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Professional Reader 2016 NetGalley Challenge 25 Book Reviews

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 47 books toward her goal of 125 books.

I Owe You A Real Post…

But somehow there never seems to be any time for reviews or witticisms or even reprinting quotes lately. Sorry – Christmas with three kids, one of whom is a toddler, seems to be a Black Hole of Time even more than regular life with said kids. Soon, I promise – especially since I’ve had a few GREAT reads that I’ve managed to squeeeeeeeeeze in lately in between Amazon wish list reviews and runs to Target… It’ll all be over soon, right?? Of course, I don’t really want the time to fly any faster – I rather love said kids AND the madness that follows them both during the year and at the holidays, after all. I’d just like to be able to manage it a little better, maybe. That way I could do MY work as well as Family work… 😉 Until then, know I’m out here, in the ether, floundering around like a fool and eagerly anticipating a return to what passes for normal around here the other eleven months of the year!

Thought for Today or On the Value of Clothes (Yes, Really Clothes)

Clothes might not make the woman, but they certainly can add starch to her spine.

from Justice Hall by Laurie R. King

If you don’t know this series, you really should – it’s a Sherlock Holmes spin-off, but set after his (semi-)retirement and heavily weighted toward his new partner, Mary Russell. The writing is lovely, the plots original, and the style utterly consistent with yet not derivative of the original stories. It’s great fun and very well written and devised, and definitely worth your time…

Book Review: Night School by Lee Child

So today’s review is a little unusual – it is for a book I haven’t read. Didn’t even try. Not even a single page… BUT, that doesn’t matter, because this one was reviewed by the oh-so-talented TheAudioBookGuy (aka, Mr. Jill-Elizabeth). He normally only does reviews of audio books BUT he’s a ginormous Lee Child/Jack Reacher fan, and when I got the opportunity to get an advance review copy of the latest installment he decided he’d go slightly off character and read it now rather than wait months to listen… Series addiction is a beautiful thing, no?? Since my only experience with Jack Reacher comes via the Tom Cruise movie (which TABG aka MJ-E insisted we watch when it come out on Vudu last year), I can’t honestly say that I’m contributing much beyond a lead-in and formatting to this review. I have an unnatural abhorrence of reading series books out of order, even when it’s likely not a big deal to do so (this is a prequel, but it comes WELL into the series), and so couldn’t read this on my own. But I know Child’s fans love good ol’ Jack, so wanted to get some sort of review up as soon as I could.

Without further ado, I bring you the abbreviated (compared to my reviews, that is) official J-E/TABG review of Night School. Since he’s a bit less verbose than I am, here’s a quick link to the author’s site for the jacket blurb.

The latest Jack Reacher novel may be a prequel, but it still follows the same excellent format that series readers know and love. It’s a format that never gets old – kind of like Jack himself… You can see who the bad guys are a mile away, but it doesn’t matter – I still found myself wrapped up in the story and the journey to the finale. Child’s writing is great. He’s not overly descriptive, instead he gives you just enough to let you know where you are and what that particular corner of the world looks like, and then lets your imagination fill in the blanks. It makes for engaging, involved reading (and listening). There don’t seem to be any shortcomings – it’s another excellent book in a very enjoyable series. I liked it – I liked it a lot.

Our review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

Book Review: Doorways by Robert Enright

doorwaysI loved the cover art, the description, the title – I love world-behind-the-world books. I’m fascinated by the concept of a secret connection between worlds/experiences of the world, and really enjoy reading different authors’ spins on explaining the inexplicable. I’m generally a fan of the anti-hero, who struggles to save both the world and himself. Yet despite all that, this one only gets a mediocre recommendation in the end…

I quite liked the start and set-up. The underlying concept – that some people have “The Knack”, an ability to see extra-world beings (aka monsters) that have made their way to our “regular” world – was an interesting take on how to explain the anomalies that occur in everyday life… For those of us without the Knack, the ability to actually see and hear the supernatural around us, The Uncanny events that occur in the everyday world are simply, Mysteries. For those like our protagonist, who are blessed or cursed with that ability, there’s only one response: action. This construct resonated and held a lot of promise for me… The main and supporting characters were well developed and most continued to grow and develop throughout the story – even if that growth occasionally felt a bit stereotypical. The villain also felt like a bit of a stereotype, but Continue reading Book Review: Doorways by Robert Enright

Book Review and Interview: The Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello

image001 So I have a few bits to share with you on this one. First, my review – which is, I must admit, not the warmest I’ve ever written… Nevertheless, there were enough redeeming qualities to the writing that I felt compelled to share some author interview questions and answers because I think they’re insightful and address the parts of the book that I really enjoyed – namely, the historical elements. Judge the whole book for yourself; regardless of how you feel about its entirety, the author’s perspective is interesting in itself, I think.

I was very intrigued by the concept of this book – I really enjoy Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jekyll/Hyde is one of my favorite of his stories… This book started out well, but devolved rather quickly into a bit of a jumble for me. I found the back-and-forth in time/storyline to be less of a connection between past/future than a confusion. Continue reading Book Review and Interview: The Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello