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review 2020-07-28 19:28
Fair Warning
Fair Warning - Michael Connelly

This took me almost an hour to be able to post something. I just want to scream. Trying to add tags and all of that took me a really long time too. 

 

Interesting third book looking at the character of Jack McEvoy. Or as I started to call him, his own worst enemy. I honestly dithered about 3 or 4 stars, but ultimately gave it 4 stars because I thought this one had a lot of interesting sub-plots that I was glad to see Connelly tackle (privacy and DNA). But I was tempted to give it 3 stars because Jack is beyond annoying at this point with his constant need to be a jerk and awful to Rachel. Also it's kind of annoying that Jack will get some success and then we find him 10 years later down in his fortunes (again) due to mess he did (again). Also if you are a serial killer one wonders why anyone even goes near McEvoy.

 

"Fair Warning" finds Jack McEvoy 10 years later after the events in the second book. Readers know that he and Rachel Walling had plans to open their own agency after she finishes up with the FBI. Rachel was in a Harry Bosch book, a few years back, and I can't remember what book it was. She mentions at the time that she was with Jack though as an aside to Harry. So between that Bosch book and now, Jack and Rachel are once again done. We don't get the details, initially, but just go with your gut that Jack messed things up. When you read what happens you are going to go yep he messed things up. Shocker.

 

Jack is now working at a site called "Fair Warning" that deals with consumer warnings. It doesn't sound too exciting and you wonder if Jack misses the big stories that he used to chase down. When Jack is interviewed by the police due to his connection to a murder victim though, he starts to investigate the dead woman and finds a surprising connection between her getting her DNA tested to then being murdered. When Jack starts to identify more victims, he is put on the radar of three men. Jack also reaches out to his former lover, Rachel Walling in order to put together a profile of the killer. Connelly moves the story back and forth between Jack, two men, and the murderer.

 

Honestly Jack kind of sucks. I think that Rachel and other characters really drove this story for me. He stays selfish and doesn't trust anyone and constantly bleats about his story, his scoop, and wanting to ride along with the FBI or police. We do get into the rights of the media in this one which I do think is important now more than ever, but Jack once again kind of sucks so you want him to just be quiet after a while. He also messes so many things up that you are kind of exhausted by him.

 

The murder mystery and how it ties into DNA and privacy though I thought was cleverly done. I have to say that I have never done one of those DNA tests things and have zero plans to do so. There's way too many caveats and I am always surprised that the same people who want to yell about their freedom don't care they are giving up a lot of information to a random DNA site.

 

The ending leaves you with more questions than answers though. We have Jack moving into a new direction which honestly makes sense for him and for a lot of journalists these days. However, he still wants something more. With the ending I think we end up seeing a fourth book in this series.

 

The whole Fair Warning publication is apparently real so if readers for a need, they can click on it and see some stories.

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review 2020-07-19 00:55
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
My Rating: 5 Stars
 
This book starts with the reader already knowing the ending. Some reviews I've seen state that it would've been better to save what Mallory's fate is until the end of the book, but I feel that the reason Elin disclosed her illness was so you could appreciate what a full life she led, although bittersweet.

This book is based on the play and movie, Same Time Next Year. Mallory Blessing and Jake McCloud come into one another's life via her brother Cooper Blessing and connect romantically almost instantly in 1993.  Although they have chemistry from the beginning, Jake is in a relationship with his childhood sweetheart and Mallory is starting her life over on Nantucket. They agree to spend Labor Day weekend together every year, no matter what is happening in their lives.  are not to contact one another throughout the year unless there's a marriage, pregnancy or death, which they abide by.
I loved how each chapter began with real life highlights of events that were happening in the specific year.  Another highlight was the mouth-watering details in the meals they prepared and ate!!! I need some recipes for these dishes Elin!!!  She also peppers characters and businesses from her other books throughout the story, which is very comforting; makes you feel like you've been here before (and if you've read any of her books before, you kind of have been!)

Dislikes:
- I did not enjoy the politics within the book. (Beach Read...trying to escape reality here!!) - At times I felt sad for both Mallory and Jake because their situation could've been different if they were just honest with themselves and others in their lives.  They could've had more time together during their lifetime (life is short!)  - Infidelity. It is bothersome that both characters so easily could drift back to one another for one weekend a year and then just return to the rest of their lives for the remainder of the year.  ( they did find it difficult to separate and thought of one another when not together...torturing themselves.)
If this is your very first Elin Hilderbrand read, please don't totally judge her on this book alone.  It was a bit more 'serious' and depressing than some of her other books. Checkout 'The Blue Bistro' to experience just one of my favorites of hers!
 
 
 
Click here to purchase your copy! 
 
 
Source: allaroundthecircle.blogspot.com/2020/07/book-review-28-summers.html
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review 2020-07-02 17:29
The Mystery of the Blue Train
The Mystery of the Blue Train - Agatha Christie

I re-read this previously back in 2014. I gave it 3 stars then, but gave this 4 stars now since I appreciated this one a bit more the second time through.

 

Previous review:

 

We have the famous Hercule Poirot on the scene again investigating who murdered heiress Ruth Kettering.

 

When the novel begins we are introduced to many characters who will come to play some importance in showing how and why Ruth Kettering was murdered on the Blue Train she eventually takes for a rendezvous.

 

Though I am happy with the pains Ms. Christie took to provide depth and understanding to all of the characters I felt myself impatient since I wanted to get to Hercule Poirot.

