Monday, September 27, 2021

Charming Falls Apart by Angela Terry

Rating: WARTY!

"Allison’s perfect life crumbles when she’s fired and comes home to find her fiancĂ© in bed with her maid of honor. Launching into a new life, can the self-help aisle and a meditation retreat in Costa Rica help her start over?" Who gives a fuck, really? This tired shtick has been done to death and her life can't be so fucking bad if she can afford to take time in Costa Rica, which is a beautiful, stable, independent nation in central America with a robust economy, an educated population, and a tourism industry that sees pretty much as many tourists over the course of a year as there are people actually living in Costa Rica! What does this idiot have to whine about?!

The Locust Point Mystery 3 Book Set: Books 1–3 by Libby Howard

Rating: WARTY!

"Senior sleuth Kay Carrera can see ghosts after her cataract surgery — and they all want her help!" Why? Could they not ask for it even though she could not see them? This story make no sense, but at least it doesn't claim to come with a box.

Pirate King by Laurie R King

Rating: WARTY!

"At Scotland Yard’s request, Mary Russell — Sherlock Holmes’s wife" Stop right there. The ficitonal Mary charcter is fifteen when she meets Sherlock who sixty at the time - and later they marry? This whole thing has an element of pedophilia about it, and that doesn't even get into the element of rip-off. I'm not one who thinks relationships with an older partner are disgusting, unnatural, or scandalous, but there are limits, and this would seem to blow right past those. Yuk. And Barf.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Traitor by Amanda McCrina

Rating: WARTY!

"Fans of Code Name Verity will enjoy this." Barf. That lets me out! "In World War II-era Poland," because if there's one thing this world desperately needs it's yet another WW2 story. But wait - WW2 era What does that even mean? "17-year-old Tolya is faced with danger and betrayal after killing a Russian police officer." Then retitle it 'For Whom the Bell Tolya." Why not? Yawn.

Caster by Elsie Chapman

Rating: WARTY!

"In Aza's world," What's her last name? Kadabra? "...magic - known as casting" of course it is - so we can try to have a super cool new buzzword instead of the tried and tested ones that have gone before? Yawn. I already dislike this pretentious story. Now if Caster was drilled for oil, it might be amusing.

Screams from the Void by Anne Tibbets

Rating: WARTY!

Note the not-so-subtle play on the Alien movie catchphrase - In space, no one can hear you scream? "When a strange biological creature jumps aboard the space freighter Demeter, Raina and the crew must fight for their lives - and avoid turning on one another in the process." Can you say 'unimaginative Alien clone'? Yawn. And what is meant by 'biological creature' exactly? As opposed to what other sort of a creature? LOL! If it's artifical, call it a robot. Duhh!

Primary Command by Jack Mars

Rating: WARTY!

The unimaginative military title warned me off reading this one. "After a mission to rescue American hostages on a submarine goes sideways, Delta Force veteran Luke Stone" stop right there. Yet another hard-bitten special forces guy with a name like stone, or steel or cage? Barf. Count me out. You ain't gonna hold me hostage to a tired, retreaded storyline that's already been done to death. And why Delta Force instead of the Navy SEALs? Don't answer that. I really don't care.

An American Bullet by John Stonehouse

Rating: WARTY!

"When a train and car collide during a Colorado winter storm, US Marshal John Whicher comes to assist a local officer on board - only to discover that his contact has disappeared into thin air. A breathless standalone in a series." How is it a stabndalone, exactly, if it's in a series? Wait, Colorado? Thin air? Breathless? Is this a joke? And why 'An American bullet'? Are we so insecure that we need to ram 'American' in front of everything? Stonehouse apparently is because this is the second one of this that I've non-reviewed and that had 'American' in front of the title too! A better title would have been 'Trackless', or 'Crossed Lines', or even, 'Bullet train', but none of thsoe really go well with 'American'.... Yawn.

Murder at the Beacon Bakeshop by Darci Hannah

Rating: WARTY!

"The grand opening of Lindsey Bakewell's new pastry shop" - wait, the baker is called Bakewell? Seriously? "...goes horribly wrong, leaving her ex's girlfriend dead - and Lindsey as the main suspect. Now she has to catch a killer to clear her name." That's actually not how it works. She has to be found guilty in a court of law. She doesn't have to prove anything. But this exact plot has been baked to a crisp already. Yawn.

Driven by Dane Cobain

Rating: WARTY!

