Category Archives: Reason: LitHub Bingo

Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen

Above the Bay of Angels is historical fiction that is very heavy on the fiction. It starts with the author imagining that Queen Victoria employed female cooks at Buckingham Palace and moves on to the death of a completely made up royal apparently due to accidental poisoning via a mushroom in a pie. The inspector decides the cook intended that mushroom for the Queen which makes absolutely no sense. She made the pie for the whole royal party so there would be no way to control who got the one poisonous mushroom. In addition to all of that, the cook was around to hear pretty much everything that was going on and did things like console a distressed royal, visit regularly and informally with the Queen, and singlehandedly solve the mystery of who poisoned the Count and why. If you can ignore the incredible implausibility of the story and get past the fact it moves super slowly and little happens for the first three-quarters, it’s an enjoyable book. I just much prefer my historical fiction to be heavier on the historical than fiction.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 53
Pages Read in 2022: 19,172
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games by David Clay Large

Nazi Games is incredibly dense and full of information. It’s extremely well researched with lots of end notes and sources (filling about a quarter of the book). It covers pretty much everything you can imagine about the 1936 Olympics (both winter and summer) including the aftermath and how it changed later Olympic games. It’s a good choice for someone who is interested in the Olympics.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 49
Pages Read in 2022: 17,979
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club is one of the worst books I have ever read. The author has a weird obsession with butts denting in when someone leans on a table, seeing bra straps (always black, white, or flesh colored), and women’s breasts being pushed up every time they cross their arms exciting male characters because they saw some extra cleavage. The writing is so bad. Here are some examples:

  • Her lips twitched, as if she were receiving a coded message through her dark amalgam dental fillings. The message must have told her to keep talking because she did.
  • To the extent a woman’s appearance was currency, Nora’s scoop-necked dress flashed a healthy portion of her bankroll.
  • Jack watched the automated door close over the space where he had last seen Nora.
  • “Go on now. I’ll get started as soon as I watch your fanny get inside your front door. It may be the last thing I ever see, so swing it girl.”
  • She was an attractive woman with a body whose forward thrust had not yet been pulled off course by gravity.
  • The skimpy food-service outfit she wore put more in front of Jack than just the burger he had ordered.

There are way too many characters and side storylines that weren’t truly totally pulled into or explained in the wrap up. The wrap up itself was so boring. When the PIs were interviewing the minion blackmailer they caught, it was just this happened and then this and that. Nothing exciting. At the big reveal of who the real blackmailer was it was even less exciting. The PI pretty much pulled out of left field who that mastermind was probably because the author thought it would be fun to make it almost impossible to guess which character it was. It’s completely unsatisfying where there are no clues at all leading to the bad guy. There are also quite a few typos and other mistakes, but the author doesn’t care. In fact, he thinks readers imagine those things and he doesn’t want to hear about them. In the author’s note he wrote:

“As for any errors you might imagine in spelling or punctuation or capitalization, please let me rest in peace. There are many conventions and styles with regard to these matters, and I often have characters speak incorrectly intentionally, for that is how I envision that character would speak.”

While he is correct that characters speaking incorrectly (such as his absolutely terrible approximation of an Irish guy) is fine, he probably should care that he misspelled his own characters’ names a time or two. I most definitely do not recommend The Blackmail Club at all. It’s just so incredibly awful. Don’t waste your time.

1 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 40
Pages Read in 2022: 14,616
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems

There’s a reason everyone has heard of certain stories and poems by Edgar Allan Poe such as The Pit and the Pendulum, The Cask of Amontillado, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, and The Bells. This is because the popular ones are the only ones that are any good. The rest, particularly his essays and one complete novel, are just plain tedious. Stick to the popular stories. The others aren’t worth it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 30
Pages Read in 2022: 10,848
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Short Stories

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Even though Tiger Lily is told from Tinker Bell’s point of view in first person, because she can read minds and zip around and watch things happen from tiny hiding places it feels more like third person omniscient. In Peter Pan, Tiger Lily is a minor character, but this puts her at the center and changes her relationship with Peter quite a bit. The bits of foreshadowing are obvious, but very well done at the same time. Even though the book is pretty light and easy, it has heavy parts as it delves a bit into being yourself (Tiger Lily’s father, the tribe’s shaman, is non-binary) and how trying to force yourself to be how others want you to be can have devastating consequences, how the English tried to change Natives, and rape. I recommend this book to teens and up, especially those who love the story of Peter Pan.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 29
Pages Read in 2022: 10,027
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

The First Round Table by Ben Gillman

The First Round Table by Ben Gillman

This book is horrible. The author apparently missed that you should show not tell. All he did was tell. Pretty much the whole thing was paragraphs explaining that this happened and then this happened and then this happened. It was quite dreadful and it made even the action scenes so boring. Reading it I kind of felt like it would work as a movie script with a lot of action and mostly ad libbed dialogue. As it turns out, the author mostly write scripts so I guess that makes sense. The problem is, the ability to write a good script apparently doesn’t always translate to the ability to write a good novel. Additionally, it really needs a good copy editor. There were so many spelling and punctuation mistakes. I found that very distracting and annoying. The First Round Table is the first in a series about King Arthur, but I will definitely not be continuing on. I do not recommend wasting your time with this book, especially since there are so many other excellent Arthurian books out there.

1 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 25
Pages Read in 2022: 8824
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Young Adult

The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek

The Chocolate Cure by Roxanne Snopek

The Chocolate Cure is perfectly predictable. It’s a sweet story that ended up exactly how I wanted it to. The main character starts out a bit insufferable, but she evolves over the course of the book and ends up super nice. It’s a very enjoyable mind vacation. I recommend it to adults who enjoy fun, predictable brain candy.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 21
Pages Read in 2022: 7550
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The first book of the Trials of Apollo series, The Hidden Oracle is filled with the humor we expect from Rick Riordan’s books. He masterfully weaves mythology into the present day. There was an awful twist in there I totally didn’t see coming, but it all worked out in the end, mostly. I recommend this book to middle schoolers and up who like mythology.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 20
Pages Read in 2022: 7278
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Night Without End by DP Fitzsimons

Night Without End by DP Fitzsimons

I read the first book in this series a few years ago so it was a bit hard to get up to speed reading this second one. The author didn’t really go over what happened previously much at all (mostly just hints through dialogue) so until about a quarter or so through I was struggling to remember and a little bit lost. The fact the “trick” happened basically the same way twice to both ships was kind of annoying, but then I guess if it worked once they figured it would work again. There was a bit too much graphic violence for my tastes. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book (even if the cover really freaks me out). I cared deeply about the characters and wanted to keep reading to find out whether they get infected or eaten or not and whether any of them would survive to get to New Earth (I guess since there are more books in the series I assumed some would but I wanted to know which ones it would be). I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult sci-fi or dystopian.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 16
Pages Read in 2022: 6090

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Filed under Dystopian, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini

Be More Chill takes everything wrong with a small segment of high school boys and glorifies all of it. The end isn’t so bad and is basically its one redeeming quality (saving it from being a one star book). The premise is ridiculous. The behavior of everyone with a squip is ridiculous. It’s just overall extremely ridiculous. This is a book to skip.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 11
Pages Read in 2022: 3800

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N