Book Review Tuesday

Boy I haven’t done this for a while! I was just telling Dr. M that these posts require my brain & I don’t have one on Monday nights, so I’m writing this on Saturday. On Saturdays I have half a brain :)

In the 8 weeks since I last posted I’ve read fourteen (14!) books. Granted, some of them were pretty short, but still… I do recall some late night reading. A number of the books were recommended on my book a day calendar from last year – I had saved up the ones that looked interesting for times when I wanted something different. So there’s a little more variety than usual.

[Editor’s Note: I can’t inflict 14 books on you at once! I’m just going to post 7 today & the rest next Tuesday. You’re welcome.]

1. The Cypher (Guardians Inc. #1), by Julian Rosado-Machain. This book is two stories in one. A glimpse into a multinational company that is in reality the oldest of secret societies … guiding and protecting humanity from creatures and forces that most of us believe are only mythology and fairy tales. The other is the story of Thomas Byrne, a young man thrust into secrets he shouldn't be aware of and dangers he shouldn't face, but that he ultimately will, for he is a Cypher. The only one who can steer humanity's future. The ultimate conspiracy theory is that Magic is real. Kept in check by technology, but every five hundred years the balance can shift and, if it does, technology will fail and those creatures we've driven into myth will come back with a vengeance.

The Bug Says: This was my Kindle freebie for book club for February. The story was pretty interesting – although it was yet another case of a boy saving the world. Don’t girls ever get to be heroes too? Unfortunately, being self-published, it was full of typos & such, so I gave it 2 stars. I’m reading the second book in the series right now. I’m going to try to power past the typos & enjoy the story. We shall see how it goes.

2.  Sycamore Row (Jake Brigance #2), by John Grisham. Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer. He trusts no one. Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten, will. It is an act that drags his adult children, his black maid, and Jake into a conflict as riveting and dramatic as the murder trial that made Brigance one of Ford County's most notorious citizens, just three years earlier. The second will raises far more questions than it answers. Why would Hubbard leave nearly all of his fortune to his maid? Had chemotherapy and painkillers affected his ability to think clearly? And what does it all have to do with a piece of land once known as Sycamore Row?

The Bug Says: I listened to this one on audio – I loved the southern accent of the narrator. And I really really wanted to love the book. It’s the first Grisham book I’ve read in a while. The main character was in the very popular A Time to Kill (you might remember that Matthew McConaughey & Sandra Bullock were in the movie version). But this book was very formulaic. I just was never really drawn in by the characters. And, I can’t believe I’m saying this, it was just too feel-good for a Grisham book. I gave it 3 stars.

3. Obsession in Death (In Death #40), by J.D. Robb. Eve Dallas has become the object of one person’s obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her — again and again...

The Bug Says: I can’t believe we’re 40 books into this series! A few books ago I was wondering if the magic was fading, but the last several have been great (to me anyway). I gave it 4 stars.

4. What Happened to Cass McBride? by Gail Giles. Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He digs a hole. Drugs Cass. Kidnaps her. Puts her in a box-underground. He buries her alive. But Kyle makes a fatal error: Cass knows the power of words. She uses fear as her weapon to keep her nemesis talking - and to keep herself breathing during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life. 

The Bug Says: I found the book interesting, although by the end of it the only character I really liked was David, and since he was dead… The older brother was self-centered & slightly psychopathic, and Cass was what (I imagine) most teenage girls are like. By the end, neither of them had much of my sympathy! I gave the book 3 stars.

5. A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness, Jim Kay (Illustrator), Siobhan Dowd (Conception). The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming... This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

The Bug Says: What an interesting way to tackle a very painful subject! I won’t give away what the monster is after, but I will say that it was a really good look at all the emotions involved when a teenager goes up against something he thinks he can’t handle. I gave it 4 stars.

6. Gods and Beasts: An Alex Morrow Novel (Alex Morrow #3), by Denise Mina. It’s the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a busy Glasgow post office carrying an AK47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and wordlessly helps the gunman fill bags with cash, then carries them to the door. He opens the door and bows his head; the robber fires off the AK47, tearing the grandfather in two. DS Alex Morrow arrives on the scene and finds that the alarm system had been disabled before the robbery. Yet upon investigation, none of the employees can be linked to the gunman. And the grandfather—a lifelong campaigner for social justice—is above reproach. As Morrow searches for the killer, she discovers a hidden, sinister political network. Soon it is chillingly clear: no corner of the city is safe, and her involvement will go deeper than she could ever have imagined. 

The Bug Says: Oh I love me some Alex Morrow! So much more than a police procedural. Denise Mina is one of my new favorite authors. I gave it 4 stars.

7.  The Uninvited Guests, by Sadie Jones. One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honour of Emerald Torrington's twentieth birthday. But only a few miles away, a dreadful accident propels a crowd of mysterious and not altogether savoury survivors to seek shelter at the ramshackle manor - and the household is thrown into confusion and mischief. One of their number (who is most definitely not a gentleman) makes it his business to join the birthday revels. Evening turns to stormy night, and a most unpleasant game threatens to blow respectability to smithereens: Smudge Torrington, the wayward youngest daughter of the house, decides that this is the perfect moment for her Great Undertaking. 


The Bug Says: It took me a minute to figure out what the heck was happening in this very charming book. After I finished it I decided that it was a cross between Pride & Prejudice & Rocky Horror Picture Show. A LOT of fun! I have it 4 stars.

Comments

  1. thanks for the reviews! I'll put one or two on my 'look for at the library' list. and yes, I am being very careful and aware on the ladder.

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  2. I always enjoy other people's opinion of books. I think I liked "Sycamore Row" better than you did. Haven't read any of the others.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I much prefer reading reviews by someone I know rather than reviews on amazon (which, I think, are often filled with stuff from friends and family of the writer, because seriously?! some of the books that get lots of good reviews are horrible!).

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  4. Great reviews. You read an impressive number of books.

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  5. Yes, what Stephen said. I want to read more, but I only seem to have time in bed...and by then, I'm so tired I can't keep my eyes open.

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  6. Look at you! Reading all those books. The only one on your list that I've read is Sycamore Row, and I read that a while ago. I've been lax about reading lately, but I don't see much time in the immediate future for reading, unfortunately. Thanks for all the reviews.

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