Tuesday, August 26, 2014

inferno


inferno
robert langdon #4
dan brown
mystery/suspense
doubleday
published 2013

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history's most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces ... Dante's Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Landgon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science.  Drawing from Dante's dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust ... before the world is irrevocably altered.

My ranking of Dan Brown's novels seems to go in the order of which they were published.  This would be my least favorite in the Langdon series.

The book could have been like any great spy novel.  You don't know who to trust, who is telling the truth and just when you think you've got everything figured out the author turns everything upside down and you are back at square one.  It sounds great and in theory it is, but Brown has turned Robert Langdon into a smug and arrogant know-it-all who absently stares off into space remembering his past lectures and VIP status.  It was incredibly disheartening and frustrating.

The subject matter (which I won't reveal in order to keep this spoiler free) was not something new to me, but it also wasn't something I was particularly interested in.  What's more the history lessons and background information on Dante Alighieri was so thorough and excessive I was bored.  Descriptions of landmarks were so textbook-like and I found myself skimming or skipping passages altogether.  It was unpleasant.

Had I not had to read this book for my book club I wouldn't have finished it.  Once I got passed the first third of the book it was very slow going.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

saga, vol. 3


saga, volume 3
brian k. vaughn & fiona staples
graphics/sci-fi/fantasy
image comics
published 2014

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.  As new parents Marko and Alana travel to an alien world to visit their hero, the family's pursuers finally close in on their targets.

Although not nearly as sweepingly fantastic as the first two volumes this is still a really good, engaging read.  The end of each issue always had me reaching for the next and the issues are not long enough for my liking!  I could read 100 issues in one sitting and it wouldn't be enough Brian K. Vaughn or Fiona Staples for me.


a rule against murder


a rule against murder
armand gamache #4
louise penny
mystery
minotaur
published 2009

It is the height of summer, and Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache are celebrating their wedding anniversary at Manoir Bellechasse, an isolated, luxurious inn not far from the village of Three Pines.  But they're not alone.  The Finney family - rich, cultured, and respectable - has also arrived for a celebration of their own.

The beautiful Manoir Bellechasse might be surrounded by nature, but there is something unnatural looming.  As the heat rises and the humidity closes in, some surprising guests turn up at the family reunion, and a terrible summer storm leaves behind a dead body.  It is up to Chief Inspector Gamache to unearth secrets long buried and hatreds hidden behind polite smiles.  The chase takes him to Three Pines, into the dark corners of his own life, and finally to a harrowing climax.

Note: I finished this book over a week ago and I've been so distracted with other things I haven't gotten around to reviewing, which bugs me because I like to review books when they're still fresh in my mind so please excuse the shortness of my review!

Here's the thing, Gamache is a good man.  He's too good.  I want to punch people in the face because of the way they treat him, but he just lets it roll off his back.  I think I'm like Jean Guy Beauvoir that way.  (I can't believe I spelled his name right on the first try!)  It was nice to get out of Three Pines to see how the team operates in a different setting and still go back to Three Pines to see familiar faces.

I'm still not a fan of Peter.  Like, I'm an anti-fan.  I just don't see what Clara sees in him.  I think he's a jerk.

But every time I finish one of these books I want to immediately go into another.  This time I'm actually doing that!

chocolate chip cookie murder


chocolate chip cookie murder
hannah swenson #1
joanne fluke
mystery
kensington
published 2006

Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother's attempt to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota's most popular bakery.  But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can't get any worse.  Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer.

Who would have the sheer audacity - and the motive - to kill the most punctual delivery man Hannah ever had?  Topping the list is the high school football coach.  What exactly was his wife doing, making the rounds with the milkman? Could Max Turner, owner of Cozy Cow Dairy, have had a secret he didn't want to share with his top employee?  The more Hannah snoops, the more suspects turn up.  Why has Lake Eden's most prominent prodigal son, Benton Woodley, just resurfaced?  And what about the mysterious Mr. Harris who seemed interested in buying the property next to the dairy, but then disappeared?  This is the one murder that's starting to leave a very bad taste in Hannah's mouth.  And if she doesn't watch her back, Hannah's sweet life may get burned to a crisp.

Note: I finished this book over a week ago and I've been so distracted with other things I haven't gotten around to reviewing, which bugs me because I like to review books when they're still fresh in my mind so please excuse the shortness of my review!

I'm not entirely sure what it is that I didn't absolutely love about this book, but there was something.  Hannah is an okay character, although she seems to think she's better at everything than everyone else.  The mystery itself was fun and kept me interested, but after it was over I was kind of bored with the epilogue.  I am excited to try out some of the cookie recipes, even though I don't bake very often!  They sound easy and delicious!  haha  So if anything, it's a good cookbook!

never go back


never go back
jack reacher #18
lee child
thriller/suspense
random house
published 2013

Former military cop Jack Reacher makes it all the way from snowbound South Dakota to his destination in northeastern Virginia, near Washington, D.C.: the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP.  The old stone building is the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Reacher is there to meet - in person - the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner, so far just a warm, intriguing voice on the phone.

