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!

Bookish Discussion: Bloglovin’ and why I’m disappointed

Hello friends and welcome to my first ever Bookish Discussion! Today, I’ll be discussing Bloglovin’ and why it disappointed me.

First of all, a lot of people use Bloglovin’. It’s “…a platform that allows users to read, organize, and discover their favorite blogs on mobile and desktop. It is a design-focused platform that aggregates feeds from sources with RSS feeds, allowing users to discover and organize content.” (thank you, Wikipedia.)

So, something similar to the WordPress Reader, right? Yes, it sounds like it is. Why am I upset about a platform that is helping spread the contents of my blog? Because there is a difference between signing up for a service and being featured on it, and being forced to be featured on another service that you didn’t sign up for.

You’re probably confused, so here’s some backstory. A few days ago, I was checking my Stats and saw that a visitor had been referred to me by Bloglovin’.

Figure 1

I was confused, because I didn’t have an account, and I hadn’t put my blog on there. I pressed the link, and was stunned to see some of my posts on their website. I even had a follower that I was unaware of.

This raised a lot of questions:

Who put my blog on there? How does this work? Are they affiliated to WordPress and so any new blog is automatically added?

So, I searched on Google. I literally typed:

“Somehow my blog found its way onto bloglovin, I didn’t put it there what is going?”

The 5th result seemed promising:

Offbeat YA: How Bloglovin’ Ate My Blog (and Yours too).

And then I read about how Bloglovin’ takes your RSS feed and uses it to add blogs to their site. You have no control over it, as long as your RSS is public. And if it isn’t public, then no one will be able to find your blog.

As I read, I got frustrated because I understood how Roberta (the author of the the above article) felt. She didn’t want her blog on there, and she didn’t know how to remove it. And then there was the issue of Bloglovin’ opening posts from your website in their frames.

Apparently, that’s still happening because when I press a post link, I get this:

Figure 2

And I’m confused about the pop-up. I can’t press no even though I DON’T want to sign up. But forget that, the main issue here is the frame thing at the top. You can even see in the background behind the popup the page on my site, but it isn’t really my site.

Roberta’s post was written in 2013, and updates from another post proved that the issue was still a problem in 2017.

That post, by Ashley @ Nose Graze, talked about how you can now read full posts on Bloglovin’ and actually comment on there. They even claimed to search engines (using something called a canonical) that they are the original owners of the posts. (More about that here.)

Figure 3

One the main page (above: Figure 3), if you click the title of a post, it leads you to their link of the post (see Figure 2). The commenting feature still exists right now and if I press ‘Add comment’ on the main page (above: Figure 3), I get this:

Figure 4

I’m guessing that because my posts are on ‘post summary’, they aren’t showing my full posts on their website. Pressing ‘More Tag Thursday…’ here goes to my actual post page, not their version of my website. There’s a problem because this link that I’m sent to from Figure 4 isn’t the same one that I get sent to in Figure 2. IMO, I should be sent to my URL on BOTH pages, not their link.

At least the canonical issue was resolved.

I don’t have anything against my posts being read on their website, but I feel like they should have to visit my website to comment.

You’re probably wondering: What’s all the fuss? WP Reader does the exact same thing and I’m not complaining.

The fuss is because I voluntarily signed up for WP so my blog is featured on their Reader. However, I didn’t sign up for Bloglovin’ and I didn’t ask for my blog to be put on their service. They aren’t Google or Bing who have to have access to your blog or else you pretty much don’t exist. It’s a service that I didn’t sign up for and, at the moment, don’t want.

That’s my issue. I didn’t sign up for Bloglovin’ so they shouldn’t have a right to feature my blog just because I have a public RSS. It’s like saying that your information HAS to be on Facebook/Twitter/Google+ because you exist and use the internet. That’s not right, and it isn’t fair. They don’t have a blog removal option if I wanted to remove mine.

There are some things I can do (check out Ashley’s post) about it, and you too if you are in this situation.

I’m not saying that Bloglovin’ is bad. It’s kind of like a Facebook for blogs and can serve to help bloggers get more followers/readers. However, I don’t like the fact that I have no say in whether my blog is featured or not. At a time, I wanted to sign up but now I don’t want anything to do with them.

Maybe in the future I might sign up, but for now, no. If you followed me on Bloglovin’, please be sure to drop a comment on my actual website so that I’m aware of you! I love all my followers💖💖!

A lot of people in the Blog-o-sphere use Bloglovin’ and I don’t mean to hate on you. 💖 I just wanted to talk about my experience and why I don’t use it.

Let’s Discuss:

Do you use Bloglovin’? Do you think Bloglovin’ should be able to put your blog on their website without your permission? Is that fair (In your opinion)?

I’m interested to hear what you think and want to have a healthy discussion. Your opinions will be respected!