Nadine (23dollars) - - Reviews

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The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse: A Breakthrough Program for Connecting with Your Soul's Deepest Purpose
Review Date: 7/23/2010


It had some good nuggets sprinkled in for awakening. Good intro, maybe pre-Eckhart Tolle level-wise. The daily exercises seemed to ramble and were excessive at times, but had good intentions. May be more helpful to others.


The 5th Wave (5th Wave, Bk 1)
The 5th Wave (5th Wave, Bk 1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 11/30/2013
Helpful Score: 2


THE 5TH WAVE was the November 2013 pick in my neighborhood book club.

Oh boy, where shall I begin?

It starts off intriguing. Cassie made for an interesting teen with a sharp wit, and an even sharper capacity for survival after the first four waves of an alien invasion had wiped out most of humanity. Her little brother's been taken, and so her primary focus and motivation is to honor her promise that they would reunite.

But. Then Cassie meets Evan. And it's like the slow deflation of a hot air balloon ensues. It's all downhill from there. It's as if someone else took over writing the story from that point on! The Cassie character completely changes tone and substance.

The storyline becomes filled with the cheesiest of cheesy insta-love, with Cassie turning into a swooning, panting, angsty teenager. And the whole it's-an-apocalypse-so-we-could-be-killed-any-minute storyline loses all credibility.

Throw in a school yard crush Cassie had on one Ben Parrish, who just so happens to come back into her life in the most contrived way, and you've got a very trite, it's-been-done-WAY-better-before, and hollow end-of-the-world story.

There are also a plethora of cartoonish names in this book: Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. Dumbo. And let's not forget, Poundcake....Clearly this book is better left to the teens and adolescents it was written for. It just doesn't live up to the hype, and has zero originality.

For the strong opening, I'm torn between C-/D+. Otherwise, it was a D read for me.


The 9th Girl (Kovac / Liska, Bk 4)
The 9th Girl (Kovac / Liska, Bk 4)
Author: Tami Hoag
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.1/5 Stars.
 44
Review Date: 7/25/2015


THE 9TH GIRL was the July 2015 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

Fantastic read!

Man, it's not easy finding high quality police procedurals that tell a well-written, well-plotted story that doesn't use gore gratuitously, for shock value. (ahem, Karin Slaughter)

THE 9TH GIRL hooked me from the word go and I couldn't put the book down until I reached the end and found out what the heck happened! There were several LOL moments and witty one-liners, I totally loved the dialogue and banter among the cops.

Usually, I get itchy fingers and can't resist the urge to skip the (boring) police investigation (yawn), hop right to the end and find out whodunnit, but Tami Hoag has created some really well developed characters in homicide detectives Sam Kovac and Nikki Liska! Even though I haven't read the other books in the series, as I read along in this story, it felt as if I knew them and I wanted to go along step-by-step as they worked to solve the grotesque murder of a teenaged girl on New Years Eve.

Now, I will say that I feel the plot may have rather conveniently had them overlook one of those steps in order to prolong things a bit, but not enough to keep this from being a quality murder mystery. I highly recommend it! A-


The Abbey
The Abbey
Author: Chris Culver
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 9/26/2014


THE ABBEY was the September 2014 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

It started out engaging with former detective Ash Rashid's niece Rachel dying amidst some very strange circumstances, and Ash puts his cop hat back on to investigate her death. This takes him into vampire lore, blood drinking and Chinese vendettas! So you can imagine it gets a bit out there, and I feel his efforts would've carried more weight if he were persisting on behalf of his own daughter vs. a niece. The stakes got pretty high after a while and you wonder if he'd really be risking THAT much for a niece...

My thing with these police procedurals is that I find that I don't much care about the hundreds of pages of investigation! Once the stage is set for the mystery, I just want to flip to the last 50 pages and find out whodunnit! Let's get to the characters who suddenly start spilling the goods in time to wrap up the book! Heh.

The rabbit hole and maze of trial and error just gets very routine and boring to me, so these police crime stories just don't do it for me anymore. But if it's your thing, I think you might enjoy THE ABBEY a bit more than I did.

I give it a B-/C+. I'm not really interested in the sequel, but I'm open to more from the author if he should foray outside this genre.


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Review Date: 11/10/2012


I read this for a theme challenge in my online book club, The Reading Cove. November 2012's theme was "Indian."

This is Junior's coming-of-age story. He's a teenager growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington State, who decides to transfer to a white school off his reservation.

I enjoyed the first few chapters quite a bit. There were lots of laugh-out-loud funny anecdotes in the narration. It was also interesting to read about life on a modern-day Indian reservation and what it's like from a 14-year-old boy's point-of-view. I found the humorous narrative crisp, clever and easy to follow.

Most of the illustrations throughout the story were also hilarious and very entertaining.

And while the tone became darker and more serious, with a number of tragic things happening in Junior and his family's life, I must say that I did begin to lose interest by the halfway point. Junior's woes at school with friends, his relationship with his best friend on the rez, etc. just got a bit boring to me.

Overall, I do think this read has appeal for a teen audience.


The Accident
The Accident
Author: Linwood Barclay
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 48
Review Date: 10/12/2011
Helpful Score: 1


I read this book for this month's "Thriller" theme in my online book club, The Reading Cove. It had me at hello - the prologue was crisp, engaging and witty.

I enjoyed the alternating points-of-view, mainly first person through Glen's experience, but we also got third person with some of the other characters, which gave the story a nice balance.

Set in bad economic times with themes of middle class people turning to selling knock off purses, prescription drugs, etc. to make ends meet, I was guessing right up until the end, but the story did feel like it went on a little bit longer than necessary. But all in all, THE ACCIDENT was a very intelligent, well put together page-turner! B+


The Accidental Bestseller
The Accidental Bestseller
Author: Wendy Wax
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 8/2/2010
Helpful Score: 1


This is a good behind the scenes look at the publishing industry from various authors' POVs, at different stages in their careers. It was about 100 pages too long, though. Drawn out too much in the middle, I lost interest in the minute details of the four authors' daily lives.

Things picked up near the end when their book finally hit, but then dragged again until the resolution. I felt it became a little over-the-top and contrived. I was glad to finally finish this one.


Adored
Adored
Author: Tilly Bagshawe
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.
 44
Review Date: 1/2/2015


ADORED is an ambitious debut novel that takes you inside the world of Hollywood in the same vein of a Jackie Collins novelit's purely candy for the brain.

And while I think the storytelling does show promise, none of the characters ever actually step into three dimensions, which is unfortunate after you spend 548 hardcover pages with them! I mean, every single onefrom Duke to Minnie to Claire, Caroline, Siena, Hunter, Maxthey're all stick figures for the entire run time. Not to mention the loads of repetitive relationship rigmarole and character bloat could've been cut out from the middle without losing a thing.

Overall, the writing style was amateur and felt too over-indulged, so I can't get this one higher than a C+ but I've enjoyed a couple of Tilly Bagshawe's Sidney Sheldon novels so I'm certainly open to trying her again at some point in the future.


After I Do: A Novel
After I Do: A Novel
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 9
Review Date: 4/25/2015


AFTER I DO was the April 2015 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove. This is the first I've read author Taylor Jenkins Reid but it won't be the last!

So impressed was I with the quality of this author's writingRyan and Lauren's journey unfolds with such a genuine and authentic quality that I wouldn't be surprised if the story was autobiographical, in whole or in part. The lives of the secondary characters provided lots of emotional balance with plenty of humor and LOL moments to spare.

Since it's told exclusively from the wife's POV, I assumed early on (not happily) that the narrative would likely favor her when all was said and done. But instead, I was pleasantly surprised to read an emotionally compelling and intelligently rendered account of a young woman's growth and maturity, set against the backdrop of the challenges of having married her college sweetheart. The lessons, introspections and insights were all spot on, and by the end? I was cheering!

