Wednesday, July 27, 2016

read: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (3 stars)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There's not much I can add to a discussion of this book other than my own reaction. I enjoyed it. The storytelling and world-building is still very strong. The characters and their adventures are still engaging. If the book was 20%-25% shorter, it might get 5 stars. But I have to knock off a star for just plain being too long--twice as long as the first book in the series.

I'm also taking off another star for the writing. It's not bad. It's just indefinably and adverbially not up to the quality I was expecting. But onward to books 5 to 7.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

read: Delusion in Death (4 stars)

Delusion in Death (In Death, #35)Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very thrilling and interesting first half, with mass carnage in a bar and a cafe and no good leads. Then the story sagged for a bit, with a lot of police work and explaining and very little mystery. I thought for sure I was going to be disappointed in the ending. Everything seemed to have been too pat. Then came the twist I had hoped would rescue the story and it did.

This is my first Eve Dallas story and I won't say no to another one. It's also another Audible book that I had to listen to at 1.25 speed in order to keep from dying of impatience.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

read: Never Go Back (3 stars)

Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18)Never Go Back by Lee Child
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a perfectly adequate Jack Reacher story. It has a mystery. Or two. Jack kicks ass. Several times. He escapes from jail and goes on the run and is apparently in danger. The situations are tense and the writing keeps us turning pages. As a bonus, Reacher has a female companion who is basically his equal. She has his old job. His old office. And she's just as competent.

On the downside, the pace is a bit leisurely and the threat is never extreme. They have cell phones. They have lawyers doing research for them. They make a deal with the MP sent to get them. Once they've broken the fingers and arms of the goons sent to get them, the story is basically over. The end is just cleaning up. It's a bit of a letdown.

At least I've read the book before the movie comes out.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

read: Warped Factors (3 stars)

Warped FactorsWarped Factors by Walter Koenig
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is probably only of interest to Star Trek completists. There are a few interesting observations about the life of an actor and creativity and what he says about the Star Trek cast (even Shatner) is pretty tolerant and non-controversial and occasionally humorous. Walter's storytelling skills are pretty decent and I did not find his voice on the audiobook unpleasant.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016

read: Curious Minds (2 stars)

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1)Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am confused by this book. I know that Janet Evanovich can write funny, compelling characters. I'm not a big Stephanie Plum fan, but my wife is and I enjoyed a couple of those books. I've also enjoyed a couple of books in her Fox and O'Hare series with Lee Goldberg. They were predictable. But they were also funny and entertaining and adventurous. Imagine my surprise when I started reading this book and felt… nothing. No humor. No heart. Nothing.

I never felt engaged by either of the main characters and I never felt any chemistry between them. The stakes of the plot were never made clear, so I could not understand why anyone was doing anything. They were simply jet-setting from place to place because they could. The writing is dull, dull, dull. And the dialog is so filled with zingers and one-liners as to make it feel like the characters were writers for a 1970s sit-com. Knight was supposed to be some sort of genius. He is just a pompous ass, with even less social skills than Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. And Moon is simply along for the ride, no matter what.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

read: The Fifth Assassin (4 stars)

The Fifth Assassin (Culper Ring, #2)The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer


An amazing labyrinth of a plot that still held together to the end.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

read: In The Clearing (4 stars)

In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite, #3)In the Clearing by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of my favorite things about Robert Dugoni is that he never writes the same book twice when he's writing a series. Another thing I love is that the characters and situations he writes are so vivid and captivating that you can't put the book down until you've reached the end. He's done it again with the third book in the Tracy Crosswhite series, In The Clearing. The first book was deeply personal to Tracy as she literally dug through the past and put herself in the crosshairs. The second book was more suspenseful because she was dealing with an active killer who seemed to be hunting her.

This is another cold case, like her sister's murder from the first book. Yet, it's completely different. This time, the small town is unfamiliar and there's the added tension involving football heroes and Native Americans. Dugoni weaves a fascinating tale of patient detective work as Tracy digs through forensic evidence, brings in experts and talks to witnesses with bad memories and personal agendas. She's not jumping to conclusions. But she eventually digs deep enough to get the killer's attention and put herself in danger.

There's a secondary murder investigation back in Seattle involving a domestic dispute. Of course, something that Tracy learns on the cold case will help her unravel the other mystery. Thankfully, it's not too distracting and it's fun to see the author, and Tracy, stay on top of two separate cases.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review.

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