Books & Reviews 📚

Books #139-#141: Just more books

Although I haven’t been reviewing many books lately, I’ve been reading up a storm. Watching my TBR go down is satisfying although I wish I had all the time in the world to sit and read more. Anyway, here are a few books I might have liked or disliked. 😉

Book #139: Never Coming Home by A.R. Wise

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Moving away from traditional publishing is good for many authors out here today, but this book was lazily formatted. CreateSpace has formatted templates, so I was surprised that the author didn’t use one of those. By the way, is CreateSpace still a thing?

This story was okayish, but I was not thrilled about the writing or the characters for that matter. When I first met Lincoln Pierre (the main protagonist), he came off as a humorous fool and he immediately reminded me of Rick Castle. *Ponders* Come to think of it, I wonder if the author is a Castle fan?

Image result for gif castle I didn’t get a good feel of Lincoln in the physical sense. I can’t recall the color of his eyes (was it even mentioned?) and I certainly couldn’t tell if he was blonde or a salt and pepper. As for the ending, it was not a surprise for me and if you look hard enough, the murderer is mentioned at the beginning of the book. 

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This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s gory when it doesn’t necessarily have to, but since Mystery and Thriller authors are trying to out-gore each other, why not huh? 

My favorite character was Bentley, although at times his character was kind of unbelievable given his young age. I thought he was the best overall. love coffeelove coffee

Book #140: The Pursuit of Justice by Ben Matthews

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The author is a Lawyer, but yet, somehow, he wrote this book like a rookie lawyer. Maybe that’s what he was going for given that his protagonist Raymond Jackson just happens to be just that, a rookie lawyer. 

I like the courtroom drama although there weren’t much in this story. I like Raymond Jackson a lot, but it was a turn-off with his bed-hopping ways. No matter how hard I tried, I never got a proper image of his face. He could’ve been brunette, redhead, blonde or Tom Cruise. 

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The dialogue and interaction were great!

What I dislike is the sudden and abrupt ending. It didn’t feel like a promised cliffhanger. It felt as if the story was still in the middle when the author decided that he had enough and hastily wrote ‘The End’. love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Book #141: Lime Tree Can’t Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth

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Trinidad is a wonderful place, Celia. Everyone who lives here can’t wait to leave. But once they go – to England or Canada or the U.S., they spend their whole lives trying to get back.”

This story starts off slow, but eventually picks up. By the end of it, one cannot help but moan, ‘Poor poor Celia!’ The world seems to be against her since she was born, but she brought it on herself with the actions taken.

This story was easy to read. It was set in Trinidad and Tobago, and the places that the author listed read like a must-visit list. However, I was not a big fan of the plot and the so-call heroine. There is no growth in the 3 years that we follow Celia. West Indian stories have that recurring rape element and this one was no different. I honestly have to say that I dislike Caribbean literature. 99.9% of it leaves the reader depressed because the writer can’t seem to search within him/herself to write something uplifting or simply fun.Image result for gif i'm depressed

Take this heroine, for example, Celia is a bright young thing on track for a university, but then she is raped, and although she is commended for leaving home, the mood shifts to how attractive Celia is, her beautiful skin and lovely hair. Her well being (health & mental) are never touched on again. The author reduced the heroine to rubble: Celia now exits to only serve the men who desire her.

Also, the author mentioned ‘the seventh grade’ which should’ve been 5th standard. We’ve never used the Grade system locally.  This book does not belong on anyone’s bookshelf and I’m glad I did not pay for it. love coffeelove coffee

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

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #132-#134: Bonjour Luc Moncrief 😍

Meet dashing French Detective Luc Moncrief:

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Now, let’s see how he rates.

You know that question book lovers always seem to get asked: Who is your book boyfriend? Well, I can finally answer that age-old book question: his name is Moncrief. Luc Moncrief. He is debonair, has impeccable instincts, a gentleman, witty, the King of one-liners, and he handles tragedy well. He’s French. So very French, that I would’ve forgiven him had his introduction went like this…

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I was not even going to pick up another Bookshot for I don’t think they’re the best thing since vanilla shakes, but I spied a French detective as the protagonist and being the good Francophile that I am, I picked it up and I’m glad I did. Okay, enough chit-chat. Meet Luc.

