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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

My Reviews of Alex Cross, Run; Mockingjay; Catching Fire; The Hunger Games; and 11-22-63

I’m not a voracious reader, but I joined a while back to put up an author page for the books I’ve written. However, the site is really about offering book reviews, so I decided to join in with my two cents whenever I complete a book that I like. “When in Rome . . .” as they say.

Being on the receiving end of reviews nowadays—at least once in a while—I feel like I should add all kinds of disclaimers. Suffice it to say, I certainly don’t mean to compare myself to the published, often bestselling authors that I’ll likely “review.” seems to be the online version of asking a friend, “Have you read any good books lately?” And that is the vein in which I plan to post.

My entry into blogging was actually as a book reviewer more than a decade ago. (Can’t believe it was that long ago!) My brother had read an article about some kid who made a bunch of money using AdSense, and that eventually lead to me writing reviews to feature books through Amazon affiliate links. Among the many lessons learned from what grew into an effort to create a full-fledged .com as a member of numerous affiliate programs—not a great business model—was that writing professional reviews is harder than it looks.

This is not my attempt to return to trying to write professional reviews. A couple weeks ago, I posted my review of James Patterson’s Honeymoon, and it dawned on me that I might as well post my reviews right here on my blog. As I suggested, these “reviews” are intended along the lines of a casual suggestion about a good book to a friend. I’ve also been attempting to take a break from engaging with social media this summer for various reasons, not the least of which is to get away from some of the Twitter “noise” and to figure out what’s next for me, and I have just begun thinking about doing some more blogging in the future. This might become a bridge to that path, the occasional post on my blog to add a little more content, or a one-shot deal. 

So, at the risk of proving how little I read, here are the other reviews I’ve posted on so far:

Alex Cross, Run (Alex Cross, #20)Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Patterson kept me reading, which isnt always easy. This was an easy, enjoyable read with a familiar character. Ive read a couple books from the series, and will probably read more.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I finally finished the Hunger Games trilogy. I loved the original, Hunger Games; its uniqueness was enthralling and shocking at the same time. Im a methodical reader, but read the first book very quickly. It carried me through Catching Fire, which I didnt read right after finishing the first book in the series. Catching Fire was good, but nowhere near as good as the original. Obviously, the shock value was gone. I struggled with Mockingjay. I never know if its me or the book in situations like this, but I never really connected with it. I started it right after finishing the second, which left open many questions and I wanted to find out what happened. In fact, Catching Fire really didn’t feel like it had an ending, it just lead readers to the third book. I guess that was the point, but I wasnt prepared for it and felt cheated in someway. (The lack of an ending, or perhaps the cliffhanger ending, reminded me of the second Back to the Future movie, which gave me the same feeling. Perhaps its just how trilogies work?) I dont know if that threw me off, but once I found out what was going on, I wasn't ready for an adventure with Katniss. That said, the ending of the book (and series) made the effort worth it. 

For the record, I feel a little strange adding any sort of negative review to a public forum now that I have a self-published novel “out there.” I’m sure Ms. Collins and other successful authors aren’t concerned about negative reviews, but posting for the first time since receiving my own negative comments, I felt compelled to mention it.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe nothing could have measured up to the original Hunger Games, but I didnt quite fly through this one as quickly as I read the first one. Its still worth reading.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was absolutely great. I read this as quickly as Ive read anything of this length. The shock of what was going on, which was incredibly original (at least in terms of anything Ive read), would not let me stop reading.

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Normally, I wouldnt even consider a book this longIm just not a very diligent reader, especially if the book doesnt “grab me right away, and I typically wouldnt make it through something of this length. But my mom read it and kept telling me about it, and it sounded interesting. She bought it for me for Christmas in 2013 (I think; Im posting a few books all at once), and I went through it at lightning speed for me. I think I finished in early February. I couldnt get enough of it and actually would have kept reading. Im far from a history buff, but King brings the reader along quite well. It was really a fascinating story. Im very disappointed the TV series is on Hulu, which I dont subscribe to. I had been waiting for the movie or TV show since finishing the book. Hoping for a blu-ray release at some point.
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