Profile for Carmen > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Carmen
Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,389
Helpful Votes: 276

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Carmen (England)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
pixel
The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Dull with unlikeable characters, 18 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Girl on the Train (Hardcover)
Well this started off ok - I liked the idea of a girl seeing something untoward happening from a train window. But. It wasn't really anything happening at all as she'd simply invented a fantasy life about a couple who spent all their time outside on the patio and what she saw wasn't a crime, it just didn't fit in with her fantasy.

Before I deal with the characters I have to mention the fictitious setting. Why? Rachel travels through Buckinghamshire to London. Why why why invent villages and woods? I really hate this. Why not use real ones? It doesn't give a true sense of time and distance and I found the whole thing difficult to place.

Then the characters. For some reason lately I am finding that authors are giving us characters I don't really like and these were no exception. Rachel had sunk into being an overweight lush, sacked 4 months ago for some drunken misdemeanour at work. She hadn't told anyone. Somehow she could still afford the train fare to London every day to keep up the pretence to her flatmate/landlady of still having a job. She kept harassing her ex husband and his new wife and baby. She was completely unlikeable with no redeeming features and, despite having been cheated on by her ex husband, I couldn't bring myself to feel sorry for her.

The book was written in the first person by the 3 main female characters - ie Rachel, Anna, her ex husband's new wife and Megan, the girl Rachel watches from the train and fantasises about. One of them goes missing. It all got a bit samey and dull to be honest. I did finish it but I worked out whodunnit very early on and didn't find it remarkable in any shape or form. I honestly don't know what all the fuss is about.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 18, 2015 3:08 PM GMT


The Ice Twins
The Ice Twins
by S. K. Tremayne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment, 11 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Ice Twins (Hardcover)
This was all set to be a 4* book. It had all the intrigue and potential to be at least that. What a let-down. I've already commented under another review about the ridiculous use of commas in this book, but it does need a mention again here. If you understand who is standing where, wearing what, in the following sentence after reading it just once then I commend you!

"Now we stand in the last, Victorian church, my mother next to Lydia, just down the pew, with Angus, tall in his dark London suit, between us."

Seriously - what on earth is that about?

Commas, colons and semi-colons are littered all over the place. What is going on with book editors lately? (This was the hardback, not a Kindle.) They don't seem to have the remotest grasp of English - this wouldn't have passed a GCSE in English language.

This seriously spoilt the story for me. A story which began well enough and had me intrigued. But the characters were uninteresting, one dimensional and not particularly likeable. However, I read on as I did want to see all the whys and wherefores surrounding the twin's death. How I wish I hadn't. I can't remember hating an ending of a book more. The last 30 or so pages are just ridiculous and I don't really know how to describe them without spoilering the story. But suffice to say it was the most unsatisfying ending and I wish I'd never read it.


The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
The Serpent Papers (The Serpent Papers Trilogy)
by Jessica Cornwell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Strange book, 8 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is just weird and I can't get into it at all. I bought it for the Barcelona setting and because I like crime novels. It's a shame you can't look inside it before buying. It's not the murder mystery it purports to be and I gave up. I suggest you go to a bookshop and have a look at it before purchasing and you'll be able to decide if it's for you or not. Very disjointed.


If I Should Die (Joseph Stark)
If I Should Die (Joseph Stark)
by Matthew Frank
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great new detective, 1 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I don't think I've ever before reviewed a book that I've felt is 5* in one aspect and yet I've actually failed to finish properly. I absolutely loved Joseph Stark. I thought his character was believable and thought-provoking. The best bit of this book, by miles, was the hilarious banter between him and his brutishly inquisitive female 'Sarge,' Fran Millhaven, who spent the whole time digging into his past and was given a comedian's ringbinderful of brush-off quips for her efforts.

But, oh my! The story. Whilst the actual subject for the story (rough sleepers being attacked) was a worthy one, I just didn't think it was well executed. It went on and on and on and the interviews with the teenage gang and their hideous mothers had me leaping pages and pages to get past them. About halfway through the book I started scanning the bits about the gang as I was only interested in the main characters and wanted to see if I had guessed correctly about the trouble Stark was in with the Military (I had) and also to see if he got the girl (not telling.) The rest I didn't really care about - although there was an interesting, grudgingly respectful relationship forming with one of the injured down-and-outs who was also ex-military.

I've given this 4*s as I loved the characters. But the story is 2*s. I will, however, actually look forward to the next in the series as I would love to read more about Joe Stark et al and hope the next storyline grabs me a bit more.


