1 out of 5 stars for The Baller by Vi Keeland

The Baller: A Down and Dirty Football NovelThe Baller: A Down and Dirty Football Novel by Vi Keeland
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Ugh. No.

Look – this book had a lot of potential. What’s not to like? Super hot and talented football player and equally hot and talented reporter fall for each other. Let’s make it happen.

But man – in the end, what WASN’T wrong with this book? Okay, so here are the reasons why I, personally, pick up a book like this (in no particular order).

1) For the laughs
2) For the sex
3) For the characters/story

If it can grant me, honestly, even one of those three, then I’m pretty happy. If it can give me one of those three without irritating me with other things, then I’m really happy. This book didn’t do ANY of it in the end.

Let’s review:
1) For the laughs – there was some serious potential here. I mean, a cocky, sexy football player? and when he first meets the reporter he drops his towel? That scene made me laugh for sure. It was perfectly awkward. Annnd that was pretty much the only time I laughed in this whole book. The rest of the jokes were just blah. I mean, Brody made a joke about wanting to “eat” Delilah like 100 times. Original. Not.

2) For the sex – the sex sucked. No really – I know you think I’m joking, but I’m not. It really, really sucked. First off, it was dragged way too far out and when they finnnnally bumped uglies it was just that – ugly. It was rushed and didn’t even make a lot of sense physically. And that was probably the best sexual encounter of the book. Most of it was just glossed over, to be honest with you. At one point the author literally said “many hours and multiple orgasms later” – uhhh, HELLO? I don’t pick up a book with THAT cover to have you skip that shizz! Light it up, lady!

3) For the characters/story – this genre doesn’t always have the greatest reputation for characters and stories and I’ll admit, sometimes I’m okay with generic or cliche if it means I get numbers 1 and 2. But It still has to WORK. Ultimately, this book was just sigh-worthy. First off, cocky and arrogant Brody fell way too hard and way too fast. I mean, honestly, why? Apparently Delilah was love at first sight? Even though we later learn he was still hung up on his girl-next-door-druggie-whatever-that-was? That was a stretch.

Regardless, Brody was just a shell of the ‘perfect’ guy. Hey, ladies, I’m super hot and arrogant but oooh wait no I’m really super sweet and caring and do everything perfectly. Gah. The attractive cockiness dissolved into stupid one-off (not funny) comments and we were just left with a super sensitive man with muscles. Boring.

And don’t even get me started on Delilah’s mess of humanity. She made no sense. At ALL. I mean, Delilah was doing a sex ‘cleanse’ but then claimed she didn’t ever have sex with anyone without being in a relationship first? Uuuh, okay? Then he can’t be with Brody because she never gave up on her old fiance who died? I mean, I guess but that only came up halfway through the book. And what was the point of her fear of flying? No point. None. I kept thinking it was going to matter but it didn’t. It didn’t even matter for a funny scene. Stuff like that really irritates me in stories. Make people’s quirks matter!

I’m not even going to mention how the book ends. Not the last real chapter and not the epilogue. I was ROLLING my EYES so hard they almost popped out, I swear.

There is lots more I can complain about, but I’m going to leave you with my one really big, HUGE, issue with this book. There is no FOOTBALL. NONE. A couple of stats are thrown out here and there but otherwise we see NOTHING. And the man plays (and wins!) the damn SUPER BOWL.

I just. I cannot. Stop before you start here, people.

