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review 2018-10-18 03:06
A Gripping Thriller, A Touching Father-Daughter Story, a Special Kind of Crime Novel
She Rides Shotgun: A Novel - Jordan Harper

This is one of those books where you want to sit and talk about it for a couple of hours -- recapping and dissecting the events, analyzing, and speculating about what happens after the book ends; or you don't want to say anything beyond "just read it, I don't want to ruin anything for you." I could absolutely relish the former, but I'm going to hew closer to the latter. Harper's better to read on this than me, anyway.

 

So, here's the official blurb to keep me from slipping:


<blockquote>Eleven-year-old Polly McClusky is shy, too old for the teddy bear she carries with her everywhere, when she is unexpectedly reunited with her father, Nate, fresh out of jail and driving a stolen car. He takes her from the front of her school into a world of robbery, violence, and the constant threat of death. And he does it to save her life.

 

Nate made dangerous enemies in prison—a gang called Aryan Steel has put out a bounty on his head, counting on its members on the outside to finish him off. They’ve already murdered his ex-wife, Polly’s mother. And Polly is their next target.

 

Nate and Polly’s lives soon become a series of narrow misses, of evading the bad guys and the police, of sleepless nights in motels. Out on the lam, Polly is forced to grow up early: with barely any time to mourn her mother, she must learn how to take a punch and pull off a drug-house heist. She finds herself transforming from a shy little girl into a true fighter. Nate, in turn, learns what it’s like to love fiercely and unconditionally—a love he’s never quite felt before. But can their powerful bond transcend the dangerous existence he’s carved out for them? Will they ever be able to live an honest life, free of fear?

 

<i>She Rides Shotgun</i> is a gripping and emotionally wrenching novel that upends even our most long-held expectations about heroes, villains, and victims. Nate takes Polly to save her life, but in the end it may very well be Polly who saves him.</blockquote>

 

The thing to remember about Nate -- he might be trying to be a good father, he may want to be a good father and act a certain way for Polly. But he's not a good guy. He's not a paragon of virtue, he's not a reputable citizen. He's a criminal -- and not an entirely successful criminal, with almost zero parenting skills. But man, he wants to try. Expect some heroics, but remember he's no Nick Mason, Jack Reacher or the like.

 

Polly? I don't know what to say about her. If you can read a few chapters of this and not fall in love with this little girl, want to adopt her and protect her from all this madness? Something's broken in you. She'll win your affections, you'll root for her, you'll pity her, you'll hope she survives this all intact.

 

There were a couple of other stand-out characters -- I'd get into them, but it doesn't matter. Your appreciation for this book comes down to this: what do you think about Nate and Polly and what they go through?

 

This is a tense thriller, with more than your typical emotional moments for the genre. Harper delivers both with equal skill and aplomb. As horrible as so much of this plot was -- this was a real pleasure to read, from cover to cover.


---
I first heard about this novel -- and author, come to think of it -- on <a href="http://twocrimewritersandamicrophone.libsyn.com/episode-thirty-three-jordan-harper" target="_blank">Episode 33 of <b>Two Crime Writers And A Microphone</b></a>, you might want to check it out.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/10/17/she-rides-shotgun-by-jordan-harper-a-gripping-thriller-a-touching-father-daughter-story-an-atypical-crime-novel
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review 2018-10-16 07:27
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Ripping Off The Mask by Harper Jewel
Ripping Off The Mask - Harper Jewel

Ripping Off The Mask starts with action. Coop is with his (work) partner, Silvio, when they are called to a bank robbery. Others are on their way, or already there, chasing the suspects. Silvio goes off by himself as he is faster than Coop. That leads to them both being shot, only Silvio doesn't make it. What he does do is to open up a hornet's nest within Coop, as he tries to come to terms with everything that has happened, and what he did.

I liked Coop and Wes when they weren't talking. In fact, I liked ALL the characters when they weren't talking. The minute they opened their mouths, I lost interest. The conversations and comments made came across as very stilted and forced, with lots of repetition between what they thought and what they said.

Some of the situations in the book just didn't seem realistic - and yes, I know this is fiction, but I still like to be able to pretend it's real! There is a paranormal element to this book that you will either like or loathe. Personally, I liked it, but that's just me. The premise of this book is a good one, and has all the elements there that I normally like. However, although I still liked the book, it didn't really get to me. There are plenty of themes in this book, from the twins separated at birth, to ghosts/angels, to the big bad with a rough childhood. This is a long book, so there is plenty of time for everything to play out.

