KayKay #CRB5 Review #53 Into the Fire by Jodi McIsaac

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**SPOILER ALERT- some plot points may be insinuated**

This is not going to be my typical review.  This book was a complete disappointment.  The plot was forced, the characters were not authentic, and quite frankly- they were stupid.  I’m not sure how you trust a druid who just turns up, especially since you know druids are trying to kill you.  I’m not sure how you keep dragging your young daughter into dangerous situations.  What makes you decide to dig up a person to powerful to kill, and had to be trapped, just so he can tell you where a magical object is?  They even go to a tourist attraction, see that it is empty (which they all agree is highly unlikely) when they spot a person over by some trees that seemed to be calling Finn, they assume that person is a tourist- FOR REALS???

Sometimes so much love and effort is put into the first release (and this seems to be true for both books and albums) the second release pales in comparison.  In this case, I can barely believe the same author wrote these books.  To me, this is the worst book I’ve read all year (and I’ve completed my cannonball).

Jen K’s #CBR5 Review #102: The Expats by Chris Pavone

What a frustrating and disappointing book!  I wasn’t expecting great literature, but I really thought this would be a fun thriller or cat and mouse game set in Europe.  At the worst, I thought it might be a bit formulaic or have bad writing but it was worse.  It was boring.  A thrill-less thriller, an unsuspenseful suspense novel inhabited by a main character that could just as well be described as the dumbest spy ever.

Full review.

Valyruh’s #CBR5 Review #95: Never Go Back by Lee Child

The latest Jack Reacher novel is centered around a love interest! What?! Reacher hitchhikes his way from South Dakota to northern Virginia because the female Commanding Officer at the old military police unit he ran years earlier has an alluring “come hither” voice, and he just has to meet, dine and—he hopes—bed her. But when he arrives, not only does he discover that she has just been arrested for treason, but that he has not one, but two criminal complaints against him that could land him in military prison for a long time.Great set up, not so great follow up.

Reacher leaps into action, and rigs an implausible escape not only for himself, but for CO Susan Turner, and the two go on a cross-country run together while they try to figure out who’s out to get them, and why? Of course, they are a perfect match of intrepid, fearless, and dedicated, but we somehow know they won’t go off into the sunset together because what would author Child do for his next in the series? In the meanwhile, they have the army, the FBI, the local DC police and four military-like goons on their tail, but every close encounter ends with Reacher handing out broken arms, skulls, legs and fingers like candy, and adding another piece to the endless puzzle they are trying to solve.

The plot itself is ridiculous, [SPOILER HERE] involving a couple of old guys in the upper echelons of military intelligence running an opium den for rich old Washingtonians like themselves, but the repartee between Reacher and his lawyers, Reacher and his pursuers, Reacher and his possible daughter, and Reacher and his lady love almost make it worth slogging through this one. Almost. But not quite. The plot outline held lots of potential, but the story comes off as just plain silly. Note, this is from a die-hard Reacher fan!

Sorry Mr. Child, but it’s time for a reboot. Maybe you can foist this one off on Tom Cruise and call it payback for the terrible job he did with “Jack Reacher,” the movie.

Badkittyuno’s #CBR5 Review #79: Dan Gets a Minivan: Life at the Intersection of Dude and Dad by Dan Zevin

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Blech.

I downloaded this audiobook from my library because I like to have funny stuff to listen to at the gym while on the treadmill. I figured this little memoir about a “cool” New Yorker who gets married, starts a family and moves to the suburbs would be cute and funny. I can relate to minivan-related humor.

So wrong. First of all, his narration style is incredibly dull. It’s very obvious that Zevin is a writer, not a stand up comic. So monotonous. Strike one. Then, within about 15 minutes, Zevin refers to a female police officer as “Officer Butchie”. Strike two. About thirty minutes later, he’s bitching about going to court due to the (totally justified in my opinion) ticket that the cop wrote him, and he remarks several times on how he’s the only white guy at this court, and he feels left out because he doesn’t have a do-rag. Strike three. Boring, misogynistic, homophobic and racist? No thank you. If you’re going to be offensive, at least be funny about it.

reginadelmar’s #CBR5 review #35 Just one Look by Harlan Coben

This “thriller” got passed around amongst the readers on our trip. It truly is a page turner, three of us read it lickety split. Grace is an artist and mother of two working from home.  She’s still using film rather than a digital camera which sets up the plot.  She picks up a package of prints and out pops a photo that is about 20 years old. In the photo she sees her husband Jack and three other people, one woman has been x’d out. Oh oh. Jack disappears shortly thereafter, there’s a vicious North Korean assassin, a benevolent mob guy, and a questionable US Assistant Attorney.