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5 Books to Read AND Watch

Movies don’t always (rarely, even?) get the book right.  Here are what I feel are notable exceptions.  Read the book and watch the movie and you’ll love them both!

train

The Girl on the Train is the most timely of this collection.  Do you ever read a book and think, “oooh yeah, this will be a movie.”?  That was this story for me.  I could just tell it was going to work on screen. It was fast paced and gripping on paper but on the big screen the intrigue was that much better.  The things that needed to be laid out in the book were able to be short quips and scenes in the movie. This is one I actually would consider watching the movie first – suspense is great that way.

cuckoo

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an oldie but a goodie.  Seriously, Kesey’s story of the mental institution is incredible and then Nicholson’s portrayal in the movie?  Gold.  I’ll admit I like the nuances of the characters in the book better – they do change a few things in the movie that to me make certain scenes darker than necessary – but overall the movie performance is just incredible. It’s worth experiencing both.

chocolat

Chocolat was one of the rare occasions for me where I watched the movie before the book. Usually, when that happens, I expect the book to fall short.  There’s something about understanding a movie plot line, or envisioning actors for characters, that can turn a book sour. Not this one.  Chocolat, both book and movie, is full of magic and wonder and things that make my tummy growl. Harris is one of my favorite authors and Chocolat is one of my favorite movies.  A win/win.

waterforelephants

Water for Elephants bore the scrutiny of the re-read. I adored the story.  Maybe it’s because I grew up near Baraboo, WI where the Ringling Bros Circus has been for almost 150 years.  Maybe it’s the exoticism of characters, the era, the mesmerizing colors and interactions.  Maybe it’s because it’s a NaNoWriMo novel (something I always hold dear).  Who knows exactly.  All I can tell you is that the story is fantastic and, surprisingly, the Hollywood adaptation did an incredible job.

outlander

Outlander might not be a movie but it’s even better – it’s a STARZ original series that, I believe, is planning to go through all the books in this epic series.  SQUEAL. I’ve re-read Outlander at least three or four times and it’s one of my absolute favorite stories.  It just grips me.  The STARZ series has done an incredible job with bringing it to life on screen.  It is 100% accurate?  No, but Diana Gabaldon is involved in the making and I think her adjustments have actually enhanced the story.  Really, it’s lovely all the way around!

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6 beautiful book covers (with equally incredible stories inside)

gotham

The beauty of this cover is a little non-traditional, but I love it. You’ll learn it tells a bit about the story inside and it’s just so eye-catching.  Books with male main characters sometimes get the shaft when it comes to beautiful covers but this one did a great job. And then there are the words – it’s a page turning, heart-thumping historical fiction that highlights a time I wasn’t familiar with.  It’s worthy of its reputation.

golden

This is a historical fiction that will make you wonder if it actually happened. It was so expertly woven, the truth and tales of the times intermingled with the fiction so beautifully, I thought it had to be true. I adored this (audio) book. It’s a historical fiction that reads like a mystery. I knew the instant I picked this up it would be a winner of my heart: Spain, flamenco, and ballet? It’s like Alexandra knew what draws me to a story and decide to put it all into one place – beautifully at that. If you don’t already have a soft spot for any of those items, you’ll be hard pressed to walk away from this tale without one.

russian

The story behind this beautiful cover will surprise you. As flowery at this story appears, the book is definitely not for the weak of heart, which is part of the reason I like it so much. Furnivall took me by surprise nearly around every corner – no one quite reacted the way I thought they were and the plot twists themselves were numerous but elegant.

covers

I’m a sucker for colorful towns on the water, so maybe this cover doesn’t appeal to everyone. I also love the font.  Did I mention I love the story too? This book is amazing. The characters are beautiful. The story line unfolds in front of you perfectly and seamlessly and yet with a new surprise around every corner. You truly feel like you are reading about lives, not just characters in a book. It’s undeniably poetic and equally real.

smokedaughter3daughter2

Probably one of my favorite things about YA books is that they always have incredible covers.  I was then so pleasantly surprised to find the inside was wonderful, too. I love this book’s imagination, the colors, the scenes. It’s all so beautiful. The setting is incredible – Prague, the art studio, Poison. Even better are the people! Humans, angels, and creatures – they are all fascinating. Taylor does such a great job of showing me everything without overloading me with exposition. I can see so much, and I don’t even think that’s because I’ve traveled to many of the places (Prague and Marrakesh being two main settings – gorgeous on paper and in real life!).

