ZOO – James Patterson

For having 3 bookshelves full of Mr. Patterson’s books, I can say I liked this, but I did not love it.

I loved the premise of it, and I loved the fact that at some point, all of these animals we have been “taming and training”, could someday turn on us.

I had a quick flash of my favorite man eating me to the bone…. Thanks James Patterson 🙂

this is what I image Bare-Bottom-Benjamin doing after he scraped my bones clean!
this is what I image Bare-Bottom-Benjamin doing after he scraped my bones clean!

So is this possible? Likely. This is also a new television series that Debuted on CBS in June. I have not seen it. Yet. I may watch it. But I probably won’t have the time to.

Darkness Surrenders – AJ Spencer

The third book in the Darkness Trilogy was fantastic! AJ Spencer once again delivered a great book that I could not read fast enough.

Darkness Surrenders Cover Image

Natasha Stoltz has learned the identity of the Serial Killer known as Grimm. What she does with that information will change her life forever.

The first two books were like a game of cat-and-mouse, with Grimm always one step ahead of her. Always taunting, and always getting away.

Natasha will go from FBI agent to living in a world much different than she could have ever expected.

Thought about? Yes. Expected? Never.

This book will have you in its grip right through to the very last page. I personally think it is a wonderful trilogy, but also feel there is an opportunity for some of the characters in these stories to weave their own new stories for us to read.

(The violence in this book is kept to a bare minimum compared to the first two books in the series. It does contain graphic sexual content, so enter at your own risk. But you really want to enter!)

I’m Doing It; I Am Leaving A Bad Book Review…

Second Chances (Sequel to Over You) – Christine Kersey

Second Chances cover image

I really wanted to like this book as much as I loved the first story, “Over You”. This story picked right up where the first book left off, literally a couple of days later. That made for a nice transition, but then the story became irritating. Or at least Jessica became irritating.

I have never heard one character in a story whine and complain as much as she was doing right from the beginning of “Second Chances”. And I have 4 daughters, so that is really saying something! Maybe it wouldn’t have been so off-putting if that was how she behaved in the first story, but it was not. Not even close.

She loves Kyle; she doesn’t trust Kyle. Maybe she should keep Alex waiting in the wings in case if things with Kyle don’t work out? She loves Kyle so much; she cannot trust Kyle. I know I am repeating myself here, but this is literally how every single chapter seemed to go. In one paragraph, she was so in love with Kyle and would do anything to keep him. The very next paragraph had her whining because she was so jealous of his former girlfriend. And it seemed like every paragraph of every chapter went back and forth like this.

It is like watching a tennis match when you don’t like tennis, don’t understand it, and could not care less who may win. I was beginning to not care who would end up with Kyle. Or how this story was going to end, for that matter.

Other than that, the saving grace of the story was the mystery that was sprinkled in concerning Jessica being threatened. Was it Kyle’s former girlfriend? Maybe it was her former boyfriend Alex? Or it could be the son of the man who was sent to prison for trying to kill her at the end of “Over You”. Some disturbing events quickly changed into odd and scary things happening to and around Jessica.

Unfortunately this part of the story also takes a perilous turn towards the ridiculous. I know I do not normally drop so many spoilers into a book review, but honestly, I am just trying to make sure you do not make the same mistake I made and buy this book.

Someone breaks into Jessica’s home in the middle of the night, holds a knife to her throat and threatens to kill her family if she does not go to the detective and tell them she lied about Mr. Harrington trying to kill her and Kyle. Oh, and tell the detective that it was actually Kyle who attacked Mr. Harrington, because he thought Jessica and he were having an affair.

And then he gets her to promise she will do this, and he leaves her home. And she goes to the police station the next day and tells them she may have been mistaken in what happened, etc. etc. etc and I cannot even go on with this.

Trust me; it is much worse if you read it for yourself. So just please don’t.

But in the end, they all live happily ever after.

Now, with all of that being said, I am not giving up on this author yet. There is also a new book coming out about Kyle’s ex-girlfriend and her young daughter. I may give this story a try, if it only costs me a couple of dollars. I really do have a vested interest in these characters, because the first story was written that well. The fact that Jessica was like a completely different person in character, thoughts, and actions in the second book made it very hard for me to read it. I kept asking myself what in the world happened to the Jessica from the first book.

Ah, well. It was only a few hours of my life that I will never get back.

Over You – Christine Kersey

This was a fun, quick read that I really enjoyed. Labeled as a romance/suspense novel, it delivered as promised.

Over You cover image

Jessica Stevens has just broken up with her boyfriend Alex, after he was seen out to dinner and kissing another woman. Needing to get away, she goes and stays at her favorite Aunt’s house. Running into Kyle, her ex-fiancĂ©, was the last thing she had expected, or wanted. Having him remodeling her Aunt’s house had her seeing him much more than she wanted to.

Kyle seems to have a girlfriend, and Alex can’t stay away from Jessica. He knows he made a mistake, and wants to make it right. Not being able to figure out her own personal life and feelings, Jessica begins investigating a mystery that seems to have taken place in her Aunt’s house. 50 year old love letters start Jessica on a hunt for answers that may come with a price she doesn’t want to pay.

I do not want to give away any spoilers to this story, but I certainly recommend you read this if you like romance or suspenseful stories. Free of profanity and sexual content, there are no worries here about having to struggle through awkward sex scenes that seem to be very difficult for anyone to get right.

There is a sequel to this story, called Second Chances. which I have purchased. Over You is free where e-books are sold. I am currently reading another story, and have another one I will be starting today as well. The review for second chances will be posted in the near future.

Second Chances cover image

Have you read Christine Kersey before? Let me know what you thought. She has several novels and I will be choosing some of her other works as well.

For more information on Christine and purchasing her books, please visit her website here: http://christinekersey.com/

Why I Will Not Review Your Book

It really is nothing personal, and I do not turn down the opportunity to read a new story very often, but sometimes I do. And then the author takes it personally. Like I did not feel their story was worthy of my time, or I felt the description was so bad that I could not even stand the thought of opening it.

That is not the case. 99% of the time it is because they have written a book on a subject that I have no knowledge of, and my lack of knowledge is not going to allow me to write a fair review. I will get to that other 1% in a minute. But if you have written a book about birds of South America, or Buddhism, or aliens, you do not want me writing a review. Do I have anything against the birds of South America, or Buddhists, or aliens? Nope. None of the previously mentioned have ever done anything to me. But I do not know anything about them. So no; I do not generally read science fiction. There are some Sci-Fi stories that I have read, but the story was also steeped in other information that allowed me to get lost in it, and enjoy the story the way the author surely hoped I would.

It has nothing to do with the story, or the author, or the quality of their writing. It’s not you, it’s me

Now; about that other 1%. I have read a couple completely unbearable books in the past year, and most of you know that I really do not try to say bad things about writers, or their stories. If I can’t say anything nice, I prefer to keep my mouth shut. But once I tell you that I will not be reading and reviewing your book, you should probably just leave it be. It is the unfortunate author who feels the need to blow up my email account and say unkind things that is likely to get an honest, horrible review of their book posted for the whole-wide-web to find and read.

Those of you whom I have been in contact with, whose stories I have purchased or you sent to me, and have not seen a review yet; I have not forgotten. And I will get it done. Sometimes life just happens to get in the way of my free time. Many do not realize that I have a full-time 45+ hours-a-week job, am the single parent to 4 daughters (3 still at home), and go to college when it strikes my fancy. I also have a couple other pans in the fire that need my attention from time-to-time.

I want, and appreciate, the gentle nudges you send me to ask about your review. Please continue to do so. I love to read. It is my one escape that allows me to relax, unwind, de-stress, and forget about my 17 year old driving my car all over town, my 23 year old stressing over paying for college classes, my 13 year old video chatting with 16 year old boys 3000 miles away, and my 10 year old who has no more responsibilities than to feed her guinea pig, yet gets mad at me because I forgot to do it for her.

