2020 Reading Challenge

2020 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 6 books toward her goal of 240 books.

Book Review: Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques

I was disappointed by this one – or at least, by my reaction to it. I was drawn to the incredible cover (seriously, how cool is that?!), the blurb, and the author’s previous work. Unfortunately, I don’t think that what was delivered met with those expectations. I also think this is one of those where the publisher did the book a disservice with the blurb choice. I LOVED Ragnarok Unwound, and when I saw that Jacques had a new title – one that promised to bring together the occult, Nazis, and a world-within-the-world, I was immediately intrigued. I started reading and felt like I’d maybe downloaded the wrong file – Azzy’s story didn’t feel AT ALL like what was described, and the letdown was hard. Continue reading Book Review: Marrow Charm by Kristin Jacques

Book Review Blurb: Mobituaries by Mo Rocca

This one did not wind up being what I expected at all. I like Mo Rocca, but like a couple of the other reviewers, think a big part of why I like him is his timing and delivery – neither of which come across very well in a printed word format. If he was reading the audiobook, this would probably be a lot more engaging. I also felt like a lot of what he wrote was not what I expected – to me, obituaries are not lengthy historical narratives written like textbooks. They are shorter and pithier, and that is not what a lot of these presentations are. That’s not to say that they’re poorly written or uninteresting, they just weren’t at all what I expected. It made it difficult to read in long bursts. This is the second book-from-podcasts I’ve read recently and they’re reaffirming why I’m not a fan of podcasts… If you are a fan of that format and like your reading in shorter bursts as opposed to longer narratives that draw you in and won’t let you go, you are probably a better audience for this one than I was…

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my review copy.

Book Review Blurb: Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

This was the first “Big Kid” chapter book that my daughter (6) and I read together – and it was perfect for it! First of all, because Neil Gaiman. He’s such a delight – full of whimsy and darkness and the things that kids think/do but grownups are often too afraid to admit they think/do. Second, the story itself – which is a funny spin on the classic kids-lie-to-cover-their-butts theme. And of course then there are the illustrations and the madcap-ness… It was an extremely fun co-read. She was able to keep track of the story beautifully, thanks to the illustrations and memorably original language and content. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing one of my all-time favorite authors with her. We are definitely going to work our way through his catalog together!!

Book Review: The Tenant by Katrine Engberg

This one is fine. That’s it. Fine. There’s nothing wrong with it, but nothing jumped off the page as particularly right either… The characters, the setting, the pacing, the atmosphere – they were all, well, fine. Not exactly a ringing endorsement, I know – but on the other hand, I can’t say there was anything particularly wrong with it or point to what would have made it a more compelling read for me.

I guess my biggest issue is that I never felt like I connected with either of the detectives, and in scandi Noir that’s usually not the case for me – the main characters are usually damaged in a way that resonates with their victims and makes for a compelling back and forth as the mystery is revealed. Not so much here. Honestly, the two detectives felt a little flat to me. I never connected with them – or the landlady and her unusual friend or the victim or the roommate or frankly anyone… And without some feeling for the characters, I struggle to truly fall into a story.

I read this in fits and starts, which is unusual for me in this genre as the stories are usually so darkly engaging that I can’t put them down. So maybe part of the problem is how I read it. I’d set it down and pick it back up the next day, and realize I had very little recollection of what had happened… This one never got under my skin and on the whole just wasn’t for me…

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my obligation-free review copy.

Book Review AND Bonus Excerpt: A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

This time it’s Harlequin’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Tour, and I’m pleased to bring you the latest from the exceptionally talented Mike Chen. The book wasn’t to my taste, as you’ll see (in point of fact, I never finished it), but he is a force to be reckoned with regardless, possessing as he does a marvelous mastery of language… There’s an excerpt at the end so you can see for yourself if it’s more in your wheelhouse than it was mine – enjoy! Oh – and there is one expletive in the excerpt, so if that bothers you, know that it’s at the end of the fourth paragraph from the end.

I tried. I really REALLY did. I LOVED Mike Chen’s Here and Now and Then, and when I saw this new title available through the Harlequin Winter Book Tour, I was delighted at the chance to jump into another one of his worlds. H&N&T was an incredible story – character-driven, with a solidly original and entertaining plot line and a deeply complex consideration of family relationships. This new title sounded so promising – not many authors go into what happens AFTER cataclysm, after all, with most focusing on how the end comes and how things are scraped together in its aftermath… Continue reading Book Review AND Bonus Excerpt: A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen




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