I think if you can get to grips with the pacing and style of writing, then you will probably enjoy this book.

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2018/08/10/Ripping-Off-The-Mask-by-Harper-Jewel
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review 2018-10-15 07:41
Peachy Flippin' Keen
Peachy Flippin' Keen - Molly Harper

A short story about one of the cousins in the Southern Eclectic series, the coroner for Lake Sackett, Frankie McCready.  This story outlines the history behind the battle between her and an over privileged teen age boy who didn't get his way during a school trip.  This battle becomes a sub-plot in the longer novel Ain't She a Peach.

 

It's moderately amusing, but doesn't reach full Harper potential for laugh out loud gags, likely because of the short story format.  Still, it was an amusing way to spend a couple of hours in the car, and Amanda Ronconi does a fantastic job with the narration.

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review 2018-09-29 06:32
Brothers of the Wild North Sea (Audiobook)
Brothers of the Wild North Sea - Harper Fox,Hamish Long

I first read this in February 2014, and I've been meaning to reread it ever since. Thankfully, I never did or I might not have been tempted to get this on audiobook when it was released. And that would've been a shame since that would've meant missing out on Hamish Long's brilliant narration. He has a storybook quality to his voice, a Neil Gaiman-esque style of reading, that really fits perfectly with this story. I can't imagine anyone else doing this narration, and I really hope he gets tons more work because he deserves it. 

 

(He does make one teeny, tiny error though. He pronounces Samhain "sam-hane" instead of "sow-in" with "sow" sounding like "cow", which would be the correct pronunciation.)

 

I loved this book the first time I read it, and I was happy to see it held up over time. Brother Caius and viking Fenrir are such an unlikely duo, but they work here. The story is woven into a rich tapestry of historical detail, fantasy elements, religious dogma versus spiritual knowledge, and includes a cast of characters who are fully realized and each get their own little arcs. This takes place during a time in the Christian church when the church started pulling away from science in favor of zeal, and it's on the cusp of this change that Caius and Fenrir meet and form an unlikely bond.

 

Cai is angry about the death of his lover, and Fen slowly realizes that he's been abandoned by his people. Cai has every reason to hate Fen, and Fen was raised to be prejudiced against Christians. Cai is struggling to be a good monk and a good man, despite often feeling like he's neither. He just wants to live in peace, but life is determined not to give it to him. 

 

Seeing these two men slowly learn to trust each other, and watching Fen ingrate himself into monastery life was a treat to savor all over again. I'd forgotten a lot about the story over the years, but as I listened, things would come back and become familiar again. I completely forgot about the ending, and got to experience that as if for the first time. :D

 

This is just one of those stories that hits all the right spots and doesn't waver in the telling. 

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review 2018-09-19 03:42
Tinsel Fish (Tyack & Frayne #2) (Audiobook)
Tinsel Fish - Harper Fox

I seem to be having trouble connecting with this series, and I honestly don't know if it's the length of the stories or if it's the narrator. 

 

This is really too short to go in-depth with the material or the characters, and things and other characters keep getting introduced, on top of the mystery of sorts that Lee and Gideon are working on. I did love Gideon's mom, and it was nice to see Gideon going out on a limb relationship-wise, planning time off from his job when he knows that Lee will be home from his own job. 

 

I didn't understand why Lee, a psychic, didn't believe in spirits off the bat. His job is going out, documenting monsters and such, and reading energies and people's minds and other random mojo to find things and people. But spirits? That's crazy talk! Atheism in paranormal settings just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. He doesn't have to be religious or anything, but he does have use basic common sense. It reminded me of those idiots in that godawful The Boys on the Mountain, going out to investigate a haunted house but none of them believe in ghosts. *headdesk* Thankfully, Lee does prove to be smarter than that lot. Not that that would've been a hard thing to do.

 

Tim Gilbert is a great narrator, and he's easy to follow, but he's got this gravelly, gruff voice that just doesn't really seem to fit. Well, that's not quite right. It fits Gideon perfectly, but everything else? Not so much. He is able to clear his voice up for Lee, but the variation in his voices for the various characters shows a limited range. And I still feel like he should be reading something much more serious, like one of those classic Russian authors with names I can't pronounce. :D

 

There is promise here, and I've loved nearly everything else I've read by Ms. Fox, so I'm going to try the next one eventually, but I I'll be reading it. This'll be it for me with the audiobooks. 

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