The best thing about the holidays (other than family time, of course) is that I make time to read. No matter how hectic it is or how filled with Christmas spirit my family is, I always find a little time to go off by myself and just read. Since December 14th, when my DH gave me a Kindle for our 12th anniversary, I've read 13 books--well, okay, 11 books. Two of them I didn't finish. Here's a quick review--favorite to least favorite.
Freefall by Traci Hunter Abramson--Loved this one! I bought it when it first came out and it has been waiting patiently for its turn to be read. Daughter of a senator gets kidnapped by terrorists in the Middle East. Trapped there with her rescuer, they have to depend on each other to escape--and of course, they fall in love while they're at it. Back in the U.S., relationships are complicated. Then the terrorist shows up again. Fast-paced and full of suspense, this one kept me up late reading. Didn't want to put it down. Now I have to find the time to read Royal Target. (4.5)
This Just In by Kerry Blair--I'm embarassed to admit how long this one has been sitting on my dresser. This book is wonderful! Jill, former beauty queen turned fluff TV newscaster, teams up with Clay, a handsome tracker with a secret, to find a missing child. Talk about opposites! Told from Jill's POV, this story is hilariously funny one minute, then grippingly suspenseful the next. This is an older book (published 2004) so you might have trouble finding it, but if you ever see it at your local LDS bookstore, BUY IT!! It's that good. I've got to read another of her books soon. (4.5)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--This is the story of Liesel Meminger, a girl caught up in Germany's WWII, as told from Death's perspective. Death first meets Liesel when he comes to take her brother, and sees her steal her first book, The Gravediggers Handbook. Liesel goes to live with a foster family and makes friends with the neighbors, helps hide a Jewish refugee, and grows into a young woman who loves books and reading. This is a thoughtful book, and like many of its kind it does not have a happy ending, but I loved it. It is poetic, captivating, inspiring. (4.25)
Flashback by J. Michael Hunter--Laura has had nightmares her entire life. When her aunt dies, she inherits a family estate, under the condition that she live there for three years. When she moves in, she realizes that her nightmares are flashbacks from a murder she witnessed as a child. As she tries to discover the truth, she sets herself up as the next victim. Oh, and she also falls in love. Didn't expect to like this one as much as I did but it kept me reading until way too late at night. (4)
Odd Hours by Dean Koontz--As a general rule, I like Dean Koontz. He writes "light" horror (not like Stephen King who gives me the heebie-jeebies). The Odd Thomas series is one of my favorites. Odd Thomas can see dead people and is once again called upon to prevent something horrible from happening. He helps Sinatra move on to the next life, meets a new girl, and acquires a living dog as a pet. This book is #4 in the series and it was pretty good but not quite as captivating as the previous ones. (4)
Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel by N.C. Allen--Set at the end of the Civil War, Isabelle Webb (a retired Pinkerton spy) and her "adopted" daughter head overseas for a much needed vacation. They end up in India, caught up in the hunt for handsome James Ashby's younger brother, who has been conned into searching for a mythic jewel that leaves dead bodies in it's wake. A little reminiscent of Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series. This was a pretty good read. In fact, I liked it so well that I chose it to kick off the Provident Ladies Fiction Book Club. (4)
The Christmas Sweater by Glen Beck--This was a sweet Christmas story that teaches you to be grateful for what you have. I liked it up until the very end--then I wanted to throw it across the room. I don't like it when things are resolved so "easily". (If you've read it, you know what I mean.) But it had a nice message and helped get me in the Christmas spirit. (3.5)
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher--#2 of the Dresden Files. Harry Dresden, practicing wizard in modern-day Chicago, meets a variety of werewolves. I like this modern-day fantasy type story--and I loved the TV series which, unfortunately, only had one season. As for the books, this is the second one I've read. Butcher tends to cross my line when it comes to describing the blood and guts. I keep thinking I won't read any more of them, but I probably will--just because I like the main character so much. Good story line. Too much swearing and graphic violence. (3.5)
Lightning by Dean Koontz--Laura Shane has a guardian angel who shows up in the nick of time to save her, most of the time. She also has someone trying to kill her and the people she loves. Koontz is known for light horror. I thought that was all he wrote. Apparently not. I loved the first part of the book but I was a little dissappointed that it wasn't horror after all, but rather . . . well, I don't want to give it away because that's part of the tension and conflict of the story. However, I thought it just missed the mark. It was okay but not one of my favs. (3)
Lamana Rose by Donna Pedler Taylor--A historical fiction about an Indian girl adopted by some LDS settlers in 1880s Utah. It's the story of her growing up and adjusting, and there's some romance thrown in too. The author has a very sweet writing style that captures your attention and makes you want to know more about this girl. (3)
Don't Cry Wolf by Clair Poulson--didn't finish. While I like the general plot lines, the characterizations are flat. To be fair, if I'd had more free time I probably would have finished it. I know lots of people love Poulson's books, and he has a lot of them. I've read others and if I set aside the characterization, I'm usually eventually won over by the plot. But I had too many books to read and way too little time, so I quit this one about a third of the way through.
These last two, I can't really recommend to anyone due to the graphic violence and other content.
Blood Dreams by Kay Hooper--A psychological thriller with a group of psychics who work in tandem with the FBI. Recommended by a friend. Usually I like this type of stuff but this one had extremely gross scenes of violence. After reading the first two sections written from the killer's POV, I skipped all the others. I'm thinking this is a series because it wasn't all neatly tied up at the end but I have no desire to read any more of them.
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritson--couldn't finish. Too gross. (0)