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review 2018-11-09 01:51
A strong, twisty thriller that will satisfy
The Green Viper - Upton Sinclair

This is the fourth James Ryker novel, but the first I've read. This leaves me at somewhat of a disadvantage -- but not an insurmountable one. Someone from his past reaches out to him -- in an unconventional manner -- for some help. Janet Campbell, the widow of the man who trained Ryker, who molded him into the intelligence agent/assassin he'd become is worried about their son and wants Ryker to step in for his sake.


Now, I don't know if the series has featured Campbell or Charles McCabe (her husband) before -- it's not unheard of for a thriller to introduce an old, dear friend mid-series just to get the protagonist involved in something. I'm sure if they were around early on, returning readers were invested right away. But if this was their first appearance in the series, Sinclair introduced Campbell in such a way that it worked for me as a hook -- I was invested because of Campbell more than because of Ryker.


Scott Campbell really never connected with his father, and his life has gone in a very different direction. He was an accountant at a prestigious London firm until recently, leaving under a cloud. He and his girlfriend, Kate Green, left England to get away from that cloud and moved to New York City for a fresh start. Well, mostly fresh. Kate's father, Henry Green, is a fairly notorious criminal and nightclub owner. To make a little money, Scott does a few odd jobs for Henry (while Kate dreads Scott's participation in her father's business). Those odd jobs grow more serious as Green begins to trust him more.


Which is precisely the thing that Janet Campbell is worried about. So, enter James Ryker -- a former intelligence officer between gigs. Once he arrives in NYC, he spends some time surveilling Scott and Kate to see what exactly is going on, and then he goes all-i to try to extricate them from the dangerous position that Scott has put them in. Which is a lot more dangerous than Ryker knows, as another drug dealer tries to move in on Green's turf, and the FBI are preparing to make a few arrests.


What follows is exciting, tense, fast-paced and full of more surprises than I expected. Okay, that sounds like a tautology -- with a book like this, you expect a few things to occur that you don't expect (whatever that might end up being). The Green Viper gave me more of those things that I didn't expect. A couple of them were pretty big surprises, too -- so more and of greater magnitude than I expected.


The characters were well-drawn, but they all could've been a bit more three-dimensional. No one that we spent much time with at all was exactly two-dimensional (thankfully, I've had too much of that lately), but they all could've had a little more. By and large, for a thriller with this many moving pieces the characters were either as well-drawn as you might assume to meet, or a little better. Still, I want more. Characters are what hook me more than anything else in a book, and these were good enough, but I wanted more. Particularly Ryker -- he's the title character, and I really don't think I know much more about him than I do any of the other characters (I might know Scott the best), and that doesn't seem right.


The other thing I would've liked more of was the actual work done by Ryker. Not just him showing up where Scott doesn't expect him -- but how he got there, why he decides to show himself to Scott then. For example. From Finder to Child to Sharp and beyond, it's the mechanics of their intelligence work that draws me in as much as the fight scenes or whatever. Sinclair is good at delivering the big moments -- gun fights, chase scenes, and the like. But he could do better with the smaller moments -- trailing someone, deciding to follow this line of investigation or reasoning. I guess you could say the story's strong, it just feels like he has to many ellipses in it -- let me see more of the connections between the moments.


Basically, I'm saying that I enjoyed the book -- but I thought Sinclair could've given his readers a little more of everything. It was a good novel, but with a little more it could've been really good. The pacing is good, you get drawn in and the story really doesn't let you go. I technically spent 2 days reading this, but about 80 percent of that was in one sitting -- If I'd put off starting by a day, it would've been a one-sitting kind of book -- start it, get sucked in and ignore the world until the bullets stop flying and the smoke clears. A very satisfying way to spend a couple of hours.


I enjoyed this book, the characters and the world Sinclair has created. Might I have had more appreciation for some of this if it weren't my first Ryker novel? Sure. Am I curious enough about what I read to come back in book 5 (or go back to books 1-3)? Yeah, I think so -- Sinclair's a capable author and he's got himself a fun world to play in. You should give this one a try -- or one of the earlier books -- and I'm willing to bet that you'll end up agreeing with me, Rob Sinclair's James Ryker is an action hero worth your time.


My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials they provided.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/11/07/the-green-viper-by-rob-sinclair-a-strong-twisty-thriller-that-will-satisfy
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review 2018-10-08 02:57
Lulu and the Witch Baby - Bella Sinclair
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

A humorous and adorable tale about a little witch who does not get along with her baby sister.

I feel like this is such a relatable story, wanting your baby sister/brother to disappear. I personally don't have siblings, but I have read enough books and seen enough movies to know that at some point, most kids feel this way. 

This is a considered an I Can Read! level 2 book for developing readers. Personally, it seems kind of lengthy. The sentences and story are simple, but it is a very long book. From what I can tell, this is an older book that was readapted and given a super cute makeover. This version appears to be much cuter than the original. 

Since this book was already written then given a level rating (as apposed to writing the book with the plan of it being a level 2), it makes sense that the length doesn't quite fit. I think it still works, just be aware that it may be best to read the book in parts instead of all at once. 

Adorable illustrations and a fun story. I actually really enjoyed this witchy tale.
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text 2018-09-11 19:54
Reading progress update: I've read 24 out of 319 pages.
Babbitt - Sinclair Lewis

I'm reading this for my local book club. It feels like what you'd get if you sucked all the magical aspects out of the first Harry Potter book and decided that a novel focused on a US version of the Dursleys would be amazing. Very much not my thing.

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review 2018-08-23 02:11
MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
Main Street - Sinclair Lewis
In a word tedious.  Sinclair Lewis wrote a satire about small time life.  His writing is tedious as he shows what life is like in a small town when you surround yourself with like-minded people.  No one wants to change.  Everyone knows everything about everybody.  No one wants to go out of his/her comfort zone.  And his uses his writing to show that. 
Carol marries Will, Gopher Prairie's doctor.  She's used to a big city and tries to change things and is discounted and laughed at and gossiped about.  She is a whiner and nothing and nobody does anything she likes.  She has an active inner life but drove me crazy. 
Will does not see Gopher Prairie as Carol does.  He sees nothing wrong with the town or the people.  He does take Carol to task at times.  He is also willing to let her do what she wants even if it is leave but she still is not happy.  They have a few blow-ups over her discontent.
My favorite character was Miles, the town handy man.  He was real but also an outcast.  I felt bad for him.
The place and time are written well.  I am glad I did not live then or there.
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review 2018-08-01 18:49
Babbit - Sinclair Lewis

- Alors... on prétend que les rêves sont le contraire de la réalité.

Et ainsi il se rendit compte que c'était de la folie de prendre la fuite, parce qu'il ne pourrait jamais se fuir lui-même.

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