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review 2017-05-27 22:32
Review: Nothing But Trouble (PJ Sugar #1) by Susan May Warren
Nothing but Trouble - Susan May Warren

I borrowed this book from OverDrive after finishing that huge book because I needed something much lighter in tone and in subject matter. The book had some first-book syndrome going on in the beginning; lots of backstory and info-dumping. However, the first scene in the book hooked me and I settled into the story and in PJ's head fairly quickly. Once she was back in her hometown and the murder took place, then things got interesting - more than enough to have me borrowing the second book in the series. There is a hints at a love triangle, but at the end PJ decides on neither of the men and wants to work on herself. PJ is lovable, good-hearted without being overly weird like most cozy mystery amateur sleuths, but damn is she impulsive at times. She also had a lot of character development going on in this book; it is almost like it is part mystery, part chick lit. There is a lot of Christianity in this book, but it is authentic to PJ's character and never feels preachy - it is PJ who kept reminding herself of biblical verses to help her think through and calm down in some low points while investigating the murder. I even like the recurring side characters and they helped in world building as well as added to the plotline. Looking forward to reading book two next month.

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review 2017-05-23 20:51
Review: London by Edward Rutherfurd
London; the story of the greatest city on Earth. - Edward Rutherford

This was an intense look at the history of London from ancient druid period to the Blitz of the 1940s as seen through the eyes of a few families. I actually understand the Tudor period and the Restoration period much more now than when I took a class in college on the same topics.

 

The way the book is set up is each chapter being its own short story, making it easier to put down for the night and picking it up again in the morning. I am not used to reading long family sagas, so I had to refer to the family trees in the front of the book a lot; funny, I didn't need the maps of London in the different time periods at all - maybe because I have been to London many times that I knew where about the place was being described. My favorite chapter was The Whorehouse; why wasn't the political and social structure of the whorehouse in medieval times talked about in my college class? I feel a little cheated academically. If a character in the chapter I was currently reading was getting on my nerves, chances were high they weren't in the next chapter (rather it would be their descendants with different character arc). I also liked that I didn't have to read about endless battles; the book focused on political, social, and religious intrigue with splashes of family drama. There was also a healthy dose of Romance, and my favorite couple was Jane Fleming and John Dogget - they didn't get together until they were in their late 50s/early 60s. My least favorite chapter was the last one, titled The River - it was corny and an undisguised way of the author telling the reader how much research went into the book.

 

The men were described with one physical trait that belonged to the family (Duckets and Doggets had a white streak in their hair and webbing between their fingers; the Silversleeves had cartoon-ishly long noses; the Barnikels had vibrant red hair; the Bulls had the typical Anglo-Saxon fair hair and blue eyes). The women were physically described by their family traits and the size of the breasts, but were not objectified (well, maybe the whores) and were shown to be much more smarter and cunning than history often paints them. These were no wall flowers; these women were survivors.

 

I am really glad I took the chance and read this book; the size of the book intimidated me for only a couple of chapters, but I was soon reading 3 chapters a day and making decent progress without feeling like I was slogging through any part. I am going to read Rutherfurd's book New York late this year or next year.

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text 2017-04-30 14:35
April Wrap Up
With Every Letter - Sarah Sundin
Polio: An American Story - David Oshinsky
Enchanted, Inc. - Shanna Swendson
Spying in High Heels - Gemma Halliday

My list looks longer than usual because I took a day to read some very short reads off my NOOK and the books I chose for Booklikes-opoly were relatively short. The spring edition of Dewey Read-a-thon just topped the month.

 

I won't be putting together a TBR for each month while Booklikes-opoly is going. I want to be able to start reading a book as soon as possible and not leave other books half-finished. My big projects for May are reading London by Edward Rutherfurd and Booklikes-opoly.

