Category: "Books: Read"

Honeymoon - James Patterson & Howard Roughan

February 25th, 2005

Honeymoon - James PattersonHow does it feel to be desired by every man and envied by every woman? Wonderful. This is the life Nora Sinclair has dreamed about, the life she's worked hard for, the life she will never give up.

When FBI agent John O'Hara first sees her, she seems perfect. She has the looks. The career. The clothes. The wit. The sophistication. The tantalizing sex appeal. The whole extraordinary package -- and men fall in line to court her. She doesn't just attract men, she enthralls them.

So why is the FBI so interested in Nora Sinclair? Mysterious things keep happening to people around her, especially the men. And there is something dangerous about Nora when Agent O'Hara looks more closely -- something that lures him at the same time that it fills him with fear. Is there something dark hidden among the unexplained gaps in her past? And as he spends more and more time getting to know her, is he pursuing justice? Or his own fatal obsession?

With the irresistible attraction of the greatest Hitchcock thrillers, Honeymoon is sizzling, twisting tale of a woman with a deadly appetite and the men who dare to fall for her. In his sexiest, scariest novel yet, James Patterson deftly confirms that he always "takes thrills to the next level" (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).

"Already named International Thriller of the Year by the Book-of-the-Month Club and 15 other book clubs worldwide."

"All writers have a book that they know is their best book, ever. Welcome to James Patterson's."

These two comments are included in the inside cover of the book. Could this have been too much pressure? Maybe. Did I enjoy this book? Yes. Do I think this is his best? No, I don't think I do.

Honeymoon provided the mystery and suspense you expect in any Patterson novel. I find no fault in that aspect of the book. I think I was merely let down by one thing. As the book begins to take off I had a hope that Patterson would develop a new serial character. I was hoping that Nora Sinclair would become Patterson's "bad guy" character. He writes his antagonists so well maybe I feel it time that we get to see a glimpse of a main character who is not solving crime but in fact committing it. As I began the book, I had flashbacks to Cassie Black in Michael Connelly's Void Moon. Don't get excited, I am not ruining the book by telling you this isn't the case. If you've read the synopsis provided in the book (provided above) then you know it's not the case. I did not read that prior to reading the book. It was not a factor in my decision to read it. James Patterson wrote it. That is all it takes for me.

Could it be the best thriller of 2005? Absolutely. I am not saying this is out of the realm of possibility by any means. All I really question is how you can say this is Patterson's best. I think I look to either The Jester or Along Came A Spider when I try to decide which is his best.

The ending came a little too abruptly I felt, and there was one part of the book that I was hoping would be explored a little more deeply. Obviously I will not tell you in the middle of this which part I mean.

Ok, ok, ok. I will stop being critical. The book was very good. In Patterson-fashion it is a quick read. The book flows so well due to the fact that the author's writing style makes you progress quickly, but also the story pulls you in.

Read the book.

Buy Honeymoon $18.45

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Book of the Month - March, 2005

February 20th, 2005

The Servant : A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter

The Servant : A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership by James C. HunterIn this absorbing tale, you watch the timeless principles of servant leadership unfold through the story of John Daily, a businessman whose outwardly successful life is spiraling out of control. He is failing miserably in each of his leadership roles as boss, husband, father, and coach. To get his life back no track, he reluctantly attends a weeklong leadership retreat at a remote Benedictine monastery.

To John's surprise, the monk leading the seminar is a former business executive and Wall Street legend. Taking John under his wing, the monk guides him to a realization that is simple yet profound: The true foundation of leadership is not power, but authority, which is built upon relationships, love, service and sacrifice.

Along with John, you will learn that the principles in this book are neither new nor complex. They don't demand special talents; they are simply based on strengthening the bonds of respect, responsibility, and caring with the people around you. Perhaps this is why The Servant has touched readers from all walks of life--because its message can be applied by anyone, anywhere--at home or work.

If you are tired of books that lecture instead of teach; if you are searching for ways to improve your leadership skills; if you want to understand the timeless virtues that lead to lasting and meaningful success, then this book is one you cannot afford to miss.

