Tag Archives: Books
by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
narrated by Danny Mastrogiorgio
6 CD’s approximately 7.5 hours
This is the 9th book in the Michael Bennett series. Some books were better than others a long the way but I always listen to a Michael Bennett Thriller at least once. I love the family, Father Shamus, Mary Catherine, ten kids with ten different personalities and if that wasn’t enough drama, there’s always a high pressure, deadly situation that only Detective Bennett can handle.
Bullseye doesn’t focus as much on family like in previous books. Some listeners will be disappointed, while others will be cheering this change of focus. I was a bit confused how the main plot was based on a couple’s plan to assassinate the newly inaugurated President at some point during the snowy month of November. (The U.S. Presidential election is held in November, however the President is inaugurated in January.) Everything said, I liked it. It’s a political/suspense/thriller with an enormous amount of gun knowledge. I learned a great deal about guns listening to Bullseye. (I made notes and looked ’em up.) Sniper tactics are described in such great detail the image of what was happening as the shooter laid down, exhaled deeply and took aim was as vivid as a painting on my wall.
Several family members want to borrow this book for these reason alone. If you’re a Bennett fan don’t miss this “episode.” If you’ve never read a single book in the series Bullseye might have you reserving the first ones at the Library. Finally, if you enjoy political thrillers give it a listen.
Danny Mastrogiorgio has perfected the narration for Michael Bennett Thrillers. I’ve grown so accustomed to hearing his voice I can’t imagine anyone else narrating for these characters. His pitch, tone, and character specific quirks add another element to the reading experience that is incredibly enjoyable.
MICHAEL BENNETT BOOKS
- ISBN-13: 9781478906179
- ISBN-10: 1478906170
- Publisher: Little Brown and Company
- Publish Date: May 2015
the main character still trying to distance himself from his fathers’ legacy as a crackpot, is giving safari tours
Zoo is a half-baked, science-fiction suspense-thriller, that with some comedy relief and backwards humor could’ve been a very good “spoof,” I really wanted to like this book, but the one dimensional characters were impossible to care about. The artificial pacing and choppy dialogue made it difficult to stay immersed in the story. I have been a James Patterson fan since the irst Alex Cross novel. Over the years there have been some books that weren’t as good as others, but in recent years there seems to be more bad than good. Only the name on the cover is familiar, – Gone is the masterful storytellers’ voice I had enjoyed so very much.This is especially true with Zoo. I understand this is a collaboration, that there will be a lot of Michael Ledwidge’s influence, however, in previous works I could at least recognize Patterson’s input. Zoo is not absolutely terrible, it’s ok. But with so many number one best sellers to his name, I expect more than okay.
Also available in Hardcover
What’s on RJ’s Wish List?
Wow, I’m sorry to say this is the first book I’ve read by Richard Montanari, but it certainly won’t be the last, I have already reserved Rosary Girls at my local library. Honestly, I really missed the boat with this author – but now that I have secured a quiet listening corner, I’m in for the long ride.
Although this is the eighth book in the series, it works as a standalone. There’s enough information about the characters to carry the reader through. And these are well drawn, three dimensional, and easily relateable. Philadelphia Homicide Detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are interesting, work well as a team, and have a palpable respect for one another. Byrne is more experienced, kind hearted and determined. While Balzano is opinionated and shrewd, with an equally warm heart. I particularly liked the absence of romantic entanglement.
Richard Montanari weaves multiple angles together into a disturbing tapestry of missing children, murdered children extravagantly posed on painted surfaces, and a convicted child killer weeks away from her final walk. Are they connected? Time is running out for Balzano and Byrne to find out. Throughout the reader discovers information only moments before the detectives. Montanari gives the reader credit and doesn’t spell everything out letter for letter. The Doll Maker is more about motives and concepts, than actual brutality and violence. The latter being the tools used to create his ‘art.’ The creepy tea dance invitations he leaves at each scene add yet another layer to an already colorful piece.
This is disturbing on so many levels – there were entire chapters that gave me goose-bumps (and I don’t frighten easy). Montanari has a gift – the ability to write realistically, believable stories that are the stuff nightmares are made of, but sadly could be the lead story on the news tonight. The Doll Maker is an outstanding book. Period. No matter what opinion you read, good or bad..if you enjoy suspense/thrillers – read this one for yourself.