Book #132: French Kiss (Detective Luc Moncrief #1)

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Luc Moncrief. Mercy! Luc is rich. Like, stinking rich and he puts to test my argument that wealthy characters aren’t boring (if used right, of course). His father is not pleased that he has chosen to become a detective. Anyway, Luc is on loan to the NYPD from Paris. In the French capital, he’s renown for uncovering major drug crimes and chasing down murderers, but in the Big Apple, he’s given clean-up work. But when his partner Maria is killed while working undercover, he is tasked with solving the murder and he gets a new partner Katherine Burke, whom he dubs ‘K. Burke’

Luc receives some more ugly news when his girlfriend and the love of his life Dalia is killed (I LOVE how Luc loves Dalia, but since she’s hardly mentioned, I didn’t care much for her). It’s personal, Luc realizes, and he returns to Paris with K. Burke to get to the bottom of the crimes.

Luc is your stereotypical (and then somewhat not) handsome rugged fashionable French male… with flaws. Lots of flaws. He solves crimes differently (goes with pure instinct) and food is always on his mind. He reminds me of my character Marcus a lot especially for their mutual dislike for the color pink (If Tammy reads this, she can confirm it). But there are some heartbreaking moments involved. When his girlfriend was killed, we get to see his human side and it was moving. 

I devoured this book in one sitting and begged, ‘Please, can I have some more’ so of course, it’s only natural that it gets lots of coffee. love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee Luc is so likable it’s criminal!

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Book #133: The Christmas Mystery (Detective Luc Moncrief #2)

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Luc is still heartbroken over the death of his girlfriend, but he loves being a detective so he has work to do. In this one, he and K. Burke are called in to investigate when two priceless paintings disappear from a murder scene. Of course, Luc realizes that some paintings are forgeries and sets out to find the culprit behind it. 

He ends up spending Thanksgiving with K. Burke toasting to the new friendship. I love that Luc doesn’t change who he is for anyone and how he owns his Frenchness: I am so obviously French that I might as well have a statue of the Eiffel Tower on my head (page 28).

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And I also love that he doesn’t care about money despite being a Billionaire: “..a great big pot full of money does not make a person happy…” (page 114). He teaches K. Burke that, “The French never fill themselves. They eat. They think. They enjoy.” (page 132).

I feel as if there is something developing slowly but surely between Luc and Katherine, but there’s no rushing to unload feelings on their part. For now, they enjoy the friendship for Luc is in no way ready for a new interest. 

This installment gets love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee

Book #134: French Twist (Detective Luc Moncrief #3)

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Alas! I’ve come to the end of this lovely trilogy. 😢😢Healthy rich women are suddenly dropping dead where they stand. Luc and K. Burke have to figure out what these bimbos have in common and prevent future deaths. Meanwhile, across the country, Luc’s friends received a threatening note after their horse Gaston won the Kentucky Derby. Luc makes it his business to figure out who is threatening his elderly friends.

A few gripes: In The Christmas Mystery Luc gifts K. Burke a ring, but it becomes a necklace at the beginning of this book. On page 101, Luc sets an appointment at 5 for K. Burke, but the next day, she arrives at 4. I thought the hour discrepancy would’ve been explained, but the editing didn’t mention anything. 

I love the fact that Luc did not jump into a relationship or bed for that matter with another woman after Dalia’s death. It was refreshing to see him care deeply for one lady and not having mistresses on the side as other writers tend to portray French Cassanovas to be.

Luc Moncrief is a loveable riot in flashy designer clothes and a fast car and very French minus the smoking and although I have enough French characters in my arsenal, I wished I had written him. He is the perfect amount of everything. Luc deserves a full-length novel.

Final rating: love coffeelove coffeelove coffee

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But wait, it doesn’t stop there!

I read that ABC bought the rights to this series and they’re calling it The French Detective. France’s finest Jean Dujardin is said to be attached to the project. He’ll be portraying Luc Moncrief. 

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His Frenchness is riveting, but I don’t see Moncrief. Should’ve gotten France’s other finest Stanley Weber.

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Bonjour Luc! 

And if they want to go for tall, dark, and brooding, Gilles Marini can get the job done.

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Because let’s face it, they won’t be able to get Olivier Giroud to portray Luc.

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***Photos and GIFs via Google Images

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #110-#112

I’m currently reading Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It’s a 900+ page book, but it’s slow and boring thus far and I’m thinking of temporarily abandoning it. I love huge books and I’ll read a 2000+ page book, but it must be exciting and able to keep my focus. Anyway, let’s get the latest reviews.

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Book #110: Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

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How often does one hear a story about an Ethiopian child adopted by Swedish parents? Well, this is Marcus Samuelsson’s story and although the first part of his childhood was nice to read, as the story drag on, it became about the self and it turned me off to the point where I started to skim pages.

This book is not a memoir. It is a self-serving PR machine that serves to give more publicity to a man who has catered for the Obamas at the White House and has appeared on many television shows. 

Before I get dirty, Samuelsson was raised by wonderful Swedish parents after he was orphaned in Ethiopia. [His biological father is another story by itself.] This man missed his father’s funeral because of some visa paperwork that prevented him from traveling. This man also missed his grandmother’s funeral and this woman was a huge source of inspiration for him becoming the chef that he is today. This man couldn’t fathom why Christina (a wonderful girl he’d been dating for years) was still hanging onto him after he left Sweden to pursue his dream of working in a Swiss restaurant. He thought when he left home, he would’ve been leaving everything behind including the girl. Yet, he goes to Austria on an internship and knocks up another girl during a one-night stand thus producing a daughter whom he refused to meet until she was 14.

No, really. He paid the child support (this was all down to his mother for he wanted to skip out of paying it. The bastard!) but refused to meet his own flesh and blood because he was busy crafting a career in New York and marrying a model, some Ethiopian woman. How does he make up for lost time with his daughter? He took her to meet Kanye West at a party because he wanted to be seen as the world’s coolest dad.

This man treats the most important people – his adopted parents, his daughter, women in general – like hand me downs. Yet, YET, this very same man has the utmost gall to turn around and talk about sending monthly financial support to his biological family in Ethiopia. I was turned off by all the FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! Yes, I know that he’s a chef, but this is supposed to be a memoir and I found the f-bombs off-putting as well.

At one point I grew frustrated with the book and started skimming. If Marcus was likable before reading this rubbish he calls a memoir, he is certainly unlikable now after coming across as a narcissistic jerk. I mean, he is such a hypocrite. He ponders how his birth father never looked for him, yet he had a daughter he never saw until she was 14. Dude, you were ADOPTED. You should know what’s it like to miss parents.

At the end of the day, we all make mistakes and we hate to admit it, but Marcus came across as ungrateful and self-serving. Maybe he should’ve kept those things to himself instead of revealing them to the world. We have our plates to clean too. He also overplayed the race card and his dislike of French gastronomy was so personal that it felt as if he was holding a grudge against the French. And he was too repetitive for my liking.

I am thankful that my money was not part of this marketing scheme. No, chef, please pass the plate. 1/5.

Book #111: Cross Justice by James Patterson

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“And in this life, a man is only as good as his word.”

After 3 and a half decades, Alex Cross is finally coming home. Home to Starksville, North Carolina, where a cousin of his has been accused of a murder. He reconnects with distant relatives and learns that some events of his past are wrong where it concerns his parents. Many readers complain that too much goes on within an Alex Cross story, so here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

^ Cross’s cousin is on trial for an unthinkable murder. 

^ In Florida, a cross-dressing killer name Coco is causing havoc. 

^ A subplot about Cross’s daughter Janine and her athletic career. Pretty soon we’ll see her in Olympics!