While this was a page turner, the resolution of the various mysteries wasn’t the most satisfying. The last chapters provide the missing information that tie up all the loose threads. The problem is that the underlying “crime” seems rather trivial for all the havoc it causes 20 years later. Oh well. Read this in airports, on a train or a plane. 

 

Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #165: Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

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Violence against one’s children, I feel, is never the answer, but Harriet the Spy had me rethinking that stance. I don’t have it in me to wail on an adult, let alone a child; however, if I were to father a child like Harriet, I would consider putting her up for adoption because a) I couldn’t be trusted not to take the belt to her and b) I have clearly failed as a parent and so she’d be better served being raised by someone else more qualified. She makes that red-headed demon from the Problem Child movies seem like a parent’s dream (think Roald Dahl’s Matilda) by comparison.

Alright, I might be overstating my point a wee bit, but Harriet was the literary equivalent of that little girl who spent what must’ve been something like half of my nine hour shift the other day at Walmart letting loose uninterrupted ear-piercing screams that could be heard from one end of the store to the other. She is a hateful, spiteful hell spawn incapable of learning the error of her ways, largely due to having mostly absent parents who foist her off on a therapist the second things get out of hand. Continue reading

Travis_J_Smith’s #CBR5 Review #162: Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass

every-soul-a-starWelcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the premier of reality television’s next big hit. You’ve heard of Wife Swap and Trading Spouses. Tonight, we bring the next logical step in the evolutionary process: Switching Kids. Since, like the Full House theme song, we ask you the following: “What ever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV?” So here’s a light to carry you home… to where that light is blotted out by an eclipse. We give you our premier episode, Every Soul a Star.

Meet Ally, a girl with essentially no friends, minus celestial objects she’s named and engaged in conversation with because living miles from civilization has turned her into a nutter. She wants nothing more than to make a career out of an insignificant act that will be handled by computers by the time she’s fully grown. What she doesn’t know is she’s about to switch lives with so cliched a vain airhead that even we hardly believe she’s real. We’re talking, of course, about Bree, whose life goal, becoming a model, is no more noble a quest than Ally’s. Can she give up her stereotypical life as a popular girl and learn to appreciate the… smaller joys, like walking through a labyrinth that, unfortunately, is nothing like it’s bigger, better brother, the maze? Can Ally take up the mantle she’ll be leaving behind by… I don’t know, actually putting a modicum of effort into appearing presentable? Will living in so far-away a place with so little to do give Bree the time to learn a bankable skill outside of that very same thing?

But, wait a minute, we can’t forget about Jack, the sad-sack who doesn’t try at anything in life, whether it be school or staying in shape. In fact, the only reason he is here, in the middle of nowhere, along with Ally and Bree is it was his ticket out of summer school. Will being thrust into a position of leadership help shape him into a confident enough young man to get with the only one of the two girls who can hold a thoughtful conversation about things not involving typical teenage concerns? Or will he wuss out and make all that work he put in lifting weights with Ally’s one and only friend, who we just let stick around to give Bree someone to moon over and Jack his own opposite, since we can’t have either of them feeling left out?

To find out the answers to these questions and more, stay tuned for the next hour as things work themselves out so well it almost seems as if we planned them. And be sure to tune in tomorrow evening for Switching Kids’ sister show, Switched at Birth, a show decades in the making, where we show you what happens when you let two sets of unsuspecting parents raise one another’s kids and how the kids, and parents, react when it’s finally revealed that they’re not the parents. That’s Switched at Birth, with your host Maury Povich. Now, back to Switching Kids.