I am grateful for my patient and understanding authors and followers, and it really is my goal to help promote and encourage as many of you as I am able to. Your stories truly do bring me joy, happiness, and adventure, and without them, I cannot even begin to imagine how much more difficult I would be for others to have to deal with!

So please keep writing, so I can keep reading!

Library of the World’s Best Mystery and Detective Stories – Edited by Julian Hawthorne

One of my favorite things about older stories, especially short stories, is that there is always a lesson in morals. Sometimes it is obvious, and sometimes you never see it coming. But either way, they are fun to read, and you are more than likely to learn something while you are at it!

I will be highlighting some of these great short stories included in this book over the next couple of days. I hope you enjoy the reviews as much as I enjoyed the stories!

HENRI RENÉ ALBERT GUY DE MAUPASSANT (1850-93)

The Necklace – A charming twist on a story of trying to deceive. A woman loses her friend’s diamond necklace. Instead of being honest, her husband and herself buy another one, and spend the next ten years living in poverty as they struggle to pay off the loan. Finally feeling free by having the loan paid off, Mrs. Loisel tells the friend of the burden they had carried for 10 years.

Her friend tells her the diamond necklace she lost was paste, and only worth mere change compared to what they spent on the replacement necklace.

The Necklace book cover

An Uncomfortable Bed – A man, fearing he is going to be the victim of the pranks of his friends on an overnight stay, decides to sleep elsewhere for his own safety. In doing so; he manages to set himself up for a thing exactly as he was trying to avoid.

Ghosts – Not so much a ghost story, as it is a story about how some people will go to great measures to swindle others out of financial or material gains that they have no right to.

The Confession – 2 sisters devoted to each other spend their lives unmarried, living together, rather than have one of them be alone. The great sacrifice made by one sister becomes even more apparent when the other has a death-bed confession to make.

The Horla, or Modern Ghosts – The final short story by Maupassant, it is a journey of psychosis, particularly the author’s own. Is this story true, partly true, or strictly a great dream out of the mind of this great writer? You will have to read it to decide for yourself.

Guy de Maupassant Image

Per his biography page, he did suffer from psychosis brought on by syphilis he contracted as a child. He attempted suicide by cutting his throat with a knife, and was committed to a hospital where he later died.

Various Short Stories – Christian Bergman

I had the pleasure of reading some short stories written by Christian Bergman, and they were great fun! You have some sci-fi going on, and get a Twilight Zone feel with some of these stories. The first story, “Curiosity” gives you a behind-the-scenes look at a team watching a planet rover, still checking and manning it daily even though a newer rover seems to be getting all of the attention, funding, and support. You follow along with them as they try to determine what they could have seen when a glint of light is reflected in one of the images.

I was anxious as I read through this first story to see exactly what they may have discovered. Sorry friends, but as is my norm, there will be no spoilers here! You will have to read it to find out for yourself what exactly they may have seen.

There were other short stories that put a new twist on what things could be like for us here on Earth in the future. Or is it Earth?

Be sure to check out Christian’s short stories here: http://contrafactual.com/short-stories/

You will be glad you did!

The Jefferson Key – Steve Berry

I found this to be a great book. It was better than I expected, and being a history buff, this is no-holds-barred! Mixing history with facts, this book held my attention from start to finish. The author did not overwhelm with useless information that added pages to the book, but no information.

Books and Covers 9-15-2014 004

Fighting the Government, Cotton Malone is focused not only on success, but on the woman who is holding his heart captive. There are twists and turns here, but not a whole lot I can say without giving you spoilers. The main concept of this story is that four Presidential assassinations that span a hundred years are related and happened for the same reason as the assassination attempt on the current President, Danny Daniels.

