Tag Archive: 1 star


extinctExtinct by Charles Wilson

Published May 15th, 1997 by St. Martin’s.

Buy this book at: B&N / Amazon / Books a Million / Book Depository

 

Synopsis:

From the Gulf of Mexico’s warm shallow waters…to the deepest parts of the Pacific…terror comes to the surface…

Six-year-old Paul Haines watches as two older boys dive into a coastal river…and don’t come up. His mother, Carolyn, a charter boat captain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, finds herself embroiled in the tragedy to an extent she could never have imagined.

Carolyn joins the marine biologist Alan Freeman in the hunt for a creature that is terrorizing the waters along the Gulf Coast. But neither of them could have envisioned exactly what kind of danger they are facing.

Yet one man, Admiral Vandiver, does know what this creature is, and how it has come into the shallows. And his secret obsession with it will force him, as well as Paul, Carolyn and Alan, into a race against time…and a race toward death.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

This book was a serious letdown. I was told that it was different from other books in the “giant shark killing people” genre. But it’s not. It is exactly the same as every other book on the subject out there, but with even more confusion and irritation.

Let me start off with a bit of a rant. I NEVER EVER EEEEVVVVVEEERR want to see any of the following in a monster megalodon shark killing people book/movie again:

 

1. A story about the megamouth shark or coelacanth. Anybody who has ever read a single one of these stories knows those stories already! We already know about how the coelcanth was thought extinct for millions of years until one was caught in 1938. I could recite the story for you word for word with the amount of times I’ve heard it in these books. And we already know that the megamouth shark wasn’t even known to exist until 1976, and so the existence of one giant shark without anyone knowing means it’s possible for the megalodon too. I KNOW THESE THINGS, STOP TELLING ME!

2. Also, can we please stop telling the story of the shark attacks on the Jersey shore in 1916. First, I know the story like the back of my hand. But also, can we please stop saying that it was a great white shark that was responsible. Some of the attacks took place in a river. The only shark known to mankind who can survive in rivers is the bull shark. The attack pattern fits a bull shark. Most scientists have been split more than 20 years ago that it was not a white shark but a bull shark, even though officially the attacks are still recorded as white shark attacks. But seriously, stop it already.

3. I realize the the Marianas Trench is a fabulous place to say that a 100 foot long shark has been hiding for millions of years, and that’s a find theory. However, then the shark comes back to shallow water and hasn’t evolved in the last however many years to reflect their new environment? They still have exactly the same coloring as a great white, which is a shallow water predator. But I have a feeling that over many millions of years spent in deep trenches with no light, these predators would have changed and evolved their coloring and hunting patterns. Why would they still need to be able to use their eyes for sight? Living in the Marianas Trench they would have no need for sight. Why would they still have dual coloring, they don’t need to disguise themselves from prey because there is no light for their prey to see them.

4. Please please please stop giving killer sharks families that they go on revenge sprees for! Sharks do not have families. Sharks do not have mates. Sharks do not care for their babies. They get pregnant (often violently) and then they give birth and the babies are on their own. Expecting me to believe that a whole family of sharks is out there and getting revenge when one of them is killed is so laughable. Two second on Google would tell you that it was stupid and ludicrous.

 

Alright, now that I’ve had my little rant, lets move on to the flaws in the writing of this book:

 

1. I did not know until 200 pages into this crappy book that it actually was taking place in different places, Florida and Mississippi. That is not the mark of a good author. I thought they were in Florida and all of a sudden someone mentions Mississippi and I had no idea where that came from.

2. I have the ability to suspend my disbelief a great deal, but I couldn’t with this. There was two 25-foot megalodons, one 50 foot megalodon, and two 200-foot megalodons….but they only manage to eat about 10 people total. What the fuck is up with that? And why are these mega-predators eating scrawny bony little humans when there are whales and seals to be had? And if these sharks had so much food to eat in the depths, why come to the surface at all? Again, no logical sense made.

3. Switching between different character POVs literally every 4 paragraphs is not an effective way to tell a story. All it did was confuse me. It took me almost the whole book to figure out who all the characters were because I never spent more than a page with any of them. Boring, and annoying.

 

If I want a giant killer shark book that is at least funny in its stupidity I’ll go back to the MEG series, because this sucked.

 

marrows pitMarrow’s Pit by Keith Deininger

Published March 11th, 2014 by DarkFuse

Buy this story at: Amazon

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you DarkFuse!

 

I have some problems with this short story. Actually a lot of problems. But my biggest one is that I’m fairly certain this story is a ripoff of another short story, The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster. Let me just show you what I mean.

Here is the synopsis for Marrow’s Pit:

 

Built to encompass the entire range of lifeless mountains, it had always, relentlessly, clanked on and on. Within, vast halls and endless corridors were filled with the sounds of metal on metal, with hissing steam, with squealing gears. In the eyes of its citizens, it was sacred, deified, omniscient. Enshrined in their mythology for innumerable generations, it had gone by countless designations, but its truest name was perhaps its plainest: the Machine.

