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review 2018-07-16 22:02
Review: The Dating Game by Francine Pascal
The Dating Game - Kate Williams,Francine Pascal

Neither Jean West nor her friend Claire Middleton has had a date in ages. So when they each receive a passionate love letter, they're thrilled. But when the girls compare the letters, they discover something horrible: The letters come from the same guy-Scott Trost! Jean and Claire confront the handsome, arrogant Scott. Instead of apologizing, he suggests a dating contest with him as a grand prize.
Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Jean and Claire agree to the outrageous plan; her twin sister, Jessica, sees nothing wrong with a little romantic competition. But what neither Elizabeth nor Jessica knows is that their friends are secretly plotting to use the contest for revenge. Everything goes as planned, until the unthinkable happens. It looks as if Jean is falling in love with the enemy. (from Goodreads)


I wanted to review this yesterday, but it wasn't on BookLikes. Now that I have found my secret superpower (that all of you also share, so whatever) you will be spammed with even more reviews!



Okay, so this book was based around the characters of Claire Middleton, who was the first female in Sweet Valley High history to try out for the football team, and Jean West, a cheerleader. Claire has never had a date while at Sweet Valley High (she's a new student so it's not that big of a deal) and Jean, according to the summary, hasn't had a date in ten years when in reality she literally just broke up with her boyfriend like 4 books ago. 

Any who, Claire and Jean both receive love letters from the same dude, but we only follow Jean's perspective (I don't think the ghostwriters know how to write Claire, because if my memory serves me correctly (which isn't the greatest but whatever) I don't think we got a point of view from her in her book). 


Claire and Jean compare letters and realize that one of the quarterbacks, Scott Trost, has sent them both. They confront him and he sets up a game, he takes them both on a series of dates and chooses his date to the upcoming dance the day before in front of the entire cafeteria. Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly), Jean and Claire accept. There's only one problem: Jean has fallen for Scott, and fallen hard.


The rest of the book is her dealing with her feelings, battled with Scott's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities, where he's a sweetheart with her and a jerk with his friends. Scott chooses Jean. Jean rejects him. Scott apologizes (*gasp*) and they go to the dance and live happily ever after.


The subplot featured Jessica's obsession with dreams where she's convinced that The One for her is a dude named Jackson who lives in Hawaii. She becomes a dream interpreter and ruins a couple of lives, only to realize that her honey bunny Jackson was a model in a travel magazine she was looking at for her English project.


The set up for the next book features new character Sara, as she struggles with the pain of memories of her twin brother, Tim. 


This book wasn't terrible, by Sweet Valley High standards. I feel like I say that a lot, but there are a lot of books where I want to kill Jessica or something, but I didn't feel that way toward anyway except for Scott and that was my inner feminist speaking. It normally feels that way.


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text 2018-07-16 18:02
I just bought my first game guide in years (decades?)

It's the official Stardew Valley Guidebook. Yes, a lot of the info I'm interested in is available for free at various places online. I don't care. Now all I have to do when I want to know what to get Penny or Sebastian or Clint etc. for their birthday is turn to the book I plan on keeping near my computer. Same for figuring out where and when to get different items, and probably other uses I'm not even thinking about right now.


I'm looking forward to having this in my hands in a week or two. The wait isn't a huge issue because Stardew Valley is still a game I'll only let myself play during breaks and long weekends, due to my tendency to get so sucked in that I lose track of time.



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review 2018-07-12 22:36
Berlin Game / Len Deighton
Berlin Game - Len Deighton

When a valuable agent behind the Iron Curtain signals he wants out, it's up to Bernard Samson, once active in the field but now anchored to a London desk, to undertake the crucial rescue. But soon, Samson is confronted with evidence that there is a traitor among his colleagues. And to find out who it is, he must sift through layers of lies and follow a web of treachery from London to Berlin until hero and traitor collide.


***2018 Summer of Spies***

Whether you’re reading the rather fanciful spy fiction of Ian Fleming or the gritty tales of John Le Carré, there seems to be liquor involved and in rather high quantities. Make Len Deighton’s protagonist, Bernard Samson, another of the spies who is a fan of copious amounts of liquor. I was right on track when I laid in a good supply of gin when starting my Summer of Spies.

Other than the liquor, Deighton’s work leans more toward the grittier realism of Le Carré. I’d never read either one of those authors before this summer and I’m impressed. Berlin Game is set in the same time period as The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and is also concerned with Cold War politics and the Berlin Wall. There’s a traitor in London somewhere and it is up to Samson to suss them out.

It’s not too long, not overly predictable and decently written. I don’t think I’m a big enough fan of the genre to continue on with the series, but I’m glad to know a little bit about Deighton now.

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review 2018-07-09 05:29
The Hating Game is The BEST
The Hating Game: A Novel - Sally Thorne


Nemesis (n.)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome;

2) A person’s undoing;

3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.


Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.



This might seriously be my all-time favorite book now. It was SO GOOD!!!! I have re-read it already and still think about it. The banter, their attraction, it was hilarious, it was steamy. It was hands down just awesome.


If you are a Christina Lauren fan, which I have most definitely become, this book is very similar to Dating You, Hating You, which I loved. But what’s different here is that Lucy and Joshua have been working together for a year...a year! And then all of the sudden, something changes not only with their work situation but their relationship.


I laughed so hard so many times. Lucy is seriously funny and Joshua reacts so predictably opposite - almost like that offset each other by extremes. But one day, the whole game changes and whoa, is it hot. They actually don’t really know each other, they know some things, but not really deeply personal things. They have to get to know one another and some surprising revelations are uncovered about just how long their attraction has been going on for.


I really loved this book so much and recommend that everyone read it. This is absolutely the kind of book I like - witty, fun, steamy - there aren’t enough of these out there and for what it out there, this one is most definitely at the top. 5++++++ stars.

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text 2018-07-06 00:20
Summer of Spies - Tracking Post
Smiley's People - John le Carré
The Cutout - Francine Mathews
Collection: The Tailor of Panama / Our Game / The Night Manager - John le Carré
Black Roses - Jane Thynne,Julie Teal
They Came to Baghdad - Agatha Christie
Our Man in Havana - Graham Greene,Jeremy Northam
Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 - Stella Rimington
Who is Vera Kelly? - Rosalie Knecht,Elisabeth Rodgers
Berlin Game - Len Deighton,James Lailey
Above Suspicion - Helen MacInnes

Memorial Day Weekend -- Labor Day 2018


Finished, to Date:

Emmuska Orczy: The Scarlet Pimpernel (revisited on audio, narrated by Stephen Crossly) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: N or M? (revisited on audio, narrated by Samantha Bond) ***

Ian Fleming: Quantum of Solace (short story only; new / audio, narrated by David Rintoul) *1/2

Kate Westbrook: Guardian Angel (new / audio, narrated by Eleanor Bron) ***1/2

Stella Rimington: Secret Asset (new / audio, narrated by Rosalyn Landor) ****

Stella Rimington: Open Secret: The Autobiography of the Former Director-General of MI5 (new / print edition) ****

Francine Mathews: The Cutout (new / audio, narrated by Trini Alvarado) **1/2

Jane Thynne: Black Roses (new / audio, narrated by Julie Teal) ****

John le Carré: The Tailor of Panama (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) ****1/2

Graham Greene: Our Man in Havana (audio, narrated by Jeremy Northam) ****1/2

Agatha Christie: They Came to Baghdad (new / audio, narrated by Emilia Fox) ***1/2

Rosalie Knecht: Who Is Vera Kelly? (new / audio, narrated by Elisabeth Rodgers) ***1/2

Len Deighton: Berlin Game (new / audio, narrated by James Lailey) ****


John Le Carré: George Smiley Cycle

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (revisited on audio, narrated by the author) *****

The Looking Glass War (new / audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) ***1/2

Smiley's People (revisited on audio, narrated by Michael Jayston) *****


Currently Reading:

Helen MacInnes: Above Suspicion



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