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review 2019-08-05 20:11
Book Takes Too Long To Get to the Point
Recursion - Blake Crouch

So at this point I cannot give this one more than three stars. The main reason is that I disliked a good 50 percent of this book. I kept going with it hoping it would pay off, but it took too long to get there. I think dividing up the POVs is what made it confusing. I get why Crouch did it (to make the reveal cooler) but geez it took forever and I was so confused I went back to the beginning to make sure I was reading things correctly. Also there's a twist that I don't think was in the book but we find out about later. I also call BS on how things got resolved. I had flashbacks to Twilight and that whole love shield and I just do not think Crouch wanted to go that way.  This book's world building needed to be stronger. 

 

"Recursion" deals with an America that is dealing with many people coming down with something called False Memory Syndrome. Every day men and women are waking up remembering another time and place that feels real to them. Many of them cannot handle it and end up committing suicide. Scientists don't know what is causing is, but it seems that when one person who has the syndrome comes into contact with others, it spreads. New York Police Department officer Barry Sutton starts wondering about the woman he met who jumped after suffering from False Memory Syndrome. He is still reeling from the anniversary of his daughter's death and wants something more out of his life. When he starts following the trail of the dead woman he comes across something shocking. We also follow neuroscientist Helena Smith. Helena wants to figure out a cure to her mother's Alzheimer's disease. 

 

I have to say that it takes a long time to see where Crouch is heading for this. Thank the stars we just follow Barry and Helena. Anymore primary characters would have done my head in. The book jumps back and forth between them and you really have to pay attention to the dates/times otherwise you are going to get completely confused. I have to say that I don't know about Barry and Helena at times. It took til the last half of the book that I warmed up to them both.

 

Barry we get is broken after his marriage falls apart after his daughter's death. He seems to be barely functioning. When he is given an opportunity that I don't think many people would turn down, he ends up still not embracing things that had changed for him. 

 

Helena took a whole lot longer to understand. I don't want to spoil, but think that Crouch lost some of the heart of the story when we mostly focused on Barry towards the end. 


The secondary characters like Slade and others really have no rhyme or reason to them I have to say. I needed more there. You can't set up what is going on in this story with a more focused adversary. 

 

The writing was okay, but as other reviewers said, the science really didn't make a lot of sense in this one. As I already said, that ending made zero sense to me and I think that Crouch wanted to just finish this up with the ending he already had in mind.


The flow was not good. There are four parts to this book and it takes until part of Part III to have anything start to make even a little bit of sense. I don't think Crouch should have spoiled readers, but he needed to make us understand more of what is going on besides talking about mice and memories. None of what is in this book read as plausible to me. I realize I like more dystopian books that end up on the speculative fiction side of things since to me that reads as things that could happen. I don't see how any of this could happen. After a while it read like the movie Endgame to me in book form and I just wanted to get to the ending already. There is a lot of repetition that may make readers want to skip ahead too. 

 

The book jumps around a lot and I suggest that readers pay attention to the dates when people are speaking. I have to say that Crouch didn't do a good job of technological upgrades/advances when speaking of certain years/decades. We also jump around to different cities, countries and everything read as the same after a while.

The ending hit a high note for me and honestly the last 100 pages of this book were so good. I just wish that the beginning of the book was much stronger. 

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review 2019-07-17 16:56
What Terrible Men These Are...
Missing Joseph - Elizabeth George

Wow. So "Missing Joseph" packs a punch. George really looks at a variety of relationships and in the end you kind of want to go why do women even deal with men? Except in the case of St. James and his wife Deborah where she continues to be the worst. There's also a look at the mother and child relationship and how those differ with regards to fathers. There is the usual mess with Deborah and honestly that's the main reason why I dropped this book a star. It's getting old. I hope George moves on from this story-line in the next book. 

 

When St. James and Deborah go to visit Lancastershire they find out that a vicar that Deborah met and was behind the visit is dead. He accidentally digested hemlock and the local constable (Colin Shephard) found the woman (Mrs. Juliet Spence) who accidentally provided him the hemlock was cleared. The locals feel differently though since Shepard and Mrs. Spence are lovers. When St. James starts going over how hemlock is first diagnosed he has questions about how a known herbalist could have accidentally picked it and given it to someone to eat. He calls up Inspector Lynley who is happy to be away from Helen at the moment and the two men investigate. 

