Mini Reviews: Ceremony in Death & Hard Eight

ceremony-in-deathTitle: Ceremony in Death
Author: J.D. Robb
Read: Feb. 9-15, 2017
Pages: 310
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  This is the fifth book in the In Death series. I read #4 back in the beginning of 2016. I don’t remember much about it other than that I really liked it. So I was looking forward to dipping back into this series. But this one fell flat for me. It had to deal with Wiccans and witchcraft. Which if you’re a long-time follower of mine, you know that I only sparingly dabble in anything dealing with witchcraft/magic. So my personal feelings on these types of storylines definitely affected my overall opinion of the book. But I will still continue on with the series and hopefully the sixth book will be back on track to what I prefer.


hard-eightTitle: Hard Eight
Author: Janet Evanovich
Read: Feb. 16-24, 2017
Pages: 326
Source: Paperbackswap
Rating: 3/5

Thoughts:  I picked this one up because I needed something light after reading the J.D. Robb book. I read a few of these books last year until I kind of burned out when they started to all feel the same. So I was looking forward to knocking another one of these series books out of the way. Overall it wasn’t a bad book. I will say that Albert Kloughn has to be one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a book in a while. He definitely made the book much better. But seriously …. how many times can Stephanie’s car get blown up? At this point I can’t help but think that Ms.Evanovich needs to get some new ideas for her books – it’s no longer funny when Stephanie’s car gets blown up … it just makes me roll my eyes at this point.

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Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant
by Veronica Roth

Allegiant

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 526

Read: July 29-Aug. 3, 2016

Rating: 3/5

Source: Purchased New

 
Blurb: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


Review: This review is tough because I went into this one with absolutely no recollection of the first two books. Overall, that really affected my understanding and opinion because a lot of things made absolutely no sense. I also didn’t really care for the alternating stories of Tris & Tobias. The other two books weren’t in that format and I just didn’t care for it. Also – I was not impressed by the ending. It made me a little more than irritated.

So I guess while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it definitely could have been made better had I read this one with more memory of the previous two books. But I am glad that I finally finished the trilogy out. Just kind of an “eh” book from me.

2015.12 REVIEW – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2012
Pages: 525
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 14 – March 23, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 12
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #2

InsurgentBlurb: One choice can transform you– or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable–and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Review: Just last week I finished Divergent. I had picked it up for a Goodreads challenge that was asking us to read outside our normal genres. I never dreamed that I would fall in love with it. I enjoyed it so much so that I immediately went out and purchased a brand new copy of Insurgent (I so rarely buy any book new, so that should say a lot about my feelings). I immediately started reading it, too. Something I also very rarely do.

Then about a quarter of the way through I just about stalled out. This book was not nearly as enjoyable and entertaining as Divergent. But I was determined that I would stick it out and finish it. And I finally did.

And boy am I glad that I did. Because that ending … now I have to get my hands on the last book in the trilogy, Allegiant. I have to know what happens now.

As I stated above, I felt like this book was not up to par with the first book. There was just too much drag in the middle portion of the book for my taste. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t like what was going on in places or if it was because I don’t normally read series books back-to-back to avoid burn-out. But I felt like this was a much weaker installment than Divergent. I can only hope that Ms. Roth finishes out the trilogy with a strong bang.

There’s not much else I can say about this book. Based on the last two pages alone, I’m glad that I spent all that time reading the previous 523 pages. Those last two pages gave me hope that just maybe the trilogy will wrap up with a bang.

But then again, most of the reviews on Goodreads say otherwise. I guess I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant ASAP and decide for myself.

 

 

2015.11 REVIEW – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
by Veronica Roth

Copyright:2011
Pages: 487
Rating: 5/5
Read: March 8 – March 13, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 11
Format: Print
Source: Purchased new
Series: Divergent Trilogy #1

DivergentBlurb: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.


Review: You may remember me mentioning in my review of Attachments that I had signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one being where we were encouraged to read outside our comfort genres. This is another book that I chose for that challenge.

