Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Face of Deception and The Killing Game (Eve Duncan Series) by Iris Johansen

Kiki's Rating: 3 stars and declining

When I first starting reading the Eve Duncan series I was excited.  This was a new twist to the forensic thrillers that I love to read.  As I finished the first book and moved onto the second, I noticed a pattern.  The main character started to bother me.  Eve is very naive to the outside world because she has closed herself off, so when natural things, like love, come upon her she has no idea.  This was nice for the first book, a little annoying for the second book, but as I read into the fourth book I had enough.  I couldn't even finish the fourth book in the series.

See, Eve Duncan is a forensic sculptor who reconstructs faces for the missing.  She does mainly children she says for the satisfaction of bringing peace to the families and bringing the child home.  The real reason is that she is a victim herself having lost her daughter, Bonnie, at the hands of  a serial killer.  The catch is that the serial killer was executed before he could reveal where Bonnie was buried.  With the help of her "friend" Joe Quinn and some other exciting characters, John Logan, Sarah and her dog Monty, her mother Sandra  and Jane, her adoptive daughter, Eve searches for the remains of Bonnie in order to bring her "home".  This plot idea makes for a very exciting, but repetitive, novel.  See, what parent would give up the chance to bring closure to their pain, and what sadistic killer wouldn't take advantage of that vulnerability.

Don't get me wrong, I do suggest you read the series, but maybe pick and choose which to read.  I highly suggest the 1st and 2nd books in the series.  In The Face of Deception, you get introduced to the main characters for the first time.  In this book, John Logan, billionaire extraordinaire, takes Eve on the conspiracy ride of her life.  There is a political cover-up and only Eve's expertise can solve the mystery.  But can she survive all the dangers that Logan puts her in front of?  Logan, who is by far my favorite character, is an ass, to sum it up.  He pushes and pulls everyone in his life using his money and political power to get what he wants.  But has he met his match in Eve?  Then enters Joe, Eve's "protector" or want to be "lover", who just happens to be the FBI agent that worked the Bonnie case.  No matter what in the end, Logan wants Eve all to himself and out of Joe's hands.  The twists and turns in this novel kept me on my toes.  I couldn't put it down!!  It made me very eager to move onto book 2, The Killing Game.  This novel starts off where the 1st ends with Logan, Eve, and Joe in this love triangle.  Or is it a triangle because Eve has no idea anyone is in love with her.  As far as she is concerned everyone is just a good "friend".  Eve can't handle much more than that, and to be honest, doesn't want to.  But this time Joe might have the advantage.  He has discovered a set of child's remains that could be Bonnie. As they set off discover the identity of the remains the bones get stolen.  The thief, the real killer, promises that the bones are Bonnie's and starts sending them back to Eve piece by piece.  Eve must now play this serial killer's mind games in order to get her daughter back.  But is it really her daughter?  And can Eve handle this game without breaking? This novel probes further into what makes Eve tick and her real relationship with Joe.  It introduces two more pivotal characters that stay throughout the series.  It really was a page turner.

To sum it all up, I enjoyed these first two books.  I just felt by the end of the second that I had closure for the characters, except where was Bonnie.  So I read on.  The third book is not about Eve, but about Logan and Sarah, so I skipped it.  I do intend to go back and read it because I love Logan.  The fourth book was the continuance of the story I wanted to see, but it felt repetitive right from the start, so I didn't finish it. Eve feels betrayed, searches for Bonnie, gets caught up in conspiracy and needs Joe to save her. Same old, same old. It is my suggestion that you read the first two books and skip around to the other books that spark your interest.  I would suggest you read the filler books because they fill us in on the lives of the sub-characters from the series.  This series goes on and on with the plot, so choose carefully in order to not get bored.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Jules Rating: 5 stars

Halfway to the Grave is Book #1 of the Night Huntress Series. Cat is a half vampire from a small town in Ohio and is an outcast due to her mother having her out of wedlock. Cat starts killing vampires becasue of what they did to her mother and to find and kill her father. Cat ends up trying to kill a master vampire named Bones, who ends up striking a deal with her, to train her and help her find her father. In the process they uncover a vampire feeding ring, that is kidnapping young woman and selling them for food to other vampires at a very high price.
Cat is not always a charter you always like, but I love that about her.She is very sarcastic and cutting and funny, very kick ass. My favorite quote from her to Bones is "I'm saying that I'm moody, insecure,narwow-minded, jealous, borderline homicidal bitch, and I want you to promise me that you're okay with that because its who I am, and you're what I need."
Bones is very old and powerful and sexy...and Brittish with that lovely dry, cutting Brittish humour. My favorite quote from him to Cat is " You're not a woman" he said finally. " You're the Grim Reaper with Red Hair".
I could not put this book down, it was a very fast read, with lots of great action, laugh out loud comments, sexy, great character and very well written. Plus a cliffhanger of an ending, that I still can't believe what Cat has done..... I cant wait to get started on book #2 One foot in the Grave.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Split Second by Catherine Coulter

Kiki's Rating:  4 stars

Split Second is another FBI thriller in the Savich and Sherlock series.  To be honest I was fearful to read this book.  I was a little disappointed with Coulter's last book, Whiplash, and didn't want to read another book where Savich talks to a ghost or hones in more on his ESP.  I was delighted to find that this story was not to be the same.  Split Second has 3 sub-plots that take you on an exciting roller coaster not knowing which turn is coming up next.  I loved it!

The main story to this book is that Ted Bundy had a child and that creepy little girl has decided to follow in daddy's footsteps.  It is up to Dillion Savich, his but kicking wife, Lacey Sherlock, and his two new team members, Lucy Carlyle and Cooper McNight, to stop her before the body count rises.  Coulter keeps you on the edge of your seat as her chapters jump  from character to character seeing into each one's minds.  I personally enjoyed the chapters that let the reader get a glimpse into the mind of a serial killer.  The other sub-plots were equally exciting and added that Coulter multi-story flare to the book.  Lucy is battling her own nightmare as on her father's death bed she discovers her grandfather was murdered by her own grandmother.  But the real mystery is why, and what does a ring have to do with it?  Lucy has to depend on others, especially her partner Coop, when she would rather keep her family secrets in the closet, or should I say the "trunk".  The last plot is that of one of Savich's friends.  Mr. Patil has been robbed twice in a short period of time.  Each time someone gets shot.  Is it really a robbery or a hit? Savich is on a race with time to protect and save his friend. The title of this book really does it justice! The entire storyline is enthralled with the idea that you never know what is going to happen, and it can all change in a matter of seconds.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Coulter has a special ability to draw a reader in from page one.  You get invested in each character and tend to get depressed when the story ends.  I love how each of her books draws on the others, but if a new reader were to start with this book they would not be lost.  I do have to say that this book left me with a lot more questions than previous books. Does Lucy have more Savich like gifts and will she let Dillion in on the secret?  Are Lucy and Coop the new Savich and Sherlock?  There was a lot of foreshadowing that our favorite duo has about had enough.  I guess we'll have to wait and see what Ms. Coulter has up her sleeve.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Kiki's Rating: 4 stars

I have now read this book twice, but have been struggling to put into words why I read it, and even more why I read it again.  Every time I try to figure out what to write the main idea that comes to mind is that this book is crazy messed up, but in the most perfect way.  I gave this book 4 stars when it probably deserves 5 because of the ending.  The last chapter and the epilogue, for me, were too much.  I understand for this book the ending is perfect, and it is exactly the type of ending readers want, but it was too much for me.  See, Abby Abernathy had a horrible home life.  Dad was a gambler in with the mob and mom was a raging drunk.  The only family Abby had was her best friend America.  The two of them set out on a new kind of adventure, college.  Abby decides college is a place where she can escape her past and start a new, but she takes it to extremes.  She decides to be goody-to-shoes Abby instead of Vegas Abby.  This worked until she met her match in Travis Maddox.  Travis is exactly what she wanted to avoid in her new life, a tattoo covered, ultimate fighting, womanizer.  And for some reason Abby has captured his special attention. He starts flirting with her, giving her a pet name Pigeon, and trying his hardest to show her that he can be boyfriend material.  Abby tries her hardest not to fall for Travis, but the strength in how he loves her is too much for her to avoid. They go back and forth in this love/hate tit-for-tat through out the book.  I guess that is the part that I loved the most.  They would go one minute making out in the middle of a history class to a scratch-down, drag-out fight.  The craziest part and the most addicting was how they needed each other like a drug.  And when I say need, I mean NEED!  They didn't just love each other, they needed each other to remain in tact.  I don't want to go into any more details because I truly want you to read the book, but understand that I agree with Abby's roommate that this relationship was dangerous.

There are many twists and turns in this book that make it so exciting and something you will struggle to put down.  You may even be like me and have the urge to read it all over again.

Happy Reading!

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan

Kiki's Rating: 4.5 stars

I don't typically write reviews about the books I read because the books usually speak for themselves, but this time I feel compelled to write.  I gave this book 5 stars solely because it moved me to tears which is something rarely done by a book.  Emma was a young sixteen year old trying to escape the painful reality she went home to every day.  Death of her father and the abandonment of her mother left her to the mercy of her abusive aunt.  This aunt, Carol, was vile and makes my stomach turn even thinking about her.  She was so threatened by the idea of Emma receiving any affection from her family that she did everything in her to belittle and damage her.  If it wasn't for her best friend Sara I don't think Emma would have made it so long.  This book pulls at your heart strings as you feel for Emma, and struggle with her reasoning to stay in her horrible situation.  It isn't until the true love of Evan that Emma realizes her self worth and is willing to risk it all just to "live".

I've read a lot of reviews on this book.  Most of them criticize the ending.  Even though I hated the cliffhanger ending and can't possibly wait for the second book, I can't blame the author for her choice to end the book at that point.  It is a great set-up for a second book.  Most people felt like it was a cop out, and I say to them read the last page again.  Emma is at peace for the first time and ready to seep into the darkness when she realizes that she is going to lose this battle.  She reflects on having gained so much, but then reality hits in and she says "Was life a choice?"  Then the last line, which is my favorite, "In the balance of love and loss, it was love that made me struggle to ...Breathe."  It is my feeling that in those words Emma chose to fight!

This of course is just my opinion, so I urge you to read the book and draw your own.