Thursday, June 1, 2017

Packaged Thoughts June 2017: All the Books I Will Not Review Individually

There will always be those books that I absolutely would love to express an opinion on, but for one reason or another, it never actually happens.  In which case, I introduce my new feature, the "Packaged Thoughts" bundle reviews, wherein I will talk about a few random books I wanted to talk about, but just didn't really know what to say in an actual review.  (Although chances are, I'll ramble enough material for a full blown review anyway once I get to typing.  So bear with me.)

There will be two of these posts each year, one posted on June 1 to celebrate my birthday, and one posted on December 25 to celebrate Christmas.  My gift to myself and the reading community!

Thank you all for reading!

The Search
by Nora Roberts
Rating:  3.5 Stars

Truth be told, I really, really enjoyed this book a lot.  It had a lot of elements I absolutely enjoyed: the Search and Rescue aspect, the huddle of doggies in every chapter and every page, the slow burn of a sweet little relationship between our couple, the non-standard type of character that our heroine, Fiona, was presented as...

There were so many reasons to love this book.

Simply put, I feel that the only reason I gave The Search a rather mediocre rating is probably because of the disconnect I felt with the main story line.  There was an almost distinct division between the contemporary portions of the book and the suspense portions of the book, and rather than melding together smoothly, the contemporary portions sometimes made you forget that there's a killer lurking in the background.

Also, there were times that Simon came off as kind of a jerk, but then he'd turn around and be a nice guy, so I wasn't sure what to make of him.

I read this book for Romance Bingo 2017, using it for the Free Space (Love).

Tempted Into Danger (ICE: Black Ops Defenders, #1)
by Melissa Cutler
Rating:  4.0 Stars 

Tempted Into Danger was fast-paced and pretty exciting!  I especially liked the first half involving a brief survivalist side plot as Vanessa and Diego trudge through the jungles of Panama to escape danger.  The rest of the book's criminal conspiracy plot ended up feeling a bit tedious, but was a quick read through nonetheless.  I also loved that Vanessa was the nerdy, brainy type with a love for formulas and computers and stuff.

I listened to the audio book version of Tempted into Danger, narrated by Holly Fielding--while it wasn't terrible, it also wasn't my best experience with an audio book narrator, so I will probably just read the print versions for the rest of the trilogy.

I read this for Romance Bingo 2017 for the Interracial Couple square.  Diego is stated to be Puerto Rican; Vanessa is American.

by DAZAI Osamu
Rating:  3.0 Stars

The last time I read a human drama genre type story, I didn't know how to review it.  And the truth is, the reason I don't read these types of books is because I don't know how to review them.  As someone who's life experiences have always been pretty boring, I can't say that I can relate to a lot of the things that writers share, depicted in their literary works that make them so memorable.  And I'm probably the last person in the world who is eligible to realize how insightful one's artistic creations are--which is why I simply read what I like, or read what I find interesting.

Truth be told, the writing in Schoolgirl is beautifully done, with a touch of whimsy.  I read some of the other reviews, and some have stated that Schoolgirl is actually a depiction of Dazai-sensei's own thoughts and feelings, his doubts, his sadness, his own stream of conscience, that described his mindset while growing up.

Schoolgirl is surprising to me, to be honest.  Having read another work by Dazai-sensei, No Longer Human, I actually wasn't sure how to feel about it aside from bored and confused.  But Schoolgirl is hard for me to determine as some parts of it are inspirational, while some are a little hard to keep your attention on.  The content is actually a lot more mature than I had expected of a young girl, except that it is written in an almost juvenile voice, with the dramatics of a teenager.

I'm not even sure how old this Schoolgirl is supposed to be.


I read this book for Booklikes-opoly this 2017 Summer.

Roll #4:  (See Also:  Fourth Roll Activities)
This book takes place in Japan.

Page Count: 50
Cash Award: +$1.00

Bank Increased to $27.00 with this read.

