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Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews

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Perfect performance!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-05-08

I don’t know if you’re aware of this or not, but Nora Roberts is one hell of a writer. She continues to amaze me with her ability to develop storylines and seamlessly tie them all together.

Shelter in Place is a story of love and hate; where love is the glue, if used properly, can fix anything. The synopsis doesn’t do the story justice, there is so much more beneath the surface.

Roberts has based this story around a shooting at a mall in Maine. This theme is all too relevant in today’s age; it is the type of thing that is happening all too often and in places that we would normally consider “safe.” She doesn’t focus on the shooting itself, but rather on the aftereffects, and how this one incident changed the lives of everyone who was there.

I loved the time spent with Roberts’ characters. I was pulled into their lives as some tumbled out of control, while for others “the incident” allowed them to focus on who they were destined to be. Simone and Reed couldn’t be more different from each other, but their shared experience at the DownEast Mall catapulted their lives on an inevitable journey.

I love books like these, where the length of time doesn’t matter. The lives exposed are so deep and profound that I want to spend more time with them. I want Roberts to reveal every last detail of their lives.

In the end, Shelter in Place is a story of hope and conquering demons.

Solid story.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-05-08

Every year, my wife and I love looking at the Goodreads Choice Awards. We always find some great books to add to our overflowing TBR lists, and it’s fun to see if any of our favorites found their way onto the list. We have this ongoing joke from one year to the next: “Who will win Best Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction? Sarah J. Maas or Sarah J. Maas?”

I don’t mean any disrespect, I do read some young adult fantasy, and Maas has won every year since 2015. One could argue that YA fantasy is one of the most competitive markets in the book world right now. So, I thought that I should really give her a shot.

I truly appreciate the patience with which Maas cultivated her story. There was no rush to the prize. A Court of Thorns and Roses was a scenic trail with many unforeseen turns that eventually led to a satisfying conclusion. It takes some true skill to write a story this long – sixteen hours on Audible – while keeping the reader (or listener) involved. Maas has certainly mastered this.

In other ways I saw many familiar patterns, shades of other books, some older and some more recent. I think that these are part of the formula that makes this genre work. The typical YA audience appears to have certain expectations that they want or need in their fiction, but then again, I think it’s the same for any genre.

A Court of Thorns and Roses was a bit of an experiment for me. Am I a YA fan hidden inside the body of a mature man, or have I just found a connection with a few YA authors? As it turns out, it is the latter. I enjoyed my time spent with Maas’ characters, but if she is the best of the best in the genre, I’m good with the handful that I’ve come to love.

Southern Comfort

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-05-08

There is something about a heinous crime that grabs my attention. A seven-year-old boy is brutally beaten in his own home, Hoag had my attention.

The Boy is the second book in the Broussard and Fourcade series and my first venture into the small town of Bayou Breaux. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything, the author seamlessly filled in any gaps that I may have been missing from book one.

The Boy is an expertly crafted who-done-it. I felt pulled into the mystery of the story, trying to solve the case along with Nick Fourcade. Hoag created so many potential suspects throughout this tale, each one had a viable motive for the murder; it was just a matter of putting all of the puzzle pieces together. One thing that I learned from The Boy: suspect everyone and you can’t be wrong.

I opted to use my Audible credit for The Boy and I think that I was better off for it. Hillary Huber’s narration was superb, her varying southern accents were a perfect fit with Hoag’s characters. I even found myself catching an ad for the History Channel’s Swamp People and saying out loud, “That sounds just like someone from The Boy.” Huber made a great story even better by enhancing the atmosphere.

The Boy was a captivating mystery, but the Audible knocked it out of the park.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

Love this series.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-05-08

What David Moody has done with The Final War series is genius. I find that more and more authors don’t know when or how to end a series and move on to something new. I loved the Hater series, it was a novel concept in the realm of “zombie” books. I loved every moment that I spent with Danny McCoyne, but by the final pages of Them or Us, Danny’s story was over, and I was good with that.

The Final War brings me back to this dark world, but with a whole new story/character to follow, Matt. Matt lets us see Moody’s Hater world from the other side. All Roads End Here runs parallel to Dog Blood, however, I felt while listening to it that this book could be a reader’s introduction to this world; a monumental achievement considering it is the second book in the second series.

Moody took his time building the scenario that Matt has found himself in. I thoroughly enjoyed that, I mean, what’s the rush, with writing this good let’s take our time and enjoy this dirty, starving world filled with death and destruction.

David Moody is a fearless, dark author. He is not afraid to take his readers to the places they don’t want to go. He allows his readers to develop relationships with his characters and then slaps them with a healthy dose of pessimistic reality.

Considering my monumental to-be-read list, I decided to use my monthly Audible credit on All Roads End Here. I was somewhat apprehensive about listening to Gerard Doyle’s narration. I don’t have an aversion to accents, but I really didn’t want Handy Andy Kane of Changing Rooms walking me through this story. Doyle’s narration was clear and exceptionally easy to follow.

A captivating story!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-05-08

I love committing myself to big books. I crave spending hours with interesting, well-developed characters. I appreciate an author like Greg Iles, who has the patience and makes the time to create the stories that will occupy a portion of my life.

I’ve heard it said many times that an author should write what they know; Greg Iles is a southern boy, and he sets his stories, like Cemetery Road, in small-town Mississippi. I loved the closeness and smallness of Bienville, Mississippi. For all of its “southern-ness,” a person like myself, born and raised in the Northeast, was able to recognize the small-town politics and how everyone knew everyone else’s secrets. I think that when an author is so comfortable with their setting, it allows the reader to find their own familiar parts, thus allowing them to find a home in the story. Well, that’s how I felt anyway.