Shadowandbonesiegeandstormruinandrising

Here’s another YA fantasy series that is worth it’s weight to the eyes and the imagination. This series is unique and beautiful. I like the flavor of the setting. I love the back and forth between suspense and life. I like our main character and how we get deep but not too deep. I like the conflicting romance and, even more, I like what took me by surprise. Characters evolved in great ways. Bardugo had my hand quivering at a page turn because I didn’t want to see what would happen next and that’s what I want out of a really good YA book.

What did I miss?  What’s your favorite beautiful book?

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Blog Revival!

Sorry for the long hiatus folks.  I could write a long essay full of excuses or I could just give one – I produced a spawn and he’s destroying my life force.

2

Kidding, kind of.

Anyway, I want to get back on the horse here but I’m changing tactics.  I’ve decided I don’t enjoy writing lengthy reviews and they are a bit boring to read.  Instead I want do to book lists, ie: 10 books to read on a beach, 5 books that take place on the beach, 7 books with beaches on the cover.

I need a beach vacation.

I’m taking submissions for suggested list topics – post in the comments with your ideas (and if you have books to match those lists!)

Thanks!

-Ashley

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Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See – 3/5

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

light

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Man, I am so in the minority here. Sorry, guys, but I just did not find myself enjoying this book.

Maybe it’s because at this point I have read a decent amount of WWII books. I dabble in a lot of historical fiction set in Europe during that time, and I’ve also found about an equal amount of memoirs or biographies as well. It might not be fair to compare the books but in all the ones I’ve read this one just really fell short for me.

What was it missing? I don’t know exactly. It took a really long time for me as a reader to see the connection between the stories, and, in reality, I still don’t really see it. Yes, paths crossed but… why do I care again? I guess there was impact, kind of, but it just didn’t feel meaningful to me. The timeline jumps around which, I guess, is to make the story not feel like its unfolding as slowly as it is, but it didn’t fool me at all. I kept waiting for something unpredictable to happen but it all just fell more or less into place. I also thought the story of a blind girl would be more poetic. I don’t think Doerr did a poor job, but it wasn’t as different as I expected it to be.

I really should have loved this book. I’m a sucker for WWII stories, historical fiction in general, and, to top it all off, I’ve been to (and am in LOVE with) the town of St. Malo. Just having that as a setting should have caused me to fall in love but instead it was like I was kept at arms length. I just didn’t really connect with anyone, nothing shocked me, and even the hardships of war didn’t hit me like they should have.

Sorry, Doerr. It’s not that it was bad, per se, and I did enjoy the last few chapters when finally, finally it all seemed to come together (though not to any real satisfaction) but the rest of it just felt flat to me. I can’t say I would recommend this book. I’ve much sooner refer someone to read The Invisible Bridge. Now that is one hell of a WWII historical fiction.

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2014 End Of Year Book Survey

2014-end-of-year-book-survey-1024x984

Each year, Jamie from the Perpetual Page Turner does a Year-End Book Survey. I’m a total sucker for surveys – so here is my own take from this year! (P.S. – if you don’t know about Jamie’s blog yet – GO there! It’s amazing!)

reading-stats-2014-1024x278

Number Of Books You Read: 58
Number of Re-Reads: 1
Genre You Read The Most From: Hard to tell – probably a tie between YA and women’s fiction

best-YA-books-2014-1024x278

Best Book You Read In 2014?

wings

In my opinion, Sue Monk Kidd blew this away.  This book is just perfect in so many ways – fascinating historical fiction, great characterization, excellent writing, good pacing. It’s perfection and she deserves all the praise!

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

lost

As a lover of women travel memoirs, I thought this was going to be a great read.  I really didn’t like it though – it just fell flat.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

oryx

This book was surprising in a number of ways – one because Atwood is one of my favorite authors but I wasn’t 100% in love with the book (it took me FOREVER to get through) and two because of it’s shocking ending!

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014?

gotham

I didn’t have to push too hard – this book is well-known for being excellent (and it is!)

Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014?

heartsblood

Outlander is still so incredibly fantastic.  This isn’t the season ender (thank goodness!) but it’s going to be AGES before the next one comes out!

Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?

golden

It’s a little hard to say that Alexandra is a favorite author since I’ve only read one book,but this one was incredible and I am absolutely going to try another one from her ASAP.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

doubt

This is definitely a newer genre for me – in truth I don’t know if I’ve ever read a crime thriller.  I had some issues with this first book in the series but I liked the second one much better.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

phenomenal

Definitely “unputdownable” – I read this all in one sitting and was completely taken with it. Highly recommend.

Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

worldafter

I love to re-read parts of series in preparation for the next one!

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?

romancing

Women in pretty dresses on the front of romance novels are always wonderful, but I find this one particularly gorgeous.  Look at that color!

Most memorable character of 2014?

smoke

It’s not really fair to say just “character” – I think all the characters in this series are totally memorable. Very unique (as is the whole story) and it all works so well together. Karou is fantastic.

Most beautifully written book read in 2014?

lettersfromskye

I adore the way this story unfolds. I’m a sucker for any kind of novel that includes letters but I really enjoyed how this one left mystery throughout.  The life was an unveiling – very well done!

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014?

gifts

Okay, so I think “life-changing” is a bit heavy-handed but thought-provoking, certainly.  There’s a lot to ponder about who are and aren’t the bad guys – and the ending through a wrench into everything. I found it fascinating (and really readable!)

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

poisonwood

This book has seriously been on the list forever.  I am sad I waited so long, too, it’s an incredible story and I’d like to try more of Kingsolver’s books.

Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014?

sabriel

“I love you,” he whispered. “I hope you don’t mind.”

Okay, so I technically finished re-reading this in 2015 but I read 80% of it in 2014.  I love how simple this line is and it totally works for the story.  Ahhh, Touchstone!

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2014?

fierycross hishaven

I was really surprised to see that Fiery Cross was longer than the latest George R.R. Martin.  It did not feel like it at all – I plowed through this installment so fast!

Book That Shocked You The Most

gold

With any biography like this, there are things that will shock me, but maybe I was most shocked by how tame this one ended up being.  I really felt like a lot of it was sugar-coated or glossed over.

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

cress

Cinder and the Captain ❤

Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

siegeandstorm

This was just a wonderful second installment – and it almost made the list for the book that shocked me the most!

Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

earthabides

I read this book only because it was for my sci-fi book club and absolutely LOATHED it.  Ugh!

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?

happy

Graham was frickin’ adorable, even if the book overall was not. I wish we could have seen MORE of him. (If you know what I mean!)

Best 2014 debut you read?

berlin

I actually didn’t really read many/any debuts this year. It’s kind of a cop-out to call this a “debut” but it is, technically, her only publication.

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

dance

As many things as I don’t like about Martin’s writing, you certainly have to give him credit for world building.

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

rosie

Oh my goodness, this book is the definition of a fun read.

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

neartoyou

Oh yes, this book has ALL the feels.  Add in the fact that it’s based on fact and it’s impossible not to get misty-eyed.

Hidden Gem Of The Year?

phenomenal

Per what I said before, this is a book that can easily sweep you away if you let it.

Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Weddingnight

Okay, so “crushing my soul” is a little dramatic, but I was really disappointed by this book. It had so much potential and it all just fell so flat.

Most Unique Book You Read In 2014?

impulse

It wasn’t so much the story that was unique, but the way in which it was written.  Definitely a nice change of pace.

Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

belltolls

It made me mad just because I really want to like Hemingway and I can’t do it.  This book was a beast to get through and I definitely consider it a waste of my life to have trudged through it. That direct Spanish to English translation of dialogue is just horrible.

looking-ahead-books-2015-1024x278

One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015?

isla

I don’t buy a lot of YA books because I read them so quickly and this was always checked out at the library.  I hope some of the popularity will go down and I can get my hands on it this year!

Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut)?

mrkiss

Oh man, I loved the first installment of this series and I can’t wait to listen to the next!

2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

simon

I actually don’t keep up much on debuts, but I saw Jamie’s review for this one and my interest is definitely piqued!

Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015?

angelfall3

Seriously. So excited.

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015?

Successfully have my baby in March!  That’s pretty much the one life goal. It would be great to keep reading some books, too, but let’s be honest, I’ll have some other priorities. 🙂

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Book Review: Mockingjay – 2/5

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

mockingjay

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Beware!  Rage ahead! – I actually read this book a couple years back before any of the movies were around, but I thought now would be a good time to re-earth the review.

Ugh. I think that’s a pretty good overall reaction to this book. Just ugh. The last three hours of listening to this was flat out annoying. I do not understand how people think this is good… I mean, maybe it’s easier to read and skim past Katniss’ irritating inner monologue but when it’s in audio book format there’s just no escaping it.

Seriously though, this book sucks. I only give it 2 starts instead of 1 because it is part of a larger trilogy and I enjoyed Catching Fire a decent amount. Was Katniss less annoying there? Or maybe I was able to ignore her the first 50 or so times and then finally broke.

Katniss is a ridiculous character. She’s supposedly this strong girl – emotionally capable of surviving the harsh world of district 12, of basically raising her family, having the strength to volunteer to (what she thinks) die for her little sister, and dealing with the emotional turmoil that was the games itself. That’s pretty bad ass.

But somewhere toward the end of Catching Fire and certainly in Mockingjay instead of being that strong, smart, independent young woman, Katniss is a quivering lump of jelly who second, third, forth guesses EVERYTHING from her sanity, the sanity of others, who she loves, who doesn’t she love, what people’s intentions are, whether the rebels are good, bad, whether the sun is actually in the sky, if rabbits exist, what the color blue is, whether she should kill herself, whether she should destroy the world, if unicorns exist, whatever I DON’T CARE. JUST GROW A PAIR. SRSLY. Katniss is fricking USELESS. And – just like Twilight and all the other stupid young adult books that think self-sacrifice and multiple lovers is the only way to have a proper love story, Katniss is nothing more than a little girl who can’t look internally and actually figure something out. EVER. Instead everyone else has to do it for her and die for her and trust her and blah blah blah stupid.

Oh – and another thing. Authors that think using nightmares as a way to show someone’s mental distress are twats. Lazy twats. And Collins uses nightmares about three times a chapter. I get it. Life is horrifying. She’s scared. She’s traumatized. News flash, I already know that from her stupid “ahh, I’m so broken and confused and damaged” thought processes that occur every 7.8 seconds.

Katniss and her breakdowns make me want to shake Collins by the shoulder and give her a backhand. Yes, I know Katniss has lost a lot of people in her life. Her dad, friends in district 12, people she knew in the hunger games, other important people (spoilery)…Obviously that’s hard. But here’s the thing. SO HAS EVERYONE ELSE. Everyone in this freaking book has had a hard life! Everyone has lost their family, their friends, other loved one, other neighbors, the list goes on! Yet why is Katniss such a little bi-otch? Why does she has the ridiculous mental breakdowns where she’s silent for MONTHS. Where she semi-kills herself with drugs? Where she’s sobbing and irrational and people have to slap her? Oh yeah, because Collins thinks it’s dramatic or some crap. Instead it’s just ridiculous and it’s a cop out. Do you see Gale falling apart? Do you see any number of other characters falling apart for no reason? Sure, there’s a handful of other with mental issues – Finnick for one – but at least those have some kind of literal mental breakdown. And at least for them it happens ONCE. No, instead Katniss has to fall apart multiple times in the most dramatic way possible. It’s disgusting and flat out annoying.

You’ll probably note I haven’t talked about the plot line at all. It’s fine. Nothing too exciting, a little slow in fact, and pretty predictable. If the characters were less annoying I don’t think I would have a problem with it.