After the disappointment of the "Big Four" I was glad to see that this was a classic who dun it and we don't have Poirot investigating a crazy crime syndicate in this one. However, there was still some disappointment.

 

A character we are introduced to in this novel, Katherine Grey, takes up a great portion of this story. She apparently is just one of those women that when a man meets falls instantly in love with her. I wish that there was some other reason for that since I myself couldn't see it. Though it was nice to read about St. Mary's Mead (home of Miss Marple) I rather would have had Miss Marple and Poirot meet in this novel and she help him solve the murder.

 

Additionally, when we get to the final who and why of the murder it makes no sense. Frankly for all of the pains that were taken the murderer could have taken up other means to get what they wanted without murder especially when you find out the person's reputation.

 

I was not at all surprised to find out that this was one of Christie's least favorite stories. This just didn't have quite the same oomph of her other novels. I still say my least favorite is "The Big Four" though.

 

One funny thing that I read was there was the discussion of trains and how "journeys end with lovers meeting" which quickly made me think of "The Haunting of Hill House" which creeped me out quite a bit.

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review 2020-06-30 17:07
Death of an Eye (Eye of Isis #1) - Dana Stabenow
Death of An Eye - Dana Stabenow

We're suppose to leave to go camping until Monday later this afternoon. My to-do list is a few miles long. I sent my husband off to swimming lessons with the girls intending to knock a few things off said list without interruptions. Instead, I finished a book without interruptions. I regret nothing. 

 

This is one of the better introductory novels I've read in a long time. Normally first books in a series don't get anything better than three stars from me. I tend to take two or three books to decide if I think a series is going to be worth the time. This book seems to be a rare exception. I know after the first novel, I'm absolutely going to be continuing on with this series and these characters. 

 

For starters there's Cleopatra. I'm developing a pretty huge girl crush on her lately. This Cleopatra is bold, cunning, and smarter than everyone in the room. She knows exactly what she has to do to get what she wants and she's not afraid to step on anyone to get it. I realize things don't really work out for her in the end. For the moment, I'm rolling with this Cleopatra. You'd be foolish not to.

 

Then there's this mystery surrounding stolen coin. Stolen coin doesn't seem like such a big deal on the surface. Once you get into all of the things this coin in particular means to the kingdom of Egypt, you understand why getting it back is such a big deal. Nothing is quite what it seems but everything is related. It's complicated without being confusing. Something I personally haven't seemed to master. 

 

Finally there's Stabenow herself. I've only read one other Stabenow work about China and the Silk Road. At the end I found myself less than impressed. I've never read any of her popular Kate Shugak series. After this, I'm tempted to start tomorrow. Stabenow is quick and to the point. There's a mystery. There's danger. There's intrigue. The amazing part is she manages to handle everything in less than 300 pages. Stabenow seems to know just how much detail the reader needs and exactly when to cut it off. Nothing is drawn out. Not once was I left muttering "Did I really need to know that?" Short and to the point. Again, not something I've figured out how to accomplish on my own. 

 

Personal kudos to me for knocking out a review in a record time. I suppose that means I can move on to my to-do list. Or I can map out my next BL-opoly roll. Or I can stand in front of my bookshelves and wonder which books are going to accompany me camping. 

 

 

Dates read 6/25/2020 - 6/30/2020

Book 43/75

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review 2020-06-29 19:24
Cheerleader The Second Evil
The Second Evil - R.L. Stine

Ahh, I do love returning to Fear Street. A place that I still say is the inspiration for the Hellmouth on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "The Second Evil" I found to be too short and also it doesn't give you a chance to mourn any characters that we lose. Of course the ending leaves open another book (which I am so reading).

 

"The Second Evil" follows some months after the events in the first book. Corky is left mourning her sister Bobbi who was murdered. She's left the cheerleading squad and is now dating Chip. Yeah that Chip. Chip who has gone from dating another member of the squad (Kimberly) and then Bobbi and now Corki. I was not a fan of Chip. When Corky starts seeing things and one of the squad keeps intoning the evil has returned, she starts to worry that what they all did a few months ago didn't vanquish the evil for good. And she's right to worry.

 

Corky is definitely a MC you can root for. I do miss Bobbi, but Corky has more of an investigative spirit I thought. She starts trying to run down leads with Chip and then some of the girls on the squad. I have to say though there's not much development of anyone else really in this one besides us getting more information on Sara Fear. I definitely loved the more information on the Fear family and wanted to know even more about them. When I was a pre-teen and later teen reading these books I would get so freaked out about the whole idea behind Fear Street. A few blocks down from my home was a cemetery that sat besides the railroad tracks. We would go down there during the summer and picnic and play touch football or tag, but we were always taught to be respectful of the graves and people visiting. In the daylight there was never anything that was too scary about the place, but as soon as dusk came around 7, 8, or 9 (depending on the time of year) the place felt lonesome and you felt like someone was out there wanting to touch you. Stine at times makes me recall how I felt the first time as a pre-teen reading this (I was 12 when this book was published) and that alone was enough for me to give this 4 stars.

 

The writing was solid, but there's not a lot of scares (at least for me) in this one. We do get some gruesome scenes here and there, but Stine quickly moves along as if he is afraid of freaking out his readers. The flow is a bit stop and start in a few places too, but since this is a fairly short book (180 pages) it doesn't hamper things.

 

The setting of Shadyside and Fear Street still resonate with me and I so wish that Netflix or someone else would consider picking up this series. You can easily update these books and I think would be a fun horror series to sink your teeth into.

 

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