Thursday, December 30, 2010

Saying Goodbye to 2010

Here is a list of books I've read this year. You may or may not find them interesting...I'll give a comment on some of them.  I've had a great time the last six months on this little lame book blog. I've read some great books and have been introduced to some new writers thanks to book bloggers that I have found on Twitter.  Amazingly, some of these great people allow me to follow their Twitter feed and some are even following me back. (total pressure...I still have yet to perfect my tweeting skills. One day I'll master it, I'm sure.)


1. The Secret Life of Bees- Sue Monk Kidd

2. Dark Lover #1
3. Lover Eternal #2
4. Lover Awakened #3
5. Lover Revealed #4
6. Lover Unbound #5
7. Lover Enshrined #6
8. Lover Avenged #7
9. Lover Mine #8
10. Black Dagger Brotherhood Insiders Guide
~This series will be on my reading list each year. Yes...they are that good.  At work we refer to them as vampire porn.  It's a great story about a group of vampire warriors known as the Black Dagger Brotherhood.  These warriors are fighting to save the extinction of their race.  They live in Caldwell, NY- and I have to admit that I was tempted to search out their mansion when I was in NY for that Lee Child book signing this year.  Every night when I would see a flash of light in the NY skyline, I knew the brothers were out slaying Lessers.  This series comes complete with a glossary Insiders Guide.

11. Dead Until Dark
12. Living Dead in Dallas
13. Club Dead
14. Dead to the World
15. Dead as a Doornail
16. Definitely Dead
17. All Together Dead
18. From Dead to Worse
19. Dead and Gone
20. Dead in the Family
~If I have to tell you anything about this series...something is wrong with ya! I started this set after I finished the BDB series. My coworker had received the series as a gift and I was just starting my love affair with reading.  Did you know Charlaine Harris will be at Bouchercon 2011 next year in St. Louis? If you want to know more about Bouchercon and find out what you need to do to attend, you can find information about it here.

21. Interview with a Vampire #1
22. The Vampire Lestat #2
23. Queen of the Damned #3
24. The Tale of the Body Thief #4
25. Memnoch the Devil #5
26. The Vampire Armond #6
27. Merrick #7
28. Blood and Gold #8
29. Blackwood Farm #9
30. Blood Canticle #10
31. Pandora #11
32. Vittorio the Vampire #12
~I know, I know. I was on a vampire kick...who hasn't been at one time or another?  Actually, I borrowed these books from my friend, Vicki and fell in love with the series.  Anne Rice is the only author I know that can write three entire pages about the desert and not make me fall asleep.  In fact, her characters are so well developed that I know they actually exist.  They have to be real! Every once in awhile, you'll find me referencing them on-line in a comment somewhere.  For example, I left this comment when I was trying to win an e-book:

My heart and soul belong to the crime writing community, but...I read just about anything that sounds interesting minus sci-fi. Ya, if I can't pronounce the name of the planet or the moon in some ones world, I pass on the book. I also have a soft spot for vampires. (Marius, did you find the scattered notes I left for you in New York?) See...vampires are real, right?

In all honesty, I love books that have characters I can relate to with story lines that keep me so entertained that I don't mind missing a meal or two. I haven't come across a book I haven't liked but once, and even then, it was probably my own mood that killed it for me. (I won the book!)

33. Frankenstein Series
34. Mr. Murder
35. Dark Rivers of the Heart
36. The Husband
37. Intensity
38. The Face

39. Lightland- Kenny Kemp
~this was a great book...until the end when every other page was missing.  Uh-did you find a cure for that virus or not???

40. At First Sight- Nicholas Sparks
41. The Last Song- Nicholas Sparks
42. A Bend in The Road- Nicholas Sparks

43. Change of Heart- Jodi Picoult

44. Love The One You’re With- Emily Giffin

45. Prayers For Sale- Sandra Dallas

46. CRASHERS- Dana Haynes

47. Vanished- Joseph Finder
~I'm in love with Nick Heller...just in case Mr. Finder has any doubts.  Bring on the former flame in the next book. I'm totally ready for her.

48. The Betrayed- David Hosp

49. The Sword #1
50. The Wolf #2
51. The Master #3
52. The Song #4
53. The Cat #5
54. The Storm #6
55. The Fire #7
56. The Mage #8
~read these for a friend to see if they were worth reading...they aren't!

57. EVEN (2)
58. Die Twice
~I have a super soft spot for Mr. Grant and the David Trevellyan series.  The longevity of this series and Mr. Grant's happiness is extremely important to me.  If you buy the series and are not me at I'll refund your money.  The series is that GOOD!

59. Dracula- Bram Stoker

60. Killing Floor #1 
61. Die Trying #2
62. Tripwire #3
63. Running Blind #4
64. Echo Burning #5
65. Without Fail #6
66. Persuader #7
67. The Enemy #8
68. One Shot #9
69. The Hard Way #10
70. Bad Luck & Trouble #11
71. Nothing to Lose #12
72. Gone Tomorrow #13
73. 61 Hours #14
74. Worthy Dying For #15
~With this series came my Reacher Worthy Status Chart...the chart where I measure my Reacher worthiness...I might be developing a new chart when I complete the series...just starting book #15, and only having it return when a new book is available.  At this point, in all honesty, I'm not sure if I'm in love with Jack Reacher or Lee Child. 

75. Farm Fresh Murder- Paige Shelton
~I met Paige Shelton at a book signing here in Salt Lake.  I wanted to make sure I was supporting authors that live in my area. We've since become friends and enjoy regular lunch dates.  My review of Farm Fresh Murder-my very first "review"-was so liked by my readers, they actually told me to do more. Go figure!

76. The Hunger Games
77. Catching Fire
78. Mockingjay

79. How To Grow Up and Rule the World- Vordak the Incomprehensible
80. Opposing Energies- J.W. Collier

81. The Great Bridge- David McCullough

82. Terminal Damage- Do Some Damage Gang
83. Eight Pounds- Chris F. Holm
~I lumped these two collections of short stories together because this was my first introduction to short stories. I had no idea people wrote short stories and had them published and available for readers.  I'm not sure why this was so amazing to me, but my readers fell in love with the idea just as much as I did. The idea of being able to pick up a book and read a complete story in a short amount of time was priceless for many of my blog followers that have no free time.  I plan to introduce them to more of these options next year. Oh...I also met a new bad boy that I fell in love with. Yes, Oscar...I'm talking about you!

84. The Stupidest Angel- Christopher Moore

85. A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens

There ya have it! My end of the year post complete with really weird commentary.  Thanks for reading my blog and I look forward to visiting with you next year...which by the way, is going to ROCK!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sabrina's Reading List for 2011

So I would think it is safe to assume that my reading schedule for next year is a little over the top. I'm not quite sure where all of these books came from, but not all the books on my list are even listed on this blog post.  I have 12 books on order through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, and another two boxes of books that I received that will give me at least a dozen or more to add to my TBR pile for next year.  Plus, this doesn't include my selection of books for the two reading challenges I signed up for...

I have no problem admitting that I am a good twelve years behind on my reading, which is why I've added the entire Robert Crais collection to my list.  Plus, I'm thinking it might help me when I attend Bouchercon 2011 in St. Louis next year since Mr. Crais is a guest of honor.  Are you signed up to go?  If you want to go or would just like to know more about this incredibly cool convention that I have never attended before, you can find information about it here. Oh! I forgot to tell you the greatest news of all...I'm getting my very first library card next week!  I know, I know!  You're probably wondering what the heck I've been doing all this time, right? Well, let's just say my husband will be very pleased with my decision.

What are you reading next year?










9. CASKET FOR SALE (only used once)- JEFF STRAND

Monday, December 27, 2010

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child

Just in case you're ever interested in planning a tactical assault, Reacher says it's been proven by the Soviets that the best time to attack is at four in the morning.  It has something to do with brain function being at its lowest activity level, or something like that. Well, whatever it is, I could have used this information back in high school. 

My senior year in high school a group of us decided it would be fun to toilet paper our Principal's house.  We were on good terms with the guy and we had nothing but the best intentions in mind; just a bunch of kids playing around is all. It was back in the day when camo attire was popular, so we dressed up in some camo gear and headed out for a night of fun. Things went pretty smoothly for us and we completed our task with little to no trouble.  I think we lost a couple of rolls of paper before using their full covering potential, but all in all, we did well for the short amount of time we spent on the task. 

I'm not quite sure if any of us were feeling guilty about our secret mission when we arrived at school the following Monday, but before first period would even begin, we would definitely have a change of heart.   It was shortly after we all noticed we were having difficulties with our lockers that we were summoned to the Principal's office.  Turns out Mr. Sharps is a war veteran and heard us the moment we stepped foot in his yard.  The first thing he did was grab his weapon.  The second thing he did was search for the enemy. He said his first images of us running around his yard in camo brought back memories he would rather have forgotten. He spoke to us of war flashbacks and how we should be more considerate of other peoples property. It was a great learning moment for all of us and I'm thinking  that even if the four in the morning stuff is a proven theory, my guess would be it wouldn't have worked in this situation or with any other war veteran I know.  I'm not a war veteran and even my background keeps me prepared at all times of the night.  Especially when I'm visiting my family in Oregon. Plus,  this little blogger is awake every morning at four. (I was trying to develop Reacher's internal clock trick.  I wanted to wake up every morning at five, but I'm originally from the West Coast and I'm thinking my internal clock isn't interested in Utah time.  It's probably the same reason why my brain still isn't able to figure out the state tax system.)

In Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child, Reacher is riding the New York subway late at night when  he spots a woman that he believes is a suicide bomber.  After a shocking turn of events and some pretty blunt accusations by local law enforcement, Reacher, partially out of guilt, is determined to  find out what exactly was happening in this woman's life to make her commit such a desperate act.  In the story you'll find out just how easily it is for government employees to be taken advantage of by terrorists posing as Afghan  war widows, learn that every so often an elected official has secrets that can actually hinder another country more than our own, forever be scarred by images of women slicing and dicing their way to confessions, see Reacher utilize the four in the morning theory with perfection, and be surprised by Reacher's incredible knowledge of rats. Rats? Yep, it's true.  Reacher likes rats.  I found it rather interesting myself.  It reminded me of all the useless information I have about cockroaches.  Hmmm,  I wonder if I could turn that into a blog post?

P.S.  I'm not sure who it is in the Netherlands that is in love with Andrew Grant, but don't think I'm not noticing how many times your clicking on that review of Even. You may have moved that post to third place, but you have a long, long, long way to go before you even come close to knocking Nick Heller out of the number one spot. Just sayin'! ;-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas to my Favorite Men of 2010

wishing all of
my favorite male
fictional characters a
Scott Finn, my favorite Boston defense
attorney~The Black Dagger Brotherhood-The
Blind King~Vishous~Rhage~Butch~Rehvenge~Quinn~
Zhadist~John Matthew~Blaylock~Lassiter~Murhder~
Tohrment~Phury~, these are the men who named me Kate in my
dreams~Jack Cassian, a D.C. Officer with a nice bed-side
manner~Tom Kozlowski, Boston P.I.~Jack Reacher, seriously,
your blue eyes will forever haunt me~Lestat~Marrius~Tarquinn
Blackwood, some of my favorite men from The Vampire
Chronicles~Andrew Wallace Graham III, I still love how you met up with
 your wife on the bottom steps of your first apartment in New York
City~Vittorio~David Trevellyan, okay-so he’s more like a brother to me,
but my life wouldn't be the same w/out him~Tommy Tomzak, the seriously hot
NTSB Investigator from the south~Nick Heller, I think I’m in love with him more
 than all of the others, but even I know I’m not good enough for Nick~Mitch Rafferty~DetectiveTaggert~Gale~Peeta~Dominor~Rydan~Andrew
Mayhem, minus the “indirect” killings, I think we’re pretty much alike~
Evin Driscol~Your story is still unread, but you already have my heart~
And Oscar Martello, Yes-it’s true. Since my college drop out status
 probably knocked me out of the running for Nick Heller, I decided I should
 set my sights on you. After all, you’re supposed to be leaving
 “the business” and I figure I just might be the girl to help you find the proper
 path to goodness. Plus, I was really impressed with how you used your
ceramic hunting knife on Johnny Quinn.  I think I just might have an inner bad
 girl inside of me after you can see from all the men I've loved this year.
my favorite men of 2010~

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore

So, here we are a few days before Christmas and I'm finishing up my favorite holiday read of the year, The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore.  Well, I'm actually reading Version 2.0 which comes with a special bonus chapter.  A bonus you need a bonus chapter after reading this book.

This wonderful story takes you to the picturesque coastal town of Pine Cove, California where the citizens are being visited by Archangel Raziel who is hoping to earn his wings by coming to earth and granting the wish of a child.  Sounds warm and fuzzy until you realize that the little boy, Joshua, has just witnessed the murder of Santa and all he wants is Santa to come back from the dead. Yep, you guessed it.  There be zombies in this book!