The Paris Assignment (The House of Steele, #1)
by Addison Fox
Rating:  3.0 Stars

As enjoyable as The Paris Assignment was, this book is simply a romance novel with a suspense plot included, where a beautiful man and a beautiful woman, with some unique characteristics of the author's choosing (geeky computer skills in this one), are thrown together under circumstances, then fall in lust almost immediately, quickly followed up by deeper feelings. Meanwhile, stuff happens in the background.

It's a great, short, fluff piece to devour; and because Addison Fox presents it as such an enjoyable, well-written read, I don't find too much to complain about it.  There were the obligatory romance inclusions: insta-lust, the "you're the only one for me" speech, intimacy at the most inconvenient moments, the obligatory "greatest night of my life" sex scene and morning-after, obligatory angst... and then some.  Maybe some rapid-fire scenes that didn't really make much sense occurs.

Overall a great read.


I read The Paris Assignment for Boolikes-opoly this 2017 Summer.

Roll #2: (See Also: Second Roll Book: Decision Made)
This book involves overseas travel from New York to Paris.

Page Count:  284
Cash Award:  +$3.00

Bank was increased to $26.00 with this read.

The London Deception (House of Steele, #2)
by Addison Fox
Rating:  4.0 Stars

The London Deception was not too different from my experience reading The Paris Assignment, but I'll admit that I did enjoy it immensely more.  I'm thinking it might have to do more with the characters--I found Finn and Rowan a lot more enjoyable, and their chemistry a lot more palpable than I had found from Campbell and Abby.

Secondly, I have a thing for archaeology, and all the talk about Egypt and going on a dig, and amazing, scholarly historical findings perked my interest more than just another romantic suspense plot hidden in a romance.  I also liked the way the relationship between Rowan and Finn was handled, even if there were a lot of things that came as a frustration to me at certain points.  Nonetheless, from their first meeting as misguided youths, to their subsequent reunion, and then how their relationship grew deeper with each new secret revealed, I thought it was all a nice touch.

A great read, even if I don't really have much else to say about it.


I read The London Deception for Booklikes-opoly this 2017 Summer.

Roll #11:
This book was published in 2013.

Page Count:  282
Cash Award:  +$3.00

Bank was increased to $56.00 with this read.

by Nora Roberts
Rating:  3.5 Stars

I suppose every author has hits and misses.  I'm not entirely sure what this one was.  On one hand, it was written very well, with all the charm and attractiveness of a southern gentleman.  On the other hand, the book was slow going, like a lazy, hot, summer afternoon... except not as peaceful.

A lot goes on in Carnal Innocence, and if not for the fact that everyone in the book kept talking about the serial murder, you might have forgotten that there was an investigation going on at all.  There were also so many domestic situations, and so many random, banal, day-to-day anecdotes that were exactly like all of this book's small town people's way of having a conversation--by always taking the scenic route before getting to the point.

Truth be told, I found it hard to determine how I really felt about this book, because I like my crime thrillers suspenseful, straight-forward, and exciting.  By all rights, something this slow, and so full of side tangents, and detailing everything from family history to yesterday's gossip wouldn't have held very well for me as a crime thriller.

But somehow, I actually DID find myself enjoying it.  Even if I didn't really care for the characters all that much, though I WILL admit that Caroline is likable, as the sensible and strong type of heroine, though in a subtle way.  Tucker's old-fashioned manly behaviors tended to get on my last nerves, especially when he got overly pushy about butting into Caroline's life.

Truth be told, I always cringe whenever the main male character says things to the effect of, "It's not if we'll end up in bed together, it's when."  Or, "You know we'll end up having sex.  Count on it."  Such arrogance!  And even after the heroine states, on several occasions that it'll never happen, she has no intentions of sleeping with said arrogant prick.  And, honestly, in this day and age, in the real world, also could be considered sexual harassment...

And then the romance felt so lukewarm, though, I wasn't even sure it was really there.

At least there was Useless, the little adorable puppy that Caroline managed to get attached to.  Puppies DO make lots of things better!


I read this book for Booklikes-opoly this 2017 Summer.

Roll #13:
The authors name fits criteria; initials found in the name 'Tarzan.'

Page Count:  402
Cash Award:  +$5.00

Bank was increased to $61.00 with this read.

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