Books & Reviews 📚

Books #135-#137: meh!

I’m beginning to understand why some people prefer to download books online rather than buy or even borrow them from the library. Some books are a total waste of time for they don’t live up to the hype that you sometimes expect. I’m on a book buying ban until my TBR goes down, but I bought two books recently: true crime stories written by James Patterson and John Grisham. I can’t wait to get started on them, but first, these books that I’m about to pass judgment on. 

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Book #135: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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This book was ten years in the writing and the author won the coveted Pulitzer Price. Although well written and polished, I didn’t feel anything. It felt too long at times and it dragged. I couldn’t wait to finish and I started speed reading at some point.

The book was beautifully envisioned but it fell short.

Main themes in this book:

  • The Sea of Flames diamond
  • A French Professor’s voice over the airways. Turned out to be Marie-Laure’s deceased grandfather.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Uncle Etienne

Doerr wrote the passages wonderfully. They were so descriptive that I saw the poverty and heard the bombings, but I think he spent more time developing the settings than the characters thus making them unmemorable. I couldn’t identify with them. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee And why in the world are Pulitzer Prize-winning books so depressing? Thank goodness I did not buy this book. 

Book #136: Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

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I was left disappointed after reading this book. I only finished it because of Laurent and to confirm my suspicions. The title is misleading and should’ve been Murder in Atlanta because there was nothing to solve in the south of France given that we have to wait until Book 2 to see whose body was passed off as Elise’s. I think it’s Laurent’s common-law wife & I think Nicole is Laurent’s daughter. The author tried to throw readers off with who the actual murderer was with all signs pointing to a Frenchman, but I knew it was not Gerard nor his conman brother, Laurent. I couldn’t buy the real murderer’s motive, though. It felt off.

Although I haven’t been to France (as yet), the French felt forced and the grammar was atrocious. I didn’t feel transported to France. I didn’t get a sense of the local people and I couldn’t feel the atmosphere.

Every single character (except Laurent) was stupid especially Maggie, the main protagonist. Laurent danced back into her life after nearly six months of no contact and she readily accepted him without being an ounce suspicious.

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BAD FRENCH GRAMMAR & DIALOGUE

^ This book was not properly formatted.

^ I did not like the stereotypical American-French references. Every time I read a story where these two cultures clash, the American always act like the saint. Take this example on page 35:

“And having babies out of wedlock? Maybe y’all do that sort of thing over here and it’s no big deal, but it’s a definite faux pas where I come from.”

I actually rolled my eyes when Maggie said this. Who does she think she is? Americans are not so saintly when it comes to having children outside of marriage. Laurent gave her a typical French sarcasm reply:

“Perhaps that is why your sister come to France, non? It is, for her, a world that understands her better.”

^ I am not fluent in French, but I don’t think s’il tu plâit is the correct term. And the accent above the ‘a’ is wrong. The correct form is s’il te plaît. For the second person singular the subject pronoun is “tu” and the object pronoun is “te”. To make matters worse, it was a Frenchman (Laurent) using this wrong term.

This too, coming from an author who spent part of her childhood in the glorious Alsace-Lorraine, France.

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^ This retarded remark:

“Oh, I miss you so much, Laurent. I’m so used to possessing everything through you, it’s hard to have an independent thought.”

And Maggie Newbury is supposed to be the star of this series? Yeah right! If she cannot think on her own and has to rely on Laurent for even much as breathing, I am not going to follow Maggie anywhere else.

^ Stereotypically playing the culture card:

“Lying is bad, Laurent! I know there’s a culture difference here, but I would’ve thought even the French were on board with that. You lied. To me.”

DEAR STUPID WOMAN, WHAT DOES CULTURE HAVE TO DO WITH LYING? EVERYONE LIES! IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE ONE IS FROM! GET OVER IT!

^ There is no chemistry between Maggie and Laurent.

^ I wish Patti had murdered Maggie and her parents and Brownie and the ever jittery Gary.

FAVE CHARACTER

Laurent Dernier. He is not your typical slender sexy fictional Frenchman, but still quite handsome. I didn’t buy his charms when I first met him and I’m glad I was right about him being Gerard’s brother. He was the only character who wasn’t a bore and he has an actual interesting background story. I think the author spent too much time on this one. love coffee

Book #137: Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

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One of the best debut novels I’ve read in years!

Do you think you know EVERYTHING about your daughter?

From the get-go, you feel the characters speaking to you. James Lee is Chinese American and he feels like he has never fit in anywhere in life until he met and married the pretty blue-eyed American Marilyn. The children: Nath, the eldest, Hannah the youngest, and the middle child aka Parents’ Favorite, Lydia, who inherited her mother’s blue eyes.