AFTER I DO could've been a completely clichéd and asinine sap-fest, and since higher quality author's are so hard to come by in this genre, my hopes weren't high going into this book...so I'm so happy to say that I really enjoyed this story and highly recommend it! B+

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The Age of Miracles
The Age of Miracles
Author: Karen Thompson Walker
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 62
Review Date: 7/24/2012
Helpful Score: 4


THE AGE OF MIRACLES just wasn't for me. The premise of the earth slowing its rotation for no reason scientists can tell was very interesting, but the execution was not.

The adult narrator takes you back to when "the slowing" first began, when she was 11, and I found the narrative very flat and disengaging, it didn't hold my interest at all.

The pace was very slow with a lot of little day-to-day details and descriptions bogging down the pace of the plot. And when something interesting did happen, you were half asleep and too uninterested to notice. I read the first 50 pages, then skimmed to see how it ended.

The writing style wasn't my cup of book, but this may be a great read for teenagers.


Aleph
Aleph
Author: Paulo Coelho, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 6/26/2016


ALEPH felt like an overindulgent and tedious memoir about Paulo's spiritual rendezvous with a most annoying young woman from his past. They meet and discover they're a big part of each other's unfinished spiritual business.

For someone seeking to undo his self, the author does an awful lot of talking about himself, which seems to underscore the reason the quest was needed in the first place.

Overall, I was pretty bored with this quest and quickly lost interest in Paulo and his long-time love, Hilal. Such experiences need not be broadcasted. Silence.


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 51
Review Date: 8/8/2016


This was the February 2015 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

I must say, I have mixed feelings about this read. On one hand, I thought the writing was very elegant, beautifully poetic and high quality. But on the other hand, the execution of the time shifts seriously choked the pacing of the narrative far too much. The brief glimpse a few years ahead was engaging, but once the narrative shifted into the main backstory, the train almost stopped moving altogether! What's more, the technique wasn't even used for foreshadowing or to create mystery. There seemed to be no real purpose for the time shifts at all.

Werner, a young German boy, and Marie-Laure, a young French girl, both come to life in this WWII period and the author's descriptions of how each discovers all the light they cannot see is definitely worthwhile. The writing has a rich texture to it, and creates a great sense of atmosphere, but in the end, I was disappointed and found myself eager to get to the end.

Overall, would I be willing to read more from this author? Yes, I would. The quality of the writing was impressive enough to overshadow the pacing issue I didn't care for. B-/C+


All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See
Author: Anthony Doerr
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 217
Review Date: 3/9/2015
Helpful Score: 6


This was the February 2015 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

I must say, I have mixed feelings about this read. On one hand, I thought the writing was very elegant, beautifully poetic and high quality. But on the other hand, the execution of the time shifts seriously choked the pacing of the narrative far too much. The brief glimpse a few years ahead was engaging, but once the narrative shifted into the main backstory, the train almost stopped moving altogether! What's more, the technique wasn't even used for foreshadowing or to create mystery. There seemed to be no real purpose for the time shifts at all.

Werner, a young German boy, and Marie-Laure, a young French girl, both come to life in this WWII period and the author's descriptions of how each discovers all the light they cannot see is definitely worthwhile. The writing has a rich texture to it, and creates a great sense of atmosphere, but in the end, I was disappointed and found myself eager to get to the end.

Overall, would I be willing to read more from this author? Yes, I would. The quality of the writing was impressive enough to overshadow the pacing issue I didn't care for. B-/C+


Allegiant (Divergent, Bk 3)
Allegiant (Divergent, Bk 3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 218
Review Date: 3/14/2015


I thought ALLEGIANT was super disappointing.

Tris and Four narrate the story in alternate (and long-winded) chapters, which proves to be completely pointless since the author failed to give them distinct voices and characterization, so it's almost impossible to tell them apart without looking back at the chapter headings.

