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text 2018-01-31 15:53
Books I Read This Month: January 2018
Faithful Place - Tana French
Not Ready for Mom Jeans - Maureen Lipinski

Hmm, well hopefully Booklikes let's me get my book covers in this post. I was having issues sizing them down the other day.

So far this year, I read 33 books. I only decided to have 50 books for my challenge this year, so if I hit a slump (it happens) I can just ride it out without pushing myself to read.


I also have to say that Ann Rule's book covers are atrocious. Glad I got that off my chest. 


5 stars


The Prize by Julie GarwoodBut I Trusted You by Ann RuleNo Regrets by Ann RuleDear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Fifth Witness by Michael ConnellyBitter Harvest by Ann RuleConfessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie KinsellaAshes to Ashes by Tami Hoag

We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle UnionFaithful Place by Tana French




4 stars


Worth More Dead and Other True Cases by Ann RuleThe Hanging Tree by Ben AaronovitchA Rage To Kill And Other True Cases by Ann RuleThe Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

Too Late to Say Goodbye by Ann RuleThe Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble


3 stars


A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaughtSmoke, Mirrors, and Murder by Ann RuleMidnight Curse by Melissa F. OlsonStrange Weather by Joe Hill

Mortal Danger and Other True Cases by Ann RuleRemember Me? by Sophie Kinsella'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda QuickTesting Kate by Whitney Gaskell

True Love by Whitney GaskellA Bump in the Road by Maureen LipinskiSecrets in Death by J.D. RobbAn Irish Country Love Story by Patrick Taylor


2 stars


The Lying Game by Ruth Ware


1 star


Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaughtHow the Light Gets In by Louise PennyThe Burial Hour by Jeffery DeaverNot Ready for Mom Jeans by Maureen Lipinski


I did read one book for the Horror Aficionados group read. So glad to be back with them.

Strange Weather by Joe Hill


And I also read one book for the (Mostly) Dead Writers Society 52 weeks challenge. 


Faithful Place by Tana French


My favorite book this month was "Faithful Place" my least favorite was "Not Ready for Mom Jeans."

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review 2018-01-23 19:28
I am over books that fat shame and act as if working mothers are the devil!
Not Ready for Mom Jeans - Maureen Lipinski

Sorry for the long title, but this book had me ticked from beginning to end. 

So this is just going to be a rant about this book, a sequel to "A Bump in the Road". We follow Clare and the first year of her newborn daughter Sara.


Clare is an asshole throughout this book. Sorry. I don't have tolerance for characters who fat shame. I also hated the whole debate about stay at home moms and working mothers. 


Clare apparently is the only woman in the world who has to deal with whether she stay at home with her daughter or work. You will be happy to know that Clare judges her mom (who is dealing with breast cancer at this time) for working and liking it. Clare and her sister both moan about how they didn't have nice leisurely times as a family cause her mother was working all the time.

Where's Clare's father in all of this (who cares cause fathers are not important so sayeth this book) who is still working? Apparently it doesn't even process in Clare's freaking brain that her dad could have stayed home or yeah her husband could too. This whole thing becomes most of the plot of the book cause Clare is upset about Sara going to daycare and when her husband gets a promotion (and they buy a house) they apparently now have money for her to stay at home....in the suburbs of Chicago...and he works in IT. I maybe laughed at this whole thing. This book was written in 2010, this is after the economy took a damn dump. Who are these people going let's go to one income and not have to worry about things at all?


In the middle of that mess we have Clare upset she put on weight after her daughter was born and she can't get rid of it. She talks about never exercising, but wanting to lose weight and calls her "fat pants" her Miss Piggy Pants and when it comes up about her not being able to wear a two piece bathing suit anymore, she muses she can just sit next to the fattest person the beach cause no one would give two thoughts to her.


I also realize that Clare did some fat shaming in the last book, I just didn't even process it. Everyone she dislikes in these two books are overweight. She hates her co-worker Annie (who she calls Mule Face) and her sister in law and goes into how fat/heavy both of them are every time they are brought up. 


I just ended up disliking the main character and her BS Sophie's Choice about whether to stay home or work. In the end the problem magically gets solved for her (eyeroll again) and they lived happily ever after.

It doesn't help this book is repetitive beyond belief and Clare's sister is a jerk, and though her two best friends are not mortal enemies anymore, there's barely any scenes with the two of them. 





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review 2018-01-23 18:55
Book Suffers From Backstory Issues
A Bump in the Road: From Happy Hour to Baby Shower - Maureen Lipinski

I really would have liked this story more if the author, Maureen Lipinski, had spent more time setting up the backstory of our main character and secondary characters. That through me so much while reading. At one point I did go back to Amazon to make sure I wasn't missing a first book or something. But nope, this is the first book in the series. Since I read the sequel right after finishing this, I realized that book (Not Ready for Mom Jeans) ended up causing me to dislike the first book more than I did and dropped this down to three stars. 


The main character is Clare Finnegan who has been married for several months at the start of this story. Clare and her husband Jake (who I can't even remember his name at this point...shows how much he stuck with me--I did go back and look it up though) are flying home from Vegas and thanking the gods they don't have kids. Of course the gods smile and then Clare ends up getting pregnant by accident (birth control + antibiotics = not a good idea to have relations). Clare and Jake go through a series of emotions since they are in their late 20s and were not really thinking of children yet. They do proceed with the pregnancy and go through the ups and downs of expecting their first child while dealing with their families, friends, and jobs.

