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text SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-19 14:54
Update - Things that should stay in the closet
The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

I couldn't go to sleep last night, and The Sugar Queen was within reach.  Even though I had signed off on it, I needed something to settle my brain for a few minutes.


I opened to a random page, read a few lines, and nearly heaved this library book against the wall.


P. 126


Josey went to her purse on the chaise lounge and took out her checkbook.



I dislike books that contribute to the dumbing down of our language.


Of course, by then I was angry and even more awake, so I skimmed through some more of the book until I finally discovered the big secret.  Oh, give me a fucking break!  The main character, Josey, couldn't figure out that

the woman living [sic] in her closet was a ghost?

(spoiler show)


I guess maybe this sort of nonsense appeals to readers, since the author is very popular.  It doesn't appeal to me.  I'm glad I only wasted a half hour on the rest of this book.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-12 22:18
Good Idea, Atrocious Execution
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - Katherine Howe


The book has over 500 reviews on Amazon, with a 4.1 star average rating. The five-star ratings account for 41% of those, which is reasonably impressive.  My review isn't going to impact that very much, and that's not my intent.


This review will also be filled with spoilers. Consider yourself warned.


First major spoiler:  The dog is okay.  Nothing bad happens to him.  There's another spoiler about him later.


I finished the book, which is more than I do with many of the books I start.  Many of them don't hold me for two pages.  So there's that.


I liked the premise: Academic Connie Goodwin inherits her grandmother's old house in what was Salem Village, Massachusetts and goes on a search for a 300-year-old book with some connection to the Salem Witch Trials. 


The writing was competent, if a little heavy on the description.


That said, it wasn't long before I began to have problems even as I continued reading.


Connie is a young woman, in her early to mid 20s, and she has been in school virtually all her life.  The last few years in grad school have been by choice: she wants to continue to study and earn her PhD.  She doesn't come across, however, as a dedicated scholar.  Once she completes her oral exam and is cleared to begin her dissertation, she seems to forget all her academic training and lose all her scholarly motivation.  Is it because it's summer break?  It shouldn't be, because working on that dissertation should be her single primary focus now if she's truly dedicated to her scholarship.


However. . . .


She receives word from her mother Grace, a free spirit hippie type living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that the house that had belonged to Connie's grandmother, Sophia, needs to be prepared for sale after sitting vacant for 20 years since Sophia's death.  Since the house is in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and Connie is at Harvard in Cambridge, she is delegated to the task for the summer.  She heads there with her roommate Liz and her dog Arlo.


There's no real explanation for why the place wasn't sold when Sophia died or why it's being sold now.


It was at their arrival at the house that I lost my willing suspension of disbelief (WSOD).



The rest of the very lengthy review is at




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review 2017-04-04 01:12
The Mermaid Murders by Josh Lanyon
The Mermaid Murders - Josh Lanyon

OK, no more serial killer mysteries by Josh Lanyon for me - or books where both MC's are law enforcement. Winter Kill didn't work for me at all, and now Mermaid Murders annoys me almost as much.


I think there are certain things that really bother me in a procedural type of book that I can overlook in other genres. Things like physical impossibilities - sensing when someone is looking at you, for example, or knowing a bunch of stuff you couldn't know from someone's expression or tone of voice. Procedurals are supposed to be tightly plotted and carefully constructed.


Also, the editing could use some help - people keep having the same conversations they already had, and forgetting things and re-figuring them out. I am guessing that happens when the author moves events around and then doesn't go back to make sure everything flows in the right order. 

I can accept Adrian English running off to be TSTL, but it irks me when an FBI agent does it. Also Jason's boss acts like a cartoon villain. I expect him to want to kill Moose and Squirrel in a minute.


This one has really good ratings, so I'm guessing it's me and not the book.

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review 2017-01-26 18:03
The Doormat and the Jerk
Through the Zombie Glass - Gena Showalter

2.4 stars- barely based on lowlife characters and TSTL actions

Zombies hunters vs zombies and evil scientist.

