Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Book Review Club (March 2013)

Happy First Wednesday of March! Which means it's time for the monthly meeting of The Book Review Club. We've put together reviews of books we've read and enjoyed. So, please click through the links under my review. Because...we do it all for you. Enjoy!

CRUSHER by Niall Leonard (young adult, thriller/mystery)

In a nutshell: High-school dropout Finn Maguire arrives home from his crappy fast-food job to find his stepdad bludgeoned to death in their London flat. Of course, our Finn is the main suspect, and he takes on the mystery in order to clear his name. And to find out what really happened to his stepdad.

The stepdad (an out-of-work actor and, then, a wannabe writer) was working on a screenplay about one of London's mobsters. Finn thinks. He really didn't pay that much attention when his stepdad was talking about his writing. Same thing happens in my house! Anyway, the stepdad's computer and the writing and research he's done is missing.

What I Loved: In a word--Finn. I loved this character. He's basically a loser, but you just know he won't stay that way forever. He has knack for sizing up sitautions and people. He's persistent. He has a good heart. I loved every word that came out of his mouth. Niall Leonard has a great ear for dialogue, which isn't surprising since he is a screenwriter as well. I'm interested in checking out a British crime drama TV show he writes for: Wire in the Blood. Also, CRUSHER is an edge-of-your-seat read, full of unexpected twists.

What I Loved a Little Less: the plotting. Weird as it sounds, there were just one or two too many twists.  And, while I'm all for adventure and chase scenes, the end of the book felt like Bruce Willis in one of those Die Hard movies. Too many fight scenes. I kept thinking poor Finn needed to be home and in bed with a steak over one eye, an ice pack over a fist and 800 mg of ibuprofen. Also, there wasn't one nice female in the entire book. We all know how unrealistic that is!

STILL...I loved Finn. Enough that I could overlook the plot stuff. Which is saying a lot for me. I'll read the sequel.

Particular to this Book: CRUSHED was written for Nanowrimo 2011. AND...Mr. Leonard is married to E.L. James of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY fame. Here he is talking about being Mr. Fifty Shades of Grey.

Without further ado, here are the links to this month's AMAZING AND THOUGHTFUL reviews! You don't want to miss them.


 Ellen Booraem of Freelance Ne'er-do-well: REVEL by Maurissa Guibord (YA fantasy)


 Scott Parker: BLOODHYPE by Alan Dean Foster (science fiction)

Sarah Laurence: THE BURGESS BOYS by Elizabeth Strout (literary, pub date 3/26/13)

Alyssa Goodnight of the Writers' Road Less Traveled: ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell (women's fiction)

Linda McLaughlin: THE SHADOWY HORSES by Susanna Kearsley (romance)
                                THE WINTER SEA by Susanna Kearsley (romance)


Jenn Jilks of Cottage Country: THROUGH THE GLASS by Shannon Moroney (adult autobiography)

Note to Reviewers: Any errors (broken link, missed review, etc), just shoot me an email or leave a comment. Thank you so much for your reviews!


  1. Hm. I have a kid who might LOVE this book.

  2. CRUSHED sounds like an exciting read. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that a screenwriter tried to cram one (or two or three) too many action scenes into his book. That's what they do in the movies! There's always at least one final gratuitous action scene after you think the story's done. (End of rant.) Glad you liked Finn and enjoyed the book overall.

  3. Although a book with Bruce Willis stye action, violence and no good female characters would have little appeal to me, I LOVED your review. You cracked me up about no one listening to conversation about your writing in your home. I'm also intrigued that we have a male author married to a more famous female author. I suppose violence and pain are not unexpected?

    Thanks for hosting!

  4. Green Girl: How old is the child you might give this book to? I only ask because there is sex. I was kind of thinking your kids were around the age of my child #4, which is why I mention this.

  5. Linda: I had the exact same thought as you! I read Crushed before learning that the author has a history with screenplays. The second I knew that, I'm, like, okay, then, it all makes sense!

  6. Sarah: Wow! That is high praise indeed from the woman who writes amazing reviews! Thank you. Actually, I think you should read Crusher from the point of view that it is so different from YA in N. America. For example, there were very few other teens in the book. Also, I think the author (from the interviews I read and watched) has a great, quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in the book.

  7. Loved your review and the fact that it's set in my city of residence adds an extra layer of appreciation. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  8. This one sounds great...although I'm a little concerned about there being no good female characters... Hmmm.

    Sorry to hear nobody wants to talk about your books at your house. At my house, my boys are keeping count of my books. (As you can imagine, the counting is very slow.) "Is this book five yet? What? You're still writing book four??" :)

  9. Hi Barrie - just popping in to wave hello. Interesting what you said about the plot and the fight scenes - I think I felt that way about the latest Bond movie. :)

    Anyway, sounds intriguing, although Alyssa makes a good point about no interesting female characters...


Comments are always welcome!