Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Review: Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553591711
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591712

Ryan Perry is 34, wealthy and in a loving relationship with Samantha.  Ryan made his fortune as an internet entrepreneur with his wildly successful social networking site.  He has the world on a string, until he begins to have frightening symptoms that are diagnosed as cardiomyopathy.  Without a heart transplant, Ryan has no chance of survival.

It seems luck is looking after Ryan because after only a few months, a perfect match is found and he receives the operation.  After a year, Ryan is healthy with no apparent signs of rejection.  His future again looks bright until he begins to experience strange events in his home...a bag of white valentine hearts with the words "Be Mine" found on his pillow, a heart shaped locket found in his bedroom.  There is no explanation because his house is armed with a state of the art security system.  How did someone get in without his knowing it?

Then he encounters a woman who looks exactly like his heart donor who tells him,  "Your heart belongs to me.  I want it back."

Although it's not Koontz's best, it's suspenseful enough to keep us on the edge of our seats with a suspenseful page turner.  

Synopsis (from the author's website)

From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense comes a riveting thriller that probes the deepest terrors of the human psyche–and the ineffable mystery of what truly makes us who we are. Here an innocent man finds himself fighting for his very existence in a battle that starts with the most frightening words of all…

At thirty-four, Internet entrepreneur Ryan Perry seemed to have the world in his pocket–until the first troubling symptoms appeared out of nowhere. Within days, he’s diagnosed with incurable cardiomyopathy and finds himself on the waiting list for a heart transplant; it’s his only hope, and it’s dwindling fast. Ryan is about to lose it all…his health, his girlfriend, Samantha, and his life.

One year later, Ryan has never felt better. Business is good and there’s even a chance of getting Samantha back in his life. Then the unmarked gifts begin to arrive in the mail–a heart pendant, a box of Valentine candy hearts. And, most disturbing of all, a graphic heart surgery video accompanied by a chilling message: Your heart belongs to me.

In a heartbeat, the medical miracle that gave Ryan a second chance at life is about to become a curse worse than death. For Ryan is being stalked by a mysterious woman who feels entitled to everything he has. She’s the spitting image of the twenty-eight-year-old donor of the heart beating steadily in Ryan’s own chest.

 And she’s come to take it back.
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Completed: Summer Reading Challenge 2009: Books Read June 21 - September 21

  • Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  • Shallow Graves by Jeffery Deaver
  • The Savage Garden by Mark Mills
  • I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark
  • Phantom Prey by John Sandford
  • The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver
  • The Front by Patricia Cornwell
  • A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
  • Act of Betrayal by Edna Buchanan
  • Dead Watch by John Sandford
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
  • 7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  • Whispers by Dean Koontz
  • B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton
  • Hornet's Nest Patricia Cornwell
  • Halloween Party by Agatha Christie
  • Relentless by Dean Koontz
  • Saving Faith by David Baldacci
  • C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton
  • New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
  • Your Heart Belongs to Me by Dean Koontz
  • The Cheater by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Review: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Hardcover: 608 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers; 21st edition (August 21, 2006)
ISBN-10: 0316160199
ISBN-13: 978-0316160193

Meyer's Twilight series was written for young adults but it seems to have a certain appeal for a few of the older crowd also.  I guess it could be the perennial 12 year old inside us that screams for unconditional, true love...even if it is with a vampire.

Recovered from the vampire attack that hospitalized her in Twilight, 18 year old Bella Swan is still in love with the seriously gorgeous vampire, Edward Cullen.  When there is a mishap involving Bella cutting herself and bleeding in front of Edward's vampire family, he decides that Bella is safer without him and his family around.  He leaves her in despair, almost catatonic with grief.  She can't eat, has nightmares, pushes her friends away and stops enjoying anything that reminds her of Edward, which is basically everything.  I can understand Bella's depression but her co-dependent personality is just wrong on every level for any impressionable girl who may be reading the story and believing that this is what love is all about. 

After months of grieving, Bella begins to come out of her depression with the help of her friend, Jacob Black, who is in love with her...and by participating in dangerous activities such as riding motorcycles and cliff diving.  Their dare-devil fun takes a dangerous turn when Bella learns the true identities of Jacob and his friends. 

When Bella is seen diving off a cliff, word gets back to Edwin that she has committed suicide.  Let's not think that Bella is the only co-dependent personality in this relationship... Edward goes to Italy to convince the Volturi (sort of the rulers of the vampires) to kill him as he doesn't want to be on earth if Bella isn't there.  This story line is frenzied and overly dramatic and completely unnecessary.  The frantic race to Italy to save him was really over the top.

I guess I'll read the 3rd installment of the series, hoping that Meyer gives Bella a backbone and some self-respect, therefore providing a better example for her young, female readers.  She really does need to give this some serious thought.  Anyway, I have to find out if Edward ever gives in to Bella's desire to become a vampire so she can spend eternity with him.  Sigh........

   Synopsis (from the author's website)

"Shoot," I muttered when the paper sliced my finger; I pulled it out to examine the damage. A single drop of blood oozed from the tiny cut. It all happened very quickly then.

Edward threw himself at me, flinging me back across the table...
I tumbled down to the floor by the piano, with my arms thrown out instinctively to catch my fall, into the jagged shards of glass. I felt the searing, stinging pain that ran from my wrist to the crease inside my elbow.

Dazed and disoriented, I looked up from the bright red blood pulsing out of my arm—into the fevered eyes of the six suddenly ravenous vampires.

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella could ever have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning...

