Book Review: Thriller & Suspense

Review: Neverwhere

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NeverwhereMy rating: 3 of 5 stars to Neil Gaiman‘s Neverwhere, a fantasy full of quirky characters and commentary on society, published in 1996. This was another book group selection (not mine), but by someone who has very good taste in books.

I’d never read Gaiman before, but he seems to be immensely popular. We read it in 2009, many years after it first hit print, but still at the cusp of my interest in fantasy books. I think it was too much of a fantasy for me, as I tend to need some rules or boundaries, and I couldn’t tell what was real here. Seems it’s all real, but for a newbie at the time, I was lost.

Essentially, a man wandering around London, falls through a hole of sorts… into fantasy world… and when he returns, everyone has basically forgotten who he was. Right from that point… I’m not sure what’s real anymore. But I stuck with it… and he meets tons of people after him, including a mouse (yes a mouse)… Door (yes, that’s her name) is his new friend, and she’s helping him thru this new world, but then she disappears. Very complex. Door must stand for something. I might consider re-reading this one again to see if I’m more open-minded about it.

And this refers to my understanding of the book and the graphic above about “I’m lost and returning…” Never happened.

Key Take-a-Ways
1. The characters are wonderful. Imaginative. Vivid. Very likable, but also a tad confusing. Was this Peter Pan in Neverland??????? Alice in the Wonderland?

2. London is very dark. Scary dark.

3. Life is not what it seems. Don’t ever try to be a Good Samaritan and rescue someone. NOT WORTH IT!!!!

4. Gaiman is a master at intense visuals.

5. I’m not as creative as I think I am.

So… read this if you love fantasy. If you don’t, I wouldn’t chance it. This was a very “out there” type book for me… though it had many funny and wonderful parts.

Good Luck if you cross that one…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: Body Work

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Body WorkMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Sara Paretsky‘s novel Body Work, the 14th book in her “VI Warshawski” mystery series published in 2010. I read this book when it first came out, as I was already caught up in the series. I need to get back to them as I think there are a few more, as she tends to release one every 2 to 3 years.

Warshawski is a private investigator working in Chicago. She’s in her late 40s/early 50s throughout a big part of the series, very tough and one of the original female detectives written about in a full on series. I suspect she is the incarnation of the author, as I’ve read a bit about her, too. She’s quite fascinating and very open about her life and what she’s doing.

In this book, Paretsky takes us into the underground club scene, scattering around with VI Warshawski’s cousin Petra, a group of artists, tattoo junkies and soldiers back from Iraq with PTSD. It’s the kind of book where you think you know what’s going to happen, but you’ll be surprised a few times. I remember it made me want a tattoo even more than I already did at the time. 7 years later, I still don’t have one… but not because I am worried / scared. I can’t decide what to get!!!

Paretsky’s books are also somewhat educational. She takes care to provide a lot of details (without going overboard) about the social issue and topics she’s handling in each one. It makes for a great mystery, but also a solid learning experience.

The main character, Warshawski, is very amusing in an offbeat way. She’s got a chip on her shoulder and often borders on “I want to knock her down a peg or two,” simply because she sometimes lets her attitude get in the way of her success, both in her personal life and her professional life. However, she’s also a very dedicated and solid friend, so you know you can always count on her.

Lots of great scenes in this book, particularly about the art of tattoo work and the impact of war on soldiers. Also a few highly descriptive scenes including some violence. Not too bad, but enough that it may turn off a few folks who prefer the cozy mystery. I don’t know how that woman gets back up again after being knocked down so many times. I’d stay on the floor and say “I’m done.”

If you’re not up for a whole series, you can read this one stand-alone. Not a big connection between all the books other than the timeline of her aging and some friends that shift in and our of her life.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Review: All That Remains

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All That Remains
All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The “Kay Scarpetta” mystery series by Patricia Cornwell was one of the first adult mystery book series I began reading. I also started these very young, around 13 or 14, which may not be the best thing for young adults if they don’t have a strong sense of right/wrong and a stomach to handle really gory stuff. All That Remains is the third book in the series about a forensic medical examiner in Virginia who helps solve brutal crimes.

What I love about the early books is the relationship between the detective, Pete Marino, and Scarpetta, the medical examiner. It’s love/hate, and as the series grows, their relationship gets very volatile and intense. In the early books, like this one, you just want to hate Pete but you know he’s got a heart in there. He represents a typical cop of the 1970s / 80s, who is starting to change his philosophy on women being involved in his jurisdiction. And he’s of course in love with her but can’t do anything about it.

In this book, young couples are brutally murdered. And the psychopath behind it all is playing games with Scarpetta. All her serial killers end up wanting to get to Scarpetta, to impress her, because of how methodical and intelligent she is.

Cornwell’s writing is intense. And she describes everything about the blood and guts during the autopsies, finding the victims and conveying what the murderer is likely doing to his/her victims.

As the title suggests, this is all about “what remains” of the body to be able to figure out who is the culprit. Every page leads you to revelations, and you want to close your eyes and pretend you’re not reading about the gore, but you can’t help needing to keep reading it.

Scarpetta is so complex. Sometimes you love her. Sometimes you really want to lock her in a closet until she learns how to play a little nicer. But she will always evoke some huge reaction from the reader.

If you can handle the creepy-factor and the explicit language (vicious, usually not too sexual), you have to read a couple of these books to see how hard the author works to make each one unique and a very complex mystery.