 

I thought George actually did a better job with the secondary characters in this one than with the main ones. Juliet is a woman with a past and she was reluctant to become involved with  Shephard but did. She's torn between her love of her daughter and wanting to keep her from doing something she will regret to wanting to still be with Shephard even though she knows it can't last.


Maggie Spence is 13 and I wanted to hug her. She's tied up in missing a father she never knew and telling herself she is in love with a 15 year old boy who is just as clueless as she is. Maggie is determined to get the family that she wants to make her feel loved. 


Shepherd was garbage. George developed him very well though but there's a scene that made me rage. His blindness of things and his treatment of women is definitely a theme that keeps playing out in George's books.


Polly, a childhood friend of Shephard who practices Wicca who wanted Shephard to love her is the most changed by the end of this book. With her realizing eventually that just because you love someone does not mean that they deserve that love was heartbreaking. 

 

Brendan who fancies himself in love with Poppy and is regretting the marriage he got forced into with the local rich man's daughter. 

 

Lynley and Helen have become exhausting. Get married or don't, I just don't want to read about it anymore. George shows though that Lynley wants to dominate Helen though and marriage to him would mean that she would be there for him always. I just shook my head. St. James is the only male character that understands what marriage and love is. He keeps dealing with Deborah and her insistence on trying to get pregnant though the doctor has flat out told her she needs to give herself a year at least to wait to try again or she may end up dying. Her acting as if St. James is the selfish one gave me a headache.


Havers was barely in this one. I was ticked about that. We get to see her moving on from her family home and becoming more settled in the next stage of her life which was good. 


The writing was graphic at times. Warning there is a rape scene in the book that had me checking my alarm was on before I fell asleep. The flow was a bit slow at first with just St. James and Deborah and I felt myself getting bored which hasn't happened before. Things picked up anytime we left those two behind.

The setting of Lancastershire was interesting. It seemed to be a fairly liberal place with people not really focusing on religion. That said, there was a lot of ugliness going on that George manages to tap into when you follow the primary and secondary characters.


The ending was a shocker. I honestly didn't know who the perpetrator(s) was and why they did it. When we get to the reveals I was like oh my goodness! I think ending it on the villagers after Lynley and others had left was a good idea. We can get a semblance of an idea of what will happen next. 

 

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review 2019-07-15 18:33
Too Many Coincidences and POVs
Then She Was Gone - Lisa Jewell

So it took me a while to finish this one because the first part of the story drags. Jewell starts off with two POVs with the mother (Laurel) and days before Ellie's disappearance. But then we get two additional POVs (no spoilers) and I just went grr. I also thought that Laurel was kind of a terrible mother. I can't imagine what I would do if one of my kids went missing and was presumed dead. She just gets angry her husband is trying to move on (for them and their remaining two kids) and then she compares her missing daughter to the one still alive (Hanna) and goes on how Ellie was prettier and livelier and would have been her friend more. I feel like it's in the parenting 101 manual you don't compare your kids and have favorites. Or if you do compare, you don't go you are so much less than your sister.  The writing was kind of all over the place and I had just could not wrap my head around the reveal. It was a mess and a half and the HEA we get just didn't jibe with what came before it.

 

"Then She Was Gone" follows Laurel Mack who is still reeling ten years later from her daughter Ellie going missing. Ellie was 15 years old when she disappeared and the police believe she ran away. However, Laurel doesn't believe that and still thinks her daughter is out there somewhere or she has to be dead because Ellie was so happy in their family and wouldn't have left. I think the only true thing that is shown in this book is that Laurel spent way too much of her time sweating the small stuff and then when something bigger and uglier came along she was angry and took it out on the wrong people afterwards. Her husband and her come apart and she's partially estranged from her son and the only part of her life her daughter Hanna lets her in on is that Laurel comes by once a week to clean her flat. Seriously. I just went good grief.

When Laurel meets a man named Ford and his daughter Poppy everything turns around for her. She finds herself falling for Ford and that Poppy acts and looks similar to her daughter Ellie she is ready to throw herself into this ready made family. 

