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review 2018-05-23 04:45
3.3 Out Of 5 "who put that dead body in the trunk of my car" STARS
Just A Little Junk - Stylo Fantome

 

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~BOOK BLURB~

Just A Little Junk

Stylo Fantome

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Jodi Morgan is having a bad weekend. 

 

After partying a little too hard, she wakes up with a monster hangover and almost no recollection of the night before. So imagine her surprise when she looks in her trunk and instead of finding a spare tire, she finds the last guy she'd danced with before blacking out. 

 

Who is he? How did he get in there? How did he die? And oh dear lord, did she kill him!? 

 

When her older brother's best friend offers to help, things start looking up. They've known each other since she was thirteen, and ten years later, he still treats her like a little kid - surely, committing felonies has to trigger some sort of spark. Together, they wind up going on an adventure that takes them all over Los Angeles. From raves to penthouses to strip clubs. All in the search for the answer to her question. 

 

Who is the dead guy in my trunk!?

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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If you like a funny, albeit, over the top rom-com, reminiscent of The Hangover with a splash of Weekend at Bernie's, you should give this a try. (((The scene at the rave is my favorite of the whole book))). I thought this was a totally fun read, while not life-changing or anything quite like that, though.  And, other than the twist near the end and everything following after, this could have been a solid 4-stars.  That whole scene…it was just too over the top for me.  But hey, it could make for an entertaining movie, I'm sure.

 

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~MY RATING~

3.3STARS - GRADE=B-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3.5/5

Main Characters~ 3.2/5

Secondary Characters~ 3/5

The Feels~ 3/5

Pacing~ 4/5

Addictiveness~ 4/5

Theme or Tone~ 3/5

Flow (Writing Style)~4/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 3.5/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 2/5 Cliffhanger~ Nope.

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Book Cover~ It's quite cute...

Setting~ Van Nuys & Malibu, California

Source~ I own Kindle eBook

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review 2018-05-23 03:53
A Crack in the Sea by H. M. Bouwman
A Crack in the Sea - H.M. Bouwman

 

This book is a bit complicated. The story is told through the tales of three sets of siblings: Venus & Swimmer escape from a slave ship in 1781 and end up in the Second World, Kinchen & Pip live in the Second World, and Thanh & Sang are trying to escape Vietnam with a few relatives, in the First World in 1976. 

 

When Pip is taken by the Raft King, Kinchen must find and protect her younger brother. At one point, other characters tell the story of Venus and Swimmer and their journey. Then we learn about Pip's experiences on Raftworld. Other characters are sprinkled throughout and we eventually meet Thanh & Sang and follow their adventure.

 

This book combines fables and magic with historical fiction. The Vietnamese family is trying to escape what is left of their country after the war in Vietnam. The original colonists of the Second World are escapees from slave ships who used magic to find a portal through from the First World. Inhabitants of the Second World include a large group of people who live on a group of connected rafts, islanders, sea monsters, people who can talk to sea creatures, and others who can walk through water.

 

I found this book overly long and it had difficulties keeping my attention. The child characters are too similar and I found myself forgetting who was who. The story will appeal to some kids, but I don't think it will be overwhelmingly popular.

 

Recommended to:  Middle School students who enjoy complex tales with multiple characters and a bit of magic.

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review 2018-05-22 19:38
Lion in the Valley / Elizabeth Peters
Lion in the Valley - Elizabeth Peters

The 1895-96 season promises to be an exceptional one for Amelia Peabody, her dashing Egyptologist husband, Radcliffe Emerson, and their precocious (some might say rambunctious) eight-year-old son, Ramses. The long-denied permission to dig at the pyramids of Dahshoor has finally been granted, and the much-coveted burial chamber of the Black Pyramid is now theirs for the exploring.

Before the young family exchanges the relative comfort of Cairo for the more rudimentary quarters near the excavation site, they engage a young Englishman, Donald Fraser, as a tutor and companion for Ramses, and Amelia takes a wayward young woman, Enid Debenham, under her protective wing.

 

I do love Amelia Peacock Emerson. It’s a plus that there is a mystery to solve in each book, because that gives the excuses for the wonderful dialog between Amelia & her husband and for Amelia to start rounding up the strays that she finds along the way during her investigations. They will be assisted whether they want it or not!

