4/5, AUTHOR, Author Debut, Book Review, Fiction, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2019, X-Y-Z

Review: Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson

Meet Me at the Museum
by Anne Youngson

Meet Me at the Museum

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 272

Read: Jan 28 – Feb. 3, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: In Denmark, Professor Anders Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Both believe their love stories are over.

Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, the subject of Seamus Heaney’s famous poem, they begin writing letters to each other. And from their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined. As they open up to each other about their lives, an unexpected friendship blooms. But then Tina’s letters stop coming, and Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves?


Review: This book is the February selection for the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. It is an epistolary novel, a little romance, and WAY outside of my comfort zone. But I was definitely looking forward to giving it a shot!

First, it took me a little bit to get into the book. The first few letters are a little cumbersome feeling with the two main characters, Tina and Anders, not knowing what to expect out of the correspondence. But I found that once they got deeper into knowing each other their letters became a lot easier to read. On the other hand, I struggled with how things progressed for both characters. Anders was still grieving his dead wife; I felt like he was taking the correspondence as something tangible that he could hold onto and I could definitely see him falling for Tina. Then there was Tina, who was in a lukewarm marriage and obviously unsure of her life in general. I felt like she became so engrossed in these letters with Anders that she may have ignored her real life in some ways. It’s really difficult for me to properly say my opinion on how both characters handled themselves in their letters (ok – mainly just Tina…) because it hits a very personal nerve on something that I’m not comfortable sharing on my blog. Plus it also enters into spoiler territory to fully explain it.

Well, I’m sure that was clear as mud!

Overall I enjoyed the book quite a bit more than I had anticipated. I’m not a huge fan of the epistolary format in general, however I truly feel like this particular one was done “right.” I know that “right” is subjective and quite personal, but I don’t think that this story could have been as effectively told without the use of letters. I suppose it’s easier to just say that this format worked for me in this particular book. I also felt that the way the correspondence began felt totally believable to me, in addition to how the correspondence naturally continued. It just felt “right.”

I can definitely see how this little gem of a book has garnered attention. I unfortunately had never heard of this one prior to it being announced as a book club selection and I most likely would never have picked it up on my own, but I thoroughly enjoyed stepping outside of my comfort zone for this one.

Advertisements
3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, J, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: Injustice for All by J.A. Jance

Injustice for All
by J.A. Jance

injustice for all

 

Copyright: 1986

Pages: 376

Read: Jan 24 – 28, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: It was like a scene from a movie: the beautiful blond screaming on a Washington beach, a dead man lying at her feet; the dashing Homicide detective arriving to offer kindness and solace to the distressed lady. What it wasn’t was a restful vacation for J.P. Beaumont. And now a murderous mix of politics and passion is turning Beau’s holiday into a nightmare – and leading the dedicated Seattle cop into the path of a killer whose bloodlust is rapidly becoming an obsession.


Review: This is the second book in the J.P. Beaumont series. I read and enjoyed the first book, Until Proven Guilty, last year so I was looking forward to jumping back in with Beau.

Beau probably isn’t any different from any of the other male detective protagonists that I follow religiously, but he certainly feels different. I like his character. And his partner. And his attorney. Maybe that’s the difference … I really like all of the supporting characters in addition to him.

Either way, this book was an interesting storyline. Not necessarily all that surprising when the ending was revealed, but it was still enjoyable to work the case with Beau. He had a lot of obstacles that he had to work around in order to get to that final conclusion, so that was interesting as well.

Just a good, solid read in my opinion. Nothing truly new and exciting, but enjoyable and entertaining in my opinion. For a book published in 1986, it doesn’t have that dated feel that some of the other book series I read have. So I enjoyed this one and am definitely looking forward to continuing on with Beau in the future!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, SERIES, Stone Barrington, U-V-W

Review: Fresh Disasters by Stuart Woods

Fresh Disasters
by Stuart Woods

fresh disasters

 

Copyright: 2007

Pages: 277

Read: Jan 15 – 24, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Library Book Sale

 

Blurb: Stone embarks on his most dangerous adventure yet when a chance encounter with the wrong man sends him straight into the heart of New York’s Mafia underworld.

It starts as just another late night at Elaine’s and ends with the hapless Herbie Fisher, the bane of his existence. Stone finds that what should have been a throwaway case instead leads right to a powerful mob boss with a notoriously bad temper and long reach. Fortunately for Stone, the twists of the case also take a more congenial turn – sending a little romance his way, and giving him another opportunity to try to rescue a beautiful woman in distress. But as the danger deepens, Stone is left to wonder if he can disentangle himself from this lawless mess before he winds up – as his friend Dino likes to put it – “at the bottom of Sheepshead Bay with a concrete block up his ass.”

