Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In the Mailbox (13 Aug 08)

This week, in my mailbox, arrived these reads:

Due to the blogger glitch, I had some free time which I spent (naturally) reading these books. So here's the list as well as some reviews.

On a sidenote, the Phyllis Zimbler Miller Giveaway will be coming to a close tonight. So get those entries in right away!

Faceless by Debra Webb
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks

Synopsis - Deputy district attorney Carson Tanner has dedicated his life to justice. But he is still haunted by one case that was never solved: the murder of his entire family in cold blood. Back then, the teenage Carson was protected by his girlfriend’s influential father, Senator Randolph Drake. But now, fifteen years later, Carson finds himself facing a whole new world when a man confesses to the Tanner killings. His name is John Stokes. And his confession only scratches the surface of the truth…

Carson knows that Annette Baxter uses her brains and beauty as a fixer for the rich and powerful, making their indiscretions disappear in exchange for security and influence. But now someone is using her clients’ secrets—and her own—against her. And even though Carson can’t ignore his attraction to her, he is dead-set on making Annette pay for her crimes…but what if she holds the key to the burning secret he’s spent his whole life seeking?

My thoughts 

I liked this book. It was fast paced with plenty of sexual heat and suspense - the kind of suspense that's as character-driven as it is event-driven. Annette Baxter is a wonderful enigma and while I couldn't wholly sympathize with Carson, I did understand where he was getting his drive, his hatred from. The dislike mixed with sexual attraction between these two main characters is very powerful and one that was beautifully made use of to further keep the readers in fascinated tension. There are plenty of red herrings to keep the readers guessing and there's an ominous feeling throughout the novel almost as if something bad is about to happen in the next page. The ending was way over the top, but the story overall is very interesting.

The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Synopsis - On a hot summer afternoon in 1972, three teenagers drove into an unfamiliar neighborhood and six lives were altered forever. Thirty five years later, one survivor of that day reaches out to another, opening a door that could lead to salvation. But another survivor is now out of prison, looking for reparation in any form he can find it

My Thoughts

This is one of those books where my opinion differs from the popular one. Every bigwig reviewer has praised this book to the high heavens. I picked it after reading the synopsis which I thought was pretty interesting. I had also never read this author before, so that was an added incentive. But after I turned the last page, I realized I'd bamboozled by all the hype.

Overall I don't hate the book, but I didn't find it anything special either. Atmosphere is what this book is all about and that Pelecanos has managed to capture with a skill unsurpassed. But that's all there is to this story. I like my stories where something happens, there's a specific goal - a mystery, a romance, some scientific quest, a cover ops operation - something! I don't really enjoy reading pages upon pages upon pages of a bygone era in minute detail with no specific purpose in sight. The whole book centers around a racial killing, both events leading up to it and what happens after, much after. It could have been terrific. But as it is, I didn't find any suspense in it - things are very obvious right from the start. I could almost predict the way it ends. And also, it's terribly slow-moving. I only finished it because I hate to leave things half-done. But it was a real effort.

Deadly Beautiful by Sam Baker
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 19, 2008)

Synopsis - A serial killer with a thirst for young American models-slash-escorts is on the loose in Tokyo, and the local press is all over it. When supermodel Scarlett Ulrich goes missing while on assignment in Japan, an international media frenzy erupts. Annie Anderson swears that she’s done with investigative reporting. After all, these days she jets off to Paris, Milan, her native London, and, now, New York City for Fashion Week–as a front-row writer for Handbag Magazine. But when Annie learns that Scarlett is actually the half sister of her best friend, she’s on the next plane to the Far East to get the scoop on the missing supermodel.

My Thoughts

Written by a fashion editor, the novel is in it's element when describing fashion shows, the backstabbing and the way the whole modeling industry works. Exotic locales combined with an interesting mystery and the internal angst of two of the female leads made pretty interesting. Tokyo comes to life with all it's glitter and sleaze and I was fascinated by some of the un-touristy stuff the author includes as part of the story. The story is a bit chaotic as it's shifts from past to present, between characters and places. But there's no denying, it's overall pretty interesting.

Secrets of a Shoe Addict by Beth Harbison
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Synopsis - Every woman has a secret. The question is: How far will she go to make sure it stays secret?

Abbey Walsh never wanted anyone to find out about her shady past. After all, she’s the wife of a minister now, living an exemplary life. That is, until someone shows up from her past with blackmail in mind . . .

Tiffany Vanderslice Dreyer never dreamed that she’d find herself up to her new designer sunglasses in credit card debt from one mad moment of a shopping spree. She’s an upstanding wife and mother with the perfect marriage . . . right?

Loreen Murphy hadn’t meant to hire a male prostitute in Las Vegas. It was all just a big, stupid, and expensive misunderstanding. . . .

Abbey, Tiffany, and Loreen are each in need of thousands of dollars and fast. Tiffany’s sister, Sandra, has the perfect idea. It’s fast, it’s easy, it’s legal, and it’s the secret that kept her shoe addiction alive. It’s the perfect plan. . . .

My Thoughts

To sum up in one word, this novel is "FUN"! Three women finally learn that the old adage "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" is just not true. Sometimes the consequences follow you back home where you're someone entirely different from what you became while in Vegas. Hilarity ensues as the women bond together to try out a new line of work. Personal growth also happens and it's entertaining and a bit touching to see how things finally come together. A fun, flirty read, in short.


That concludes today's edition of In the Mailbox. I have many more books to go through and most likely, they'll be in the next edition. As always, if you've read or reviewed a book I've mentioned here, feel free to leave the link to your review or your opinion of the book in the comments.

NOTE - A reader just brought it to my attention that viewers using Internet Explorer are unable to see the comments of a post correctly for some reason. I myself prefer Firefox and as such was unaware of this. I've spent the whole afternoon trying to coming up with a solution (instead of completing this post), but no luck so far. If any of you can help me with this, or know of someone who can, then please contact me.

Current Giveaway(s)
Review and Giveaway - Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash
Book Review and Giveaway - The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
Book Giveaway - The Badenweiler Waltz
Guest Post - Phyllis Zimbler Miller (and a Giveaway)

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