Legions of readers entranced by the New York Times bestseller Twilight are hungry for the continuing story of star-crossed lovers, Bella and Edward. In New Moon, Stephenie Meyer delivers another irresistible combination of romance and suspense with a supernatural twist. Passionate, riveting, and full of surprising twists and turns, this vampire love saga is well on its way to literary immortality.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Review: C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

  • Hardcover:  389 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Co; Book Club edition (May 1, 1986)
  • ASIN: B001I1JYPC

I just love Kinsey Milhone...she always keeps me turning the pages.  Grafton's character in her alphabet series is hired by wealthy Bobby Callahan to find out who tried to kill him months earlier by running his car off the road.  She met Bobby at the gym where they are both doing physical therapy, he because of the accident and she to rehab her arm after being shot during her previous case.  You can read about that one in B is for Burglar. 

As a result of the accident, Bobby can't remember many details in his life and needs Kinsey to put the pieces together for him.  Kinsey likes Bobby a lot and is really disappointed when he is eventually killed in a second car accident.  She doubts it was an accident and continues with her investigation. 

Along with her professional investigation, she takes on a more personal case when her beloved landlord Henry becomes involved with a woman whom everyone except Henry is suspicious of.  It's fun to read how Kinsey gets the best of this schemer and saves Henry from being swindled.

You won't be disappointed by this story, I promise.  You don't have to read the series in order.  Although Grafton sometimes refers to a previous story, the references really don't confuse.

Synopsis (from the author's website)

He was young -- maybe twenty or so -- and he must once have been a good-looking kid. Kinsey could see that. But now his body was covered in scars, his face half-collapsed. It saddened Kinsey and made her curious. She could see he was in a lot of pain. But for three weeks, as Kinsey'd watched him doggedly working out at the local gym, putting himself through a grueling exercise routine, he never spoke. 

Then one Monday morning when there was no one else in the gym, Bobby Callahan approached her. His story was hard to credit: a murderous assault by a tailgating car on a lonely rural road, a roadside smash into a canyon 400 feet below, his Porsche a bare ruin, his best friend dead. The doctors had managed to put his body back together again -- sort of. His mother's money had seen to that. What they couldn't fix was his mind, couldn't restore the huge chunks of memory wiped out by the crash. Bobby knew someone had tried to kill him, but he didn't know why. He knew he had the key to something that made him dangerous to the killer, but he didn't know what it was. And he sensed that someone was still out there, ready to pounce at the first sign his memory was coming back. He'd been to the cops, but they 'd shrugged off his story. His family thought he had a screw loose. But he was scared -- scared to death. He wanted to hire Kinsey.

His case didn't have a whole lot going for it, but he was hard to resist: young, brave, hurt. She took him on. And three days later, Bobby Callahan was dead.
Kinsey Millhone never welshed on a deal. She'd been hired to stop a killing. Now she'd find the killer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Review: Saving Faith by David Baldacci

Paperback: 528 pages
Publisher: Vision (September 1, 2000)
ISBN-10: 0446608890
ISBN-13: 978-0446608893

 The characters in this book are pretty typical for a Baldacci novel...
  • Smart beautiful heroine
  • Strong handsome hero
  • Evil political bad guy
  • Hired assassin
Although not his best, Saving Faith is enjoyable, but not riveting.  Faith Lockhart works for Danny Buchanan, a highly successful Washington, D.C. lobbyist, and together they bribe politicians to gain support for their humanitarian causes.  Evil done in order to do good.  CIA super-patriot Robert Thornhill knows about their activities and begins blackmailing Buchanan.  Thornhill is obsessed with regaining primacy over the FBI and will stop at nothing to attain his goal.  He is not above hiring an assassin to get rid of Faith after she goes to the FBI.  In the meantine, Buchanan hires our hero, private investigator Lee Adams to follow Faith and report back to him. 

Lee saves Faith from the assassin and together they go on the run.  The CIA follow Lee and Faith, and the FBI follow the CIA on an exciting chase from Washington to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  The novel is a bit overdone with too many heroes and too many sub-plots, making it a bit cumbersome to get through at times.  However, it moves fast and is full of suspense and action.

Synopsis (from the author's website)

Not far from Washington, D.C., in a wooded area of Northern Virginia, a small house at the end of a gravel road serves a secret purpose. With its sophisticated security apparatus and hidden miniaturized cameras, it is being used by the FBI to interview one of the most important witnesses the agency has ever had, a young woman with an incredible story to tell. But a few people know about the secret meeting. And for them, a violent drama is about to begin.
One man -- a local private investigator named Lee Adams -- has come to the house on the orders of his client. Another man, a hired killer, stakes out the house on orders from his powerful paymasters. And the witness, Faith Lockhart, is coming to tell the FBI everything she knows about the powerful lobbyist with whom she has worked, a man who manipulates U.S. government policy and who, in the process, made some very dangerous enemies.
Then, before Faith can tell her story, the hit man pulls the trigger and the wrong victim falls. Now Faith Lockhart is on the run -- from the most dangerous people in America -- with Lee Adams, a man she doesn't know, yet must trust. A relentless chase novel that unfolds as both the FBI and a killer search for Faith and Lee, this is also a searing and utterly suspenseful tale of power gone mad in Washington, and of one woman's desperate attempt to break out of a web of corruption and terror that reaches much further than even she can know. Saving Faith elevates the thriller to a new level and poses stunning questions about the rules we live by, the rules we are governed by -- and what happens when some people make rules of their own.