There were times while listening to Cemetery Road that I was a little bit annoyed or put off. At times I felt like the story was a product placement for The Ford Motor Company. But like all relationships, it’s never perfect all of the time. The story was exciting, interesting, and I always wanted to get back into it.

Cemetery Road is a commitment – six hundred and eight pages in the hardcover, or twenty-four hours in the Audible (which is what I did). Greg Iles kept my attention throughout with the twists, turns, and sometimes convoluted scenarios. I often thought that the characters’ lives seemed too intertwined, but then I remembered my own small town. Keep it real!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

4.5 Stars! Who's the real monster?

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-02-16

History is filled with many fabulous stories that can skillfully be turned into fictional horror. The less we know, the fewer the survivors, the more horrific the actions of the participants, all the more readily we are to accept the involvement of evil.

The Donner Party’s trek across America in 1846 wasn’t really all that long ago, not even 175 years. The events are fairly well-documented, the survival rate above fifty percent, not bad considering, but what those people had to do to survive…Katsu took this story and brought it to life. She delved into the nitty gritty details of life on the wagon train. The image that I think we all have is of the flat plains that roll across the country. I always forget that the most difficult part of this voyage would have been the Rocky Mountains. The true trials would have been during the last half of that voyage. Katsu played off of this, creating a monster to instill fear in all of us.

I love how Katsu kept her casting to the historical records, it lends a certain plausibility/possibility to her story. She changed perspectives during the story so that her audience could get the full picture of events, a peek into everyone’s head.

My experience of The Hunger was through the audiobook. I found that the narrator did an excellent job. Kirsten Potter enhanced the creepy factor to an already eerie story.

Listening to The Hunger, I was constantly pulled back to the feeling that I had while reading The Terror. What’s funny (peculiar, not ha-ha) is that these two events are so similar while completely different and only a year apart. This was a time of exploration, when people thought they were masters of the world. Although, in both of these stories Mother Nature showed them who was really in charge – something she still likes to do from time to time.

Felt like it was written for me.

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-02-16

*4.5 Stars

I love a story with a mysterious monster, make it biblical in nature and I am hooked. Ararat is one of those books I had been eyeing for a while before finally embarking on the voyage.

Golden masterfully created his cast of characters, although listed as Ben Walker #1, there were many other characters with critical roles. All of these characters were exceptionally developed with values and vices. These players in the story pulled me in and kept me wanting more.

I’ve got a couple of self-defined categories that I love; the first I refer to as archaeological adventure, these are modern-based stories that poke into ancient cultures; the second is biblical horror. Golden captured both of these sub-genres perfectly in one fantastic story.

As a former classical studies student, I love stories that look back into the past, a new, different view of what once was. These stories often offer a what if? aspect to the past, and I often find it helps me bond with the story and the characters.

It’s hard to beat biblical horror, it plays off the belief system I was raised with. Monsters are fine and all, but I always find there is something more realistic when it’s based on my own beliefs.

My foray into Ararat was via the audiobook. The narration was well done and enhanced my experience. Robert Fass conveyed the story without really being noticed just for being the narrator.

Ararat kicked off with a great hook and kept me entrenched in the story.

A fun listen.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-02-16

I was looking for a quick little story to listen to on my Friday commute. I really didn’t want to start a full-length book and then let it sit over the weekend. An hour and a quarter trip back in time to meet Julius Caesar and Cleopatra seemed like just the thing.

This was my first time-traveling adventure with the gang from St. Mary’s, and I have to admit, even though Roman Holiday is #3.5 in the series, I didn’t feel like I was out of the loop at all.

I loved the snarky, sarcastic attitude of the protagonist, and Zara Ramm’s performance complimented this attitude perfectly. I had a lot of great chuckles as I listened. I have since added Jodi Taylor’s other books to my wish list and I’m looking forward to more historical/hilarious adventures with her.

Fun.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-02-16

*3.5 Stars

I’ll give Jodi Taylor this, she’s got a good thing going on with The Chronicles of St. Mary’s. I’ve grabbed a few of her shorts on Audible. They are great little distractions on my daily commute.

Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings takes its readers on a quick little holiday trip back to ancient Egypt. It is filled with what I am coming to know as Taylor’s trademark sarcastic humor. Let’s be honest, the story has to move quickly for an hour and a half, there really isn’t a whole lot of time to waste.

What I really like about The Chronicles of St. Mary’s shorts is that I can just jump midway into the series without following the full-length books in the series.

While it’s not a full-length, in depth story, Ships and Stings and Wedding Rings was fun and entertaining. Job done!

A twist on my usual coming of age story

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 2019-02-16

Sometimes I’ll read a synopsis and get a specific idea in my head. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s the reality of what I do.

When I read the synopsis of The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, I thought: Awesome! This sounds like a West Coast, female version of The Troop meets Stand by Me (tell me that doesn’t sound fabulous). But when I got into the story I realized that wasn’t the case. I had to push my own reset button, get over my own disappointment and immerse myself in the story at hand.

To me, Fu’s story came across as five stories, tied together by one tragic event. Each of these stories were intriguing and well presented in the audiobook, with a different narrator for each of the girls. I think that as a reader I do have to let go of where I thought the story was going to go and just enjoy the one that the author wants to tell me.

In the end, I enjoyed the story. Fu gave me the story that I needed and not the one I expected. I really came to appreciate the coming of age story from the female perspective, something that seems to me to be lacking.