And unfortunately, what began as an original and clever idea in DIVERGENT basically descends into a convoluted, unclever pish-posh of genetic damage that results in Tris's character arc becoming little more than a far-reaching and dull fait accompli.

ALLEGIANT illustrates that DIVERGENT was a one-book story idea enthusiastically forced into three. I give it a C-....It almost makes me yearn to read the LEGEND trilogy again. Marie Lu's writing was of much higher quality and she also knew how to properly end a YA trilogy. (◕‿-) I'm sure Veronica Roth's skills will improve as she continues her writing career.


Along the Infinite Sea
Along the Infinite Sea
Author: Beatriz Williams
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/11/2017


I read Along the Infinite Sea for a bonus pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

I enjoyed the historical backdrop of the years leading up to WW2. The settings came to life in Annabelle's 1930s Germany/France portion of the story much more than it did for me in Pepper's 1960s US part. So much so that I found myself feeling disappointed when it would switch! But the storyline cleverly built up an unexpected suspense that kept me guessing right up to the end.

I found it a bit overlong, it lived in some spaces too long and could've wrapped up sooner, but all in all, I would recommend it as a worthwhile read. B-


And the Mountains Echoed
And the Mountains Echoed
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 131
Review Date: 1/25/2014


AND THE MOUNTAINS ECHOED was the January 2014 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

Unfortunately, I was very disappointed.

The narrative lacked the emotional resonance of his first two books, so I wasn't compelled by it. It felt like several short stories were forced to connect after they were written, and not by initial designed. The flow was muddled, anything but cohesive. And there were several boring passages, with a few touching moments throughout.

I can't give this one more than a C, but I'm still buying anything Khaled Hosseini writes -- still a huge fan and will look forward to what he does next!


And Then There Were None
And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 19
Review Date: 5/1/2012


For various reasons, ten strangers are invited to an island off the Devon, England coast, only to find none are there for the reason they think!

This mystery became a real page-turner when the ten little soilders/Indians began dropping off one by one! My eyes were on sticks, eager to get to the end to find out who was behind it! You suspect everyone, but can never guess the truth, but it makes complete sense in the end.

I did feel it dragged a bit through the middle, becoming a bit repetitive with everyone thinking to themselves and trying to figure out who the killer was...and in the end, I could say it's a bit far-fetched, but still satisfying. I give this one a solid B. It's a good mystery!


Angel on My Shoulder: An Autobiography
Angel on My Shoulder: An Autobiography
Author: Natalie Cole, Digby Diehl
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 4.2/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 11/8/2010


I enjoyed this read. She's stumbled a lot and was very honest about it. It also gives a peek into the inner circle of other celebrity friends, like Frank Sinatra. Very interesting to see how delayed grief over losing a parent can affect so many years of someone's life.


Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days)
Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days)
Author: Susan Ee
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 22
Review Date: 3/23/2015


ANGELFALL was the March 2015 pick in my online book club, The Reading Cove.

I'll say upfront that I think it's kind of unfair for me to rate this book as a reflection of my reading experience, since I'm 38 and not its target audience, but while I found the premise imaginative enough, the execution was pretty juvenile and cartoonish. Would I have enjoyed it as a teenager? Probably. The writing wasn't bad, but I don't think the quality of the story was clever enough to go beyond the YA niche.

I give ANGELFALL a C-/D+.

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Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1)
Angels & Demons (Robert Langdon, Bk 1)
Author: Dan Brown
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 3674
Review Date: 6/20/2014


I thought it was well written, but ran on much longer than was necessary. I skimmed heavily through the middle, but it became pretty gripping by the end.

ANGELS & DEMONS is really for people who are fascinated with Catholic Church history and Illuminati lore. Otherwise, it's easy to get bored with Robert Langdon's mystery-unraveling adventure. I give it a B-.


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