But it isn't turner behind the CO's desk.  And Reacher is hit with two pieces of shocking news, one with serious criminal consequences, and one too personal to even think about.

When threatened, you can either run or fight.

Reacher fights, aiming to find Turner and clear his name, barely a step ahead of the army, and the FBI, and the D.C. Metro police, and four unidentified thugs.

Combining an intricate puzzle of a plot and an exciting chase for truth and justice, Lee Child puts Reacher through his paces - and makes him question who he is, what he's done, and the very future of his untethered life on the open road.

Note: I finished this book over a week ago and I've been so distracted with other things I haven't gotten around to reviewing, which bugs me because I like to review books when they're still fresh in my mind so please excuse the shortness of my review!

Reacher finally makes it to Susan Turner.....kind of.  Things have gone bat shit crazy and all of a sudden Reacher finds himself back in the Army.

This was an unusual installment in the Reacher series.  We find Reacher contemplating his lifestyle in a way he never has before, including wondering if he missed out on things he never thought he cared about.  But Reacher is still there.  He's still the guy who needs to right the wrongs and take care of the people who can't take care of themselves.  Of course, Turner isn't necessarily one of those people.  I think Turner could take care of anybody, but things go easier with Reacher by your side.

So now that four book odyssey is over with.  Let's see where the road takes Reacher next.

Note:  I finished this book over a week ago and I've been so distracted with other things I haven't gotten around to reviewing which bugs me because I like to review books when they're still fresh in my mind so please excuse the shortness of my review!

always watching


always watching
chevy stevens
thriller/mystery/suspense
st. martin's press
published 2013

She helps people put their demons to rest.

But she has a few of her own....

In the lockdown ward of a psychiatric hospital, Dr. Nadine Lavoie is in her element.  She has the tools to help people, and she has the desire - healing broken families is what she lives for.  But Nadine doesn't want to look too closely at her own past because there are whole chunks of her life that are black holes.  It takes all her willpower to tamp down her recurrent claustrophobia, and her daughter, Lisa, is a runaway who has been on the streets for seven years.

When a distraught woman, Heather Simeon, is brought into the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit after a suicide attempt, Nadine gently coaxes her story out of her - and learns of some troubling parallels with her own life.  Digging deeper, Nadine is forced to confront her traumatic childhood, and the damage that began when she and her brother were brought by their mother to a remote commune on Vancouver Island.  What happened to Nadine?  Why was their family destroyed?  And why does the name Aaron Quinn, the group's leader, bring complex feelings of terror to Nadine even today?

Note:  I finished this book over a week ago and I've been so distracted with other things I haven't gotten around to reviewing which bugs me because I like to review books when they're still fresh in my mind so please excuse the shortness of my review!

I was incredibly disappointed with Always Watching.  After Still Missing I went to Never Knowing and that was a disappointment.  But Always Watching was even worse than Never Knowing (which I didn't hate, but I really didn't care for Sara).

Nadine was the worst character in a book with terrible characters.  I felt no sympathy for anyone except for maybe Willow and Heather who are fleeting in this novel.  I couldn't relate to anyone and I don't think even Chevy Stevens did.  The writing felt stifled and amateur, nothing like Still Missing.  It's very sad.

I still have That Night sitting on my bookshelf.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed...


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

cross my heart

cross my heart
alex cross #21
james patterson
mystery/suspense
little brown & co
published 2013

Detective Alex Cross is a family man at heart -- nothing matters more to him than his children, his grandmother, and his wife Bree.  His love of his family is his anchor, and gives him the strength to confront evil in his work.  One man knows this deeply, and uses Alex's strength as a weapon against him in the most unsettling and unexpected novel of James Patterson's career.

When the ones Cross loves are in danger, he will do anything to protect them.  If he does anything to protect them, they will die.

This review will contain spoilers.

I find it slightly humorous that the synopsis talks about how much Alex Cross loves his kids and his family, but the truth is, he may love them but he has no time for them.  Damon is calling his father, something obviously wrong, but Alex brushes him off.  Jannie is pissed because he never makes it to any of her school events and they're letting 7-year-old Ali watch The Walking Dead.  Are you kidding me?

Nothing of interest happens for 80% of the book.  I looked on my Kindle when stuff started happening.  There is a case going on but it's resolved and you know there's a bigger thing going on.  And when it got to that point I thought it sucked that it was going to get wrapped up so quickly.

But he didn't.  He left us hanging.  For the first time that I can remember James Patterson wrote an Alex Cross novel with a cliffhanger.  So I can't really judge the book on the first 80% because that was useless.  So I'm reserving my review until I read the next book.




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