Is it possible that our founding fathers put into place a clause that allows for the sanctioned killing of a United States President? This is what Cotton needs to figure out, and it puts him on a trail that takes him from one side of the country to the other.

If you are a history buff, and love to read, you will want to make sure this book goes on your must-read list!

A Book To Make You Laugh Out Loud!

I do not normally read books that tend to be funny, but A.J. Jacobs has comedy writing down to an art form. Likely what makes it so funny is that he is the subject of his books, and the things he will do to write a story…so here goes

The Guinea Pig Diaries – A. J. Jacobs

“My Life as an Experiment”

The Guinea Pig Diaries Cover

If you have never read A.J. Jacobs writings, you have no idea what you are missing. Imagine living your life as if it were one big experiment. Were there things you wondered about, but never did anything to find the answer? Was there something you would love to do, but are unsure if it is even possible? This story may give you the courage to do just that. Or at the very least, it will make you laugh at what the author goes through as he uses himself as the test subject in any number of experiments.

This experiment has been a 15 year long project, which began when he saw an advertisement for a Laz-Y-Boy chair that had more bells and whistles than you could even figure out what to do with. A.J. Offered to sit in the chair for 24 hours straight and let the world know if this was the best chair ever made.

He fell asleep. But it started him on this journey that you want to take with him.

How important is the truth? A. J. spent a month being completely honest. Completely. He also spent that same month saying whatever it was that popped into his head. Anything and everything. He claims that this was the worst month of his existence.

This book shows you how easy it was for A.J. to outsource every single aspect of his life. He outsourced someone to pay his bills, do his research, track his tasks, and even feed him. He outsourced everything needed for his wife’s birthday celebration.

The chapter on “The Truth About Nakedness” began innocently enough with the need to assist Mary-Louise Parker on writing an article for Esquire. Wanting something not boring, she agrees to pose nude. She also lets him know for him to get the full experience of this project, he needs to pose nude as well. And he does.

“What would George Washington Do” came from a desire to know more about George Washington, as well as finding an article about the list of rules that George lived by. Well, by George, if he could do it, so could A.J. George’s list of rules covers everything, including not “adjusting” yourself in public. He vows to live by the rules George set, and a lot of it no longer applies 🙂

He wraps it up with being a uni-tasker. Only doing one thing at a time. No multi-tasking allowed. This is so much harder than he ever could have imagined.

If you are looking for a light read, full of laughs and good feelings, you have got to get this book! You will not be sorry!

Reading Things you Would Really Rather Not…

…I have been doing a lot of this lately.  Being about halfway done with my MBA has me reading textbooks, data, statistics, charts and graphs, and the occasional book written on leadership.  I am happy with how far I have gotten so far, and that I made the decision to take this journey for myself.

I just always seem to forget how much time I do not have for reading, until I am no longer able to do it.  It just took me a month to finish a book I could have read in one day. A month! Anyone who knows me knows that me needing a month to finish the book means one of two things; either the book was absolutely horrible, or I was just too busy.

Luckily I have gained the courage to stop reading horrible books. You know what I mean, right? You start reading a book, and it is terrible, yet you feel terribly guilty for leaving a book unfinished. I have finished my fair share of not-so-great books because I was not brave enough to close it without ever knowing how it ended. Well not anymore. Not for me. I have finally started to realize the value of my time, and it is much too valuable to read some of the garbage I have come across lately.  It almost makes me feel sad to think of the number of books I have not been able to finish lately. Did you see my blog post (okay, rant!) on self-publishing? You may want to check it out. It’s right here: https://booksandopinions.com/2014/08/05/do-you-self-publish/

I have a stack of books I want to read, sitting next to my stack of school books. I have a few days break between classes, and am wondering how many books I can get read in that amount of time. I am not a fan of wishing my time away, but I cannot wait until it gets closer to the holiday season, and I have some extended time available to do my favorite thing: sit in a reclining chair with a good book, my cat, and read myself into oblivion.