For Ballard, the Machine is a place of tedium, and ignorance, and cruelty. He sees little use in his mundane job and secretly questions the purpose of the Machine. When tragedy strikes, Ballard is forced to embark on a paranoid journey that will take him outside of the Machine, and everything he’s ever known, over the edge into darkness, past the point of no return…toward the blackness known as Marrow’s Pit.

 

And here is the synopsis for The Machine Stops:

 

The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard ‘cell’, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Travel is permitted but unpopular and rarely necessary. Communication is made via a kind of instant messaging/video conferencing machine called the speaking apparatus, with which people conduct their only activity, the sharing of ideas and knowledge. The two main characters, Vashti and her son Kuno, live on opposite sides of the world. Vashti is content with her life, which, like most inhabitants of the world, she spends producing and endlessly discussing secondhand ‘ideas’. Kuno, however, is a sensualist and a rebel. He persuades a reluctant Vashti to endure the journey (and the resultant unwelcome personal interaction) to his cell. There, he tells her of his disenchantment with the sanitised, mechanical world. He confides to her that he has visited the surface of the Earth without permission and that he saw other humans living outside the world of the Machine. However, the Machine recaptured him, and he has been threatened with ‘Homelessness’, that is, expulsion from the underground environment and presumed death. Vashti, however, dismisses her son’s concerns as dangerous madness and returns to her part of the world.

 

Is it just me or do those two things sound like the exact same story? Yeah, it did to me too. But The Machine Stops did it better.

This could have been more appropriately titled, Desperate Househusbands or a Lifetime Movie called The Cheating Wife. That’s all we hear about. The Machine and Marrow’s Pit are hardly discussed at all. It is never pointed out how Ballard’s tragic mistake is uncovered by the general populace, only that it is. We are never told about why his life is so unsatisfactory, or why that’s the Machine’s fault, but it is. We spend most of the time with Ballard running around having visions of his wife, hearing her voice in his head, and generally being terrified of everything. It was boring.

I cannot recommend this book. Go read The Machine Stops, it is a much better story.

 

Review: Chance by Kem Nunn

chance Chance by Kem Nunn

Published February 18th, 2014 by Scribner

Buy this book at: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository / Books a Million

 

Synopsis:

In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective—from a Los Angeles Times Book Prize-winning author.Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women. While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone. Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type. Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by “D”; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade. D is fascinated by Chance’s tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance.

As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike. Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?) But the sexually voracious “Jackie Black” has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined…

Gritty, twisted, and impossible to put down, the surprises keep coming in Chance until the final page has been turned.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Scribner!

 

I feel so deceived by this book, it is a classic case of false advertising. So for my review, I will go through the synopsis sentence by sentence and tell you how it was a lie.

 

 

In an intense tale of psychological suspense, a San Francisco psychiatrist becomes sexually involved with a female patient who suffers from multiple personality disorder, and whose pathological ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective

 

First, that sentence is just too long, 33 words for one sentence. But anyway. Yes, the psychiatrist does sleep with a female patient, twice in the entire book. But it is not really his patient like the sentence implies. He sees her one time before referring her to another therapist. That’s the extent of their relationship until the doctor crosses every professional boundary there is to intentionally inject himself into her life. And ex-husband is subjective because they are still married but separated.

 

 

Dr. Eldon Chance is a brilliant, lonely, forensic neuropsychologist with a long track record of getting involved with damaged, complicated women.

 

I can’t really say whether Chance is lonely or not, all we hear about is his bitch of a soon to be ex-wife, his furniture and his obsession with Jaclyn. And I definitely wouldn’t call him brilliant because he violates the tenets of his profession in such a way as to potentially lose his license forever, puts himself in the line of fire of a maniac, and then commits several crimes. Sounds like something of an idiot actually. And if a track record can be made with a whole two instances over a lifetime, then sure he has a track record. But personally I think twice every does not really a pattern make.

 

While apartment hunting after separating from his wife, a series of bad decisions leads to Chance sleeping with a patient named Jaclyn Blackstone.

 

Apartment hunting…..sort of. He talks a lot about apartment hunting, but he doesn’t actually do it until about 300 pages in.

 

 

Unfortunately her ex-husband is an Oakland homicide detective and the jealous type.

 

Again, not an ex-husband….separated only. And Jaclyn claims he was horribly abusive and controlling, that’s just a tad bit different than jealous.

 

Meanwhile, Dr. Chance meets a young man who goes by “D”; Chance believes he is a war-veteran, but he is in fact a deranged loner and self-styled Samurai skilled in the art of the blade.

 

Because Dr. Chance is an idiot and just automatically believes everything that everyone tells him. Also he “meets” him when D creates pieces to attach to Chance’s furniture that will allow him to sell it as authentic instead of the duplicate that it is. We heard about that at length, for many chapters.

 

 

D is fascinated by Chance’s tales of his tormented and increasingly dangerous affair with Jaclyn and advises him that her ex-husband will find a way to destroy Chance.

