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review 2020-04-12 14:26
Lady in the Lake
Lady in the Lake - Laura Lippman

I swear that most of Lippman's stand alone novels are just not that great. This one was pretty bad from beginning to end. The premise sounded interesting, a recently separated woman (Maddie Schwartz) who forces herself into a new job at a newspaper starts investigating a murder. We also get the ghosts's point of view of Maddie's investigations. Then the book just drifts and drags through about a dozen points of view. The book was all over the place and I honestly don't know what I was supposed to feel or even care about in the end. Maddie was a pretty terrible character and so was the so called Lady in the Lake when you get to the end. 


"Lady in the Lake" follows Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz. After leaving her husband and son she decides to start again in Baltimore. Maddie is focused on leaving something behind. As a woman she feels like the only marks that anyway cares about is her being a wife and mother. When Maddie becomes entangled in two murder investigations, she ends up being able to talk herself into a job at the Star (a leading newspaper I guess in Baltimore). Maddie finds herself puzzling out who killed a young girl as well as an older African America woman who is found in a city park lake. The story shifts between following Maddie and readers getting into the mind of the woman found in the city park lake, called "Lady in the Lake." The story shits and bobs along to everyone who had contact with the dead woman. We also have Maddie sorting out her marriage and her affair with a black police officer. 


Maddie is selfish to the core. The story starts with her giving a dinner party and then her being angry that her husband invited someone she knew from high school who was in love with her. It ends with her going yes I will leave my husband. I never really got a sense of Maddie. She's "investigating" but not really. She's going around being nosy and using information she is given to pretty much harass a dead woman's family. I just felt turned off by the whole thing. 


Besides getting the "Lady in the Lake's" point of view, no one else is really developed. We get a point of view of a young woman that meets Maddie when she wants to sell her jewelry, we get the point of view of the dead woman's coworker, of a married woman, etc. It just started to drive me batty after a while. 


The writing was so-so. I think starting each chapter with the heading of the description of the person instead of their freaking name was when I started to tap out of the book. The dialogue was not that great and Maddie's insights made me roll my eyes. 


The flow was bad, leaping back and forth between people and then also trying to keep straight the month that the book was taking place in was just too much to focus on. 


The book takes place in Baltimore in 1966, but honestly the book felt weird to me. Maddie is involved with Ferd, and the relationship is discussed, but in an abstract way. People kept talking to Maddie about the Democrats and getting people elected but it started to feel weird after a while. Like Lippman did not want to portray Maddie as racist. Newsflash, sleeping with a person of color is not a racism out of jail free card. 


The ending was laughable bad. I don't even know what to say except that. 

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text 2020-04-11 21:34
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Lady in the Lake - Laura Lippman

Wow. I did not like this.


"Lady in the Lake" follows Maddie Schwartz who walks out on her marriage looking for something more than being a wife and mother. Something more means talking her way into a job at a newspaper where she starts to report on the murder of a young girl and then on an young African American woman. Maddie relentlessly follows leads so she can be the one to report on the so-called Lady in the Lake, Cleo Sherwood. 


There were about a dozen POVs that Lippman gives us though I guess you could say the main character is a woman named Maddie Schwartz. I just was not feeling her. She was selfish and not very engaging to follow around. The other characters are not very developed. The so called "Lady in the Lake" was a mess of a character too once things are revealed. I don't know this whole book read like a very bad mini-series that would have aired on ABC when I was a teenager. 


This takes place in Baltimore in 1966 but you honestly would not know it except for every character talking about Baltimore. I definitely thought that Lippman strayed too far with this one.

The ending was definitely a who cares from me. 

1 star, maybe 2. Have to think on the review a bit more. 

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text 2020-04-10 22:48
#FridayReads--April 10, 2020
Lady in the Lake - Laura Lippman
The Night Country - Melissa Albert
The Moment of Tenderness - Madeleine L'Engle

I fell off book reading this week. I was dealing with at least 3 meetings a day (1 hour plus in some cases) and having to do write-ups, follow-ups, and then reviewing my team's work. I had to sit in on 7 meetings and I purposely took on writing up 4 of them up since my team was complaining about the work they were doing. That's not counting me having to review 2 out of the 3 and completing rewriting them because they were that bad. I also take notes during all meetings and send my team my notes. One team member just sent me back the original notes I sent him so I can just posit he did not take notes. I also had to review some analysis that some of them have done....and I am just ready to not talk to anyone for the rest of the weekend. I am drinking champagne right now and regret nothing.


The Vampire Diaries Champagne GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Here are my #FridayReads.


