Gah! I wrote a pretty decent introductory paragraph and proceeded to lose it in a fight with my browser's evil back button. Here's the less awesome in...moreGah! I wrote a pretty decent introductory paragraph and proceeded to lose it in a fight with my browser's evil back button. Here's the less awesome introductory paragraph.
Hooray!!! The Thousand Dollar Tan Line is my first five star book since April. That was a little more than 40 books ago. Here's the thing: there's this little book called The Golem and the Jinni that I fell in all sorts of in love with. I was wooed, enchanted, and mesmerized by its beauty. A beauty that no book since April has been able match, let alone surpass. Now, while The Thousand Dollar Tan Line doesn't surpass The Golem and the Jinni or match it even, it was still a pretty damn good read. In the full interest of disclosure, I will say that I really love the Veronica Mars TV series. So, I'm all types of biased when it comes to this book.
The plot: When it comes to mysteries, I find myself being a little hard on them. I used to say that all I needed was a page-turner to be satisfied with a mystery, but now that's not the case. Now it needs to be a page-turner, with the right amount of twists, with resolution of plot lines that are not completely contrived, and characters that are not completely freaking stupid! Yes, I'm a hard one to please. However, I'm fully satisfied with the mystery aspect of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. The mystery of what happened to Haley and Aurora was one that had me completely captivated. The twists to said plot lines were plausible and weren't overly twisty.
The characters: I love all of the characters in Veronica Mars. Veronica is sharp, witty, and just utterly fantastic in the series and she is all of these things and more in The Thousand Dollar Tan Line. I loved getting inside of her head moreso than in the show. The supporting characters were all great, too. Mac with her acerbic and wry wit, sweet, dependable, hilarious Wallace, equal amounts of gruff, yet paternal Keith. All of the favorites are here. In fact, the one teeny, tiny, flaw I found (which is totally personal) was how little of Weevil there was. I love Weevil. He is and will forever be my favorite character in the Veronica Mars series. I would've loved it if he had more to do here. Besides that, the characterization in this book was amazing. Even the new characters were interesting. (I loved the relationship between Veronica and Hunter most of all...not including Weevil, of course).
The romance: I'm the farthest thing from a romance fan. And while I really like Veronica and Logan in the TV series, I was afraid that I would find them eye-roll worthy in the book. I didn't have to worry too much about it because since half of that duo is overseas, he really didn't have time to annoy me. So, the only little bits of romantic Logan didn't really bother me. In fact, I saw it as a plus of sorts.
Now a little teeny recommendation when it comes to The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: For the love of all that is good and holy, PLEASE listen to the audiobook of this book. It was my first audio book and I thought that I wouldn't be able to get into it, but it was surprisingly easy. This has everything to do with Kristen Bell being the narrator. And she does a fabulous job. She gets all of the characters' voices so perfectly...especially Mac and Wallace. She just sounds like them! This was such a great audio book that it has actually made me interested in downloading more audio books for my hour and a half commute to school. Seriously, if given the choice between the actual book and the audio book of The Thousand Dollar Tan Line, pick the latter. You won't regret it.(less)
So, most people who only "just liked" Prayers for Rain or didn't enjoy it all are quick to say "It was no 'Gone Baby Gone'". And they would be right.....moreSo, most people who only "just liked" Prayers for Rain or didn't enjoy it all are quick to say "It was no 'Gone Baby Gone'". And they would be right...Prayers for Rain was actually better than 'Gone Baby Gone', in my opinion. While Gone Baby Gone was good and slightly better of the Kenzie and Gennaro novels prior to it, I felt like it was a smidgen melodramatic. For me, the Kenzie and Gennaro series are not only superb thrillers, there's also an underlying sense of humor that makes them great for me. However, Gone Baby Gone was sort of short on the humor. Prayers for the Rain adds a superb mystery and keeps the wit that the previous books in the series had.
Not only did Prayers for Rain have the wit that the previous novels had, we also got more insight into Bubba. He's always been one of my favorite characters and he has more of a role in this novel. At first, Bubba was just an impulsive and criminal childhood friend of Patrick and Angie's who had a hard on for explosives, but in this one he serves more of a purpose. You can actually see the love that these three characters have for each other. Admittedly, that made me go "awww" and "tear", which is surprising when you consider how twisted and psychologically thrilling Prayers for Rain was.
