Thanks to goodreads First Reads for the free advance copy of Runner.
Lee displays a lot of strong skills in Runner. Right from the get-go I was hooked...moreThanks to goodreads First Reads for the free advance copy of Runner.
Lee displays a lot of strong skills in Runner. Right from the get-go I was hooked by the plot and the characters, and I read 95% of this in one go because I simply could not put it down. I was completely engaged and really enjoyed the twists; Sam Dryden was just amazing.
That said... this is one of those books that while completely engrossing while you're in it, has some wholes once you take a step back and mull things over. Without giving away anything, I'll say that so far I haven't been able to come up with an explanation for why the "knockout" characters are immune to each other; if way back down the evolutionary chain everyone was like that, then it canceled itself out.
I have to say I was a bit bummed by the ending - and a bit confused. Maybe I missed something, but their solution didn't seem all that great to me, and honestly after the other surprises Sam came up with on the way, was a bit of a let down.
Still, I look forward to another installment of Sam Dryden. (less)
Ugh. In brief, this read like something written by a major CSI fan, with a hint of Mary Higgins Clark. (That is not a compliment.)
The narrator keeps...moreUgh. In brief, this read like something written by a major CSI fan, with a hint of Mary Higgins Clark. (That is not a compliment.)
The narrator keeps telling us that Holly is tough and intuitive, a great cop, seasoned and cool under pressure, unflappable. But we don't really get to see that in her. Even though she's "leading" the investigation, it doesn't seem like she does much sleuthing herself. The author also declares several times that Holly is both a cop AND a forensics expert (and formerly a nurse, too), but she doesn't seem to do much CSI-ing either. And - spoiler! - given that they only find the bad guy when he comes to them, I'm not impressed with any of the investigators in this book.
Oh, and where are Holly's cop instincts when she learns about her daughter's UTI? If anyone were going to take charge in making sure abuse is 150% not the case, it should be this woman. Instead, we got nothing. It never comes up again, and appears to have been a worthless diversion.
Overall I found the whole thing unbelievable. Most of the characters fell flat, the plot was expected (actually, I'm pretty sure there was a Criminal Minds episode very similar to this), and the attempted warm fuzzy at the end just didn't make up for the heebie jeebies caused by child molestation. (less)
Thanks to goodreads First Reads program for the free copy of this novel.
The Bank of Fear is your pretty standard spy-thriller novel, set mostly in Lo...moreThanks to goodreads First Reads program for the free copy of this novel.
The Bank of Fear is your pretty standard spy-thriller novel, set mostly in London, and centered on Middle Eastern players and politics. There's lots and lots of money, murder, secrets, the usual.
For being 450 pages, this was really a quick read. It was easy to get into - and keep going. I also appreciated the level of information given relating to Middle Eastern politics and the computer hacking as well; Ignatius reached what - to me, at least - was a good balance between explaining enough for someone with a very modest background in the Middle East, without being too detailed or expository for the genre.
My gripe about halfway through this book was that that two main characters who have gotten tangled up in this really dangerous affair have apparently never seen a spy movie. Ever. Even though Lina knows exactly how dangerous her boss is, and Sam purportedly knows everyone in the Arab financial world - and his father was CIA - they continue to call each other on their regular phone lines, and even meet at her apartment, even after they know they're being watched. Dumb.
Also, the character focus felt unbalanced. To start with, it seemed that Lina and Sam would be even-ish protagonists, but as the story went on, Lina became the main character, and Sam was only a supporting role when he was needed. It seemed like his role wasn't fully fleshed out.
Anyway, an enjoyable read, and I look forward to going back to some of Ignatius' other novels.(less)
I love Glen & Tyler. As expected, once I started this book I couldn't stop. The boys are as delightful, clever & charming as ever, and it's a...moreI love Glen & Tyler. As expected, once I started this book I couldn't stop. The boys are as delightful, clever & charming as ever, and it's a great romp in Paris.
Seriously more people need to be reading these books. Probably the best indie series I've read. (less)
More like another 2.5, though better than the first Crusade - Jenn is finally showing some spunk, and there wasn't nearly so much time wasting. Still,...moreMore like another 2.5, though better than the first Crusade - Jenn is finally showing some spunk, and there wasn't nearly so much time wasting. Still, not a lot happened considering it's a 500 page book.(less)
Kudos to Sanders for stepping things up - the editing was improved (since I mentioned it the first time around, it's only fair to comment), and the spy plot line was nestled better than before and more coherent. All we need are a couple more of the bedroom scene extras, and I'll be a very happy camper indeed.
Thanks to goodreads First Reads for the free copy of this book.
So, I had entered this particular giveaway because the premise was interesting, and I...moreThanks to goodreads First Reads for the free copy of this book.
So, I had entered this particular giveaway because the premise was interesting, and I was hoping it would turn out as a better version of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry - and I wasn't disappointed. Glen and Tyler are actually gay(ish), and upon this realization, embrace their choice enthusiastically. The two of them make a great team, but each has his own qualities individually, and I really enjoyed the play between the two of them. Together they were a lot of fun.
