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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson

I’m not one to read books by authors who put out more than two books a year (i.e. James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Stephen King) because they’re often plot-based and low on the intellectual stimulation radar.  That being said, I finally read one of this novel-writing powerhouse-writer’s books: Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Why? Because it sounded interesting, many of my middle school students were reading it, and I got a copy of the book for free from the Book Fair.

Conclusion: It was good. Wonderful? No. Fantastic? No. Kept me guessing? Yes. Fast-paced? Yes. Character driven? Kind of.

I recommend reading it if you’re a fan of Kate Brian’s two series Private and Privilege, or if you’re into middle school level books.

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Winter Solstice Winter by E.J. Squires

I want to start by saying that I enjoyed reading Winter Solstice Winter. The plot, especially contained within the last half of the book, was very fast paced and kept you on the edge of your seat as a reader. However, this book fell short of its potential for me.

First of all, I greatly adore beginnings. I want to revel in the newness of a world, learning all of its intricate workings and figuring out its occupants. At first, Winter Solstice Winter seemed to promise that, but then the descriptions fell away. Now most readers will be just fine with this, but the style did not satisfy my own personal taste. Likewise, I often felt events were rushed – not due to a lack of understanding how to write – but due to a wish to string the action along and continuously engage the reader. This is not a fault. Again, it’s my personal taste. However, I do think the writing of important events should slow a little to give the reader some kind of bearing as to what is really going on.

On the same bent, characters often seem a little forced – especially the dialogue. I like characters who I can intricately come to know, and although I feel the author makes a solid attempt to make this a reality for readers, the writing falls a little short. In all honesty, I didn’t feel a connection to any of the characters.

Overall, I loved the plot of Winter Solstice Winter and plan to purchase the next book in the series to find out exactly what happens to Ailia, Soren, Eiess, Lucia, and the rest. I just wish it could have been slowed down to make the incredible chain of events, and the characters, more believable.

The Genealogist’s Guests by Ann Simpson

The Genealogist’s Guests, a paranormal mystery, by Ann Simpson is an interesting and fast-paced read.  Overall, the plot is intriguing and keeps you guessing, even though it sometimes feels like you’re reading a Soap Opera.  Elizabeth’s family has been through so much and continues to have so many evil things happen to them that you eventually guess what is going to happen next.

Simpson also does a wonderful job of weaving the past and present together in The Genealogist’s Guests. When I first started reading, I was worried that the two worlds wouldn’t seem real if they were mashed together, but when the worlds collide, they seem to make sense. This is mainly due to the fact that we learn the history of the family as the ancestors are being introduced and figure out the mystery right along with them.

Although the concept of the book and the plot work well, I wish Simpson had taken more time to flesh out her living-breathing characters.  Scenes often feel rushed, and because we often infer a character’s personality, readers need to have time to digest a character’s thoughts, actions and words. When a scene moves too fast, readers tend to forget details in the melee.

The Genealogist’s Guests is intriguing, but it could soar above mediocre if the author would look back over the work, or employ an editor, to fix the constant switches between past and present tense.  I understand that the book moves between characters from the past and present, but the switch does not need to occur in the middle of a paragraph. Actually, the switch doesn’t need to occur at all. A couple errors aren’t a problem, but I was constantly thrown out of the story due to the multiple tense switches. It seemed like the author had written the story first in one tense and then decided to change it, but didn’t catch everything.

Overall, The Genealogist’s Guests is interesting, fun, and fast-paced.  However, for a reader like me, I would have liked to slow down the action a little more to connect to the characters and suggest the work be re-edited.

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