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review 2018-02-11 14:01
The Queen Bee ★★★★☆
The Queen Bee - Edna L. Lee

The endlessly quotable writing saves this book from being a fairly standard Southern Gothic Romance. The plot and characters are full of tropes. But, oh, so much fun in the way it’s written and the way the characters are drawn! It’s told from the POV of the Ingénue, who at the time of telling the story is older, wiser, wearier, and who looks back at her naïve former self with a lot of sympathy and a little impatience. For me, though, she is still far more sympathetic than I am, as Reader, and indeed much more sympathetic toward the male characters than I have patience with – I think they all deserve a good kick in the pants. And, although this is the point of the book, I simply can’t view the Queen Bee as all-powerful, though she is deliciously wicked. In order to fall in with the narrator’s POV, the reader must be willing to adopt that tired old attitude that men are helpless victims of their libido when women weaponize sex.


Still, though, this is a really fun read:

It was then that my aimless, drifting eyes came to Eva. Listening, she stood near a lamp, its glow enfolding and caressing the soft hair, the sweet lifting breasts, the singing line of body. Her hand rested on the back of a nearby chair. And seeing the body not yielding now but tensely held and wary, the tilted head, the raised chin, the lambent eyes which seemed to look at something far off, I was suddenly afraid. In her tense stillness there was the deadly, wary waiting of the reptile, its poisonous fang sheathed but ready to strike, swiftly and with cunning accuracy.  


Vintage 1949 hardcover, inherited from my grandmother. And here’s a fun bit of trivia for Texas history buffs: it still has the original price sticker, from E.M. Scarbrough & Sons (colloquially referred to as “Scarboroughs” in the way that native Austinites pronounce their places as they damn well please), stamped “Literary Guild $2.00”. I remember shopping at the Scarbroughs in downtown Austin when I was a kid. All that’s left, alas, is the historic building.


Disclaimer: I’ve never seen the 1955 movie. Didn’t even know there *was* a movie adaptation until I looked for a synopsis to get a sense of what the book was about, since my copy is missing the dust jacket. But, oh, I’m definitely going to spend the money to rent it. I can’t wait to see Joan Crawford bring that predatory female to life as only she can.


Previous Updates:

2/7/18 page 3


2/7/18 Movie trailer

2/8/18 page 9


2/9/18 page 35


2/10/18 page 140


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review 2017-11-29 12:01
Winter at the Door ★☆☆☆☆
Winter at the Door: A Novel (Lizzie Snow) - Sarah Graves


It started out well, promising to be an interesting police procedural about a tough female cop investigating the "accidental" deaths of several ex-cops. But I first got suspicious when the author spent an inordinate amount of time detailing the MC's appearance, right down to her lipstick and every article of clothing she's wearing. Then hints of a possible romantic interest, then love triangle. And now we have an assholish love interest where she's apparently more interested in getting nekkid with him than in solving crime. No NO NOPE. This is showing every sign of being a Romance disguised as a mystery/thriller and it's already using too many of the genre tropes that I really dislike.


DNF after 51 minutes, or 9% of total.


Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Good performance by Kirsten Potter.


I was attempting to read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Square 7: Book themes for Saint Lucia's Day: Read a book set in Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden - and Finland for the purposes of this game) or a book where ice and snow are an important feature. Hopefully I won't have a hard time finding another book to fit this task.

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review 2017-11-28 16:52
Holly and Ivy ★★☆☆☆
Holly and Ivy - Fern Michaels

Implausible, illogical, and full of plot holes. None of the three main characters, or most of the secondary characters, seemed like actual real people. 


Audiobook, purchased (then returned to get my credit back) via Audible. Brittany Pressley’s performance was good, given the source material.


I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season, Square 1, November 1st: Book themes for Calan Gaeaf: Read any of your planned Halloween Bingo books that you didn’t end up reading after all, involving witches, hags, or various types of witchcraft –OR– read a book with ivy or roses on the cover, or a character’s name/title of book is/has Rose or Ivy in it. This book has Ivy as a main character and as part of the title.

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review 2017-11-20 22:13
The Nine Lives of Christmas ★★☆☆☆
The Nine Lives of Christmas - Sheila Roberts

The premise for this story sounded adorable, and this really could have been a fun, light read. I can absolutely see this being made as a Hallmark movie. As both a Romance and as a Christmas story, it failed for me, though, and I don’t see any other reason for reading this book. As a Romance, it was full of those tired old tropes that are the worst representation of the genre, and the internal logic just didn’t hold up. Shy, sweet heroine who thinks she’s plain, even though she only needs new clothes and makeup to become a total hottie? Check! Handsome, hypermasculine hero who has been so hurt by women in the past that he’s a commitment-phobe who only dates unmarriageable women, but is secretly a sweet teddy-bear who only needs the Right Girl to teach him the value of True Love? Check! Slutty mean beautiful rich girlfriend to serve as the villainess to keep our lovebirds apart? Check!


I just couldn’t like either of our protagonists. The heroine is far too passive and so lacking in common sense logic that I just can’t buy that she’s smart enough to have been admitted to vet school. The hero literally only thinks of adult women as either “good-timing bimbos” or “nice girls you take to the altar”. Throughout the entire book, he only thinks of them with regards to what they can do for him, either sexually or as support systems.


 As a Christmas story, I suppose the message is about family togetherness? Because he’s forced by circumstances and basic common decency 

to take in his mother and stepsisters, so he has to finally listen when she talks to him, and forgives her?

(spoiler show)

Really, this is just set at Christmas time, so has the trappings of the season.


Audiobook, borrowed from my public library, with a very good performance by Kathleen McInerney. I read this for The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season square 2: Guy Fawkes Night: Any book about the English monarchy (any genre), political treason, political thrillers, or where fire is a major theme, or fire is on the cover. There is a fire in the fireplace on the cover art.

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text 2017-11-15 14:27
The Nine Lives of Christmas - 100%
The Nine Lives of Christmas - Sheila Roberts

Ugh. Full review later. 

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