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review 2017-06-24 21:13
Confessional (A Blake Harte Mystery, #2)
Confessional - John A. Ashley,Robert Innes

As I said on my DNF review of the first book in this series, Untouchable, there are good bones here. I feel like this author has a lot of potential but just isn't getting any kind of guidance at all. He clearly doesn't have an editor. Some of the grammatical issues from the first book are improved on - mostly - but many others remain. Many of the character interactions are more or less well done, though the author could use a better grasp on basic human psychology to avoid cliche pitfalls. There wasn't much to the mystery. It's formulaic and predictable. I had the whodunit pegged from the second they showed up on page, and I even had the murder method more or less figured out from the get-go.

I figured foxglove/digitalis sprinkled on the communion wafers; murderer went with hemlock in the communion wine.

(spoiler show)

The ending was filled with all the bad cliches; I was cringing, y'all. I couldn't get up the energy to even be remotely concerned about the welfare of the characters. It was obvious what was going to happen and it was just boring.

 

So yeah, there are good bones here, and if this author can find himself an editor or two who really know what they're doing, I can see him writing some great stories. But as of now, with one DNF and one 2.5 star read, I won't be bothering with any more from this writer.

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review 2017-06-23 16:00
On Canaan’s Side ★★★☆☆
On Canaan's Side - Sebastian Barry

I had a lot I wanted to say about this book, as I had just finished it, but then I got into a long, work-related conversation with a colleague, and now I find my brain mostly empty of thoughts where this book is concerned. That, perhaps, is a good indicator of how deeply affected I was by it. Mostly how I felt, by the end, was as though I was covered in a heavy smothering blanket of depression. Perhaps that’s the point. Perhaps that was the author’s goal in writing this book. When I read “literary” novels, this seems to be how I most often feel, with the second most common emotion being impatient annoyance. The latter is most common in the ones that I’m not even able to finish reading.

 

On Canaan’s Side seems to be about grief and loss and the pointlessness of actually making human connections in life, when at the end everybody you loved is gone or has betrayed you in some way. There is some beautiful language and gorgeous descriptions of setting and emotions. The author chose to express some of these in stream-of-consciousness style of run-on sentences that literally went on as long as 1 ½ pages of text. Fortunately, these were mostly confined to the first and last few chapters, with the middle third of the book written in a snappier style that moved the plot and story (such as it was) along in a more tolerable fashion.

 

When I was a teenager, we had a saying that encompassed all the angst of that age: “Life’s a bitch, and then you die”. That’s pretty much how I felt by the end of this book.

 

Hardcover version, purchased as a circulation discard from a Friends of the Library sale. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoloy challenge, for the square Trains, Planes, & Automobiles 14: Read a book that involves overseas travel, or that has a suitcase on the cover.  There is a brief description of the main character’s overseas journey from Ireland to America, and two other characters journey overseas for the Vietnam and Gulf wars.

 

Previous Updates:

6/29/17 182/272 pg

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review 2017-06-23 02:48
If Walls Could Talk ★★★★☆
If Walls Could Talk - Juliet Blackwell

The only other cozy mystery series I’ve tried was not very satisfying, so I had low expectations coming into this one. But what a pleasant surprise! The author introduces each character with descriptions that drew a clear picture in my mind and also gave some hint of what was to come. I learned a little history and felt some of the MC’s enthusiasm for her work in restoring historic homes. The whodunnit was not especially difficult to figure out before it was revealed, but the journey to get there was plenty of fun.

 

Audio version, purchased via Audible. Although there’s not a lot of differentiation between her male characters’ voices, Xe Sands’ performance is very good in terms of pacing and emotion.

 

Previous Updates:

 

6/20/17 6%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573004/if-walls-could-talk-6

 

6/20/17 15% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573053/if-walls-could-talk-15

 

6/21/17 43%  http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1573208/if-walls-could-talk-43

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-21 22:44
Book Review : Us Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Us - Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen

June 16-18

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Review : I loved this series it was cute and sexy Wes is starting being a hockey player as a rookie so him and Jamie have to hide there Relationship but Jamie is unhappy with it and Wes's teammate blake moves in next door I love Blake he's loud and funny . I love Wes and Jamie's relationship they love each other . Jamie loves his Job except one bigoted guy . Then Jamie gets really sick and Wes and Jamie's relationship is out and Jamie is depressed and Jamie and Wes are barley speaking and Jamie is sick of being babied and doesn't want anyone's help and he ends up going to califorina to spend time with his family and Wes is worried and he does an interview and the interviewer asks if he wants to get married and Wes said he would marry Jamie any day and Jamie goes to Wes and he proposes I'm so happy for them and they I loved these books .

Quotes : I brought you a cappuccino.” “You make it difficult to hate you,” I mumble into the pillow. “That’s what everyone says.”

 

I care more that they want to charge me eight hundred bucks. So I wrote an email to both travel and PR telling them to bill Blake because his fat ass broke it. And you’ll never guess what they said.” He snickers. “The clubhouse will pay for it because they don’t want the hotel to have a record of a third dude in that room. You and I are fine by the PR department. But gossip of a threesome is more than they can handle.”

One by one, even after the main courses arrive, every single player leaves the room, returning in The Shirt. I keep drinking, getting happier and sloppier with every sip of wine. They even got one for Jamie. He’s the last to leave and return wearing citrusy green and a big smile. “Now we need the picture,” he says. “I’ve asked the waiter to take it.” And that’s how Canning and I came to have a big framed photo on our living room wall featuring the entire Toronto team dressed in very loud gingham. I swear the color rendered a little bolder in print than it looks in real life, because this photo is kind of blinding. But Jamie snickers whenever I suggest that. But there we are, two dozen grins stained red from the wine, waving at the camera like idiots. Blake is in the back row, his napkin tied around his head like a bandana. I have a hand on Jamie’s shoulder right in the center of the shot.

And I look…centered. It’s not a word I’ve ever used to describe myself before. But everything I ever wanted is in that photo—the man of my dreams, and my teammates. I’ve left my smug smile behind in favor of one that’s so shiny I hardly recognize myself. But it’s me up there for sure. It’s us. And it’s perfect.

The way I feel about Ryan Wesley…it’s something I thought existed only in the movies. He’s my other half. We complement each other in more ways than I can count. When he’s in the same room, I’m focused on him, and when he’s gone I walk around missing him. There’s an old quote my mother once painted on a ceramic platter. Love is friendship set on fire. I get it now.

get the feeling that Blake Riley could carry on an entire conversation with himself.

“I miss the tongue ring,” I tell him breathlessly. He’d taken out the piercing at the start of the season. I guess the team didn’t think it was safe. “Don’t you worry,” Wes teases. “I can still rock your world without it.”

Lucky? I’m about ten seconds from committing a murder. Except I know that giant body wouldn’t fit into the hallway chute

are we talking literal place? Are you at an S&M club right now? Did you join the circus?” I roll my eyes. “Yes, Jessica, we joined the circus. Wes trains seals and I ride the bears. We bunk with the bearded lady and the guy who swallows swords.” “Is that a gay euphemism? Swallowing swords?”


“Probably shouldna opened all those drawers,” Blake carries on, rubbing his chin. “Ya can’t unsee some of those toys. But everybody has to have his own kinda fun.

“I have a sex look?” I ask instead. “Yeah. Your eyes go a little out of focus, and your tongue hangs out a little.” I snort into his armpit. “Sounds sexy.”

It’s Jamie. I’d marry him in a hot second, and I’m sure he knows it.”

We are children. Overgrown, testosterone-filled children.

“Ring,” I croak. “You…I…” My mouth is like sandpaper. “In that interview, you said you wanted…” Deep breaths. “To get married some day. And I think that’s something we should do.”


we decide we want to have kids someday, there are ways for us to do that, babe. Adoption. Surrogates.” I lightly pinch his ass. “Stop acting like you’re dooming me to a life of childless misery.”

 

 

 

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review 2017-06-20 15:10
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry ★★☆☆☆
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin

I sort of liked this book, until the 88% mark, at which the narrative took a turn that I found unredeemably distasteful. Until then, my thoughts about the book: This is a mildly interesting, if a little maudlin, romance about a grumpy lover of literary fiction (AJ) who is saved by love for the amazingly well-behaved and highly intelligent orphan (Maya) and the quirky bookseller (Amy). There’s an obvious bad guy caricature in the successful author (Daniel), who is a womanizing drunk, and his long-suffering and understandably bitter wife (Ismay) is AJ’s dead wife’s sister. The entire book (even the essay penned by one of the characters) is written in present tense, which serves no purpose other than to annoy me, but at least it’s in third person. None of the plot twists or big reveals were especially clever or surprising. Altogether, a three-star read, even with the long, drawn-out drama of the final chapters, which I suppose are meant to have the reader going through boxes of kleenexes. Or pressed linen handkerchiefs, given the fondness for vintage clothes.

 

I’m burying the part that dropped this into the 2 star range for me under spoiler tags: 

The backstory of what happened to Maya’s mother. Not that she was a fan of Daniel’s writing, or that they slept together and she got pregnant, or that he refused to acknowledge any responsibility for it, or that he never seemed concerned about her or his daughter. That’s just the tired old trope that goes along with his womanizing drunken author caricature. It was the dismissive way the narrative treated her. First the slut-shaming, that “she knew what she was doing” in sleeping with a married man, then excusing Ismay’s culpability in her death as it was understandably painful that she had to deal with the slut asking for money for her husband’s bastard child, when his own wife kept miscarrying and was cash-poor because all her money was invested in their fancy house. So Ismay steals a valuable book from AJ, then knowingly puts the young woman at risk of criminal charges by giving her unsellable stolen property to sell. Then she just shrugs and tells her to get lost when the girl finds out. So she (rightly) feels guilty that the desperate young woman committed suicide and her orphaned child was left in a bookstore, but then is absolved with the logic of, oh, well, it turned out for the best, since Maya had a pretty good life being raised by AJ instead of her own mother, and is credited for “saving” AJ’s life by giving him a reason to stop being a self-pitying drunk. “The End”, as far as the dead husband-thieving slut is concerned. Then we get another 50 minutes of glurge where AJ sells the book that contributed to Maya’s mother’s death, so he has the money to cover medical treatment, then rambles on about life and love and lessons for his daughter while he’s dying. Maya never finds out the true story of her mother, because it’s better to conceal her godmother’s selfish cruelty than for her to know something of the woman who birthed her and tried her best to care for her for the first two years of her life. Because it all turned out for the best, right?

(spoiler show)

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. Scott Brick gives a fine performance. I picked this book up on the recommendation of a co-worker, who loved it.

 

Previous Updates:

 

6/19/17 52% http://sheric.booklikes.com/post/1572298/the-storied-life-of-aj-fikry-52

 

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