So what did I think? Honest to goodness, I LOVED this book. I surprised myself by how much I truly enjoyed it. I really took to Tris’s character. And Four. I think I may have had a little bit of a crush on Four by the end of the book.

I think my only complaint about this book is the lack of background. We just jump right in. What happened to put the City in its current state? Why the factions? Why the hatred between the factions? What caused all this discontent? I hope the other two books address this.

This book was about initiations. We got to see all the training that Tris had to go through to become Dauntless. It was unrealistic, to say the least. There’s no way anyone could have survived what they had to go through. Okay, maybe some people could have – I sure wouldn’t have, ha! It’s this training that sets up for whatever is going down. We get a little bit of a preview of what is to come in the last few chapters of the book. But now I’m anxious to know what will happen next!

I am still amazed that I liked this book as much as I did. I liked it so much that I’m going out to buy Insurgent.

Highly recommended.

2015.10 REVIEW – Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments
by Rainbow Rowell

Copyright:2011
Pages: 323
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: March 4 – March 6, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 10
Format: Print
Source: Purchased online at powells.com
Series: N/A

AttachmentsBlurb: Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work email. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious emails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.

Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now – reading other people’s email. When he applied to be “Internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers – not writing up a report eery time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.

When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained – and captivated – by their stories.

By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself.

What would he say…?


Review: So earlier this year I signed up for some Goodreads challenges, one of those was to read 14 books from the group’s moderators’ favorite genres. Talk about having to really expand my horizons. One of the genres is chick-lit. Not something I read. Ever. And something that made me a little nervous. But I went searching for a chick-lit book that I felt I would be able to handle (i.e. – not throw across the room in total and utter disgust). Somehow I stumbled upon Rainbow Rowell.

Now, I’d have to be in a complete hole to have never heard of Rainbow Rowell. She seems to have taken the book blogosphere by storm since her debut in 2011. And while I will admit that a couple of her books have sounded a little bit interesting to me, I never took the plunge and gave one a try. Until now.

And I can honestly say that I didn’t throw the book across the room in total and utter disgust. But don’t consider me a chick-lit convert just yet, either.

Overall, I enjoyed the first 98% of this book. I had a lot of fun with Beth and Jennifer’s emails. I loved the parts revolving around Lincoln. He was so screwed up it was ridiculous, but I found him to be endearing all the same. I wish I had a girlfriend relationship like Beth and Jennifer (sure, I have friends that I tell certain stuff to, but no one I can really pour my heart and soul out to). Lincoln’s mom is so dysfunctional it’s not even funny – and I could end up being the type of mother she was … not wanting her baby boy to ever leave her.

But then there’s that other 2% that just left me with a bad taste in my mouth. It was the ending. I. Hated. It. Pure and simple. It made me realize why I don’t read chick-lit. And it really felt at total odds with the rest of the book. It just didn’t work for me. Too cookie-cutter, everything works out for my taste. Just yuck.

So overall I’m glad that I expanded my horizons and read something outside of my comfort zone. And I might even give another Rainbow Rowell book a chance in the future.

I can’t say that I would have really missed anything if I had never read this book. But I can’t say that it was a waste of my time either. It was a decent book for a couple of snowed-in days. But that ending did it no justice in my opinion, and also majorly affected my overall rating of the book.

2014.17 REVIEW – Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson

Children of the Revolution
by Peter Robinson

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
Read: April 2 – 11, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 17
Format:  Print
Source: Publicist for blog tour
Series: Inspector Alan Banks #21

Children of the RevolutionBlurbThe body of a disgraced college lecturer Gavin Miller is found on an abandoned railway line by a woman out walking her dog early one winter morning. In the four years since Miller’s dismissal for sexual misconduct, he’s been living like a hermit, listening to music from his college days and existing as frugally as possible on the outskirts of a small village. So where did he get the five thousand pounds found in his pocket?

Leading the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks begins to suspect that the victim’s past may be connected to his death. Forty years earlier the dead man attended a university that was a hotbed of militant protest and divisive, bitter politics. And as the seasoned detective well knows, some grudges are never forgotten – or forgiven.

