It could have been me - not my kind of book. I should have known better.
I was expecting a Evanovich book to have several sub plots to go with a main story - quirky characters maybe some fun historical humor. Sure, it's a historical romance novel, but from these two authors? I was expecting a new kind of historical romance.
How does one...no two... make a romance novel this is so so so MEH...let alone PG rated?
This book had ONE thin storyline that contained little adventure. For me it was not engaging, or spellbinding. The characters had no chemistry or appeal for me either.
One issue that was ever so annoying or was it ever so humorous… whatever it was, it was distracting. One of the main character's name is Jack, who apparently is a very inquisitive character for the phrase 'Jack asked' was used often throughout. Jack should have inquired, requested, grilled, or challenged for when 'Jack asked' is verbalized on Audiobooks it comes out as a malediction. So the reader is listening along to the flowers and butterflies of this ho hum romance novel and out of nowhere - DAMNATION. It was distracting and Yeah, that part was humorous.
I know better than to purchase a memoir of a person who was born in a year that I remember vividly. I wish I would have followed my rule this time. I didn’t hate, Yes Please, it just didn’t fulfill any need I had or give any additional insight. I was left disappointed.
There is a treat with the audiobook edition. Not only does Amy read her own work, she brought friends. The cameo appearances were a nice little treat for me. The voice inflection when one recounts events with a beloved grandparent is the best reason to read/listen to such a personal work. Those few events were especially sweet. Amy also sings and finishes the final chapter reading in a stand up setting. I appreciate the extra effort of making the audio edition of her book a unique experience.
I might be wrong but, I expect to laugh out loud (and often) when I am reading a book written by an iconic comedic talent. Not once in this entire book did I have that experience. It didn’t even crack a smile for me till the final chapter. When you watch SNL, there is a point in each skit where it forks into either a ‘spot on’ event or a ‘never got out the gate’ event. This book had more of those that never got out of the gate and some even went over the edge (namely the long list of names that Leslie Knope didn’t have). Amy’s writing is completely without structure. She rambles, repeats herself, starts to go someplace interesting or funny then never get to a point that, you think, she was trying to make. I appreciate that she stayed on the high road, told a few sweet stories about her family and childhood. The book felt rushed and not thought out.
After the first dozen times that Amy uttered how much she hated writing this book, I started responding aloud, “Oh get over yourself,” every time she said it. I said it throughout the book. If you truly hated it THAT much, Amy, why didn’t you just give the ginormous check back and tell the publisher that writing books wasn’t for you? The second item that really rubbed me the wrong way was the ever-present sleep issues. The woman has a chronic health issue that has spanned over thirty years of her life and apparently causes her distress. Then we come to find that she shucks the prescribed treatment to the back of her closet because it just didn’t sit pretty on her bedside table, YET has the nerve to continue the "woe is me, I’m so tired" shtick. Cry me a river!
This is my first Sandra Balzo book. When I read in the synopsis that Running on Empty was the first book in a new series, my thought was that this was perfect timing since her previous works reviews were favorable.
In Running on Empty, AnnaLise Grigg's leaves the life she made for herself after college to return to her childhood home to deal with her aging mother. Not long after her arrival, a string of murders are committed in this quirky North Carolina town and all the old secrets come out.
There is no back story to develop a kinship with the main character. AnnaLise leaves it all behind before we find out who she was. The reader is quickly thrown into a stereotypical small southern town that she long left and rarely returns to. One cardboard stereotypical character after another is introduced with such flurry, that it makes your head spin. It's impossible to keep track of who's who. If you're not confused enough, AnnaLise's love interest when she last left town is now playing on "the other team", she calls her mother, Daisy and the woman that she does call Mama didn't raise her nor are they even related. As the book progresses, the parentage of several of the cast revolves again.
I did stick with the book till the end. One of the dozen dangling story lines did interested me enough to continue. Unfortunately it was one of the ones left dangling with nor resolution at the end. There are a plethora of clever, well worked mysteries. I do not need to continue with this series.
I hesitated sacrificing a credit for a six hour book. Imagine my joy to find that narrator Amy DeLuca read this book so slowly that I found it painful to listen to at normal speed. This is the first time I have ever been able to listened at 1.5x speed and found it the only tolerable level. I felt cheated Audible for, at 1.5x speed, it is now something like a four hour work.
Garth Stein is such a skilled writer. His use of words long forgotten will have you reaching for your dictionary while promising yourself to use them in a sentence the following week. I loved his previous work, The Art of Running. The research and planning that went into this book is evident. I was anticipating so much more for this book.
Just like Steven King's The Shinning, this book is about your standard family unit that confronts the supernatural in a larger than life historic house. The ghosts in the family closet become more prevalent and dangerous than the floating kind, as the story progresses. What works for one book and not the other is mainly that the child protagonist in A Sudden Light doesn't come off as a child. He's too accepting of the apparitions and flaky relatives alike. I think Garth Stein wanted a smarter than average teenager - then he made him too worldly. Trevor knows too much and, at times, comes off as a distasteful little smart aleck. No one will ever connect with a 14 year old that is smarter than them. What teenage kid describes a color as azure? I had to Google it. It's sky-blye, Garth.
