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Mailbox Monday #136 and Library Loot #6

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  This month our host is A Sea of Books.  Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailboxmeme.  Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  To the Moon and Back by Jill Mansell for review in September from Sourcebooks.

2.  Out of Breath by Blair Richmond for review in October.

3.  Mr. Darcy's Undoing by Abigail Reynolds from Sourcebooks for review in October.

4.  Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen from Sourcebooks for review in October.

5. Becoming Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey from Random House for review in the fall.

Library Loot:

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

1.  Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

2.  Sugar in My Bowl by Erica Jong

What did you receive this week?

Mailbox Monday #134 and Library Loot #5

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon at the right to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  This month our host is A Sea of Books.  Kristi of The Story Siren continues to sponsor her In My Mailboxmeme.  Both of these memes allow bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received this week:

1.  Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto from Shelf Awareness.

2.  Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax from Joan Schulhafer Publishing & Media Consulting for review in the fall.

3.  Whiplash by Catherine Coulter, which my husband found in our Sam’s Club cart; I’ll probably give this one to my mom since it’s more her cup of tea.

4. The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison from Shelf Awareness.

These are from the library sale, only one for me though:

5. Dubliners by James Joyce

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

7. Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt

8. The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

9. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

10. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

11. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Library Loot:

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

12. Toys by James Patterson & Neil McMahon

13.  If I Stay Gayle Forman

14.  Where She Went by Gayle Forman

What did you receive this week?

9th Judgment by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audio)

9th Judgment by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, and read on audio by Carolyn McCormick, begins with the murders of a mother and her young infant.  It’s clear that Lindsay and the other members of the Women’s Murder Club are in for a rough ride this time around.  McCormick does an excellent job providing different personalities and voices for each character, though at some points in the audio her interpretation of coroner Claire Washburn’s voice is a bit too deep and masculine.

Lindsay is not only tasked with finding the lipstick killer who kills women and children firms, but she also must take on a high profile case involving a movie star, Marcus Dowling, whose wife was murdered following a robbery.  Is the husband acting or is he devastated by the death of his wife, and was the robbery committed by the famed Hello Kitty cat burglar coincidental?

9th Judgment delves into how being a solider in war can twist your psyche, and how when these men return from combat, things are just not the same for them or their families.  Additionally, this novel connects characters in ways that are unusual and surprising, deals with physical abuse, and more.  In terms of depth, this novel has more of it than some of the others given that the motivations behind the criminals are examined.

Patterson and Paetro make a good team in the Women’s Murder Club series, although readers may find that some of the story lines are not as well crafted as some others.  However, in 9th Judgment, readers will find that even though they are introduced to the criminals in the first few chapters, how their capture unravels is titillating and edgy. Overall, this installment in the Women’s Murder Club series is a great addition and will have readers looking forward to the next one.

My husband and I listened to this one on our commute northward for Thanksgiving and finished it up on the way back.  He enjoyed the chase scenes for their vivid description and the comedic elements as Lindsay plays go-between for the FBI and the lipstick killer.  There were fewer instances of sound effects in this one, with just a few gunshots in the beginning, which was fine with us.  We’ve grown attached to these characters, even the latest member of the club, Yuki Castellano.  At one point near the end, my husband and I almost thought we’d have to write Patterson a scathing letter, but alas we just had to listen onward to learn that our fears were misplaced.

This is my 15th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (audio)

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro’s 8th Confession is read by Carolyn McCormick, and does a fine job differentiating between the characters.  In this book, Lindsay Boxer is confronted with a personal, life-changing decision and is bogged down in several high-profile cases.  Rich men and women are being murdered in their homes, but there is no cause of death — at least any that Claire can find during autopsy or through toxicology tests.

“Claire waved a computer printout, said, ‘Toxicology was negative.  No poison, no opiates, no narcotics, no nothing.  Cause of death? No idea.  Manner of death? No idea.  Something stinks, and I don’t know what,’ she told us, ‘but the likelihood of these two individuals, with completely negative autopsies and completely negative toxicologies, expiring at the same time is statistically astronomical.'” (Page 111)

Meanwhile, Cindy Thomas uncovers the murder of Bagman Jesus, a local homeless man, who she believes is revered by his community.  Investigating the murder becomes her obsession, but she also finds herself tied up in another passion — Richie Conklin, Lindsay’s partner and secret desire.

Readers will see the sparks fly between these friends and between the sheets in this thriller.  Unfortunately, there seems to be too much of a focus on the bedroom, and very little focus on the investigation — whether Lindsay is mulling over her feelings for Rich or her love for Joe, her live-in boyfriend.  Once the focus is back on the killer, readers will be sucked into trying to uncover for themselves how the murders are being committed.

The audio, just like the book, is fast-paced.  However, 8th Confession is not as strong as some of the other books in this series.

This is my 12th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (audio)

Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge is the third book in the Michael Bennett detective series.  Readers will not have to read the other two books in the series to follow along as this New York Detective takes on a child kidnapper with a social agenda.  Bennett is a single father with 10 children — not all of them biological — whose holy grandfather Seamus and nanny Mary Catherine make his life a little less hectic and in some cases even more so.

Bennett must not only balance his fatherly duties with detective work, but also must learn to separate the cases he works on as part of major crimes.  New York is an excellent location for this detective, with its high crime boroughs and its high class residents.  Worst Case is narrated superbly by three narrators, Bobby Cannavale, Orlagh Cassidy, and John Glover as each voice takes on either Bennett, FBI child kidnapping expert Emily Parker, or the serial murderer.

“Without pausing, he veered to my left, bounded up onto the low iron railing, and dove without a sound off the bridge.

I think my heart actually stopped.  I ran to my left and looked down.  The guy was plummeting toward the water when there was a strange bloom of color that at first I thought was an explosion.  I though he’d blown himself up, but then I saw the orange canopy of a parachute.”  (page 187)

Readers will enjoy the fast paced, short chapters with their clipped sentences as tension builds and Bennett runs in circles around the city at the behest of the killer.  The narrators of the audio pulled off the New York and Virginia accents as they read through the book, although the sound effects of gun shots and other items were a bit disturbing, especially when driving late a night on dark highways.

Worst Case is another sign that this series about Michael Bennett is just heating up.  Another suspenseful winner.

This is my 11th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

While I attend some great panels and meet some authors and publishers in New York City this week, I didn’t want to leave my readers high and dry for reviews. My mom, Pat, has supplied me with enough reviews to get you through until my return. Please give her a warm welcome. If you want, check out my thoughts on Alex Cross’s Trial.

Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo begins with Alex Cross transcribing the story of his great uncle Abraham to make sure his children know there is more than one hero in the family.  The story takes place in Eudora, Mississippi, in the 1900s.  Ben Corbett has been asked by President Roosevelt to investigate ruors of the Ku Klux Klan and lynchings of Black folk in the south.

In this story, attorney Ben Corbett heads back to his hometown in the south to investigate the rumors.  Dealing with slavery, racism, and more, Alex Cross’s Trial is an action packed, suspenseful story.  It will have readers on pins and needles at all times, keeping you interested until its conclusion.  Another five-star read from Patterson.

Thanks to Hachette for sending a free copy of this book for review.

Worst Case by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

While I attend some great panels and meet some authors and publishers in New York City this week, I didn’t want to leave my readers high and dry for reviews. My mom, Pat, has supplied me with enough reviews to get you through until my return. Please give her a warm welcome.

James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge’s Worst Case is another in the Michael Bennett detective series set in New York.  In this novel, a son of one of New York’s wealthy elite is kidnapped off the street and held hostage.  The twist is that the parents do not have a ransom demand to meet and the prospects of saving their son appear grim.

The killer seems to like playing games with his victims and their families, quizzing the kidnapped victim and killing them if the answers they give are incorrect.  Bennett must follow the clues left for him to solve the case.

However, one kidnap victim was smarter than the others and she answers all the questions correctly.  Surprisingly, she is freed.  Patterson does a great job leaving the killer a mystery; the last person readers would suspect is the killer.

Another fast read with spell-binding action.  Five stars.

Thanks to Hachette for sending along a free copy of Worst Case for review.

Swimsuit by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Mailbox Monday will be postponed until my return.

While I attend some great panels and meet some authors and publishers in New York City this week, I didn’t want to leave my readers high and dry for reviews.  My mom, Pat, has supplied me with enough reviews to get you through until my return.  Please give her a warm welcome.

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro‘s Swimsuit takes place in Hawaii, the perfect place to wear a swimsuit and get some sun.  It is also a perfect place to conduct a photo shoot, but that’s when the fun begins because a breathtaking model Kim McDaniels disappears.

