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Saturday, October 07, 2017

Catching Up

All of the books below, except for The Naturalist, were read in September. I read 4-5 books a week, and not all of them are going to be winners.  The following books kept me interested enough to finish them, but weren't books that would make me pursue the author or the series.  Books are a matter of taste, and each of the following books has had some 5 star reviews on Goodreads, opinions should be taken with a grain of salt.  Always.  You might love one or more of them.

My best friend and I disagree on books all the time.  She will recommend a book that leaves me cold and will hate a book that I love.

The Naturalist started off exceptionally well.  Dr. Theo Cray is returning to his hotel room only to discover a swat team a swat storming the hotel.  He takes cover, but when told to return to his room, he remains watching the scene.

Because he can't return to his room--it is his room being stormed.

It turns out that a former student of his has been doing research in the area and has been found dead.  Theo is taken in for questioning, but is released when it is determined that the young woman died from a bear attack.

His curiosity and a sense of guilt cause Theo to do a little more investigation and what he discovers makes him believe that a man has disguised not only this murder, but many more murders; some were listed as animal attacks, but many were never reported at all.  As Theo uses his computer to investigate missing persons in the area, he begins to locate bodies.

I really enjoyed the first portion, but  the novel became a combination of  too far-fetched and too clever and lost its initial focus.  Talk about character transformation--Theo Cray started off as an intriguingly nerdy character, but ended up as a standard action hero.  

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer

Crime/Suspense.  Oct. 1, 2017.  Print length:  382 pages.

I didn't realize that I had read the previous novel in this series when I requested Hide and Seek (Helen Grace #6) from NetGalley, but as I began reading I recognized some of the events that led up to this installment.  

In Little Boy Blue, a killer has laid the groundwork to destroy DI Helen Grace's career.  Hide and Seek finds Helen Grace in prison for crimes she didn't commit.  

When the bizarre murders of inmates in prison begin, Helen Grace finds her detective mindset kicking in, even as she fears for her own life.

Both books are suspenseful and violent.  The series is very popular and the reviews are extremely positive, but the book falls into that abyss of depending on multiple grotesque murders to create suspense.  Not my favorite plot line.  Nevertheless, M.J. Arlidge has a committed contingent of fans, and we are all different in what we look for in our crime/mystery/detective fiction.  

NetGalley/Berkley Publishing

Crime/Suspense.  Oct. 10, 2017.  Print length:  409 pages.

Although I had hoped Wolves and Roses would be a fun YA fantasy, the book didn't actually deliver.  Simplistic romance with fairies, werewolves, and witches--supposedly following fairy tale templates.

I always enjoy YA books by Sarah J. Maas, Megan Whalen Turner, Maggie Stiefvater, and Kelly Armstrong, but all of the preceding have great character development, excellent writing, and exciting plots.  Wolves and Roses failed on all three.  Others liked it much better than I did.

NetGalley/Monster House Books, LLC

YA/Fantasy.  Oct. 31, 2017.  Print length:  292 pages.

Beacon Hill by Colin Campbell follows the Resurrection Man series featuring former British cop Jim Grant, who now works for the Boston PD.

Jim Grant's character feels like a "wannabe" Jack Reacher. 
(The Jack Reacher from Lee Child's books, not the one from the films which I wouldn't see because of miscasting). Lots of action and an unusual premise make Beacon Hill interesting, and yet more surface than depth.  

One incident that was, I guess, supposed to add some dark humor involves a dog.  The reference to the dog appears again and again, and what was not funny to begin became more and more irritating.  Spoiler:  More time and emphasis was given to the unfunny squashed dog than to the death of the girlfriend.

NetGalley/Wildblue Press

Suspense/Police Procedural/Crime.  Sept. 13, 2017.  Print length:  315 pages.


  1. I haven't read any of these. I am sorry these weren't better for you. I have been hearing great things about Hide and Seek, although it hasn't called to me.

    Not all books we each like will appeal or work for the other. I have a couple friends who will not like a book and then I know I will probably like it. It's funny how that works out, but no one book is the same for each reader, is it?

    1. My problem with Hide and Seek was the grotesque murders of women. There are so many books that I'd like better if they concentrated on the characters and plot and omitted some of the aberrant details. It really was an interesting book, but I'm tired of the idea that bizarre makes it more interesting.

  2. There are some very readable books that I don't end up loving either. Books are so personal. Sorry these didn't work better for you. Hope the next batch of reads include some you can love. :)

    1. It is also true that your mood has a lot to do with how you respond. But not all the books we read are ever going to be rave-worthy. :p

  3. I'm sorry to hear that these books didn't work better for you, Jenclair. Each reader's opinions differ so that's why there's a saying "there's a book for everyone" or something like that. :) Hope the next books you're reading are better!

    1. They entertained me for a few hours--and sometimes that is all that is necessary. :)

  4. The Arlidge books are quite readable but you are right, I sort of wish the writer would focus more on the characters rather than the crimes! Now the Naturalist sort of intrigues me. I don't think I would have looked at that one twice from the cover but it sounds sort of interesting.

    1. I really liked the first portion of The Naturalist, and the book has an interesting premise. The cover is a bad choice, isn't it? In attracting an initial audience, cover design is important, and this cover is not going to appeal to many.