Monday, September 28, 2009

Sworn To Silence

I just finished reading Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo.

One of the things I really like about Amazon is that they will take your purchase and viewing history and come up with some things to recommend to you. That's how I found Sworn To Silence. My purchasing/viewing history includes books on the Amish and suspense/thrillers and Sworn To Silence has both.

One of the main reasons I choose it was the Amish angle because to be honest, if I was going to pick up a thriller there are three (or maybe four by now) books by James Patterson in the Cross series that I would love to find time to fit into my reading time.

The main character of the book is Kate Burkholder, a police chief in the small town of Painters Mill, Ohio. Kate was born and raised Amish but has left the Amish faith to live in the "English" world. One of the reasons she is hired as the police chief is because she can relate to both the Amish and the English population of the area.

Then the murders start - or do they start again? Sixteen years ago there were a number of gruesome murders attributed to "The Slaughterhouse Killer". These murders are very similar but it is the same killer? (warning here that the murders are very detailed and very graphic).

Kate has very good reason to believe that this is not the same killer but a copycat. And she has very good reason for not revealing to anyone why she believes it is not the same killer.

I was hooked right away. I read way too late into the night and picked the book up as soon as I got home from work the next day and didn't put it down until I was finished.

I didn't find as much "Amish" in this book as I expected. It is a very violent and detailed book. Not for everyone's taste but if you like Patterson you are sure to like this book.

I've read some reviews where people said they knew very early on who the killer was and that astonishes me. I was thrown for a loop when it was revealed. I never saw it coming and wonder what I somehow missed that other people knew so early. Whatever it was, I'm glad I missed it because the reveal hit me in the way I'm sure Ms. Castillo hoped it would.

There's a great cast of characters from Kate to other members of the police department like Glock, Pickles, Skid (gotta love these names lol), Mona and the detective from out of town John Tomasetti (I will say that I did pick up on what would happen with him rather early). I'm hoping this is the first book of a series and that these great folks will return next time along with Kate's brother and sister and their families.

Not for the faint of heart or anyone who can't do "bad" language. But if you like suspense/thrillers I hope you will take a chance at getting to know Kate and her police force. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stray Affections

I just finished reading Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich. I discovered this book as a giveaway on a blog. A really funny thing happened. The page was taking a bit of time to load but the cover of the book was up. I glanced at the cover and did a double take. There was a most interesting snowglobe on the cover. I collected snowglobes once years ago and while I still like looking at them, I doubt I would ever collect them again. But I just couldn't seem to take my eyes off this snowglobe. So when the page fully loaded and I started reading the description of the book there was a line about Cassandra (the main character) being mesmerized by this same snowglobe at a Collector's Convention. Wow! It seemed meant to be. lol. And then when I won the book I knew it was meant to be.

That said, I have mixed emotions about the book. I had a hard time putting it down and read it in two days. The characters are wonderfully written. It takes place in a small town - having grown up in a small town I love reading books that take me back to that time. There are friendships that have lasted a lifetime - along with a number of misunderstandings that have lasted a lifetime.

We get to know a lot about Cassandra - a married mother of four boys who runs a daycare out of her home. She has a life many women would love to have - a loving husband, four young boys, a very close best friend. But she also has some regrets, a mother who she never really got a long with, a childhood wish that never came true and deep, deep hurts.

There are a few things in the book that I felt were going to be major plot points that just never went anywhere. Somethings were not explained that I thought would be and I felt that left a hole in the ending of the book.

However, the main point of the story - the chance to right past wrongs, redemption and the possibility of change were spot on. The characters seemed true to life - not too good to be true. Most of the things that happened could happen in any life in any town. The cast of characters formed a beautifully extended family with very believable ties to each other.

This is the first of three books in the Snowglobes Connections series - and I'm sure I'll be looking for the next two when they come out.

And this is the first book off my Fall Into Reading list. One down - eleven more to go.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Into Reading 2009

Well the opening day of Fall Into Reading is finally here.

This is the list of books I'd like to finish reading during this challenge:

* One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson
* Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
* A Quilter's Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini
* Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich
* Extraordinary by John Bevere
* Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson
* Limelight by Melody Carlson
* What Matters Most by Melody Carlson
* Leaving Carolina by Tamara Leigh
* Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall
* Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs
* White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner

A few years back I was in a couple of reading circles. Reading circles are great on a number of levels, depending on how they are run. One I participated in the books were circulated - so you purchased one book but got to read nine. But I think the best thing is the opportunity to read a book that you may otherwise have never picked up off the shelf. One book I got on my first time through a reading circle was Left Behind. Just from the cover of the book I'm not so sure I would have even picked it up to read the back. But I so enjoyed that series.

Most of the books on my reading list this time are books I will be reviewing for publishers. And some of them are books I might not have chosen were I not given a copy and requested to read them. And I have a few non-fiction books in there as well. I definitely prefer fiction to non-fiction but I'm trying to use this challenge to expand my "shelves" a bit.

And as an added bonus, a number of the books I will be reviewing I have been given a second copy to give away. So be sure to not only check on my progress at reading through my list and read my review but to have a chance to win a free copy of a book.

If you haven't joined this challenge but would like to you can click on the link on my sidebar.

Let the reading begin!


Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Wednesday Sisters

I just finished The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. This book was recommended by a dear friend and makes me grateful for dear friends. I had never heard of this one before she mentioned it and I would have hated to miss it.

Set in the 1960s we follow a group of five wonderfully different but alike women. Frankie, Kath, Linda, Brett and Ally are from different backgrounds, have had different experiences and different dreams. But they form a friendship to be envied.

They meet in a park by chance and then begin meeting once a week. They are strong women who have real life struggles and joys. Ms. Clayton serves us the good and the bad without attempting to make anything better than it really is. There are wonderful highs and devastating lows - but through it all they stick together.

And like real women with real friendship they don't always agree with each other and there are squabbles. There's even some tough love. But true friends can do that. They encourage each other and even push each other to follow their dreams and do things they didn't think they ever could.

As this was set in a time I have no experience in it was interesting to see how the women interacted with their husbands. And the husbands, while not exactly main characters were real too. They had failings and strengths, supported their wives and sometimes didn't.

But the main thing was they loved each other. When one suffered they all suffered. They offered unconditional support for each other and were the kind of friends any woman would want.

Read this - you won't be sorry.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Raising Jake

I have to admit that one of the reasons I started my latest book, Raising Jake by Charlie Carillo, was that it was a freebie. But the synopsis sounded good so I figured what did I have to lose?

I had nothing to lose - and a lot to gain. The book is about a father and son who don't really know each other but spend a weekend together trying to change that. Sammy is a 50ish tabloid newspaper reporter, divorced from his 17 year old son Jake's mother.

I found some of the language, and a bit of the story itself, a bit crude (maybe that's because I'm a middle aged Christian woman). I have never met a male 50ish tabloid newspaper reporter but I think if I did meet one, he would probably be a lot like Sammy and since this is written in his voice I think I can understand why the author chose the language he chose.

A good bit of the story deals with Sammy's childhood. He has never revealed much of his childhood to Jake. We are introduced to people from Sammy's past - his parents, employer and friends. The story is set in NY city and having lived in that area the characters ring true.

There are truly tender moments, funny anecdotes and revelations I never saw coming.

If you have an Amazon Kindle you can get this book for free. If you don't it is well worth the purchase price - or at the least, a trip to the library.

Until next time, Jody