Buy The Servant $13.60

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Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer

February 16th, 2005

Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerIn April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

I read Into the Wild for the first time over four years ago after I had read Into Thin Air (also by author Jon Krakauer).

The argument has been made that having read the blurb on the back cover of the book (listed above) that there is now no reason to read Into the Wild in its entirety. What more could they tell you? You know how the story ends, don't you? Christopher Johnson McCandless died at the end of his journey. What you do not know is how he got from Emory University in Atlanta, GA to Alaska. The synopsis above does not tell you how many lives he touched, and how deeply, along the way.

Chris McCandless, or "Alexander Supertramp" to a few, was not the first to bid farewell to society and try his hand at living off the land, being at one with nature. He is, however, arguably the most unique individual to do so. Krakauer has pursued extensive interviews with not only Chris' family, but also friends who met him on the road and know him only as "Alex".

How deeply do you think you can be touched by a hitchhiker as you drive him a few hundred miles down the road? Did you ever think you would wish he would not get out of the car when it comes time? I am not sure the people who did Chris a favor ever thought they would either, however in their accounts they try to put into words what was so special about this particular young man.

Chris was a very gifted athlete. He was an above average student throughout his entire academic career at one point with aspirations of Harvard Law and the grades to match. He had an entrepreneurial spirit that had made him a good deal of money and earned him a lot of respect growing up.

Why would someone with this background give it all up and walk into the woods? Jon Krakauer takes us along the path to California, South Dakota, into Mexico, eventually to Alaska and many places in between to find out.

The author seems to approach this book as if he were trying to solve the mystery of Chris' death and in essence he was doing just that. He really tells us why Chris was unable to survive his journey and in the process we find out why he began the journey in the first place. The depth of the research is remarkable. Krakauer in this, and all of his books, really goes the extra mile to talk to anyone and everyone involved and find out as many details as possible. I have the highest level of respect for the work that Jon Krakauer does for his books.

In the Acknowledgements section at the end, the author thanks those he interviewed for helping him put the book together. If you read this book I am sure you will, like I do, want to thank them as well. Less than a year has passed from the time you find out a loved one has passed away; a loved one about whom you have worried everyday since he last contacted you which was two years ago. Along comes a journalist who wants to get to know him through you. How forthcoming would you...or could you be?

If you like this, another Krakauer book I cannot recommend enough is called Under the Banner of Heaven.

Buy Into the Wild $10.36

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Book of the Month - February, 2005

January 20th, 2005

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerIn April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Four months later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter...

Buy Into the Wild $10.36

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Book of the Month - January, 2005

December 20th, 2004

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver

The Coffin Dancer - Jeffery DeaverDetective Lincoln Rhyme, the foremost criminalist in the NYPD, is on the hunt for an elusive murderer, the Coffin Dancer. He's a brilliant hitman who changes his appearance even faster than he adds to his trail of victims, only one of whom has lived long enough to offer a clue: the assassin has an eerie tattoo on his arm of the Grim Reaper waltzing with a woman in front of a casket.

Like his previous bestselling novels, A Maiden's Grave and The Bone Collector, Jeffery Deaver's latest psychological thriller combines spine-chilling forensic detail with a turbocharged plot. In The Coffin Dancer, Rhyme, tragically paralyzed from a line-of-duty accident, continues to tutor his beautiful protégé, Detective Amelia Sachs, in the art of criminal hunting. Rhyme is certain he's seen this killer before, and his suspicion of an earlier encounter fuels a bitter taste for vengeance. When the chameleonlike assassin targets three federal witnesses for death, the stakes reach a new high. Rhyme's brainpower and Sachs's legwork are the only tools they have to track the cunning murderer through the subways, parks, and airports of a darkly painted New York City. And they have only forty-eight hours before the Coffin Dancer strikes again.

With The Coffin Dancer, Deaver--already an internationally bestselling author whose acclaimed novels have been translated into a dozen languages--uses his trademark plot twists to keep this fast-paced, masterly thriller steamrolling along with breathtaking speed. This is page-turning suspense of the highest order.

Buy The Coffin Dancer $7.19

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State of Fear - Michael Crichton

December 17th, 2004

State of Fear - Michael CrichtonIn Paris, a physicist dies after performing a laboratory experiment for a beautiful visitor.