 

Can you really call it an affair when they actually meet or speak less than 10 times, have sex only twice, and don’t really have any emotion toward each other except Chance’s obsession. Again, not an ex-husband, estranged husband.

 

 

As Detective Blackstone does indeed threaten the doctor, Chance and D plan a counter-strike.

 

Except that they have very little evidence that the detective has done anything except make a few veiled threats. So you have Crazy 1 and Crazy 2 plan to attack someone who hasn’t really done anything that they can prove. Great plan geniuses.

 

 

Meanwhile Chance continues his steamy affair with Jaclyn Blackstone (or is it one of her multiple personalities?)

 

Hardly steamy, the sex scenes were “fade to black…..so this is what happened during the time we didn’t see Chance. Vague details….vague details….his prostate is sore.” Wow, I am so turned on right now! /sarcasm  And who really cares if she has more than one personality, the author barely mentions it so why should it matter to me?

 

 

But the sexually voracious “Jackie Black” has a story that is far more complex and darker than he could have ever imagined…

 

Well….not really. Complex and dark if you imagine that she had a history that she didn’t tell Chance, to whom she spoke only a handful of times. Oh the horror! Also, this pissed me off. It implies that she is setting him up somehow, or has a larger plan at work than what she reveals, or is seducing him for some darker purpose. Except she isn’t. It’s exactly the way it appears to be.

 

 

Gritty, twisted, and impossible to put down, the surprises keep coming in Chance until the final page has been turned.

 

Gritty…not really, try boring and overloaded with details that don’t matter. Twisted, I guess so but only if we’re counting Chance’s psyche. Impossible to put down….actually I couldn’t wait to put it down. Surprises until the last page! The only surprise was that Chance got exactly what he wanted. The story ends and there are no repercussions at all for any of the bad choices he made. Gee, great, feel surprised? A HEA ending for a scumbag.

 

 

 

 

religionWhat You Don’t Know About Religion (But Should) by Ryan T. Cragun

Published March 15th 2013 by Pitchstone Publishing

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

What is a religion? Why are people religious? Are religious people more educated than nonreligious people? Are religious people more moral, more humble, or happier? Are religious people more or less prejudiced than nonreligious people? Is religion good for your health? Are people becoming more or less religious? Studying religion as a social phenomenon, Ryan T. Cragun follows the scientific data to provide answers to these and other questions. At times irreverent, but always engaging and illuminating, What You Don’t Know About Religion (but Should) is for all those who have ever wondered whether religion helps or hurts society—or questioned what the future holds for religion.

Rating: 1 star

Review:

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

There are really only a few things you need to know about this book:

“I could have approached this book that way (highly scientific and detailed), But had I done that my audience would have dropped considerable. So I did simplify things.”

No, I swear to God that particular misspelling actually is in the book. But just remember, this book was written for dummies, that will be important later.

“Our new world needs tolerance.”

“When I was religious, I was very arrogant.”

“If you’re on the fundamentalist bandwagon, it’s time to get off……We nonreligious will inhereit the earth, but we won’t share it with fundamentalists.”

“What I hope to have done with this book, however, is undermine and destroy the appeal of religious fundamentalism.”

“To my mind the scientific research suggested to me a logical path – to reject religion. You need not do that. You could choose the best religious alternative to that: liberal religion. I can respect that choice.”

“After people read this book, they should view religious fundamentalists with sympathy and a bit of scorn.”

“Religious fundamentalists are detriments to society and they should be treated as such. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we round them up and lock them away – that would be awful and is unethical. I’m suggesting that you should think about religious fundamentalists as though they are misogynistic, racist, homophobic Luddites, because they are.”

“…but you can pity then, and frankly, I think it is perfectly fine to tell then that you do. Tell them that you feel sorry for their choice to oppose the qualities of a progressive, modernized, advanced, democratic society. It’s time that religious fundamentalists were considered socially deviant.”

So, am I the only disturbed by these quotes? Tolerance huh? Yes, this is a very tolerant book! It will tell you for 250 pages that the highly religious are dumber, less well off, less educated, more prejudiced, more violent, misogynistic, homophobic, hypocritical, arrogant racists. I wanted to give this book a fair shot, I really did. The author is a former Mormon, and so am I. I was a fourth generation Mormon, born into the faith and I stayed long past the time I started to have doubts. I finally left the religion and frankly it left a bad taste in my mouth. So I wanted to agree with this author! And I couldn’t! Because I have never read a more prejudiced and hateful book by a more arrogant author in all my life.

This book was purported to be about the social science of how and why people are religious, and whether or not religion is really such a benefit to people’s lives as it claims to be. This intrigued me. But what I got was “look at this graph, this is what that graph tells us. now look at this graph, this is what it tells us. shit, religious people suck!” And rinse and repeat for 200 something pages. I learned nothing about religion and everything I ever needed to know about the author’s character.