Academy Street
Academy Street
by Mary Costello
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £7.94

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Academy Street (Hardcover)
This seemed promising to begin with and I thought it was going to be a solid 4* book. But it didn't live up to its promise. A very short novel - less than 200 pages, but spanning more than 40 years. It managed to do that by having very little dialogue. Sometimes it felt a bit like reading a list of things that had happened - births, marriages and deaths. Lots of deaths. The sense of time moving on wasn't very well done - a major world event in the story had me completely confused as I thought it was about 15 years earlier!

The ending was awful. It felt like nothing had happened between the beginning (so promising and vibrant and full of feeling) and the final chapter. All in all, a bit disappointing.


Runner
Runner
by Patrick Lee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Action Movie Thriller, 17 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Runner (Paperback)
This wasn't quite the bog-standard thriller I was expecting - more Rosemary's Baby meets The Boys From Brazil - but once I accepted that and totally suspended all belief, I allowed myself to get sucked in and enjoy it.

It's one of those fast moving thrillers where escape from so many impossible situations becomes commonplace - the protagonist, Sam Dryden, having such an unbelievable skill-set enabling him to master everything from machine guns to ......ah.....now that would be telling! His drive to rescue eleven year old Rachel from those who wish her dead, no matter what is thrown at him, is what fuels the story and kept me reading. I quite liked the ending and would read a sequel if one ever materialised.

If you like books that would make good action movies then this is for you. Three and a half stars.


Stay with Me (Brenna Spector)
Stay with Me (Brenna Spector)
by Alison Gaylin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £3.89

2.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but......., 11 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another crime series with a good concept for the lead character - Brenna Spector has perfect recall and can remember to the tiniest detail what happened on any date since the disappearance of her sister when she was a teenager. However, it just isn't executed very well. We know her daughter goes missing from the blurb on the back of the book, but once that happens we go back to 'Nine hours earlier,' and 150 pages later we have only just got to Brenna finding out. There is too much recall - just as the story starts to move on Brenna has yet another memory, which is described in minute detail. Whilst I really like this idea, it just kills the suspense for me. We are trying to decide whether or not we can trust her assistant and her new boyfriend, but nothing much is happening.

It was all a bit of a drag for me. Won't bother with this author again.


The Dying Place
The Dying Place
by Luca Veste
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy editing again., 4 Jan. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Dying Place (Paperback)
I was hoping for a 5 star follow up to the 4 stars I gave for Luca Veste's debut, which I liked but was let down by sloppy editing. I can't decide whether to give this 3 or 4 stars as the editing, though better, is still not good. When characters are speaking it's fine for them to use bad grammar, Scouse expressions, etc. However, in the normal narrative of the book surely basic grammar rules should apply? I also found the description of the killing of the boy mentioned in the blurb on the back of the book extremely poorly written and impossible to follow. I read it about 5 times and gave up trying to picture it. This book, although a good story, felt long and when there was a major story shift about two thirds of the way through I'd actually had enough. It's quite heavy going to say the least and there was no let-up as it ploughed on to its grizzly end. More light and shade next time please!

However, I do quite like Murphy and Rossi (although the latter's swearing in Italian seems forced) and the story was thought provoking. By the end, however, it was all a bit too much and I was glad to be rid of it - I won't miss it - which makes me realise that it is a 3* book, not a 4* one.


The Next Accident (FBI Profiler 3)
The Next Accident (FBI Profiler 3)
by Lisa Gardner
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Three and a half stars, 19 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A fast read with well defined characters and a rapidly moving storyline. There was a lot of reference to the previous book in the series and it may be helpful to read it first - though not absolutely necessary as I enjoyed this without having done so. (However, this book is definitely a spoiler for the one before, which I probably wouldn't bother with now.)

Some of it was, perhaps, a little contrived and I did guess whodunnit, but a good enough yarn with interesting enough characters for this not to matter a great deal. Three and a half stars.


At Risk
At Risk
by Stella Rimington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Could do better, 10 Dec. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: At Risk (Paperback)
My first Stella Rimington and, honestly? I thought it would be better. This was just ok. I like character-driven crime/spy stuff and can overlook small plot holes, inaccurate historical facts and suspend disbelief if I engage with the characters. Liz Carlyle probably was ok enough for me to maybe pick up another in the series at some point, but I dare say I'll forget about her within 2 days.

This whole thing was about 150 pages too long, with characters so superfluous to the plot I honestly wondered if I was confusing some of the earlier ones in my mind with previous books I'd read, as they failed to turn up again. I would recommend giving time to read the first 100 pages in one go - so many characters and many of them so similar that it was difficult to work out where they all fitted in - indeed some of them really didn't!

The bleak East Anglian landscape became a tiresome, dull setting and the policemen from the various different agencies blended in nicely with this - I could never remember who was who and, quite frankly, it didn't matter.

I was a bit disappointed. I really thought there would be a better story from the former head of MI5.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8