Books – 1-Star

Title Author Genre Rating Description Date Reviewed
Black Virgin Mountain Larry Heinemann Non-fiction * Despite good reviews from critics and other readers, I just could not get into this book. The author, a Vietnam veteran, describes his return visit to Vietnam. I’m sure it’s a good book that will appeal to many, but not for me.  2011-04
Charlatan Pope Brock Non-fiction * True story about John Brinkley who made his fortune selling “tonics” and implanting goat testicles as a cure for impotence. Was interesting for awhile, but did not hold my interest and I never actually finished it.  2011-04
Leonardo Da Vinci Sherwin Nuland Non-Fiction * Short and disappointing biogaphy. Very shallow and focused more on whether da Vinci was gay than on his real accomplishments 2010 or before
Neither Here Nor There Bill Bryson Non-Fiction * I’m a Bill Bryson fan, but this early work of his just didn’t do anything for me. I got bored midway through and didn’t finish.  2011-07
Paradise Found – A Cape York Adventure Linda Rowe Non-Fiction * A self-published book written by the “Croc Lady” who runs a souvenier shop in Cooktown. She spent about ten years living in the wild Cape York peninsula and this book is about her adventures there. An easy and fun read especially for anyone planning an outback adventure. Personally, I’d stick to sailing! 2010 or before
The Places in Between Rory Stewart Non-Fiction * A Scottish writer walks across Afghanistan and lives to tell about it. Unfortunately, he seems to be a much better walker than writer. Sounds like it should be interesting and it is in parts, but it never really grabs you. Lots of quotes from medieval authors trying to provide some historical context, but I didn’t find that of much use.  2010 or before
Private Life Jane Smiley Historical Fiction * I must admit I could not finish this one. Very slow moving historical fiction novel set in St. Louis and San Francisco in the early 20th century. Way too much description, very little action, no endearing characters, in short – Boring! 2011-04
A Map of the World Jane Hamilton Fiction * Stupid story about stupid people. A 2 year old drowns in a pond; woman is accused of sexual abuse; husband and wife never communicate. 2010 or before
A Painted House John Grisham Fiction * Mildy interesting and well written story about migrant cotton pickers in Alabama. Not much point to the story though. 2010 or before
Blowfly Patricia Cornwell Fiction * One of the worst books I have read in years. Do not waste your time on this one! Story it stupid and disjointed; makes you wonder if the author was using hallucinogenic drugs when she wrote it! 2010 or before
Child 44 Tom Rob Smith Fiction * I finally gave up and didn’t finish this book. Despite being highly rated on Amazon, I found it without merit. Set in the USSR during Stalin’s reign, it features horrid people who do awful things and after about half the book I found myself asking why am I reading this? Gave up and moved on. 2012-09
Dead Lines Greg Bear Fiction * A strange book about cell phones with supernatural powers. Sort of a cross between Star Trek and Steven King, this book may appeal to those who like strange books, but unfortunately I’m not among them. 2010 or before
Deliver Us From Evil David Baldacci Fiction * A vigilante group who tracks down former Nazi’s and other mass killers/torturers, runs into a US government team who is tracking the same person. Not one of Baldacci’s best.  2012-01
Deliver Us From Evil David Baldacci Fiction * A vigilante group who tracks down former Nazi’s and other mass killers/torturers, runs into a US government team who is tracking the same person. Not one of Baldacci’s best.  2012-01
Double Tap Steve Martini Fiction * Fairly entertaining murder mystery, but I found the story pretty weak. A former Delta Force officer is jailed for a murder he didn’t commit on pretty flimsy evidence and it takes his brilliant lawyer an awful lot of effort and danger to finally find the real killer. Good beach reading, but you can find better! 2010 or before
Executive Privilege Phillip Margolin Fiction * Lots of people seem to like this book but from the start I found it hard to believe. Junior lawyer working a pro-bono case comes across multiple serial killers conspiring with each other, all tying into the the President of the US. Yeah, right. You get sucked in with good writing and plenty of action, but it never, ever becomes believable.  2011-04
Executive Privilege Phillip Margolin Fiction * Lots of people seem to like this book but from the start I found it hard to believe. Junior lawyer working a pro-bono case comes across multiple serial killers conspiring with each other, all tying into the the President of the US. Yeah, right. You get sucked in with good writing and plenty of action, but it never, ever becomes believable.  2011-04
Executive Sanction David Compton Fiction * Stupid thriller about a CIA agent. Skip it. 2010 or before
I, Michael Bennett James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge Fiction * Michael Bennett, a widowed detective with ten adopted kids, takes down a major drug kingpin who then seeks revenge. Not a great story line but it was OK. I listened to the audio version and had just settled in to listen to the ending, when it ended. In fact there was no ending. The book just stopped. I thought something had happened to my download and spent a good bit of time via a slow internet connection ensuring that was not the case. Then I went to Amazon and saw all the furious reviews from readers who encountered the same thing – no ending. Apparently a set up so you have to buy the sequel – NOT! 2012-12
In The Woods Tana French Fiction * This international bestseller set in Dublin starts off well, with an intriguing premise – the murder of a child bears some resemblance to the disappearance of two children more than 20 years previously. But about halfway through, the intriguing characters turn into idiots and both cases have extremely disappointing outcomes. In the end, a waste of time. 2012-06
