Slow plot, characters uninteresting except for one

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Mercy McClain joined the school board to protect the children of Teaville, Kansas, from the bullying she experienced as a child. When the worst offender from her school days applies for a teaching position, she is dead set against it. Yet Aaron Firebrook claims to be a changed man. Can he earn Mercy’s trust–and her support for the challenges to come? (From Goodreads)

 

I really tried to like this book, and to be fair it was good at the first third of the story. I was hoping the plot would pick up, and there would be more development throughout, but it just wasn’t there. Which is unfortunate because although this type of plot has been done in so many countless novels, it still had the potential to be good.

There wasn’t much to the characters in the book although Mercy seemed to have been the only interesting one and the only one with personality.  The chemistry with Aaron and Mercy isn’t that great and as you progress throughout the novel it’s always back and forth with them. You feel like you’re watching a never ending tennis match between these two where they’re not doing anything to gain advantage in the game. And well, to be frank it’s pretty dry.

Aaron  seemed like an all right character to read about, a guy out for redemption and feels bad for his past treatment of a lot of people (he was the town bully so to speak) and although it was nice to see part of his development and him trying to redeem himself it didn’t quite work out as I had hoped, he ended up being mopey, weepy but to the point where you have to wonder if he’s suddenly become emo. True, he’s had some pretty awful things done to him in the past but his constant mood changes from feeling good about changing, to moping on past regrets got old pretty fast, and this contributed more to the never ending tennis match I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The secondary characters surrounding our main ones have each their own issues and problems and although Jimmy’s story was a good one, it just wasn’t enough to give this book justice. The plot was slow moving and dry with minor events happening in which it doesn’t make much of a difference to the story. Sad to say this book just didn’t quite cut it for me.

I give it a 2 out of 10.

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Quietus unfortunately falls short…

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On a stormy winter night, a small plane bound for Boston goes down in the treacherous White Mountains of New Hampshire. Through a haze of morphine, Kylie O’Rourke awakens in the hospital to confused and harrowing memories of the crash. Though trapped within the wreckage with her husband, she recalls wandering the icy mountainside and speaking with the other passengers, including one who had died on impact. As the bizarre aftermath becomes sharper in her mind, it appears more ominous, along with the unshakable feeling that her survival somehow defied fate. Reassured by her doctor that the disturbing memories had been caused by her sedation, Kylie returns to her life in Boston, but the aftermath of the tragedy proves unbearable. As her husband slips away from her into his own world of survivor’s guilt and deceit, Kylie is seized by a growing paranoia that someone is stalking her every move. In her nightmares, the predator is a specter crossing over from the mountaintop to reclaim her. Then a sudden and freakish tragedy sends Kylie’s world toppling. While those around her fear she is losing her mind, she finds herself caught up in a chain of events she cannot escape.  (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers you have been warned***

I was absolutely into the first half of the book. I loved the dark setting, the dark descent of madness for poor Kylie and trying to figure out what is happening to her and her world. The mood and the setting is dark and meant to be so, this part is excellent and sets the tone of the book. You get the eerie creepy feelings and the writing style is good enough that it could be played out like a movie in your head.

So Kyle as a character is all right. She has her flaws, her marriage has flaws but I’ll be honest to say I really did like her and Jack together. You knew they had major flaws and issues that should have been resolved but they just never got around to it. But their chemistry was excellent and you could feel their love even though sad to say, it was going on a path that just wasn’t meant to be. Although their relationship wasn’t that great to begin with, love was never a problem and they looked and seemed great together but it just wasn’t meant to be.

So let’s get to the plot. It started off on the right foot. Lots of creep factor. The plane crash incident well done. Kylie’s recovery, and the slow descent to what looks like madness (but isn’t) and the book tries to explain this to you while you read. Okay. I can handle this. I wanted to know what happens next.

Then we come across this incident in Kylie’s past that’s coming back to haunt her (see what I did there? Har har) okay. It’s pretty traumatic, and well you did send the guy to death because of a crime he committed so I get it.

Julius though….This guy was a grown man while Kylie was a little girl when he died and all of sudden he’s going all creepy touchy feely and managed to induce this semi wet dream/alternate reality sequence with present day Kylie while she was on public transportation. Yeah. Ok. And stop calling her Kylie Rose. It’s annoying but also creepy in a Pedo kind of way.

So after being introduced to Julius the incubus ghost wannabe the plot just slides down the hill and it becomes almost a chore to read through. I can’t believe this book has to be 608 pages as we already know what’s going on with Kylie and her crew about 200 pages in. It gets too descriptive, too mushy and it attempts to do some sort of surreal thing about life after death yadda yadda yadda.

I tried to like it. I can’t. If you cut the book in half and redid the ending so it wasn’t one long dreary part then the book would have been much better and more enjoyable to read. But this falls so short and it’s unfortunate the theme had promise and even the characters had potential.

I give it a 2 out of 10.

Thank you FSB Associates for the review copy! Even though I didn’t enjoy the novel as much as I wanted to, nevertheless I appreciate it!