Now, by this point the author will probably tell you one of two things about me (and he admits it in his book). If I don’t agree with his points then:

A. I am a religious fundamentalist who just is socially deviant and can’t understand simple logic, even though the book was written for dummies. Everyone should point and laugh at the idiot with a God.

B. I didn’t read the book all the way through and so therefore I failed to grasp it.

Let’s address this. First, I did read this pile of garbage until the very last sentence. And I learned nothing and have thoroughly wasted my time. Also I am one of the people who would be classed as “non religious” in his book. I am now a Pagan and have been since a few years after I left the Mormon church. I have faith in many things and I practice my faith in private, but I do not participate in a religion with others.

Save yourself the time and find an actual book about the science of religion, because this one is just thinly veiled hateful spew about religious people and religion in general. Oh, who am I kidding, there is no veil!

Flash Point by Nancy Kress

flash pointFlash Point by Nancy Kress

Published November 8th, 2012 by Viking Juvenile

Buy this book at: Books a Million / Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

Reality TV meets a chillingly realistic version of America—and the fame game is on!

Amy had dreams of going to college, until the Collapse destroyed the economy and her future. Now she is desperate for any job that will help support her terminally ill grandmother and rebellious younger sister. When she finds herself in the running for a slot on a new reality TV show, she signs on the dotted line, despite her misgivings. And she’s right to have them. TLN’s Who Knows People, Baby—You? has an irresistible premise: correctly predict what the teenage cast will do in a crisis and win millions. But the network has pulled strings to make it work, using everything from 24/7 hidden cameras to life-threatening technology to flat-out rigging. Worse, every time the ratings slip, TLN ups the ante. Soon Amy is fighting for her life—on and off camera.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

Short version – This book sucked.  Nothing happens.  Not a damn thing.  Then suddenly the author seems to remember they are writing a book to interest people and something happens.  Then the book is over.  Save your money and buy a book where something, ANYTHING happens.

Long version – I was really looking forward to this book, it’s embarrassing just how much.  I wanted to love it so much that I pre-ordered it months before it was released.  Then I started seeing a lot of bad reviews and had an “uh oh, did I screw this royally?” moment.  The premise interested me because it sounded a tiny bit like The Hunger Games but in a more tame fashion.  Interesting, and I was willing to give it a shot despite my sudden misgivings.

I have seen people speculating that the grammar or spelling errors might be because they got an uncorrected ARC copy…it wasn’t.  There were many times when I did a double take and said to my book “what the hell is that supposed to say…because it definitely doesn’t say whatever it is!”.  I got annoyed that they kept calling Kaylie different names.  One paragraph its Kaylie, the next paragraph (no joke, literally the next paragraph) it was Kayla. It confused the hell out of me.  There were enough characters for me to keep track of, I didn’t need one with two names.

Amy was an idiot.  A irredeemable idiot.  First, she applies for a job without having any idea what the job is.  Who does that?  Idiot Amy does.  Then, she signed a legally binding contract for the mystery job without even bothering to read it…or even skim it!  It was at that moment that I knew Amy and I wouldn’t get along.  But not only was she a complete moron, she was boring too.  I sort of agreed with the emails she got later in the book that said she did nothing and was a waste of air time.  She was a waste of book time too.  And she treated her sister like shit, then I branded her total Grade A bitch status.

The plot was just so dull.  9 out of the 10 scenarios were laughably stupid.  The book jacket says that they kept upping the ante until Amy and the others are fighting for their lives both on screen and off screen.  Wait, hold on.  Where is THAT book?  Because it sure as shit isn’t the book I just read!  The scenarios were all boring and much the same.  I didn’t see any upping the ante at all.  Then suddenly we get to the last scenario and they are breaking the law and trying to kill people.  What the actual fuck?  Boring to illegal in 2.5 pages!  But by then I didn’t fall for the bullcrap because I’d seen the same tactic in the 9 other scenarios so that made it not only implausible but also predictable.

Stupidest love triangle….square….ever.  So not only did the love triangle suck but they tried to make it a love square, which was weird and made even less sense than the love triangle.  Naturally one of the guys was the pretty boy who everyone falls in love with.  The other guy I actually liked.  But only one of them ever seemed to be interested in Amy at all, but Amy was only interested in the other guy until he did something she didn’t like and then she was all over (literally) the guy who had been flirting with her from day one.  Then they tried to throw in another person and it just got weird and stupid and I didn’t believe any of it at all.  Amy was boring, the other girl was a manipulative bitch.  What’s to like?!

And now for some notes for other authors to learn from this train wreck:

1. When you are writing a dystopian novel in which everything has changed drastically from the way we know it, explain how that happened!  And exactly what happened!  Just referring to everything as “pre-Collapse.” isn’t helpful.  I don’t know what the fuck the Collapse was or did!?  Tell me for the love of almighty Goddess!  Just a few paragraphs to explain the backstory would have been sufficient, or a prologue.  Anything!

2. Stop with the love triangles already.  Seriously, it’s gotten old.  And if you have to do it, can you at least make it interesting?  A 3 girl love triangle?  A 2 girls, 1 guy triangle?  A 3 girl love triangle?  At this point I’d take just about everything other than 2 guys head over heels in love with the most boring girl on the planet.