In the jungles of Malaysia, a mysterious buyer purchases deadly cavitation technology, built to his specifications.

In Vancouver, a small research submarine is leased for use in the waters off New Guinea.

And in Tokyo, an intelligence agent tries to understand what it all means.

Thus begins Michael Crichton's exciting and provocative technothriller, State of Fear. Only Michael Crichton's unique ability to blend science fact and pulse-pounding fiction could bring such disparate elements to a heart-stopping conclusion.

This is Michael Crichton's most wide-ranging thriller. State of Fear takes the reader from the glaciers of Iceland to the volcanoes of Antarctica, from the Arizona desert to the deadly jungles of the Solomon Islands, from the streets of Paris to the beaches of Los Angeles. The novel races forward, taking the reader on a rollercoaster thrill ride, all the while keeping the brain in high gear. Gripping and thought-provoking, State of Fear is Michael Crichton at his very best.

For my money, there is no better author than Michael Crichton. A new book by any other writer does not excite me nearly as much as a new Crichton. Who else could get me to actually schedule my reading complete with a deadline so I am able to start his book on its release date? Though seen here my calculations were slightly off...

State of Fear was no exception to the highly scientific style of Crichton's "techno-thrillers". I am not sure I have ever found one of his books more interesting, perhaps because I have never found one more relevant to society today. If you have read any of his work, you know he is impressive with the amount of research he does for his books, but State of Fear even comes complete with a full bibliography of his sources.

Despite my fascination with State of Fear, it is not my favorite Crichton novel. I feel it is fair to say that I had no complaints through the majority of the book. The ending simply left me high and dry. I felt like the story was wrapped up too quickly. Maybe the author had a deadline to meet and rushed through the conclusion, maybe not.

I enjoyed the book very much. I do recommend it in its entirety, but if you will not sit down and read this book I do suggest you pick a copy off the shelf and quickly read through one chapter. Pages 451-460 in the book mark the most thought provoking part of the book. Who knows, maybe reading that might get you interested in the whole thing if you're not already. I would actually type out the chapter for you all to preview if it weren't for those pesky copyright laws. I hope you understand.

State of Fear $16.77

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Roses Are Red - James Patterson

December 7th, 2004

Roses Are Red - James PattersonIn this heart-pounding but touchingly romantic new thriller, Detective Alex Cross pursues the most complex and brilliant killer he's ever confronted--a mysterious criminal who calls himself the Mastermind.

In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington D.C., bank robbers have been laying out precise demands when they enter the building--and then killing the bank employees and their families if those instructions are not followed to the letter.

Detective Alex Cross takes on the case, certain that this is no ordinary bank robber at work--the pathological need for control and perfection is too great. Cross is in the midst of a personal crisis at home, but the case becomes all-consuming as he learns that the Mastermind is plotting one huge, last, perfect, crime.

With twists and reversals that only the mind of James Patterson could create, Roses are Red is by far the most explosive, surprising, and fast-paced novel of his extraordinary career.

I am slowly but surely getting through the Alex Cross series. It is difficult for me to not have finished it so far, but I am sticking to my guns. I said at the beginning I would not try to rush through it. I very much enjoy James Patterson's writing and was afraid that if I tried to read too many of his books in a row I may become tired of the same writing style. This, mind you, would be no fault of the author's.

I actually feel that approaching this series in this fashion makes it more fun for me. I find myself saying, "When is it time for another Alex Cross?" Roses Are Red is the sixth of a ten book series that is definitely picking up steam. The books are getting more and more exciting. If you have read Patterson you know his books are hard to put down.

Roses Are Red was not the best book of this series, though still a very good book in its own right. It was enjoyable from beginning to end and difficult to put down. I will admit that it has been awhile since I have been so excited by the ending of a book as I was when I finished Roses Are Red. I cannot wait to start Violets Are Blue.