In the story you'll find an Archangel that isn't very bright, a little boy that isn't any brighter, a behavioral field biologist using mice in what can only be described as a "male are stupid test," and lots of brain eating walking dead people. Oh...and a fruit bat. Can't forget the fruit bat.

You'll also read about the fight that killed Santa.  Hey men, have you read this book?  If you have, then you know now that you should never  thump a woman on the head with a flashlight when she's holding a shovel. 

The Stupidest Angel Version 2.0 comes with the following warning:

"If you are buying this book as a gift for your grandma or a kid, you should be aware that it contains cusswords as well as tasteful depictions of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex.  Don't blame me.  I told you." 

Hmmm...I didn't think the sex scenes were that bad.  He makes it sound like people in their forties can't do it correctly or something.  I personally consider this book a must read for any adult that doesn't mind cusswords, cannibalism and people in their forties having sex.  I apologize to my family and friends who disagree with me.  For them, I highly recommend A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  It's definitely more family oriented and there are several movie variations available for your viewing pleasure. 

Christopher Moore is the author of eleven novels, including the international bestsellers, Lamb, A Dirty Job and You Suck.  His latest novel is Fool, a retelling of King Lear from the perspective of Pocket, the Fool.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Die Twice by Andrew Grant

Andrew Grant, like David Trevellyan, the main character in his novels Even and Die Twice, does not worry too much about finesse. His writing beats the reader over the head, delivers a swift kick to the jugular, and leaves him gasping for air. Okay, that may be putting it a bit too strong; however, the point is that Grant’s books go from exploit to exploit, fight to fight, without a whole lot of let up. Which, of course, is what you want if you are reading a crime thriller in the first place. 

In Die Twice Trevellyan travels from New York, the scene of Even, to Chicago to take down a rogue British agent who is trying to sell highly toxic gas to terrorists. He searches for the rogue agent, and then for the gas, and in the process covers just about all of downtown Chicago. The rogue agent is actually working for terrorists from a small African nation who want to use the gas to poison their whole country, for reasons that are not entirely clear. Luckily, Trevellyan finds the terrorists and some of the gas. Unfortunately, there is more gas, (“dun dun dun”), and it falls into even worse hands, to be used for even more nefarious purposes. What could possibly be worse than wiping out a small African nation? You’ll have to read the book to find out, though you may wonder which is worse. Of course, to save the day Trevellyan has to break a lot of noses, shoot a lot of people, and bust down a lot of doors. If this sounds a lot like Even, it’s because it is. Not in a bad way, but rather in a, “if you liked the original, you’ll love the sequel” way.

As I read Die Twice I wondered how close to being a rogue agent Trevellyan is himself; he doesn’t ever worry about back-up or following procedure and regularly takes justice into his own hands. His justification for killing is often that the people are bad (they are) and they deserve to die (they do); however, I was often left wondering what it would take for him to go off the rails and decide that someone who isn’t bad deserves to die and then just do it. He does seem to have gone a little bit more on edge in Die Twice than he was in Even and a little closer to that point. Maybe that kind of edge is good in a fictional action hero, but…I just can’t help wondering if he couldn’t do with a little more sense of principle. He is British after all. Wondering what Trevellyan will do next, and whether he’s going to eventually go nuts, will keep me reading the next installment. Which is probably the point anyway.

You can read more about Andrew Grant and the David Trevellyan series at

Review written by The Senator

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Mormon Reference in Nothing to Lose-

I'm continuing with my discussion on Nothing to Lose by Lee Child, if only because I rambled too much in the last post, and also because I thought it would be fun to talk church stuff on Sunday.  Seriously, that's why I waited.  I could write this post today as a way to not feel guilty for blogging on the Sabbath.

Okay. Where was I? Oh, yes...There was a reference to Mormon missionaries in the middle of page 146 that I found humorous, and it also brought back a memory from my missionary days. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but this little blog lady served a mission. My destination? The Nevada Las Vegas Mission. I'll be the first to admit that I was choking back the tears when I read my little letter from the First Presidency of our church. As you can only imagine, Nevada wasn't first on my list of destinations for a mission. I distinctly remember putting Ireland as my requested mission location. Perhaps they didn't read it. Whatever the case, Nevada was my location and Nevada is where I went.

By the time you get to page 146 of Nothing to Lose, Reacher has been back and forth from Despair to Hope and back again, come across a dead body in the desert, met Officer Vaughan, disabled all the deputized law enforcement in Despair, and is now searching out Judge Gardner because he's under the delusion that he should be sworn in as a deputy. Delusional or not, Reacher is knocking on the Gardner's door past nine o'clock at night when Lee Child adds this thought to the mix. "Reacher knew he was no kind of an ideal nighttime visitor. Nine times out of ten only Mormon missionaries were less welcome than him." **laughing**.....**still laughing**

Honestly, I have no idea if that is true or not.  I imagine some missionaries serve in areas where they are unwelcome, but I'm happy to report that I only encountered one such incident during my eighteen month mission.  As stated above I was serving in Nevada.  At the time of my most unfortunate encounter, I was serving as a companion to the Sister Assistant to the President.  It sounds like a cool title to have, but it required me to go on 24 hour exchanges five nights a week with other sister missionaries and evaluate their skills. It wasn't the best time of my mission, but someone had to do it! 

I was  with some sister missionary tracting (tracting is where we knock on doors looking for investigators-people that want to learn more about the church) in some neighborhood in Las Vegas. (don't you just love my details?  This is why I could never write my own novel.)  We were half way through the neighborhood when a garage door went up at the home we were about to approach.  I say "about" because the owner came out of his garage carrying a shotgun and met us at the end of the drive way.  Well, not being stupid, we walked by him without making eye contact.  Once we went by, he disappeared inside his garage only returning to greet us on the way back to our vehicle. Naturally, the sister I was with wanted to cross the street in order to return to our car.  I, on the other hand, had other plans.

At this point I was just annoyed with the guy.  I mean, seriously, what is he going to do?  He can't just shoot a Mormon missionary in the middle of some city street.  Well, I suppose he could, but it would be such a silly thing to do.  Besides, I was skilled in the art of building relationships of trust by finding common ground.  The guy had no idea who he was dealing with.  After approaching the end of his driveway, I stopped and turned directly to face him.  Looking him in the eye I said, "that's a really nice weapon you have.  Is that made out of walnut?"  He responded  by tilting his head and blinking.  So, I continued with, "It's been years since I've shot one of these.  In my childhood I used to hunt squirrels in the back woods of Shreveport, Louisiana with my cousins."  At this point...he belonged to me.  The guy busted up laughing and invited us in to meet his wife. 

So, I guess it's possible that nine times out of ten we Mormon missionaries would be less welcome than Reacher.  But, for me, nine times out of ten the vacuum salesman will be less welcome than my favorite man Jack.  In fact, I would gladly pick Reacher up off the side of the road if I ever found him wandering the sad lonely streets of Magna, Utah.  My husband probably wouldn't let me take him home with me, but...a girl can always dream.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Nothing To Lose by Lee Child

I probably shouldn't be doing this, but I really couldn't resist.  I had written a review of this book, but I felt like I was a little disconnected in my usual approach so I took the time to see what others had been saying about this book.  I'm so glad I did because the comments all made me laugh and they kind of ticked me off.  I thought I'd share a couple and share some comments after.

#1 (anonymous review) The plot involves tough hombre Jack Reacher treated rudely in a company town called Despair, where he promptly deposits several men to the hospital. Reacher makes several repetitive trips across a barren landscape to investigate the nefarious doings at a scrap metals plant in Despair, aided by a female cop from a neighboring town called Hope. Somehow, the plot never gels--religious fanatics, environmental damage, war vets, etc. -- all the major issues of the day are mixed in this salsa. Probably most disappointing are the oddly written passages that seem the work of a lesser writer than Lee Child (see Reacher mulling over meanings of the word UHaul as he looks at a truck-- a dismal passage that left me wondering if Child's editor was the victim of a roadside bomb).  OUCH!

#2 (anonymous review)  I know it is hard to keep a series going but the last Reacher novel set in LA was great so I had high hopes for this one. It is a fast read but overall was disappointed because the whole set up seemed contrived.  The whole set up that Reacher didn't get served coffee and is chased out of town and he just doesn't move on seems a bit ridiculous...he's not helping or saving anyone so it all just seemed a bit much.  The main thing is really there isn't much happening in the book other than Reacher going to the town, leaving going to the town, leaving etc. Oh, and the ending...right, she's gonna push that button..would never happen.

Gee whiz, people!  Where's the loyalty? Better yet...did we even read the same book?

In the book Jack is headed to San Diego by bus, car, foot...when he arrives in Despair, Colorado and is subjected to harassment by the local townsfolk because they have secrets, and they don't like outsiders.  After being driven out of the city by law enforcement, Reacher being the stubborn character that he is, decides he wants to head back to Despair and find out what all the fuss is about.  The book takes Reacher back and forth between a neighboring town called Hope where he meets Officer Vaughn, and together they set out on an exciting adventure to discover the truth about Despair.

In the book you'll find a town ran by a religious fanatic that has been surplussing uranium at his recycling plant in the hopes of jump starting Armageddon, Reacher discovering a dead body in the desert as he makes his way to Hope, a war vet that brings to life the reality of the War in Iraq, an officer that is struggling with the consequences of said war, and an ending that will leave you believing that there is absolutely nothing that my man, Jack- can't do! 

As for the garbled written reviews above?  Let me dissect them just a little.

#1-religious fanatics, environmental damage, war vets, that pretty much speaks for's true. All of this in the book.

#2-see Reacher mulling over meanings of the word UHaul as he looks at a truck-- a dismal passage that left me wondering if Child's editor was the victim of a roadside bomb.  I don't understand why your upset with this.  At the time he's discussing the origins of the company name U-Haul, he's been driving a beat up car for hours while driving behind a U-Haul truck and was trying to keep himself awake.  And seriously-you've never found yourself doing this?  I have.  For instance...why is Mtn Dew called Mtn Dew?  The can is green, the liquid is green.  Why not just call it Mtn Green or better yet, why don't they just drop the Mtn all together?  Is the word Mountain subliminal?  See, everybody does this. 

#3-he's not helping or saving anyone so it all just seemed a bit much.  Hmmmm...correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't he stop a mad religious freak from using a dirty bomb to kill thousands of people in an attempt to jump start Armageddon?  And didn't he find a dead body in the desert?  And didn't he pretty much save Officer Vaughn from her life of misery by giving her some much needed lovin' and a better understanding of how to deal with her husband. (Okay, that last sentence sounds kind of bad, but you really have to read the book to understand.)

#4-Oh, and the ending...right, she's gonna push that button...would never happen. Well, I personally would have been irritated if she hadn't pushed the button.  I would have pushed the button, so in all likelihood, she would have pushed the button, too.  It just makes sense. 

So, there you have it- my take on Nothing to Lose by Lee Child. It's a great book and I highly recommend it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010



This Kindle collection features eight stories including Chris Holm's Spinetingler-Award-winner “Seven Days of Rain,” Derringer finalist “The Big Score,” and his Ellery Queen debut “The World Behind.”     This was a suggested purchase by book reviewer Elizabeth White, so I knew that it would be a good one to have.  There wasn't a story in this collection I didn't like and I wasn't disappointed. You can purchase it for $0.99 at Chris F. Holm's website here: CHRIS F. HOLM.  Seriously, the collection is a steal and is a must have for your Kindle collection.


Do Some Damage is a group of eight crime writers that share their wisdom on "reading, writing, plot, voice, and all the sordid junk that goes through a writer's brain."  They've combined their talents of story telling into one great collection that you can purchase on your Kindle for $0.99.  You can purchase the collection here: TERMINAL DAMAGE.  You can also follow them on their blog DO SOME DAMAGE.  I stumbled upon the gang at Do Some Damage by accident while looking for book blogs, and I've been a fan ever since.  They are an impressive group with more than one book in my TBR pile.  I'm hoping to be able to meet them at Bouchercon 2011 in St. Louis...if I had my way I'd pay for them all to come to Salt Lake City. As I've told Russel McLean, our liquor laws aren't as strict as they used to be, and some of us in SLC really do like to read.  You can't beat the price for Terminal Damage, and it should definitely be on your Kindle.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

EVEN by Andrew Grant review by The Senator

In a crime thriller, telling the story is everything, otherwise there’s nothing to read. The pulps and noir novels of the early twentieth century are the parents of today’s crime thrillers. Like their parents, the plot, characters, and story lines of modern crime thrillers run essentially the same; thus the distinction between a good and bad thriller is the telling of the story, the narrative flow, and the likability of your characters.

Andrew Grant has released two novels in the David Trevellyan series. Although his newness shows through in several respects, his books also show great promise because he knows how to tell a good story. Throughout the book Mr. Grant gives appropriate detail to surroundings and events so that the reader is able to develop a sense of the place without getting bogged down in the details. Also, the pace of the storytelling is just about right for a crime thriller; I felt like I was carried along fast enough to be able to keep reading, without feeling rushed.

Even is the first novel in the Trevellyan series and it starts out engagingly enough. Our hero sees a body in an alley and stops to investigate. From there he is framed for murder and gets caught up in a local criminal syndicate’s plans to skim millions in Social Security payments and kill an FBI agent. After taking care of the syndicate’s boss (or so we think), Trevellyan decides to help the FBI track down a body part smuggler who also happens to be an international terrorist (with no connection to the criminal syndicate). It goes without saying that Even keeps up a pretty frenetic pace. While the pace is enjoyable, I found it a little difficult to wrap my mind around two separate plots running in what amounted to two separate novels written together as one. Additionally, because Grant had to tell two separate stories in one novel, I ended up wanting to know more about each. For example, although we get the picture that the female leader of the unidentified criminal syndicate is evil (and I mean EVVILLL), we never really get to know her; she has the proper credentials to be a thriller novel bad girl (sadistic, cruel, rules with an iron fist, etc.) but beyond that we never learn anything else. Once the bad girl was finally dispatched by Trevellyan I didn’t get as much joy at her demise as I might have had if I had gotten to know her a little better. The same goes for the other antagonists in Even. Maybe I sound a little like a psychologist, (“Yeah, I know you’re evil, but how does that make you feel?”) but if I’m going to feel good about someone getting whacked, I want to know more about them than just their evilness. The scant attention paid to the antagonists is probably a product of how tightly packed Even is, since it is really two novels in one.

Trevellyan has some of the same problems as the rest of the characters; we don’t get to know him very well in Even (though we do somewhat in the next book in the series, Die Twice). About all we learn about him throughout the novel is that he wants to do the right thing, has really tough fists, and is handy in a tight spot. Although these are really the prerequisites for an action hero; the best ones always have something else, a part of their character that makes us want them to win their fights with evil. Every chapter in Even starts with an excerpt from Trevellyan’s past life, either his childhood or military training, that attempts to shed light on him. Although the excerpts do help the reader to see how he became the action hero he is now, they don’t tell us who he is. Why does Trevellyan love truth, justice, and the Queen (he is British after all)? If I knew a little bit more about him, I would find it even easier to root for him throughout the novel.

Notwithstanding its shortcomings, Even is a great start for a new author. As Mr. Grant expands the world of David Trevellyan I expect he will only get better, which means I will have better reasons to: like David Trevellyan, hate the various bad guys, and read another installment in the series.

I am not really a senator, in fact “The Senator” was my poker nickname back when I played poker. I don’t have any idea where the nickname came from, or why it stuck. I can only suppose that: 1) I took a really long time making up my mind on whether to bet, 2) I talked a lot, or 3) I was a conniver. As anyone who knows me can attest, any of these possibilities could easily have been the motive behind the nickname.

All my political aspirations having come to naught, I am now a law student at the esteemed S.J. Quinney College of Law, studying to someday become an attorney. Having realized, however, the law being much less prestigious than it once was, I am branching out into other fields of endeavor, such as book reviews. I also work as a law clerk at the Salt Lake County D.A.’s Office. Although my literary tastes run on somewhat different channels than Kate’s, I am excited to be a contributor to her blog.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

EVEN in the Pasta Aisle

I was recently asked if I had a favorite book or author that has somehow changed my life...this was my answer.  The book is Even by Andrew Grant. 

It was the third Saturday in May 2010.  I had gone through my weekend chore list and was headed to the credit union, the post office, and the grocery store.  It would be the same locations, in the same order just like every Saturday before, minus weekends when I would be on vacation.  Nothing unusual at the credit union, nothing unusual at the post office, but there was something strange at the grocery store.

After pulling the grocery list from my purse I started shopping.  I was half way through my list when I realized the grocery list had a date from two weeks prior.  I dug through my purse and found the new list and stood in shock and confusion when I realized the new list was exactly like the old list.  It had the exact same items.  Worse, the items were in the exact same order as the list from two weeks ago.  There was no difference between the two. 

At that moment the grocery list became more than just a list of shopping items, it became a symbol of all that was wrong with me. I saw the disaster of my childhood, the constant struggle for order in my early twenties, and the difficulties that I had never expected to encounter once I found my prince charming.  Here I was, two months into my fortieth year standing in a grocery store acknowledging my inability to have children, embracing the reality that I'm dying from a disease that will more than likely never have a cure during my lifetime, and confronting the truth that in my attempt to protect myself from everything around me, I had forgotten to live.  

I was so busy processing the meaning of that grocery list that I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings.  I took a wrong turn and ended up in the wrong aisle.  Before I could turn and back out, the entrance became crowded and I found myself forced to move forward.  MOVE FORWARD?  Tell me that isn't symbolic!  I pushed along with my cart and then noticed something odd.  I found a book nestled next to a package of spaghetti in the pasta aisle.  When I took it from the shelf my intention was to return it to the book section, but I have a tendency to get sidetracked when I hold a paperback book.  Once they're in my hands, they go straight to my nose.  For some ridiculous reason I have to smell them.  Once my smelling time is over I like to hold them close to my face and fan the pages so I can feel the breeze against my cheek.  At that point, I always go for the first sentence in the book.  I knew when I read the first sentence that I was taking the book home with me. I had an instant connection to David Trevellyan.  I've never come across a dead body in an alley on the streets of New York, but I do know where some bodies are buried.  It doesn't matter how much I don't want to get involved, like David Trevellyan, I'm always compelled by my own morals to do the right thing.

Long story short-found it, read it, loved it, kept it. I loved the book so much I started it from the beginning the same day I finished it.  I carried it in my purse like a treasure I couldn't live without.  When I finished it the second time I ordered the second book, and while waiting for the second book to arrive, I researched the author.  There was something about his reason for writing that truly sparked an interest in me.  I liked how he was doing something that made him happy.  He set out to do something that he truly loved and in the process his entire life had changed.  It was amazing to me and, well, it made me happy! 