*DO NOT form your opinion based on the prologue. Yes it is graphic, gruesome and extremely disturbing, but this does not fairly represent the rest of the story.
by David Baldacci
read by Ron McLarty with Orlagh Cassidy
11CD’s, Approx. 13.5 hours (unabridged)
*Also available in hardcover
David Baldacci (Website)
Hachette Audio (Website)
Best selling author David Baldacci has an innate ability to create interesting characters, there’s even something different about his bad guys… it isn’t that they are more evil or that his books contain more graphic violence – quite the opposite. Baldacci’s writing is classy. It is easy to identify with his characters, to feel for them, to be invested in what happens and Amos Decker is no exception. That said, this book is unlike any of Baldacci’s earlier works, it’s a breath of fresh air in an often stagnant genre.
Amos Decker suffered a crushing helmet to helmet blow ending his pro football career the first time he suited up. How his brain receives and interprets information was forever changed. He was diagnosed with rare cognitive phenomenons known as syynethesia and hyperthymesia. He can’t forget anything. Which for the first two decades of his career in law enforcement was a gift.
Then came that horrific night, when Detective Decker, returning home from a stakeout walked into a nightmare from which he has yet to awaken. His family had been murdered – his beautiful wife Cassie shot in the head, 9 year old daughter, Molly strangled and his brother-in-law’s throat had been slashed. Why? Who had done this? Despite their best efforts the case remained unsolved. His life spun out of control…he lost his home, his job, and nearly his mind.
That was 15 months ago. Now working here and there as a private investigator, Decker is trying to find his way out the darkness when his former partner, Mary Lancaster tells him a man named Sebastian Leopold has confessed to killing his family. While trying to talk to this confessed killer, there’s a school shooting as his alma mater, Mansfield High. From this point forward everything speeds toward the resolution.
I have always loved David Baldacci’s writing style – he takes risks…thinks outside the box. And Memory Man is definitely outside the box, I had never heard of these cognitive conditions and after much reading on the subject, I still don’t understand it. But that’s ok. This was an interesting read that sparked my imagination and while it did seem to go flat in few chapters, for the most part everything was tied together and resolved by the last page. I can’t say exactly what made this novel fall short for me, except that it just didn’t have the “fire” I have come to expect when reading a Baldacci book.
Click to Visit Amazon’s 2015 Best Book List
Solitude Creek is the fourth book in the Kathryn Dance series and not my favorite. The idea of a killer that sets the stage for people to cause their own death is thought provoking…. Would it be every man for himself, a literal dog eat dog type mentality? Sadly, time and again it plays out just that way. When local roadhouse patrons try to escape what they think is a fire, only to find the exits blocked, several are killed and numerous others injured, as fear and panic replaced rationale and human decency. All to the delight and amusement of “event murderer,” Antioch March.
California Criminal Investigations Detective Kathryn Dance has been placed on Civil Division Duty, unable to carry a weapon or work criminal cases. Forced to the sideline as the gang related drug smuggling case she was heading moves forward without her. However, she is able to stay in the loop on that case and consult with local authorities on the Solitude Creek stampede. And her usually mild mannered, well behaved kids (a son and daughter), pick now to start acting different…causing Mom a few more worries. Oh, she also has two men vying for her time and affection.
It felt to me like Deaver just tossed things on the wall and hoped something would stick. Compared to the Lincoln Rhyme series, Kathryn Dance doesn’t measure up. True they are very different characters, and that is great, but where Rhyme is a well rounded character, Dance feels like a bunch of strings that never form anything. With the first book, Bone Collector, I cared about the participants and what transpired in both their professional, as well as, their personal lives. Again, there’s a disconnect between me and Dance. Solitude Creek could have been a really good book, but not with Kathryn Dance in the lead. Having the audio version made it a lot better, because the narrator did an exceptional job keeping me in the moment, whereas left on my own with the hard copy I would have had a difficult time finishing it.
**Antioch March is an “event murderer”, meaning he causes the event, but the choices people make cause their deaths.
Visit Jeffery Deaver’s Website
Visit Hachette Audio’s Website
A tragedy occurs at a small concert venue on the Monterey Peninsula. Cries of “fire” are raised and, panicked, people run for the doors, only to find them blocked. A half dozen people die and others are seriously injured. But it’s the panic and the stampede that killed; there was no fire.
Kathryn Dance–a brilliant California Bureau of Investigation agent and body language expert–discovers that the stampede was caused intentionally and that the perpetrator, a man obsessed with turning people’s own fears and greed into weapons, has more attacks planned. She and her team must race against the clock to find where he will strike next before more innocents die.