Patterson surprises with his shocking twists, but I must say, I already knew who was Alex Cross’s father even before we crossed that bridge. I would’ve given this book four stars (heck, even five!) had it not been for the ending. That part where said Jason Cross burst into the courtroom with his hostage at gunpoint. 3/5

Book #112: Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill

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I devoured this book in one sitting. Although some parts were hilarious, some parts dragged and I found myself skimming through some chapters. Offill has written a book about marriage and motherhood and I admire her writing style. It was kind of refreshing to read. 

The main protagonist is known as ‘the wife’ throughout the story. The husband and baby also didn’t get names. At one time, the wife wanted a life in art (hello, ‘art monster’!), but she ended up teaching in a college after having a child. The book revolves around the mindset of the wife who is trying to figure out her place in this world. 

Depicting the rise and fall of a marriage, the book is easy to read and it has its moments, but with the characters having no names, it underscores their lack of identity. At the end of the book, I was still wondering who were these people. 

I especially found this bit hilarious:

And that phrase – “sleeping like a baby.” Some blonde said it blithely on the subway the other day. I wanted to lie down next to her and scream for five hours in her ear. (Page 26)

🤣🤣🤣🤣This brought back pleasant memories of the prank war that never was between Dr. Spencer Reid and Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds. I was all #TeamReid! Morgan had it coming for him!

This book is a 3/5.

I know it’s still early in May, but I DNF’ed 3 books and carted them off to the library. It’s been a fantastic reading month! I love watching my TBR go down. 😄

Books & Reviews 📚

Reading Diaries: The lying trend

Dear Diary,

Looks like we have to lie about this post. 😉

ebookfriendly: “ Plato #books #quote http://ebks.to/2bDkgWl ”

This is not really a rant post; rather it’s an observation one. While shopping for books on Amazon a while ago, I came across The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy and things took an interesting turn: there were so many titles with the word ‘lie’ or ‘lies’ in them from late last year to present and books releasing in the near future. It’s like the new trend! Remember when the word ‘girl’ was the big trend and we had titles such as Girl On A Train? 

Let’s look at some of those lying titles.

The Truth Beneath the Lies by Amanda Searcy 

This thriller came out late last year and the blurb is very intriguing for only one girl will survive at the end. I’ll pass on this book, but I hope that Kayla is the one who survives. 

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh

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This book came out in March. A married couple commits suicide together because they can’t live without the other. Their daughter is not going to sit down and call it a suicide and decides to find out what really happened. But it’s like they say, some things are better left in the past. Eh, not feeling this thriller, though. I feel as if the last few pages or so are going to rob me of a terrific ending. 

All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson 

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The cover is beautiful! So, Harry has always been in love with his stepmother. However, a few days before his college graduation, he gets a phone call from the stepmother and she’s the bringer of bad news: his father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Harry goes home to Maine to help the wicked stepmother pick up the pieces. As he grows closer to her, he meets a mysterious woman and he’s drawn to her. A nice love triangle is in the making until Harry thinks that both women might be hiding secrets from him. Duh!

I’ll pass on this one as well. The characters sound shallow and I don’t want to read about lust and selfish sexual desire. Maybe the reason the father died is due to the fact that he was having an affair (with a younger woman perhaps?) and the stepmother might have something to do with his death. And I bet she has some kind of horrible past; they always do in the thrillers. *shrugging* Maybe she’s a sexual predator herself. 

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

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Hmm… the cover is intriguing. In this YA thriller, Ella finds out that her parents are not hers so she runs during which she learns the truth about her biological parents. I’ll pass on this book because I think I’ll award it no steaming coffees. Also, someone mentioned that it contains cruel animal abuse and that’s a major turn off for me. 

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

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Looks like Alice falling down the rabbit hole on the cover! Amber is in a coma, her husband doesn’t love her anymore and sometimes she lies. Sounds like an engaging psychological thriller, but I get the feeling that the author used a timeline to tell the story and I dislike hopping back and forth. Amber also sounds like a whiney and needy character so I’ll be avoiding this book. 