For the most part I found this book slightly funny. Clare has a unique voice. She is an event planner and also a blogger. Apparently a blogger that gets 20,000 views a day (I feel like that is unheard of) with her providing details to her readers about her day to day life. I wish that we had gotten some excerpts from Clare's blog or anything that showcased her writing, since I was flummoxed why she would be so popular. There are allusions to her blog taking off, but that is one of the weird passages that this book contains that makes you believe there is another book before this. 


The secondary characters just fit character types. Clare's two best friends Reese and Julie (who haven't spoken in like a year after some blow up during Clare's bachelorette party) are the type A super mom/wife and the party girl. She hangs out with them while also judging them. I also ended up not caring for Jake too much since he made cracks about Julie and her upbringing. Apparently if you live in a mobile home you are white trash and that's that. God. Forget not caring about him, he and his sanctimonious family sucked.  


The writing was so-so. As I said there are whole passages alluding to things that Lipinski writes about that in a way that makes it seem you should already know about these things. It drove me up the wall and took me out of the story every time. I was wondering if this book came with a prologue and even went back to the title page at one point and worked me way through again.


The book takes place in Chicago and I really wish we had gotten more flavor of the town in this story. One reason why I love Jen Lancaster and Stacy Ballis's book is that they make Chicago come alive. The only settings you read about are Clare's workplace, her apartment with her hubby, and Reese's home. 


The ending has Clare delivering her first child and wondering what is next. 



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review 2018-01-10 22:31
Where Peacocks Cry by Maureen E. Wakefield
Where Peacocks Cry - Maureen E. Wakefield

To Jancey, seventeen and brought up in the isolated surroundings of the Fisherman's Rest, the storm which brought Dion Challen to the modest inn to seek shelter was a handmaiden of Fate, a messenger of Romance and a purveyor of dreams come true. So she eagerly accepted the marriage he offered, not realizing that Dion found in her less an ideal bride than the reincarnation of a beloved sister now dead.

~ from inside dust jacket




Jancey Grant is seventeen and working at her family's B & B, The Fisherman's Inn. One night, a violent storm drives Dion Challen and his cousin, Mark, to the door of The Fisherman's Inn, seeking shelter while on a road trip. While they hoped to be back on the road the next day, Mother Nature had other plans. With the roads blocked from the nearby river flooding, Dion and Mark hunker down and wait things out. It is during this waiting period that Dion and Jancey have a surprise whirlwind romance that leads up to Dion proposing marriage. Jancey, naive Jancey, assumes it couldn't anything but honest, passionate love that spurs Dion to do this, but the reader is let in on his creepier inspiration. It turns out Jancey strongly resembles Dion's deceased sister! 


Prior to the wedding, cousin Mark does try to dissuade the two from going through with it, as he knows Dion's motives are superficial and weird and Mark, though he doesn't know her all that well at this point, feels compelled to protect young Jancey. But his pleas fall on deaf ears all around and Jancey officially becomes the new mistress of Challen's End, the ancestral estate of Dion's family. 


While everything is bathed in a rosy newlywed glow for the first few weeks, it's not long before Dion's peccadilloes   -- lying, manipulating, drinking too much, "chasing skirts" -- start to rear up and make periodic appearances. At first, Jancey has all the excuses in the world to dismiss her husband's behavior but after awhile even she reaches her limit and turns to Mark (in friendship) for support. When they first met at the inn, Jancey, consumed with attraction to Dion, convinced herself that she mostly disliked Mark. After a year's time, she can't imagine what gave her that idea, as she realizes she actually feels more at ease around him than Dion! Jancey, now over a year wed, is floored at the realization that she swore undying love and fidelity to a man that had actually only managed to provide her with a few moments of peace and contentment! So where does she go from here? What does she do for the rest of her life in the pursuit of happiness?


I first discovered this book years ago at one of those Friends of the Library sales where you buy up discards for super cheap. Intrigued by the premise (and sold on the 10 cent price tag at the sale), I decided to give it a shot. I read it and for some reason, all these years I've had this memory of absolutely loving it so it's stayed on my shelves. Well, here recently I decided to pick it up again to see if it still held up in my mind and for the life of me I can't remember what about this story I was so in love with. 


Don't get me wrong. It's definitely not terrible, it's just SUPER safe. What I mean is that there is something here plot-wise that wants to scream REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier so badly ... and there's the slightest flavoring of that, but it just never quite gets there. Jancey is cringingly naive, and Dion ... bland as a rice cake, really, not sure what Jancey got so caught up in, other than maybe it was a result of being semi-isolated at the inn and little to no exposure to hot guys near her age means dang near anything starts to look promising after awhile? Mark is the obviously more attractive choice right from the get-go but for reasons not all that well illustrated, Jancey is just not feelin' him. 


It seemed like Wakefield tried to get a creepy vibe in with Dion making multiple references to Jancey's uncanny resemblance to his sister (maybe ol' Maureen had a little Poe on the brain, because for a minute there it seemed like she might go with a dash of House of Usher) ... but not much more is ever really done with that and the focus from then on stays on Dion being a weasel of a guy. The upside is Jancey does find her girl-power backbone in this whole process. 


That's why I say it's a cutesy, safe, almost-mystery. It was originally published in the 1970s and it definitely has the feel in the writing style. Fun for a re-visit but now ... nope, no longer on my keeper shelf. 

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url 2017-11-29 08:32
I hated romance until...

Thanks to Maureen Miller, USA Today bestselling romantic suspense author, for having me as a guest blogger

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