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review 2018-01-23 14:50
Last Year's News & Ella's Pet Peeves in Book Marketing
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

Seems stupid to write a review of a book that everyone and their mother has read, but I'ma do it anyway.

 

This really could all be summed up with the note I wrote to myself privately on Goodreads:

DO NOT EVER BUY ANOTHER PRE-RELEASE UNTIL YOU HAVE READ THE AUTHOR'S WORK!

Let's do it anyway:

 

I bought this early on the strength of a review and a really good marketing plan, read half then apparently forgot to finish it. My local library's reading challenge for January includes reading a book made into a movie, and I was a bit shocked to see this one in my Kindle, so I started again from the beginning, having no clue what I'd read before, and I finished it in a couple days.

 

Turns out, The Girl on the Train wasn't half bad. It's not the best I've ever read, best I bought in 2015 or even the best I've read this month. Nonetheless, it's a decent mystery with a nice fake-out or two, and I love an unreliable narrator. I usually love a character that everyone in the book hates, unless she makes me indifferent to her, which sort of happened here. If I could've rooted more for Rachel, I might have been more invested. Oh well.

 

Now my two quibbles pet peeves: For all the women in it, it sure doesn't pass the Bechdel or any other feminist test I'm aware of. In fact, the women in this book are universally jealous, petty and horrid to each other -- even the so-called friends and especially where men are concerned. Hell, even the policewoman isn't very nice to other women. Grown women being so angry at each other for a man's infidelity or lack of trust, argh -- that time needs to pass from books right now. I'm tired of watching or reading about these women. I don't know women like this anymore, and I don't like them in books either. It's immature at best, pathetic and gross at most.

 

Quibble Pet Peeve number two is the word "literature" used to market this one. That word is supposed to mean something, and it's not about topping the best seller lists for a year. Popularity is great, but it's not the same as literary. Everyone expects a certain originality and quality to the writing that will make it stand the test of time when something is marketed as "literary fiction." (Though maybe more people will try the literary word if they think it's all like this?) Anyway, genre fiction can be literature. There are some wonderful works of literary fiction that are psychological thrillers or fantasy, mystery, western, horror, whatever. This isn't one of them. It's an indulgence, a treat, fun and relaxing read with real suspense at times. I'll make a bet The Girl on the Train will not end up part of any lasting literary canon.

 

 

picture of Amazon listings

 

Literature means "writings having excellence of form or expression and expressing ideas of permanent or universal interest" or "written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit." As it was explained to me when I kept saying "I like this kind of book" and didn't know how to find more, literature has a way of exploring how we relate to the world, rather than a story told about the world. I'm not sure this little treat fits there. No new or lasting views are found here beyond a good story, and that's fine. Again, I point out that I'd read half of this two years ago and remembered zilch about it. Not a lasting effect. If my Kindle hadn't had a bookmark and a "last place" marker, I would've sworn I didn't 1) own the book and 2) never opened it. Just don't sell me a book under false pretenses! I buy plenty of mystery books that are far from literary or even good, actually.

 

Despite these "quibbles," it was good entertainment. I'm not upset I took the time to read it.

 

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text 2018-01-21 18:55
Women Writers Bingo Progress

I typically read a lot of books by women, but I like playing bingo, so I decided to join in on the fun. I'll just keep reading like I normally would and see how long it takes me to hit an author for every letter of the alphabet. I'm guessing Q and X might take me a while.

 

A big thank you to Themis-Athena for making the card.

 

 

 

 

 

AFlame in the Mist - Renee Ahdieh  

BJackass! - Scarlet Beriko  

C

DPride and Prejudice and Mistletoe - Melissa de la Cruz  

E

F

G

HThe Last Black Unicorn - Tiffany Haddish  

I - 

JOf Beast and Beauty - Stacey Jay  

K

LThe Hearts We Sold - Emily Lloyd-Jones  

MSecret of the Princess - Milk Morinaga  

N

OThe Arsonist - Stephanie Oakes  

PThe Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles) - Mary E. Pearson  

Q

RAlmost Midnight - Rainbow Rowell,Simini Blocker  

S

TThe Darkest Corners - Kara Thomas  

UKissing Max Holden - Katy Upperman  

V

W

X

Y

ZAmerican Street - Ibi Zoboi  

Free SpaceMorrighan: A Remnant Chronicles Novella - Mary E. Pearson  

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review 2018-01-20 03:03
Mine
Mine (Falling For A Rose Book 7) - Stephanie Nicole Norris

Title  Mine

Author:  Stephanie Nicole Norris   

Publisher: S.N.N.

Series:  Falling For a Rose Book 7

Reviewed By:  Arlena Dean

Rating: Five

Review:

 

"Mine" by Stephanie Nicole Norris

 

My Thoughts...


In Book 7 "Mine" was about Phoebe Rose and that wonderful Quentin Davidson. Those protective Rose brothers were quite the men when it came to protecting their baby sister Phoebe.  Will these brothers let a friendship get in their way of this situation?  With Quentin having quite a reputation with the ladies...will he be willing to change his ways for Miss Phoebe?  Well, to see how well this author brings it out to the reader you will have to pick up "Mine" to find out and see if Phoebe and Quentin will finally get this situation all worked out to find their HEA.  

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review 2018-01-19 21:49
Emma in the Night (needs a flashlight)
Emma in the Night - Wendy Walker

...to find her way thru this complicated mess.

 

I was tempted to lower my rating to 2 stars, but I decided I would leave it at 3. I did enjoy it...mostly. It only had 1 grammatical error. And I finished it within 3 days. So, 3 stars.

 

Now, for the negatives: poorly written. Convoluted. Couldn't follow some of the characters' trains of thought. The switching between 1st and 3rd person. And even at the end I couldn't fully tell what had really happened to some of the story. 

 

Emma was a nightmare sister. Cass became one herself, so I couldn't relate to her or feel sympathy. And she was written to be far too intelligent for a teenager. The side characters were extremes: polarizingly blind and stupid or too involved and conveniently similar to Cass. 

 

I only finished this because I genuinely wanted to know what happened to Emma, the Pratts, and Rick. The curveball at the end was ridiculous. 

 

The book wasn't all bad. It was just juvenile and not original. It was more like an average episode of SVU. 

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review 2018-01-19 03:57
New spin on a classic
A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas

How had they managed to not realize, for so long, what they meant to one another? And why then must they see the light when it was too late, when they could possess no more than a few moments of ferocious mutual awareness?

 

With more historical mystery elements than romance, this new spin on an old classic character was immensely intriguing. The beginning was a bit schizophrenic to me and I had a little tougher time sliding into Thomas' world. Our main character Charlotte Holmes takes her time coming to the forefront but after I finished the book, I think this choice really worked, but I needed hindsight to appreciate it. 

There's one main mystery case needing to be solved with other little ones sprinkled in as new characters get introduced. There's a handful of main stay characters, an Inspector that brings the reader through the main mystery case, Charlotte's sister Livia who welcomes us into the world, Mrs. Watson ;) who helps to set-up our Sherlock Holmes, and Lord Ingram who weaves in our little thread of romance. There are a two handfuls of secondary characters who serve the mystery case or help to fill out the world. 

 

This is obviously a first in a series book and should be read as such, as most of this could be considered an introduction to characters and relationships. Thomas does an amazing job with all the myriad intricacies in everyone's relationships but just be aware there is not much typical romance here. Charlotte and Lord Ingram have a past and obvious tension between them but if there is any payoff to be found, it is definitely in future installments. 

 

I didn't really settle into this until the second half of the book and I missed more romance but the intrigue, refreshing spin, and genuine stimulating writing kept me engaged.

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