- ISBN-13: 9781478903598
- ISBN-10: 1478903597
I had the pleasure of reviewing this books several months ago. I am reposting the review today because Suspicion has been nominated for the 2015 Barry Award for BEST Thriller. And Suspicion has been nominated for the coveted 2015 Thriller Award for BEST Hardcover Novel. CONGRATULATIONS!
Read the rest of this entry »
- ISBN-13: 9781478904250
- ISBN-10: 1478904259
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Narrated by Rene Auberjonois
visit: Preston & Child online
Named an Amazon Book of the Month
I’ll not waste time repeating the dust jacket or give away spoilers, this is simply my thoughts about Blue Labyrinth.
The suspense/thriller genre is crowded with interesting, exciting protagonists, but Agent Aloysius Pendergast, is in a class of his own. A Chongg Ran practitioner, with an extensive knowledge of food and wine, and unparalleled verbal skills. His appreciation of finer things always on display – designer suits, handmade shoes, a grand mansion on Riverside Drive, a lovely apartment in the Dakota, and his chauffeur driven 59 Rolls Royce.
Blue Labyrinth is the 14th novel in this series and while all of them have been “good”, some definitely shine brighter than others, as I’m sure is true of any long running series. The story weaves together the murder of Pendergast’s son, (Alban), and that of a Museum of Natural History technician. It was great to see P&C return to the roots of the series. But I still expected Agent Pendergast to be the star of Blue Labyrinth. He is not. Fighting for his life on the sideline, the spot light shifts to long time friend, Detective Vincent D’Agosta (NYPD), Dr. Margo Green (Curator, MSH) and Constance Greene (Pendergast’s ward). These three beloved characters take center stage as they try to assemble a puzzle with seeming unrelated pieces in time to save Pendergast. It was an entertaining read that revealed more about the characters than it did about the villains.
Blue Labyrinth is a solid read, with vivid depictions, three dimensional characters and plenty of the eccentricities I’ve come to expect from Preston and Child. Rene Aberjonois has one the most distinctive voices in narration. His ability to breathe life into fictional characters takes the listener inside the book from cover to cover. He uses tone, tempo, accents and pitch to make each character an individual and every setting a beautifully drawn scene. Blue Labyrinth is a good book and even better audio experience. There are flaws, but none so flagrant as to turn me away from the series. At times it felt like the authors were preparing for the demise of Aloysius Pendergast and maybe that was their intention. I’m just glad it didn’t happen in Blue Labyrinth, so there’ll be a #15.
Also available in hardcover
- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- ISBN-10: 1455525898
- ISBN-13: 978-1455525898
- NO WAY BACK
- Author: Andrew Gross
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (April 2, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061655988
- ISBN-13: 978-0061655982
- ISBN-10: 0061656046
- ISBN-13: 978-0061656040
Also available as E*Book
Too many? Everything. This book is a like reading a hurricane in the midst of an earthquake, while preparing for a cyclone. There are so many things going on…big ideas,(good ideas), that individually fleshed out, plotted carefully, with special attention to the small details that build the characters, could’ve been two very good books. Unfortunately, what we have is a fast paced, loosely plotted, shoot ’em up body count book that just doesn’t read like an Andrew Gross novel.
Two strangers, brought together by a swirling mix of coincidence and bad luck, are trying to prove their innocence, which may very well get them killed. That is the basics of Andrew Gross’ No Way Back. The two strangers, Wendy, a suburban housewife (ex-cop) and Lauritzia, a nanny (illegally in this country) working for a lawyer and his family. These women will find a way to not only stay alive, but out maneuver Mexican drug cartels, out smart murderers with ties reaching high into the U.S. government, rogue Homeland security agents and goodness knows what else. It’s a hodgepodge of cliche’s and unrealistic plot twists. There’s no depth to the characters. Halfway through the book it became difficult to continue because I simply didn’t care what was going on, nor what was going to happen next. And I wasn’t the only one, the lead ladies in the story didn’t seem to care that their family members were being hunted and killed.
The substance is missing- and without it, I’m left holding a book that is simply readable. Nothing more. If you’ve read Andrew Gross books in the past, read a few “reader” reviews of this book before you start reading it… so that you will lower your expectations.
Here’s a list of banned and challenged books.
