Tag: 1 star

Grist Mill Road

Author: Christopher J. Yates
Published: January 9, 2018
339 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 1-15, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 1 star

Book Description from Amazon:

The year is 1982; the setting, an Edenic hamlet some ninety miles north of New York City. There, among the craggy rock cliffs and glacial ponds of timeworn mountains, three friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible and seemingly senseless crime. Twenty-six years later, in New York City, living lives their younger selves never could have predicted, the three meet again—with even more devastating results.

Here is a triple helix of a story structure, a sharp-edged love triangle complete with an Atonement style revelation. Character-driven, gorgeously written and wrenching, it exposes the poisonous resentments, sexual longings, and reservoirs of violence that roil just below the orderly surface of small town life.

Jessica’s Review:

Grist Mill Road was a book that was not a good fit for me.  The premise was strong and promised to be one I would not want to put down. In actuality, it was anything but that. I will try to review as best I can without giving away spoilers.

The opening shows the true horror of a crime that occurs that involves children.  Remember this fact. Our protagonists Patch, Hannah, and Matthew are a young ‘twelve’, thirteen, and an ‘older’ fourteen years old.  The crime is barbaric and it is described from the first line that you won’t forget.

There are two time periods in Grist Mill Road: 1982 and 2008.I found the 1982 time period more thought provoking than the 2008 time period. I also found myself losing interest in the middle of the novel. What kept me reading was wanting to find out the motive of this crime.  The crime is a very heinous one and ultimately not forgivable.  Yates tried to make us feel empathetic for the guilty party based on other things done to this person, but he was not successful.  I understood the pain the person felt, but I felt no empathy. The crime is too extreme and there was nothing redeeming in this novel for me.

There are many themes including secrets and trust which becomes very important in 2008. I felt like I did not get to know Hannah well in her narrations as the main focus seemed to be her partner.  I wanted to get to know more about Hannah.

The biggest difficulty for me with Grist Mill Road was the lack of quotation marks. They are not used in the entire book. This  made it difficult to distinguish who was talking. It became distracting for me.

I wanted to like this book, but sadly this was not the case. I would like to thank the publisher Picador for my copy I was granted. I wish I could give a positive review. I would be willing to give Yates another chance and read his first novel Black Chalk.

I would like to say that I love the cover of Grist Mill Road! It is perfect for this novel. It is so simplistic, yet accomplishes what it needs.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Devil’s Labyrinth


Author: John Saul

Published: July 17, 2007
Dates Read: June 25- July 8, 2016

My Rating: 1 Star


Book Summary from Amazon:

After his father’s untimely death sends fifteen-year-old Ryan McIntyre into an emotional tailspin, his mother enrolls him in St. Isaac’s Catholic boarding school, hoping the venerable institution with a reputation for transforming wayward teens can work its magic on her son. But troubles are not unknown even at St. Isaac, where Ryan arrives to find the school awash in news of one student’s violent death, another’s mysterious disappearance, and growing incidents of disturbing behavior within the hallowed halls.

Things begin to change when Father Sebastian joins the faculty. Armed with unprecedented knowledge and uncanny skills acquired through years of secret study, the young priest has been dispatched on an extraordinary and controversial mission: to prove the power of one of the Church’s most arcane sacred rituals, exorcism. Willing or not, St. Isaac’s most troubled students will be pawns in Father Sebastian’s one-man war against evil–a war so surprisingly effective that the pope himself takes notice of the seemingly miraculous events unfolding an ocean away.

But Ryan, drawn ever more deeply into Father Sebastian’s ministrations, sees–and knows–otherwise. As he witnesses with mounting dread the transformations of his fellow pupils, his certainty grows that forces of darkness, not divinity, are at work. Evil is not being cast out . . . something else is being called forth. Something that hasn’t stirred since the Inquisition’s reign of terror. Something nurtured through the ages to do its vengeful masters’ unholy bidding. Something whose hour has finally come to bring hell unto earth.

My review:

I listened to the audio book version of The Devil’s Labyrinth by John Saul. I purchased it for $3.00 at my local used bookstore. You can’t really beat a $3.00 audiobook! The description of the book intrigued me. Exorcisms, but instead of driving out evil, evil is summoned!?!?!?

I did not really like the narrator’s voice, but I was able to get over that. The voice was hard to hear at times in my car. I have hearing issues. But his voice was also deep. It could have also been my car stereo as I listened to one disc in the house and did not have as many issues with hearing the disc. At times I had to rewind a track to listen again to what the narrator said.

The beginning of the book pulled me in with the two boys and the lizard. I did like the way the author brought that together towards the end of the book. I liked Ryan’s character. Overall, I was going to give the book three stars (3 stars is that the book is good- nothing particularity bad about it) UNTIL the end. I knew there were 99 tracks on each disc and it was on track 90 on the last disc and knew there was no way for the book to finish everything that had to be done. The book in fact was getting really good as it was reaching the climax….. and then it just stopped. Nothing….. No ending… No closure…. Really?!?!? I backed the tracks up several times to make sure I heard what I heard. When I say no closure I am not exaggerating. We don’t know if the villain is going to get caught or get away. What is going to happen to the Pope? What’s going to happen to Ryan and the other kids at St. Isaac’s? WHERE IS THE ENDING!?!?!? This sudden stop point ruined what was otherwise a good book for me.

The audiobook has a “bonus disc” which is an interview with John Saul. I was hoping there was something in that interview that gave some understanding to this sudden ending. There was not. Whenever the narrator asked a question to Saul he was very coy and basically saying read the book to find out. Or that he didn’t want to give anything away. Ummm… This was disc 9 – so the interview came AFTER you finish the book. At least give me something!!!

I can not recommend this book at all. Stay away from it. Now, I would be willing to read or listen to another of his books in the future. But if he did the same with that book (whatever it may possibly be) as The Devil’s Labyrinth, I would not read a third by him.


The Leftovers


Author: Tom Perrotta

Published: August 30, 2011
Dates Read: August 7-14, 2012

My Rating: 1 Star


Book Summary from Amazon:

What if your life was upended in an instant? What if your spouse or your child disappeared right in front of your eyes? Was it the Rapture or something even more difficult to explain? How would you rebuild your life in the wake of such a devastating event? These are the questions confronting the bewildered citizens of Mapleton, a formerly comfortable suburban community that lost over a hundred people in the Sudden Departure. Kevin Garvey, the new mayor, wants to move forward, to bring a sense of renewed hope and purpose to his traumatized neighbors, even as his own family disintegrates. His wife, Laurie, has left him to enlist in the Guilty Remnant, a homegrown cult whose members take a vow of silence but haunt the town’s streets as “living reminders” of God’s judgment. His son, Tom, is gone, too, dropping out of college to follow a crooked “prophet” who calls himself Holy Wayne. Only his teenaged daughter, Jill, remains, and she’s definitely not the sweet “A” student she used to be.

Through the prism of a single family, Perrotta illuminates a familiar America made strange by grief and apocalyptic anxiety. The Leftovers is a powerful and deeply moving book about regular people struggling to hold onto a belief in their futures.

My review in 2012:

Great premise, terrible execution! I heard that one of the people behind Lost is turning this book into a show for HBO, so that got my attention. I read what the book was about and thought it sounded GREAT! Well it is not. I was not interested in the characters at all or what was going on with them. They were not interesting at all! The only characters I was interested in was Tom and Christine. I REALLY hope it is changed A LOT when it becomes a tv show. I guess reading the premise of the book gave me high expectations and the book failed miserably.