Tag Archives: 2 Stars

An Affair to Dismember by Elise Sax

Gladie has moved in with her grandmother in a quiet little town in order to join the family business of being a matchmaker. Her plans get a little derailed when dead bodies start piling up, there are crazy people across the street, and two hot men are vying for her attention.

Parts of the story were good. Unfortunately, the not so good parts far exceeded the good ones. The writing was a bit juvenile (though the book is clearly for adults). For example, at one point it says she had a mouthful of chili cheese dog in her mouth. Glad the author cleared up for us that her mouthful was actually in her mouth. At times it really needed an editor or better proofreading. In addition to grammar mistakes, there were occasional missing words. Usually, that is not a huge deal and I can overlook it, but one time, the missing word completely changed the meaning of the sentence. A character said she did see the person who threw a frozen knish at her, but the context of the rest of the conversation made it clear that the word not was missing and she actually did not see the person. The timeline was often very strange even though the reader is constantly being reminded of the timeline. Sometimes the action that is packed into a certain amount of time is simply impossible just by adding the times given. The sexy chief of police usually is intelligent, but on one specific occasion, he’s completely dumb. They go to talk to someone and the flowers in her many pots on the porch are dead. Instead of concluding that she is no longer living there, the police chief, Spencer, decides to stake out her house and await her return because there is still furniture inside after all. That stakeout seems to last a few hours, but based on the other things they did and when they returned home that day, it couldn’t have been more than 30 minutes or an hour. Spencer eventually concludes she must not be coming back because the flowers are dead. I’m pretty sure the stakeout was only included to get in a slightly amusing scene of Gladie peeing in the woods with Spencer’s back to her and then to add in Gladie snuggling up to Spencer to take a nap. The book is often all over the place throwing in storylines that it forgets about and then picks up later. It was extremely predictable. I figured out who did it early on and that’s saying something since I tend to be a very trusting reader and rarely figure things out before the big reveal (and the big reveal in this book was incredibly long and tedious). Some random amusing bits are thrown in, but overall it’s just not a very interesting book. It didn’t draw me into the story or make me care about the characters. An Affair to Dismember is the first in a series, but I most definitely won’t be reading any more of them since this first one really was not worth the time it took to read it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 87
Pages Read in 2017: 24,025
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (A in PEARL)

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Into the Shadows by Harriet Parke

Emmaline, David, Elsa, and Micah have escaped from the compound, but they are being hunted by the Earth Protection Agency. David’s parents, John and Joan, follow them through the hole in the fence and attempt to throw the EPA agents off the little family’s trail.

I really liked the first Agenda 21 book and had high hopes for Into the Shadows, but it just wasn’t very good. There were giant plot holes that left me yelling in my head (and occasionally out loud) about how it didn’t make sense. For example, the little family walked for days and were still very near the mansion where the compound leaders live and the farm commune where the food is grown. That’s fine and explained by saying the river they were following meanders. The problem is, they ended up being taken in by an elderly couple. The elderly couple lived in a cave right by the mansion and farm commune and yet, somehow, they escaped detection for 17 years. Emmaline is constantly worried that their presence would bring the Earth Protection Agency people to the elderly couple. While that could happen, if they had survived without being discovered for almost two decades, why in the world would they be likely to suddenly be found just because the little family was there. The way the points of view switched was good except for one thing. The Emmaline chapters were told in first person while all other were in third person. That was actually rather annoying to me. Then there was the preachiness. The book would be going along fine and then there would be a section with hit-you-over-the-head “this is what you must learn from what you are reading” preaching (religious and political). I never quite figured out why the insistence that people only would want to be free if they knew their history (after all, Emmaline wanted to be free before she ever learned any of the history). The characters are all very flat. They never changed and most of them were quite dull. Many parts of the story moved very slowly. It’s a dystopian novel about running from human predators and learning how to live in the mostly uninhabited wild world. It should have been anything but slow. The afterword was written by Glenn Beck and warned of the evils of Agenda 21. Into the Shadows was a definite disappointment. I don’t really recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 37
Pages Read in 2017: 10,820
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (I in AQUAMARINE)

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Filed under Dystopian

The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum

Aimed at kids, The Children’s Homer tells the story of the Iliad and the Odyssey. Given that those are pretty exciting books, it’s just incredble to me how utterly boring the majority of the book is. It is also written in a way that makes it very awkward to read aloud. If it was the only choice for telling these stories to kids, I’d recommend it, but since there are other much better choices, I really do not.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 21
Pages Read in 2017: 6259
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Part of the Boys’ History Curriculum

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Filed under Children, Classic

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Before she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee wrote Go Set a Watchman. She was given advice to change it. The real story was just a tiny part of what she had written. Thank goodness she followed the advice! Go Set a Watchman does a lot of lecturing. The points about racism and bigotry get rather muddled up and lost in those lectures. The good parts are when Jean Louise (Scout) is remembering things that happened in her childhood. The biggest value I see in this somewhat polished rough draft is in studying how a writer can take the story they planned to tell and transform it into a very different, yet still with a few basic similarities, amazing, prize-winning, enduring novel.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 11
Pages Read in 2017: 3608
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (G in GARNET)

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It’s Bliss by Alene Roberts

Billie Bliss is convinced that romance is dead. Because of this she has sworn off men. She ends up being selected for Project Success, an experiment being run by her attractive business professor. This experiment is supposed to help her succeed in business by succeeding in life. Add in a self-appointed PI and you have a crazy romantic comedy.

It’s Bliss can only be described as dumb. The characters were one-dimensional. The dialogue sounded like it was straight out of a 50s romantic comedy even though it was clearly set much more recently. There was a weird obsession with weight and weight loss and, apparently, women can only succeed in business and attract men if they lose the extra pounds since being overweight means they just don’t take care of themselves. The storyline was so incredibly predictable. The main character was utterly perfect (once she lost the extra weight, of course) and at the same time utterly insufferable. I’m giving it two stars only because it did end how I wanted it to (as predictable as it was) and while I read it mostly in a state of horror, it was at least somewhat entertaining.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 104
Pages Read in 2016: 27,900
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon by Richard Roberts

The Inscrutable Machine are sent into outer space by the Spider. There they discover people living (and fighting) on the moons of Jupiter. Penny continues to come to terms with being a supervillain and what her powers want her to create while also trying to save the people from the Puppeteers and Meat Puppets.

I loved the first Don’t Tell My Parents book, but this one just wasn’t very good. It often droned on and on needlessly. Sometimes the descriptions of the Puppeteers and Meat Puppets were rather graphic and disgusting (they gave my ten-year-old nightmares). I mostly found myself bored while reading Please Don’t Tell My Parents I Blew Up the Moon and hoping the end would hurry up. It was just such a disappointment after the first book. I don’t recommend reading it.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 70
Pages Read in 2016: 18,540
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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The Lantern Bearers by Rosemary Sutcliff

A couple more generations have gone by and now Aquila is part of the last Roman soldiers in Britain. He feels more British than Roman and so decides to desert and stay with his family when the soldiers sail away. The Saxons attack his family home, carry off his sister, leave him for dead, and kill everyone else. Aquila ends up a slave. He manages to escape and becomes a soldier and companion to Ambrosius in battles trying to drive out the Saxons.

The Lantern Bearers progressed so incredibly slowly. There were short bursts of action, but mostly it was just dull. Sometimes it was hard to keep track of who was who mainly because I simply didn’t care about any of them. I don’t particularly recommend this book.

2 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 62
Pages Read in 2016: 15,916
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction