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review 2018-07-23 16:51
Charm City
Charm City - Laura Lippman

Dealing with the fallout of the death of her ex in book #1, Tess is finally pushing to become a private investigator. Seeing someone new (Crow) she feels a bit more centered, but not by much. Her family still drives her up the wall, her boss (sort of) who is pushing her to get off her butt and set up her own office. We get to see Tess pounding the pavement to figure out the mystery behind two cases and come to a decision about her love life.


When her uncle ends up in the hospital, Tess is left caring for a dog he recently got and trying to figure out why mysterious men in cars are following her and her family. On top of that, Whitney talks her up to the editors at the Beacon Blight to hire Tess to figure out who is behind a story going to press that was killed.


Tess having a background in newspapers definitely helps her out here. She manages to use what she knows to go back and look at the sources/writers of the newspaper story that was supposed to get killed. Tess also manages to piece together what her uncle was up to and why people are looking for something he hid. Tess we find out in this book used to have an eating disorder and we get why she's so focused on working out every day if she can. I already knew she rowed in college, but finding out there's a reason why she was into working out and having bulimia made me feel for her.


I thought Tess and Crow were pretty meh. There was foreshadowing all along how that was going to end up. He just seems to be there for her to stomp all over. I would have gotten fed up too. I also would have gotten fed up with him wanting more than I wanted to give, so they both cancel each other out. Tess's second love interest didn't do a lot for more either. Never a fan of love triangles in books, but this one didn't really bother me so much since Tess at least did the right thing by not jerking two guys around at the same time.


The setting of Baltimore is played up here a lot and you hear all about Charm City in this second book. It's funny that I live so close and I have been to Baltimore just once. Tess via Lippman talks a lot of crap about those who came in and tried to gentrify Baltimore and the white and black flight from certain areas.

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review 2018-07-23 16:33
Baltimore Blues
Baltimore Blues - Laura Lippman

Wow. What a crazy ride! I loved reading about Tess, her family, her uncle (who may not be a uncle) and having this whole thing set in Baltimore. Lippman manages to make Baltimore come alive and you get to see the many sides to Charm City. I really enjoyed Tess too since we don't just get her off and running in her new freelance career as a PI. Lippman introduces some great characters, Tess's aunt Kitty, her ex Johnathan, her rowing buddy Rock, and her best friend Whitney.


"Baltimore Blues" has Tess Monaghan still dealing with being unemployed after being let go from the Star. She still dreams about going back to a newspaper and becoming a reporter again, but for now works in her aunt's bookstore and for her uncle at a state agency. When her friend Rock asks her to follow his fiancee and get some answers on why she is acting so weird, she does so, cause being broke is not that much fun. Following her around, Tess realizes there is more than meets the eye with her. When his fiancee tells Rock that a lawyer she is working with has forced her to sleep with him, he goes and confronts the man. When the lawyer is found dead, fingers point to Rock, and Tess is hired to work alongside his lawyer.


Tess is such a mess and I love her. She has a weird family and lives above her aunt's bookstore. She has an on and off relationship with an ex, but also finds herself thinking of someone who works with her aunt named Crow (I am also reading books with characters having terrible names). Tess is in a rut and her investigating to help out her friend seems like the best thing she can do. She seems to be drifting through her life.

Tess's aunt is pretty hilarious, but sketched thinly. I did love Tess and her relationship with her friend Whitney and how they pushed/pulled each other though.


We don't get to really see the different Baltimore's here though. Lippman addresses that in her third book (Butcher's Hill) and I was happy to see it. I maybe laughed at Tess talking crap about how bad D.C. was compared to Baltimore (it's funny cause it's true).

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review 2018-07-22 20:25
Y"so tragic it is beautiful"A
If He Had Been with Me - Laura Nowlin

Thanks so much to Paige Bookdragon for the recommendation. 



I'm 35yrs old, so I don't think I always mesh well with YA because I'm simply just older. When I was in my early teens I remember reading "Say Goodnight, Gracie" and "Don't Die, My Love", I cried and threw myself into the sadness of it all. Now some of the issues I can't help but be "ugh, get over it", "hahahahha, together in complete love and happiness from freshman year to forever" (I know it happens don't @ me), and just the general over indulgence, and scared of the newness, are kind of missed by me.


This is all first person from the heroine which is also hard for me because I like insight from other characters. I found myself more interested in the grown-ups issues, lol. I also thought some real tough issues were glossed over, there were two teen pregnancies portrayed as great gifts instead of giving them the levity they deserved, and we had a bit of a boy's love is a cure all and the key to happiness.


The ending was rushed with bombardments of events, events that felt completely contrived and manipulated for emotion; the whole "so tragic its beautiful" syndrome that has some calling Rome and Juliet a romance when it is two early teen kids killing themselves. The writing is captivating at times but manipulated emotion isn't real to me, boys and babies don't cure depression or act as a cure all, and I missed having a pov from Finn. I think I've just passed these types of books on by.

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text 2018-07-21 21:08
Reading progress update: I've read 30 out of 224 pages.
Little House in the Big Woods - Garth Williams,Laura Ingalls Wilder

Oh my God! This is making me SO hungry!!

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text 2018-07-13 02:43
Reading progress update: I've read 154 out of 237 pages.
Back to the Coast - Laura Vroomen,Saskia Noort

hard to put this one aside for the night. and now it’s stacking freaky on top of creepy. love it.

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