Tag Archives: 3 Stars

Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Carol is back at trying to solve yet another too-close-to-home murder. There is a lot in this book that is ridiculous (such as the reasons for having basically no one at the wedding) and those things often took me out of the story while I rolled my eyes. The writing is mediocre. The formatting on the Kindle makes it very hard to enjoy reading. The big reveal pretty much came out of left field. Marriage Can Be Murder is not a book to go out of your way to read.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 115
Pages Read in 2022: 39,843
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

The attitude toward those with autism in this book is a bit alarming, clearly a “they are damaged and so we must fix them” sort of thing. Also, the medical people refer to the medication they are giving as a cure. A medication that must be given daily at precise intervals for life in order to prevent violent side effects and keep the person taking it free of signs of autism is not a cure. The premise is kind of over the top unbelievable. Refusing to involve the police makes no sense. That they just wanted a flash drive and were willing to kill and kidnap multiple people in order to get it also makes no sense. It’s a quick and easy read and, while totally unbelievable, the writing itself is excellent. It’s not a must read, but it’s not one that should definitely be skipped either.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 111
Pages Read in 2022: 38,989
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult is the Colleen Hoover of the 90s. Popular books, mainly because they are emotional rollercoasters, with mediocre writing. The Pact is billed as a love story. It’s not. It’s about a toxic relationship that everyone except the dead girl thought was amazing. There are a couple flashbacks, one when the main characters were 9 and one when they were 13 and 14, where they don’t act remotely like the age they are supposed to be. The nine-year-olds act more like 13 and 14-year-olds and the 14-year-old acted more like he was 9. The lawyer’s son being all impressed that his father was bringing woman after woman to their apartment was also not at all believable. He was 13. He’d have been completely grossed out thinking about (and hearing) what his father was doing with those women. The courtroom part got a bit tedious. It was odd that the dead girl’s mother’s character was never really developed. You’d think she’d be important, but she was pretty much a non-entity (except when destroying evidence, something that is never mentioned again). It does give a bit of a snapshot of 1997, though, and the way teens felt pressure to never say the word suicide because you might give someone the idea. Also, the book reminds us that rape culture was so much worse back then. All in all, it wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t great either. If you like emotional rollercoasters and don’t mind plot holes, you’ll enjoy The Pact.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 107
Pages Read in 2022: 37,702
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: The Coven of Forbidden Books

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

I did not much enjoy Heir of Fire for the first half. There are three different storylines going throughout the book. Celaena in the land of the fae learning to control her magic and return to her true self, the witches learning to fly the wyverns, and Dorian and Chaol at the castle. Nothing much happens with Celaena until the third quarter of the book. Before that it’s basically the same thing over and over including lots of refusing to speak for the first bit. The witches storyline I never did like. Any time it switched to them I was more than happy to put the book down and do something else. What was happening at the castle (and to those surrounding the castle) I actually found interesting from the start and enjoyed those sections most of all. The whole thing is overly wordy. The book could be about half as long if it wasn’t so wordy and repetitive. This book sets up what happens from here pretty well. The last 3% was downright amazing. As a book, it is just mediocre, but of course if you are invested in the Throne of Glass series, it’s a must read.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 105
Pages Read in 2022: 36,806
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Fantasy, Reason: Buddy Read, Young Adult

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Some of the characters in The Thursday Murder Club are absolutely hysterical. I instantly fell in love with both Elizabeth and Joyce. But there are way too many characters. It’s very hard to keep them straight, especially since some are mentioned and then not again for several chapters. The British wit is fabulous. While the elderly group figures everything out, and in fact are the only ones who know the whole truth in the end, the police are not portrayed as completely inept. I certainly didn’t have it all figured out before the end, but it did all fit together in a way that made sense. This is a good book, but not one I’d go out of my way to read.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 103
Pages Read in 2022: 35,989
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: Book Club

Remember Me: The Return

Remember Me: The Return by Christopher Pike

The second Remember Me book, The Return, is really kind of weird. It’s short and reads fast and is as simple as the original, but the subject matter and very loose timeline is just so bizarre. I found myself making a lot of faces at the strangeness of the story. It’s an odd combination of Christianity and New Age and is sort of reincarnation, but souls trading places, not starting over as a baby. If you really enjoyed the first book, this one is fine, but it’s totally skippable.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 100
Pages Read in 2022: 35,178
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Reason: I Like the Series, Young Adult

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy is impeccably researched. The notes, bibliography, and index are massive (making up more than the last third of the book). At times it reads like a historical fiction novel even though only actual quotes are used, but other times it reads like a textbook. The author skips around between the four woman profiled, Emma Thompson, Rose Greenhow, Elizabeth Van Lew, and Belle Boyd, and sometimes it is hard to remember which is which and what was happening to them the last time they were discussed. I recommend this book to adults interested in the Civil War.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 97
Pages Read in 2022: 34,367
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Book Club

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is both lighthearted and deep at the same time. Tiny is hilarious and seriously the best. Both Will Graysons go through a lot of soul searching growth and character development. The chapters alternate between the two Will Graysons. One of them is written all in lowercase with no quotation marks, a writing style I really hate. The ending is truly wonderful. I recommend this book to teens and up.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 59
Pages Read in 2022: 21,490
Graphic Novels: 1

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

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

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

I’m not a huge fan of the writing style of Anxious People. I usually enjoy books that jump around the timeline going into the past and back to the present multiple times, but this one does it without always making sense. It is often very ambiguous which actually is the most amazing thing about the book, but every so often it’s too ambiguous and seems like it is saying something it’s not. I really don’t care for books that go “There are two policemen. One is young and one is old. The old policeman did not want his son to become a policeman. The young policeman is the old policeman’s son.” like this one does. I just don’t like the sentence construction or that method of storytelling. The moral and ending were great. It really makes you think about the ripples we cause by every little action and how we affect others, for good or bad. Above all, this book reminds us that we are all connected and does it very creatively. I’ve concluded, though, that I’m just not a Fredrik Backman fan (this is the second book of his I’ve read and rated three stars). His books are just so-so to me. For people who like his books and writing style, Anxious People is a great choice.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 51
Pages Read in 2022: 18,501
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Book Club