Monday, September 30, 2013

Review: Velocity (Judd Bell & Corey Purchase #1)

Title: Velocity (Judd Bell & Corey Purchase #1)
Author: Steve Worland
ISBN: 9781921901102
Date Published: August 2012
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Pages: 344

 The MAN - an astronaut who has lost his mojo

The MISSION - to seek and destroy a hijacked space shuttle

The CARGO - enough weapons grade Uranium-235 to irradiate Manhattan

The STAKES - the woman he loves and the fate of a city

Strap in for a supersonic ride as 'Velocity' blasts off at mach speed. From NASA's Cape Canaveral to the Central Australian desert, screenwriter Steve Worland's debut thriller sets a heart-stopping pace. A cast of brilliant characters combined with explosive action make this hugely enjoyable novel a genuine blockbuster.

Before I dive into this review, I have a little story to tell about this book. I was looking for something to read last month and I came across this book on my "To Read" list. So I grab my Nook and go to download it. But it's not available! And I hate it when that happens. For some reason, I see it as a challenge ... OH, you don't want me to read this book, Barnes & Noble?!? Well, guess what, I'm totally going to use my Kindle app then!! That will show B & N! 

But it wasn't available on Amazon either. In ANY format. So then I started checking the web. I was going to read this damn book! I started perusing the web, looking for any place that I could buy this book. I found it on two sites. Yay!! And then I saw that the shipping was close to $30!! Boo! That's highway robbery! I guess that's what you get when it's coming from Australia. 

Wait ... Australia? And that sent me looking into the author, Steve Worland, to see what he's all about. Come to find out, he's written tons of scripts for TV shows but also for Bootmen! BOOTMEN!! (Bootmen happens to be one of my absolute favorite movies, it stars Adam Garcia (Coyote Ugly) and Sam Worthington (Avatar) - go watch it!) Anyway, so I found out that he wrote Bootmen and I damn near passed out. I had a bit of a flashback moment from when I met Matchbox Twenty ... on both occasions, I may have squealed and/or done a little dance. But I'll never admit it. 

At this point, I'm getting my hands on this book. I don't care what has to happen. I have to read it. My curiosity is eating me alive! So I decide to send (the amazing writer) Steve Worland a message and ask him where I can find his book in the United States. Embarrassingly enough, I even gushed about how much I LOVE Bootmen. I wanted to smack myself in the forehead because instead of a 33 year old woman, I sounded like an idiot teenager. For a moment, I even hoped that Worland wouldn't respond to my message. But thank goodness he did!! He is the nicest guy in the world and to my utter dismay and surprise, he even sent me a copy of Velocity since I adore Bootmen so much. 

Okay, all of that being said ... I am going to give a completely honest opinion of the book. My interaction with Worland and my love of Bootmen will not sway my thoughts or feelings on the book at all. It totally should, though. Bootmen kicks butt. 

So ... diving in ... Velocity took me a bit by surprise. I don't know what I was expecting but it definitely wasn't what I encountered on that first page. Reading a new (to me) author, I try to go in with an open mind ... no prejudgements or expectations. You get thrown into the story right away. There's no ... meet this character or here's some background info. No, you are right there in the middle of things immediately. And while it felt like being pushed into the deep end, I found it pretty refreshing. 

You don't know from one paragraph to the next what the end result is going to be with Velocity. Just when you think you know what is going on or whose side someone is on ... oh, no you don't. You're wrong. I grew attached to a few of the characters pretty early in the book ... I don't know why ... but there was this one bad guy that I was actually rooting for when he met an untimely demise. That was a bit shocking. I had to put the book down for the rest of the day on that one. And the kicker is that he wasn't even this super important character! I think it may be because Worland writes these ... lifelike ... characters that you grow attached to very quickly. 

I really found myself getting wrapped up in this book. It reads like a movie and by that, I mean that it reads in such an explosive and animated way that it's really brought to life as you read. The main character is named Judd and he's one of those characters that you can't get enough of - I have to read more about him. Man, is he messed up. Such a perfectly flawed character and I can't wait to see what he gets into in the next installment. 

