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review 2018-09-23 02:48
Hollywood Homicide (Detective by Day Mystery, #1)
Hollywood Homicide - Kellye Garrett

This was a freebie I received at Bouchercon 2018 (the author was there, but I never met her and have no obligation to her or Midnight Ink).   When I saw this on the freebie table, I immediately grabbed it because it was obviously a cozy mystery, the first in a new series, and I've been looking for new series.  It was also an obvious fit for for the bingo Diverse Authors square and the back of the book made it sound like a great read right up my alley.  It was ticking all the boxes.

 

Ok, so maybe not quite all the boxes, as it turns out. There was a lot to like in this book and I think Garrett has found a unique niche for Day's investigations - the refreshingly mercenary angle of "doing it for the money", i.e. investigating the crimes the police are offering reward money for.   But there were also a few things that dragged the story down and left me feeling less than enthusiastic.  

 

What I didn't like:

The story was too long and the pace dragged.  Every scene was just too detailed and long.  A tighter editing process would, I think, have helped a lot without losing any of the story and it would have given the book a snappier pace.

 

One of the characters, the brains/girl with all the cool gadgets, spoke in text speak.  All the time.  Do people actually speak in text speak?  Because if those people actually exist, they should be smacked about until read words come out of their mouths.  It was annoying as hell reading it; I can't imagine remaining calm if someone started speaking it to me.

 

Slightly less annoying, although only because it's such a frequent device I've become numb to it over time, is the MC never seeing a conclusion she wasn't ready to jump to.  At least the author set her up to do it with a believable amount of desperation as a motivation.

 

What I did like were all the strong female characters; even the shallow ones were likeable and the friendships came across as believable and relatable.  I liked Day, the MC, too.  Her life is a mess, but she knows it; she has her head on straight, and even though she has a few too many TSTL moments, I found myself cheering her on.  I liked the plot too, though it would have been so much better for having had a tighter editing and fewer conclusion jumps.  As a reader, I should never lose count of how many people the protagonist has accused of a crime.

 

Overall, I think the author has a lot of talent for writing mysteries with a solid cast of characters.  A stronger editing would have made this a much better book though, and ffs, lose the text speak.

 

I read this for the Diverse Voices Square for Halloween Bingo.

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text 2018-08-31 09:00
Friday Reads - August 31, 2018
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright
Khobar Towers: Tragedy and Response - C.R. Anderegg,Perry D. Jamieson,Air Force History and Museums Program (U.S.)
Rockets' Dead Glare (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon
A Touch of Midnight - Lara Adrian
The Demon of River Heights - Stefan Petrucha,Sho Murase
Miss Frost Solves A Cold Case: A Nocturne Falls Mystery (Jayne Frost Book 1) - Kristen Painter
A Deadly Brew (A Tourist Trap Mystery) - Lynn Cahoon
Hollywood Scandals - Gemma Halliday

2 TBR piles for September and October - 1) Regular reading and 2) Halloween Bingo.

 

Regular Reading: Starting Tuesday, I will be listening to the audiobook version of The Flat Book Society September's pick, Get Well Soon, as that is the only copy of the book my library system had. Next on the non-fiction que is Khobar Towers, which is only 153 pages so it should go quickly. I am hoping to finish Hollywood Scandals soon.

 

Halloween Bingo Reading: A Deadly Brew by Lynn Cahoon (Free Space - will be released Sep 4th), Rockets Dead Glare by Lynn Cahoon (Amateur Sleuth), A Touch of Midnight by Lara Adrian (Relics and Curiosities), The Demon of River Heights (Nancy Drew, Girl Detective #1) by Carolyne Keene, Stefan Petrucha and Show Murase (Baker St. Irregulars), and Miss Frost Solves a Cold Case by Kristin Painter (Cozy Mystery). All are short books that I can get through quickly over the weekend. 