 

Highlights, Lowlights:

Best Books: With Every Letter, Polio

Worst Books: Totally Vegetarian, A Paris Affair

 

Challenges:

Library Love (Overdrive Junkie level - 36+): 5; 28/36 for the year (77% complete)

Pop Sugar: 10: 29/52 for the year (56% complete)

BL/GR: 59 /150 (39% complete)

 

 

1. We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese by Elizabeth M. Norman - DNF

 

2. With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale #1) by Sarah Sundin (Pop Sugar prompt - book of letters) - 5 stars

 

3. A Suitor for Jenny (A Rocky Creek Romance #2)  by Margaret Brownley (Pop Sugar prompt - Title with character's name) - 3 stars

 

4. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama (Pop Sugar prompt - a book by someone I admire) - 3 stars

 

5. Weddings Under a Western Sky by Various Authors (Pop Sugar - a book with multiple authors) - 2.5 stars

 

6. Lowcountry Book Club (Liz Talbot #5) by Susan M. Boyer - 3 stars

 

7. All I Want (Dukes of War #8) by Erica Ridley - 2 stars

 

8. Totally Vegetarian by Toni Fiore (Library Love) - 1 star

 

9. Knead to Know (Knead to Know #1) by Liz Schulte - 2 stars

 

10. Cyberpunk Tales, Book One: Looking Death in the Eye by A.L. Hunt (Pop Sugar - book from a genre never heard of)- 3 stars

 

11. The Start of the Rainbow (Daughters of Erin #0.5) by Amanda McCabe - 1.5 stars

 

12. Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky (Pop Sugar prompt - On TBR long time) - 5 stars

 

13. The Obsession by Nora Roberts (Pop Sugar prompt - 2016 best seller) (Library Love) - 2.5 stars

 

14. Enchanted, Inc (Enchanted, Inc #1) by Shanna Swendson (Pop Sugar prompt - First book in a series never read before)  (Library Love) - 3.5 stars

 

15. Far From Home (Mangrove Island #2) by Neve Cottrell (Booklikes-opoly) - 2.5 stars

 

16. Spying in High Heels (High Heels #1) by Gemma Halliday (Booklikes-opoly) - 3.5 stars

 

17. The Nightingale Girls (The Nightingale #1) by Donna Douglas (Booklikes-opoly) - 3 stars

 

18. A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay (Pop Sugar prompt - unreliable narrator) (Library Love) - 0 stars

 

19. The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart - DNF

 

 

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text 2017-04-27 22:49
Dewey Readathon Reading List - Spring 2017
The New Neighbor: A Novel - Leah Stewart
A Vision of Lucy (A Rocky Creek Romance Book 3) - Margaret Brownley
Deep Deception - Cathy Pegau
Forbidden - Beverly Jenkins

My TBR for the read-a-thon is very eclectic.

 

1. The New Neighbor by Leah Stewart (Pop Sugar challenge - book with eccentric character) (Library Love challenge)

           A story about a nosy elderly lady who investigates her new neighbor and tries to uncover the neighbor's secrets. Literary fiction that I really hope doesn't suck due to having a mystery plotline.

 

2. Deep Deception by Cathy Pegau (Booklikes-opoly)

           F/F romance set in space. New-to-me author, although I follow her on Twitter because she makes life in Alaska look like fun.

 

3. Forbidden (Old West #1) by Beverly Jenkins (Booklikes-opoly)

          New-to-me author, and I wanted to tackle one of her latest books to see if I like her writing style before diving into her backlist.

 

4. A Vision of Lucy (Rocky Creek #3) by Margaret Brownley

        Not in a hurry to read this book. The beginning of the book was silly, with too much damsel in distress action that made me roll my eyes. A good laundry day type of book.

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review 2017-04-26 14:34
Review: A Paris Affair by Tatiana de Rosnay
A Paris Affair - Sam Taylor Mullens,Tatiana de Rosnay

Short story collection. Breakdown of the stories:

 

1. Hotel Room - yeah I saw that ending coming a mile away, but Karma came with a big bite.

 

2.The Texts - really stupid story about a wife who calls an advice line looking for help regarding her cheating husband. Ends up with the wife berating the advice giver with such misogynist bullshit (ie the cat lady stereotype).

 

3. The "Baby Monitor" - this situation has been over used to the point of comedy. Wife catches hubby cheating on her with her friend via the baby monitor. Wife threatens in a very calm way that she is going to take a meat cleaver and kill the friend.

 

4. The Red Notebook - insecure wife cheats her way through five years of marriage because her husband is dull and unaware of her cheating ways even though she has purposely left clues. She does this hoping to get a rise out of him and have wild angry sex with her husband. Her plan is ridiculous and fails spectacularly - turns out he has been cheating on her the whole time and has a notebook full of women's names, dates, and places where he cheated. Wife finds the notebook and is overcome with grief at her husband's cheating. He leaves her one final note. The hypocrisy is immeasurable in this story.

 

5. The Answering Machine - the wife is a moron who can't work an answering machine in 1992. She finds out her husband is having an affair via a message left on the machine. She also finds out she is pregnant and just knows it is a girl, so she is not leaving her husband, although his cheating makes her depressed. Another unoriginal plotline.

 

6. The Au Pair Girl - incredibly racist friends share lunch one day and one friend admits she has caught her husband cheating on her with the 18 year old nanny. She is talked out of having an affair with her husband's best friend when the other woman mentions her cheating incident involving condoms. The friend is too embarrassed to buy condoms, ask the potential lover to wear one, or put one on him during the seduction. I can't believe I am reading this story (published in English in 2015) in 2017.

 

7. The Strand of Hair - wife decided to leave her cheating husband but destroys all their possessions and leaves a note to demand a divorce.

 

8. The Woods - wife follows her husband as he gets a blow job from a prostitute. She leaves her wedding ring on the hood after the husband looks up and sees her staring at him and the prostitute. 

 

9. The Passwords - this was a much different story than I expected and one I really enjoyed. Attention male professors in Paris: Don't sexual harass or academically ruin an American student after she turned down your offer of sex or you will pay the consequences.

 

10. The USB Key - the twist is the cheating husband is in love with man. He can't take the lying anymore, so he records his confession to her on the USB and leaves it with instructions for the wife to watch. The wife decided she wanted to stay married to him even though the husband has admitted he is gay and wants out of the marriage, so she is holding the son as ransom for the husband to stay married to her. I felt like she is doing this to get back at the husband and for her own selfish reasons. I honestly felt for the husband  - he has known of his sexuality but his family pressured him into not believing in his homosexuality and forcing him into a life of a straight man. Now his wife is doing the same thing to him.

 

11. The Brunette from Rue Raynouard - the brunette in question is a doctor, a sex therapist. The husband has been seeing her as a patient to help him deal with his stupid wife's affair that he found out about. Wife is super paranoid that the husband is cheating on her. But it is not like that....in the end, the married couple kiss and make up. *eye roll*

 

 

Overall, wealthy (or at least well-to-do) pretty white people want to create some drama in their boring lives - this is the number one reason I don't read literary fiction. So many stories involve women who cheated or were cheated on right after they had kids (so many babies in these stories). A parallel theme to the cheating spouses were the fact that they sucked as parents as well, aside from keeping a lover on the side.French men were given such a ugly treatment from the author, they should feel very offended; words such as "rutting beasts" are used to describe French men in general for example. There were layers of classism, racism, and huge amounts of internal and external misogyny colored the stories to the point where the author made these characters into cartoons. And there was no originality to the plotlines (screwing the nanny is nothing new, just ask Ben Affleck or Jude Law). I only liked the one story (about the American student) and I really felt for the gay trapped in a marriage with a woman who doesn't want to give up her status or appearances as a married woman. 0 stars. 

 

 

 

 

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