Book Review: The Study of Animal Languages

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Synopsis: This book is a family drama about a husband named Ivan and his wife Prue. The husband and wife are both professors. The wife is a speaker at a conference where she makes an announcement about the discoveries her research has indicated. Those discoveries are not well received by the college putting both personal and professional life in jeopardy.

My rating:
3/5

I found Ivan and Prue’s relationship relatable. Particularly the fact that even though Prue and Ivan are both academic they don’t tend to discuss their areas of academia with one another. This is one reason that Prue’s revelations are so upsetting to Ivan. She had shared her research with her father but never made Ivan aware.

Prue’s father, who plays a large role in the story, is struggling with mental health issues. I thought the representation was well done and fairly accurate. I have a family member with mental health issues similar to his and have seen antics as portrayed in the book. The book perhaps could have been more sensitive to those issues but the way they were played out felt realistic.

This book had beautiful prose though at times I found it hard to read. There are lines I loved that were both quotable and relatable however the tone of the book is very literary which I don’t care for and can bog down the book in places. The book is told in first person from Ivan’s perspective. I feel like, with him being an academic, the tone is authentic to character. I just sometimes struggled as I was reading it and felt like he was pretentious. I felt like the style of writing made this book less accessible to a non-literary audience.

Along with the literary prose I felt as though the pace through parts of this book was slow making it feel like a longer read than it was.

I could relate to both Ivan and Prue as far as the struggles in their relationship however I didn’t like Ivan as a character and was often frustrated with him.

My final issue with this book was the ending. I felt let down by the way the story ended. I didn’t necessarily want more but the ending left me wondering “what was the point of this?”

If you are into literary books you might enjoy this. If your not, I’d advise skipping.

 

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
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Twitter: @JaneBNight
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To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Book Review: Yesterday’s Daughter

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Synopsis:
Leenie was abandoned by her mother as a baby and she has been raised by loving grandparents. Now, as a teenager, Leenie’s mother wants to come back into her life and Leenie doesn’t want anything to do with her.
She runs away to a small island where she helps an injured man. In turn, that man helps her to see that her mother’s situation may not be as cut and dry as Leenie wants to imagine.

My rating:
3/5

I enjoyed the premise of the book. We so often see the story of the adopted child desperate to know who their birth parent was. It was interesting to see Leenie instead having no interest in her mother despite gestures of love (mostly in the form of gifts and letters) over the years.

This book had places with poignant and beautiful prose. “Life isn’t pasteurized and homogenized. Sometimes it doesn’t have vitamin D added and won’t meet all daily minimum requirements. So what, we’ll get along with what we’ve got” (127).

Along with beautiful prose the imagery related to the setting is deep and engaging.

Leenie was a character with lots of angst and anger and I thought her emotions were shown well and genuinely.

There is also lots of information given on the subject of photography which was interesting and informative.

However, despite the things I enjoyed about the book it was more of a miss than a hit for me.

This story had a literary feel to the storytelling which made it feel like work to read. The pacing was slow which made the book drag despite it’s short length.

I also was not comfortable with her relationship with the injured man.

If you enjoy literary young adult fiction this might be a book that works for you. Otherwise, I would advise skipping it.

 

 

If you want more of my thoughts on these and other books watch my review videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ0lMytvlEXjNGydImwqA6Q

You can also connect with me on any of the following places:
Website: http://www.janebnight.webs.com
Email: authorjanebnight@yahoo.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7012589.Jane_B_Night
Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/cJrB0z
Twitter: @JaneBNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janebnight

To see a list of my publication or to purchase a book visit:
Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Jane-B.-Night/e/B00BX3XEB0
Smashwords Page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/authorjanebnight

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Book Review: The Secret Keeper

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Synopsis: As a teenager, Laurel witnesses her mother murder a man. Years later, as her mother is suffering from dementia, Laurel tries to find out the truth about the murder.

My rating:

3/5

This book had an intriguing premise and an interesting plot but I felt like this book was unnecessarily long. I felt the pacing was off and we spent so much time hanging out and developing characters but there just wasn’t much action or the feeling of forward movement until near the end.

I did love the author’s voice and style. The prose was lovely and enjoyable to read.

There were many characters (maybe too many for me)Laurel and her siblings, Dorothy, her best friend Vivian, Henry (Vivian’s husband), Jimmy (Dorothy’s boyfriend) and several other characters in both the past and present including employers and distant family members. The book takes place in multiple timelines which was, at times, difficult for me to follow. I did not connect as well with the characters in the present as those in the past. I didn’t feel like I got to know Laurel and her siblings very well. I found the large cast and the jumping timelines made the book difficult to follow at times but I was listening to the audiobook and don’t know if that would have been different if I was reading a physical copy.

I did guess what was going on near the midway point of the novel so I wasn’t shocked by the end (which might have made me more appreciative of the rather long journey to get there).

I can see why many people find this book appealing though it just wasn’t quite a match for me. I have heard it compared to the Thirteenth tale (which I also didn’t love) so I think if you enjoy books like the Thirteenth Tale this book may be right up your alleyway. It wasn’t a bad book but it missed the mark for me.

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Book Review: Bird Box

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Synopsis Malorie is living in a dangerous world where seeing the lurking monsters will cause madness and death. Malorie decides she “boy” and “girl” need to attempt to flee their current location for somewhere (potentially) safer though doing so is fraught with danger.

My rating:
4/5
Malorie was such an interesting character. Especially in the first few pages of the book she has some amazingly impactful quotes about why she doesn’t want the children to keep living the way they are. She has realized that the half life they are living isn’t a life worth living and fleeing with the possibility of dying is preferable to a life where they are.

As a mom if twins I know what a Herculean task it is to travel with two small children. I can’t even imagine if those children were blindfolded and have never left the place you have been staying. I felt for Malorie and the tough choices she had to make every step of the way.

