This Blog is Dedicated to our dear friend Karen.
When she left this life she left a hole in our hearts as well as several to be read books.
We, her friends, will read these books for her.
This blog will be a sort of book club for us to post our thoughts and feelings about the stories and feelings we have of Karen while we read.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

#463 The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks


I typically wouldn't read any of Nicholas Sparks books, but since there are only 3 of us left reading Karen's books I knew I had better start reading them.  Plus, this one had no hold on the audio version so I just started listening to it on my walk to school.

This story is not unique.  Same story, different names.  A guy stalking a girl in a small town in North Carolina.  The girl has a guy protecting her as well as a dog as well as the bumbling idiot/police officer.  I feel like I've seen this movie one too many times.  I debated about even finishing it as I knew how it would end and if I was reading it for myself I probably wouldn't have finished it, but I did for Karen. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

#31 Just One Day by Gayle Forman


Karen would have loved this book. It's the YA type book she preferred.  It had me putting all my other books down so I could see what happens when I just planned to skim the first chapter while eating breakfast. 

It starts out with Alyson and her childhood best friend being sent to Europe as a high school graduation present. The girls are trying to figure life out.  One reinventing herself over and over and the other stepping out of her comfort zone and surprising herself.  While in London Alyson meets a boy and the boy talks her into going to Paris for the day.  So, she goes.  The two have adventure after adventure and then the next day she wakes up and he's gone.  She goes back to London and eventually to Boston, where she goes to college, and she is haunted by that one day in Paris.  She can't let it go. (which actually got on my nerves.  Let it go.  Move on already! But she needed closure.)  So, after a year of college she ends up gong back to Paris to find that boy and to try and figure things out.

The book is about self-discovery, I suppose.  It is filled with cliché's and unrealistic scenarios, but I enjoyed it.  Maybe I just needed a light, nonsense page-turner right now.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

#293 Mary Mary James Patterson


What's this? Kris gives a James Patterson book a positive review? Yeah, I was as surprised as you were. Overall, the writing was tight, the ending was believable (though a bit anticlimactic), and unlike most of the other Cross books, there's an actual mystery. There were a few things I didn't like - the sex scenes and Cross's entire interaction with females in general, for instance. What was the point of having the LA detective come on so strong? It wasn't continued in the rest of the book, and it added nothing to the plot. Was it to show how ridiculously irresistible Cross is? And how long will the relationship with his new lady friend last? And please, what the heck is going on with Christine?

These issues (which all seem to relate to Cross's enormous ego) aside, this was a solid addition to the Alex Cross series - better, in my opinion, than most of the others.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#331 Maximum Ride by James Patterson

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, #1)

This was a bit better than the last Patterson book I read, Witch and Wizard . Both are in my library's Young Adult section, but this one feels like it was written for young adults, while the other felt like it was written for a younger audience (or for the mentally challenged). Basically, this one doesn't have the condescending tone that I was picking up from the other; it seems to treat the reader like a normal (if younger) adult.

The book does have the same annoying thing where Patterson takes a known entity - in this case, a well-known toy store and a ritzy New York restaurant - and changes its name slightly. FAO Schwartz becomes AFO Schmidt, and Tavern on the Green becomes Garden Tavern. I have no idea why Patterson does this, and it's possible the average teen reader wouldn't catch it, but it's annoying nonetheless.

To be honest, I was a little bit bored with the story. The "flock" does a lot of wandering around, lost and clueless, broken up occasionally by being attacked by the Erasers. I'm intrigued by Jeb and what his relationship is to the kids, especially to Max, and I'm a bit curious to know what happens next. But am I curious enough to read more of the series? I'm not sure.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#274 Witch and Wizard James Patterson


So many things. The dialog was mostly atrocious; the villains sound so blatantly, stereotypically villainous, as if their lines were pulled straight from the Villain Writing 101 textbook, and in fact, so many of the characters sound like tropes of their various character types. The sniping between Wisty and Whit is annoying. The random point-of-view switching between Whit and Wisty is confusing. There is really very little character development at all.

One of the most annoying things, to me, is the authors' reference to musical groups, authors and books, and celebrities - but changing a letter here, a word there, to create fictitious celebrities, etc. In fact, my edition of the book had an actual index of these items, "provided" by the New Order as a list of banned books, musicians, etc. Especially egregious examples: "The Pitcher in the Wheat"; Irish band B4; artist Margie O'Greeffe. I mean, why? What was the point?


Sunday, April 3, 2016

#294 Violets are Blue James Patterson

So, in the previous book, there's a bad guy, named The Mastermind, who's organizing all these crimes,and then handing them off to other criminals to actually commit. And right at the end of the book, we're told who The Mastermind really is - someone we've known for all the Alex Cross books, someone completely trusted by Cross, someone who, apparently, has been pulling the strings in Alex's life this whole time. And we, the readers, are told the identity of this person. Seriously, mind blown.

But then, with the beginning of this next book, it's like that whole big issue is set on the back burner. Yes, the Mastermind continues to call Cross, challenging and taunting him. But Cross is kept busy with a whole new serial killer (or killers) and Patterson strings us along for the majority of the book, teasing us about what, obviously, should be the main thing on Alex's mind - identifying, locating and eliminating the Mastermind.

The whole vampire killing story, the are-they-real or are-they-wannabe's question, even Cross's (inevitable) romance with his female partner - all secondary to what should have been going on between Cross and the Mastermind. And that's what bugged me most about this book.
There were a few other problems - where's his partner, Sampson, while Cross is gallivanting cross-country? Why is Nana pushing him so hard to find a woman? Why (please, why) does Cross fall into bed with every female cop or FBI agent he meets? For a clinical psychologist, Cross sure does have some issues he needs to work through.

I enjoyed the scenes with Cross spending time with his family. I like the playful banter between Cross and Nana, although she can be a bit of a jerk (and a racist) at times. But I'm glad that I won't be reading too many more of these Cross novels.