Furthermore, the reader is never allowed to get comfortable within the story because the dialog is too planned out. It's all a little forced and doesn't flow naturally. The historic diaries, that are conveniently fill in the back story, have the same 'too smart' wording as the one reading them hundreds of years later. It's all a little off.
Then what was the intended audience? Initially I was thinking this was written as a cross generational ghost story till the creepy hints of incest kept creeping in. I won't even mention the unlikelihood of the socialite ancestor's acceptance of his son's homeopathic relationship in the early 1900's.
Seth Numrich is a great narrator - a perfect choice. Not being able to ever feel connected to the book enough to ever care what happened, made for Seth lulling me to sleep over and over, day after day. This was not an easy book to get through that left me unrewarded when it was finally over.
The Remains of the day is a work of art. The writing so effortless that initially the reader would believe it’s about servants in the United Kingdom prior to WWII. Each word is chosen; the sentences constructed in such a way that initially one wonders how they will get through such a tediously slow and methodic work. Once the reader clicks in that the pace is intentional and the still waters are deep – the beauty of this beautiful work overtakes you. At the end you feel blessed to have learned a lesson in the nick of time.
The story takes place over as Mr. Steven’s, an English butler, motors to visit a former staff person. During his drive he reminisces about events in his life, when he felt he was on the edge of greatness and during times that he shared with his former employee, in a first person point of view. The reader sees the picture from a clearer perspective than the narrator as her motors farther and farther away from his typical surroundings.
This book is a dated American Miss Marple series. We’ll never see espionage like this again. Some books are timeless and I don’t think this is one of them. Had I realized how dated this was, I would not have ordered this.
The Moment of Everything is an adult coming of age story about everything and nothing. Shelly King's debut novel revolves around a group of friends and acquaintances that have the common bond of books. It's entertaining and witty, though at times I was unsure of the plot. Her characters are of the variety that you quickly identify with and grow to love. If you have a beloved old book store, you will immediately feel very much at home within the pages of this book. The author detailed description will have you smelling the old books and looking for the ever present cat.
At one point I got a bit nervous for previous fictions I have read about bookstores soon become boring. There is just so far one can go when you write a book about books. The Moment of Everything worked through that well to tell a lovely tale of love and friendship.
Protagonist, thirty four year old, Maggie Dupres is still trying to find her place in life. An unemployed techie with a library science degree, she follows her passion while finding a way to have a career working with friends.
A nice light read.
With an author as prolific as Sandra Brown, you can’t hit one out of the ballpark every time. With this one she did, for this novel is exceptional. I am not a fan of her romance genre. So, with her books, I rely on the synopsis and reader reviews before purchasing.
Mean Streak is a unique survival thriller with one twist, or surprise, after another. Dr. Emory Charbonneau is training for a marathon. While running on a remote trail things take a turn for the worse and there is the beginning of a roller coaster of events that just snow balls and melts over and over till the very end. I though the characters were interesting and their plight plausible. The secondary characters were equally as engaging.
Narration by Jonathan Davis was an added benefit. He’s so effortless and always just spot on.
Liane Moriarty has a style that she has fine tuned to perfection. Australian character studies with wit and humor involving modern sincere people. Her characters are quirky, sharp and clever. Their problems are often a bit outlandish mixed in with those that are similar enough to our own so that we can relate.
Fresh off her most recent novel, that I loved, I decided to purchase this re-release of her 2004 first novel. A tale of adult triplets that are closely bonded though each possessing a unique personality.
The problem I had with this novel is that though this is a story with three heroines, none is particularity redeeming or likable. I found one to be flighty, one to be boring and the other to be sourly mean. Without the amount of humor and sharp wit that I have grown to love in Moriarty's more recent work, I soon lost interest. Towards the middle I was plodding through to the end rather than enjoying the trip along the way. Though this book has good elements, in comparison to her later work, it's dull and lacking. It left me wondering why this needed re-released.
It's the whole deal. It's got intrigue. It's a deadpan humor. It's serious and scary. Then just when you think you have it figured out - you get a surprise from nowhere. As the book nears the end - you slow down so to savor it.
If you have ever had school age children, you know there is a fine line between the parent/teacher's group and your own high school experience. This book nailed the elementary parent group phenomenon.
The narration of this book is stellar. What a perfect combination.
Kingdom of Ice is a spellbinding novel written about the epic naval expedition to the North Pole taken by 33 men in the late 1800’s. It was believed that a rim of ice circled the top of the globe that, once broken, lead to an warmer “open polar sea.’” The North Pole would then be easy sailing. Their passion for adventure leads them to years and years of survival and endurance in the most extreme of conditions.
Hampton Sides details this adventure in a thriller that had me sneak reading throughout the day and staying up late into the night. His heartfelt portraits of these heroic figures using memoirs, crew’s journals, naval records and private correspondence created unforgettable characters that I soon cared very deeply about.
What an incredible, well told, tale.
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