Ever since reading about Madame Tussaud in Christine Trent's books The Queen's Dollmaker and A Royal Likeness, I've been intrigued by Madame Tussaud. I've heard great things about this one and finally picked it up.
 
 
 
 
 
Reading Jackie: Her Autobiography in Books
by William Kuhn

My crazy obsession with the Kennedy's led me to this one and the next one on the list!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
by Greg Lawrence

Another Kennedy book to add to my collection!

 
   
 
 
 
 
 
From Paperback Swap
 
A Woman of Substance
by Barbara Taylor Bradford
 
I love this series and just requested all the books I didn't still have. Some day I plan on rereading the entire series.
 
 
 
 
 
 
What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

First line: Today they will find her body.

From the inside cover: In her most masterful novel of medical suspense, New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen creates a villain of unforgettable evil--and the one woman who can catch him before he kills again.

He slips into their homes at night and walks silently into bedrooms where women lie sleeping, unaware of the horrors they soon will endure. The precision of the killer's methods suggests he is a deranged man of medicine, propelling the Boston newspapers and the frightened public to name him "The Surgeon."

The cops' only clue rests with another surgeon, the victim of a nearly identical crime. Two years ago, Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and killed her attacker before he could complete his assault. Now she hides her fears of intimacy behind a cool and elegant exterior and a well-earned reputation as a top trauma surgeon.

Cordell's careful facade is about to crack as this new killer recreates, with chilling accuracy, the details of Cordell's own ordeal. With every new murder he seems to be taunting her, cutting ever closer, from her hospital to her home. Her only comfort comes from Thomas Moore, the detective assigned to the case. But even Moore cannot protect Cordell from a brilliant hunter who somehow understands--and savors--the secret fears of every woman he kills.

Filled with the authentic detail that is the trademark of this doctor turned author . . . and peopled with rich and complex characters--from the ER to the squad room to the city morgue--here is a thriller of unprecedented depth and suspense. Exposing the shocking link between those who kill and cure, punish and protect, The Surgeon is Tess Gerritsen's most exciting accomplishment yet.

My thoughts: This is the first in Tess Gerritsen's Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series and I really enjoyed it. I have been watching Rizzoli and Isles on TV and love the show, so when I found out that it was based on Tess Gerritsen's novels, I knew I had to read the series.

It appears that a serial killer is in Boston. He stalks very vulnerable women and eventully performs "surgery" on them thus his nickname "The Surgeon." Homicide detective Jane Rizzoli takes the lead on the case and is eager to prove herself given this is the type of case that could make her career. She partners with Thomas Moore to work the case and find the link between the victims. Eventully they discover that two years prior an identical crime spree occurred in Savanah, Georgia. However, the last victim, Dr. Catherine Cordell, shot her attacker and the spree ended. Dr Cordell is now living in Boston and even though her attacker is dead he seems to have followed her there. 

This is an intricate medical thriller that has it all: a tight, tense, well-paced plot, full of intense and riveting scenes, crisp, suspenseful writing, terrific well-drawn and engaging characters and a diabolical villian who makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  

The only problem is that Maura Isles is not in this book - hopefully she makes an appearance in the next one. The other thing I noticed is that the book series is quite different from the TV series - something I think I am going to like as I will be able to keep the two separate. I found this to be a really good book that was very hard to put down. This is the first time I've read Tess Gerritsen and not only will I be reading the rest of the Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series, but I will also be checking out her other books.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Books in this series: 
  1. The Surgeon                  6.  The Mephisto Club
  2. The Apprentice           7.  The Keepsake
  3. The Sinner                     8.  Ice Cold
  4. Body Double                 9.  The Silent Girl
  5. Vanish                          
 

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