3. Unless your book is a comedy, if I’m laughing to the point of tears you’ve failed….badly.  Take heed.

4. If you are going to give your heroine some kind of special power, at least tell me what it actually is.  I read an entire book and I have not a clue about what Amy’s phantoms were or what purpose they served.

5. If you are writing in a character who is giving your heroine hints about what’s to come as a warning, please make sure those hints make sense.  Maybe it’s because Amy was an idiot that she didn’t get it earlier, but I didn’t get it either.  Two vague words does not a warning make.  Make it clear or I really won’t give a damn.

6. Please, stop the endless lists of designer brands.  At a certain point I start thinking that they are paying you for product placement.  Then I start to giggle.  Then when I get tired of giggling, I just skim the rest of your shitty tome.

7. If your own characters tell me how much something sucks, don’t write it.  Otherwise I will sit there and nod and go “yep character A, you’re write that’s fucking stupid.”

Don’t buy this book, I beg you.  If you absolutely have to read it then get it from the library or a friend who already wasted their money on it.  It’s not worth it.  It’s not even worth the paper it’s printed on.

Lost Souls by Lisa Jackson

lost soulsLost Souls by Lisa Jackson

Published March 25th, 2008 by Kensington

Buy this book at: Books a Million / Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

Kristi Bentz wants to write true crime. All she needs is that one case that will take her to the top. She finds it when she enrolls at All Saints College after learning that four girls have disappeared in less than two years.

All four girls were “lost souls”–troubled, vulnerable girls with no one to care about them, no one to come looking for them if they disappeared. The only person that believes Kristi is her ex-lover, Jay McKnight, a professor on campus. The police think they’re runaways, but Kristi senses there’s something that links them–something terrifying. . .

As Kristi gets deeper into her investigation, she gets the feeling she’s being watched and followed–studied, even. Then the bodies start turning up, and Kristi realizes she is playing a game with a killer who has selected her for membership in a special club from which there will be no escaping death.

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

Lisa Jackson, what is happening with you? You’ve made me sad, very sad.  I have been a fan of this series, and another of hers too, from the first book.  The last book in this series disappointed me but it still had a few strong points.  This book not only was disappointing, there were no strong points.  Every sentence of this book reminded me of every other book in the series so far.  And Kristi just irritated the living hell out of me.  However, I am getting ahead of myself.

Let’s address Kristi first.  In the beginning I liked Kristi quite a bit.  She was intelligent, sassy, street savvy, and one of the better characters in my opinion.  But somewhere along the way Kristi lost her brain.  It might have fallen out her ear when she was abducted by a serial killer in the last book.  I’m just not sure what happened.  First, she seems to have trouble remembering whether she likes her stepmother or not.  In one paragraph she says that she likes her and just a page later she says that they don’t really get along too well.  Well, which is it?  Then she moves and becomes obsessed with missing girls at her college.  Gee, that sounds smart!  Next thing you know, she’s running around doing all those TSTL things that make me despise so many YA heroines.  For the record ladies, it is NEVER a good idea to walk home in the dark when you know someone is watching you just because you’re too stubborn to let your ex drive you home.  Things like that made her really get on my nerves.  Also ignoring her instincts.  Her instincts are excellent for sensing trouble, unfortunately she’s too stupid to listen to them.   She actively recognizes that her instincts are correct and then disregards them.

The plot has been done so many times in this series.  Kristi must have a serial killer attractant tattooed on her ass, because she seems to be the perfect victim type for every serial killer on the planet.  Which brings me to another plot point.  The actual whodunnit was not that great of a reveal.  One part of it was painfully obvious, to the point where the characters were making observations about how obvious it was.  The other two were so obscure that not a single clue was given through the entire book over who it was.  But in the end there was nothing about the plot that was different or new and exciting.  It was just like all the other books in the series except more boring.

One last annoyance, isn’t this series about Bentz and Montoya?  We hardly saw either of them at all.  Kristi should never have been a main part of this series because she just isn’t interesting enough.  All the good people got taken out and the book suffered for it.

Last Days by Adam Nevill

last days Last Days by Adam Nevill

Published February 26th, 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Cover and synopsis provided by the publisher.

 

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Books A Million / Amazon / B&N

 

Synopsis:

Indie filmmaker Kyle Freeman is hired to create a documentary about The Temple of the Last Days—a notorious cult that met its chilling end in an Arizona desert back in 1975. As he travels to the cult’s birthplaces in London and France, and its infamous demise in the United States, a series of uncanny events plague all his shoots: out-of-body experiences, visits in the night, ghastly artifacts appearing in their rooms each evening, and the deaths of their interviewees.

What exactly it is the cult managed to awaken – and what is its interest in Kyle Freeman?

