Posted in Books & Reviews

Day 19: What is your biggest regret in life?

I’ve come to learn from my past mistakes and I’ve come to be a better person because of making them, so je ne regrette rien. And how can I? I’m happily living for God now and loving it!

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Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #101: Violets are Blue

Detective Alex Cross must confront his most terrifying nemesis ever – and his own deepest fears – in this electrifying new thriller from the master of suspense, James Patterson.

Alex Cross has never believed in vampires. But when two joggers are found slain in a manner that suggests a macabre ritual, he has to reconsider. Someone believes in vampires enough to have committed a series of bizarre murders that appear to be the work of one. Local police are horrified, and even the FBI is baffled.

Cross takes on the case and plunges into a netherworld of secret clubs and role-players, a world full of poseurs and play actors – and someone demented enough to have crossed the line from dark ritual to real blood. At the same time, a lethal super-criminal from Cross’s past known as the Mastermind is stalking him, taunting him, and threatening everything he holds dear. Cross has never been closer to defeat, or in greater danger. In a shocking conclusion, Alex Cross must survive a deadly confrontation – only to discover at last the awful secret of the Mastermind.

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“If you hunt for the vampire, the vampire will hunt for you,”

This was my very first James Patterson book AKA the book that started my love for JP before he started to hire ghostwriters to write his neverending material. This was the book that I dumped other authors for on that fateful cold evening in the library.

Violets Are Blue is the first time where Alex Cross takes a backseat to killer vampires (or are they?). I admit that I rooted for Michael and William up until their deaths because at that time I was into vampires (I blamed Lestat at the time) and this book was like, the best thing ever when I discovered it. I felt the same way when I reread it for the 2nd time after all these years.

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Yes. Yes, it does! 😄

I think JP has mad love for Tom Cruise. I’ve seen the actor’s name popped up in many of his novels including this one (most of the time, it revolves around TC’s megawatt-too-shiny-for-us-normal-people smile). I also recall JP saying that he visited TC twice and there was that one time, TC made him tea. What? The nice actor was out of servants to do his bidding on that day? 

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The beautiful blond brothers – William and Michael – lived up to expectations as the chase continues from Roses Are Red. And if you read Roses Are Red, the end told us who the Mastermind was, but we didn’t know why he became the Mastermind and he is still harassing Alex as he set out to unravel a new murder mystery.

In this dark conclusion, victims are appearing to be killed by creatures rather than people. It is hard for Cross at first to believe in vampires (or are they?), but once he finds out there is a cult in several states, he is determined to find the killers and put them away for good. 

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Alex and the team are sent on a wild goose chase. They eventually follow some false leads, head to New Orleans and ends up in Santa Cruz, the Vampire City.

At one point, Alex is bitten by a crazy so-call vampire (or is it?) and he made a boo-boo in not getting the bite checked. Shows how much the job is first place in his life, heart, and soul, and it is quite frankly unhealthy.

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James Patterson literally has to be 2-4 or more persons when he writes (well, don’t all writers?). He is Alex Cross and the psychopaths and he balances so well between their worlds. This book also opened my eyes that this story is more than just a story for in reality, people do actually practice vampirism. Look up Marcus Wesson if you’re still in doubt. 

COVER

Not a bad cover. 3/5.

OPENING:

Nothing ever starts where we think it does. So of course, this doesn’t begin with the vicious and cowardly murder of an FBI agent and good friend named Betsey Cavalierre. I only thought that it did. My mistake, and a really big and painful one.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #100: Roses Are Red

In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington, D.C., bank robbers have been laying out precise demands when they enter the building — and then killing the bank employees and their families if those instructions are not followed to the letter.

Detective Alex Cross takes on the case, certain that this is no ordinary bank robber at work — the pathological need for control and perfection is too great. Cross is in the midst of a personal crisis at home, but the case becomes all-consuming as he learns that the Mastermind is plotting one huge, last, perfect crime.

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The sun looked like a lemon drop melting in bright blue skies.

My 100th review!

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Shall we dance?

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No? Okay, on to the review!

I don’t normally reread books and the books that I claim to love usually just sit on my shelf, but this is the second time that I read this book (10 years later or so). It was a beautiful trip down memory lane, but I was able to look at it with fresher (and harsher) eyes than my young teenage self.

In this story, Alex Cross’s girlfriend Christine leaves him after going through a traumatic experience. On top of it, a psychopath calling himself the Mastermind is after Cross. The man never gets any rest. It’s always one thing after the other! The Mastermind is an evil genius. He pulls off bank robberies taking the bank employee’s families as hostages.

In the love department, Cross is trying to win back Christine, but at the same time,  he meets and falls for Senior Agent, Betsey.

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The stupidest part was Cross going ‘undercover’ at the mental institution when it was already established that the Mastermind KNEW HIS FACE! He went in there with no disguise expecting to nab a crazy man. Idiotic move.

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The title has nothing to do with red roses and should’ve been called The Mastermind. The man is a brutal killer and he won’t hesitate to strike you where it hurts. He is undoubtedly one of Patterson’s best and craziest villain that gave Cross a run for his money.

Oh, this is the first part of the Mastermind series with a killer ending. Part two is titled Violets Are Blue and I’m off to read it now.

COVER

Eh, it didn’t particularly wow me; 3/5.

OPENING:

BRIANNE PARKER didn’t look like a bank robber or a murderer – her pleasantly plump baby face fooled everyone. But she knew that she was ready to kill if she had to this morning. She would find out for sure at ten minutes past eight.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #99: The Thomas Berryman Murder

It starts with three terrifying murders in the South. It ends with a relentless and unforgettable manhunt in the North. In between is the riveting story of a chilling assassin, the woman he loves, and the beloved leader he is hired to kill with extreme prejudice.

The winner of the Edgar® Award for Best First Novel, THE THOMAS BERRYMAN NUMBER marked the debut of acclaimed and bestselling author James Patterson. No other novelist writing today has created more enduring fictional characters, including legendary Alex Cross from the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years.

I went back to where it all started for the world’s biggest and best-selling author: 1976. James Patterson was a relatively new author when he debuted with The Thomas Berryman Number.

I felt disconnected from the story. I read it like I normally would read a JP book, but I felt as if I had wandered into a rambling reporter’s world and his musings and I didn’t like it at all for it skipped around a lot. There’s never any suspense, the plot made no sense and the ending was lame. I had issues keeping up with several characters. 

The story had its moments, but it was too excruciating and complex to follow sometimes. It was too slow and a letdown. 

Bottom line: it was not JP’s best work and it shouldn’t even be in print in this reading age. Regardless of what some reading enthusiasts may say, JP’s writing matured and developed over time, but I had a hard time calling this book a thriller so I settled for mystery for that’s what it feels more like.

THE CHARACTERS

No one was memorable. They were all boring.

COVER

The cover is gold! The fonts and colors collaborate nicely! It’s a 5/5.

OPENING:

CLAUDE, TEXAS, 1962

THE YEAR HE and Ben Toy left Claude, Texas – 1962 – Thomas Berryman had been in the habit of wearing black cowboy boots with distinctive red stars on the ankles. He’d also been stuffing four twenty-dollar bills in each boot sole. By mid-July the money had begun to shred and smell like feet.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffee

Posted in Books & Reviews

Books #93-#98 (and unhaul)

So many books so little time, but I am making progress! Just a little heads up: this post might be a little lengthy for I have some pages to mercilessly drag.

Book #93: Catwoman the Junior Novel by Jasmine Jones

Anyone remember that Halle Berry as Catwoman movie? Well, this book was based on that movie in 2004 targeting the 8-12 year age group so when I saw this on the Logos II, I bought it for it was cheap. It’s only 139 pages so I read it in one sitting, but I won’t recommend this book for the young ones. The Lord’s Name is taken in vain far too many times and the idea of children reading about taking things that don’t belong to them is not good (she stole jewelry and a motorcycle). 

Patience was dense and this book was depressing and pretty trashy and a waste of trees. Patience was so nice and when she became Catwoman, she was evil and psychotic. The storyline here is that it’s better to be bad than good and no children shouldn’t be reading this garbage. 

She’s a villain so don’t make a hero out of her and try to justify her creepy evil actions.

Looking back, I can’t believe that I even liked the movie when it first came out and watched it a few times. I give this book no steaming coffee, ripped it to shreds and put it in the trash.

Book #94: Message In the Flames by Steven Torres

I talked about this book in an early book haul. I had gotten it on sale and I was excited to read the story because I love Puerto Rico and their Spanish happens to be my type of Spanish! Their accent is just the hottest of the Spanish lot and they call themselves Boricuas. Está nítido! 

I apologize for getting carried away, but I love Porto Rico.

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I wish I could’ve gotten into this book, but it was too slow and I found the story boring. I’ll be giving this book away.

Book #95: Love Him to Death by Tanya Landman

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This is another book that I’ve spoken of in an early haul this year. My youngest sister read it before me for she enjoys a good old mystery and YA when done properly and she kept urging me to read the book while I was reading something else.

I finally got around to it, but I already knew who the murderer was thanks to my sister who didn’t want to keep it to herself. The book is 120 pages long so I read it in one sitting. However, I must say that I didn’t like it. No monsieur, not my cup of French vanilla coffee. Some of the deaths were too gruesome for a children’s book. You see why I read a variety of books? Have to warn the parents. 😉

Anyways, apart from almost putting me to sleep, there was one typo on page 57. My final verdict is 2/5 and I most likely won’t read any more books from this series.

Book #96: The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

I remember singing this author’s praises last year when I reviewed The Surgeon and actually liken her to James Patterson. Well, I take that back after reading this garbage. 

I dislike that the author keeps linking Isles personally to the victims and suspects in a sort of creepy way. Also, the story was super predictable from the beginning and the plot was unbelievable. I believe that the author is getting bored of her star protagonists and doesn’t know what to do with them anymore.

There’s this scene where Isles goes back by herself to the house of the Mephisto Club and I thought that this was absolutely stupid of her. And I’m sorry, but you cannot know the Son of Sam and other things relating to such and not know what the eye of Horus is. Nope. Not buying it.

This is the last book that I’m ever going to read from this author. I’m happy that this book was given to me so I didn’t have to spend money on it. It’s unrateable and unreadable and it’s going to meet the same fate as Catwoman.

Book #97: His First Wife by Grace Octavia

This book was okay despite the fact I did not like the formatting game. Could’ve been tighter. 

The characters weren’t so likable, though. No one gets my sympathy when it comes to breaking up a marriage no matter how shaky it is. I disliked Coreen so much that I wanted to reach into the book and punch her living daylights out. 

It was also hard for me to feel sorry for Kerry when her so-call best friend and friend’s husband knew all about “the other woman”. Kerry was selfish and spoiled at times and it felt like she didn’t have a clue on how to be a wife (someone get her a manual!). I get that she comes from old money, but she was a crybaby. Then there was this:

“Flowers?” I recoiled. “I thought that he was off in Paris living it up in love with some French white woman.” (Page 287)

Why couldn’t she be black? I assure you, Madame Author, that black French women do exist and they’re quite beautiful as the white French woman, so again, why couldn’t the woman in question be black? 

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Have you not heard of the lovely Noémie Lenoir? Why follow every other author and stereotype everything? Write the same thing just to be on the safe side? Why not be a little risky sometimes?

