May 14, 2013

April and March's Update 2013 Book Challenge

     Here it is almost two weeks into May so I thought it would be time to post my April (and March) Book Challenge updates.  As you'll see I've been quite the book reading beaver.

David Baldacci
Split Second (King & Maxwell #1) Michelle Maxwell is the agent in charge of a presidential nominee's security detail  When he's kidnapped on her watch not only is she responsible at the same time she's watching her career implode.  While removed from the case and determined to discover who is behind the kidnapping she encounters Sean Maxwell.  Sean's a former Secret Service agent who also has checkered past.  Together they work to solve the current kidnapping never expecting it to tie in with Sean's past.
  I wish I had read this book before the other K&M's.  I love learning how characters meet and their back story.  I am a huge fan of Baldacci and this series.

The Sixth Man (King&Maxwell #5)  While driving to Maine to help Ted Bergen, who is defending a serial killer incarcerated in a federal prison, things immediately go awry when Sean & Michelle discover him murdered in his car.  Criss-crossing between Maine, Virginia and DC, working with or rather butting heads with local, state and federal agencies, Sean & Michelle are determined to discover not only who killed Sean's friend and mentor but if Edgar Roy truly is guilty of being a serial killer or the victim of a intelligence agency coup.
     This book had me engaged until the last page.  I am so excited that TNT is creating a series based on these characters.  I hope they keep Michelle as strong and feisty as Baldacci writes her.  I love how she is the stronger of the two characters.

Valerie Bertinelli  
Losing It (Memoir for Eclectic BC) If you think you know Valerie from her time as Barbra Cooper, her many TV movies or as Melanie Moretti on her current hit Hot in Cleveland, You don't know Valerie.  I'll admit to buying into the All American Sweet Innocent image ~ Barbra Cooper was a role model for me so how could Valerie be any different. I was so off base.  Valerie is beyond honest and open about her life,  She shares how her weight has been a life long issue.  I was hoping for a bit more of the reality she struggled with while starting Jenny Craig however it maybe just that I was hoping for more of my roller coaster experience than she had. Her voice is true, sincere and engaging  I hope to "hear" her next book soon.

James Lee Burke
The Glass Rainbow (Dave Robicheaux #18) Found this very hard to "read"
Couldn't get engaged in the story or its characters.  Having not read any of the other books with these characters I felt as if I didn't really know them.
I hate not finishing a book :(
May also be the narrator, Will Patton, was just someone I really didn't like listening to.

Syrie James
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen I absolutely loved this book.  While checking out the book I saw that some didn't like this, however they were devoted Janeities and have a whole different perspective than someone like me who simply enjoyed her novels.  Written so seamless you truly begin to wonder if this is true at certain times.  Wouldn't we all have loved for Jane to find the kind of love she wrote about.

J A Jance 
Long Time Gone  (JP Beaumont #17) I have decided that Beaumont is the kind of man I'd be happy to have my son turn into.  I'm not sure if this is the 3rd or 4th book I've read in this series but I really enjoy Beau.  Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to read most of the earlier books in this series as they're not available on CDs but I highly recommend you start at the beginning if you can.
     As part of the S.H.I.T. squad (yup that's what it's called) Beau is asked to research an extremely cold case that one of his high school classmates believes she's witnessed. When it turns out that there's evidence of a cover-up that reaches into high society things start to get a bit dicey.  This book is also where we see the beginning of Beau and Mel's relationship,
     Ms. Jance commented on how this story came to her when a fan shared police reports on a cold case. I love when authors acknowledge that often their stories come from places other than their own imagination
Judgment Call (Joanna Brady #15) Joanna is juggling her full-time career as Sheriff in addition to being a wife and mom to two children, including a teenage daughter.  Her life collides when her daughter discovers the murdered body of her high school principal. To make matters worse Jenny takes a photo of the deceased which almost immediately goes viral.
     Ms. Jance's note on this book made me laugh ~ Just because I write about a character doesn't mean I like them.  I've had it in for Debra Highsmith ever since she refused to let Sheriff Brady bring her weapons to a high school career day celebration due to the school's "zero weapons tolerance policy."  (It turns out I have a low tolerance for zero tolerance policies since they often leave good sense in the dust.  A paper towel tube used to blow baby pine cones does NOT a weapon make.)  

Brad Meltzer
The Fifth Assassin (Culper Ring #2) Someone is recreating the four presidential assassinations. For now they're happy killing pastors but are they gearing up to kill the president?  Does research prove that there's an underground association that was behind all of these horrendous killings?  Could a secret association last long?  Beecher realizes the possibility having been recently added as the newest member in the Culper Ring, founded by George Washington.
     We get to learn more of Beecher's past and meet another childhood friend.  Meltzer's ability allowed him to create the scenario most of us could relate to regarding a "lost" childhood friend and the guilty we'd feel over letting them down.  His books always make you think, what if or could this happen?  Even his car chase was believable.  One thing that was a bit disappointing was Meltzer's reliance on his reader being familiar with the first book, The Inner Circle.  While he did provide some back story I felt it was a bit confusing.  His chapters jump back and forth between 3 different time periods which for the audio book was a bit confusing the first few lines.  On the audio book side Scott Brick was the narrator for this book and was a perfect fit.

Jodi Picoult ~ I read one of her books in the past and was left with an uncomfortable feeling and have avoided her books since. Glad I got over that:
Sing You Home  Admittedly I grabbed this book to fulfill one of my book challenges, and wow am now a fan of Jodi.  On the audio book between each chapter there is a song that she wrote.  I especially enjoyed that there were three narrators, one for each main character.  Jodi tells this story from three perspectives which made the story that much more engaging, allowing you to get inside their heads.

Christopher Reich
Rules of Betrayal  The third book, and latest book, in his Jonathan Ransom series. Like the previous two books Christopher Reich creates characters that feel real they are just in unbelievable situations, makes me think of the Mission Impossible franchises and a movie I'd want to see on the big screen.  This time we find Jonathan in Afghanistan wanting to escape any connection to his spy of a wife, Emma, and the association she works for.  However Division always finds a way to pull Jonathan into their plans.  It helped having read the previous two books in the series, though Reich does a very good job of making the reader feel fully informed.
   This was the first book I've heard using the Play-Away format.  I was reluctant to check it out of the library but was very glad I did.  The format is wonderful.  The size of a 1/2inch thick credit the Play-Away is a mp3 player which contains one book.  Wonderful for those of us who do not have access or the capability to download audio books.  I'm sure I walked a bit longer than I intended a few times while having Jonathan Ransom and company in my ears.
 JK Rowling
OK Admittedly I am a bit behind the times on this one but hey at least I finally showed up right.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

2013 Audio Book Challenge.  For this challenge I committed to reading  hearing 25 books over the course of the year.  Books read before this month: 10  Books read this month: March 3 April 6

 6th What's In A Name Challenge Lost or Found:  Losing It by V. Bertinelli
                                                                             Lost Memoir of Jane Austin by K. James

 2013 British Books Challenge (BBC). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling

Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge.  I committed to reading between 66-70 books during 2013.  To date I've ready 19 books.  To Stay on track I need to read at least 6 in May

Eclectic Reader Challenge. My Goal was to knock out at least two of these categories this month and I succeeded:
Memoir: Losing It by V Bertinelli
LGBT: Sing You Home by J Picoult

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