Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review - The Stranger You Know (Forensic Instincts #3) by Andrea Kane

The Stranger You Know

The Stranger You Know (Forensic Instincts #3) by Andrea Kane

From Goodreads:

It begins with a chilling phone call to Casey Woods. And ends with another girl dead.

College-age girls with long red hair. Brutally murdered, they're posed like victims in a film noir. Each crime scene is eerily similar to the twisted fantasy of a serial offender now serving thirty years to life-a criminal brought to justice with the help of Forensic Instincts.

Call. Kill. Repeat. But the similarities are more than one psychopath's desire to outdo another. As more red-headed victims are added to the body count, it becomes clear that each one has been chosen because of a unique connection to Casey-a connection that grows closer and closer to her.

Now the Forensic Instincts team must race to uncover the identity of a serial killer before his ever-tightening circle of death closes in on Casey as the ultimate target. As the stalker methodically moves in on his prey, his actions make one thing clear: he knows everything about Casey. And Casey realizes that this psychopathic won't stop until he makes sure she's dead.

I haven't read the first two book in the series, but when I was asked if I wanted to be part of the TLC tour, I immediately said yes because my blogging buddy and fellow mystery lover Tea Time with Marce had recommended Andrea Kane more than once before, and I never got around to reading her books.

I quite enjoy reading about the Forensic Instincts team which was made up of people with different specialty and talents - made me want to join their team! Not that I have any crime solving talents. As I didn't read the first 2 books, it took a little bit of effort to try to understand who-is-who, but it wasn't so bad. Though some characters got more "face time" than others, so there were a couple of the team members that I didn't get to know much about.

The story was fast paced, so it was an engaging read. However, some plot lines seemed a bit contrived (especially with Claire's psychic ability - I am not sure whether I believe in psychic power or not so I guess I lean on the more skeptical side though I found the topic fascinating). Also, with Casey being the human behavior expert, there was a choice she made near the end that made me felt like it was uncharacteristic of her.

Reading this book was like watching Bones the TV show - I loved the team work and read about everyone's skills. Seems like a good series to follow!

3.5 Stars.

Don't forget to check out the rest of the tour to see what other bloggers think! And this is a fun post - 5 Things We Bet You Didn't Know About.. Andrea Kane.

Andrea Kane’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, October 14th:  A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, October 15th:  Inside of a Dog
Wednesday, October 16th:  Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, October 17th:  Simply Stacie
Friday, October 18th:  Bibliotica
Monday, October 21st:  The Book Wheel
Monday, October 21st:  Shelf Pleasure – author guest post
Tuesday, October 22nd:  The Well Read Redhead
Wednesday, October 23rd:  Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, October 24th:  Chaotic Compendiums
Friday, October 25th:  She Treads Softly
Monday, October 28th:  Literally Jen
Tuesday, October 29th:  Redheaded Book Child
Wednesday, October 30th:  Mental Foodie
Friday, November 1st:  Life, Love, & Books
Monday, November 4th:  The Daily Mayo
Monday, November 4th:  Joyfully Retired
Tuesday, November 5th:  Bookalicious Mama
Wednesday, November 6th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Thursday, November 7th:  My Shelf Confessions
Friday, November 8th:  From the TBR Pile
Monday, November 11th:  Sarah’s Book Shelves
Tuesday, November 12th:  Reading Reality
Wednesday, November 13th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, November 14th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, November 15th:  Booked on a Feeling
Monday, November 18th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Tuesday, November 19th:  My Bookshelf
Wednesday, November 20th:  Broken Teepee
Thursday, November 21st:  Fiction Addict
Monday, November 25th:  October Country
Tuesday, November 26th:  A Chick Who Reads

Note - A free copy was given from TLC in exchange of an unbiased review.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review - Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor and Park

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads:

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

This book has gotten so much rave. And I found it just okay. In fact, I like it a bit less than the author's other book I'd just reviewed last week - Fangirl.

There were parts that I quite like - the sweet memories of when you just started going out with your first love, how you felt kinda awkward and nervous and excited, how you just wanted to spend all the time together and didn't know what is okay or not okay to say because you didn't want him/her to think you are weird... yeah, the author captured those feelings quite well and you nodded as you remembered.

But I felt that the characters didn't quite develop, like Eleanor and Park's relationship started out of nowhere, and the ending had me baffled. It seemed like a chapter was missing.

I'd say it again though that Rowell's writing was easy to read, as I was able to finish it in just a couple of days. Which is not easy to do nowadays!

2.5 Stars.

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

What would you rather be?

I saw this question from the Books, so many books' facebook page:

Which would you rather be:
1. an author
2. librarian
3. journalist
4. publicist 
5. proof-reader
6. owner of a book store
7. writer of reviews
8. poet
9. editor
10. if something else, what?

