1 to 5 of 5
Review Date: 10/16/2020
For the first 100 or so, I thought I had a keeper on my hands. Clayton is my favorite type of beta hero. And even though Meg and the townspeople annoyed me no end with their prejudice and ignorance, I enjoyed watching Meg get closer to Clay despite herself. And the twins are simply adorable.
But as the book went on, the magic started to wane. The people in that town held on to their hatred for way too long. And then at this end, just like that, it evaporates? It's just too neatly tied up in a bow The author is clearly a master storyteller and there were a couple of scenes towards the end that are quite powerful and effective. But there was also an element of melodrama that doesn't really quite fit the tone of the first half of the book.
And although it didn't bother me at first, once I finished the book and really start to think about it, I have to wonder if the book would have been published if it was written today. A book that centers around a monument honoring confederate soldiers? I'm sure it is true to its time, and it is also true that the soldiers were fighting for their convictions. But the the fact that their conviction is that they are willing to die to keep slavery as an institution was glossed over a bit too much for my liking.
Review Date: 12/17/2020
Helpful Score: 2
With Devolution, Max Brooks tries to replicate the formula for World War Z but the result is not nearly as successful. Virtually nothing happens for almost half of the book. And when the action finally does starts to pick up, it's just a very generic and straight-forward residents-of-a-remote-community-band-together-to-fight-bigfoot plot. If you've ever read a book featuring a monster stalking humans, then you can predict exactly what's going to happen before it happens.
The book is written mostly in the form of journal entries penned by Kate, the book's protagonist, with fake interviews and essays interspersed throughout. The fake interviews and essays, supposedly given and written by experts with knowledge of bigfoot, add nothing to the story and feel like mostly filler. The book would have been a lot shorter without them and I started skipping over these about half way through.
To be fair, I did finish the book in 2 days and it was entertaining enough. Just nothing special especially compared to what the author was able to achieve with World War Z.
Review Date: 10/22/2020
Having loved Phoenix Unbound, the first book in Grace Draven's Fallen Empire series, I was surprised by how much of a struggle it was for me to finish this book.
Nothing much happens for at least 250 pages. The hero and heroine meet, she nurses him back to health, they travel through rain storms, eat, drink tea, tell each other stories around campfires, pushes wagons out of mud...every mundane task performed by the heroine and her people as they go about their daily lives is described ad nauseum and repeated several times. Oh, and did I mention that Halani and Malachus ends up falling in love? But the chemistry is so tepid that I really didn't feel any of it. I ended skimming the last 1/3 of the book, skipping almost every other paragraph and still don't feel like I missed anything by doing so.
The story did pick up towards the end but by then I had lost all interest in these characters.
Review Date: 11/10/2020
Lately, I found myself bored with all the historical romances featuring dukes and ingenues. Therefore, I was looking forward to a book with a vastly different setting. Only if it wasn't such a bore.
To be fair, the book is well-written and well researched, with the bustling pleasure district and the ancient China setting practically jumping out of the pages. What I didn't buy, though, was the central romance between a maidservant and a young aristocrat. Somehow, she managed to catch his eye by not reacting to his advances, and he was smitten. What I tend to look upon as practicality on her part suddenly becomes this huge allure in his eyes. And while her background is tragic, it is no more tragic than any other concubines or servants who ended up toiling their life away in the pleasure district. I simply don't think that she exhibited enough personality to elicit such devotion.
And that ending...I've read reviews by reviewers who thought that the author found a clever and believable way for Yue-Ying and Bai Huang to get their HEA, but I disagree. In ancient China, the difference in their stations in life would have been too great an obstacle to overcome without someone making a sacrifice. The kind of ending where they both get what they want without giving up something...it is just no believable.
Review Date: 10/20/2020
This was a quick read that ultimately didn't live up to its potential. It's written using one of the most overused plot device to become popular over the last couple of years - the unreliable narrator - and the result is a book starring a woman too annoying for the reader to root for. Lo Blacklock (a ridiculous name too) is a mess - she drinks too much, is rude to everyone she meets, and exhibits no intelligence or professionalism that would make anyone mistake her for a competent journalist. The fact that she happened to be right about a crime having taken place has more to do with blind luck than anything else.
The real mystery, once it's revealed, was a let down. During the first half of the book, I at least was able to enjoy the book as I was curious as to what was really going on. But once that is revealed at about the halfway point, the book came to a grinding halt. From then on, it's just pages and pages of Lo talking to herself, working on the mystery in her head so the author can info dump on the readers. And when I finally turned the last page, I had trouble believing the book is actually over since at no point in the book did Lo even come face to face with the real killer! (The real resolution to the plot actually happened off-page without Lo even being present.) Talking about anti-climactic...
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