With the often hilarious action, razor-sharp characters, and crackling dialogue that are his hallmarks, Fresh Disasters is Stuart Woods at the pleasurable height of his storytelling powers.


Review: This is the 13th book in the Stone Barrington series. I can’t lie … the Stone Barrington series is definitely one of my reading guilty pleasures. They’re definitely mindless entertainment. But they usually read relatively fast and are enjoyable.

This particular installment I had a love-hate relationship with. First, we find Stone sleeping with 3 different women in this book. Clocking in at 277 pages, that’s got to be some kind of record, even for Stone Barrington’s standards. I’ll give him the first two, but it was the third one that bothered me the most. I’m no prude, but come on, at some point it doesn’t feel believable that Stone can (and does) hop into bed with almost every woman he encounters. But then you’ve got the Herbie Fisher character … and it kind of makes up for it. Stone groans every time Herbie comes into his life, and as the reader, I can’t help but giggle. He’s a likable character who keeps things interesting for Stone.

So yeah, I’d say another decent installment in this series. As I’ve said before of these books, they are no literary feats … but they are just plain fun!

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, MMD Book Club, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: Harry’s Trees by Jon Cohen

Harry’s Trees
by Jon Cohen

harry's trees

 

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 428

Read: Jan 4 – 14, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, he is unable to cope. Leaving his job and his old life behind, Harry makes his way to the remote woods of northeastern Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, determined to lose himself. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragedy – Amanda stoically holding it together while Oriana roams the forest searching for answers. And in Oriana’s magical, willful mind, she believes that Harry is the key to righting her world.

After taking up residence in the woods behind Amanda’s house, Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana in a ludicrous scheme to escape his tragic past. In so doing, the unlikeliest of elements – a wolf, a stash of gold coins, a fairy tale called The Grum’s Ledger and a wise old librarian named Olive – come together to create a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wildest dreams and open Harry’s heart to a whole new life.

Harry’s Trees is an uplifting story about the redeeming power of friendship and love and the magic to be found in life’s most surprising adventures.


Review: This book is the January selection in the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club. As usual, this selection is way outside my normal reading. It’s billed on Goodreads as magical realism. I was a little leery to take this one on, but having skipped the last few months I knew I wanted to at least give this one a shot – it didn’t sound terrible, just not necessarily my norm.

So what did I think? Well, ultimately, it wasn’t a bad book. In fact the first half of the book really swept me up and I was really enjoying it. And then right around the time that Oriana and Harry put their “scheme” into motion it kind of dropped off for me. I think it was right around that time that I could see the obvious about how the ending would happen – and for the most part, I nailed it. I don’t like predictability in my endings, and this one was just a little too predictable for my personal taste.

The book itself is well written and thought out.  The characters were all well-developed and each had their own interesting story. The character development was definitely a big part of this book and that was probably my favorite part about the entire book. I can definitely see the “magic” of this book, but I had a hard time buying into it personally.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Dirk Pitt, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2019, SERIES

Review: Treasure by Clive Cussler

Treasure
by Clive Cussler

Treasure

Copyright: 1988

Pages: 547

Read: Dec. 24, 2018 – Jan 2, 2019

Rating: 3/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: Charts of lost gold … breathtaking art and rare volumes … maps of hidden oil and mineral deposits that could change the world’s balance of power. Now Dirk Pitt has discovered the secret trail of the treasures of Alexandria – a trail that plunges him into a brutal conspiracy for total domination of the globe. Zealots threaten to unseat the governments of Egypt and Mexico, exposing America to invasion and economic collapse. Suddenly, from East to West, anarchists reach their deadly tentacles into the heart of the United States. And Dirk Pitt, the hard-hitting hero of Clive Cussler’s Deep Six and Raise the Titanic! is up against the most feared assassin known to man. An international band of terrorists is making its play for world power on the high seas – and Pitt is the only man alive who can stop them!


Review: I try and read one Clive Cussler book every year, but I kept putting this one off every time I thought about needing to get my yearly Dirk Pitt fix in. 😦 For some reason this one just didn’t call to me the way the other installments have. And for the most part, my original assessment was pretty close to spot on.

There were a lot of things going on in this book with multiple storylines. Some of those storylines I loved and yet the other one… not so much. It all came together in the end in an interesting way, but there was a lot of political scenes that I could have done without. I just found it a little bit of a stretch to believe what Dirk Pitt went through in this book (which I think is pretty par for the course for any Dirk Pitt novel).

So while overall I’m glad that I was able to cross this one off the list, at 547 pages it was a little long and it dragged in a few places. But I’m still looking forward to continuing on with this series! There’s just something about Dirk Pitt that keeps me coming back for more.