 

I really couldn't get into Laurel. Judgmental is not the word. She has an awful thought about it should have been her daughter Hanna that went missing and I think most of the book is her thinking this in slightly different ways. And then she apologizes and it feels very trite. We do get to know Ellie and I think that part was good, but I wish we had gotten more insight into Hanna and the other sibling as well. It definitely felt like Laurel just saw Ellie with rose colored glasses and remembered no negativity. 

 

Positives would be that the writing in this one was fairly easy to get into. I finished it in about 3 hours. There's not a lot of things that are going to strain your brain. The problem is that you get info dumped towards the end and at that point I was just humming to myself until I finished. The flow was up and down with the four POVs and the final epilogue and then another ending (don't ask).

The setting of the book takes place in contemporary times in London. I have to say though that most of the book seems to be in two or three key locations. Laurel is constantly going on about her daughter Hanna's flat and how gloomy it is. I think she mentions her place a few times. She's constantly at her new love interest's home and then there are two other locations I won't spoil in this one.

The ending was trying for unsettling, but honestly I just could not believe it. It read as very fake to me (with how Jewell ends it) and I think she should have really pushed the ending there because I had a hard time going okay cool everyone's happy based on what came before it. I also think that Jewell let us know the outcome of what happened way too soon. We just had to wait for clues to be laid out and for everyone to catch up to what really happened. 

 

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review 2019-07-09 14:41
Solid Start to a New Series, Some Bugs to Work Out
The Nantucket Inn - Pamela M. Kelley

Well I enjoyed all of the background on Nantucket and this book definitely made me want to visit there since everything sounds so fun. I think Kelley has a good eye for describing people, places, and food. Seriously the food that was described sounded awesome. I really wish recipes had been included. That said, I think it was a little lacking with the romance portion and character development. I also think that doing the whole fade to black then showing actual moments of intimacy between the heroes/heroines was a little lame after a while. 

 

"The Nantucket Inn" follows widowed mother of four, Lisa Hodges. Lisa finds out that her husband was a secret gambler who depleted their savings and retirement. If she doesn't find a job she will end up having to sell her home and even then, may not have enough to live on. Her friends come up with her turning her home into a bed and breakfast as well as advertising as an Airbnb since she has a large home with a ton of empty bedrooms. Lisa lets her children know (Kate, Kristen, Chase, and Abby) who all support their mom and do what they can to help. While this is going on, three of her kids (Kate, Kristen, and Abby) are going through some romantic upheavals. 

 

So, Lisa I thought was really level headed. It's shown she loves their children and I wish that Kelley had touched upon anger that she should have felt towards her dead husband. The way everyone kind of just glossed over it was a bit much after a while. I also don't know if I bought her romance either. There was no sizzle there.


Kate's sub-plot was interesting, but once again things just kind of happen to her and everything works out. It just ends up fizzling out before we get to the end of the book. Her potential love triangle could have been interesting (and I say this as someone who loathes that trope) because at least we would have something more to read about than her writing process. Guess what, reading about a character writing a book is not interesting. Unless you are Stephen King and it's part of the plot (see Bag of Bones).

 

Kristen's sub-plot once again could have been interesting, but girl needs help. She seems to be someone who needs to be in a relationship. I hope the next book actually shows more of her personality off since I found her to be pretty bland.


Abby's entire sub-plot bugged the crap out of me. I don't want to spoil but she needed to get over herself. And once again things are just magically resolved. A normal person would have been really ticked off with her.


Chase was barely in this, but we hear about how some random woman broke his heart when he was in high school so now his mother doesn't approve.


There are a lot of secondary characters to keep straight in this one too (love interests galore and ex love interests too) so that's why I say more down below about the books needing to just follow one person per book. 

 

The writing was okay, I just needed more ompfh or something. Kelley plays with a few obstacles, but they are quickly dealt with. Lisa is initially denied the ability to advertise as a bed and breakfast though she can still rent out her rooms. We hear that some of the neighbors kind of suck, but we just get a few lines here and there. Lisa has a love interest with an ex, and there are noises being made about how she may try to ruin things. And it just goes on and on. Everything is pretty much addressed pages later and there's no real push/pull going on. I have to say that I was also disappointed that we hear about two potential love interests with regards to Kate, but we only find out who she is with when Kelley brings it up in the epilogue. I wish that we had seen the beginnings of that relationship in the next book. It was a bit jarring to go from hey we're just friends to all of a sudden they are in love. 