This book sucked like a black hole

I loved the idea, the spirt hunting, the different abilities awakening and the possibilities. The action was there, I was on the edge of my seat more than once. But why bring in abuse, and ridiculous actions into the story. I was rolling my eyes at the jealousy, the he-slut moves and the stupid thinking of this girl.

 Ali, stupid, hormonal virgin Ali.  I cut bits of stars off for each completely stupid move Ali made. Ali, the special little snowflake acted like a brat. Taking matters into her own hands, after being warned it was a bad bad thing. She would run off into the fire and placed everyone in serious danger. I was generous and gave her a few free chips because of her age, she suffers from high school level hormonal drama. 

Cole, the macho he slut was such a complete jerk. I'd beat him bloody with anything in reach if he treated my daughter that way or one of her friends. His character was repulsive and I worry that some young mind might find his actions ok. I thinking about cutting another star off right now. I was miffed that the author made his turdness acceptable to the group of slayers/friends. I would have liked to see a stronger character backlash, not the "oh he loves me so I'll forget everything" bit. He used girls, emotionally and physically and brushed it off like it was nothing, and this is the hero ? She looked into his eyes and saw longing  making all he did disappear. REPULSIVE ! As I'm recapping my experience I'm getting angrier. I'm not sure I want to finish the series.

I do not find abusive characters entertaining, and even less so to a young character who might connect with a reader.  I like the story, despise the direction of the characters. Ali is doormat that asked for more, her great love is a dirty pair of boots.

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review 2016-12-22 04:23
Blockheads (An Affair of Honor, by Amanda Scott)



Disclosure: Acquired the Kindle edition of this book when it was offered free by Open Road Media, December 2016.  (Originally published by Signet, 1984)  I do not know the author nor have I ever had any communication with her about this book or any other matter.  I am an author of both historical and contemporary romance novels.



Though I'm not an ardent devotee of the Regency romance subgenre, I've been known to enjoy a good one now and then.  This, unfortunately, was not a good one.


Eleanor Lindale had her first Season at 17 and didn't snag a husband.  Before she could enjoy a second chance, a series of deaths in the family put her in deep mourning and prevented her from entering society again.  Now, at 26, she considers herself on the shelf, and so does everyone else.  That includes her older sister Clarissa, who charges Nell with chaperoning her daughter Aurora through her first Season.


Young Lady Aurora, known as Rory, is the most revolting, and unbelievable, character I've run across in a long time.  She's beyond spoiled.  She's beyond reckless.  She's beyond thoughtless.  She's beyond irresponsible.  She's beyond selfish.  She's beyond beyond.  She's a mean, spiteful, manipulative little bitch.


Had she been the heroine of the tale, I'd never have gone past page four. 


Nell, on the other hand, is your usual goody two-shoes:  Patient, understanding, self-sacrificing, self-deprecating.  Devoted to her vaporish widowed mother, Lady Agnes, and her obstreperous younger brother Kit, Nell is too good to be true.


The situation is complicated by the fact that Rory is already engaged, but it's sort of a secret.  Her parents have arranged for her to marry a much older man, the Earl of Huntley, whose estate adjoins theirs and who will make Rory a very wealthy countess.


But Rory wants the fun of a Season, and Huntley is willing to let her.  And though she's quite honest about her lack of affection for him, she is eager to be a very wealthy countess.


Of course, there's the further complication that Nell and Huntley sort of had a thing for each other eight years ago, when he was just a poor younger son with no prospects.


Well, you can probably see where this is going, and that's exactly where it went.


None of them had any brains to see it all coming.  Well, except for Major Talcott, and then he turned out to be as addlepated as the rest of them in the end.


The conventions of the Regency are all on display here:  heavy emphasis on fashion and social events -- this one takes place in Brighton, with Prinny and Mrs. Fitzherbert on the scene -- along with plenty of period slang, I daresay.  If that's your thing, I'm sure you'll love it.


But if you're looking for a story that doesn't give away the ending before you've finished the first chapter, this isn't it.  (The ending was so absurd I actually laughed aloud.  It was, well, beyond contrived.)


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