2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The River by Peter Heller

The River
by Peter Heller

The River

 

Copyright: 2019

Pages: 253

Read: June 30 – July 2, 2019

Rating: 2/5

Source: Library
Blurb: Wynn an dJack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding tale of desperate wilderness survival.


Review: This book is on Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide this year. And it was available at the library, so I decided to take a chance on it. I wasn’t too sure about the  outdoorsy aspect of it (so not my cup of tea), but I was a little intrigued by the blurb – who was this man? Where was the woman? What was the argument about?

To be completely honest … it fell short for me. I found it to be extremely wordy. And unfortunately it was wordy about things that simply did not interest me. I really have no interest in the outdoors or canoeing and this book really centers around this. And then I was disappointed that there wasn’t really more to the man and woman arguing aspect of the book. Had it gone more in that direction it likely would have worked better for me. I also didn’t care much for the ending.

Overall it’s a quick read but I did find myself skimming a lot more than I usually do in a book. There was just a lot of information about canoeing and the general outdoors that simply bored me. This one just wasn’t a book for me.

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2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, N, RATING, Read in 2019

Review: The Bat by Jo Nesbo

The Bat
by Jo Nesbo

The Bat

 

Copyright: 1997

Pages: 331

Read: May 11 – 18, 2019

Rating: 2/5

Source: Library e-book

 

Blurb: The electrifying first appearance of Jo Nesbo’s detective, Harry Hole.

Inspector Harry Hole of the Oslo Crime Squad is dispatched to Sydney to observe a murder case. Harry is free to offer assistance, but he has firm instructions to stay out of trouble. The victim is a twenty-three year old Norwegian woman who is a minor celebrity back home. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Harry befriends one of the lead detectives, and one of the witnesses, as he is drawn deeper into the case. Together, they discover that this is only the latest in a string of unsolved murders, and the pattern points toward a psychopath working his way across the country. As they circle closer and closer to the killer, Harry begins to fear that no one is safe, least of all those investigating the case.


Review: I have been wanting to try this series for like EVER. I was thrilled to see that my library had an e-book copy that I could easily get and I had a Goodreads challenge callout that would be perfect for this book – so I knew it was time to finally get to it!

And then … I was really disappointed. Like to the point where had I not been reading this book for a challenge I would most have most likely DNF this one. 😦

But I stuck it out … and while it did get better there for a little bit, Harry went on a ridiculous drunken binge and I was just about done. Luckily he straightened back out but  to be honest, I was a little bit over it by then.

From what I’ve seen on Goodreads, the first book in this series is definitely not indicative of how good the books later in the series are. I do know that my grandmother gave me the 7th book in the series with a GLOWING review of it – maybe I’ll get to it someday. Or may be not. The verdict is still out, but this one did not work for me.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2018

Review: Hallowe’en Party by Agatha Christie

Hallowe’en Party
by Agatha Christie

Hallowe'en Party

 

Copyright: 1969

Pages: 336

Read: Nov. 4 – 6, 2018

Rating: 2/5

Source: Library

 

Blurb: A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…


Review: Believe it or not, I had never read a book by Agatha Christie. Crazy, right? Well the opportunity arose to give her a shot with this book. And unfortunately, it fell flat for me.

To be completely honest, I just didn’t care for Hercule Poirot’s voice. There were also a lot of characters in this one that I had trouble keeping straight. I also didn’t really care for the storyline, when it was revealed at the end I was just a little confused. I can’t decide if I just didn’t pay enough attention (I am slightly guilty of skimming a little bit) or if it was just so out of left field that it didn’t make sense.

It just didn’t work for me. I would still like to pick up a different book by Ms. Christie just to see if it was just a weak book, but I think next time I would pick up a more popular choice.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, E-Book, Fiction, N, NetGalley, RATING, Read in 2017, Review Book

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go
by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go

Copyright: 2018

Pages: 372

Read: Dec. 16 – 22, 2017

Rating: 2/5

Source: NetGalley

 

 

Blurb: Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…


Review: I received a copy of this book from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

So this was totally an impulse request on NetGalley. The cover really drew me in. The blurb made is sound so creepy. I don’t read a lot of YA, but this one really sounded great to me.

But. It fell flat. Very flat for me. There were times I considered just DNF’ing it. The writing  itself was good, but the actual structure of the book was strange. There were flashbacks and then there were chapters that were written like a script. It was just a strange set up for a book in my opinion.

And the overall plot/storyline? It fell flat as well. I think I expected more from it somehow. It started out extremely slow. Like slower than slow. And it was a little bit all over the place and really confusing.

I didn’t really care for how Kyra’s bipolar illness was portrayed. If you or someone you know has a mental illness issue of any kind, I do not feel like you should read this book at all. The way it is presented was just very disheartening to me.

Bottom line? This book just didn’t work for me.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, FBI Thriller, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2017, SERIES

Review: The Target by Catherine Coulter

The Target
by Catherine Coulter

The Target

Copyright: 1998

Pages: 381

Read: June 25 – 28, 2017

Rating: 2/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

Blurb: Escaping unwanted media attention after a notorious incident, Ramsey Hunt retreats into the solitude of a cabin high in the Colorado Rockies. But his isolation is shattered when he rescues a small girl unconscious in the forest and strangers invade his private meadow, their intent to kill.