The first half of the novel is really engaging - how they decide to get married, their first months of married life and coming out to the world. It's the classic dream scenario where you wake up and find out you're basically the richest person on the planet - what would you do? Maybe it comes a smidge too easy, but they make it an enjoyable ride. (And let's face it, every time they had to make out to convince someone they were gay, I smiled.)
The second half veered off the newlywed fantasy life a bit into a more action-thriller-who-dun-it? track, as Tyler and Glen and company try to track down who has been trying to kill them. I didn't think this worked quite as well, particularly after the cruise; it was clear that a lot was going on, but explanations were harder to follow, and it felt like explanatory steps got skipped. Plus, the giant underground command center was a bit much, even for these two.
On a lesser note, Sanders could have used another proofreading run; about half a dozen errors popped out at me. I'm also curious as to how much background he developed for his characters. For example, Tyler's family situation is a bit unclear; he has a stepmother, who is obviously not his mother, or apparently his half-brother's mother, so it's at least wife #3, but she doesn't seem young enough for that. And if Tyler's half-brother Jeremy is older, why wasn't he in line for this massive inheritance? The comments at the end about boarding school also made me wonder where exactly Tyler and Glen met; apparently they've been best friends for 16 years, and Tyler is 25, but they didn't go to boarding school together... Where's the connection?
At any rate, I did really enjoy the characters and the humor in Glen & Tyler's Honeymoon Adventure, and I'm really looking forward to the next in the series. (I just think that Sanders needs another editor to poke at a couple points for him.)
P.S. And Mr. Saunders, if you happen to have written a couple bedroom scenes that didn't quite make the final cut, feel free to send those my way. ;)(less)
In some ways I liked this book best out of the trilogy - there's a fair amount of action, and it feels directed and not aimless, unlike the first two....moreIn some ways I liked this book best out of the trilogy - there's a fair amount of action, and it feels directed and not aimless, unlike the first two. Also, Jenn sucks a lot less. She comes into her role as a leader and is so less annoying.
Still though, the plot overall was on the confusing side and seemed to leave a lot of things out. How did all the warriors manage to gather in Transylvania for the big battle? Given previous descriptions of travel, it would seem rather hard for people all over the world to come to vampire-infested territory with weapons and food, even if they got the word on where to be. Also, Jenn's sudden knowledge of military tactics baffled me - and that none of the other [older, more experienced] troop leaders tried to usurp her. The entire final battle was just mystifying - the bit with the virus was way to easy and convenient (if it was so easy to do and spread worldwide anyway, why wasn't it released as soon as it was ready?), and I still don't understand why Jenn and Antonio's romance was so crucial to the final outcome.
Anyway, this probably would have been a 2.5->3 star book for me, but I'm docking a point for confusion and nonsense. (less)
What a waste. I know this is just a little spin-off ebook, but still - how can anything professional created today contain so many typos? Not to menti...moreWhat a waste. I know this is just a little spin-off ebook, but still - how can anything professional created today contain so many typos? Not to mention that the characters are still basically stereotypes, and the details "Castle" includes to make it sound like he's done some research on his subjects sounds like it came from Wikipedia. Please, get a better ghost writer.(less)
I feel like I'm being very generous with 3 stars. As some others have commented, this is a letdown after the first two in the series. There really isn...moreI feel like I'm being very generous with 3 stars. As some others have commented, this is a letdown after the first two in the series. There really isn't any mystery - I kept thinking things would take a Mary Higgins Clark-twist (okay, there was a smidge of that), but mostly things end how you might have guessed. Not sure why it took Hoag 440 pages to make that happen, but she did a good job of keeping me engaged right to the end. (less)
Eh, more of a 2.5. Interesting setup, but the characters were lacking and seemed to do a whole lot of waiting around. And Jenn's pity party was seriou...moreEh, more of a 2.5. Interesting setup, but the characters were lacking and seemed to do a whole lot of waiting around. And Jenn's pity party was seriously a drag. In fact, Jenn in general was a drag.(less)
Once more I would like to take the opportunity to apologize for ever comparing John Cleaver to Dexter. I love what you've done with Jo...moreDear Mr. Wells,
Once more I would like to take the opportunity to apologize for ever comparing John Cleaver to Dexter. I love what you've done with John Cleaver - he's interesting, compelling, and I'm completely drawn in. Keep up your strong momentum; I'm looking forward to the next book!
I won the second book in this series from First Reads, so I wanted to read the first in preparation.
'Enjoyed' maybe isn't the right word for this sor...moreI won the second book in this series from First Reads, so I wanted to read the first in preparation.
'Enjoyed' maybe isn't the right word for this sort of fiction, but I am Not a Serial Killer is definitely an interesting read. An intriguing character, well written narration. It did strike me as very Dexter-like (at least, based on what I've seen of the TV show), and the sudden appearance of the supernatural halfway through the book was shocking, but it was definitely interesting.
Update: The novel inspired me to pick up the Dexter book series - I've been watching the TV show - and I must apologize profusely to Dan Wells for the comparison. Jeff Lindsay's serial monstrosity is exceptionally bad fiction, and while I hold by the rather favorable parallels between the TV show and John Cleaver, there is absolutely none where Lindsay's novels are concerned.(less)