 

Rating: 1 star

 

Review:

There is only one way to put this.  This book sucked.  It sucked to high heaven.  It bored me nearly to death with every page.  I honestly wondered if all of the good reviews were paid to say nice things about this crappy tome.  Even as I write this, I think that might still be the case.  With all that said, here are my issues with this crappy thing.

The author has zero sense of pacing.  This book moved at a snail’s pace for chapter upon chapter and then suddenly all kinds of things started to happen in the last quarter of it.  The idea of this book is a good one, a filmmaker is hired to do a documentary about a cult from the seventies that committed mass suicide/murder and manages to stumble into paranormal activity that targets him.  That sounds like it should be good right?  It’s not.  In every single city or location the characters visit the exact same things happen.  Every person the characters interviewed said exactly the same thing.    Approximately 300 pages was a repeat of what happened in the first 100 pages. I was bored to tears.

The author’s descriptions were annoying and confusing.  I didn’t understand what was going on most of the time.  As an example, the author described the room in which the last scene takes place for 2 whole pages.  The picture of it was fully formed in my head and it was a great description!  But then all of a sudden he starts talking about a “large plastic tent” in the middle of the room that had never been mentioned before.  Then just a few paragraphs later it’s described as a “plastic cube” that is solid enough that it requires beating it and shooting at it to dismantle it.  But, I thought it was a tent?  And why wasn’t this included in the initial room description if it’s so important?  If it was a tent then why was it so hard to puncture?  By the time I got to this question I had been pulled completely out of the story and just didn’t give a crap anymore.  This happened so often that I was regularly confused and thought I had skipped over something accidentally.  So I would go back and re-read that part and realize, no I hadn’t skipped over it, it was never addressed.

Most stereotypical American characters ever!  Let’s see, there was the sheriff who was a complete hillbilly.  Cowboy hat and boots, spoke with a drawl, kept saying things like “ya’ll” and “ain’t”, could have walked right out of a western…but he’s from Arizona.  Yeah, it confused me too.  Or Jed, the gun toting, muscle bound Jesus freak who thinks he’s on a mission for God, is unstable and keeps pointing guns at his own friends.  I mean, really?  All we needed was an overweight, outspoken black woman and the stereotypes would have been a complete collection!  It was ridiculous.

Kyle was supremely unlikable.  He spent most of the book mentally belittling and mocking the people he was interviewing for believing in this paranormal stuff.  Then he went on to experience the paranormal stuff himself and freaked out, running around and screaming at everyone else to figure out a way to protect him.  Shut up dirtbag!  Nobody likes you!  Just die already and quit your whining.  I hated this guy so much.

I was very disappointed that I hated the book this much.  I heard this author compared to my favorite author, Scott Sigler, and was excited to see if that comparison held true.  It most certainly does not!  This author has no sense of pacing, storytelling, or character building.  I can’t, in good conscience recommend this book to anyone, it was awful.

beautiful bastardBeautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren

Published February 12th, 2013 by Gallery Books

Cover and synopsis provided by the publisher.

Buy this book at: Amazon/ Book Depository / B&N / Books A Million

Synopsis:

An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. Discover the story that garnered more than two million reads online.

Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate—and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative—completely infuriating—creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules—or outright smash them—if it means he can have her. All over the office.

As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other. Originally only available online as The Office by tby789—and garnering over two million reads on fan fiction sites—Beautiful Bastard has been extensively updated for re-release.

Rating: 1 star

Review:

This was one of the most pointless, asinine, and ridiculous books I’ve ever read in my life.  Luckily for all of us that means that this review will likely be short.  Most of the time in erotica, you get a story about why the main characters like each other enough that they want to have sex.  Not in this one.  Here, these two despise each other, yet still have sex at least once every ten pages.  This is just porn, pure and simple written porn.  It was a Twilight porn, and it is not suddenly better once the names have been changed.  There was no plot, there was no characterization.  Just two people who insult each other, screw each other,  fight some more, insult some more, have more sex….and repeat for 300 of the most boring pages in all of fiction.

These two characters were the most narcissistic human beings ever and all that happens is they have sex.  Then they fight and get pissy for absolutely no reason and then make up and have sex. Oh, and the panties hoarding thing is on the level of a rapist from Law & Order: SVU.  I shuddered every time he indulged that particular whim.  And then shuddered in greater horror when I realized we had to endure another sex scene.  Horrid book with no redeeming qualities.

No wait, it has one redeeming quality.  It announces right off the bat exactly what it is, a rewritten fan fiction.  At least it doesn’t try to hide it.

Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

the twelveThe Twelve by Justin Cronin

Published October 16th, 2012 by Random House

Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

At the end of The Passage, the great viral plague had left a small group of survivors clinging to life amidst a world transformed into a nightmare. In the second volume of this epic trilogy, this same group of survivors, led by the mysterious, charismatic Amy, go on the attack, leading an insurrection against the virals: the first offensives of the Second Viral War.

To do this, they must infiltrate a dozen hives, each presided over by one of the original Twelve. Their secret weapon: Alicia, transformed at the end of book one into a half human, half viral—but whose side, in the end, is she really on?

Rating (out of 5): 1 star

Review:

***Warning: Spoiler alert!  Consider yourself duly warned!***

It is with great sadness that I give this book one single star, and even that might be more than it deserves.  The Twelve is the sequel to 2010’s The Passage and is the second book in the trilogy.  I read The Passage and I absolutely loved it.  I admit that there was a large section of the middle that was horribly boring and tedious, but overall I thought the book was one of the best I had read.  I looked forward to The Twelve with much fervor and excitement.  I pre-ordered it almost a year in advance and tapped my foot impatiently that the release date wouldn’t get here any quicker.  When the book arrived at my house I tore open the packaging and spent a lot of time just starting at it in wonder.  It was finally here!  Then I plunged into it and was stopped dead in my tracks.  This book that I had looked forward to for over a year was just not good!  It took everything I didn’t like about The Passage and amplified it a hundred times.  I was so distraught that I thought perhaps it was my fault and I should put the book down for awhile and come back to it.  So I took a month long break, and it still wasn’t any good when I came back.

My first irritation with this book was something I noticed in The Passage but it was much much worse in this one.  Cronin has a tendency to use really weird word choices sometimes.  And he falls into purple prose constantly.  No, scratch that, he doesn’t fall into purple prose, all he writes is purple prose.  I got really sick of hearing about the undulating crimson waves of light shimmering across the cerulean sky as the sun peeked it’s head just over the dusky horizon as if afraid to make any further appearance.  It got really old and I just wanted SOMETHING to happen already. Stop describing everything in such an unnecessary way and give me some plot, please!  And the word choices were just strange at times.  It would completely pull me out of the story as I stopped short and thought, “What?”  For example he described Amy as “meager”.  Okay, I know what meager means, but he is using it to describe her as humble and that is not a very common usage of that word.  Or describing a rape as “peculiar ministrations.”  At first I wasn’t even sure what the hell he was talking about.  It took me almost five pages to realize that was a rape scene.

My next problem was how often we jump around to different characters.  Literally every two or three pages we jumped to a completely different plot and a different narrating character and then a few pages later it was something else.  This made it really hard to track what was going on or whether we were even in the same time period.  Were we at directly after the virus or a hundred years later, I often didn’t know.  Then you add in that certain characters were present in both time periods, with no real explanation of how that happened, so that made it extra confusing about where we were.  Then you have a huge cast of characters that is impossible to keep track of on top of the confusing narration.  At one point I had to put the book down to scratch my head because I know for a fact that X character died in The Passage (I read it 3 times, he died, we buried him!), yet all of a sudden he’s back and a viral.  I think the author confused himself with the multitude of characters.

I’m also still not sure exactly what the plot was.  When I finished The Passage, I was fairly certain that we were going to be hunting down the eleven remaining virals out of the original Twelve.  But, 95% of the book was spent NOT doing that, so I have no idea just what the hell we did for nearly 600 pages.  Instead we jumped around from character to character and had a character making the virals into some kind of deity and enslaving people.  Because the plot was so vast and confused, we missed out on some great opportunities.  At one point, a young boy wants to run into a stadium after the virus is released and they don’t want him to see the horror.  What horror?  I still don’t know.  They may have wanted to protect the boy but, I wanted to see it!  I wanted to know what was going on there!  The boy escaped the adults and managed to see it, but I still didn’t.  This trend continued throughout the book.  At another point Peter is fighting a viral while locked in a cage.  We get a whole two paragraphs before we get a narrative AFTER it’s over and find out it lasted a total of 27 seconds.  I felt so incredibly ripped off.  All of the potentially good horror or action scenes were skipped over like they didn’t matter so we could spend 10 more pages on purple prose that made my eyes want to explode.

Finally, I got sick and tired of the religious references.  I had the inkling that we were going down that road from The Passage and I didn’t mind it.  But the author just tried too hard to make the connections.  I started trying to predict what the next religious reference would be.  Oh, is he the new God?  Yep, he proclaimed himself to be.  Is she going to die and then get resurrected?  Yep, she did…oh look twice.  It was pathetic that trying to predict the absurd religious references was more entertaining to me than the book itself.  It almost felt like the author was standing and looking over my shoulder saying, “See, do you get it?  Twelve Apostles and Jesus?  I’m clever huh, don’t you get it?”  Yes I get it and it’s fucking stupid!

In the end I cared about this book so little that I honestly didn’t even want to finish it.  The only reason I did finish was to see if there would be ANYTHING that would spark my interest in the third book.  I couldn’t even care that my favorite character got raped, because I had no idea that’s what happened until long after it happened.  Then I couldn’t even care that she got revenge on her rapist because it was just glossed over like it wasn’t important…like everything else that was good in this book.  At this point, I will not be reading the last book.  I loathed every page of this book and I hate the direction this plot is taking.  I don’t care how it ends anymore, this book killed any enthusiasm I had for this story.  I keep trying to figure out where all these good reviews are coming from because I am not even sure we read the same book.