Sorry, I don’t know why this book rubbed me the wrong way. I probably shouldn’t be so angry about it – I should just have shrugged my shoulders and tossed it aside. I think it’s because of the hype though. So many people have read through this half-jizzing themselves the whole time when it’s really just crap. It’s poor writing that stems from a series getting popular before the end.

My last and final outrage was the epilogue.  It wasn’t as bad as the Harry Potter epilogue but it was darn close.  The Hunger Games, of all trilogies, should not end with a sugary-sweet Disney happy ending type of story.  It’s placating to the masses instead of sticking to the theme and, after all the let-downs of the book itself, it isn’t even of interest to me.  Do I care about who is happy and who isn’t?  Not really when I as a reader am so disappointed.

All in all – gross.

I have to say that I haven’t yet watched the Mockingjay Part 1 movie yet – I have enjoyed the first two movies so far and I hope that Hollywood adapts Katniss as a character and makes her better than this final book allowed.  We’ll see!

Categories: Weekly Review, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Review: The Girl with All the Gifts – 5/5

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

gifts

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really want to give this book a nice, solid slow clap. This book goes down like a really well-made plain cheesecake. When you take a bite, you get the flavors you expect, it is just what you had hoped for, but somehow it is also still so much BETTER. Start to finish, Carey really nailed this one. This book has so much of everything and Carey just did it right.

In essence, this is a zombie story. End of the world, post-apocalyptic zombies. In many ways we have heard this story multiple times before; good humans and bad humans and always the zombies. But nothing about this story is dull. The protagonist just isn’t who you think she is. In fact, no one quite is. The story line moves quickly and effectively. It provides all the necessary drama to, what I think, is the best part – the character reveals.

The book keeps you guessing a subtle way. The twists and subtle and believable. It all is works and I sincerely find myself in awe because of it. These kinds of stories often have gaping holes, but I think Carey really cinched this one up.

It can be a quick read, but I think it’s one that will stay with you. Well worth the read.

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Book Review: Thousand Pieces of Gold – 3/5

Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn

gold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s hard to rate these kinds of books anything by the highest rating. I mean, how terrible and calloused of me is it to rate a book about a young Chinese girl who is sold by her family only three stars? But I have to be honest – it just lost me after the first third of the book.

I’m just going to come out and say it. After Lalu gets to the U.S., her life just really isn’t that bad. Now before I start getting hate mail, I understand there was a lot of fear and challenge in her life and I absolutely marvel at that. I get that Lalu was an amazing and strong individual and this is the story of her life. I just felt like the first part, when she was really young, was the true essence of the story. She kind of found her happily ever after – so why did the book keep going?

That’s always my problem with biographies, in all honesty. We’re always forced to read right up to the very end. But someone’s death isn’t always the climax of their life. This needed to end far sooner and it would have proved to be, overall, much more entertaining and impactful.

I can’t say I’m sorry to have learned about Lalu’s life – I am glad that I know this woman existed. I just wasn’t entirely thrilled with the portrayal of her story. I’d only recommend this to someone who has a very keen interest in that time period and geography, otherwise it’s likely not worth your time.

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Book Review: The Other Typist – 3/5

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

typist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well.

So, this book, if you haven’t already heard, has a strange ending. It’s a very confusing one at that and, unfortunately, for me, puts the whole book into a tailspin. Prior to the last couple of chapters, this would have been a much higher rating.

I don’t want this to get spoiler-y, but some people are comparing the book a sort of “Sixth Sense” – where you feel like you need to re-watch it in order to understand the ending. In my opinion, this is more like a much lower caliber of horror story (think Hide-and-Seek, or any other similar styled movies) where there’s a “trick” ending, but going back and watching it again doesn’t help. Part of me wants to read this story again, but I don’t think that would clarify. Perhaps I am wrong, but I get the feeling that Rindell didn’t make a firm understanding one way or the other and we just have to decide for ourselves.