Isle of Dogs Patricia Cornwell Fiction * A real departure from her typical murder mystery, this book is a strange attempt at humor. Set in Virginia, it involves a blind governor who is stupid and incompetent and a weird plan to enforce speed limits on Tangiers Island where there are no cars. Funny in parts, but don’t expect Cornwell’s normal fare. 2010 or before
Maine J. Courtney Sullivan Fiction * I started this book because we planned to be cruising in or around Maine this summer and I thought it would be great to read something about the area. I was greatly disappointed however as the book has little to do with Maine other than the central family has a summer house there. Otherwise the book is about a family who are all unable to deal with the “horrors” of their childhood, such as one daughter being told not to eat dessert because she was getting pudgy. That kind of abuse haunts her for the rest of her life. Pul-leaze, gimme a break.  2013-08
Moby Dick Herman Melville Fiction * I almost never start a book without finishing it, but this is one of those rare exceptions. I was looking forward to reading this classic tale of the whale and the sea. It started of well enough, with some interesting characters. But soon the story became 2010 or before
Nineteen Minutes Jodi Piccoult Fiction * Novel about a student who shoots up a high school, killing and injuring lots of students. The book attempts to explain what drove him to do it. Horrible story and none of the chararacters are very appealing. Didn’t enjoy this one much. 2011-04
The Bone Bed Patricia Cornwell Fiction * Years ago I liked Cornwell and her heroine Kay Scarpetta. Then I read a couple of her books that were really bad. Thought I’d give this one a try in hopes that she had returned to form. No such luck. A pretty inane story line with a bad guy that makes no sense. Skip it. 2012-11
The Diary of Fletcher Christian Peter Corris Fiction * A real disappointment as it appears to be a non-fiction book. The preface is all about the discovery of an actual journal of the leader of the Bounty mutiny. But it turns out to be pure fiction – based on the same previously known facts but told from Chri 2010 or before
The Journey Home Olaf Olufsson Fiction * A novel by Iceland’s leading author. I found it disappointing as it was set mostly in England not Iceland. Not hard to read but frustrating because it jumps back and forth between time frames with no warning. I could not identify with the central character at all. 2010 or before
The Lord of the Rings J. R. R. Tolkein Fiction * Am I the only one in the world who just couldn’t get into this book? I struggled through the first half and finally just gave up. 2010 or before
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter Kim Edwards Fiction * Another of those best-sellers that I just don’t get! A doctor’s wife delivers twins, one of whom has Down’s syndrome. He decides to send the child to an institution and tell his wife she died at birth. Naturally, the family is screwed up forever more while the child is adopted and brings joy and love to her adoptive mother. None of the characters is appealing and the story is awful – wish I hadn’t bothered to read this one.  2011-04
The Prince of Beverly Hills Stuart Woods Fiction * Set just prior to WWII, an LA police officer witnesses a fatal drunk driving accident. When the drunk driver turns out to be a movie start, the cop helps cover up the accident, takes a job at the movie studio, and becomes great friends with the drunk. The cop and the movie star are supposed to be the good guys and they do run up against some scumbags who are even worse, but the whole premise of the book is just distasteful. Skip it.  2011-07
The Prince of Beverly Hills Stuart Woods Fiction * Set just prior to WWII, an LA police officer witnesses a fatal drunk driving accident. When the drunk driver turns out to be a movie start, the cop helps cover up the accident, takes a job at the movie studio, and becomes great friends with the drunk. The cop and the movie star are supposed to be the good guys and they do run up against some scumbags who are even worse, but the whole premise of the book is just distasteful. Skip it.  2011-07
The Quickie James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge Fiction * A suspense thriller about a woman with a great marriage who catches her husband with another woman and has her own affair in retaliation. There’s a brutal murder and lots of plot twists and turn, none of them really believable. Most of the characters seem to get what they deserve.  2011-04
Troubleshooter Greg Hurwitz Fiction * I have enjoyed a couple previous books in this series but this one was a bit ridiculous. Former US Marshall Tim Rackley chases a motorcycle gang that murders people left and right (I think over 40 in the course of the book). All other law enforcement are bumbling idiots and Rackley is again the hero.Someone described this book as “cartoonish” and that’s an apt description. I’ll scratch this series off my list. 2013-12
Violets are Blue Richard Patterson Fiction * Easy to read thriller about vampires and goths carrying out gory murders. Not very believable and not one of his best. 2010 or before
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen Fiction * I know this was a wildly popular book and everyone I’ve talked to who’s read it just loved it. So there must be something wrong with me. I found it a depressing story about woeful people where abuse of both animals and humans is the norm and nobody really cares. It probably is a reasonable picture of life in a traveling circus during the depression, but I just could not identify with the people or the story.  2010 or before
  1. #1 by Kathy Clark on November 30, 2012 - 9:09 am

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