Dollar Reads Review Roundup #1

Book with pages folded into shape of heart

Wherein I review some books…

These days, I’m never lacking for something to read. But I’ve talked a lot more about what I’ve been buying than what I’ve been reading. So I thought I would briefly share some thoughts on some of my recent Dollar Reads. For all nine books I discuss below, I have paid a total of $2.33. Hot dog!

Heaven and Earth by Nora Roberts
Cost: Received free at BookCon

This was the first Nora Roberts book I’ve ever read and I really liked it. I found myself rooting for the couple even though there was no doubt that they would end up together. The mythology (involving witches and a curse) was simple and straightforward and it worked. I thought Roberts made good use of the trilogy format by focusing each book on one of three women so, while the books are sequential, each book tells a complete, self-contained story. I would both recommend this book to others (and I have) and read other books by this author.

Invasion of Privacy by Christopher Reich
Cost: Received free in a GoodReads.com First Reads Giveaway

Simply put, I did not enjoy this book. I thought the villains largely came across as cartoonish and cliched. The heroine was completely uninteresting and I felt like she, and most of the other characters, made one nonsensical decision after another. The ultimate resolution was way to convenient, but it didn’t matter because I’d lost interest long before that point.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Cost: Free digital download from Amazon

A quote I found online has Stevenson saying, “It was to be a story for boys; no need of psychology or fine writing; Women were excluded… ” I don’t know what it is about swashbuckling derring-do and the slick appeal of Long John Silver that women aren’t supposed to like, but I loved this story. It was fast paced and, at turns, both funny and harrowing. Treasure Island is a definite must-read.

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Cost: $0.33 at a library book sale

This was a very entertaining read. The story was creepy and strange and atmospheric and I found myself wanting to know a lot more about this sinister carnival and its inhabitants. Bradbury’s voice and style has clearly influenced many a writer, with striking comparisons to be drawn to both Neil Gaiman and Stephen King. So I would say if you like either of those two writers, you’re likely to enjoy Mr. Bradbury’s work as well. I look forward to reading more of his work.

Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge
Cost: Received free at BookCon

This book is only for you if you, like myself, do not mind gruesome. It read very much like an episode of a British detective series, which is why I was not surprised to learn the author was a British television writer. The story is dark and moody and no one is happy. One definitely empathizes with the plight of the victims and looks forward to seeing the killer stopped. But the “shocking twist” at the end was unnecessary and the story would have been better without it. Overall, I liked it and would probably read another book in this series.

The Wages of Humanity by Cixin Liu
Cost: Free download from Amazon Prime Kindle lending library

This was a slightly strange scifi novella with, maybe, a hint of mystery thrown in. A professional assassin is hired by some very rich people to kill some of the poorest people in the world. Somehow Liu managed to work in some aliens to create a very original and interesting story. A lot of ground is covered in fifty or so pages, so that the reader learns all about the main character’s background and, by the end, some alien history as well. My only complaint is that it was so short. I would have loved for this to have been a full length novel.

Eat Play Lust by Tawna Fenske
Cost: Free download from Amazon

This romantic comedy novella is just under seventy pages in length, so it was a very quick read. It was very lighthearted and had some funny moments but, sometimes I did feel like the story tried a little too hard with its humor. The characters were likeable, which is important in a romance, although they made the whole getting together business a lot harder on themselves than it needed to be. But when they did get together, things went from PG to NC-17 with the quickness. The explicitness of the sex scene was maybe a bit much for my taste, but I was familiar with this author so I knew what I was in for. ymmv.

Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
Cost: $1.00 purchase at Dollar Tree

There are so many books in this series I couldn’t help but be curious about it. I’m pretty much over that now. The main character, Stephanie Plum, is crass and, in my humble opinion, not very bright. She’s also terrible at her job as a bounty hunter. In the end it was pretty much luck that got her her quarry and she made a mess-and-a-half along the way. Between the flimsy characters and the inane plot, there’s just nothing for me here.

Fathomless by Jackson Pearce (very mild spoiler)
Cost: $1.00 purchase at Dollar Tree

I’m not a big fan of YA but I decided to give this one a try because at a price of One Dollar, I find I can be very open-minded. It was very strange how these teenagers seemed to live in an adult-free zone. There is no one minding their comings and goings, or looking after their welfare and the plot seems to contort itself a bit to make that seem plausible. But the main issue, for me, was the muddled mythology that had to do with werewolves who turn girls into mermaids, who then, themselves, turn into werewolves, but only if she had a twin sibling. Yeesh. I generally like fairy tale re-imaginings but I just couldn’t get with this one.

My Dollar Reads adventure has gotten off to a great start. I’d love to say more but I have a great big pile of books to dive into, so…Geronimo!

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