Anyway, moving on. There was a mistake on page 163: the email in question was supposed to send to Jamison from Coreen and not the other way around. I won’t be reading the other books in this series and for the final rating, I give this book a 2/5.

Book #98: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Where do I begin? Where do I begin?

I know this word is a pretty strong and offensive word, but I HATED LARA JEAN! There, I said it. I love the Korean-American representation, but Lara is not a protagonist to root for. She’s supposed to be sixteen, but she acts more like eleven. And she was whiny and ditzy.

This book does not have any likable characters save for the girls’ father and Peter. Peter Kavinsky must be the first obnoxious boy I liked, so congrats Peter, must be the surname.

And what’s up with YA novels and tons of food? In almost every chapter a character is cooking or eating. Major turn off for I thought I was reading a culinary textbook. 

The chapters are short, but not as engaging as James Patterson’s short chapters and I thought the book was too long and chatty. On page 49, there is an explanation as to why people at school didn’t know that two girls were cousins because they looked nothing alike. Is there a universal rule somewhere that states all cousins must look alike for it was implied. I’m glad I look nothing like my cousins.

I’m glad that this horrible book is going out of my life. It read like a Taylor Swift music video. 2/5. Better shake this off with another book.

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Do you know what this means? I can haul more books! 

Posted in Books & Reviews

Book #92: Messi

Lionel Messi’s career has been a stellar ascent, and shows no signs as yet of slowing down.

Born in Rosario in Argentina, he began playing football at a very young age. He made his debut with the first team in 2003 as a 16-year-old and a year later he broke FC Barcelona’s team record for youngest footballer to score a league goal, as well as winning the league with that outstanding team. Is breakthrough season was 2006-7, when he became first team regular, and in 2008-9 he scored 38 goals to play an integral part in the team’s triple-winning success.

Since Pep Guardiola took over as manager of Barcelona in 2008, Messi has become Barcelona’s all-time top scorer in all official club competitions – at the age of 25. He scored an astonishing 91 goals in the calendar year 2012 alone. He has also excelled on the international stage, playing for his national team. But all that was achieved via hard work, sacrifices, family break-ups and huge pressure.

Guillem Balague has had unprecedented access to Messi’s inner circle: his coaches, teammates, presidents and relatives, Joan Laporta, Sandro Rosell, Gerard ‘Tata’ Martino, Alejandro Sabella, Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Carlos Bilardo, Pablo Zabaleta, Cesc Fàbregas, Juanjo Brau, Gerard Piqué, Javier Mascherano, Silvinho…In addition, Pep Guardiola has provided exclusive analysis of the player.

The result is an authoritative and compelling account of the mystery – and genius – that is Messi.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Guillem Balague is a key fixture in Sky Sports’ coverage of Spanish football, appearing regularly both on live match coverage and on the weekly round-up show, Revista de La Liga. He is also the UK Correspondent for AS, the Madrid-based Spanish sports newspaper and El Larguero, Spain’s most popular sports radio show, attracting some 1.5 million listeners. His work appears regularly in twentyfour7 magazine, Bleacher Report, and in Champions magazine, where he writes a regular column on international football. He wrote the bestselling A Season on the Brink, an insider’s account of Liverpool’s 2004-05 Champions’ League winning campaign, and the biography Pep Guardiola: Another Way of Winning, published in 2012.

‘He is a shining light sent by God. You know when someone says, “he will make it, he will”? He was a footballer from the day he was born,’

Claudia, Cintia Arellano’s mother

Lionel Messi. The child, the man, the immigrant, the footballer.

Messi is a force to be reckoned with. He’s also an enigma. He easily captured my attention just as Michael Jackson did when I first saw him perform. I’ve never thought about understanding Leo because I see shades of myself in him when it simmers down to personality traits.

‘Leo doesn’t need money, he doesn’t want beautiful things…he’s just looking for more success.’

Silvinho

I’ve always maintained that Messi is a genius. A footballing genius and I don’t care for science to explain why people aren’t born geniuses. God has blessed Messi with this football talent that not even he himself could comprehend. Geniuses still need to work on their craft and that’s why they’re never satisfied when something doesn’t work out in their favor. That’s why they’re such perfectionists. Once God has blessed you with a talent, you don’t take it for granted. You go out there and you add your own initiative to it. If it means that you have to practice, practice, practice, DO IT for we were meant to work to develop our God-given talent.

People considered geniuses no matter the field they’re in, preserve their childish traits well into their adulthood even when they become family men themselves. Geniuses also need to practice their craft and I think this is the reason why they seldom fall out of love with what they do because of that passionate drive within them.

Leo the student. Ronaldinho the teacher.

The first time I saw Leo play, I thought that the ball was stuck to his boot and I sat there thinking that the ball is Leo and Leo is the ball. They’re one. He was born to play football. No argument.

‘Leo left the house with a ball, lived with the ball, and slept with the ball. He only wanted the ball,’

Rodrigo Messi

When you read Leo’s journey, you’ll understand why he has instilled so much faith in his beloved FC Barcelona. Why they’re a love affair. A romance. He is also fiercely loyal to Argentina. Although he had to leave Argentina to seek a better life, he always carried the country in his heart and soul. Leo’s dream is to win a major trophy with his country and with the World Cup looming around the corner, this might just be his last chance to do so. He came close on a few occasions, but Argentina never seems to really live up to their potential in finals. I don’t think Leo needs any major trophy for he is already one of the greatest footballers of all time in my book.

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Leo was born with a growth deficiency hormone, hence his small stature, but it didn’t stop him from chasing his dream and accomplishing more than he bargained for. He never let doubters have the last say. The author took me on a journey showing where Leo grew up in Rosario, an insight into his young school life (always with the ball), the attitude he had as a child, his passion, and his quiet personality. He was always the happiest in the company of family.

Leo has left such an impact on many people’s lives and he changed the face of history in the sport he loves so much. The book shows his (and his family) ups and downs. How he had to adapt to a new culture (Catalan) after leaving Argentina behind for better. On the day he debuted for FCB, the club that gave him everything, there was no looking back. History was made that day. He was only 17.

The author had not only taken me on Leo’s journey, but he also took me on the ups and downs I’ve suffered, enjoyed, cried and laughed with FC Barcelona. 2012. Tito. Abidal.

As I come to the end of this journey, I am reminded that family keeps us grounded. The family is the foundation and the key to our future success. Balague couldn’t have ended the book on a bittersweet note reminding us about Leo’s rite of passage from boy-genius to man (father):

And one day he will take Thiago to the park to play football. When he’s ten years old, Leo will be around 37.
And he will pass him the ball.

It’s now 2018 and Leo is a father of 3 beautiful boys: Thiago, Mateo, and Ciro (newborn). Football might be his love, but his family is his joy.

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“I told her the day Leo stops playing, I think I will lose all excitement I have for the game and will stop watching it. I love everything about football and imagining that Leo will not play any more one day distresses me. I don’t even want to think about it.”

Jorge Messi

WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE

The interviews were sometimes confusing to follow. The author should have had a DVD or CD made to accommodate the book. 

COVER

It’s a 5!

OPENING:

That was the question on everyone’s lips in Leo’s classroom at the Juan Mantovani Middle School. His school was situated in the district of Las Heras in the south of the Argentinian city of Rosario, close to his home. Leo had missed a week of school and, apart from brief illness, he rarely did that. His desk stood empty, and at playtime, when someone got the ball out, the game seemed even more confusing. There is not football pitch at the Juan Mantovani and there are always too many kids for the small, cramped playground. It did not encourage spacious, expansive games and, with Leo absent, even less so. It had been some days since he had been seen.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee… one coffee down due to unnecessary gibberish at times (I felt as if I was reading results about a conducted experiment sometimes).