This book focuses on the characters and humanity in general and for me that made it far more terrifying and chilling than the monsters themselves ever were.

I enjoyed the complexities of this world, felt the plot was sensible as well as solid, and thought the ending was well done. Endings in horror can be hit or miss for me.

I just learned there is a sequel coming out so I am wondering if reading that will change my feelings on the ending. It was a fine ending and, though it didn’t answer every question I might have had, I felt satisfied.

I do hope that the next book spends some time exploring the monsters because, while there is speculation about what they are and how they work, there is nothing concrete in this book about the monsters. We only know what Malorie knows and all she knows is what people around her have said and heard on the news (while there still was news to be had).

One small complaint I will voice is the writing style. This book is written in present tense and I don’t personally enjoy that stylistic choice so it took me a bit of time to get into the book for that reason.

This was a great book I feel comfortable recommending. If you like scary books (and particularly if you are a parent) I think you will enjoy this book too.

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Book Review: Murder on Trinity Place

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Synopsis: Sarah’s neighbor has just gotten married and she and Frank are invited to dinner to meet the young bride and her family. Shortly after dinner the bride’s father is murdered and Frank is asked to investigate the crime and discover who killed his neighbor’s father.

Rating:

4/5
This is a series I have been grappling with my feelings on. I have read all of the books in the series but the last few were lackluster at best for me. I was debating whether to continue this series. For me, this book returned the series to all it’s former glory and I truly adored this book.

The historical issue this book is centered around is the dairy industry as the murder victim owned a dairy delivery service.

One of the things I have always loved about this series is how so many of the books bring in important historical issues of the time. It makes the setting of these books richer and I often learn things I didn’t know about. This book did that for me. Apparently, unsafe milk was killing many children in New York and the dairies who were producing milk often weren’t ethical in their production. I was enthralled by all that was happening involving the dairy industry.

Since I have read so many of these books I usually can guess who the murderer was however this time I was kept guessing almost to the reveal. I don’t usually read these books for the mysteries because the quality of the mystery in any individual book varies greatly. However I thought this was one of the better done mysteries in the series.

We also got much less of Gino and Mauve in this book which I appreciated. They are sidekick characters. Mauve to Sarah and Gino to Frank. But the last few books I felt like they were trying to take over. I am guessing the reason was because the main character arc of the series with Frank and Sarah has pretty much closed. I felt like Gino and Mauve were supposed to be replacing the romance dynamic. Unfortunately, I don’t care about their romance the way I cared about Frank and Sarah’s. They are fine as minor characters but I am not interested in them as main characters and several books in this series had started to give them too much page time for my liking.

This is an amazing series which I highly recommend however for maximum enjoyment I do advise reading the books in order. I don’t think they are nearly as good out of order. This is not a series where I feel you can just pop in at any book and start reading. Many mystery series are like that. It doesn’t really matter much where you start. However, this series really should be read from book 1.

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Book Review: True Stories of Law and Order

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Synopsis:
A non-fiction book that looks into the cases that inspired episodes from Law and Order.

Rating:

4/5

I really enjoyed the set-up of this book. At the beginning of each section there is a note about the law and order episode inspired by the real life crime and then the book goes into what actually happened. There are also little notes in certain chapters about a certain thing that was said or done in the show versus real life police procedure or law.

As a Law and Order fan I was fascinated to see the true crimes that inspired episodes from the series (many of which I have seen).
The book was well written and the stories were intriguing. I was engaged and hungry for more.

There are pictures in this book but nothing graphic or gory. Mostly pictures of the victims pre-crime or photos/mug shots of the person who was eventually convicted of the crime.

I think if you like true crime books and Law and Order the television series this book will be right up your alley. There is another book specifically for Law and Order SVU which I haven’t read yet but would be excited to try as well.

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Book Review: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Modern Romance

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Synopsis:
Elias is living in the 19th century and is part of the aristocracy. While drunk he accidentally spills wine on his best friends artwork causing everyone to be upset with him. His already strained relationships become more strained and Elias just wants to run away. His grandfather gives him a magical time-traveling watch and he poofs himself into modern day where he meets Tyler, a wanna-be filmmaker. Tyler hopes that Elias will lead to his big break and Elias needs Tyler’s hospitality to navigate the complex modern world. Elias is gay and Tyler is bisexual so as they spend time together a slow burn relationship develops.

My rating:
4/5

I really had a great time with this book which is why I rated it a four out of five stars. This book did have some plotting issues and required quite a bit of suspension of disbelief but it was such a fun read that in the end I didn’t care much that there were some lapses in logic.

I loved Tyler’s character. He reminded me quite a bit of Dawson from Dawson’s Creek. I loved Elias and his enthusiasm for our modern world. I adored the chemistry between the two and found the relationship sweet and believable. I also appreciated that, while these character had chemistry the book didn’t get smutty. I am super picky about bedroom stuff in romances. If it is poorly done it can ruin a book for me. This book had some kissing and that was pretty much it. Which was the perfect heat level for me especially considering the character are 17 years old.

I will add that at times in the book Elias and Tyler acted older which was sometimes confusing to me. The book takes place on a campus and it feels like a college campus though I believe it is actually supposed to be a boarding high school.

This book was super cute and funny. It had fun scenes and witty dialogue.

My main issue with the book was the time travel device. Elias can travel through time basically at will. He also can make changes in the past that effect today. This created some situations in the book that didn’t work for me.

Overall I loved the characters and the romance. I felt the setting was a bit shaky because it felt like a college campus but I believe it is a high school campus. I felt the watch being used as a time travel device created plot issues.

I had a good time with this book despite the flaws. If you are able to suspend your disbelief this was a fun read and I recommend picking it up.

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