Saturday, September 11, 2010
Your Mileage May Vary (4 Books That Didn't Work for Me)
I almost decided to sweep these books under the rug. I don't like talking about books that I don't finish because each and every author sweats blood over their work, and I do appreciate that. 99% of the time they all make me very happy.
However, people taking a look through my reviews may wonder if something's up. Most of the books I read are rated A's and B's, with an occasional C thrown in. Normally you just don't see me talking about books I wanted to throw against the wall, or books I didn't even finish.
This is because I'm selective about what I read. Since I know what I like, I'm seldom disappointed.
Recently I've had 4 books I couldn't finish, and I thought I'd at least make short mention of them. All of them. In the same post so that one author's name and book won't be singled out in the title.
Please keep in mind that we're all individuals, and things that drive me to stop reading may be exactly what you look for in a book. If, on the other hand, the same things drive you to stop reading, I may save you a little time.
Thereby Hangs a Tail by Spencer Quinn is the second in the Chet and Bernie mystery series featuring P.I. Bernie Little and his canine sidekick, Chet.
I absolutely loved the first book in the series, but I read just 84 pages of this one because the descriptions of Chet's behaviors were much too repetitive and really slowed the story down.
Are dogs' behaviors repetitive? Do they tend to get up and stretch the same way after a long nap, for instance? As a dog owner, I can say yes, their behaviors are very repetitive. However, when I start counting the number of times the canine character is napping and stretching, etc. in the book that I'm reading, that's not a good sign.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. I read a lot of really good reviews of this book, and I do enjoy dystopian fiction, but I just wasn't in the mood for this one, reading only 104 pages.
Mary the heroine always seemed to want what she couldn't or shouldn't have, but she always went after it regardless of the consequences to herself or others.
I also found the religious terminology off-putting, and to be repetitive, I wasn't in the mood for some sisterhood hiding things from everyone else "for the Greater Good." I've always found that keeping secrets is one sure way to foul things up.
Since I wanted to slap both Mary and the Sisterhood, I decided that it was best for me to read a different book!
Adam & Eve by Sena Jeter Naslund was another book that I had very high hopes for, but I read only 70 pages. I absolutely loved her novel, Ahab's Wife. It was one of the best books I read that year, and I recommended it to everyone. Unfortunately Adam & Eve just didn't work for me.
The action in the book kept switching back and forth, and Adam's storyline seemed muddled. It wasn't long before I became confused.
The other thing that distressed me was the fact that I always felt Naslund behind the scenes like a puppet master. The story had no natural flow to it.
Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten lasted 42 pages for me. I was really looking forward to this story about a mother trying to save her autistic son from a murder charge.
However, I didn't like the character of the mother. Before I go any further, let me preface my remarks by saying that I'm not a mother and never have been, so I may give this character a harsh appraisal.
At the beginning of this book, the mother behaved in a guilty manner as if it were her fault that her son is autistic. Of course, this is probably a very normal reaction, but lady, your son is a teenager. Get over yourself already because you're doing him no good. You're also doing him no good by making excuses for his violent behavior and willfully refusing to see how much he needs help until the situation comes close to critical mass.
In addition, it didn't help that (1) I recognized the Bad Guy the first time he walked into the scene, and (2) all loose ends seemed to be tidied up in the two-page epilogue. (That's when I decided that I wasn't emotionally equipped to deal with the mother and went looking to see if I was correct in my identification of the aforementioned Bad Guy.)
Please don't take my opinions of these books as gospel. They are merely my opinions and wouldn't buy you a cup of coffee in your local Starbucks. It's not going to be difficult to find rave reviews of each one of these titles. Read a few of them so the decision you make about reading them will definitely be an informed one.
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
- Hi! I'm addicted to books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, travel, photography. Anything else? Oh yeah-- my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!
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