She was one of my faves, and I stopped around 17 or 18 in the series to give myself a break. I’m close to going back to finish it up. And she’s still writing more!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


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Review: Beowulf

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Beowulf
Beowulf by Unknown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beowulf is thought to have been written around the year 1000 AD, give or take a century. And the author is the extremely famous, very popular and world renowned writer… Unknown. Got you there, didn’t I? LOL Probably not… if you’re on Goodreads and studied American or English literature, you probably already knew this is one of the most famous works without an author.

It was first really published in the 1800s, using the Old English version where many have translated it, but there are still some blurry parts of the story. Essentially, a monster named Grendel hunts and kills the people of a town and many warriors have died fighting against it. Beowulf tackles the monster and its mother, and well… you’re gonna have to read it to find out. Or if you can’t get yourself there, watch the Star Trek or Simpsons episode which does a nice little rendition.

Here’s the reasons why you should take a look at the story:

1. Many famous writers and editors have attempted to translate the story into more modern English. Tolkien is a famous example. Each reader has his/her own interpretation. So pick one whose style you like and go to that version.

2. It’s a translated book… other than the famous Greek literature we read in high school, it’s one of the earliest translated forms of literature. Makes it worth taking a gander.

3. It’s a really great story. Monster terrorizes people. Someone strong steps up to fight it. There is a victory of sorts. Momma wants revenge. So… how many books have you read that have just copied… I mean borrowed… that entire plot?

4. There is a lot of beauty in the prose and the verse, and when you hear the words describe the creatures, it’s a bit like fantasy.

Here’s why you may not like it:

1. It’s long.

2. It’s hard to understand at some points.

3. It’s 1000 years old and you just like modern stories.

My advice… pick a passage or two, read for 30 minutes and decide if it’s something you want to read more of. But you should always give a chance to some part of our early heritage and culture. Right?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


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Review: The Raven

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The Raven
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First… you must read the introductory stanza from Edgar Allan Poe‘s famous poem, The Raven. And then I’ll provide a short review:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

And this is what will happen to you once you read it:

Yeah, I probably should have told you that part first, huh? But that’s the thing about Mr. Poe. He enjoyed the fact that his writing drove him crazy. And all of us. That tapping… non-stop… reminds you of his other work, The Tell-Tale Heart.

This raven and its real or imaginary appearance is such a powerful image. And here’s the thing about this poem… you need to have a professional read this poem aloud, perhaps with a little music in the background. Just a little bit, as the words in the poem… the rhymes, the images… it’s ghastly. And if the speaker is as brilliant as Poe, (s)he will alter their voice as each line erupts, enticing the rhythm and the beat. And when it happens, the fear will surround you. The words will penetrate you as your eyes ears lay still, absorbing the melody and the lyrics.

It may sound funny, but find a recording of it. Listen to it in a semi-dark room. And just let the poem attack your mind and body. I believe it’s what inspired the boat ride in the Willy Wonka movie… only much darker. You will love it!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


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Review: The Lost Symbol

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The Lost Symbol
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dan Brown is one of my favorite authors. I know there are several of my online and in-person (sounds so weird!) friends who disagree, but ultimately… you have to acknowledge the amount of time and dedication he puts into his story, the vast eccentric cast of characters, the intrigue and suspense, the unexpected connections and the fast-paced thrill of turning the pages more quickly than you can actually read each one. People love books for different reasons. It’s not always the “beautiful and lyrical prose” or the “emotional gut punch you feel from its reality.”

These books are meant to keep your heart racing, your mind guessing and your eyes unable to blink for a few minutes at a time. At the time I’m writing this review, it’s been about five years since I read the book, and I still haven’t seen the movie… but I am excited to watch it, though I haven’t heard great things from those who have.

Of the four Robert Langdon books in the series, this was my least favorite. Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code had such complex and shocking story lines, I couldn’t help but be amazed. Inferno was so intense and ripe with “what if” scenarios, my mind was non-stop going. With this book, it’s still a huge and complex puzzle, but it felt a little weaker than the other ones. There was a different type of emotional connection given Langdon’s friendship with the kidnapped mentor.

I liked the puzzle, but were pictures necessary?

It was a little too easy to solve this time.

It felt a bit repetitive at times.

But you still flip the pages faster than a normal read.

I’d push you to read his other books. I’d be OK if you skipped this one.

But I am still super excited about Origin, the fifth in the series, which will debut later this year.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


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Review: The Atlantis Code

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The Atlantis CodeMy rating: 3 of 5 stars to Charles Brokaw‘s novel, The Atlantis Code. I was flying to LA for a work trip, leaving from my office in NYC, and realized I forgot to bring a book before I left home. At the airport, I checked a few novels out at the bookshop and stumbled across this one.

I love treasure hunter stories. I am fascinated by the connections authors find between history, religion and missing things. This time, it’s the lost continent and treasures of Atlantis. I had read another book with a similar theme and wanted to see how they compared. Bought it and boarded the plane shortly afterwards.

I think I read about half on the flight out and finished it on the way home. Was a short 2 day trip and I couldn’t read for all 6 hours on the plane… had some work to do, too.

All in all, I liked the book. Lots of great connections. Strong character. Great suspense. Lots of suspicious behavior.

It was your typical novel of this genre. Nothing bad, nothing fantastic. Just a basic good read. And that’s a good thing… just cause it’s not a 5 or 4 doesn’t mean it’s not worth the read. You just need to be the right audience. There are a lot of books out there on this topic and in this genre. If you like Atlantis, read it. You’ll have a great time. If you don’t, maybe pick something else.

It’s very dark when it comes to the religious aspects. I liked it for that reason, but it does get overplayed a lot. Villains come in all shapes and sizes. I’d like to see something new in another book like this.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews