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Marcia C. - Reviews

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Bad Love (Alex Delaware, Bk 8)
Bad Love (Alex Delaware, Bk 8)
Author: Jonathan Kellerman
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 93
Review Date: 12/29/2013


One of his weakest efforts. The plot was contrived (in the bad sense) and it was hard to care about solving the mystery at hand, which mostly took place way back in the past.


Bad Move (Zack Walker, Bk 1)
Bad Move (Zack Walker, Bk 1)
Author: Linwood Barclay
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 3/16/2020


Parts of this suburban thriller are laugh out loud funny! The main character is a hapless scifi writer who tries to keep his family safe but ends up making them all very unsafe.


The Bank of Fear: A Novel
The Bank of Fear: A Novel
Author: David Ignatius
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 10/29/2020


Superb. Couldn't put it down! An outstanding spy/money thriller that reeks of authenticity, both in the (now outdated) computer machinations and in the cultural background of the Arab world. Fully believable characters and settings and quite suspenseful. This was my first read from this author and I've ordered more from him.


Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life
Author: William Finnegan
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 4/9/2016


Unbelievably well-written and vivid. A memoir of five decades of surfing - mostly as a kid and young adult, but also as an adult. Loved it.


Beach Read
Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 2.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 8/24/2020


This was supposed to be a fun romp of a book, but I found it a slog. The premise was great - two writers in opposite genres meet and find each other both challenging and appealing - but the execution was not convincing. I did not find the two main characters believable enough to enjoy the read.


Beautiful Ghosts (Inspector Shan, Bk 4)
Beautiful Ghosts (Inspector Shan, Bk 4)
Author: Eliot Pattison
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 11/24/2014


There's something distant and remote in Pattison's writing that makes it hard to stay involved in this story. In addition, he has a black-and-white attitude toward the Chinese/Tibetan conflict. The Chinese are nothing but brutal ignoramuses and the Tibetans are nothing but victims of oppression. If that's what you believe before reading this book, it will confirm your beliefs, for sure. It's too bad because I would have liked to see a more nuanced view of the Tibetan situation.


Beautiful Ruins (P.S.)
Beautiful Ruins (P.S.)
Author: Jess Walter
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 146
Review Date: 11/20/2020


Outrageously silly and overwritten. The plot had some promise and some comic moments, but it got too ridiculous for me and I quit reading for something I would actually enjoy.


Before the Poison
Before the Poison
Author: Peter Robinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 3/19/2019


This book juggles and combines two perspectives - a present-day composer for Hollywood films who has returned to his native England and bought a house once lived in by a supposed murderess, and that of the supposed murderess during WWII and the 1950s.

The pace of the book is sometimes ponderous, and you may well wonder what the heck the woman's experiences in Singapore and other parts of Asia during the War of the Pacific have to do with the rest of the story. However, at the end everything comes together in a surprising yet very satisfying way.

Recommended, as long as you can be a patient and appreciative reader.


Before the Poison: A Novel
Before the Poison: A Novel
Author: Peter Robinson
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 11
Review Date: 1/30/2016


Absorbing, nicely written and well-constructed.


The Beggar's Opera
The Beggar's Opera
Author: Peggy Blair
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 5
Review Date: 4/14/2015


Charming, quirky, accomplished and utterly unpredictable. A pleasure to read!

Please note: This novel also exists under the title "Midnight in Havana." Same book. Wasted a book credit because no one said this...


Best Kept Secret (Clifton Chronicles, Bk 3)
Best Kept Secret (Clifton Chronicles, Bk 3)
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 24
Review Date: 9/9/2020
Helpful Score: 1


Jeffrey Archer is a terrific storyteller, and I loved the first two volumes in this series. This installment of the Clifton family saga I did not enjoy as much. For one, a good third of the plot involves a British election campaign where a lot of the terminology and machinations were (literally) foreign to me and therefore somewhat difficult to follow. Also, the plot seemed to degenerate into implausible potboiler - turns of plot solely to keep you on the edge of your seat rather than things that might really happen in the real world. I will give volume 4 a chance and then decide whether or not to read volumes 5 and onward.


Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 4.3/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 12/27/2019


Beautifully constructed multi character story about parents and kids in an upscale Australian suburb. Every character has their own challenges, misunderstandings and opportunity for grace. The plot has numerous surprising yet believable and satisfying turns. There's humor too. Highly recommended.


Big Sky
Big Sky
Author: Kate Atkinson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 4
Review Date: 2/2/2020


This novel has a sprawling cast of characters and it takes quite a while to comprehend how they are related to one another. The plot gets tighter and tighter and even a bit amusing as you get near the end, so hang in there.

Atkinson has an amazing ability to show you the inner worlds of very diverse people, and I love that about her writing. In the first third of the novel, though, there were quite a lot of British in-references that I could not understand in the slightest.

Overall, a pleasing read. Maybe my second or third Jackson Brodie book (he is Atkinson's detective), and I would definitely try another!


Black Sun (Danielle Laidlaw, Bk 2)
Black Sun (Danielle Laidlaw, Bk 2)
Author: Graham Brown
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
 17
Review Date: 3/27/2016


Well-plotted thriller, fairly believable, a propulsive read. Am seeking out more books by this author now!


Bleeding Hearts (Jack Harvey, Bk 2)
Bleeding Hearts (Jack Harvey, Bk 2)
Author: Ian Rankin
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 20
Review Date: 4/16/2014


I was uncomfortable realizing I was supposed to root for the protagonist throughout the book being a hit man.


Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, Bk 6)
Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon, Bk 6)
Author: Nevada Barr
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 160
Review Date: 3/2/2014


I've read and enjoyed four or five of Barr's novels. This one didn't work as well for me as the others. Structurally, the novel is very peculiar and kind of unbalanced: the mystery per se doesn't really get started until the second half of the book. The first half is more of a harrowing adventure story, and it was never clear to me to what extent this was factually based (corresponding to a real place) and to what extent largely made up. Because the mystery got going so late, it was not as suspenseful or thrilling as if it were integrated with the action part of the story.


The Blind Man of Seville (Javier Falcon, Bk 1)
The Blind Man of Seville (Javier Falcon, Bk 1)
Author: Robert Wilson
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 6
Review Date: 1/12/2019


This book completely blew me away. It's a many-layered, metaphysical (and real-life) drama that you'll appreciate more if you are familiar with existential dread and the works of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. At its center is an exploration of what the ultimate unbearable horror might be and what it is that we'd rather die than come to know.

The surface story concerns art and money, parenthood, sexual fluidity, fear and depravity, as well as some police details, but it's the other level that captivated me so much and that is driving me to read more of WIlson's work.


Blood on Snow (Blood on Snow, Bk 1)
Blood on Snow (Blood on Snow, Bk 1)
Author: Jo Nesbo, Neil Smith (Translator)
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 7
Review Date: 5/6/2016


What an appealing writing voice in this crime novel! Wry. Both coldblooded and warmhearted. Both straightforward and twisted. Very, very interesting and compelling. Less violent in spirit than some of Nesbo's other works.


Blood Work (Terry McCaleb, Bk 1)
Blood Work (Terry McCaleb, Bk 1)
Author: Michael Connelly
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 84
Review Date: 2/25/2017


The first two-thirds of this book are plodding and somewhat tedious - almost like a case study on crime solving. The pace then picked up so that the reader got the surprising plot twists that Connelly is known for. Recommended mainly for fans of the author.


Bloody Genius (Virgil Flowers, Bk 12)
Bloody Genius (Virgil Flowers, Bk 12)
Author: John Sandford
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 12
Review Date: 11/24/2019


Snappy dialogue that is amusing, but the plot gets bogged down midway in the book and the resolution is so convoluted as to seem improbable and unsatisfying.


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