So, if you want to read a thrilling, witty, and superbly written (I mean, come on, it IS Dennis Lehane after all, so what else would you expect?) mystery (and overall) novel, definitely pick up Prayers For Rain. (less)
In the full interest of disclosure, I'm going to say this: I am so not a romance fan. The only way I even remotely get into romance is if it's Chick-L...moreIn the full interest of disclosure, I'm going to say this: I am so not a romance fan. The only way I even remotely get into romance is if it's Chick-Lit, Young-Adult, or fanfiction. But most of the time, I stay away from the actual entitled "romance" books. However, I used to lurk in fanfiction circles and that's how I learned about With Good Behavior and decided to try to win it on First Reads. Luckily for me, I did because it absolutely did not disappoint.
First things first: I loved Grant. Yes, I did! I wanted my own McSailor. He was just so sweet and loyal and hot (my imagination can do wonders, thank you very much!). Sigh. Now that I got that out of the way, let me continue with the other characters: Sophie was actually a smart heroine. That's one of my pet peeves since other romance books I've read (Twilight, Loyalty's Web, Companions of the Night) tend to start out with a smart heroine and then proceed to make her lose many IQ points when she meets a hot guy. But maybe it's because Sophie didn't start out on that high pedestal (she was just released from prison, after all), but she didn't completely irk me. Again, she was intelligent and pretty kick-ass in her own right. Plus, she retained that fiery spark even after she met McSailor and didn't go all submissive-like. Oh, and I loved the fact that she was a psychologist since I'm currently doing my undergrad in psychology.
But I absolutely loved and adored the supporting characters (I'm a supporting characters slut! I tend to love them all more than the actual main characters). Roger might've been my favorite just because he brought the funny. I was seriously laughing out loud every time he appeared on the page. I also liked Jerry Stone with his heart of gold no matter how hard he tried to hide it. I also loved Sophie's relationship with Kirsten (I'm a sucker for a good female friendship in fiction). All of the supporting characters were made of win!
My absolute favorite part of With Good Behavior was that it was action-packed. It wasn't just a romance and wasn't all "I LOVE YOU." "NO! I LOVE YOU, MORE!" There was an actual plot that was filled with twists, turns, and a whole lot of suspense. From what little I've read of other novels in the romance and chick-lit genre, this seems to be more unique. Now, I've categorized With Good Behavior as chick-lit only because the thought of creating a "Romance" shelf and have this book all lonely within it made me break out into hives (not really, but it made me supremely uncomfortable. I'm weird that way...), but it's actually way more angsty than chick-lit and should go in a romance shelf (if it were any other person, but me that is), as well as a crime/mystery shelf.
Anyway, the point of this semi-coherent and very rambling review is to say that I completely recommend With Good Behavior. It was a romance with a lot more genres packed into it. It was also a really feel-good kind of story and may be one of the only romances I may like. I'm not going to go around yelling that romance is my fave genre anytime soon, but this one didn't make me want to poke my eyes out with a Twizzler. So, it was really pretty much full of win.
I tend to read Tess Gerritsen books when I feel a reading slump coming on. They're just the perfect books to curb them since they're quick books that...moreI tend to read Tess Gerritsen books when I feel a reading slump coming on. They're just the perfect books to curb them since they're quick books that have you turning pages at an alarming speed. Anyway, that's why I picked up Vanish. I've been in final project hell and needed something that I would get into right away. While Vanish wasn't my favorite in the Rizzoli and Isles series, it definitely didn't disappoint.
Vanish doesn't so much start off with a bang, but rather a creepy and effective beginning. Mila's story was heartbreaking and enthralling that I found myself wanting the Rizzoli and Isles parts to be over faster just so I can get back to her story. However, the middle was where I started having some issues. I felt that it lagged just a bit with the whole "Jane is a hostage" situation. It wasn't as heart-pounding as I thought it would be. Also, I felt that it was veering towards political thriller territory and that just isn't my cup of tea.
Soon afterwards, my fears were quenched and Vanish went right back to the heart-pounding thriller that I expected it to be with a satisfying ending for some and heartbreaking endings/beginings for others. While there were a few bumps in the road, I enjoyed Vanish immensely.
I also found that I'm not getting sick of the leads. Usually after I've read more than a few in a series, I find that there are certain things that are starting to bother me about the main characters. Just little quirks that are starting to become more apparent after so much time together. This hasn't happened with the Rizzoli and Isles series yet. It's quite the opposite actually. An example of this is when I read the plot for the upcoming book (I believe it's the 8th in the series) and my heart hurt just a little at the thought of what's coming up for Maura. Hopefully, it won't end the way I think it will and there will be another worthy plot twist that won't have me in tears.