"When a young woman is killed in London and the police insist it was a tragic accident, private detective James Leipfold is sure there’s more to the story — and teams up with his crossword-loving intern Maile O’Hara to crack the case." Why in the name of all that's actual fuck would he team up with a crossword lover? I mean for fuck's sake! What does he do, exactly? Feed her the clues in the from of crossword challenges, and she imemdiately solves them? One down and two to go? Pathetic.

Beezley and the Witch - Books 1-3 by Willow Mason

Rating: WARTY!

"Excommunicated from her coven, down on her luck, and in desperate need of funds — what’s a witch to do?" Use her witchcraft to magic up some money and a nice home. Otherwise what the fuck use is this power? Yawn.

Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Rating: WARTY!

"Ezekiel Wilkes’s father invents a cutting-edge drilling machine — but when it tragically malfunctions, he’s blamed for creating a zombie-ridden wasteland...." So a purported steampunk novel that once again, isn't about steampunk at all, but about a zombie apocalypse. Yawn.

The Pillars of Enoch by David S Brody

Rating: WARTY!

Talking of tired plots: "After telling historian Cameron Thorne about a hidden, ancient stone tablet, an elderly man is murdered." No. There's nothing in any ancient stone tablet that can be Earth-shattering, or that cna brign down a religion, or that is even remotely problematic for the modern world. It's bullshit, and this storyline has been cloned far too many times. Yawn.

Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter

Rating: WARTY!

I've never had a shred of good luck reading this author, which is why I won't touch her novels any more, but the issue here is how unoriginal this plot sounds. Author Tess Gerritson (who I have heard of for once!) claims Slaughter is "one of the boldest thriller writers working today” and I guess this is because of how uninventive and unimaginative her plots are. The blurb says: "When a young professor is murdered in a small town, coroner Sara Linton discovers her past could hold the key to catching the killer" so this is yet another in a tedious line of retreaded stories where the protagonist has a troubled past which holds the key to catching a killer. Seriously? This is tired; so very tired.

Switched by Amanda Hocking

Rating: WARTY!

Amanda Hocking was once the darling of the publishing world, rising from self-publishing her stories to the New York Times bestseller list. We're told this novel has some 34,000 five-star (Amazon-owned-)Goodreads ratings, so the question is, why is she reduced to flogging it for two bucks in a discount book flyer? The blurb has it that "Years after her mother tried to kill her, Wendy discovers she’s a changeling — and now someone has arrived to take her home to an unfamiliar world… This richly imagined fantasy is first in a trilogy!" Of course it is because why not milk an unoriginal idea for every penny you can get (hence the two-buck deal, I guess). From what I understand about the book, never having read a word of Hocking's writing, this story is pure authorial wish fulfilment from start to finish (which probably explains the lack of a plot), and both main characters are bad tropes as well as complete jerks. So no, just no.

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Rating: WARTY!

This is "Rom-com perfection" according to Entertainment Weekly, we're told, which in turn tells me everything I need to know about about how utterly useless they are when it comes to gaging the quality of a novel. The tedious blurb says, "After wedding planner Lina is left at the altar, the job opportunity of a lifetime falls into her lap. There’s just one catch: She’ll have to work alongside Max — her ex’s infuriating brother!" How many fucking times has this EXACT SAME STORY been told? The left at the altar horseshit, the suppsoedly new life, the infuriating someone? Seriously? Get a fucking clue and come up with something original. For. Fuck's. Sake.

Saturday, September 25, 2021

A Tale of Two Murders by Heather Redmond aka Heather Hiestand aka Anh Leod

Rating: WARTY!

"Book one in a series" of curse it is. "In 1830s London, young Charles Dickens is an ambitious journalist on the rise — but after a dreadful murder, he must team up with his boss’s daughter, charming Kate Hogarth, to search for a killer." Barf. Another abuse of historical figures. No wonder the dipshits at Kirkus thought that "Mystery fans and history buffs alike should cheer." Their approval is enough to put me of any book for life.

Expelled by Ell Leigh Clarke

Rating: WARTY!

"When Jayne Austin’s" Seriously? "...shocking discovery gets her kicked out of spy school," what - she discovered she was still a virgin? "...she starts an agency of her own — but her first case could decide the fate of the planet!" Could it be any more melodramatic? Assholes who write these spastic, spittle-inflected book blurbs need to step it down. Not everything can be continually shocking and explosive even when you're trying to sell an unimaginative and derivative novel. You know, people are only neophilic for a time, then the novelty wears off and they become varetophobic, so if you're using these same overly-dramatic terms constantly, how long do you honestly think the novelty and impact is going to last? Never mind I ought to be asking that of intellgent people which excludes you fucktards.

