Bea, books

New Review: Whiplash

"Whiplash" by Catherine Coulter

Book Blurb: Yale professor Dr. Edward Kender’s father is undergoing chemotherapy when the supply of a critical accompanying drug suddenly runs out. Unwilling to accept the drug company’s disingenuous excuse of production line problems, Dr. Kender hires private investigator Erin Pulask to prove there is something more sinister going on at Schiffer Engel’s manufacturing facility in Indiana.

Pulaski uncovers a bombshell – Schiffer Engel’s intentional shortage is bringing in a windfall profit in excess of two billion dollars.

When a top Schiffer Engel employee shows up viciously murdered behind the U.S. headquarters, Sherlock and Savich are called in to lend a hand. The murder of a foreign national on federal land can only mean the German drug company has a secret of epic proportions.

Review: The intro had me going "OMG, shoot me now". The book centers around a drug company and it's handling of a chemo drug for patients. Coulter apparently feels strongly about drug companies as she shoves down our throats and hammers us on the head with the topic of how drug companies behave and misbehave. Luckily, she quickly moves into the story and eases up on the preaching.

     Once she shifts gears, the book becomes tried and true FBI formula. As usual, we see Savich and Sherlock, the married FBI agents and meet a new agent, Bowie Richards, and a female PI, Erin Pulaski who also doubles as a dance teacher. Erin has Bowie's daughter Georgie in her dance class and unexpectedly finds herself caring for Georgie when her nanny has to have surgery.

     Erin is working on a case for an old family friend whose father's chemo drug has been rationed. The factories that produce the drug have encountered "unexpected" production problems and now it's in short supply. As a result, oncologists and their patients either have to stop treatment or switch to a more expensive drug made by a rival company. For reasons that are never explained, once you switch chemo drugs, you can't switch back to the cheaper drug. That's part of what drives the story but absolutely no reason is offered by Coulter as to why if you switch from drug A to drug B, you can't switch back to drug A. I don't know enough about medicine, drugs or cancer to to know if this has any factual basis but the story would have been better served if Coulter had offered some explanation. Instead, the whole story rests on this flimsy basis.

     Erin's case crashes into the FBI when a German citizen is found murdered on public land very near the corporate offices of the drug company, which Erin broke into. Naturally, the FBI agent in charge of the case is Georgie's father, Bowie. As Erin cares for Georgie, she uses the opportunity to question Bowie about the case and where it's heading. Erin was spotted leaving the grounds at about the same time the murder occurred and she's scared that she'll be arrested for the murder.

Sparks fly between Erin and Bowie but their relationship moves slowly. Coulter takes her time and lets them get to know each other instead of jumping immediately into bed. I liked Erin and Bowie as a couple, they felt believable and better drawn than some other couples in the series.

     There's also a secondary plot, completely unrelated to the main story, involving a US Senator who believes that he is being visited by his dead wife's ghost. Actually , the Senator is torn between believing that it's real and worried that someone is trying to drive him mad. Then people around him start having accidents, even dying. Savich is asked by his boss to discretely look into the situation. 
     Other than the initial emphasis on the drug issue, the book offers nothing new. If you like her FBI books or you are looking for the familiar and comfortable, you'll probably like this book. It's enjoyable read and even had some twists that I didn't see coming.

     This review is also posted at: goodreads

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons

This book was borrowed from my local library.                                                                                                                                                            
Bea, books

2 Book reviews

I have two very different reviews today. One is for a scifi/horror novel, "Feed" by Mira Grant, and one is an alphabet book for children, "B is for Bufflehead by Steve Hutchraft.

The review for "Feed" is one that I did for The Falcata Times, you can see it at

“B is for Bufflehead” photographs and text by Steve Hutchcraft.

Book blurb: Take a flight through the ABC's with a flock of fun feathered friends. Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Blue-footed Boobies, loons, cuckoos, and many other fascinating birds introduce little ones to the alphabet. Eye-catching and humorous photographs combine with fun facts to entertain and educate inquisitive young minds about the wonderful world of birds.

Review: “B is for Bufflehead” is an entertaining look at birds. The author, who also took the photographs, manages to write text that doesn't talk down to it's readers while being appropriate for a wide range of young readers. The photographs are colorful and engaging, and the page artwork is color-keyed to each picture. So, if the predominant color in the photo is blue, then the page background is a matching shade.

The layout allows for a range of abilities and ages. The first portion is your typical alphabet book layout of a picture, some text, and and the letter plus a word that it starts with. These pages are simple enough to engage and hold the younger readers while the second portion has a section containing an identification game, and additional facts about the birds in the book which older readers will find interesting.

The artwork in this book is very well done and one of the books strong points. Another strength is the subjects of the pictures themselves. Each letter is represented by at least two different species of birds and many of the birds will be new to the readers. Hutchcraft mixes familiar and unfamiliar birds, making sure that each one has something unusual or interesting about it. In his own words, “The showcased birds have a mix of fun names, fascinating personalities, and unique behaviors.”

The alphabet portion of the book, however, is weak. Hutchcraft is so focused on the birds that connecting them to the alphabet is only given cursory attention. The focus letter of each page is only highlighted once and only in it's uppercase form. Despite this, it does work as an alphabet book and it definitely works as an introduction to birds.

Publisher: PhotoHutch Press

Age Range: pre-school through third grade

This book was received as a free galley from
reading is sexy

Books, life, and other things.

So as most of you already I love to read. I spend way too many hours every week reading but it's enjoyable to say the least. It was my love of reading that led me to be so active online. I had an email account for several years before I actually did anything more than dip a toe into the online world. Then I discovered a new author. Well, new to me. Kelley Armstrong had a couple books out already when I found her. Her author blurb mentioned her website and on a whim I checked it out. It wasn't long before I joined and soon I began to make friends. Thanks to my time there and the people I've met, both virtually and a few in real life, I've found new authors, joined other boards, became a mod and traveled to Canada. The thing that first drew me to Kelley's board was the opportunity to discuss with other people the books and authors I enjoy. Most of the people in my life have no interest in the genres that I read or think that I am wasting my time reading them. To finally have people who shared my tastes and could discuss them without trashing them was heaven.

A few people that I have met via Kelley and Patty's boards have their own book review blogs and one, the owner of the The Falcata Times, asked me to do a book review. Additionally, someone on Twitter, who I met at patty's board, also asked me to do a review. I enjoyed doing them and have decided to use this blog as a place to occasionally post my thoughts concerning books, authors, publishing, etc. and some reviews.

So, have any books you want to see a review on? Have a book that you want to post a review on? Do you have thoughts concerning books in general, authors, publishing, etc? Speak up and let me know. Let's talk. :)

Vocabulary Quiz

I always enjoy doing the Reader's Digest vocabulary quizzes. Some months I ace it, some months I learn some new words. :) I came across this Blogthings quiz on the Kelley Armstrong Message Board. There were a couple that I was unsure of but, luckily, I got them. :) My mother would be so proud! :D Try it and see how you do.

Your Vocabulary Score: A+

Congratulations on your multifarious vocabulary!
You must be quite an erudite person.
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