[At the Amazon Kindle Community forum there is a monthly thread where participants list and comment on which books they’re reading at the moment on their Kindles. These aren’t full reviews, just relatively brief impressions. I’m copying over some of my comments made there into Book Bits posts here.]
Originally posted on 8/8:
I’ve been dreading posting this cause I’m gonna have to duck rotten tomatoes hurled by Koontz fans. I was reading Watchers ($9.99 right now, I got it on sale for $1.90 quite a while back) but finally ditched it at about 42%.
I had been really looking forward to it and it did grab me at first. It’s the first Koontz novel I’ve tried and I know he has a big following. But there were so many little things that were bugging me and they finally added up to be too much. There were a lot of little inconsistencies, such as a weapon being a shotgun when first mentioned, then a rifle a few paragraphs later. Or a conversation taking place near a cabin and then, without moving, at the edge of the clearing next to trees.
Then there were the clunky, awkward descriptions/metaphors/similes. Such as eyes being “the precise blue of a summer sky.” Maybe it’s the “precise” that really made that stand out, but summer sky around here comes in several shades of blue, all of which would stand out as unusual/bizarre as the color of eyes. Or then there was the silence, the silence of a vacuum. Brought me to a screeching halt as I remembered oh yeah, sound doesn’t travel without air. If it had been a novel set in space I might not have batted an eye, but here it just totally threw me off.
When I got to the part with two police officers discovering a badly mauled body and thinking the murderer was hopped up on PCP and inside the building, but they went after him anyway (with predictable results) without calling for back up, I just finally decided I wasn’t enjoying the book enough.
I will say that I loved the character of Einstein! He was the only character I was really interested in.
I’ve now started Hallowed Murder by Ellen Hart, which is the first book in the Jane Lawless mystery series. ($5.99) I read the book when it was originally published in 1989 and hadn’t read it again since then, though I’ve mostly kept up with the series, which is still being added to.
It’s really interesting to go back to the beginning after all this time and see the growth of the author. The writing in Hallowed Murder has some rough edges here and there and info is presented in a clunky manner at times. But it’s still an interesting story and I’m very much enjoying my re-read. One thing Hart nailed right out of the gate is the character of Cordelia Thorn (Jane’s longtime friend and sidekick). I’ve already laughed out loud several times.
Originally posted on 8/16:
I finished reading God Save the Mark by Donald E. Westlake earlier today. (I got it for free, it’s $3.69 right now.) It was originally published in 1967 and I think it holds up well. The narrator of the story is basically the most gullible man alive and spends his daily life as the victim of grifters and their cons. Then he inherits a bunch of money.
The book was often amusing, though not laugh out loud funny. I did think it could have been edited down to a shorter length and it would have been better for it. There were a few times I thought it was starting to drag and I was ready to move on. But over all it was a fun and entertaining read.
Here’s one of my highlights from the book:
God Save the Mark (Donald E. Westlake)
– Highlight Loc. 3049-50
Gertie said, “Start walking again. Casual, like we don’t know nothing’s going on.” We started walking again, stiffly, as though we knew exactly what was going on.
I’ve now started reading Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead. (On sale right now for $2.99.) I’ve enjoyed her Dark Swan books so figured I’d give this series a try, especially since the first one was on sale.
I got absorbed into the book pretty quickly and there’s some decent humor. So far so good.
Here’s a highlight from this one. It’s nice to know that even a succubus has her priorities right when it comes to books:
Succubus Blues (1) (Richelle Mead)
– Highlight Loc. 436-37
Sleep with Seth Mortensen? Good grief. It was the most preposterous thing I’d ever heard. It was appalling. If I absorbed his life force, there was no telling how long it’d be until his next book came out.
Originally posted on 8/17:
I finished Succubus Blues. It wasn’t flawless, but it was a very enjoyable read. I really liked the main character, I guess at least partly because I’m sort of a sucker for a somewhat tragic figure trapped by past decisions. She’s a succubus who is jaded from living for many centuries and not really into being good at her craft anymore.
Since the second book in the series, Succubus on Top, is reasonably priced at $5.58 it made it super easy (much too easy?) to click on it instead of looking for a book already on my Kindle to read next.
Originally posted on 8/25:
I finished High Five in the More Plums in One ebook bundle by Janet Evanovich. ($12.99 for three books, so a decent deal.) I liked it better than the fourth book, I thought it was better paced. I’ve just started the sixth book (third in the three book bundle).
I think Evanovich is a good writer and very clever with how she words things. I love the sarcastic and irreverent humor. But one thing that’s really starting to irritate me is Stephanie Plum’s apparent inability to learn from her mistakes. The whole bumbling newbie thing was fun and funny for the first three books. But after six books she should have adjusted so she’s not repeating past mistakes, and instead making new ones. But nope, she’s still rooting around in her handbag for her mace buried under her other purse crud in an emergency, and carrying an unloaded gun (which she isn’t even trained to shoot with).
I’ve read that others have the same issue with the series, so I’m obviously not alone in this, just experiencing it for myself now.
Originally posted on 8/29:
I read From Words to Brain which I got for 99 cents. Someone else in this thread mentioned it recently and I thought it sounded interesting so bought it. It was definitely worth the dollar. It’s $2.99 now, which to me is overpriced for what is essentially a long article with less than 400 locations.
It was an overview, so didn’t go into a lot of depth, but I did find it extremely fascinating. I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in how our brains work, especially in relation to reading. It’s not technical, anyone would find it highly readable. Though it might be a good idea to wait and see if it goes on sale again.
Then I read Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane, still on sale for 99 cents right now. It’s the first book in the Downside Ghosts series. This is another book that someone in this thread mentioned a few months ago and I had looked at it at that time and decided to pass on it. When I saw it was on sale for 99 cents I figured I’d definitely like to give it a try for that price and am glad I did.
It’s classified as urban fantasy, but it’s not as easy to pin down as that. The setting is near future dystopian, with fantasy, paranormal, and horror elements. It’s very different from anything I’ve read before and I ended up really liking it a lot. I read it almost as soon as I bought it because books 2 & 3 are also on sale for $4.99 and I wanted to get them while they’re available for that price if I decided I wanted to continue with the series. I do and bought them both earlier tonight. So my next book I’ll be starting is Unholy Magic.
The reason I’d decided to pass on the first book when I originally considered it is because several people, even those who liked the book, mentioned that the main character is a drug addict and she abuses them willy nilly throughout the book. This is true. Though it didn’t end up bothering me as much as I thought it might because the story itself was so compelling and her drug addiction is part of the key to her past and who she is.
Quite a few other reviewers commented that they couldn’t relate to or didn’t like the main character. I can see why that is. She’s someone with a tough shell, and definitely more of an antihero. Despite all that, I thought this was one of the best urban fantasy series I’ve started reading in a long time (except for an enormous plot blunder concerning tunnels hooking up that I had to willfully overlook). This series is unique, dark, and gritty.