It isn't that I wasn't happy before.  I think I was just grateful that out of all the things this man could be doing, he chose to write a book.  He wrote a book that sold me on crime fiction, and his personal story for writing a book made me look at why I was doing the things I was doing in my life.  I guess you could say I reevaluated my surroundings.  I pulled out that long forgotten list of goals I had written way back when, and realized with great disappointment that there really wasn't anything on my list that I really wanted to do.  They were things that I felt I was expected to do or things that I knew would please others.  Some were items that I had seen on my friends list and thought they would look good on mine.  In the end, I did the only thing I knew how to do; I threw the list away and started over.  I actually have three lists now.  I have a list of Things I Want to do and Love, People I want to Meet and Thank, and a list of Places I want to See and Explore

Yes, I was happy before I read EVEN by Andrew Grant,  but I can honestly say that I'm happier now and I'm having a lot of fun marking items, people, and places off my lists.  Thanks to Mr. Grant I have this book blog, a Twitter account, more activity on my Facebook page, many friends reading his books, an incredible love for crime fiction, and a hotel room in St. Louis with my name on it for Bouchercon 2011.  I've listed Mr. Grant as my most favorite author not because I'm secretly in love with the guy, but because his happiness is infectious and truly changed my life.  Well, I know I'll be forever thankful for the person who disposed of his book in the pasta aisle at the grocery store, but are there any authors or books that have changed your life?

This week I'll be introducing a friend that has accepted my offer to do reviews on my blog.  I can't wait to introduce you to him.  Yep, it's a he!  I'd make him some business cards with his name on them, but something tells me the female lying on the sofa reading a book thing might look a little odd with a boys name on the card!  And just in case you're wondering, he'll be reviewing the David Trevellyan series by Andrew Grant!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ten Degrees of Reckoning by Hester Rumberg

"In 1993 my husband and I, along with our son and daughter, set out to live our dream-to sail around the world.  For almost three years we did exactly that.  But in 1995 my family and I were in a devastating collision that took away from me everything in the world I held dear."    Judith Sleavin

Ten Degrees of Reckoning is the heartbreaking story of Judith and Michael Sleavin and their two children Ben and Annie.  Just twenty miles from their final destination at sea, the Sleavin's sailboat, the Melinda Lee, was struck by a South Korean ship carrying thousands of pounds of lumber.   While the ship had all the necessary equipment to abide by International Maritime Law, the crew was inexperienced and chose not to use any of the instruments that could have prevented the devastation that they had caused to the Melinda Lee and to the Sleavin family.  Worse, the crew, knowing they had made contact with something in the water, failed to use search lights and assist in the rescue of the Sleavin family. 

Based on the impact of the two boats, it was determined that their son, Ben was killed instantly.  The remaining members of the family would climb aboard a partially inflated dingey, and cling to it desperately while awaiting a rescue that would never come.  After surviving the first night in the ocean, the dingey is capsized and the family members are scattered.  Annie drowns while waiting for the aid of her father, Michael.  Michael, suffering from the effects of hypothermia, is delusional as well as grief stricken by the loss of his two children.  When he reaches Annie's lifeless body, he kisses her goodbye, and after making eye contact with his wife, blows her a kiss and disappears below water.  Judith Sleavin, determined to survive, if only to tell the story of her family and the ship that caused the accident, finally makes it to shore after 46 hours at sea. 

You'll weep when you read how Judith knows, based on what is floating inside the cabin after the impact, that  her son is dead. You'll weep and feel the anger in Michael Sleavin when he realizes, with absolute certainty, that the ship is going to leave them behind.  You'll weep at the loss of little Annie, and the story of her mother, while helpless,  is forced to watch her daughter drift away in a red coat that stays visible for what seems like an eternity.  You'll also weep at the courage Judith shows during her recovery, and you'll be filled with hope as she regains her footing and becomes a permanent part of the people of the residents of Te Rawhiti Marae; the islanders that found her on the shores at Deep Water Cove.

The story is written by family friend, Hester Rumberg.  After the tragedy, Hester Rumberg and Judith Sleavin established the Sleavin Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting maritime safety throughout the world.  Juidth Sleavin divides her time between New Zealand and the United States.  She  designs glass-beaded jewelry that is currently showcased in New Zealand.  She also has an online business, Annie Rose Ltd.(  that sells equipment for glass artists. 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

I've always hated ATM cards.  I've had one a time or two in my life, but after I was married I put the kibosh on them real fast because Richard never brought home receipts and he never tracked anything.  I was constantly transferring funds to cover the shortfall that consistently showed up in our accounts caused by Richard's spending.  One day after arriving home from work I told Richard that I needed to see his ATM card.  He gave it to me without hesitation, and I took a pair of scissors to it and chopped it up into little tiny pieces.  I then gave him some cash and told him that his life with an ATM card was now officially over.  Hey, you can think I'm harsh all you want, but I do the finances in our household.  He was draining us dry.  I had to do something.  So, why bring this up in a book review?  Easy.  In book eleven of the Jack Reacher novels, Reacher uses an ATM card for the very fist time.  Although I'm secretly happy that Richard loves the Reacher novels now that he's met Lee Child, I'm secretly hoping he never makes it to book eleven for fear that he will want his ATM card back.  After all, if Jack Reacher can have an ATM card then Richard will think he should have one too. 

In Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child, Reacher is still the same Reacher I've always known.  The only real difference is that he has an ATM card now and he also carries his passport with him along with his never forgotten folding toothbrush.  After discovering an unusual amount of money being transferred into his account, Reacher deciphers the hidden meaning and finds that there has been trouble brewing with some of the guys in the old unit.  In fact, four of them are dead.  Their bodies have been found in the California desert, and the forensics show that, while still alive, they were dropped from a helicopter from the height of three thousand feet.  Reacher meets up with the rest of the old unit; Frances Neagley, Dave O'Donnell, and Karla Dixon, and together they set out to find the people responsible for the death of their friends.

In the story you'll meet a terrorist that has made a deal to secure 650 missiles, see first hand how the bond of a military unit extends beyond death, wish you had paid more attention in math class, never look at a P.O. Box at the Post Office again without thinking of Reacher, and sit in disbelief when you read what happens to Reacher's toothbrush.  I'm still in shock over it. Honestly, when I read about the toothbrush incident I was so upset I called the culprits responsible, well...I can't type it here for fear of offending.  Let's just say it was a naughty word that started with the letter b and ended with the letter s.   My response was right on the money since Reacher used the same word to describe them as I did. 