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering

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The book cover alone is giving me a headache! I hope it’s changed to a better cover when the release date approaches next month. The blurb is 4 paragraphs long and it’s all about some girl named Lucy and some male named Stephen. I’m going to be honest, I did not finish read the longish blurb so I won’t be getting this book.

Here We Lie by Paula Treick DeBoard

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Friendship turns sour and many years later, one of the girls comes forward to publicly reveal what really happened that night. Hiding the truth can lead to devastating consequences, yes, but I don’t think I can read this book even if the blurb is good!

What about you? Have you read or want to read any of these books?

Books & Reviews 📚

Books #105-#107: pretty disappointing reads

I’m reading a lot lately and loving it! Reading through my TBR is a workout in itself and it feels good watching the pile go down. I have a list of books that I’m itching to get, but for now, I am exercising self-control… until I read at least 15 books from my TBR! 😄

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Book #105: Mary Mary by James Patterson

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In this installment, we see Alex Cross’s personal life gets shaken up by his ex, Christine who wants full custody of little Alex. Throw in a pushy journalist in the mix who has no respect for Cross in the name of a story and we have chaos. James Truscott was super annoying. I did not feel remorse for him when he got killed.

A serial killer is on the loose in Hollywood and he/she is killing big shots and sending letters of the crimes to LA Times reporter, Arnold Griner. The killer’s emails were fascinating!

It also shows Alex as a flawed character. He is still hung up on Christine, going with Jamilla who cheated on him because let’s face it, long distance relationships are hard to commit to, so he took Kayla out after remembering how much he liked her since childhood. I don’t like Kayla though. I’m fed up with Cross and his bad luck with relationships, but it works just fine for him given his career. It just doesn’t have to take center stage all the time because it takes away from the story.

This is not really JP’s best work. The story was not well developed, but it was still fast paced and easy to read. I like Nana Mama, but I couldn’t stand her caretaking whining in this story.

This story brought to mind an episode of Criminal Minds call ‘Somebody’s Watching’. And once again, Tom Cruise was mentioned. This is like the 6th or so book I’ve seen TC’s name. A total of 16 victims were murdered in this story. Yes, I counted. I was kind of curious. I liked reading from the killer’s perspective and I agree with this overall:

Isn’t that what one is supposed to do at the movies? Escape? Get away from it all? Except that most movies are so dismal these days – dismally dumb or dismally dreary. 

Random thought: I think Idris Elba would’ve been the perfect Alex Cross. Overall, I give this story a 3/5.

Book #106: Wide Sargasso Sea

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I did not finish this book. I quit on page 60.

I also dislike stories with animal cruelty even if they call for it. I loathed the scene where the parrot (Coco) was burned to death in front of everyone for the sake of the stupid superstition on how it is bad luck to see a parrot burn.

The story bored me to tears. With all the great recommendations about it being written before its time, I’d think Wide Sargasso Sea was a thrilling classic. Overpraised rubbish in my opinion and not a masterpiece. It is one of the worst books I’ve ever laid hands on. I won’t call it literature and I feel sorry for some of the students who had to endure this book for their literature class. The majority said it was bad, but I just had to see for myself.

Much ado about nothing. 

Book #107: A Circle of Wives

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This was supposed to have been a spellbinding psychological thriller of marital deception, revenge, and murder. 

I honestly thought that it was one of those storylines where all 3 wives show up at the polygamist’s funeral, confused, angry and wanting answers, but it wasn’t so.

From the time I read that Deborah (the first & oldest wife) already knew about the other two wives, I should’ve closed the book and move on to another one. In fact, Deborah orchestrated the marriages for Dr. John. She was an accomplice to bigamy. John happened to crave love and that’s why he started to look for it on the outside.

I went looking for wife #4 shortly after and found her as a fiancée.

Back to the story: Dr. John Taylor is found dead in a hotel room. At first, he appears to be the victim of a heart attack, but his death is soon ruled as a murder. Enter rookie Detective Samantha Adams who gets the pleasure of solving this crime. She was unbelievable as a character and I didn’t feel any true Detective vibes coming from her. 