To end, I want to add a personal note to Mr. Cronin:  Yes, we realize that you are a highly literary, intelligent individual who has a degree and can write literary works of genius.  But, guess what, you are writing a horror trilogy.  I know you feel guilty about “selling out” for a big paycheck and being in that dreaded mass market category, but that’s no excuse to bastardize your own work.  You have destroyed this story by trying to make it highbrow and literary.  Assuage your guilt about selling out some other way.  I swear you are on some personal mission to make me hate your book, congratulations I did.

Review: Breed by Chase Novak

breedBreed by Chase Novak

Published September 4th, 2012 by Mulholland Books

Picture and synopsis from the Goodreads book page

Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N

Synopsis:

Alex and Leslie Twisden lead charmed lives-fabulous jobs, a luxurious town house on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, a passionate marriage. What they don’t have is a child, and as they try one infertility treatment after the next, yearning turns into obsession. As a last-ditch attempt to make their dream of parenthood come true, Alex and Leslie travel deep into Slovenia, where they submit to a painful and terrifying procedure that finally gives them what they so fervently desire . . . but with awful consequences.

Ten years later, cosseted and adored but living in a house of secrets, the twins Adam and Alice find themselves locked into their rooms every night, with sounds coming from their parents’ bedroom getting progressively louder, more violent, and more disturbing.

Driven to a desperate search for answers, Adam and Alice set out on a quest to learn the true nature of the man and woman who raised them. Their discovery will upend everything they thought they knew about their parents and will reveal a threat so horrible that it must be escaped, at any cost.

Rating (out of 5): 1 star

Review:

As much as I was looking forward to this book, by the end I hated it.  No, hated it not a strong enough word.  I loathed this book.  So many times I wanted to put it down and never pick it back up, but I soldiered on until the very last page and began to wish I had followed through with the urge to abandon it.  This book was a perfect example of a great idea that was executed terribly.  This was written by bestselling author Scott Spencer, under the pseudonym Chase Novak.  I, for one, will not be checking out anything under either name.  This saddens me because I was looking forward to this book so much that I suggested it for my online book club to read, that ended up being a very poor decision.

***Warning:  From this point forward this review may contain spoilers.  Stop reading now to remain unspoiled.***

The basic premise of this was intriguing.  An affluent couple who is so desperate to have a child that they travel to an unknown part of the world to have an unknown procedure performed on them.  Here is where I ran into my first problem.  At one point Leslie decides not to go through with the procedure.  I can’t argue with her, she’s in a country she’s never heard of, in a filthy office, about to be injected by a weird doctor with something and the doctor won’t tell her what it is.  She starts hollering and the doctor orders her husband from the room…and he complies!  For all he knows they are holding her down and injecting her against her will!   I was furious on her behalf.  But then I got furious with her.  She just lets it go and proceeds on their lives together, including having sex with him that same day!  I would have gotten a good divorce lawyer before I was out the door of the office after beaning the doctor in his skull with my foot!  So that bothered me.

Another huge problem I had with the beginning of the story was the POV.  It was written in third person omniscient.  So it basically read like a news report.  We would see what was happening and how it happened.  But we’d have no idea why it happened, what they thought or felt about what happened, or any of the details that make you care about the characters.  At one point Alex grabs a small rodent and eats it and I had no idea why.  Since i didn’t know if this was an impulse he’d struggled with or a thought he couldn’t ignore anymore it had all of the significance of a pointless sidenote.  For that reason I found that I didn’t really care about Leslie or Alex because the only things I could see about them were ignorant, selfish, and horrendously stupid.

After the twins are born the POV shifts to third person close, which was slightly better than before but by that point I just didn’t care.  I didn’t care about the characters, I didn’t care about the plot, I wanted something to happen. Yeah yeah, I get it the parents are monsters now.  They are fighting off the inhuman urge to eat their children.  Gotcha, now let’s do something with it.  What they did was that the twins ran away and spent most of the book running from their parents.  Along the way they discover other kids that are like them and who have parents like them.  Apparently there are hundreds of these people wandering around and yet…no one else in the world has noticed.  That stretched my reality a little too far to be believable.

We also learn a little bit about the original doctor and what was in the original shots.  A very little bit.  I was excited about that and expected this story to become a quest for answers.  But it didn’t.  We were still on some stupid chase from the parents which was boring and starting to drag.  When the parents finally catch them I thought, yay good stuff coming!  Nope, it just kind of stopped.  Complete with some death and mayhem.  And THEN we go on a quest for answers back to the original doctor.  All I could think was, “Why did no one think of this in the last 10 years?”  But even that proved worthless because there were no answers to be had.  The plot never went anywhere and then you reached the end and realized that you had spent several hundred pages on a pointless quest for nothing.  This plot had so much potential and all of it was squandered.  When I reached the end of the book I was mostly relieved that it was over.  If there is a sequel, I will buy it only to tear out off the pages and shred them by hand.  I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.  All that you’ll gain from it is feeling vaguely nauseous and then being angry that there was no pay off for the grossness.