Mini Reviews #5 – A Batch Of Ranting Reviews

Usually, I group the books in my mini reviews batch in a way that offers at least one book that would be good enough for the reader, but I’m bringing a change to that technique now. It’s better to group all the books I didn’t like together so as to give a clear list of what to avoid, that is only if your reading tastes are almost similar to mine. Anyway, I’d read all of these the last week of December when I had the most time and picked up books according to the number of pages they had…oh I’m never ever going to use that technique of selecting a book. 

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Title: Beneath The Scars 

Author: A.M. Carroll

Genre: Romance, Thriller

1 star

Goodreads | Amazon 

Synopsis: 

Undercover New York City police detective Lacey Burke grew up in the foster care system, bouncing from house to house without ever finding a permanent home. Perhaps that’s why she’s dating Tyler Hathaway. He may be a pompous Wall Street overachiever, but he’s wealthy and good-looking, and he can offer her the exotic travel and glamorous experiences she craves.

Recently, however, Lacey has begun to suspect that financial security may not be enough. She realizes she’s fallen in love with her good friend and work partner, Jason Reed. Jason’s a shameless womanizer, however, and Lacey doesn’t want to be just another conquest. Besides, ever since she spotted a mysterious person on the subway, she’s had something far more disturbing on her mind.

He wasn’t particularly distinctive or attractive, but right after Lacey saw him, the nightmares began. Somewhere in Lacey’s subconscious, a memory struggles to emerge from beneath the scars of trauma and pain—a memory tied to a fellow subway passenger Lacey would normally have forgotten immediately.

Review:

Okay, so I’d avoided to write a review for this right away because it wouldn’t have been helpful in any way since all of it would simply be ranting. So here it is, a well-cut, precise, concise review of why I didn’t like this book.

Lacey is a police officer. Great, I love strong female characters so I knew what I was getting into and was so sure that she would be one of my favorite characters because who doesn’t like a female police officer in a suspense novel? I do! But who likes a police officer who doesn’t give as much shit about her duty (that would’ve built up the suspense if tackled well) as her crush on this guy? I don’t. Actually, I wouldn’t have mind that as much if the guy wasn’t a jerk sexist. I mean, I don’t even understand the gist of the story. It was a cheesy, predictable romance that went wrong in all ways because I didn’t give a shit about the characters or worried if they would end up together or not. I hate writing reviews that turn into rants, which is why I avoid saying too much about the books I didn’t like, but this one really fused me. At least the essence of the book should’ve been made clearer in the blurb itself so the target audience would’ve picked it up and judged it on the romance that was majority of the book.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you BooksGoSocial and Amy Carroll!


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Title: The Rich Detective

Author: H. R. F. Keating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

1 star

Goodreads | Amazon 

Synopsis: 

After returning from a holiday in Spain, Detective Inspector Bill Sylvester is assigned a case that no one else wants. An elderly woman has died in a retirement home and an anonymous tipster has cried foul play. But with no evidence, no suspects, and no real motive for murder, the case seems over before its begun.

Sylvester’s superiors demand he drop the case, but he can’t seem to let it go.

When he receives a call saying he’s won the lottery in Spain, Bill is uneasy about his new funds and the life he should be leading; but it also allows him to quit the force – and investigate on his own.

How far will Sylvester go to solve the case … and just how much is he willing to sacrifice for justice?

Review:

DNF-ed at 56%

Nope, not happening. I like whodinut mysteries and this wasn’t one, so that drew me out right at the start. The rest of the story, apart from the revelation because that had been done at the opening itself, revolves around the detective and how he connects dots. Nah, not interested because the writing was so slow and repetitive, it was legit tiresome to read. Won’t say too much about it since I didn’t even finish it.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you Ipso Books!


 

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Title: Carry Me Home

Author: Jessica Therrien 

Genre: YA Contemporary

1.5 stars

Goodreads| Amazon

Synopsis: 

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.