 

Review of The Case Against Owen Williams by Allan Donaldson

Case Against Owen Williams

Case Against Owen Williams

Thank you LibraryThing for providing me a copy of this book! The reason why I requested this one through Early Reviewers? several things. The plot looked interesting and it’s been quite a while since I’ve read a murder mystery with a court case all in one. I thought this was rather interesting as although it took place during World War II, it wasn’t even near a battlefield, or a gunfight. This one was in a setting far away from the fighting.

Donaldson’s new novel is a literary mystery set in the fictional town of Wakefield, New Brunswick, against the backdrop of the Second World War. Following a night at The Silver Dollar dance hall, a teenage girl turns up dead in a gravel pit. The last person reported to have seen her is Owen Williams, an introverted soldier stationed with the local garrison of “Zombies”-conscripted men unwilling to serve overseas. When Lieutenant Bernard Dorkin, a young lawyer from Saint John, volunteers to defend Williams, whom he believes is innocent, he finds himself up against a theatrical local favourite leading the prosecution and a public mostly hell-bent on a foregone conclusion. The Case Against Owen Williams explores the potential for wrongful conviction and the gaps in the justice system that allow it to flourish. (From Amazon.ca)

Well, the murder mystery aspect of the story was interesting. I’d have to say I didn’t care too much for the writing style. The story did take a while to get going and for a good part of the book it was extremely repetitive. I’m sure the goal was to attempt to establish how the crime could have been committed. There were several possible scenarios. However it was being repeated at least three times and I soon started wondering if any plot advancement was going to take place. It was frustrating to read and made the plot slow to a crawl.

The possible list of suspects were interesting, albeit small as the setting does take place a in a rather small town. I did like how word does spread fast in towns such as these, and gossip remains rampant. It’s typical of a small town, and since Dorkin is an outsider, he sticks out like a sore thumb and citizens are reluctant to talk to him. I like Dorkin though. He’s very persistent and seems to be the type to strive for the greater good even though the odds are stacked against him. I considered him to be a one of those “quiet unsung heroes” and liked him for his sense of justice. Owen Williams is different and I understand how Dorkin felt when he felt irritated towards him. Owen’s a wuss. I couldn’t help but feel irritated too. He was just a spineless little twit that needed toughening up and he really didn’t help himself in regards to the court case.

I really did enjoy reading the court case part of the novel. It was interesting and grabbed my attention, it did seem like how a court case should be. I liked how Dorkin acted during court. It was a different side to him and although he was blindsided a couple of times he was still determined to prove his client innocent. However, towards the end of court, the repetitiveness of the crime came out again and it got extremely tedious to read. It came to the point where I did skip those pages as I could memorize by heart what had happened (since it was being repeated so much.)

The ending was good, a little predictable, but good nevertheless. It provided a little spark of excitement the book needed. I was not prepared for Owen’s 360 personality change and disliked him even more for it. He deserves a good punch in the face!

Despite the tedious repetitive moments, and the writing style is a little on the dry side, I’m not sure if I could say I enjoyed this book. There were moments were it was worth a read, but perhaps I’m just not used to this writing style and I felt it drag. It did take me a considerably long time to finish this book (despite it being 288 pages). I’m not sure if I could recommend this book to anyone, however, if you’re patient enough to read through the dry bits then give it a try. I would say take it, or leave it.

I give it a 4 out of 10.

Review of The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol

Note: you do not have to read the Robert Langdon series in order. I’ve read The DaVinci Code before Angels and Demons, and jumped into The Lost Symbol (while Angels and Demons is still halfway read on the table). You will find there are a few references that point to The DaVinci Code in this book, but it’s not enough to get you confused – so you can read The Lost Symbol as a stand alone.

Robert Langdon is back and this time it has to do with the Freemasons and America. A close friend and mentor has been kidnapped with a hand left behind leaving a clue. It is up to Langdon to put the pieces together and save his friend from a ruthless and highly ambitious kidnapper.

I tried to enjoy this. I really did. It didn’t have the excitement and intrigue that the other books had. There were some parts in the book where it was fun and it got me turning a page or two, but, then I felt the action and excitement die down. The writing then got bland, the chase scenes started becoming redundant, eventually the entire book got downright…well..have to say it, boring.

I’m not sure what else to say. I personally thought the puzzles would be more entertaining and the ending well, I think it fell short. I didn’t really force myself to finish this book. I kept going because I wanted to see if there was something exciting going to happen, if something mind blowing and catastrophic will be found out and the end of the world is nigh. Well, the book certainly put that out successfully, but you’re left with an empty feeling, a feeling as if asking: “That’s it?? that’s what it was?? I read 528 pages and …that’s it?????” I was disappointed for sure.

The story arc with Mal’akh (this name belongs in a fantasy book…not in a Dan Brown one) is all right. I’d rather figured out who he really was and although perhaps his hate and anger is justified, he’s nothing more than a spoiled brat who really did deserve to rot.

Overall, over hyped and not worth the read I’m still trying to figure out where these rave reviews are coming from. Stick with either Angels and Demons (I’m not even finished and I prefer it instead of this one) or The DaVinci Code for better work from Dan Brown.

I give it a 2 out of 10.