Pleasant Grove by Jason Price

Rating: WARTY!

"Twelve-year-old Agnes lives in Pleasant Grove, a lovely small town surrounded by a glass dome. No one is allowed in or out, but when a mysterious and amnesic boy arrives in town, can Agnes discover where he’s from — and what he knows?" If no one is allowed in or out, how the fuck does Amnesiac Boy get in? This is one more in a long and tedious line of trapped maidens being rescued by St George. Yawn.

The Thorn Princess by Bekah Harris

Rating: WARTY!

"First in a series" - of course it is, because why wrote one dumb-ass novel when you can clone it endlessly into a series?! "When Ivy meets enigmatic transfer student Barrett," so this is yet another YA novel where the girl is dumb and useless until a guy saves her. Fuck this shit.

Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm by Jaimie Admans

Rating: WARTY!

"After a few too many glasses of wine, Leah awakens" so Leah is a Lush, "...to discover she’s accidentally purchased a Christmas tree farm in Scotland!" and a dumb-ass. But it gets worse: "A getaway to rural Elffield" Elf Field? Really? "...might be just what Leah needs to distract herself from her cheating ex" If he's her ex, then how is it cheating? If he cheated before, then it's understandable given that she's a lush who impulse buys farms when drunk. Jeeze! Shes lucky he stayed with her as long as he did. He was more than likely driven to distration by her appalling and out-of-control behavior. But guess what? This asshole is rewarded because "she meets handsome pumpkin farmer Noel" Yep, but Noel (seriously - in a Christmas story this is the best name you got?) is looking so pie-eyed at the pumpkin farmer that she doesn't realize he really is a pumpkin that one of those elves has enchanted. When his pump(kin) ejaculates, Leah finds out just how seedy he is.... The amusing thing is that this isn't the dumbest idea this author has had!

Dream Casters: Light by Adrienne Woods

Rating: WARTY!

"When a high school prank goes terribly awry, Chastity learns that" she's no longer a virgin? The convent won't accept her application? Murdering a fellow student, even accidentally, is a "bad thing?" Dream Topping isn't a sexual position? Who cares though, really?

Just Desserts by GA McKevett

Rating: WARTY!

"When a murder rocks California, sassy Southern-bred detective Savannah Reid must sort through the suspects to make sure the killer gets their just desserts" Seriously? Could you be any more of a cliché? Since she's southern, she's named Savannah and she's sassy? Barf.

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Rating: WARTY!

This isn't so much the accidental beauty queen as it is the intentional fraud. "When her twin, Ginny, falls sick the night before a beauty pageant, shy librarian Charlotte must take her place in a glitzy run for the crown." If they were sisters but not twins that might have made for a decent story, but do we really want our hero to be thoroughly deceptive and dishonest?

Looking for Me by Beth Hoffman

Rating: WARTY!

Stop right there! That title is an automatic reject.

In Your Dreams by Julia Kent

Rating: WARTY!

"After ditching her boyfriend when she found out he was actually married, Laura starts having passionate, pleasure-filled dreams that involve two men." So his wanting two women is a no-no, but her wanting two men is a dream? Barf!

The Burning Girls by CJ Tudor

Rating: WARTY!

"After Reverend Jack Brooks" Stop right there. Another dipshit story with a main character named Jack. GET A CLUE!

Finding Joy by Adriana Herrera

Rating: WARTY!

"When Dominican American emergency relief worker Desta spends 12 weeks in Addis Ababa, he meets Elias, an Ethiopian doctoral student. Can the two risk everything to build a future together?" What the fuck, exactly, are they risking? And who is Joy? LOL! Shouldn't it be titled "Finding Elias"?! Another dumbass book description with the bonus of a questionable title.

A Pepper Brooks Mystery Collection: Books 1–3 by Eryn Scott

Rating: WARTY!

"Bookish amateur sleuth Pepper Brooks uses her knowledge to solve murders based on the works of Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Austen." WTF? "With the help of a handsome library clerk" (barf) "and a dog named Hamburger," (double barf) "can she read between the lines and crack the cases?" Why must she? Are the police useless? And how is Jane Austen, with so little sense and sensibility, and much pride and prejudice, going to help her solve the crime? It's a three day blow, all sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Red Death by Alan Jacobson

Rating: WARTY!

Another book blurb fail! "When FBI profiler Karen Vail arrives in Honolulu to investigate a woman’s supposedly natural death, she finds herself hunting an elusive serial killer" What serial killer isn't elusive? That's why they're serial killers! Duhh! If they weren't elusive, they'd be caught before they could serially kill! Yawn.

