Some books are deplorable from the moment you pick them up until you finally make it to that last agonizing sentence (please refer to my 50 Shades trilogy reviews). While writing a terrible novel from start to finish is certainly a heinous crime, there is a far more grievous literary transgression demonstrated in S.J. Watson’s…

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The only reason I started reading The Lifeboat is because Amazon promised that I would like it. They’ve recommended it to me for the past two weeks, and my curiosity finally got the better of me. As I’m sure has been made clear by now, I am somewhat picky when it comes to my taste…

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Please, please, PLEASE let this vampire craze be on its way out. Please. Enough is enough – I knew when vampires started sparkling that something was amiss, but the juxtaposition of our 16th president into a vampire-ridden novel certainly takes the cake. Not that the novel is completely without merit – come on, who can…

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50 Shades of Grey opens with the virginal young Anastasia Steele – a reserved college senior majoring in British literature. James does not hesitate to emphasize the obvious comparisons to the loss of purity in Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles – and re-emphasize them, and then emphasize them again for emphasis. Anyway, our inexperienced heroine finds herself interviewing…

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Never Coming Back is the American debut of British author Tim Weaver. Weaver’s protagonist, David Raker, is a missing persons investigator with a sorted past. What kind of sorted past, you ask? I would love to tell you, but I don’t know. While this is Weaver’s first American novel, there are three other David Raker books…

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I was initially drawn to Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother because of an inside joke that I have long shared with my sister. For years, we have joked about our “strict Asian upbringing,” referring to our mother’s high academic expectations. Perfect grades were not an option, they were a requirement. At the time, my mother’s methods…

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A good book, Marcus, is not judged by its last words but by the cumulative effect of all the words that have preceded them. About half a second after finishing your book, after reading the very last word, the reader should be overwhelmed by a particular feeling. For a moment he should think only of…

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Ferdinand Von Schirach’s The Collini Case aspires to be a John Grisham-y-type legal thriller. Note my use of aspires. The novel is certainly a fast-paced drama, but it is missing the level of suspense that would make it a truly entertaining read. Caspar Leinen is a young defense attorney who has just landed his first murder trial. The…

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The Enchanted relates the story of a death row inmate and the details of prison life that he observes. The main players are unnamed and only referred to as “The Lady” and “The Priest.” This contributes to the hazy tone established early on by the narrator, which is ideal for someone with a perception blurred by…

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Detective Inspector Marnie Rome and her partner DS Noah Jake are conveniently at a women’s shelter when a resident attempts to murder her husband. Despite the plethora of witnesses, however, this case is not as clear-cut as it seems. Being a crime novel, Someone Else’s Skin takes readers through a variety of twists and turns, but the…

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This is not my type of book. I rarely read biographies and I don’t read books about American history. I’ve never been particularly interested in the genesis of the United States, thus I know embarrassingly little about our country. Prior to reading this book, I wasn’t even positive that James Madison was a president; therefore,…

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