Anyway, not only did Vanish curb said reading slump, but it got me that much more excited for the upcoming Rizzoli & Isles series on TNT. So much that I'm now counting down the days until July 12th. So even if Book 8 ends up the way I hope it won't, I'll still have the series there. Unless of course, the people at TNT (I'm not calling the idiots...yet) cancel the show before it's time and then I'll go back to the books and realized they sucked and the show was better...I doubt this will happen. It's not like Tess Gerritsen is James Patterson and the Rizzoli & Isles series is the Women's Murder Club...(less)
It's weird, but during this book I suffered through various feelings of like and dislike. When I started reading it, I actually liked it quite a lot,...moreIt's weird, but during this book I suffered through various feelings of like and dislike. When I started reading it, I actually liked it quite a lot, but then it sort of seemed to drag on.
The inside flap of The Last Juror states that it's about how Danny Padgitt murdered a woman and while he was on the stand, threatened to harm the jury if they convicted him. But really only about the first 50 pages and the last 100 pages actually dealt with the trial and Padgitt's threat. My main gripe with this is that it deviated so much from what it seemed the actual book was about. When I started reading this, I thought that it would be suspenseful with this sort of agonizing tension starting from the trial to Danny Padgitt's threat to the picking of the jurors one by one, but it wasn't like that.
Another thing that annoyed me was the actual ending. It seemed very anticlimatic and it seemed like it came out of left field. I found myself thinking "That's very, very implausible" and also "How would no one know?." The ending was also very abrupt.
I guess some of the book was interesting and I did care about some of the characters. It was also nice how he had characters from A Time To Kill appear briefly in The Last Juror. Although, I really didn't think Lucien Wilbanks was such a bastard in A Time to Kill, but I thoroughly disliked him in this one.
I've only read one other Grisham book and that was A Time To Kill. That one was fabulous. This one...not so much. I'm still planning on picking up some of his other books (especially since I own like six others) and am hoping the brilliance that was behind A Time to Kill, shines brighter on one of the others.(less)
"Daddy's Little Girl" by Mary Higgins Clark is about Ellie Cavanaugh, who was seven when her 15-year old sister, Andrea, was allegedly murdered by her...more"Daddy's Little Girl" by Mary Higgins Clark is about Ellie Cavanaugh, who was seven when her 15-year old sister, Andrea, was allegedly murdered by her rich boyfriend Robert Westerfield. Ellie feels that she is to blame for her sister's murder since she knew where and with whom her sister was during the hours leading up to Andrea's murder, yet kept quiet for fear of getting her sister in trouble.
Fast forward twenty-years where Rob Westerfield is up for parole and intends to seek a new trial to prove his innocence. Ellie, who is now an investigative reporter and is sure of Westerfield's guilt goes back to her hometown to find more evidence against him.
I thought "Daddy's Little Girl" was an exceptional mystery that kept me guessing until the end (which was downright creepy). Ellie was also an extremely likable and memorable heroine. It was a quick and easy read. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery books. This is my third Mary Higgins Clark book. I read "Two Little Girls in Blue" and "Daddy's Little Girl" within days of each other and I have to say that this is my favorite from the two.(less)
Dr. Diana Duprey, an abortion doctor, is found dead, floating in the family pool. The suspects include her husband Frank, who is the town D.A. who fou...moreDr. Diana Duprey, an abortion doctor, is found dead, floating in the family pool. The suspects include her husband Frank, who is the town D.A. who fought with her last, Rev. Steve O'Connell who visited Diana in her home even though she had a restraining order in place, and her daughter Megan, who also argued with Diana the same day.
"The Abortionist's Daughter" is sort-of whodunit mystery wrapped around a controversial issue. The mystery aspect of the novel was predictable at best. I guessed who had murdered Diana halfway through the book. That didn't stop the book from being enjoyable, though. One thing I liked about the book is that it didn't shove certain views down your throat. Hyde didn't put down people for abortions and/or people against abortions.
One thing that absolutely bugged me was the "blossoming" relationship between the cop investigating the case and the victim's daughter, Megan. Was I supposed to be rooting for that relationship? Because I wasn't. That could not have been more inappropriate. It wasn't sweet or romantic. The novel would have been better off if that particular route had not been taken. So, two stars.(less)