The Girl at the End of the World by Richard Levesque

Rating: WARTY!

That title is suspect to begin with, but it gets worse! "Scarlett Fisher leads an ordinary life - until catastrophe strikes across the globe, decimating the population and changing the world as we know it. As she navigates an apocalyptic wasteland..." Stop right there! How many times have people 'navigated an apocalyptic wasteland'? Far too many. This is tedious. Does the book blurb writer not understand that decimating literally means losing one in ten? Yes, it’s a catastrophe, but it still means there is well over six billion people remaining. Or does he or she simply need to retake English 101 before writing any more shitty blurbs? Yawn.

Resurrection Row by Anne Perry

Rating: WARTY!

"When disinterred corpses start appearing across London, inspector Thomas Pitt and his wife, Charlotte, must venture into the city's seedy underworld to solve the case" And his wife? Why exactly? Why would a Victorian man even consider involving his wife in such a ghoulish case? No. just no.

Up to Date by Susan Hatler

Rating: WARTY!

"Ginger is at an impasse - bored with her job and desperate to forget her infatuation with Greg, a sexy emergency room doctor." How is this tedious retreaded crap even remotely entertaining? A jackass who isn't smart enough to look for more challenging work and who naturally has the hots for a doctor, because no other profession is worth lying down passively and opening your legs for, which is all she wants to do, right? And no doctor is worth shit unless he's an emergency room doctor. Barf. What a bunch of trash! Slap a DNR on this DoA.

The Deep End by Julie Mulhern

Rating: WARTY!

For reasons which escape me, this author seems obsessed with women swimming into stiffs in the water. Make of that what you will. "When Ellison's morning swim brings her face-to-face with the dead body of her husband's mistress, it's a stroke of bad luck indeed - especially when she becomes a suspect in the woman's murder! Can she clear her name and find the killer before the case goes belly-up?" And she must prove her innocence rather than have the prosecutors prove her guilty because...? It's opposite day? She's a person of the first water? Her name inexplicably, is Ellison? Her husband's mistress's name was Chlorine Fresh? Yawn.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

Rating: WARTY!

You know I've done an amusing number of these (and a number on these), and the same names keep on cropping up. I'd be against this one just from the title, but the author seems to love that kind of title. The plot is intriguing: "CeeCee begins a quirky new life in Savannah with her great-aunt Tootie." Does 'Tootie' have a problem with gas? At least she has wind in her sails.... I'd be tempted to see, but it would probably blow. That 'quirky' in the description is a huge turn off.

London Dynasty by Geneva Lee

Rating: WARTY!

"For 10 million pounds, Kate takes on the identity of Kerrigan, a missing London socialite - but her explosive connection with aristocratic Spencer could complicate her plans. Book one in a series." Of course it is. What else could it possibly be? Now if it were named "London Die Nasty" or London Dysentery" I might be tempted, but since this is just another female stand-in novel with nothing really new to offer, then no. If the author's name was Lee Genella, then maybe, but as it is? No.

Undercover Reaper by RaShelle Workman

Rating: WARTY!

"Ever since she started seeing spirits, Detective Faith Ghraves has led a secret double life as a reaper" seriously? That's the best you can do for a character name - a reaper named Faith Ghraves? Barf. I'm out of here right at that point. Okay, I admit the title is kind of catchy, but really, come out of your 'Shelle and be more Workman-like....

The Sixes by Kate White

Rating: WARTY!

"When new professor Phoebe Hall" Wait, is Phoebe Hall a person or a building? Or both? "...volunteers to look into an on campus death" Why? Are there no police in this world? Or is this just another White wash job?

Winterkill by CJ Box

Rating: WARTY!

"When game warden Joe Pickett goes hunting for a killer in the rugged Wyoming mountains, his own daughter becomes a target." And he's putting his daughter at risk hunting for a killer because? There are no police in this world? Seriously? Or am I misunderstanding this? So...he's hunting and his daughter is a target.... Wait! What? He's hunting his daughter?! Shoot!

In Her Arms by Melissa Tereze

Rating: WARTY!

"When country girl Reagan visits a big-city lesbian bar, she meets a beautiful stranger - but after one passionate night together, Reagan returns home. Will fate bring them back together when Frankie decides to escape city life by renting a quaint cottage in the country?" Nope because Reagan has already died from a fatal venereal disease she got through having unprotected sex with a big city girl the one night she met her. The Reagan era is over. How tragic....