Molly Santera, the little girl’s mother, catches up with Ramsey and her daughter, mistaking him for the kidnapper. When she discovers that he instead saved Emma, there’s little time for thanks. The men pursuing want them badly.

Savich and Sherlock as well as MAX, the transvestite laptop, return to assist. Ramsey and Molly, facing constant danger, unravel the clues and ultimately discover why they’re at the center of the target.


Review: Ok, so I read the first two books in this series, The Cove and The Maze way back in 2009. And looking back on those reviews, I actually enjoyed those two books. So I’m not exactly sure why I never picked up the third book until 2017… Unfortunately, this book was a little more than disappointing for me.

First of all, the entire storyline was way too farfetched for my liking. I mean, come on … a federal judge is going to come across an unconscious little girl in the woods and not go straight to the authorities with her? His whole line of thinking was ridiculous. And Emma’s character (the little girl), I’m sorry but Ms. Coulter did not write a believable child’s character with her. Having two young children myself, there’s no way that either of my kids would ever act like she did with Ramsey. I don’t care what kind of trauma they had been through – it just would never happen. And let’s not even talk about how stupid Molly was. I mean, all three of them were idiotic and completely unbelievable in my book.

And then there was the writing style itself. It didn’t flow very smoothly in my opinion. Half the time I couldn’t even make out who was talking. And then it was switch tenses right in the middle of a paragraph! It was absolutely ridiculous! It was just not good writing in my opinion.

So yeah. …. I don’t know about reading any more from this series. I have the fourth book on my shelf, but after the fiasco this book was I’m definitely not rushing right to it. I can’t really recommend this book to anyone, honestly. It just didn’t work for me. I just didn’t care for it.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow

A Cold Day for Murder
by Dana Stabenow

A Cold Day for Murder

Copyright: 1992

Pages: 199

Read: Nov. 7 – Nov. 11, 2016

Rating: 2/5

Source: Paperbackswap

 

 

Blurb: She’s a savvy investigator with the cool toughness of Sam Spade – and a smile that could melt a block of ice. Once the star of the Anchorage D.A.’s office, she’s gone back to her roots in the far Alaska north. But Kate’s taken her talent for detection along … and trouble knows where to find her. 

When a young National Park Ranger disappears during the long Alaskan winter, everyone assumes the cold got him. But when an investigator goes in after him, and never comes out, the weather may not be all that’s killing. Or so thinks Kate Shugak. With her Husky-breed Mutt as an ally, she’s hunting for answers among the pipelines, Aleuts, and hardy eccentrics of the rugged American north. But she’s heading for thin ice between lies and loyalties … between justice served and the cold face of murder.


Review: I picked this one up because it sounded like a good series that I could start (because you know how much I need another series…..). Unfortunately, to say I was disappointed would be an understatement…

At 199 pages, an author doesn’t have much time for character development and an awesome plot line. For this particular book the character development was A+++ and the plot line …. stunk. I mean, the idea was there. It was just the execution that didn’t work for me. And I really felt it was because entirely too much time was spent on the characters and then all of a sudden it was time to wrap it all up and send it off to the publisher. It was that abrupt at the end.

I really wish I could say that I liked this one, but I didn’t. Perhaps the later books in the series are better … but I doubt I ever get to another book in this series.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, RATING, Read in 2016

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane
by Neil Gaiman

the-ocean-at-the-end-of-the-lane

Copyright: 2013

Pages: 178

Read: Sept. 10-13, 2016

Rating: 2/5

Source: Purchased at library book sale

Blurb: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie – magical, comforting, wise beyond her years – promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.


Review: I picked this one up a couple of years ago at the library book sale. I had heard a lot of good things about Neil Gaiman and was curious. I picked this one up now because I needed something quick to read, and at 178 pages I figured this one would fit that bill perfectly.

And it was a quick, easy read. I just didn’t care for the overall storyline. I am not a huge fan of fantasy as a general rule, so I think that affected my overall feelings on this one. It just didn’t work for me personally, but Mr. Gaiman is definitely a gifted storyteller.

2/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, D, Nonfiction, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.22 REVIEW – Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys by Stephen Dunleavy & Peter Brennan

Those Wild, Wild Kennedy Boys
by Stephen Dunleavy & Peter Brennan

Copyright: 1976
Pages: 211
Rating: 2/5
Read: July 10 – 18, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 22
Format: Print
Source: Paperbackswap
Series: N/A

Those Wild, Wild Kennedy BoysBlurb:
 There have been many words used to describe the Kennedy boys … handsome, aggressive, charismatic, charming, volatile, red-blooded, and sexy. This book investigates the latter descriptions, an in-depth probe into the more sensual aspects of the Kennedy mystique.

