Dy's Take

July 11, 2012

Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs

Filed under: Mystery,Series — Dy @ 17:16

(41) Temperance Brennan #5

Again, the cross-confluence of geography and mystery stretches credulity. Again, the resolution was so far out from the main story line I truly didn’t see it coming, though this time it felt a little more forced and made me wonder if the left-field solution wasn’t a last minute cop-out because she’d written herself into a box? Nonetheless, starting book 6 tonight and ordered up through book 12 from PB Swap.

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July 8, 2012

The Twelfth Enchanment by David Liss

Filed under: Fantasy,Historical Fiction,Literary Locals,Mystery — Dy @ 22:48

(40)

Loved it. The language was fun–it rolled around in my head like Austen and the character’s internal dialogue felt very true to the period, especially in the earlier parts of the book. The multiples twists were fun, and I hope Liss pens more in this vein.

June 21, 2012

Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs

Filed under: Mystery,Series — Dy @ 22:24

(35) Temperance Brennan #4

Wow. Really left-field resolution. I liked it — totally unexpected.

June 16, 2012

Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs

Filed under: Mystery,Series — Dy @ 22:21

(34) Temperance Brennan #3

The crossover from Montreal to the Carolinas stretches credulity a bit, a problem that will continue throughout the series. Otherwise, good stuff and learned more than I ever knew I didn’t know about outlaw biker gangs.

June 12, 2012

Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs

Filed under: Mystery,Series — Dy @ 22:20

(33) Temperance Brennan #2

Enjoyable, still too much geography.

June 4, 2012

Dead Men Don’t Crochet by Betty Hechtman

Filed under: Disappointing,Mystery,Series,Skip It — Dy @ 22:14

(32) Crochet Mystery #2

Even less impressive than the first volume in this series. I only had a copy because the first time I ordered the first book (I crochet, I like mysteries, go figure!) the person sending accidentally sent me the 2nd book in the series and I wanted to clear it off my shelves. Sadly, it is still in my big box of books I have listed on PBSwap waiting for a new home.

The MC is getting more annoying, the supporting characters are cookie-cutters and the police boyfriend is both annoying and a stereotype on multiple levels. I will not be reading any more of these. If you want to give it a shot, please let me know and I’ll drop it in the mail for free just to get rid of it!

May 20, 2012

Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

Filed under: Mystery,Series — Dy @ 21:57

(30) Temperance Brennan #1

Yes, I totally ordered this from Paperback Swap because I’m a fan of Bones.

This was nothing like Bones — and it amused me to check out the reviews on Goodreads written by people who are also Bones fans and felt cheated by the book(s).

This reminded me most of early Cornwell — back when it was good and not all deep in the MC’s psyche and dealing with everyone’s neuroses to the point of plot yawning. .

I enjoyed the book, I liked that the character is, um, seasoned. The older I get the more I enjoy books with main characters who are not in their 20s. Shocking.

My biggest issue with the book was the excessive geography. I get that it’s in Montreal, but a sentence or two to give us the feel for the part of town she’s talking about is all I need, not driving directions. Other than that, it was a nifty mystery with, I thought, just the right amount of red herrings to keep it interesting.

January 22, 2012

Explosive Eighteeen by Janet Evanovich

Filed under: Mystery,Series I Love — Dy @ 23:41

(06) Stephanie Plum #18

2/18/12 – Review Coming (today is update the booklist day — will add reviews as I finish them)

November 18, 2011

River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Filed under: Mystery,Paranormal,Romance,Series I Love — Dy @ 23:35

(85) Mercy Thompson #6

SO GOOD. Stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this in one 24-hour period.  Love this series and happy to report than unlike TV shows, a well-written series doesn’t lose it’s zing when the hero and heroine are finally allowed to marry.

Mostly, it was nice for me as a reader to get more info on Mercy’s heritage — and nifty that we learned about it as the character did. It was chock full o’ interesting revelations without feeling forced — super example of show, don’t tell!

October 22, 2011

The Nestorian Alliance by Michael Watson

Filed under: Historical Fiction,Indie Author,Mystery,Review Book — Dy @ 23:57

(81)  Jack Trader #1 (?)

Disclaimer:  A friend gave me a copy of this to review after running a charity auction for indie authors on her review blog (donate to Reading is Fundamental and move to the top of the review list!)

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This had good bones.  The his/tory of the search for the Ark of Noah (as opposed the Ark of the Covenant) is not one I’m familiar with and, despite having read a fair amount of thrillers, not one I’ve read before.

The book that was hung on the good plot idea needs work, though, and perhaps the author will update it in the future 🙂

I read, particularly indie books because they are notorious for issues that a good editor could have eliminated, like the editor that I am.

Pluses:

  • Like I said above, not much fiction that I’ve seen dealing with Noah’s Ark – props for something new-ish
  • Nice choice of era — I haven’t read much Cold War thriller material since I read Fleming’s Bond in junior high
  • Plausible plot with plausible (mostly) bumps in the road

*****     S P O I L E R   A L E R T     *****

*****     S P O I L E R   A L E R T     *****

*****     S P O I L E R   A L E R T     *****

*****     S P O I L E R   A L E R T     *****

*****     S P O I L E R   A L E R T     *****

Minuses:

  • #1 – SHOW, don’t tell. This book lapsed into random exposition a lot.  Sometimes it was to give the reader info needed to follow the story (not ideal, but acceptable, especially in a first book).  All too frequently, though, it was just to give us info we didn’t need.  i.e. If you use a character worksheet when fleshing out your people, do NOT give us every scrap of information on it. I do not need to know the vital statistics (age/height/weight/hair color/eye color/occupation/hobbies) of each character as they are introduced or when they speak.
  • In particular, Petrova drove me crazy with this.  The author makes references to her crying, or to her having some personal issues with her mission, but never goes into detail or follows through with it til the end of the book.  Don’t tell me, “The Major didn’t want to hurt the old man, but her mission was paramount.*” <*not an actual quote, paraphrasing from a scene> Instead, show me her reluctance as she slowly lifts her arm, palm sweaty as she tightens her grip on the gun, raises her weapon to pistol-whip him, then slows her arm at the last second and just taps him hard enough to knock him out.  (etc etc etc)
  • Tense, not tension.  The narrative kept switching between between present and past tense, sometimes in the same paragraph.
  • Getting perspective — the story shifted from first person to third person seeming at random – if you are going to do this (and it is hard to do well) make sure you clearly define the boundary for the reader, usually by starting a new chapter when the shift occurs.
  • Action up!  For an adventure/thriller this one took way to long to get to the action in general, and in particular the action involving the MC. It’s billed as “A Jack Trader Adventure” but poor Jack doesn’t start actually adventuring til chapter 8, then a lull, and it doesn’t really pick up again til around halfway through the book.
  • Needs character. Okay, granted, character development isn’t really a strong element in adventure fiction, but some change would be nice. Knowing the characters physical specs is not the same as knowing the character.  Everyone in the book was a little flat — if Jack is going to carry a series, he needs some depth, as do his two main supporting characters.
  • Research. Outside of the geology (the author is a geologist) and the Noah’s Ark bits, research seemed lacking, in particular stuff on Cold War USSR and the geopolitical climate of the early 50’s as well as military protocol in general. The military is a significant enough presence in this book that the lack of research shows.
  • Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.  Lots of simple errors that a new reader will see where someone familiar with the material will not. Dialogue tags, in particular were problematic.  Ex:
  • Frank who was listening spoke up, ‘”Well, I think we know why they changed their minds. They were scared off… or worse.  Onan can be very convincing.” Amir said, smiling.   Say what?  Pretty sure there’s supposed to be a close quotation after ‘worse’ and an open in front of ‘Onan’ but I can’t be sure (and yes, there should be a comma after ‘Frank,’ too).

Despite the seemingly endless list above, I did like and enjoy (when the editor in my head shut up!) the book.

I admire the author’s passion for his topic and his bravery in not only actually writing his book (something many of us, me included, have not done) AND in putting his book out there for the world to see, read, and occasionally pick apart.

I really hope he doesn’t think I’m being mean. I’d like to see more from him, and I hope my review might help him see some things he needs to work on for the next one.

October 10, 2011

Sixkill by Robert B. Parker

Filed under: Favorite Authors,Mystery,Series I Love — Dy @ 14:23

(78) Spenser #40

October 3, 2011

Pirate King by Laurie R. King

(77) Mary Russell #11

September 30, 2011

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Filed under: Favorite Authors,J-related,Kids,Mystery,Paranormal,YA — Dy @ 19:52

(76)

August 19, 2011

Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

Filed under: Mystery,Series I Like — Dy @ 20:40

Gingerbread Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen)( 64)

2.5 out of 5

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Confession time: I only read the first of the 3 novellas in this book, I found myself pressed for time and the Hannah Swenson mystery was the only one I was interested in.

Saw the bad guy coming & bet I know who the corpse will be in Hannah’s next full length adventure, but I still enjoyed it.

July 31, 2011

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

(61)  The Dresden Files #13

Sad beyond measure that this is purportedly the last of the Dresden books 😦  However, it was a most excellent ending to a number of long running plot lines.

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