You start reading these yet? You should.

| Forum | The Alex Cross series:
Along Came a Spider $7.19
Kiss the Girls $7.19
Jack & Jill $7.19
Cat & Mouse $7.19
Pop Goes the Weasel $7.19
Roses are Red $7.19
Violets are Blue $7.19
Four Blind Mice $7.19
Big Bad Wolf $6.39
London Bridges $18.45

The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands - Stephen King

November 29th, 2004

The Waste Lands - Stephen KingRoland, the last gunslinger, moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams and nightmares as he travels through city and country in Mid-World--a macabre world that is a twisted image of our own. With him are those he has drawn to this world: street-smart Eddie and courageous, wheelchair-bound Susannah.

Ahead of him are mind-bending revelations about who and what is driving him. Against him is arrayed a swelling legion of foes--both more and less then human...

Mr. King, you have my attention, sir.

What a great series. Understand that this is less horror and more fantasy, so do not shy away from it because of what made the author famous. I have now read the first three books and they get better and better.

Roland has sparked curiousity in his travel companions about the Dark Tower. This curiousity keeps them trudging along the path at his side. The same curiousity keeps me reading. I'm hooked.

Read this series, for your father's sake!

| Forum |The Dark Tower Series: |
The Gunslinger $7.19
The Drawing of the Three $7.19
The Waste Lands $7.19
Wizard and Glass $7.19
Wolves of the Calla $23.10
Song of Susannah $19.80
The Dark Tower $21.00

Book of the Month - December, 2004

November 22nd, 2004

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Christmas Train by David BaldacciTom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, is banned from flying when a particularly thorough airport security search causes him to lose his cool. Now, he must take the train if he has any chance of arriving in Los Angeles in time for Christmas with his girlfriend. To finance the trip, he sells a story about a train ride taken during the Christmas season. Thereupon begins one of the most hilarious-and heartwarming-journeys ever told. Along the way, Tom encounters a ridiculous cast of characters, unexpected romance, and an avalanche that changes everyone's Christmas plans. As the mighty Southwest Chief chugs along, Tom learns what really makes the holiday special in a remarkable novel that will charm all who read it.

Buy The Christmas Train $5.39

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Pop Goes the Weasel - James Patterson

November 7th, 2004

Pop Goes the Weasel - James PattersonDETECTIVE ALEX CROSS is back--and he's in love. But his happiness is threatened by a series of chilling murders in Washington, D.C., murders with a pattern so twisted, it leaves investigators reeling. Cross's ingenious pursuit of the killer produces a suspect--a British diplomat named Geoffrey Shafer. But proving that Shafer is the murderer becomes a potentially deadly task. As the diplomat engages in a brilliant series of surprising countermoves, in and out of the courtroom, Alex and his fiancee become hopelessly entangled with the most memorable nemesis Alex Cross has ever faced.

Pop Goes the Weasel reveals James Patterson at the peak of his power, with his most dynamic and powerful psychological thriller to date. Here is a chilling villain no reader will forget, a love story of great tenderness, and a plot of relentless suspense and heart-pounding pace. To read Pop Goes the Weasel is to discover why James Patterson is one of the greatest suspense writers of our time.

Pop Goes the Weasel is another reason why James Patterson is one of my absolute favorite authors. He does not disappoint. I have enjoyed every book of his that I have read, and I gravitate towards the Alex Cross novels first. I am through 5 of the now 10 book series. Pop Goes the Weasel is the fifth and book 10, London Bridges, is in stores now.

In this novel, Patterson tells of how Cross faces off not only against some of the most brilliant criminal minds, but also against the government. The short chapters helped this book along as it was not the most action packed of the series, though it was no less suspenseful. As you would hope with any book, this one was hard to put down; especially at the end. There was some conflict involving Alex's love interest in this book and my only complaint was how it was resolved. Patterson chose the logical choice for resolution, so I do not fault him. I cannot say any more without sitting you down and explaining the whole thing and ruining the ending. You're gonna have to read it for yourself.

Read this book. Read this series. Read this author.

| Forum | The Alex Cross series:
Along Came a Spider $7.99
Kiss the Girls $7.99
Jack & Jill $7.99
Cat & Mouse $7.99
Pop Goes the Weasel $7.99
Roses are Red $7.99
Violets are Blue $7.99
Four Blind Mice $7.99
Big Bad Wolf $19.01
London Bridges $16.77