Clichés and Tropes – Let’s Talk Bookish

Good afternoon, and welcome back! Today I have last Friday’s Let’s Talk Bookish post, as I am late with it again this week. I promise, I’m trying not to make it a habit.

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by me and Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

The topic was: Clichés and Tropes (suggested by M. T. Wilson @ The Last Book on the Left)

I’m not actually 100% sure what the dictionary difference between the two are, so it’ll be nice to do some research and talk about what I think of them in general.

Continue reading “Clichés and Tropes – Let’s Talk Bookish”

Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci – Review

Hey hey! Welcome to another book review. Today’s review is of one of my most anticipated books: Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci. This was a disappointing two star read for me. I thought it was typical and cliche for Baldacci and I had a hard time reading it.

Book: Long Road to Mercy

Author: David Baldacci

Rating: ★1/2

Summary: Atlee Pine, an FBI special agent assigned to the remote wilds of the western United States. Ever since her twin sister was abducted by a notorious serial killer at age five, Atlee has spent her life hunting down those who hurt others. And she’s the best at it. She could be one of the Bureau’s top criminal profilers, if she didn’t prefer catching criminals in the vast wilderness of the West to climbing the career ladder in the D.C. office. Her chosen mission is a lonesome one–but that suits her just fine.

Now, Atlee is called in to investigate the mutilated carcass of a mule found in the Grand Canyon–and hopefully, solve the disappearance of its rider. But this isn’t the only recent disappearance. In fact, it may be just the first clue, the key to unraveling a rash of other similar missing persons cases in the canyon. . . 

Quote: “For me, the Canyon isn’t just a tourist destination. It’s a living, breathing place.”

The Good:

*Carol Blum. I loved Carol Blum so much. She’s the older secretary of Special Agent Atlee Pine. Her personality, vigor, and strength is amazing. And even thought she wears blouses, skirts, and pumps, she’s got steely determination and fierce loyalty to Atlee. I enjoyed reading about her immensely.

*Thriller. It was a little thriller-y and it had some suspense.

*What else…? Uh, um, nothing? This book wasn’t my cup of tea.

Quote: Blum gave her an incredulous look. “Well, it’s about time, Special Agent Pine. Frankly, I expected you to be a little faster on the uptake.”

The Bad:

*Her royal highness Special Agent Pine. She is the most cliche Baldacci character ever. If you haven’t read Baldacci, then you won’t understand, so here’s a little background. At least four characters that I’ve read that were penned by Baldacci are either: ex Navy SEALS, or ex military, or ex assassin. They are also super fit, with lots of muscle and no fat (and are hardcore gym enthusiasts), have “no heart”, and love being on their own. They also have some traumatic past (either from being in the military or Navy or some childhood trauma) that is the reason for them living on their own with zero personal belongings other than clothes and their guns and being determined to never forge relationships. They also have some other character that is just like them and who also happens to be a love interest. Guess what HRH Special Agent Pine is? Exactly everything listed above.

Description (from the book): “Her thighs, calves, and glutes were rocks, her shoulders and delts sculpted, her arms ropy with long cords of muscle, and her core is iron.”

God forbid I end up the recipient of her punch. Not only that, her twin sister, Mercy, was kidnapped when they were both six years old and the killer was never found (traumatic past anyone?). That’s why she joined the FBI and she loves working on her own. She doesn’t have a military background, but she’s as hard as ice. And her counterpart is Sam Kettler, an ex-military guy suffering from PTSD from his time serving (don’t forget the love interest). And I think you can guess his description.

I hate cliche characters, and I’m tired of reading the same character with a different name/background/job. It gets boring, Mr. Baldacci.

*Plot. Another thing you need to know about Baldacci is this: he loves his conspiracy political theories. And I really mean it. I don’t want to spoil anything (even though I REALLY want to), so if you are inclined to, visit my Goodreads version to see spoilers. Just know that this isn’t about a sadistic person who likes to murder mules. It is SO👏MUCH👏MORE👏

*Chapter 49. This chapter really revolted me. If you read it, you might understand. I thought it was very cruel and unnecessary. Spoilers on Goodreads.

*Representation. Most of the time, I don’t really mind if authors don’t have much representation in their books especially when they were published before these issues became a major force in today’s society. However, Long Road to Mercy was published in 2018, and all the major characters are white. (There is an Asian guy, but his job is to be a plot twist.) I think that two side characters, Joe Yazzie Sr. and his wife Jennifer might be Navajo Indian, but they aren’t part of the main plot of the story. There are two black characters, but one is just a guy we meet in the gym and who we don’t even know his name, and another guy who is only a taxi driver. Pine and Blum are white. (If I missed something saying otherwise, please let me know, but I’m pretty sure they are white.) Sure, the fact that Pine is a woman in law enforcement is kind of diverse,but it’s not that much.

*Too much description. Since the beginning of the story takes place in the Grand Canyon, there are descriptions of what it looks like. I, personally, thought it was too much. I literally skipped two to three pages of description because I didn’t care and didn’t want to read it.

*COME ON!! THAT’S ALL THAT HAPPENED??? FOR REAL?I thought the end was ridiculously unrealistic, and too simple for such a complex plot. When you get to the end, you’ll understand. HUGE things happened in the book, but that ending was so ridiculously simple that I don’t believe it. Maybe I should go rewrite it. Scrap that, I’ll rewrite the whole book.

*Oh, and does it count that I had a migraine reading this? I don’t know if it’s because of the book or other reasons, but it reduced my reading pleasure considerably.

Quote: “That was why virtually every serial murderer was also a narcissist.”

The Wrap:

In the end, I disliked this book, I’m not even sure why I gave it two stars. I won’t recommend it, but if the above reasons for me disliking it don’t matter to you, or you’re a Baldacci fan, or you haven’t read a book by Baldacci before, go ahead and give it a try.

One sentence summary: A book filled with Baldacci cliches, too-big plot and too-simple ending, and a boring main character.

In the end, I’m reducing this to one and a half stars rounded to 2 (The half is for Carol)

Have you read Long Road to Mercy? What did you think? What are some of your most anticipated reads of the year? Let’s chat in the comments!

Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Review (more like a rant)

Hey and welcome back to another book review! Today’s review is of a book by one of my most beloved authors: Nobody by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. This was a one star read for me. I didn’t like it, and it was sub-par compared to her other books.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book about someone with a superpower

Book: Nobody

Author: Jennifer Lynn Banres

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Summary: There are people in this world who are Nobody. No one sees them. No one notices them. They live their lives under the radar, forgotten as soon as you turn away. 

That’s why they make the perfect assassins.

The Institute finds these people when they’re young and takes them away for training. But an untrained Nobody is a threat to their organization. And threats must be eliminated.

Sixteen-year-old Claire has been invisible her whole life, missed by the Institute’s monitoring. But now they’ve ID’ed her and send seventeen-year-old Nix to remove her. Yet the moment he lays eyes on her, he can’t make the hit. It’s as if Claire and Nix are the only people in the world for each other. And they are—because no one else ever notices them.

Quote: “I am everything. I am nothing. I am powerful. I am forgotten.”

The Good:

I didn’t like anything in this book?


Quote: “You can’t tell me I matter and then leave like I don’t.”

The Bad:

Repetitive. The first 30% was just a rehash constantly of Claire and Nix’s first meeting. Nothing was really happening and I was starting to get bored with the same thing happening over and over again. Did I say it was repetitive? Because the same thing was happening over and over….

Insta-love. As soon as Nix was introduced, I knew it was going to happen. And it did. Suddenly Claire must be totally in love with Nix because he is the only guy ever to realize she exists. I was expecting it but it still didn’t work for me.

Nothing really happens. Nothing really started happening until the 70% mark. I’m surprised I made it through, but then again, I kept starting and stopping and it took me more than two weeks to finish it.

Plot. I knew what was going to happen as soon as Nix couldn’t kill Claire. Nix was going to take down the Society whom he’d trusted his whole life and he wouldn’t want Claire to get hurt, but Claire is stubborn and she gets her way, and everything goes down and Nix and Claire are heroes…. Super predictable. I think this is the plot for every book with an Evil Organization that has being lying to the MC their whole lives.

Implausible? Nix supposedly has been living in “an eight by eight room with no windows and a door that’s padlocked for show.” That’s a direct quote by the way. He doesn’t know what a computer is and I’m seriously doubting he’s seen a TV. The Society (his employers? captors? I don’t know what to call them) only taught him to read so that he can read the files of the people he has been ordered to kill. Yet, he knows a lot of things for a guy who has no contact with the outside world. I would quote, but I suck at taking notes while I read, so I don’t remember where/what he said that made me think that.

Claire. She is constantly wallowing in self-pity because the world ignores her. “Oh God, I’m jealous of farts.” Yup, she said that. I got tired of reading her narrative because after she meets Nix, that’s all she thinks/talks about and it gets annoying.

Nix and his relationship with Claire. Honestly, the way he constantly degrades himself: I don’t deserve to be touched. I don’t deserve to be loved. I don’t deserve to have someone as beautiful as Claire…. is annoying. This review on Goodreads summed up Claire and Nix’s relationship very well:

______________________

(Read the original review by Shambhawi P. on Goodreads🙂

Claire: (touches Nix’s face)
Nix: (jumps away from her touch) I am a vile, vile monster, a killer, I don’t deserve to be touched by someone as pure and beautiful, and wonderful like Claire.
Claire: Oh, No. Nix does not want me to touch him. Nobody ever wants me. I am not beautiful and Nix is so hot. Did I mention Nix is hot? Why would he ever want me. (cries)
Nix: I am a vile, vile monster. Look, I made Claire cry. (touches Claire’s face to wipe her tears)
*more facetouching*
Rinse and Repeat.

______________________

Yup. That’s a very very accurate portrayal of their relationship.

Ending. The ending was the most cliche and Disney-ish thing I’ve ever read in my life. Nix gets hurt and Claire is crying, begging him not to leave her, how dreamy his eyes are, how she’ll never see them again, blah blah blah. And then, *drum-roll please*: he pretty much dies (you know those precious seconds where he has pretty much left the world but hasn’t entirely died? that’s what I mean) and two other characters mix their blood together and drip it on him and he suddenly comes back to life with his body healed and all the pain gone. And they live happily ever after. (Have I said that this is the most Disney-ish thing ever? Frozen ends like that, I’m pretty sure Belle and the Beast ends like that, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ends like that… every Disney princess movie probably ends like that.)

Did I mention it was ridiculously repetitive? Because it is. Did I mention it was super cliche (and Disney-like)? Because it seriously is.

Quote: “How can somebody want me dead when no one knows I’m alive?”

The Wrap:

I’m really disappointed because I love the rest of Jennifer’s books. This was the epitome of cliche and I sooo did not like it.

One sentence summary: A cliche filled book with one-dimensional characters and a very predictable plot.

Overall, one very disappointed star.

Have you read Nobody? Did you enjoy it? Have you read any other book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes? What did you think of those? Let’s chat in the comments!