Marilyn was supposed to be a doctor, but those dreams were dashed when she met and fell in love with Professor Lee. Motherhood definitely was not in her cards, but she saw redemption of accomplishing her dreams through Lydia. James was never popular. As an Oriental, he never fit in and he was the subject of bullying. He saw redemption through Lydia’s beauty. The Lee family had no friends. Marilyn and James never hosted dinners or parties and the children never had real friends either.

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It left me questioning life and love. Parents need to cherish their children. They didn’t ask to come here. Parents also shouldn’t play favoritism with their children.

I think this was a brilliant debut novel from Ng, but I have to point out the race issue. I know it was the 70s, but Ng made it seem as if every single person the Lees encountered has never seen an Oriental person before, and almost everyone was prejudiced against them. I think the author could’ve dealt with this differently. The book felt unfinished as I was not satisfied with the ending. I don’t mind authors abruptly ending their stories, but this was not the end. It just…ends! But I like it. It was about a family dealing with the loss of a child and Ng captures the pain and hurt beautifully.

I like this author’s writing and I am open to reading more of her books. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

Share your world for week of April 09th

Back again for Cee’s Share Your World Challenge!

Been anywhere recently for the first time?

Yes, I’ve been to Mayaro recently. The drive was long, but it was worth it. I’ll talk about it at some point. 

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List three favorite book characters.

YES! We’re doing this! Alex Cross from the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. d’Artagnan was the first fictional character I’ve come to love from The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. 

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I think this is an English adaptation of The Three Musketeers. I haven’t and don’t intend to see it, but you tell her, d’Artagnan!

And I adore John Grisham’s Jack Brigance from A Time to Kill and Sycamore RowYou know I have a soft spot for lawyers. 💙

What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink: hot or cold?

Coconut water and coffee, baby! 

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What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week? 

God’s Word. I’ve been learning and discovering new and exciting things every time I open the Bible. I also appreciate the importance of cross-referencing.

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***GIFs and pictures via Google Search

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Books & Reviews 📚, Challenges/Tags/Fun Stuff

Day 19: Favorite book turned into a movie

A few posts back, I mentioned that if I watch the movie I won’t read the book and vice versa. Let’s see if I can list a few books.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

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When I first read this book, I told my friend that it would make a good movie. Two years later, a movie came out and I enjoyed it. Octavia Spencer was splendid and Viola Davis ran away with my heart and emotions. Legend has it that I am still looking for it up to this day. 😉

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The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

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I am certain that by now, you’re tired of seeing this book pop up, but it was a huge part of my childhood! There are countless versions of this book in movie format, but the 1993 adaptation will always have my heart. 

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The Firm by John Grisham

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I love this book! It was the book that introduced me to this law thrilling author and I couldn’t put it down. Lots of twists and turns as we read about crooked attorneys and great main character development.

This was the book that started it all for Grisham and with Tom Cruise starring in the film adaptation only put the icing on the cake for the author. About the movie? Rien à dire.

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Books & Reviews 📚

Book #66: Gray Mountain

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The year is 2008 and Samantha Kofer’s career at a huge Wall Street law firm is on the fast track—until the recession hits and she gets downsized, furloughed, escorted out of the building. Samantha, though, is one of the “lucky” associates. She’s offered an opportunity to work at a legal aid clinic for one year without pay, after which there would be a slim chance that she’d get her old job back.

In a matter of days Samantha moves from Manhattan to Brady, Virginia, population 2,200, in the heart of Appalachia, a part of the world she has only read about. Mattie Wyatt, lifelong Brady resident and head of the town’s legal aid clinic, is there to teach her how to “help real people with real problems.” For the first time in her career, Samantha prepares a lawsuit, sees the inside of an actual courtroom, gets scolded by a judge, and receives threats from locals who aren’t so thrilled to have a big-city lawyer in town. And she learns that Brady, like most small towns, harbors some big secrets.

Her new job takes Samantha into the murky and dangerous world of coal mining, where laws are often broken, rules are ignored, regulations are flouted, communities are divided, and the land itself is under attack from Big Coal. Violence is always just around the corner, and within weeks Samantha finds herself engulfed in litigation that turns deadly.

Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday (October 21, 2014)
Chapters: 40

Pages: 368

This is the first time I started a John Grisham book that I couldn’t finish. The story starts off slow and boring, but I tried giving it the benefit of the doubt. Fifteen chapter later, I lost my marbles and tossed it. Had this been my Kindle, I might have broken it in a rage.

Samantha was incredibly boring and the number of times she said ‘It can’t be legal’! ARRGGHH! I couldn’t stomach another chapter of this book and decided to end the torture early.

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VERDICT:

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NEXT UP:

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Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #34-41: John Grisham rocks!

Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea

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It started off well but somehow I was robbed of a proper ending. It was rushed. 

