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review 2019-10-22 14:53
Maybe If I Had Started With Book #1
Anything For You (Valerie Hart #3) - Saul Black

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


Not much to say here, I could not get into this book. Other reviewers mentioned how crude it is, and honestly it is. I just couldn't root for the main character, Valerie Hart. I don't know if I would have felt differently if I had read book #1 (The Killing Lessons) and book #2 (LoveMurder). Valerie is obsessed with sex it seems and her ties to this case (a man she almost had sex with is killed during a home invasion) didn't do much for me. I am definitely going to pass on reading any moer about Valerie.

"Anything For You" follows homicide detective Valerie Hart. Valerie is called in when former prosecutor Adam Grant is found murdered and his wife injured. It looks like a home invasion gone wrong, but as readers follow along, something else seems to be going on. Valerie is worried about working the case and anyone finding out that she and Adam Grant had a passing something (honestly the scenes about them almost having sex were just...blah) and wants to stay on the case. 


I can't say much about Valerie besides she seems or is written as oversexed. She has recently got back together with her ex-husband Nick and they just seem to be two bodies that meet and never really click. Or at least I didn't think they did. I don't want to poo poo women liking and enjoying sex. Valerie is just written as a male fantasy I think. She meets a dude and starts thinking about how he is in bed and practically starts humping men's legs. She really is a female version of the Lucas Davenport character in the first couple of Prey books. I stopped reading that series for a year since the first few books were so bad and I was tired of reading about how Lucas saw a woman and how he jumped right into wanting "to nail her." 

I can't say much else about the secondary characters since I didn't get a good sense of anyone. Once again I am going to blame myself for getting a ARC and not realizing until after the fact it was the third book in a series. We do flip between Valerie and a woman in this one (no spoilers) but once again I didn't think the other woman was written well at all. 


The writing was not good. I think other reviewers nailed it on the head is that you definitely get that a man wrote this book especially with how Black graphically describes sex. I started to skip over any sex related scenes. The flow wasn't working for me either since you go back and forth between Valerie investigating and then some mysterious woman who is up to something. It takes way too long for the dots to connect. 

The setting of the book is mostly San Francisco, but it just felt like any old beige city in America. I wish that Black had incorporated more of the city into this. I just recently watched "The Last Black Man in San Francisco" and thought that movie was brilliant in showcasing the many facets of those that live in that city.

The ending was okay. I was just glad to be done. 

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review 2019-10-21 21:24
Messengers - Joseph Marks,Stephen Martin

[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

An interesting read altogether, although I sometimes found it too ‘light’ and superficial. Perhaps because of the many anecdotes it contains? On the one hand, they do help in getting the point, for sure, but after a while I felt that the book would be definitely more of an introduction (with the research quoted in it having to become the actual focus at some point) than a reference all of itself. Perhaps that was the goal all along, though.

In any case, I did find this research thought-provoking. It’s not the first time that I’m faced with concepts such as ‘we believe ourselves super good at judging people, circumstances etc, but in fact we’re lousier at it than we’d think’; and, let’s be honest, when I look around me at the kind of messages we get, at who broadcasts them, at how people listen to them… Yes, I’m willing to believe that -who- delivers the message is often better heard than the message itself (or allows for the message to be misunderstood in part). Is that a constant? Not necessarily, since behaviours, physical traits, and how we read them are much more complex than meet the eye; but it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that, yes, we may just as well be influenced by a “dominant” or “handsome” appearance rather than by sound judgement, while remaining convinced our decision is perfectly rational and informed. If this only leads to think twice and get back to finding facts and information before deciding, it’s a good thing.

(I must also admit that the book gives a few good ideas about things like posture and tone of voice to use if wanting to impress people or convey a specific meaning. After all, once aware of what people in general tend to respond to, well, might as well try to use it and see if it helps when trying to convince them myself, right?)

Conclusion: 3 to 3.5 stars. It was informative in a general way, yet I think it would’ve benefitted from a deeper analysis as well.

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review 2019-10-20 20:26
Out on the 29
The Art of Looking Up - Catherine McCormack

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

My favorite church in Montreal, if not the whole world, is Norte-Dame-de-Bon-Secours. In part, it is because of the life of its founder, but there is a simplicity in the chapel as well that makes the faith more secure, solid, physical. It’s true that it lacks something that the grand Notre Dame of Montreal has – the stunning ceiling. The Notre Dame ceiling is like a night sky, and it helps to make the interior of the building stunning. One does wonder, periodically, how many people actually notice it.

Luckily, we have Catherine McCormack’s excellent book to make up the difference. This beautiful edition contains stunning photographs as well as brief history and information about the various places included in the book. The longest section of text is the introduction, which includes a discussion of the absence of women artists.

The book is divided into different sections based on the purpose of the various buildings. The sections are Religion, Culture, Power, and Politics. The power section is primary royal residences, and culture includes theaters and museums

It is to McCormack’s credit that the book is varied in the various places. While some might quibble about the various choices, McCormack choses a good variety of places that are from far more than Europe. The religion section in particular includes far more than Christianity, which is nice. But I think the best inclusion was the Metro Stations of Sweden, a nice choice of something that many people would have totally ignored.

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text 2019-10-19 13:29
Reading progress update: I've read 15%.
Anything For You (Valerie Hart #3) - Saul Black

My own fault for clicking at NetGalley without realizing this is a third book in a series. So far it’s interesting and the MC is a bit much though.  She’s a homicide detective in San Francisco investigating a home invasion that left one man dead. We are getting another POV though in the book and I don’t know who that is yet. 

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review 2019-10-18 03:01
Finding Home Again (Catalina Cove) by: Brenda Jackson
Finding Home Again (Catalina Cove) - Brenda Jackson



I've been reading Brenda Jackson for a long time and although I may not be a fan of every story, it's hard not to love this author. Characters like Bryce and Kaegan are the main reason why. Finding Home Again grabbed in every sense of the word. Haunted by a love that once was, that was never meant to be. Stalked by danger. Hoping for a chance to begin again. Jackson appeals to the heart with intriguing accuracy. From heartbreaking romance to heartstopping suspense, Finding Home Again packs a wide range of emotion.

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