Here are Jack and Bob and Ted and all the girls you’ve ever heard whispered or gossiped about, a few you never heard of, and, too, those gals who somehow fell onto the front pages … Judy and Marilyn and Lee and Angie and Kim and Rita and Page and Jayne and Janet and Mary and Candy and Mariella and Rhonda and Amanda and Joan and Maria and more girls than anyone would have thought possible…


Review:This was an impulse PBS order. I don’t know what caught my eye about it but something did.

Unfortunately I ended up reading it in order to fulfill a Goodreads challenge that required me to read a book rated the lowest on my TBR. This one was the “winner” of that requirement.

And I have to admit … it’s not the greatest book. It was too gossipy for my taste. It was one of those books that just kind of left a bad taste in my mouth.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, K, RATING, Read in 2015

2015.16 REVIEW – Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr. Mercedes
by Stephen King

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 436
Rating: 2/5
Read: April 29 – May 21, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 16
Format: Print
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Series: Bill Hodges #1

Mr. MercedesBlurb: The stolen Mercedes emerges from the pre-dawn fog and plows through a crowd of men and women in line for a job fair in a distressed American city. Then the lone driver backs up, charges again, and speeds off, leaving eight dead and more wounded. The case goes unsolved and ex-cop Bill Hodges is out of hope when he gets a letter from the man who loved the feel of death under the Mercedes’s wheels…Brady Hartsfield wants that rush again, but this time he’s going big, with an attack that would take down thousands – unless Hodges and two new, unusual allies he picks up along the way can throw a wrench in Hartsfield’s diabolical plans.


Review: I borrowed this book from a co-worker. I remember when it came out it sounded interesting, but I’ll be completely honest here … it’s been a really long time since I have enjoyed a Stephen King book.

Unfortunately, this book really didn’t prove to be an exception in my recent dislike for Mr. King’s latest works. For me, it was just an “okay” and “eh” read.

It probably didn’t help that I started this book in the very last of my pregnancy (when pregnancy brain was in full force) and then finally finished it with a newborn in the house (and sleep deprivation in full force).

I think my issue is that this felt like such a departure from the Stephen King works I have liked in the past. I mean, how can you beat Carrie or It? The short answer is … you can’t. But this book really felt like he was dipping his feet into a completely different genre. And it simply didn’t work for me.

You want my complete honest opinion … had he cut about 100 pages out of this book, it probably would have been a lot better. There just seemed a lot of unnecessary things going on. Obviously Mr. King has routinely produced very long works, but this storyline didn’t need 436 pages to tell the full story. It could have been done in 336 pages. Very easily.

Overall, just an okay book. I can’t say that I would necessarily recommend it. But I finished it, so it obviously wasn’t horrible either.

2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2015, SERIES

2015.5 REVIEW – Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell

Port Mortuary
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright:2010
Pages: 494
Rating: 2/5
Read: Jan. 25 – Feb. 4, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 5
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Kay Scarpetta #18

port mortuaryBlurb: More than twenty years and many successes since the start of Kay Scarpetta’s career, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base and Port Mortuary, where she’s performing autopsies on fallen soldiers. But her new headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts – the Cambridge Forensic Center – is the first civilian facility in the U.S. to do virtual autopsies, and it is there that she encounters a devastating event.

A young man has died, apparently from a cardiac arrhythmia, eerily close to Scarpetta’s new Cambridge home. But when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked inside the Center’s cooler. Carious 3-D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen – details that suggest the possibility of a conspiracy to cause mass casualties. With Benton, Marino, and Lucy at her side, Scarpetta must fight a cunning, cruel – and invisible – enemy, as she races against time to discover who and why before more people die…


Review: I think I keep hoping that Patricia Cornwell will magically return to her glory days of years past and write an awesome Kay Scarpetta book. And I keep getting massively disappointed. I didn’t like this one. Not much at all, to be honest. To the point where I’m not sure why I even read it in its entirety.

But I read it all. And I am so confused it’s not even funny. First, we learn that Dr. Scarpetta is actually Colonel Scarpetta. What? Apparently she spent time in the military straight out of school to help pay off her debt. She owed them 6 years … she only made it 6 months before something happened and they kicked her out. I actually went on Goodreads to read other reviews of this book after I finished to see if this was mentioned by any other reviewers. Apparently this little background tidbit is not something that I have just forgotten about over the years. It really is something that was never introduced until Book 18 in the series. Ok. Why? If what happened to Kay in South Africa is still bothering her all these years later, why are we the readers just now learning about it? Give me a break.

I’m not going to spend much time going into the particulars of this book. Let me just tell you that all I came away with is that Kay Scarpetta did nothing but whine and moan about the state of affairs at the Center that she is supposedly the head of. When she finds out that Jack Fielding has let the place go to hell, instead of taking the bull by the horn (like she would have done 17 books ago) and fixing the problem, she just whined to her obnoxiously unhelpful husband about poor pitiful Kay. There were murders that needed solving, and instead of focusing on them, we had to endure Kay’s pity party. Ugh.

So yeah. I didn’t like this book. I don’t recommend it. You want a good Patricia Cornwell book …. read one of the first 10 in the series. Then walk away … which is what I should have done, and what I’m doing now.