Review:

1.5/5

It’s one thing to highlight sensitive, realistic issues and completely other to not address them in the rightful manner, even though the story is fictional. Just centering a story around gang problems, loads of violence and rape, is not enough to weave a story that would connect to readers. I would’ve much preferred a single problem that would’ve been dealt with at the end, even if only for the possibility left open, rather than three characters who’re all drowning in their own sadness and the plot not going anywhere forward. 

The characters are under-developed and start ranting, whining and complaining before I can even care for them. Lucy and Ruth’s mother has left her husband after being abused and heads to her parent’s house, with her children. Ruth is fine, at least, but again nothing about her makes me feel empathetic…or feel anything at all. Maybe because I don’t personally prefer characters who are always willing to give up things (or themselves) for their loved ones; I don’t like the notions of it and they seem spineless to me—it’s better to stay alive yourself to care about others than to die. [Just to clear up, I haven’t spoiled anything] The mother is probably more immature than the girls; I understand she had gone through a lot and took a huge step for the betterment of her daughters but her work doesn’t end there. She never tried to figure out what might be going wrong in Lucy’s life or take any step to fix it all up. Again, this might be another personal preference of mine, but such character makes up for a really bad mother and fictional or not, I don’t like reading about them.

Coming on to Lucy, she’s a selfish little child who keeps grousing and makes herself look like a victim when she clearly isn’t. She loved her father and was shook by the whole shift to grandparents’ house, and I tried feeling sad for her BUT WHY CAN’T ANYBODY SEE THAT AND TRY EXPLAINING TO HER ABOUT HER DAD BEING A JERK OR WHY HER MOTHER HAD TO TAKE THIS STEP? She takes a bad decision, okay, fine! Teenagers always do that especially when they’re struck by circumstances but again? Then again? No, it just went too far and could’ve been well avoided. Anyway, then the ending came and it didn’t make me feel anything either. It was okay, expected and nothing satisfying.

I tried liking this book, I really did especially because the cover and the blurb (and the best-selling author) impressed me but I’m deeply disappointed. Let me break it to you, though, that the book has received quite a praise and might be for some intended audience, I’m clearly not a part of which.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you Acorn Publishing and Jessica Therrien!


 

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Title: The Secret Vanguard

Author: Michael Innes

Genre: Mystery

1 star

Goodreads | Amazon 

Synopsis: 

Nobody, she said to herself, is necessarily what he appears to be; nobody. 

On an ordinary train journey to Scotland, Sheila Grant becomes embroiled in a plot that is anything but: a chemist has gone missing, an artist has been kidnapped, and a poet has been murdered.

As Sheila begins to understand the enormity of the situation, she realizes her life is in grave danger and must flee across the Scottish Highlands in search of assistance and a man named Appleby.

In London, Appleby is trying to piece together a kidnapping, a death, and a disappearance as the world wavers on the brink of another war. He has no idea he is Sheila’s best hope of survival.

When the clock is ticking and no one is quite who they claim to be… will Appleby find Sheila before it’s too late?

Review:

I would blame it all on me, this time. I guess I picked up the wrong book. But it isn’t often that I come across a blurb that promises something but the book itself doesn’t deliver any of it. What I thought I was getting into was a good mystery that would keep me engrossed in the story but all I found was irrelevant topics, characters, instances and build-ups. It’s one thing to read a complex mystery and another to read a confusing one. Evidently, this book was the latter. Except for a few bits here and there, nothing made sense to me—nothing, nada! I wouldn’t call it my writing tastes differing because as far as I could grasp, the author’s writing style was good enough, even though the descriptions might have well be cut-off. Then again, I wouldn’t have mind if most of the story had been trimmed to get straight to the point.

Anyway, I can feel this review getting out of hands and before putting in any more energy into this, I would wrap it up with simply asking those who like complicated mysteries to look for some positive reviews and analyze if it’s good for you, and then pick it up. Don’t read it on whim like I did.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book via Netgalley but that in no way influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you Ipso Books and Michael Innes!


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