I've always known Jack Reacher was a numbers guys, but even I had to laugh out loud when reading how Reacher would come up with a number to use as a computer password. "...I'd probably write out my birthday, month, day, year, and find the nearest prime number...Actually that would be a problem, because there would be two equally close, one exactly seven less and one exactly seven more.  So I guess I'd use the square root instead, rounded to three decimal points.  Ignore the decimal point, that would give me six numbers, all different."  Neagley's response was classic, and I couldn't have agreed more.  In fact, I'm still shaking my head and giggling just thinking about the look that must have been on Neagley's face as he recited this mathematical solution to her. For me, a computer password is whatever happens to pop into my head when the computer tells me it's time to change it.  At work, I have so many different programs requiring passwords that it would be impossible for anyone to crack them.  Well, people that know me really well might be able to figure them all out.  But still, the square root rounded to three decimals?  It's safe to assume that my mind doesn't work like that! 

You can find more information about Lee Child and the Jack Reacher novels on Lee Child's webiste:

I'm currently finishing up Ten Degrees of Reckoning, by Hester Rumberg.  This is a true survival story that tells of the horrific ordeal that the Sleavin family encountered in 1993 when they set out to sail around the world.  It was highly recommended by an attorney at work.  I'll also be starting book twelve in the Reacher novels soon.  By the way- my blog posts showcasing my time in New York was a big hit.  I came home to Utah and had more than one  friend tell me they had started the series based on my intriguing blog posts.  Is that not the coolest?  So- I might have come across as a crazy lady after attending both book signings, but at least my  interest in Lee Child and my love for Jack Reacher have people discovering the series.  Eventually, I'll be able to have friends to discuss the books with.  If my plan works just right, I might even be able to persuade Mr. Child to make a trip to Utah.  See, I have plans...lots and lots of plans! 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Great Bridge by David McCullough

This monumental book is the enthralling story of one of the greatest events in our nation's history, during the Age of Optimism - a period when Americans were convinced in their hearts that all things were possible.

 In the years around 1870, when the project was first undertaken, the concept of building an unprecedented bridge to span the East River between the great cities of Manhattan and Brooklyn required a vision and determination comparable to that which went into the building of the great cathedrals.  Throughout the fourteen years of its construction, the odds against the successful completion of the bridge seemed staggering.  Bodies were crushed and broken, lives lost, political empires fell, and surges of public emotion constantly threatened the project.  But this is not merely the saga of an engineering miracle; it is a sweeping narrative of the social climate of the time and of the heroes and rascals who had a hand in either constructing or exploiting the surpassing enterprise.

It was suggested that I read The Great Bridge by David McCullough to prepare for my trip to New York.  There is something about the way Mr. McCullough writes a book that makes me sit up a little taller and pay attention. I don't know, maybe it's because you can feel the enthusiasm he has for the subject while you're reading.  It's like being there with him while he's giving a lecture even though you're not.   I've read a couple of his other books, so I really wasn't surprised to feel the same excitement from Mr. McCullough while reading The Great Bridge - The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge. 

I found the book fascinating just while reading the Author's Note.  Call me overly sentimental, but I truly believe some people are just meant to do certain things.  With this particular book it seemed to me that David McCullough was destined to be its author.  He set out to write a book about a bridge that had yet to be completely documented.  He had an interest in  the Roebling family, the family behind the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, and he also had an interest in Brooklyn, having lived there with his wife in a house just down the street from where members of the Roebling family once lived.  But my fascination for the book came while reading about David McCullough unlocking a storage closet in the library at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and stumbling upon shelf after shelf  of documents written and collected by Washington Roebling.  David McCullough stumbled upon a treasure, and using other information he had access to, he was able to bring to life the story behind the people, the politics, the wealth, the sacrifices, the courage, and even the heartbreak behind the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

I'm glad I read the book before and during my trip to New York this month.  I can honestly say that while walking the Brooklyn Bridge I couldn't help but think of the people behind its creation.  Knowing how much sacrifice went into the building of the bridge and the people who lost their lives in the process, I couldn't help but appreciate the history and the incredible size of the structure.  It amazes me that they were able to build something so grand and magnificent without the aid of modern technology.  These men were incredibly intelligent, not to mention gifted.  Their lives truly fascinate me. The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge meant so much to us as a nation, so I was a little disappointment  to see how much wealth and politics played a part in the process.  It was a reminder of  how some things just never change in life.  Some people will always find a way to exploit, and there will always be someone willing to sacrifice another for their gain.  It truly is a fascinating story and I would encourage you to take the time to read it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Day Stalking Lee Child...

 This is being taken from my family blog - The Ogden Family! With Updates!

Today was fantastic. We left the hotel around 10:00 this morning and headed to the Financial District to scope out (I can't believe I used the word "scope" in this post-I am a STALKER) the Borders where Lee Child would be doing his book signing. We took a quick stroll through Battery Park and wandered the grounds of Trinity Church. Then I stood in line at the book store and after a short wait was introduced to Lee Child. His eyes are just as beautiful in person as they are in those pictures I've been seeing in the back of those books he's been writing. When the book store employee told him I had flown in from Salt Lake just for his book signing, he seemed a little surprised. Actually, I believe the first words were, "no you didn't." Then when I told him that it was indeed true, he said, "are you crazy..." So not the words I was going for. I think I responded with, "no, I'm in love." And I don't think I bothered to clarify that I was in love with Jack Reacher either. It didn't matter though, he seemed very appreciative that I would plan my vacation around him and was very kind. I have to admit that I was a little star struck. I meant to get a book signed for a friend as a surprise, but when asked I gave them the name Katherine. What the heck was that about? I know a Kathy and a Katie, but I don't know a Katherine.  I was in the middle of personal tweet to the intended friend when I realized my mistake. I was horrified and was totally ready to burst into to tears.  Richard thought it was funny and laughed all the way back to the hotel.  Don't worry, dear readers, I already have a taker for the book...the very person it was intended for can actually use it.

After our rest we headed to Barnes & Noble.  They are so much better at these book things than Borders. But, I have to admit, I was still a tad bit nervous about going.  I almost backed out, but Richard insisted that I attend.  I mean, after all, I did plan my vacation around this guy.  Remember that dream I posted on my book blog about the police waiting for me at Barnes & Noble and arresting me for stalking? Well, there was an officer inside the building when I arrived, but she didn't seem to be looking for me and no arrest was made. I was surprised to find out that not only would Mr. Child be doing book signings, but he would also be doing a short lecture on Worth Dying For as well as a question and answer session with the audience, all while being filmed for a CBS special to air on Sunday morning. It was amazing and made me so thankful that I decided to hop that plane to New York. Afterward, I had the opportunity to stand in line with a lady named Nermin who was kind enough to pose for a picture with me. She was thrilled to hear about my vacation planning around my favorite authors and was happy I chose to come to New York to see Lee Child. Actually, I just think Nermin was happy to meet another woman that loves Jack Reacher as much as she does. I really do have a soft spot for that guy.