For me, 1, 2, 3, 6 appeal to me. Though I guess I am pseudo-7 (I don't write formal reviews, just share my thoughts here). I guess 4 or 9 could be fun. Definitely don't want to be 5, or 8.

I wish I could shadow all these positions though to really know what it takes to do their job.

How about you?

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

From Goodreads:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

I read Attachments 2 years ago (almost to the date! See review here) and liked it fine (chicklit is not my usual genre). Recently I'd read lots of good reviews of the author's other book, Eleanor and Park, so I thought I'd give that a try. I found out the author has another new book, Fangirl, so I reserved that too at the library. The 2 new books came at the same time for me to pick up at the library, and I thought I'd read Fangirl first as it seems like Elenaor and Park has better reviews. 

My library marked this (and Eleanor) as YA. I haven't been in YA mode lately (since I was pregnant really... coincidence?), but was in a fluff read mode. Only took me 2 days to read so that's a good sign. I can identify with Cath to some degree (not the fanfiction part, but when she first went to college). Overall I think it's an okay book - it's a little long (over 400 pages), and I admit about half way through I started skipping the Simon Snow excerpts (whether it's from the book series itself that's like Harry Potter, or from Cath's fanfiction). I supposed if I was a Harry Potter fan I may be more curious. As per usual, this genre is a bit predictable for me.

I do like Rowell's engaging writing, and that her characters seem real. You want to know what happened to the characters. But there's just something missing for me. I don't quite know what - I guess I like books that make me feel sentimental, but this one didn't quite bring me all the way there. Will read Eleanor next, and we'll see if I like that better.

3 Stars.

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Book Review - Corrupt Practices: A Parker Stern Novel by Robert Rotstein

Corrupt Practices: A Parker Stern Novel

Corrupt Practices: A Parker Stern Novel by Robert Rotstein

I read this based on my blogger buddy Marce's recommendation ( see her review here on Tea Time with Marce). I love reading legal thrillers, especially if they have good court room scenes while I can read about the strategies / tactics the lawyers use to win a case (how often do I wish in real life I can just demand someone to answer yes or no lol.)

This did not disappoint! Like Marce predicted, I did stay up to finish reading it (which is rare nowadays as I usually fall asleep at my desk now that we have a toddler... good thing it was a weekend). It had good characters, good plot and good court drama. Now I am kinda harsh when I rate a book - hardly any books are 5 stars (like only life-changing books get that), and only books that are very, very memorable will get 4.5, so a score of 4 is actually quite high in my ranking and this book gets a 4. There are some unresolved subplots - but I suppose this is going to be a series so there aren't answers to all the questions yet (which can be frustrating.) Some plots were also a bit contrived but at least they are probable.

I look forward to reading more books in this series!

PS - this is a quote Marce cited in her review, and it's also a quote that jumped out to me when I read this book. I do not have a religion, and have often wondered what religion really means to those who believe, so this is a great analogy for me to understand it a little bit:

"Religion can be very similar to an embrace. And you can't really explain an embrace. But there are people who comfort me with just a hug." Grinning slightly, she tilts her head toward her father. "If that same person hugged you, you'd probably recoil in disgust. But the trick, with both people and faith, is to find what will comfort you. We all need a divine embrace."

4 Stars.

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

Book Review - My Road To Wealth: Learn About Obtaining Wealth Through The Story Of A Young Self Made Multimillionaire by Todd Babbitt

My Road To Wealth: Learn About Obtaining Wealth Through The Story Of A Young Self Made Multimillionaire

My Road To Wealth: Learn About Obtaining Wealth Through The Story Of A Young Self Made Multimillionaire by Todd Babbitt

I bought this book a while back, and never got around to reading it (though I must have started reading it at some point, as I'd taken notes on the earlier pages! But I had no memory of it...) When I was sorting out my books to see what books should go back onto the bookshelf, this book screamed "read me!" and so I did.

I wish I'd read this earlier! The author is about 5 years older than me and seemed to have accomplished much more! This was a very fast read - not a how-to book, but rather, just the author's story on what he did to become wealthy. He was very willing to share what he did - not to the minute details but enough to get you thinking. Now, while he was a bit lucky and was investing in real estate at the right time, he worked hard to get to where he was - he did not just sit there and money did not just appear out of nowhere. He researched, he learned, he took risk, and he acted. He also was clear that real estate was not the only way to wealth - it just happened to be something he was interested in.

He was an avid reader - and he included a list of some of the best books he read, so I appreciated that. In fact, I'd bought a couple of the books he recommended, and would prob buy the rest once I read some of my other books. He had a point there - for a small amount of money (for a book), you got to learn  so much from other successful people, isn't that a great investment?! Now again, none of these books are quick-get-me-rich books (those are called scams), but they'd be good guides to help us find our own path.

He said that many people kept wondering what they'd do if they have money, and yet never did anything much to act on getting rich. Yes, definitely guilty of that.

4.5 Stars.

Note - I bought this book

All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.