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Jeanne G. (IlliniAlum83) - , - Reviews

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11th Hour (Women's Murder Club, Bk 11)
11th Hour (Women's Murder Club, Bk 11)
Author: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 167
Review Date: 7/15/2012
Helpful Score: 1


2 big cases stress Lindsay as she deals with her first pregnancy and Joe's increased trips away. The "girls" are all into the serial killer mystery when unearthed remains are discovered on the back porch of a well-known Hollywood star's San Francisco mansion. Acquitted years ago of his missing wife's murder, the star now resides with his new fiancé on a yacht, but refuses to sell the historic mansion in case Cecily ever reappears and comes looking for him. A search of the rear gardens leads to more gruesome discoveries and the SFPD can only suspect Harry Chandler whom they still believe got away with murder when Cecily disappeared.
While Lindsay and Rich interview potential serials, their boss, Lt Brady, insists they stay on top of another front-page case---that of the vigilante shooter who's been killing drug dealers using 22 caliber guns stolen from the police evidence locker. Brady fears a member of the force is behind this crime spree and Boxer and Conklin have to consider if someone they've worked closely with could be responsible.

Though 2 good cases are presented to solve, the unrealistic set-up of Lindsay dealing with so multiple personal issues at the same time just doesn't ring true.


12th of Never (Women's Murder Club, Bk 12)
12th of Never (Women's Murder Club, Bk 12)
Author: James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 56
Review Date: 10/16/2014


disappointing! SPOILERS follow--
The gang is back, each of the 4 women dealing with their own crisis, either at work or at home. As always, this was a quick read with Patterson's infamous short chapters.......sometimes only 2-3 pages.
Very unrealistic situation surrounding Lindsay's recovery from the birth of her first child following a birth at home with the help of firemen. Apparently she returns to work after just 3 weeks!
A new female character is introduced who is interning at the homicide dept with Conklin and Lindsay. Makes for an interesting twist.

But book just ends with an unresolved case..........you want to immediately read #13, which of course is a WL wait !


Against Medical Advice
Against Medical Advice
Author: James Patterson, Hal Friedman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 39
Review Date: 8/19/2013
Helpful Score: 1


This book really called out to me to read it, but I kept putting it off with almost 300 books in my TBR. But it was such a fast read, I'm sorry I waited so long.

Typical Patterson with many, many chapters, some only 2-3 pages, written with the help of Mrs Friedman's journals on the many treatments they tried to help their son.

This book tells the terrrifying true story of one family's saga of 13 years of dealing with their son's out-of -control Tourette's syndrome and OCD which spirals into nictotine and alcohol addiction which turns out to be the only "drug" that seems to give him some relief and let him sleep.
Any family that has been thru years of doctoring for a child's chronic illness will recognize the fear and torment they go through as the doctors and specialists try one drug cocktail after another to try to reduce the tics and OC repetitive motions that plague this intelligent young man.
Their final solution should astound you and make you question our loyalty to the medical profession.

Why did I not rate this book higher?
I found the chronology to be out of whack so that near the beginning they are discussing taking 17 yo Cory to alcohol rehab, then jump back to where he is much younger. Then story seems to flow in proper time sequence til he hits Jr and Sr High School then bounces around again without proper date references for you to go by.

Also there were vague references to Cory being home-schooled at times when his behavior was too disruptive to be in a classroom, but there is never any mention of him actually doing school work at home except for some college-level courses he takes online as a teenager. He repeatedly says his mom is his hero, she gave up writing and her job to stay with him, he says she was always sticking up for him, but there are almost no examples of that til his critical Jr year in HS and NO mention of her teaching him at home at all til the shool conference that year. I find it commendable that she recorded his long litany of medications with outcomes and side effects, but for any medical mystery this is what you should do......and she is a writer.
So it just left me as a good story that could have been written in a much better way.


Against Medical Advice: A True Story (Large Print)
Against Medical Advice: A True Story (Large Print)
Author: James Patterson, Hal Friedman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 8/18/2013
Helpful Score: 1


This book really called out to me to read it, but I kept putting it off with almost 300 books in my TBR. But it was such a fast read, I'm sorry I waited so long.

Typical Patterson with many, many chapters, some only 2-3 pages, written with the help of Mrs Friedman's journals on the many treatments they tried to help their son.

This book tells the terrrifying true story of one family's saga of 13 years of dealing with their son's out-of -control Tourette's syndrome and OCD which spirals into nictotine and alcohol addiction which turns out to be the only "drug" that seems to give him some relief and let him sleep.
Any family that has been thru years of doctoring for a child's chronic illness will recognize the fear and torment they go through as the doctors and specialists try one drug cocktail after another to try to reduce the tics and OC repetitive motions that plague this intelligent young man.
Their final solution should astound you and make you question our loyalty to the medical profession.

Why did I not rate this book higher?
I found the chronology to be out of whack so that near the beginning they are discussing taking 17 yo Cory to alcohol rehab, then jump back to where he is much younger. Then story seems to flow in proper time sequence til he hits Jr and Sr High School then bounces around again without proper date references for you to go by.

Also there were vague references to Cory being home-schooled at times when his behavior was too disruptive to be in a classroom, but there is never any mention of him actually doing school work at home except for some college-level courses he takes online as a teenager. He repeatedly says his mom is his hero, she gave up writing and her job to stay with him, he says she was always sticking up for him, but there are almost no examples of that til his critical Jr year in HS and NO mention of her teaching him at home at all til the shool conference that year. I find it commendable that she recorded his long litany of medications with outcomes and side effects, but for any medical mystery this is what you should do......and she is a writer.
So it just left me as a good story that could have been written in a much better way.


Against Medical Advice (Large Print)
Against Medical Advice (Large Print)
Author: James Patterson, Hal Freidman
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.3/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 8/18/2013
Helpful Score: 1


This book really called out to me to read it, but I kept putting it off with almost 300 books in my TBR. But it was such a fast read, I'm sorry I waited so long.

Typical Patterson with many, many chapters, some only 2-3 pages, written with the help of Mrs Friedman's journals on the many treatments they tried to help their son.

This book tells the terrrifying true story of one family's saga of 13 years of dealing with their son's out-of -control Tourette's syndrome and OCD which spirals into nictotine and alcohol addiction which turns out to be the only "drug" that seems to give him some relief and let him sleep.
Any family that has been thru years of doctoring for a child's chronic illness will recognize the fear and torment they go through as the doctors and specialists try one drug cocktail after another to try to reduce the tics and OC repetitive motions that plague this intelligent young man.
Their final solution should astound you and make you question our loyalty to the medical profession.

Why did I not rate this book higher?
I found the chronology to be out of whack so that near the beginning they are discussing taking 17 yo Cory to alcohol rehab, then jump back to where he is much younger. Then story seems to flow in proper time sequence til he hits Jr and Sr High School then bounces around again without proper date references for you to go by.

Also there were vague references to Cory being home-schooled at times when his behavior was too disruptive to be in a classroom, but there is never any mention of him actually doing school work at home except for some college-level courses he takes online as a teenager. He repeatedly says his mom is his hero, she gave up writing and her job to stay with him, he says she was always sticking up for him, but there are almost no examples of that til his critical Jr year in HS and NO mention of her teaching him at home at all til the shool conference that year. I find it commendable that she recorded his long litany of medications with outcomes and side effects, but for any medical mystery this is what you should do......and she is a writer.
So it just left me as a good story that could have been written in a much better way.


The Alehouse Murders (Templar Knight, Bk 1)
The Alehouse Murders (Templar Knight, Bk 1)
Author: Maureen Ash
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 49
Review Date: 5/27/2009
Helpful Score: 5


I'd been reading a lot of historical fiction after a long period of only mysteries and thrillers, but had studied the Templars for a class so was fascinated to discover 2 series of mysteries from different authors that combined all these themes/genres. This was the first I've read, but will search out more by her and her compatriot, Michael Jenks. Loved the blending of my faves.


The Alice Behind Wonderland
The Alice Behind Wonderland
Author: Simon Winchester
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 5/11/2016


Disappointing 'bio' of Charles Dodgson, pen name Lewis Carroll, famous for writing the 2 'Alice' books which have spawned a plethora of cartoons and movies, including the upcoming sequel "Through the Looking Glass'.
The book keeps teasing you, making you think it's going to thoroughly investigate the rumors that Dodgson had 'feelings' for little girls-- with most evidence based upon all the time he spent with young children, including much time photographing them. But the book turns into a complete history of the 'new' hobby or career of photography. It even details who or what appeared in Dodgson's numbered photos but fails to share any of them but the provokingly revealing one of a young Alice Liddell.
For those looking for a good read about the Liddell family or Alice who inspired the Wonderland stories, look elsewhere.


The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Bk 1)
The Alienist (Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, Bk 1)
Author: Caleb Carr
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 550
Review Date: 3/2/2011
Helpful Score: 1


Another good historical detective novel by Carr in which the birth of "forensics" is again explored.
Placed in "sin city", the NY of the late 1890's, a team appointed by chief of police, Theodore Roosevelt (before he becomes President) is made up of 2 Jewish detectives who happen to be brothers, a gun-toting female police secretary, a playboy crime reporter, and the good doctor ( the alientist-- the old fashioned name for therapist/psychologist/psychiatrist) and his servants.
They track a serial killer whose victim profile and killing methodology helps them form a profile of the suspect they are looking for. As they deduce probable careers for the rooftop seeking monster, they discover how his unhappy childhood led him to kill the way he does.
A great read for anyone who enjoys the TV series "Criminal Minds".


The Angel of Darkness
The Angel of Darkness
Author: Caleb Carr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 1/22/2010
Helpful Score: 2


Enjoyable though Looooong (over 700 pages) story of historical crime fighting in late 1800's NYC. Team led by a psychologist (alienist) works to solve a kidnapping that soon leads them to the discovery that a serial killer of children is on the loose. An interesting look at how psychology was viewed by law enforcement, the courts, etc in the early days of the science. Introduces "forensics" as a way to help solve crime, though the courts did not consider it to prove "beyond reasonable doubt".
Though it bogged down in the middle, the last 3rd of the story had me reading faster to see if justice would be served.


Another Monster at the End of This Book (Jellybean Books) (Sesame Street)
Review Date: 7/9/2012
Helpful Score: 1


not as good as the original, but has the added treat of little Elmo joining Grover in the search for the monster at the end of the book. another great book for the reader to make the character voices come to life.


As Bright as Heaven
As Bright as Heaven
Author: Susan Meissner
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 8/24/2019
Helpful Score: 2


Set in the early 1900's, the Bright family moves from a tobacco farm to Philadelphia where Mr Bright joins his never-married uncle's business of running a funeral home.
The family with 3 girls lives through the World War and Spanish flu epidemic, losing beloved family, friends, and classmates. They even take in a baby boy orphaned by the flu.
The girls all have special talents and we see them grow up to take on jobs and go thru courtships. These girls are liberated for their time!
Truly historical fiction, but there is enough romance to lighten the sadness that permeates much of the story.
Book is narrated by the women in the family with chapters alternating between characters, though this doesn't make it hard to follow. Book is written in 2 parts which seems to make a jump I didn't quite understand. The theme that drives part one is abandoned in part 2-- I'm sure we'll discuss that when my bookclub meets!
I enjoyed the descriptive writing Meissner used throughout the novel.


Bag of Bones
Bag of Bones
Author: Stephen King
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 822
Review Date: 9/4/2009
Helpful Score: 3


Couldn't believe over 700 pages for a non-serial fiction story, but it was needed to cover all the details of this haunted mystery. I didn't think eveything could be explained as I neared the end, but it all tied together neatly without giving the answer away early. I really liked it and quickly read it in 3 days. More ghostly doings than gore which I appreciated.


Beach Road
Beach Road
Author: James Patterson, Peter de Jonge
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 491
Review Date: 8/25/2010
Helpful Score: 2


I re-read this due to increased interest in it again by other readers and just as I remembered, it was a great who done it and legal drama. It has everything-- romance, murder, police corruption, drug dealing, celebrities, and small town attitudes-- and it all takes place in the Hamptons and NYC where my sister lives and works so it gave me a personal tie-in to the locale described! A fast read with very short "chapters" from different characters' viewpoints.


Before She Was Found
Before She Was Found
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 11/29/2021


Loved this psychological thriller centered on the on again-off again relationships between 3 Jr High girls. The bullying that goes on results in a serious incident with two of the girls being hospitalized-- one with severe facial disfigurement, the other in shock.
But who was the attacker? Are the third girl and a boy friend from school who was supposed to meet them at the site of the attack involved? Or is Joseph Wither, the center of an urban legend from decades ago, alive or reaching out from the beyond to continue the crimes he was accused of as a teenager? Or is there a more sinister reality involving the teacher who assigned them the urban legend project that started them down this road?
The police seem to be running in circles trying to discover the doer of the crime with little physical evidence until a surveillance video seems to help clear up the girls' confusing statements.
And is the hospital child psychologist who is consulting on the medical case helping or hurting?
A surprise ending was one I considered shortly before it was revealed, but the book was a good diversion over a quiet holiday weekend.
I couldn't put this one down...it kept me up late for several nights in a row! I will look for more books by this author.


Before We Were Yours
Before We Were Yours
Author: Lisa Wingate
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 87
Review Date: 3/29/2020


Historical fiction telling the true story of the Tennessee Children's Home written from alternating viewpoints of two charactersâAvery telling the story in current times, and elderly May Weathers
( originally Rill Voss) telling of her childhood experience at the adoption center.
It was hard to read of the child snatchings, fraud, and then the abuse that occurred in the home, with many deaths resulting that were hidden from families and authorities. It took decades before the state of TN addressed the crimes. Authorities and charities even recognized the home's director for promoting adoptions of poor children.
This was a piece of history I had never heard of despite being from a nearby state. You will rejoice in what Avery is able to accomplish when her curiosity is sparked by a chance meeting with May and she delves into the secrets some families keep through the ages.


Between Shades of Gray
Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 50
Review Date: 10/30/2013
Helpful Score: 1


A disappointing YA book of historical fiction that tells the story of the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe before the Nazis took over and the imprisonment of 'intellectuals' and others considered enemies of the state by the Stalin regime.

I assume becasue it is YA much of the more intense torture and any rapes that would have occurred in reality were left out of this novel. But the sense of degradation and horror come through in the mistreatment of the dead, random shootings, and poor care of the 'inmates' as they are transported cross-continent to Siberia by truck and train.

A relatively unstudied area of history for many years, this book at least makes a start to let young people know of the Russian slaughter of 20 million people under Stalin while the Nazis were annihilating Jews and others in Europe. Survivors kept silent for DECADES after their release because they were still under the control of the USSR, and only felt comfortable speaking about their experiences once their countries were free again.


Beyond the Body Farm: A Legendary Bone Detective Explores Murders, Mysteries, and the Revolution in Forensic Science
Review Date: 3/13/2013
Helpful Score: 2


Good non-fiction book that reads like a fiction mystery/thriller. Fans of the TV shows CSI and Bones will enjoy this book where each chapter is like a lesson in a different forensic technique or tool (such as DNA, using sonar to search for a body underwater, etc) Yet it's not like a tech manual for scientists, very easy reading.


Black Notice (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 10)
Black Notice (Kay Scarpetta, Bk 10)
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 150
Review Date: 9/19/2009
Helpful Score: 2


Not up to Cornwell's usual standards. Good detective story throws in an unneeded romp between the sheets that contributes nothing to the story.
Marino's slovenly ways and unprofessional behavior are getting old and tiresome--too much just to have a "colorful character" helping Kay solve crime. Would have been nice to see him take the rookie detective under his wing and guide her.
And again, Lucy's abuse of force in reaction to crisis is unrealistic and her juvenile disappearing acts and refusal to communicate with those who care about her would disqualify her from the security clearance needed to do the jobs she's assigned, whether undercover or to carry weapons-- any law enforcement officer who did what she does over and over again would be out on paid medical leave for psych treatment.
Sadly, I'm taking a break from the "Dr Kay" series.


Blair Witch: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr
Blair Witch: The Secret Confession of Rustin Parr
Author: D.A. Stern
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 8
Review Date: 11/9/2010
Helpful Score: 1


A good start to researching the Blair Witch story after seeing the film. Book involves primary players surrounding the disappearance of 8 children, 7 of whom are discovered murdered and buried, the confessor the accused murderer tells the truth to the night before his execution, and the novelist who has penned books on the subject. Partly told thru journal entries that lead up to the confessor's death ( a former priest who marries, but whose interest in the evil doings in the Maryland hills continues).

The end of the book is somewhat disappointing as the mystery of the serial killings remains, leaving only hints as to who really tortured and killed the Burkittsville 7.


Blood and Chocolate
Blood and Chocolate
Author: Annette Curtis Klause
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 30
Review Date: 5/8/2009


Fans of the Twilight vampire series should like this too! Read the book and avoid the movie.


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