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text 2015-07-07 03:04
I'm just not that into you
The Darkest Night - Gena Showalter

I'm not sure where this book was recommended. Maybe it was because it was Gena Showalter and I liked one book from her Atlantis series. But I couldn't get past halfway through. "You Jane, me Tarzan" was about the writing level of the interactions of the two people who were supposed to be falling for each other. The rest of the story had potential, but I just couldn't make myself listen to any more.

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review 2014-12-20 03:13
Estate of Mind - DNF
Estate of Mind - Tamar Myers

I read the first few in this series almost 2 decades ago and remembered them as fairly humorous cozies: not great, but good.  So when I was last in the states I picked up a copy of Estate of Mind in a used book store to see if memory served and whether or not it was worth continuing the series.  It is not.


I suspect there's an excellent plot here:  paintings missing since WWII, art theft, white elephant sales, etc.  But I can't get past the writing.  It's not bad in the traditional sense: I'm sure it's well edited and I didn't see any glaring errors.  But the author's style just isn't suited to me anymore (if it ever was - I do remember I quit her other series because of her style in those books).  Abby "wails" when "exclaims", "blurts out", or even "shrieks" might be better choices, and unfortunately, she "wails" a lot.  A lot of the banter felt forced and her choice to exaggerate some of the characters' personalities just didn't work for me.


I'm not rating this because it might be a great story for someone else; this really is just a style issue for me and I didn't stick with it long enough to really rate it.

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text 2014-11-08 09:28
No Mallets Intended (Vintage Kitchen Mystery, #4)
No Mallets Intended - Victoria Hamilton

I should have stopped after book 3.  Arguably, I should have stopped after book 2, but never mind.  I only bought this book because of one character:  Detective Zack Christian.  The only character that – in my opinion – showed the writer had potential.  When I read scenes with Christian, the writer had my attention; I wanted to know what was going to happen next.


The Zack Christian character is gone; taken a new job with the Detroit police force and with him went any interest I had in these characters, mysteries or continuing the series.


I can't even get through the first 75 pages, I just don't bloody care.  Also writing like this isn't helping: 


"A line of pines ran from the road alongside the house; across the road was a marshy wooded lot, and beyond that, more woods. Woods everywhere!"


Writing like this had me thinking I had mistakenly picked up a primary school reader.


Done and done.  (Unless I hear Zack comes back, in which case I reserve the right to change my mind.)

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text 2014-11-06 05:20
Reading progress update: I've read 112 out of 319 pages.
Masque of the Red Death - Bethany Griffin

And yet another book is added to my DNF pile..


I loved the cover of Masque of the Red Death and picked it up at the library. It starts out with an interesting premise: After a disease/virus kills off a good part of the population, Araby finds herself in a penthouse suite due to the fact that her father is the inventor of masks that filter the poisoned air. Unfortunately, only the rich can easily afford the masks so plenty of people are still dying, even as they have hope to save up for a mask.


How does Araby spend her time in this book? Her daytime hours are spent drowning in survivor's guilt and her evenings are spent in a misnamed nightclub getting high in a quest to yet again forget her survivor's guilt. And why is she guilty? Because she used the first mask that her father created and then her twin brother dies of the contagion. Of course, if he had used the first mask instead of Araby, who knows if she would have died... from my understanding of the book, the mask only helps keep you from getting sick in the first place but if you've already caught the plague you're going to die no matter what, so Araby's brother couldn't have been infected already and she would have had no way of knowing.


But you know, bringing sense into this book would destroy it apparently.


Speaking of senseless things... they have masks, and yet the people in the book seem to have no issue taking the masks off - even outside - to kiss each other.


The other main issue that I have with this story is the useless love triangle. You have Will, the nice-seeming club bouncer who takes care of his younger siblings, and then you have Elliott, the spoiled & selfish nephew of the prince who treats Araby like crap. Araby seems drawn to the bad boy even though she was drooling over Will's tattoos and pretty face earlier in the book, but yet she doesn't even want to hold anyone's hand due to the promise she made on her brother's grave to have absolutely no fun and no life since he died. Because I'm sure that's what he would have wanted.


And there you have my uncensored opinion of this book... read if you wish, but beware the feeling of your brain cells slowly dying as you attempt to figure out why you're supposed to care about anyone or anything in this book!

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review 2014-06-29 01:00
Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Wein

I tried to read "Code Name Verity" right after it was published. There were tons of glowing reviews on Goodreads, everyone was talking about it. I prepared myself to be unbelievably impressed. I was not. I read about 20 pages and set the book aside. This year, AudioBookSync.com was offering the audiobook version of the story for free, so I decided to give it another shot. While I was not totally blown away, I am glad I picked it back up.  The narrators really do a fantastic job of making the story feel real, and by the end of it I was rather invested in both of them.  The way the story is written, when listening you feel like these two girls are talking right to you, making the overall audiobook experience much more enjoyable than reading the print version.

My problem with this book is the format of the first 75%. Julie, a spy, has been captured by the Nazis and has made the choice to cooperate with her captors. She is divulging information to them in the form of a type of journal. This is perfectly fine, and normally I would totally eat this kind of thing up. The issue comes from the fact that Julie alternates between telling stories in the past about herself in the third person (yes, I know, it is confusing even to read that explanation), and info-dumping huge amounts of historical information about planes and such. While the stories themselves are mostly interesting, many of them drag due to over-description. The best parts of this section of the book were the details we are given about Julie's captivity--her interactions with fellow prisoners and the Nazis, speculation about the fate of her friend, etc. Unfortunately, these tidbits are few and far between. I did, however, really like Julie as a character. Her spunk and cunning are absolutely magnificent. I just wish her written confession had been delivered in a different way.

The second part of the book is told from the point of view of Julie's friend Maddie, and I enjoyed it immensely. While Julie's situation might have been more exciting, the way Maddie's experiences are delivered was much more suited to my tastes. I particularly liked the cross-over of characters which had been introduced in the first half of the book in Julie's written notes. Having two separate characters examine and react to the same people was really interesting and showcased the similarities and differences between Maddie and Julie rather well. The ultimate fates of both Julie and Maddie were totally unpredictable, but once I read them I can honestly say there seemed to be no other way it could end that would have been more fitting for either of them.

The really impressive part of this book for me was its historical accuracy. It is incredibly immersive, particularly with the audiobook version, and the author has clearly done a fantastic job researching the time period. I could easily believe this was based on a true story, although the author reveals at the end of the book that it is not.

"Code Name Verity" is probably one of the best YA World War II novels I have ever read. The characters are well developed and introduced to the reader in a way that makes you feel immediately close to them, constantly rooting for their well-being. The setting is very well researched, to the point where it all feels like an actual historical account. My issue was with the way the first part of the book (Julie's) is written in a way that makes the reader feel a little disconnected from the story while still feeling connected to the narrator. This book is much better in audiobook form, as the narrators' voices add an extra layer of authenticity to the whole story. I'd recommend this to fans of historical fiction, particularly war novels, with strong female leads.

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