 

Because my husband was denied leave (vacation time) and was TDY to Iceland for a month this summer, he has spent little time with the kids, who are now in school. So we are taking a day trip to Legoland Windsor on Monday as an end of summer surprise. HEE HEE HEE Adam and I can't wait to see their faces when we drive through the arch into the park.

 

Happy Labor Day my fellow Americans!

 

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review 2018-08-20 01:09
Sheer: A Hollywood Romance (Exposed Book 3) by Sarah Robinson
Sheer: A Hollywood Romance - Sarah Robinson

 

Wounded hearts get a chance to heal. Robinson takes the broken and makes them whole. The beauty of the Exposed series is that images can be deceiving. There's drama under the surface waiting to bubble over. It's how the people handle the fallout that makes the stories so intriguing. Sheer is the beginning of the end for an unforgettable series. As Grant and Simone find their way in the industry of bright lights and heartache, each tackles hard knocks in their personal lives and insecurities in their professional ones. The fault in our stars is that we all have flaws. It's the lessons we learn and the peace we find from working through them, that helps us become who we're meant to be. Gritty, sensitive and inspiring tale.

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review 2018-08-02 16:59
Hollywood Heir (Westerly Billionaire Book 4) by Ruth Cardello
Hollywood Heir - Ruth Cardello

 

Humor and heartache are an odd combination, but Cardello makes it work. Hollywood Heir is not your average poor rich man story. Eric wears the weight of the world on his shoulders. He's haunted by abandonment issues, family problems self recrimination. All as the world watches. Self destruction has landed him in a dark place. Until fate sees fit to shine some light his way. Sage is a plant psychologist. She may seem odd, is often kooky, but has a good head on her shoulders and an even more beautiful heart. She has a gift for reading people and she can see Eric's pain. Can she help him before he completely self-destructs? A broken hero, an unlikely heroine and an empathetic ear are hard to resist when they come from the imagination of Ruth Cardello. A nice warm hug for the heart.

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review 2018-07-23 21:25
A bad movie, a nail in the coffin of John Bellairs
The House With a Clock in Its Walls - John Bellairs

I felt compelled to reread this after seeing the godawful trailer for the new film. I ended up reading it aloud to my husband over the course of a few nights. The book is still wonderful. I've linked to book reviews for the Lewis Barnavelt Trilogy at the bottom.

I thought I was over getting nerdrage at bad book to film translations, but those trailers made me see red. 'A House with a Clock in It's Walls' is a meandering book about a lonely, scared boy finding a place for himself in his new family after his parent's death, and, above all, learning about true courage and friendship.

Tonally, aesthetically, and factually this movie has missed the mark. I know its only a trailer, but trailers these days seem to show the whole damn film. The casting is terrible. Lewis is some Hollywood kid instead of the weepy (his parents are DEAD, remember?), overweight bookish loner. Jack Black is all crazy googly-eyed as Uncle Jonathan. Mrs. Zimmerman instead of being the "wrinkliest" woman Lewis has ever seen, all smile lines, is played by Cate Blanchett with a silver wig. What a missed opportunity to bring back some great actress with a meaty role for an elderly woman.

Aesthetically, some effort seems to have been made to put it in early postwar America, but the CGI effects are plastered over everything and used for cheap laughs - complimented by bad dialogue.

Tonally, this was a book filled with gentle humor balanced with atmospheric dread and real scares. How can there be any balance in this movie?

John Bellairs books are in danger of going out of print - 'Figure in the Shadows' and 'The Letter, the Witch, and The Ring' are already gone. The book and the movie are so different that no kid who liked the movie is going to enjoy the book, creating NO demand for those sequels, and any kid with the sense to hate the movie is going to avoid the book thinking they share some similarities. More bad news: when this movie fails some asinine executive is going to think kids don't like fantasy or scary movies, when they only don't like bullshit.

The Lewis Barnavelt Trilogy:

'The House with a Clock in It's Walls'

'The Figure in the Shadows'

he Letter, The Witch, and The Ring'

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