3

Never Tell by Karen Young

Thoroughly enjoyed this book! Couldn’t put it down. One of the best books I’ve read. No, it is not new, but still, I recommend it. 

5

Theodore Boone: The Activist by John Grisham

This book is for young adults and I thoroughly enjoyed it. YA is not always about horny teenagers coming to terms with their sexuality, so kudos to Grisham for writing this story. I enjoyed learning the legal terms. Confession: at one point in my young life, I wanted to be a Lawyer. I still enjoy reading anything pertaining to the law, but it was not my calling.

Oh, and this book is part of a series so you might want to start from ‘Theodore Boone Kid Lawyer’

5

The Racketeer by John Grisham

Grisham’s law thrillers are almost predictable now, but you can’t help but want to continue reading once you get past the first page. This book was unputdownable and I enjoyed the twists and turns. 

5

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

Before Seth Hubbard hung himself, he made a last-minute crude handwritten will which would see his black maid listed to get 90% of his estate. 0% was left to his estranged family. Hubbard listed Jake Brigance to defend his will although the two have never met while Seth was alive. However, Hubbard liked what Brigance did for Carl Lee Hailey (I advise you to find/borrow/buy a copy of the book that started it all for Mr. Grisham: ‘A Time To Kill’).

I learned how boring depositions can be when contesting a will and I also learned about the validness of a handwritten will. I’m a sucker for a law novel and this one hit the right spot. Thank you, Grisham. Thank you for Mr. Brigance. 

4

A Time To Kill by John Grisham

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Of course, I had to go back to where it all started! I love me some John Brigance and I wish the writer would make a series dedicated to him. While reading, I saw Tom Cruise as Jake Brigance… maybe it’s because Cruise did a brilliant job as a lawyer in ‘The Firm’, another one of my favorite Grisham’s favorite! 

4

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7th Heaven by James Patterson

Arsonists and a public disappearance. Enjoyed the courtroom drama, but felt as if the authors could have given a little bit more. 

3

Death Penalty by William J. Coughlin

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One of the best books I’ve read in a long time! 

4

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NEXT UP:

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Beach Road by James Patterson. This is a one day read so I’ll have to get another book to read right after. 🙂

Margaret, this post was for you. Thank you for your continuous support and I am sorry that this review session was so short. ❤ ❤ Have a blessed weekend! 

Books & Reviews 📚, Thursday Ten

Thursday Ten: Books that were disappointing

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Base on the book reviews that I am currently doing weekly, you can tell that I am open to many genres. Yet, while some books appeal to me, some simply do not. I try to always come to the last page of a book, but there are simply some books that I can’t quite finish no matter what.

Today, I bring you 10 boring/disappointing books I had the displeasure of reading (some may/may not appear in later reviews). Most of them I did not finish. I do not make apologies to anyone feeling offended because my opinions are not yours.

1. Room by Emma Donaghue

Waterfall the milk… I know this book is from a child’s perspective (a five-year-old at that), but it insulted my intelligence. I was greatly annoyed and had to put this book down. Had the book been told from Ma’s perspective, then it would’ve been a heart-wrenching tale. I mean, Ma’s been kidnapped, raped, held captive, whatever, but there is no sense of that hence no emotion. I almost threw this book at the wall. Almost. It didn’t belong to me and I was happy to return it.

2. Wicked Business by Janet Evanovich

Wickedly boring.

3. Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

*Rolls eyes* Wickedly boring! Had I known I was going to be duped, I would’ve run away screaming when this book was recommended to me.

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4. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

An immature novel masquerading as literature. Adults should stop writing about children in disgusting ways because it’s squirmy and uncomfortable to read most of the time. I don’t want to read about 14-year-olds having sex or thinking about climaxing on some car hood.

I would have liked to light this book on fire, but alas! It did not belong to me.

5. Missing Mom by Joyce Carol Oates

I couldn’t get into this one. I tried twice, but it was a no go. It was a pain to read, sentences were left incomplete, too repetitive, and it irritated me to no end. I didn’t even care about the narrator or the dead mom.

6. Paris Match by Stuart Woods

The cover is beautiful and that’s where I stop.

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7. Is America She Gone? by Beverley-Ann Scott

It could’ve been much better. I’ll explain this book in a solo post.

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8. Gray Mountain by John Grisham

*YAWNS* I usually love Grisham’s legal thrillers, but I couldn’t get into this one. The heroine was a complete bore and… *YAWNS* I had to put this drivel down otherwise I would’ve thrown myself in front of a coal truck.

9. Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Meh!

10. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

I don’t care how hyped or in she is, this author is on my “do not read” list. Do you see the razor blade on the cover? It would be nice to use it to slash up this book to tiny pieces. It is depressing. It makes you want to abandon smiling and scorn love. Here is another adult writing disturbing scenes involving children. I hated this book. It was extremely boring and disgusting.

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