How to Snag a Shifter by Karin De Havin

Rating: WARTY!

"When witch Brooklyn starts her senior year at a new high school in Los Angeles, she finds herself dealing with drama, romance, and unexpected danger" Brooklyn starts a new school in Los Angeles? The next story in this series has Angeles starting a new school in Brooklyn. And of course she finds herself dealing with drama, romance, and unexpected danger because this is a cookie-cutter clone of every other high-school paranormal novel ever written. Nothing to see here. Havin writer's block. Move along.

Escape by Barbara Delinsky

Rating: WARTY!

"A New York Times bestseller from a 'first-rate storyteller' (The Boston Globe)" who nevertheless finds herself forced to tell cookie-cutter weak-woman escape stories. Yawn. "Dissatisfied with the way her life has panned out, Emily escapes to a small New England town to discover who she really is." That would be a runaway coward instead of a woman who shows courage, stands her ground, and fixes her shitty life. Yeah. I really want to read that one. Not.

The Aviary by Emily Shore

Rating: WARTY!

"Taken from her family and sold to the highest bidder, 16-year-old Serenity is put on display at The Aviary, a museum of living art. To escape, she must earn the trust of Luc, her mysterious captor." Of course she must because making a female character fall for the captor who has brutalized her is high romance. This is Shore to fail.

Devil’s Corner by Lisa Scottoline

Rating: WARTY!

"When her partner is shot right in front of her, assistant attorney Vicki Allegretti is" glad she had quickly hidden behind him.... Yawn.

Friday, September 24, 2021

We’ll Always Have Paris by Sue Watson

Rating: WARTY!

"I adored it" says someone named Cathy Bramley. Who the fuck is she? And why would I care what she thinks? The tired plot of this ridiculous book, appropriating an already over-baked title, has it that "Widowed at age 64, Rosie can’t stop thinking about Peter, the first man she ever loved." Peter? Really? That's what you name this obsession of hers? Seriously? It goes on, "After an unexpected reunion, can Rosie seize her second chance at happiness?" I really don't care. It's been done to death and it's time to get a new Peter. And don't forget to tell Cathy Bramley you got one - so she can adore that, too.

Bailey and the Bad Boy by R Linda

Rating: WARTY!

"After her ex-boyfriend runs off with her best friend, Bailey stages a fake relationship with the town bad boy - and soon their pretend attraction becomes all too real." This has only been done - what? - a billion times already? Yawn. And barf.

Marked by Fire by Mia West

Rating: WARTY!

"In medieval England," Um, Arthur was Welsh.... "Arthur is hopelessly drawn to his older brother’s shieldmate, Bedwyr." Bedwyr? BEDwyr? Seriously? "But after Arthur’s recklessness leads to a battle injury that might end Bedwyr’s warrior days, the two men discover an unexpected passion." Unexpected by everyone except the reader this blurb is aimed at, apparently. Yawn. Mia West appears to be obsessed with turning the entire Round Table into a gay club, which means all of her stories are essentially the same. Now, maybe one or two of those guys were actually gay (assuming any of them actually existed), but all of them? Seriously?

Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb

Rating: WARTY!

Now if this was authored by Robin Hood, that would be something wouldn't it? The author seems obsessed with writing about disabled dragons which means all these stories are essentially the same. Yawn. Apparently George RR Martin said of this that it's "fantasy as it ought to be written." Has George has been getting away with fantasy as it oughtn't to be written? Just askin'! "A group of dragons and their keepers journey to find the lost city of Kelsingra - and the mythical well that the creatures need to survive" - and we're just learning this now? So how have they survived thus far? I guess George likes dumb stories.

The Secret Wife by Gill Paul

Rating: WARTY!

"Reeling from a shocking discovery, Kitty Fisher flees to her great-grandfather’s cabin. " Another chick-in-shit story. Barf. Whya r eblurbs always larded with words like 'explosive' and 'shicking'? I know the reason, but for fuck's sake, can you blurb-writing assholes not have a little fucking faith in the readers?

The Last Days of Us by Caroline Finnerty

Rating: WARTY!

"Sarah is distraught after her husband, JP, abandons their family. But when their youngest child is diagnosed with a brain tumor, will it bring Sarah and JP together - or force them even further apart?" Honestly? Who gives a shit! The kid has a brain tunmor and all the author is concerned about is whether Sara gets her piece of shit husband back? Barf. The very title of this novel should broadcast loud and clear that it's a complete non-starter.