So why didn't this awesome novel get five stars, you may be asking. Well, first of all, this is an amazing book. I'll definitely read it again and I'll be reading the remainder of the series. It only fell short because the first couple of chapters were a bit confusing with all of the technicalities of all this equipment that was being used and the large number of characters in the beginning ... there were quite a few and I did have a hard time keeping up with them. And all of the technical data ... did that make the book hard to understand? No. With all of the info that was given, you would think that it would read like a manual but it doesn't, it was just a little overwhelming at first.

But that's it. A great read - especially if you like the whole astronaut/pilot/military-esque book. Which I happen to love. I thought that I was going to have a huge hole in my future library where these types of books reside because on of my top 3 favorite authors passed away this year ... Vince Flynn. But it looks like Worland novels will fit right in. Sigh. Such a good book!!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Review: Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise, Book One)

Title: Deeper We Fall (Fall and Rise, Book One)
Author: Chelsea M. Cameron
ISBN: 2940016054926
Date Published: January 2013
Publisher: DRC Publishing
Pages: 453

Two years after her best friend was involved in a car accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, Lottie Anders is ready to start her freshman year of college. Ready to move on. Ready to start forgetting the night that ripped her life apart.

Her plans come to a screeching halt when not one, but both brothers responsible for the accident end up back in her life again.

Zack is cruel, selfish and constantly rubbing what happened to her friend in Lottie's face.

Zan is different. He listens to her awkward ramblings. He loves "To Kill a Mockingbird" as much as she does, and his dark eyes are irresistible. His words are few and far between, but when he does speak, she can't help but listen.

The trouble is, Zan was the driver in the accident, and now Lottie's discovered he lied to her about what happened that night. Now she must decide if trusting him again will lead to real forgiveness, or deeper heartache.

This is a really good book so we are just going to jump right into the review today! First of all, you need to know that this book is written from different point of views. This often just irritates me. Like, a lot. But not this time. I really loved the altering pov's. I can't see Deeper We Fall being written any other way. I don't think that the book would have worked if it was written in the "traditional" way. I really like seeing what is going on in the other characters minds - it offers invaluable insight into who they are and it really connects you to the story and the characters.

I was a pretty good chunk into the book and I was just itching for Lottie and Zan to interact in some way. I don't think I've ever wanted something to happen in a book so badly before. I'm pretty glad that our boys were at school when I was reading this because they would have been confused by my yelling, "COME ON!!". Unfortunately, I did that more than once. But it wasn't because I was getting irritated with the book - I can't say that enough. I just wanted it to happen so badly because Cameron had written these two characters in such a way that they had turned into my friends almost. She made them so realistic that it felt as if I was reading a diary.

I found myself becoming almost protective over Zan. The hand he was dealt really hit me. I've never known anyone involved in an accident like the one that the story was woven around, but it affected me. I wanted to jump into the book and shield him from any hurtful comments or actions and then maybe kick his brother's ass. 

Deeper We Fall was very, very, very close to getting five stars. There was only one thing that bothered me and it may not bother other people as much. It was the fact that To Kill a Mockingbird was brought up so much. Come on, I love that book as much as the next person but it was referenced constantly. To the point of being irritating. Now, that could just be because I have a 6 year old that incessantly repeats himself. Redundantly. It drives me up the wall. So I might be a little more sensitive to the repetitive references. On the other hand, the same thing that bothered me, really held the story together. I know, that doesn't make sense. But that's how it is. 

You know what ... after writing this whole thing, I think that I'm going to give the book five stars. It really does deserve it. When a book gives me a case of just-one-more-page-itis and keeps me up until 3am when I have to get up at 6am to get our boys off to school, you deserve five stars. FIVE STARS IT IS! 

I guarantee that this will not be the last you hear of Chelsea Cameron. Go grab some of her books before it becomes the cool thing to do. You don't want to be a follower, be the leader!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Review: The Rosie Project

Title: The Rosie Project
Author: Graeme Simsion
Date Published: October 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 9781476729084
Pages: 304

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

Meh. That's how I feel about The Rosie Project. This book received 4.11 stars on Goodreads. I usually really trust the star rating on Goodreads ... I use it constantly to give myself an idea of what to expect from a book and this time, I felt betrayed. I expected a four star book and I was saddled with a 1.5 star book. I decided to go ahead and give the book the extra half a star because at least the author was grammatically correct throughout the entire thing. 

When I first heard about The Rosie Project, I was really excited. I thought that the premise was adorable and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. To my surprise, I won an ARC of the book through a Goodreads giveaway and I would get to read it before everyone else (insert nana-nana-na-na). 

My excitement was quickly extinguished once I cracked open that book and read the first page. BORRRRING! Hell, I know that sounds so rude but it's what is going through my head. I would hate to sugarcoat things and spew sunshine and rainbows when that's not how I feel. 

The main character in this book is Don Tillman, this Don character was a freaking nut job. He micromanaged his life down to the second. He is so stuck in the routine of his life that he doesn't actually live. He just exists. That's fine ... be anal retentive. Be weird. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with it a book being written like the back of a shampoo bottle. It was boring and I just couldn't wait for it to be over. 

Every single person that Don met, he would calculate their BMI. Every. Single. Time. It got old. Really quickly. Don also pointed out a persons faults in his head. Every time he spoke to someone. I found myself saying, "OH, MY GOSH" quite frequently because after a while of reading about these weird things Don does, it just became annoyingly annoying (that's the worst kind of annoying). 

It makes me wonder ... are books like children? Do they just want attention, no matter what kind it is? Good attention, bad attention ... kids don't care one iota, they just want attention. Is bad attention for a book good as well? By writing this scathing review, am I sending people to pick up this book? Will I be held responsible if someone drops into a coma because of my review?!? I sure hope not. Because there won't be enough hospital beds for the victims. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: The Alibi

Title: The Alibi
Author: Sandra Brown
Date Published: January 1999
ISBN: 9780446618670
Publisher: Hachette Books
 Pages: 564

Born into a fine old Charleston family, Hammond Cross is determined to be the city's next district attorney - without sacrificing his integrity. Prosecuting the sensational murder of a real estate magnate could be his ticket into office. Yet, while Hammond anticipates his success, someone near him is plotting his downfall. Is it Steffi Mundell, colleague, ex-lover and rival? Rory Smilow, homicide detective and Hammond's avowed enemy? Is it the dead man's widow, wily, beautiful and Hammond's lifelong friend? Or is it Hammond's prime suspect, the mysterious woman who shares the secret that would be fatal to Hammond's ambitions?

Oh, Sandra Brown!! This woman kills me. I just don't know what I would do without her books!!! I'm beginning to wonder if I have some sort of addiction problem. I just can't get enough of her novels. Okay. All gushing aside, lets rip this book apart and see what's going on within the pages. 

If you've read my reviews before, you know how much I love a flawed character. Sorry, but the more messed up they are, the more I love them. Come on, it's got to be easy to write the PERFECT character. Everything is great in their life and basically, lead a perfect, unblemished existence. How boring must that be?!? I don't want shit to go right for me all the time. Sure, I think that it would be nice sometimes ... especially when I feel like my world is spiraling out of control because our two boys are screaming at the top of their lungs while chasing each other around the house because one of them looked out the others window or some other nonsense. At those moments, I have a bad mommy thought and it's usually that they will end up running into each other and bop heads ... knocking each other out. Hey ... I love our boys but they are a bit much sometimes. Soooo ... uh ... I have no idea where I was going with that ... oh. I love that my life isn't perfect. I want all the trials and tribulations ... that's what life is for!! I just think that a truly flawed character would be the most difficult to write and I totally respect an author that is able to do that. Hats off to Sandra Brown for writing the most perfectly flawed characters every time. 

The book itself ... I loved. I know ... shocker, right? But can you imagine wanting to get away from your life for a night and then (what you think is) fate, drops the most perfect yin to your yang, right in front of you?? I'd like to say that this happened with my husband but if I'm being perfectly honest, that man annoyed the ever loving crap out of me the first day that I met him. He wouldn't stop talking and as if it couldn't get any worse, he only wanted to talk about Ozzy Osbourne! He totally had has a man crush on Ozzy. I mean, I love my husband now ... but back then, I would have happily karate chopped his Adam's apple in an effort to get him to quiet down. Okay, okay ... I'm getting back on track. Where were we ... oh ... meeting your better half and experiencing an instantaneous and all encompassing love ... yeah ... great start to the book!! I love how all of Brown's novels start with just dropping you into the middle of the story. 

The Alibi really kept me interested the whole time that I was reading. I didn't feel a lag or boredom and I didn't find myself skimming very often ... I do happen to do that quite a bit. I'm not proud of skimming but I've got to raise two children who don't leave me much sanity or patience to work with.

You can NEVER go wrong with a Sandra Brown book. Ever. Well ... unless you're talking about one that I haven't read yet and then you're on your own. But for the ones I've read, they're amazing. Pick it up. Now. And no, I'm not paid by Sandra Brown to say that. But I totally wouldn't turn down a few bucks if I was ... 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Review: What Doesn't Kill Her

Title: What Doesn't Kill Her
Author: Max Allan Collins
Published: September 17th, 2013
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN: 9781612185293
Pages: 340

Jordan Rivera is an ordinary kid with an ordinary family, until a vicious killer takes it all away, sparing her, but leaving her broken. The murders of her father, mother and brother destroy something inside Jordan, who spends ten long, mute years in an institution. Catching a glimpse of a news report about another family slaying, Jordan at last breaks her silence. Now she’s out, and she molds herself—body and mind—into an instrument of justice.

While a young detective pursues the case on his own, Jordan teams up with members of her support group, people like her, damaged by violent crime. They have their own stories of pain, heartache, and vengeance denied. With their help, Jordan will track down the killer before he can ravage any more lives. Her life – and her sanity – depend on it.

In a way, I have been waiting (not so patiently) for this book. Not that I had ever heard of this book prior to reading it, I hadn't. I didn't know that this book existed. But I had been waiting for a book to move me. And this one did. 

You get pulled into this nightmare from the first page. Being a parent, this one really freaked me out. I can't imagine my child having to go through that kind of experience. Listening to your family being brutally murdered? Absolutely terrifying. I have a VERY vivid imagination and I often picture in my mind, the events of a book - especially when the book is well written. This happened with What Doesn't Kill Her. I could hear Jordan's mother calling to her, I could hear each footstep coming down the hallway ... I was terrified for Jordan! 

I really liked watching Jordan transform from an emotionless mute to a very determined and angry victim. But I didn't see her as a victim. She is the definition of a survivor. Jordan was such a strong woman, just biding her time, waiting. I really don't think that she could have been written any better ... I love strong female characters!

Max Allan Collins is an amazing author. I had not read anything from him before this and that is going to change. Man, he's just awesome. The plot was absolutely perfect, the characters were so developed that I could relate to them as people and the book wasn't full of extra "fluff" (those unnecessary paragraphs full of info or descriptions that really aren't needed and usually just tick me off because they are a waste of my very precious reading time).

What Doesn't Kill Her is one of those books that you pick up and don't want to put down ... unless you have the flu while reading ... which I did ... and then you would rather die than get out of bed or crack your eyes open to read a page ... but if you don't have the flu you should totally pick this book up ... it would be great to read while sitting by the pool or by a fire with a cup of hot chocolate (I'm hoping hot chocolate / fireplace time is coming soon even though it feels like 900 degrees outside right now).

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Review: The Transfer: A Divergent Story

Title: The Transfer: A Divergent Story
Author: Veronica Roth
Date Published: September 3, 2013
ISBN: 9780062285638
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 50

More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by "The Transfer," the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, backstory, and relationships.

Oh, Veronica Roth. She just twists that knife. She knows that we have to wait until OCTOBER for the last book in the series and while I really love the idea of having little novellas about Four ... it makes the wait for Allegiant so much worse!!

I hated to love this little book. I really did. Not because it was bad or anything but because it was absolutely heartbreaking. In Divergent, you fall in love with this strong and powerful man who is in control of everything around him. In The Transfer, all I could see was a broken little boy that I wanted to help and protect. It really gives you some amazing insight into the depths of who Four actually is.

I really can't say much more because it was only a handful of pages long and I don't want to ruin it!

I can tell you this much, it made me feel like a gluttonous hefty lady standing on a mountain of Zebra Cake wrappers waving her hands in the air while screaming "GIVE ME MORE!!" ...

I. Want. More. Four.