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The story did not live up to its full promised potential. How could this be a psychological thriller? In this day of technology, how in the world could the wives not suspect a thing about their so-call beloved husband? Hello, Google! There just wasn’t any credibility and I am left baffled as to why this author is a bestseller and why she has all those gloating reviews on Amazon.

My final verdict is 1/5. Everything about this story and the highly unlikable characters screamed DULL!

 

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #104: Private India: City on Fire

When Jack Morgan opens the Mumbai branch of Private, the world’s most elite detective agency, he hands the reins to top agent Santosh Wagh. Now, in this teeming metropolis of over thirteen million people where the guilty have everywhere to hide, Santosh goes on the hunt for one elusive killer. A killer who is targeting seemingly unconnected women and placing strange objects at their death scenes in a series of chilling rituals. 

As the Private team races to find a link that will lead them to the next victim, an unseen menace threatens to destroy the agency from within -and plunge the city into chaos. With countless lives hanging in the balance, Santosh must confront the demons of his past . . . before Private India meets an explosive end.

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Someday I will be even more celebrated and they will worship me like a deity.

This story is a collaboration between the world’s bestselling author and a man who can hold his very own in the literary world, Mr. Ashwin Sanghi. However, I can tell that this book was not written by JP as I can’t find any trace of his DNA in the story. I’ll give his involvement 40% given that he worked on character development.

The good? I felt as if I was transported to Mumbai. I felt the people, the pulsing of the street and the eclectic atmosphere that only Sanghi can take credit for. And I love Santosh Wagh.

The bad? Jack Morgan (I’ve never warmed up to this character) and the violence on Private’s end. Also, everything felt jam-packed into one book. Some could’ve been left over for a sequel.

Private India is headed by Santosh Wagh, a brilliant PI with a murky past. He is aided by the beautiful Nisha Gandhe, ex-cop turned PI, Mubeen the medical expert and the macho techie, Hari.

The first ten chapters or so were boring and depressing, but flawed characters were introduced. At times, I felt as if I was reading a history book about India, the goddess Durga and the Thugees.

What we have on our hand is a killer targeting women. 9 in particular as this killer is killing in the 9 stages of the goddess mother Durga. Each victim is garroted with a yellow scarf and left with tokens that represent the goddess during the 9 stages. Sanghi took us around town in Mumbai introducing us to exotic places like the Parsi Tower of Silence in Malabar Hill. Trust me, the Tower of Silence is terrifying!

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via Google Images. One cannot see the place unless you’re a Parsi.

Overall, the book was a page-turner (I put my work on hold just to finish this book) with many twists and turns, you may or may not see coming.

I was left disappointed by the ending but it left the premises open for more Santosh Wagh so yes, Patterson and Sanghi, bring it!

Despite falling in love with Santosh Wagh, almost every ‘Private’ story is the same when the lead character is called into question: they’re dealing with a death of a loved one (in this case, Santosh’s son and wife) and they’re enemies with the friend they once were good with (in this case, Rupesh). I had tied in Rupesh and Santogh’s unfortunate story in the early stages of the story as a love triangle. Almost everyone in this story was up to something or living double lives and I loved how every character was tied together in this murderer’s spree.

Some reviewers had trouble reading this book because of the strange names. It’s India. You don’t see names such as Tom, Garth or James getting tossed around often. I often associate India with the exotic and the names suited each character well. The names were easy for me to remember and I had no trouble pronouncing the names at all.

UNSUB

3/5. Before the big reveal, I had put all of the pieces together. Nice try, though, Ashwin.

SANTOSH

Santosh was my absolute favorite! He is the Chief of the Indian’s Private firm and he is still battling with many problems. He has an encyclopedic memory and is a history nut who can recite stats at any time. Fascinating! I’m always on the look-out for characters as such. He’s India’s very own Dr. Spencer Reid and I love that he was flawed.

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DIALOGUE

“Your bodies are ready,” announced the police surgeon, opening the door to the refrigerator chamber, like a baker announcing a fresh batch of bread from the oven. (page 45) The writing was well done and I like this baking metaphor. 

COVER

1/5 … call me whatever you like, but since the story focuses on Mr. Santosh Wagh, an Indian detective should’ve been on the cover.

OPENING:

THEY EXPLODED DURING rush hour.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffee… because James Patterson didn’t write this novel and I still can’t stand Jack Morgan. I picked up this book despite my lack of love for Jack Morgan because my love for India has no boundaries. 💙

 

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #103: Mistress

Ben isn’t like most people. Unable to control his racing thoughts, he’s a man consumed by his obsessions: movies, motorcycles, presidential trivia-and Diana Hotchkiss, a beautiful woman Ben knows he can never have. When Diana is found dead outside her apartment, Ben’s infatuation drives him on a hunt to find out what happened to the love of his life. Ben soon discovers that the woman he pined for was hiding a shocking double life. And now someone is out to stop Ben from uncovering the truth about Diana’s illicit affairs. In his most heart-pumping thriller yet, James Patterson plunges us into the depths of a mind tortured by paranoia and obsession, on an action-packed chase through a world of danger and deceit.

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Murder can be made to look like suicide, and suicide can be made to look like murder.

I want to trade lives with James Patterson. I can write all the stories I want without a thought for the loyal readers and stamp my name on my friends’ books as a collaboration although I know their story sucks.

This is not James Patterson’s writing nor is it in his style and this story was dull, slow, and boring. The movie trivia drove me up a wall. The narrator of the story is a creepy reporter dude with a trust fund who works at the White House and runs his own internet-based newspaper. His name is Ben and he has a messed up childhood. If the author/s wanted me to think that just because Ben was obsessive over Diana Marie Hotchkiss she was as straight as a pin, they got the wrong reader. Diana was as transparent as glass when I first met her. 

I didn’t care for half of the movies mentioned in the story. I heard about many of them, but never went looking for them and I don’t intend to start now. I never cared for Seinfeld either. 

The title is somewhat misleading. Almost every page is a movie or president of the USA trivia. Tom Cruise was the most mentioned actor and I think the author is in love with TC and his favorite movie is Mission: Impossible.

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As if I can blame him! 😆

The ending was abrupt. I was disappointed with this book and how the story was all over the place. Plus, all the characters were morons in their own way. Every single one of them. Ben Casper has got to be one of the irritating characters I’ve ever come across!

DIALOGUE

The story is set in the first person, Ben’s, but inside his mind was more annoying rather than fascinating. I wished one of the thugs had shot him dead when they had the chance to.

Page 90: Wouldn’t it be cool if you could play theme music when you’re walking around doing things? Especially during dramatic moments. I think it would inspire people.

Yes, because then my theme song would be that of Mission: Impossible.

Page 188: Inside the main office, the colors are patriotic. Even the Iowa state flag, standing alongside the Stars and Stripes, fits in with the color scheme, though truth be told the Iowa state flag resembles the French flag more than it does the American flag.

COVER

Fair. 3/5

OPENING:

Let’s see what she has in her medicine cabinet. I mean, as long as I’m here.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffee

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #102: Private Vegas

Las Vegas is a city of contradictions: seedy and glamorous, secretive and wild, Vegas attracts people of all kinds–especially those with a secret to hide, or a life to leave behind. It’s the perfect location for Lester Olsen’s lucrative business. He gets to treat gorgeous, young women to five-star restaurants, splashy shows, and limo rides–and then he teaches them how to kill.

Private Jack Morgan spends most of his time in Los Angeles, where his top investigation firm has its headquarters. But a hunt for two criminals leads him to the city of sin–and to a murder ring that is more seductively threatening than anything he’s witnessed before. Private Vegas brings James Patterson’s Private series to a sensational new level.

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This review is going to be short.

I dislike this story. I dislike Justine and I still dislike Jack Morgan. Justine was used as a prop. She did nothing for me. Gozan and Khezir were replicas of JP’s earlier nasty creatures – the vampire brothers in Violets Are Blue. I also dislike when Khezir suddenly became Khezzy out of the blue. Jack Morgan is an extremely boring individual and I wished he had died in one of those car bombings.

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This book was terrible and JP needs to stop putting his name on books he doesn’t care to write anymore. Disjointed, jumpy plots, no proper story. Probably the worst book I’ve read in a long while. I’m glad I did not spend money on this trash. Even the title is misleading. It’s about time JP and co. close down Private. It just isn’t working.

COVER

3/5

OPENING:

LORI KIMBALL HAD three rules for the death race home.

VERDICT:

love coffee

Books & Reviews 📚

Book #101: Violets are Blue

Detective Alex Cross must confront his most terrifying nemesis ever – and his own deepest fears – in this electrifying new thriller from the master of suspense, James Patterson.

Alex Cross has never believed in vampires. But when two joggers are found slain in a manner that suggests a macabre ritual, he has to reconsider. Someone believes in vampires enough to have committed a series of bizarre murders that appear to be the work of one. Local police are horrified, and even the FBI is baffled.

Cross takes on the case and plunges into a netherworld of secret clubs and role-players, a world full of poseurs and play actors – and someone demented enough to have crossed the line from dark ritual to real blood. At the same time, a lethal super-criminal from Cross’s past known as the Mastermind is stalking him, taunting him, and threatening everything he holds dear. Cross has never been closer to defeat, or in greater danger. In a shocking conclusion, Alex Cross must survive a deadly confrontation – only to discover at last the awful secret of the Mastermind.

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“If you hunt for the vampire, the vampire will hunt for you,”

This was my very first James Patterson book AKA the book that started my love for JP before he started to hire ghostwriters to write his neverending material. This was the book that I dumped other authors for on that fateful cold evening in the library.

Violets Are Blue is the first time where Alex Cross takes a backseat to killer vampires (or are they?). I admit that I rooted for Michael and William up until their deaths because at that time I was into vampires (I blamed Lestat at the time) and this book was like, the best thing ever when I discovered it. I felt the same way when I reread it for the 2nd time after all these years.

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Yes. Yes, it does! 😄

I think JP has mad love for Tom Cruise. I’ve seen the actor’s name popped up in many of his novels including this one (most of the time, it revolves around TC’s megawatt-too-shiny-for-us-normal-people smile). I also recall JP saying that he visited TC twice and there was that one time, TC made him tea. What? The nice actor was out of servants to do his bidding on that day? 

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The beautiful blond brothers – William and Michael – lived up to expectations as the chase continues from Roses Are Red. And if you read Roses Are Red, the end told us who the Mastermind was, but we didn’t know why he became the Mastermind and he is still harassing Alex as he set out to unravel a new murder mystery.

In this dark conclusion, victims are appearing to be killed by creatures rather than people. It is hard for Cross at first to believe in vampires (or are they?), but once he finds out there is a cult in several states, he is determined to find the killers and put them away for good. 

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Alex and the team are sent on a wild goose chase. They eventually follow some false leads, head to New Orleans and ends up in Santa Cruz, the Vampire City.

At one point, Alex is bitten by a crazy so-call vampire (or is it?) and he made a boo-boo in not getting the bite checked. Shows how much the job is first place in his life, heart, and soul, and it is quite frankly unhealthy.

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James Patterson literally has to be 2-4 or more persons when he writes (well, don’t all writers?). He is Alex Cross and the psychopaths and he balances so well between their worlds. This book also opened my eyes that this story is more than just a story for in reality, people do actually practice vampirism. Look up Marcus Wesson if you’re still in doubt. 

COVER

Not a bad cover. 3/5.

OPENING:

Nothing ever starts where we think it does. So of course, this doesn’t begin with the vicious and cowardly murder of an FBI agent and good friend named Betsey Cavalierre. I only thought that it did. My mistake, and a really big and painful one.

VERDICT:

love coffeelove coffeelove coffeelove coffee