- 1984 – George Orwell
- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) – Mark Twain
- Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
- Age of Reason – Thomas Paine
- Andersonville (1955) – MacKinlay Kantor
- Animal Farm – George Orwell
- Arabian Nights
- As I Lay Dying (1932) – William Faulkner
- Awakening – Kate Chopin
- Beloved – Toni Morrison
- Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
- Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo A. Anaya
- Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
- Call of the Wild – Jack London
- Can Such Things Be? – Ambrose Bierce
- Candide – Voltaire
- Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
- Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
- Catcher in the Rye (1951) – J. D. Salinger
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
- Civil Disobedience – Henry David Thoreau
- Color Purple – Alice Walker
- Confessions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
- Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
- Decameron – Boccaccio
- Dubliners – James Joyce
- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
- Fanny Hill – John Cleland
- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
- Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
- Grapes of Wrath (1939) – John Steinbeck
- Hamlet – William Shakespeare
- Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
- House of Spirits – Isabel Allende
- Howl – Allen Ginsberg
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
- Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
- Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
- King Lear – William Shakespeare
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence
- Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
- Lolita (1955) – Vladimir Nabokov
- Lord of the Flies – William Golding
- Lysistrata – Aristophanes
- Macbeth – William Shakespeare
- Madame Bovary
- Merchant of Venice – William Shakespeare
- Moll Flanders – Daniel Defoe
- Monk – Matthew Lewis
- Native Son – Richard Wright
- Nigger of the Narcissus – Joseph Conrad
- Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
- Origin of the Species – Charles Darwin
- Passage to India
- Portnoy’s Complaint (1969) – Philip Roth
- Rights of Man – Thomas Paine
- Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie
- Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Separate Peace – John Knowles
- Silas Marner – George Eliot
- Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
- Sons & Lovers – D.H. Lawrence
- To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
- Tropic of Capricorn – Henry Miller
- Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare
- Ulysses – James Joyce
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe
- Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle
- Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The week may have passed, but you can still get involved…by simply reading one of these books. (or two, or three….)
Exercise your right to read the literature of your choice. You have the right to make the decision of what is acceptable and what
is too controversial for you…personally. These are personal, individual decisions… and each of us has the right to make the choice
for ourselves. Based on our individually held beliefs.
It’s that time of year again- Here are the 2012 Finalists…
The judges have their work cut out for them … as has always been the case, the books that have made it to this stage are the cream of the crop – take a look at the finalists….
Do you have a favorite?
post a comment with your favorite or send us an email
Junot Díaz, This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group USA, Inc.)
Dave Eggers, A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s Books)
Louise Erdrich, The Round House (Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Ben Fountain, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Kevin Powers, The Yellow Birds (Little, Brown and Company)
David Ferry, Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press)
Cynthia Huntington, Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press)
Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Etruscan Press)
Alan Shapiro, Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Susan Wheeler, Meme (University of Iowa Press)
Anne Applebaum, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956 (Doubleday)
Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Random House)
Robert A. Caro, The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4 (Knopf)
Domingo Martinez, The Boy Kings of Texas (Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press)
Anthony Shadid, House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE
William Alexander, Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
Carrie Arcos, Out of Reach (Simon Pulse, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)
Patricia McCormick, Never Fall Down (Balzer+Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Eliot Schrefer, Endangered (Scholastic)
Steve Sheinkin, Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon
(Flash Point, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)
AND THE NOMINEES ARE……….
· The Missing by Tim Gautreaux
· The Odds by Kathleen George
· The Last Child by John Hart
· The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
· Nemesis by Jo Nesbø, translated by Don Bartlett
· A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
Best First Novel by an American Author:
· The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano
· Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley
· The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf
· A Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
· Black Water Rising by Attica Locke
· In the Shadow of Gotham by Stefanie Pintoff
Best Paperback Original:
· Bury Me Deep by Megan Abbott
· Havana Lunar by Robert Arellano
· The Lord God Bird by Russell Hill
· Body Blows by Marc Strange
· The Herring-Seller’s Apprentice by L.C. Tyler
Best Fact Crime:
· Columbine by Dave Cullen
· Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn
· The Fence: A Police Cover-Up Along Boston’s Racial Divide by Dick Lehr
· Provenance: How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo
· Vanished Smile: The Mysterious Theft of Mona Lisa by R.A. Scotti
Best Critical/Biographical Work:
· Talking About Detective Fiction by P.D. James
· The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives edited by Otto Penzler
· Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King by Lisa Rogak
· The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar
· The Stephen King Illustrated Companion by Bev Vincent
Best Young Adult:
· Reality Check by Peter Abrahams
· If the Witness Lied by Caroline B. Cooney
· The Morgue and Me by John C. Ford
· Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low
· Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
· The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity by Mac Barnett
· The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour by Michael D. Beil
· Creepy Crawly Crime by Aaron Reynolds
· Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn
· The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline by Nancy Springer
Grand Master Award:
· Dorothy Gilman
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