Lady in the Lake. I started it and am very intrigued. That said, I fell asleep reading it last night and woke up to my cat leaving me two furballs in my bed....


The Night Country. I haven't started yet. I heard mixed things about this one. I was meh on the first one so hope it is better than the first book in the series.


The Moment of Tenderness. Should be done today. I have been reading this off and on all week. The short stories are sad in tone. 


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review 2020-01-31 16:41
I'd Know You Anywhere (Did Not Finish at 5 Percent)
I'd Know You Anywhere - Laura Lippman

Sorry, I had to DNF this thing at 5 percent. I have loved Lippman's Tess Monaghan series and this just fell flat. I stopped and started this book five times over the past two weeks and nothing about it grabbed me. Since it's due back soon to the library I just decided to put myself out of misery and DNF it formally.

I think what the problem is that Lippman's start of the book jumps around too much and I can't get a handle at what is going on. We have a woman named Eliza who is fretting her daughter, Iso (yeah I hated that name) is pulling away from her and wants to be more like a model. Her daughter also seems to criticize her constantly and generally sounds awful. Eliza has a son and I can't even remember her name. Considering the book synopsis, I thought this would be really good. Maybe if Lippman had started with Eliza's kidnapping first and then went back to the present day it would have worked better. 

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review 2019-11-25 20:31
The End/ Beginning of Tess
Hush Hush: A Tess Monaghan Novel - Laura Lippman

Sigh. What a great book this was. I was initially skeptical for how Lippman was doing this (interview style format sprinkled with third person POVs) but it really works. I also liked the conversation around motherhood. A mother killing their child is seen as being a horrific thing with a lot of people not even wanting to get to the point they can understand how that happens. I thought that everything really worked in this one. The characters, the writing, the flow, and even the slowly dawning reality of what type of mother Melisandre Harris Dawes was before and is now. 


In "Hush Hush" Tess takes on a client that will challenge her ideas on motherhood and marriage. She's asked by her uncle (still funny)Tyner Gray to take on Melisandre as a client. Melisandre more than a decade earlier left her two month old daughter in her car in the summer. The baby died, and though the prosecution was eager to convict her, she was judged temporary insane. Giving up custody of her other two daughters, she has lived overseas. Now with her mother's death, she's returned to Baltimore to try to forge a relationship with her two surviving daughters, Alanna and Ruby. She plans on using a documentary that is being made about her as a way back into her daughters lives. But now there are questions resurfacing about what really happened ten years ago. With Tess dealing with increasingly threatening notes about how she is as a mother, her emotions are raw with dealing with Melisandre. Another murder though lives more questions with Tess trying to figure out who has killed before and who has killed now.  


As Lippman delves, you have her focusing mostly on mothers who get rid of their children for another man, another future, or you have those who in the moment, were truly insane and did not have control over their own actions (like Andrea Yates). Since Tess is now a mother of a toddler and still living with Crow, she has a lot of questions about how she is as a mother, is she doing enough, is she not there for her daughter, and the case has her thinking on what makes a marriage too. There is mention of Medea in the book and in the author's afterword. I am definitely one of those mythology readers who thought Jason was terrible and Medea got a raw deal. 


I loved we get more character POVs in this one, we have Tess's partner Sandy, her aunt, her client, Melisandre (or Missy), Melisandre's two daughters, the documentary filmmaker, Harmony, and even other characters via interview.  Each person gives you a perspective not only on Melisandre, but on what is going in motion in the here and now. I liked the questions being asked about motherhood, why do women try to have it all. Part of you is going to despise Melisandre, but also like how she is clearly able to see the traps with motherhood and within her own marriage. And then you are going to despise her all over again.


What I thought was interesting about this one is that we get a special insight into Tyner and his relationship with Tess's aunt Kitty. And we even get insight into Kitty via another character as well. I think this book just pushes at preconceived notions about motherhood or marriage. We have Tyner saying that he never wanted to marry, but he met Kitty and that was it. When you see how he is linked to Melisandre though, you start to have a lot of questions. I thought it was great though. The whole book and characters were messy. 


I thought the writing was great though the interview style format was a bit hard to get into at first. It works though and after I got to the ending, I went back to some parts of it. The flow worked really well too. 


The ending was a shocker though. I loved the reveal about things before and now. I mean Lippman doesn't spell out things in the before for you, but you get enough to realize what really happened ten years ago (or at least I did). 

The ending also leaves things slightly changed between Tess and Crow and their future. 


I hope one day Lippman revisits this character/series. I love Tess and she's been a great character to follow in 2019. 

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