Just as Banks is about to break the case open, his superior warns him to back off or risk losing the promotion he has been promised. Yet Banks isn’t about to stop, even if it means risking his career altogether. He’s certain there’s more to the mystery than meets the eye, and more skeletons to uncover before the case can finally be closed.

CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION is available now at
Amazon | B&N  IndieBound 


Review: I received a copy of this book for free for review purposes in conjunction with a blog tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

I read and reviewed my very first Peter Robinson book just last month, Watching the Dark. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Enough so that it made me want to sign up for the blog tour for this most recent installment in the Inspector Banks series.

Overall I liked this one quite a bit. There were a few more revelations regarding the main characters that gave a little bit more insight into their backgrounds. Since I’m not likely to go back and read the entire backlist (hey, 19 books is a lot to commit to), I still have a lot of questions, but things are starting to make a bit more sense the more I read.

As I stated in my review of Watching the Dark, this book is not necessarily a page-turner, thrill-a-minute book. Instead it is meant to be savored. The writing sucked me in and I was entirely wrapped up in what was going on. As I felt with the previous book, I so enjoyed working the case with Banks.

I did have one issue, though. The ending. The way that it occurred (no spoilers), well it just didn’t sit well with my opinion of Inspector Banks’ character. I can’t imagine that he would let things end the way it did. Maybe it’s a sign of what’s to come in future books (that promotion?), but for whatever reason it didn’t feel right to me. Obviously, having only read two of these books, I’m no expert on Banks’ character, it just felt off to me.

All that aside, though, I would definitely recommend this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am definitely looking forward to the next Inspector Banks installment!

2014.10 REVIEW – Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson

Watching the Dark
by Peter Robinson

Copyright: 2013
Pages: 354
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 21 – Mar. 1, 2014
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 10
Format: Print
Source: Publicist for blog tour

WATCHING THE DARK is available now at Amazon | B&N  IndieBound

Watching the DarkBlurb: A decorated policeman is murdered on the tranquil grounds of the St. Peter’s Police Treatment Centre, shot through the heart with a crossbow arrow, and compromising photographs are discovered in his room. Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is well aware that he must handle the highly sensitive and dangerously explosive investigation with the utmost discretion. And as he digs deeper, he discovers that the murder may be linked to an unsolved missing case from six years earlier and the current crime may involve crooked cops. 


Review: I received a copy of this book for free from the publicist for review purposes in conjunction with a blog tour, all opinions expressed below are my own.

For whatever reason, I have never read a Peter Robinson book. Since there are (only) 20+books in the Inspector Banks series, it’s been a bit of an undertaking. I’m usually adamant that I have to read the entire backlist. For whatever reason, I chose to read this book knowing that it is the 20th book in the series. Going into it I didn’t really know what to expect. I had no idea if I would be completely lost by jumping into this series at this point or if it would be just fine. The truth is that it’s somewhere in the middle. I wasn’t completely lost reading this book, but there were some questions about relationships between certain characters that probably would have been helpful to have the background information. 

Now that I have that way, I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The writing was very good, the storyline was interesting, the characters were extremely well-developed. It was an all-around good book. There’s not much for me to really complain about, to be honest. 

I really liked Inspector Banks’ character. There was something about him that worked. He was a nice guy, but he also knew how to read the situation and react as necessary. I felt it was very interesting to “work the case” with him and Joanna. At times I wondered if he was on a wild-goose chase in regards to the Rachel storyline, but I found it really enjoyable to see how everything came together in the end. Banks has one of those guts that was spot-on in this case. I also liked Joanna’s character. I’m not sure that she has ever been mentioned in previous books, and I’m not sure what kind of a presence she will have in any future books, but I found her to be an interesting character that I would want to know more about after what she reveals to Banks at dinner one night. 

Overall I would most definitely recommend this book. It’s not necessarily a book that will have you up all night turning the pages, but it’s definitely a book to be savored. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to keeping Mr. Robinson on my watch list in the future.