After her disappearance, her parents, who live in Grand Rapids, Mich., receive an anonymous phone call about her disappearance, which causes them to quickly get on a plane to find out the real scoop.  Ben Hawkins, a former cop and now reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is assigned the disapearance story.  However, McDaniels’ disappearance soon spirals into an investigation of a serial killer who kidnaps and brutally murders models while taping the crimes.

Another action filled novel from James Patterson that takes you to new locations in Hawaii and Europe and keeps you reading until the very end.  Another five star read.

Thanks to Hachette for sending a free copy of Swimsuit for review.

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson (Joint Review With Mom)

James Patterson’s I, Alex Cross is the latest book in the Alex Cross series, and it will shock readers.  Cross must face a death in the family, a health crisis with another family member, and a horrific series of murders that involve call girls, an exclusive gentleman’s club, and a wood chipper.

“I brought home the files I’d gathered and took them to my office in the attic after dinner.  I cleared off one entire wall and started tacking up everything — pictures of the missing, index cards with case vitals that I’d written up, plus  a DC street map, flagged everywhere that victims had last been seen.”  (Page 48)

Each book in the Alex Cross series can be read alone, though readers will miss the evolution of his character if they don’t read them in order.  Patterson is skilled at building tension and suspense in these novels through short chapters, changing points of view, and clipped sentences.  Readers will be running alongside Cross as he uncovers the true identity of the killer, known only as Zeus.

“This was the kind of homicide that used to make me wonder why I keep coming back for more, year after year.  I knew that on some level I was addicted to the chase, but I used to think that if I figured out why, then I’d stop needing it so much, maybe even turn in my badge.  That hadn’t happened.  Just the opposite.”  (Page 48-9)

Cross is a deeper character than most main characters in crime novels, with his psychology degrees, his intense organization during cases, his family, the loss of his wife, and the face offs he has with a variety of criminal masterminds.  Patterson has kept this character fresh even after 16 books, and he still has room to grow.  I, Alex Cross is a welcome addition to the series.

I’m going to turn over the reins to my mom, Pat, for her review of I, Alex Cross.

One of the best books written by James Patterson.  All of his books are exciting and suspenseful and make fast reads.  In I, Alex Cross, Detective Alex Cross is at his birthday party when he gets the phone call about a brutal murder.  He finds out that his niece Carolyn isn’t who she pretends to be and has a life that nobody knows about.  Cross is called in to work on the case.  A five-star read!

Thanks to Hachette Group for sending myself and my mom a free review copy of I, Alex Cross for review.

Don’t forget about the Alex Cross giveaway going on now through April 24th at 11:59PM EST.

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Please stop by the next stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour at Everything Distils Into Reading and In Bed With Books.


This is my 8th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo is a book within a book in which the introduction is written by the character Alex Cross and sets up the impending story of his ancestors.  Abraham Cross lives in Eudora, Miss., and he helps the narrator, Attorney Ben Corbett uncover the truth behind the alleged lynchings in Mississippi and the rest of the South and to collect evidence for President Theodore Roosevelt.

“On the front lawn two adorable white children in a little pink-painted cart were driving a pony in circles.  On the wide front veranda I could see the children’s mother observing their play and a small army of black servants hovering there.

This was a vision of the old South and the new South, all wrapped into one.  There, gleaming in the drive, was a handsome new motorcar, brass fittings shining in the sun.  And there, rushing across the yard in pursuit of a hen, was an ink-black woman  with a red dotted kerchief wrapped around her head.”  (Page 136)

Ben Corbett is a progressive attorney who moved from Eudora, Miss., joined the military, became an attorney at Harvard University, and moved to Washington, D.C., with his young wife and twin girls.  He’s asked by Roosevelt to investigate the lynchings in the South and bring back evidence so that he can deal with the problem.  Patterson and DiLallo offer up an authentic step back in time for this mystery, with appearances by W.E.B. Dubois and other historical figures.

Alex Cross’s Trial is a well-written off-the-beaten path novel in the Alex Cross series.  Abraham Cross, a former baseball player with the Philadelphia Pythians, is an unassuming Black man living in the South, who has struggled against racism, but is willing to stake his life to make a real change in the nation.  Readers will enjoy the quick page of the novel, the historical setting, and examination of issues that still exist today.  Patterson and DiLallo have done a fantastic job in making a unique addition to the Alex Cross series.

For a couple takes on Cross Country, visit my mom’s review and my review.  Also take a look at Washington, D.C., and my Alex Cross poem.  Check out the other bloggers posting for Detectives Around the World Week. Thanks to Hachette Books for sending me a free copy of Alex Cross’s Trial to review.

Giveaway Details:

For those who have been following the Detectives Around the World Week, anywhere in the world, please answer the following question in the comments and leave me your email:

What has been your favorite post during the week and why?

Those who do not answer the question will not be entered, and I will select a random winner for the three latest Alex Cross novels, Cross Country, Alex Cross’s Trial, and I, Alex Cross through Randomizer.

Deadline is May 2, 2010, at 11:59 PM EST.

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Please also stop by today’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour stop at She Is Too Fond of Books and A Circle of Books.

This is my 6th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Cross Country by James Patterson

James Patterson’s Cross Country is full of action, conspiracies, and danger.  Detective Dr. Alex Cross is called to the scene of a horrific murder of an entire family when Cross realizes that Ellie Cox was his first love in college.  Her death and that of her family tug at his heartstrings and strengthen his resolve to find her killers.

As he investigates the crime, he discovers a gang of boys led by a man calling himself the Tiger is behind the murders and much more.

“The boy was eleven years old and fearless as a crocodile in a muddy river.  He raised his pistol much larger than his own hand and fired it into the shivering father’s forehead.”  (Page 5)

Through short chapters and quick action scenes, Patterson builds the tension in Cross Country, leaving readers on the edge of their chairs as Cross hunts down another vile criminal who recruits boys as young as ten who have been orphaned in a number of African nations to become killers.  Traveling to Nigeria, where it is clear Cross has not seen as much horror as he thought he had, the detective lands in hot water with local police and a swath of criminals.

“I shook off whoever was on my right arm and swung at whoever had my left.  None of them was stronger than me, but collectively they were like fly paper covering every inch of my body.  I fought even harder, fighting for my life, I knew.”  (Page 183)

Patterson is an excellent story teller, and Cross Country has more violence in it than the previous Cross novels.  Readers may be disturbed by the sexual violence and blatant murders committed by the criminals in this novel.  Additionally, the resolution of this novel comes about more because of luck or circumstance than because of Dr. Cross’s deductive skills, which readers traditionally look forward to in these novels.  However, those looking for a great police procedural with a mix of nearly impossible overseas intrigue, Cross Country is for them.

For another take on Cross Country, visit my mom’s review. Also take a look at Washington, D.C., and my Alex Cross poem.  Check out the other bloggers posting for Detectives Around the World Week.  Thanks to Hachette Books for providing me with a free review copy.

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Also don’t forget about today’s stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour at the life (and lies) of an inanimate flying object, her giveaway, and Evelyn Alfred.

This is my 5th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.


Alex Cross’s Washington, D.C.

James Patterson‘s detective series featuring Alex Cross is set in the hub of government and intrigue — Washington, D.C.  I’ve lived in the area for nearly 10 years, and the most anyone ever sees of the city is The National Mall and the Smithsonian museums.

Alex Cross sees the underbelly of city as a cop, but he also enjoys his community near his home on 5th St. SE.  His kids have attended the Sojourner Truth School, and he volunteers at St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen, which I believe is mirrored on a number of soup kitchens in the area.

When multiple homicides occur, Cross often is briefed at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in the Henry J. Daly Building, which was named after Sgt. Henry “Hank” Daly. He also often runs into the FBI at Quantico and elsewhere.  Cross has crisscrossed the United States a number of times, but now he’s even traversed the ocean.

In Cross Country, Cross leaves his home base to catch a serial killer in Lagos, Nigeria the hub of corruption and crime.  Information is traded for American dollars or other currency in market stalls.  Meanwhile, a corridor exists between Nigeria and Sierra Leone where diamonds are traded for oil and gas — at least in Cross’s world.  Check out the Getty Image below of Lagos.

After reading a number of these novels, I think Washington, D.C., is an excellent location to have as a home base.  The city has a high crime rate and is the home of espionage and more, but in Cross Country, Cross experiences a few African nations that are even more horrifying and lawless.

I’m going to leave you with a little interview from James Patterson, and you can look forward to my review of Cross Country tomorrow.  Also, check out the other bloggers for Detectives Around the World Week.


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Don’t forget about the next stops on the National Poetry Month Blog tour at
KCBooks and Author Amok.