Anyone remember watching Shutter Island with Leo DiCaprio? Where you don’t know for sure at the end whether or not the top will fall? This is that kind of book. I truthfully don’t think the answer is there, and I personally think that’s a cop-out.

Aside from that, I think the book is really well done. I enjoyed the writing of it, I enjoyed Rose’s voice, and I liked the setting.

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Book Review: Every Reasonable Doubt – 3/5

Every Reasonable Doubt by Pamela Samuels Young

doubt

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are a lot of things about this book I really liked. Good writing, interesting plot, good pace, strong characters; there is a lot to love. I really enjoyed the dynamic of the law that you need in this kind of thriller paired with the social dimensions of race and relationships. Overall, really well done.

So – why only three stars? There are two things about this story that drove me nuts and I just couldn’t get over. In many ways, they ruined it for me. It’s not stopping me from starting book two, but if book two rubs me the same, I won’t be continuing from there.

Now that I’ve created suspense, here are the two catastrophic issues I had with this novel.

1) Shoddy Investigation: Obviously, a big draw of a legal thriller is an interesting crime and a good investigation, especially when the capabilities of the attorney are so hyped. Seriously though, the details of this crime were SO poorly done. I have no background in any form of investigation and I can poke holes in a ton of this. For example (no spoilers here, no worries). This murder was supposedly committed by a tiny, weak woman and NO ONE asked how it was possible that the man didn’t/couldn’t defend himself. Excuse me? Then there’s the question of blood on the main suspect’s clothes – it finally came up at the very end of the book but it was the lamest after-thought ever. She changed clothes and NO ONE noticed? I don’t care how similar the dresses were- people at a social charity event know if you went and changed your dress. It’s ridiculous, and those were just two obvious things. Maybe I’m off the mark since, like I said, I don’t have that background, but it was bothersome.

2) A Whiny Little Prick of a Husband: This is 100% purely personal opinion here so take it with a grain of salt. I loathe Jefferson. Seriously. What an ass! Look, I get it. I love my husband to death and I hate it when he or I get busy at work and cannot see each other. But do I guilt trip him every five seconds that I see him? NO. Does he make me feel terrible when I work late? Absolutely NOT. When one of us has to ramp up and do more we support each other. I recognize when my husband is stressed and working his butt off and I help him through it. Jefferson did the opposite and look, I get to a certain extent the frustration, but the lack of support he provided to his wife was unreal. And the book made it seem like the main character, the wife, was the one at fault. I saw absolutely nothing in the Jefferson character that showed me how he supported her at all. He knew darn well when he married her that she was a lawyer and to sing a new tune just when she’s hitting it big is just a dick move. It was infuriating and a very main part of the plot.

So! Unfortunately, despite a lot of really positive things with this novel and author, those glaring pieces of the plot really sucked the enjoyment out of the novel for me. I’m hoping for an improvement moving forward!

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Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora – 3/5

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

locke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book and I have a love/hate relationship. I find it really hard to give it a rating. I had a hard time getting into it from the start. It wasn’t that it was bad. In fact, I found it pretty funny (I personally love excessive swearing). But nothing really caught me. Still, I pressed on.

There’s this big block in the middle that is legitimately interesting. You have intrigue, good plot, twists and turns, it’s truly marvelous. I was seriously caught up.

Then there’s some crazy shizz that happens. Everything hits the fan. And normally that would hook me more… but it didn’t. Because when everything hits the fan is not the climax of the book. It’s like… 4/5 of the way through. So there’s this part after the climax that’s just plain boring. Seriously. I was way too sunk into reading it to stop but I considered it.

By the end, it picks up again. There’s new twists and things end on a note I am satisfied with. But even with all the good, the bad is just too great. This is a roller coaster where the highs are exciting but the lows make you want to die. I fear the rest of the series will be just the same. I wish I could tell you if that was true, but I have no intention of picking up the rest… at least not anytime soon.

By recommendation? Read at your own risk.

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