NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

2.0 out of 5 stars

Annoying character with author trying too hard to be funny.

I had to force myself to keep reading this when I wanted to toss it aside after the first couple of pages. I had read the first book in the series a long while ago and apparently forgot how ridiculous the family members and their business operations were. When a book is praised by authors, I'm suspicious because I am fairly sure they're just trading bon mots on an exchange program, so when these raves were from the likes of Entertainment Weekly and People magazine, I should have known to skip the book just as I avoid all tabloids. Pass unless you like juvenile humor, annoying characters and a very lame plot.

Even though this is the second in a series, you don't need to have read the other one to "get" this -- you're repeatedly reminded of every last detail from the previous book with footnotes and appendices.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sorry by Soran Drvenkar (translated from German by Shaun Whiteside)

2.0 out of 5 stars SORRY - this was not for me., October 19, 2011
This suspense thriller about four disaffected friends whose unique business venture goes dreadfully wrong was not for me. I would call it a complicated mess. As a device, the author used shifting points of view throughout the narrative as well as all different voices (first, second and third person) alternatively so that the reader was often confused. Not only that, but there were also backward and forward movements in time so that any sense of an unfolding sequence of events was absent. In addition, often things that happened were hinted at rather than fully described which also left the reader constantly guessing about what was going on.

Ordinarily I like a thriller that makes me think and gives me a lot of clues to analyze or things to ponder, but this was all over the place. Themes of child pornography and sexual abuse, torture, gratuitous killing, etc. advanced the plot: someone is using the concept of "sorry" to commit revenge murder. The ending wasn't satisfying nor am I sure that I completely understood the whole point of everything or who did what to whom. I didn't like it. It was hard work to read. I'm glad I finished it, finally. And I won't be recommending it. PASS.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Stranger You See by Amanda Kyle Williams

4.0 out of 5 stars Murder and mayhem - southern style..., October 16, 2011
I love suspense thrillers and this one kept me turning the pages as I wanted to find out two things: first and foremost -- who was this monstrous serial killer dubbed "Wishbone"? and who was this ex-FBI profiler turned private investigator and skip tracer named Dr. Keye Street? With many twists and turns and an almost unbelievable climax, we do get an unequivocal answer to the first question and a desire to learn more about the female protagonist in this debut of what will be a new series by this author.

The setting is Atlanta, Georgia, in the waning days of summer. Mutilated bodies of all ages, races and gender have been found and the killer is taunting the police team led by Keye's friend, Lieutenant Aaron Rauser. He brings Keye into the case when he receives the first letter and wants her to help him by developing a profile and listening to him discuss the case. She was a brilliant criminologist and profiler before alcoholism ended her career with the FBI, but she is drawn in and begins to delve into the psychological and behavioral aspects of the investigation. In addition, Keye continues her private work for local attorneys and bondsmen.

Since I don't "know" Georgia, the atmosphere and detail about the southern culture and lifestyle were intriguing and made me want to visit. I enjoyed the novel because the main character, Keye Street, is imperfect and interesting and I want to follow her into a complete recovery from her past and addictions. I imagine that the rest of the cast of supporting characters, now sort of cardboard stereotypes, will be fleshed out as the series develops. I was a bit chagrined about the romance but it seems inevitable in this type of book. I'll be looking for the follow up novel to see how it all holds up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

One of the BEST books I have ever read!

5+ stars!
I finally finished Cutting for Stone -- I put the first disk in my car CD player in July. To say it was magnificent and a masterpiece is true for me, but it was so much more than that. An experience. I felt like I KNEW those people and loved them dearly and I'll miss them from now on. This is one of the best books I have ever read. I had to wait to write some sort of review because I could barely breathe after I finished and I wanted to go back and start the story all over again. How lucky to be a person just beginning to learn the history of the Stone family... To say it's one of my favorite books is not an understatement. There are many reasons why it touched me, I don't know if the book resonated so much because of the medical and OR stuff or because of the story, but the combination was overwhelming!

I have read thousands of books in my lifetime and this is one of my top five. At this moment in time, I can't even name others besides Gone with the Wind as far as a book having a deep and lasting impact on me.
This is going to be ONE OF THOSE......Sure there are books I liked a lot --but not many like this come along for a person in her lifetime. This was that book for me. Perhaps a lot of it was because I was first and foremost once an OR nurse who lived and breathed and loved surgery. But it was more than about surgery. It was about family and struggles and survival -- ultimately forgiveness and redemption.
Anyway, take it for what it's worth and please read it. I was lucky enough to get to listen to the audio version which I've packed off to mail to my daughter today and I also read the actual book. I'd listen in my car while driving to work and then catch up to where I left off when I got home. Hearing the words spoken and pronounced with that fantastic voice and accent really made the book come alive for me. I would urge everyone to get this audiobook version instead of reading it if you can!  ENJOY!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Roadside Crosses by Jeffery Deaver

3.0 out of 5 stars - Convoluted and implausible, a thriller involving blogs and gaming

This was just OK. I doubt I read another Deaver novel that features Kathryn Dance as I don't like the character. Really wasn't very suspenseful and way too many red herrings and subplots. The main message: people spend too much time on the internet, they accept rumor, speculation and innuendo as fact -- and reveal far too many personal details.

Skip it or borrow if you're a huge fan.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos

2.0 out of 5 stars - Romance and self-discovery, but a very long journey...

I have not read any previous novels by Marisa de los Santos so I had no expectation of this book purportedly about a strong and "magical" friendship tested by a separation. I read other reviews that praised this highly, so I was excited to read it but thoroughly disappointed when I did.

The main themes in the book center around the following: when you love someone, you have to go 'all in' -- and that there is always room for one more (in your heart? your house?) -- and people in your life may be "gone but here."  Hmmm, really? That seems obvious enough to most of us and nothing new to any adult who's had some life experience including tragedy and loss.

The characters did not seem fully developed into more than stereotypes of romantic fiction nor did they captivate me in any way and I just did not like any of them. The plot is trite and unbelievable with a "seek and find" game as three adults and a child traipse across the world in a frenzy to find an old friend who had left them behind years ago and moved on with her life.

If you like predictable and slow moving novels with little tidbits of facts that are meant to tell rather than show, you might like this. At times, I felt the author was trying to "show off" as she went on and on about every little thing from the color of something to a thought in the head of a character. I will not look for another by this author.

Pass. I need to go clear my palate with a good thriller!