 

The flow was pretty good though I think that maybe Abby's subplot could have been in the next book. It really didn't add anything and there was already a lot going on with Kate, Kristen, and Lisa. We also get slight mentions of Chase here and there, and he occasionally shows up, but he is barely in this book which was odd. I assume that Kelley will have the follow-up books touch upon the siblings and Lisa, but I wish that Kelley had devoted each book to a separate person since it would have been nice to follow that character's arc and we could see more development. Since this one was only 248 pages there wasn't a lot of time to devote to everyone which was unfortunate.

The setting of Nantucket sounds great. The description of the place and the festivals sound like a lot of fun.

The ending is a HEA for at least two of the characters and then there are further signs that things are up in the air for three of the characters. I assume the next book will follow up on that. 

 

 

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review 2019-07-07 23:14
Book Wasn't A Straight Chick Lit/Romance
Good Enough to Eat - Stacey Ballis

All in all a disappointment. I was expecting to read a romance/chick lit type book and it was all over the place. The hero in this one (Nate) really sucked. And the heroine (Melanie) wasn't great either. Other reviewers complained about the constant speech making by everyone involved and I have to agree. Real people do not speak like this. Ballis definitely knows her way around a stove though. The recipes that she included sounded awesome and were honestly the only reason why I gave this one 3 stars. 

 

"Good Enough to Eat" follows former lawyer Melanie who is now a gourmet chef. She cooks healthy food after finally dieting and exercising her way to a healthier weight. Now she's dealing with being single after her ex-husband leaves her for her former boss (who is heavier than Melanie used to be). Melanie is trying to figure out how to get her life together due to money issues and comes across a younger woman (Nadia) who she ends up employing and living with who has secrets of her own. Melanie meets a new guy (Nate) who honestly is the type of guy that would write into Reddit's Am I The Asshole (AITA) thread and act as if he did nothing wrong and wonders why women are so emotional.

 

I initially found Melanie to be pretty interesting, but after a while I got tired of her. I just lost 12 pounds (and counting) and have been exercising about 5 days a week. I somehow have managed to be around normal food and people eating fried things and drinking and have not turned into a self righteous ass. Melanie is obsessed with food and her going on about calories and wanting to eat a vat of mashed potatoes honestly started driving me up the wall. She seems to need a therapist badly and is using her nutritionist, her friends, her sister, and even Nate to be that for her. The character is set up to be constantly second guessing herself. It doesn't help that she looks down upon other people a lot (see Nadia) and I just didn't get why anyone acted like she was this really good friend. I have enemies I am on better terms with.

 

Nate, the love interest, just sucked. He's an investigator/documentary/director person. Yeah, I am not looking that back up. He starts seeing Melanie and honestly his family sounds better than he is. He's self-absorbed and judgmental as hell. He and Melanie snark on Nadia and her relationship with her boyfriend. They honestly should work romance wise since they are both kind of nasty at times, but Melanie draws the line when Nate does something that directly affects Nadia. I mean not enough to stop seeing his terrible ass though.

 

I honestly wish that the book had focused more on Nadia. She's more mature than Melanie and doesn't judge people based on outward appearances. Her backstory will break your heart and I wonder if Ballis has ever followed up on her in her subsequent books.

The other secondary characters talk like cliches (see Kai).


The writing could have worked I think if it had focused more on Melanie's weight loss journey and subsequent single life. I think following her post that just didn't work since she has a lot of other issues she needs to work through as well. The recipes starting each chapter (almost I think) were really cool. I liked the memories behind things that Melanie was sharing with readers. I eat certain things and they remind me of my mother (spaghetti, lasagna, beef stroganoff, fried chicken, and cake). 


The flow doesn't really work though. I think that Ballis is trying to make the book be about whether Melanie and Nate are ready for the next steps in their relationship, but it's ultimately about Melanie and what she wants next. It doesn't follow a typical romance/chick lit plot with the girl meeting boy, having misunderstanding, and then HEA for the two of them.


The book takes place in Chicago (I believe Ballis's hometown or current hometown at any rate) and I don't get a really good sense of the city like I have in her other works.


The book ends on July 4th, which I guess was symbolically supposed to be about Melanie's independence. 

 

 

 

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