A number of people in this installment end up smothering laughter while dealing with the overly serious and literal Amelia, but all seem to realize that her overbearing-ness is coming from a good heart! She believes that marriage should be an equal partnership (and despite his grumbling, Emerson seems to agree with her) and now that she has unexpectedly found her match, she wants the same joy for the others in her life, hence her constant meddling in the love lives of her collection of waifs and strays.

She is also brave, willing to face personal hardship and injury, in pursuit of the truth and the solution to whatever mysterious happenstance is currently on the go.

I adore Emerson, who is always trying to ditch his son and the rest of the archaeological party, in order to get his wife to himself! Their son, Ramses, has developed an intense curiosity about sex and they spend quite a bit of time trying to dodge his prying, making for quite a bit of hilarity. And I was moved when Emerson says, “Have I mentioned to you, Peabody, that one of the reasons why I adore you is that you are more inclined to beat people with your umbrella than fall weeping on your bed?”

I must also put in a good word for ‘de cat Bastet,’ who displays many uncanny abilities and often un-catlike behaviours. While she is on the case, young Ramses will always be safe.

I am ever so glad that I still have many volumes of their adventures in my future.

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review 2018-05-22 19:14
A Curious Beginning / Deanna Raybourn
A Curious Beginning - Deanna Raybourn

London, 1887. Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb. She thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker—a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But the baron is murdered before he can reveal her secrets. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker must flee from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

 

I can hardly wait to meet this author in August at the When Words Collide conference here in my city! I really enjoyed this novel and have already requested book two from my public library.

I appreciated the main character, Veronica Speedwell, a great deal. It’s very much the trend now, to rewrite female characters during the Victorian era, giving them bigger ideas and more autonomy. I think of The Lie Tree and Jane Steele, both of which I have also enjoyed a great deal. I’m also reminded of the Amelia Peacock character in Elizabeth Peters’ series, about a feminist female archaeologist in the Victorian era (this series began in 1975, so it could probably be considered the grandmother to this current batch of novels). Veronica is determined to remain single and support herself through providing natural history specimens to collectors. She is also enamoured with foreign men, enjoying dalliances while abroad to collect those specimens.

Stoker is a very attractive love interest for Miss Speedwell, despite the fact that she has decided against marriage and has rules about not getting involved with Englishmen. (Actually, her pursuit of sexual liaisons while abroad seemed the most unlikely part of this novel, for me, there being no reliable birth control during that period). He is bad tempered, less than cleanly, and often surprised by Veronica’s sass. He also sports tattoos that make him a little too 21st century to be entirely believable, but I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt because I enjoy his character. Plus, he has great potential to clean up well.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, but I don’t think I am alone in thinking that the very slow-burn romance between Veronica and Stoker is the best aspect of the book.

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review 2018-05-22 18:48
Forensics / Val McDermid
Forensics: An Anatomy of Crime - Val McDermid

The dead talk—to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces. Forensics draws on interviews with some of these top-level professionals, ground-breaking research, and McDermid’s own original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists.

Along the way, McDermid discovers how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine one’s time of death; how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer; and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist were able to uncover the victims of a genocide. It’s a journey that will take McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

 

I cancelled my cable TV years ago because I was making myself paranoid, watching way too many true crime stories. Plus, I had an unhealthy addiction to the show “Criminal Minds.” I’m pleased to report that I’m a much calmer person now that I’m not being inundated with this sort of entertainment. However, that former obsession with crime shows means that most of what McDermid writes in this non-fiction volume was not new to me, hence only a three star rating. If you are new to the world of forensic investigation, I think this would an excellent introduction.

McDermid has obviously had to research this field to make her mystery novels ring true. And what better way to make that research pay off again but to write a non-fiction book about the subject! It was good to get a British POV on these matters. Here in Canada, we tend to be bombarded with American material, both in books and television, so many of the case studies were new to me.

The author goes into just enough detail to make things comprehensible, without overloading the reader. The explanations are clear and easy to understand. I think it would make a good reference for jurors who are responsible for making decisions based on these methods.

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