When it was my turn to get my books signed...again, Mr. Child was kind enough to acknowledge that he remembered me from earlier. I had no problem admitting that I had dedicated today to him and that I had been Facebooking and tweeting about it on Twitter all day. When preparing to sign the second book (yes, I bought four copies today), I told him I just needed his signature so I could give the book away on my book blog. That comment led to him asking for the name of my blog. When I told him, he recognized it and said, "so that's you, you're Andrew's fan." Yes, Mr. Child, I am Andrew's fan. Truth be told, while standing in line I was plugging the David Trevellyan series to Nermin after she stated she was having difficulty finding another author that she liked as much as you. I also plugged Joseph Finder's Nick Heller series. Please forgive me, but I really love to read and I meant it when I told you that I was a huge fan of Mr. Grant. I'm also, however, an equally huge fan of yours and I will forever be thankful for your kindness even though I am secretly dying to know just what was said to you about my book blog. It's an honest passion, that book blog of mine. I have your brother to thank for that. If I hadn't stumbled upon Even by accident I never would have discovered my secret passion for crime fiction, and, as I told you, I never would have discovered you!

Thanks for the kindness, Mr. Child. I'm signing up to be your friend on Facebook and will anxiously await your reply. When you asked if I was your friend tonight, I was a little nervous. I never signed up to be your friend because I didn't want to betray your brother. But then, when you think about it, I kind of already did that by making you my first author to plan a vacation around.  As it turns out, I woke up the next morning forgetting that I was supposed to sign up to be his friend on Facebook.  So in a mad rush, I turned on the computer bright and early and submitted my request...It took Lee Child 4 MINUTES to respond.  4 MINUTES!!!  I guess I didn't freak the guy out after all, but then again, he did say he accepts all female requests...that probably gave me sure in!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Random Thoughts for Sure!

It's the night before my trip to New York and I'm stuck in total panic mode.  Do you know how many nightmares I've had over the past week or so?  They've been nonstop and they are driving me crazy. The worst one is that I'm trying to get in line at Borders on Broadway in New York and they won't let me in because I don't have a number.  I can see Lee Child through the window and I can't get through the door.  Richard is pulling me away as I'm sobbing and screaming obscenities at the manager. Later, after I've calmed down, Richard takes me to the Barnes & Noble at Union Square for the evening book signing and the same thing happens. Well, actually, it's a little different.  They have officers waiting for me outside.  I don't even make it to the door before I'm  handcuffed and taken to jail for stalking.  STALKING?  I'm not a stalker, I swear.  I'm really not!  I'm just a beautiful woman from Salt Lake City that fell in love with reading.  Planning my vacations around  a book signing is just the only way I know how to give back to the writing community.  Out of all the things they could be choosing to do, these people write books.  And they write really good ones.  They totally deserve to have their names on my vacation planning list.  It might take me a few years to finally see them all, but this is going to be so much fun for me.  I can take pictures and stand in line for hours.  I can buy books and meet other people that love to read.  I really can't think of a better idea than packing a bag and planning an overnight visit for a book signing.  It truly is the best idea I've ever stumbled upon.  And, I can share every detail with you on this ridiculously lame book blog that I've created. 

Enough of that!  I'm behind on my reading by like 7 months and I'm thinking that somebody just needs to start telling me what to read because I'm never going to be current on reading if I keep straying from my list of books to read.  Having a book blog is hard.  I really need to reorganize it and figure out what it is I'm trying to do with this blog in the first place.  I'll be starting book eleven in the Reacher series this week and I'm working my way through The Great Bridge by David McCullough.  The second book is my historical pick for my trip to New York.  I'm leaving in like 15 hours and I have so much left to do...see ya when I get back and I promise to keep you upated on my adventures on my blog!  Much love-  Kate Dahson :) Yes, I'm using my alter-ego name!!!  If only because I'm headed to New York and the name was given to me first by the Blackdagger Brotherhood.  You want some vampires to love?  Them be it!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

New Reacher Fans

I created this blog as an outlet for me and my coworkers.  Things have been difficult this past year.  We lost our 401k contributions by our employer and then said employer cut our wages by 3%.  Health Care costs went up 10% and most of us were left to deal with deductibles for the first time in the history of our employment with Salt Lake County.  They took away any opportunities for wage increases and we'll be lucky if we see them again next year even though it's been promised.  I have friends  that can't afford to feed their families and some are losing their homes. I'm not trying to sound like I'm crying buckets of tears here, so please don't take this the wrong way.  I'm just wanting people to understand what it is I'm doing and why. 

Work has been stressful.  My life has been stressful.  I found myself  in need of something that I could call my own.  This blog is it.  It's mine.  I write purely to entertain my coworkers and to help reignite their enthusiasm for reading.  I write to relieve my stress.  It isn't the best writing and I cringe at my own grammar errors, but not being a professional writer, it doesn't concern me as much as it probably should.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm truly afraid of Google Alert and my fear is so great that I have a tendency to become physically sick over a new blog post.  I mean, seriously, my reviews are hardly normal.  Some might even find them offensive and I'm sure some authors hope that I never read their books and write about them on this blog.  Other authors have been extremely kind and gracious.  Their willingness to acknowledge the reviews are more than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.  All I can say is that I fell in love with reading and I found myself loving the time I would spend talking about the books with my friends.  This blog may have started by accident,   but it has since turned into something really fun and unexpected.  Basically, I'm just a beautiful woman from Salt Lake that loves to read and I also love to write about what I'm reading. 

With this being said, one of the things I love most about this blog is that it has afforded me opportunities to give books away to my blog readers. From Paige Shelton and Vordak The Incomprehensible to Random House and Little Things Publishing, I have been the recipient of great things to give to my blog readers. The most recent items were 24 copies of Gone Tomorrow, by Lee Child.  I have to say I actually wept when I received the box.  If you haven't been reading my blog...I'm totally in love with Jack Reacher.  Well, I'm in love with Jack Reacher and a few other hot male characters that I love to read about.  So getting a box of Reacher books to give away to my friends that have been super supportive of this blog was truly extra special for me.  Giving them away was soooo much fun! So much fun I even took pictures. It's days like this that make me happy about creating this little lame book blog that I have grown so fond of. Thanks friends, coworkers and all of you incredibly gifted writers that have been so kind to me. You make this all worth it! You truly do.  The following are some of my coworkers with their new books!