Happy Friday the 13th everyone!
Thanks to Amazon Publishing for the advanced copies in exchange for our honest reviews.
TRUE FICTION – Lee Goldberg (out now!)
On occasion, the #CJSReads trio comes across a book that just didn’t work for us. Thankfully, it seems to be a rare thing, but it does happen.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 2/5 stars
The idea of this novel is fantastic and what I thought would be a different, but similar, book for #CJSReads. What I got was something completely different than I had anticipated.
I am sincerely baffled on how I feel about this book. Is it satirical? Author Ian Ludlow’s writing terrorism scenarios for the CIA start coming true. At least, he thought they were CIA. Ok, let me back pedal a little bit… I know authors do a lot of research for their writing, but this doesn’t make them an expert, right? But I was intrigued that the CIA would find an author’s point of view one they would take heed with for any potential terrorism that may happen. AHEM. (CIA or not, uh, what?) But, putting plausibility aside, I was highly entertained and very amused. The read is fast, the plot is paced decently (though it does slow down towards the end a bit).
What made me scratch my head a bit was the excerpts from his book thrown in and some gratuitous sex scenes that just kinda came out of nowhere. It may very well have to do with the fact that I just was reading a book that went even further with unnecessary sexual innuendos and scenes that made no sense that the scenes in this book just made that more of an impact. I really don’t know. At least all the women had big boobs – even the blow up doll! HA!
As something satirical, I can honestly say that this is entertaining – really just put aside what you might have actually been expecting and go with it. If you do that, this book is a lot of fun. I don’t think it quite worked for me.
Sam’s Thoughts: 2/5 stars
I always love when #cjsreads decided to read a novel by an author I have never experienced before. For April, we decided to read True Fiction by Lee Goldberg.
To start, let me say, I feel like a bit of a fool for never reading a novel by Lee Goldberg before. I cannot believe how many works this author has penned. Where have I been? Living under a rock!?
I felt like the concept for this one was really fun. A thriller writer, Ian Ludlow, finds himself in danger when he uncovers a conspiracy. Using his wits and general thriller knowledge from the fiction he has written, he attempts to navigate the situation, sweeping an innocent bystander (Margo, a dog walker) into the mix with him and goes on the run! He knows a lot about thrillers but he doesn’t know how this story will end- or if he will come out of it alive! Like I mentioned, I loved this concept. As a reader of thrillers and mystery stories, I often find myself feeling like I know a lot about government conspiracies or what to do in a hostage situation, when, in reality, I have zero clue. Sort of like how when I binge-watch Grey’s Anatomy, I feel like I could operate on someone’s subdural hematoma. Clearly, I am not qualified and Ian is absolutely not qualified to handle his situation.
However, as much as I loved the concept, something really bothered me about the execution. I found the beginning to be very fact paced but then the novel began to drag in the middle. By the time I was about 60% into the novel, several strange sexual innuendos began to enter into the plot and I found this to be completely random and unnecessary. I’m not sure if the author was looking for shock value or what but I found it very distracting.
Overall, I loved the concept but it ended up falling a little flat for me.
My Thoughts: 2.5/5 stars
There are some books where I actually read the synopsis ahead of time, and with TRUE FICTION by Lee Goldberg, I was very intrigued by the premise. This sounded like a great read for the #CJSReads trio to enjoy and stick to our thriller vibe, but this book was no at all what I expected.
Ian Ludlow is a bestselling thriller author and when a jet crashes onto the beaches of Waikiki, he knows it was no tragic accident. How does he know this? Well, years ago he was enlisted by the CIA to come up with potential terrorism scenarios in order to prepare the government for what they couldn’t dream up. To Ian’s surprise, one of these scenarios seems to be happening in real life and not just on paper. How will it end? Will Ian survive until the end of this real-life thriller?
Right away, this was a very entertaining read. It moves quickly and has a good amount of action to keep you flipping the pages. The thing that really threw me off was the seemingly random sex scenes that were tossed in. I will say, it made for a hilarious group chat conversation. “Have you gotten to the blow up doll part yet?” “The what??”
Overall, the premise was fantastic but some of it ended up being a little confusing for me. The story was there but there were some plausibility issues for me and the random sex scenes kept throwing me for a loop.
What was one that had great promise, but just didn’t deliver like you were hoping?