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text 2018-03-22 16:25
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Sign of the Four - Arthur Conan Doyle

I don't know if I liked this or not LOL. Sherlock is taking cocaine and flailing about trying to solve the mystery of some hidden treasure. I wasn't bored while reading, just not fully engaged really though. Watson seemed to be a bit over Holmes at time, and even I would have had it with the cocaine, constant walking back and forth, etc. 


It is pretty cool to see Watson and the woman who ends up becoming his wife though. 

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review 2018-03-22 12:37
El Cajon- Joel Shapiro

     One thing is for certain- this book gives El Cajon, California one heck of a reputation and one no city would want. Another thing, for certain- people don’t do well when addicted to Vicodin. Opiate addiction is very topical. One can only hope the medics and pharma people get a conscience before too many more people have their lives torn apart by addictive prescription drugs. But what the heck has that got to do with this book. Well, apart from the fact that Haim, the first-person narrator, is still somehow alive and even gets a few things right, there is a serious warning here. We see a few heroic deeds, but not from an actor one would ever wish to emulate. He is the very antithesis of John, Die Hard, McClane. A film about Haim Baker would not create quite the same sort of wannabe buzz.

     Before you take a first overdose on opiate-based medicines, read this book. However, don’t read this book if you are planning a trip to San Diego County, unless you are open to having your mind changed.

     This is a book which quickly becomes hard to put down, but not necessarily because you are enjoying it. Frustration with the first person, no hoper is going to drive you to distraction. Like the effect of the dumb principle in the high-tension film drama, one can’t believe the stupidity for walking into trouble, while not being quite irritated enough to switch channels. Actually, that is probably not so different to having a mild addiction to Vicodin.

     This book is extremely violent and at times exceedingly crude. Urine and blood seem to be constantly pouring in equal and often mixed volumes. And this book gets the near fatal stages of opioid addiction about right- except that PI Haim Baker somehow still manages to function, and even kill the right bad people. The book also highlights the terrible world of people trafficking, focussed here on girls bashed and drugged into the sex industry. Actually, that part of the book is particularly sickening. Sickening for the sane and those merely into substance rather than people abuse, that is! But, just as we know that nearly every neighbourhood has an addict at deaths door, we also know that not all our children are safe wheresoever we live. I choose to see a second serious message from Shapiro. That even in places with a veneer of respectability such abuses can be hidden.

     The writing is fast paced, and generally of a good quality. However, the grammar is far from conventional. For example, the disappearance of the period, the comma, is used to convey rapid and often chaotic and stressed, stream of consciousness, thought. Shapiro writes well enough to usually pull this off. However, one would want to load up with plenty of oxygen before reading some passages aloud. Even if there was pause for breath, one would have to check the audience first. Haim isn’t exactly shy about some excruciatingly detailed body malfunctions.

     Haim is like the most down-beaten, unprepossessing, suicidally inclined private eye one has ever read about, and then some. If it wasn’t for the kindness buried in his soul and for the reported damage in his personal life which has helped draw him low, many might jettison the read unfinished. That would be a pity. But to sustain any credibility, either Haim dies next time out, or breaks his addiction.

     Yes, the book deserves five somethings, though five pain killing white tablets may be more appropriate that five yellow stars. But for those that eagerly consume thrillers in which the least bad guy eventually wins this is a good fix. I would absolutely recommend this book for those that like no-holes plugged entertainment. The pictures Shapiro paints look disgustingly real to this reader.


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text 2018-03-19 20:29
Reading progress update: I've read 29%.
The Sign of the Four - Arthur Conan Doyle

Started with "Sign of the Four" cause I am at work running from meeting to meeting and think people may get scared if I pull out my paperback copy of "The Dark Half."

This is good though I keep forgetting Sherlock being a coke head was a thing. I am still shocked at how he is acting. The case that Sherlock and Watson are looking into sounds interesting (I always love stolen treasure story-lines in detective novels). 

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review 2018-03-18 19:17
Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies
Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies - Evy Journey
Title: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies
Author: Evy Journey
Publisher: Sojourner Books
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies" by Evy Journey

My Thoughts....

I found that this novel had a good romantic storyline with a dark twist that will definitely keep you reading. The jest of the story is that Gina comes from a poor family but loved to cook and ends up getting a wonderful Chef's job at a restaurant in the Bay area of San Francisco where she quickly has a life change. Gina's life really changes as she has a different life since her move, working in a rich restaurant and making friends, however, there will be twist and turns that will come from all of this when jealous women [Cristi & Marcia] come out of the woodwork.

This author really gives the readers a interesting romance thriller read with some 'intriguing characters and unforeseen dangers.' What will happen as two guys have a interest in Gina with one of the two being a former boyfriend of Gina's friend. Who will Gina choose...Brent the detective or Leon the rich playboy? What will happen when Gina's began to receive death threats? By the end will these men 'help, harm or be a part of her journey? To get these questions and more answered you will have to pick up "Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies" to see how this story will come out.

I really enjoyed how the author included cookery-themed recipes with tips on how to cook better. This story really will capture the readers attention to the last page.

This novel was from "BookLikes giveaway" and I received this copy from the BookLikes Giveaway contest!
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review 2018-03-18 16:26
Two Plot Lines Slow Down Newest Bosch Book
Two Kinds of Truth - Michael Connelly

This honestly could have easily been a Bosch and Haller book since we get a lot of interactions between Bosch and his half brother, Mickey Haller (the Lincoln Lawyer). However, Connelly keeps the focus on Bosch throughout the entire book. I honestly could not give this more than 4 stars though. I think if Connelly had focused more on Bosch's prior case that would have made the book stronger. Instead Connelly flip flops between two story-lines and only somewhat redeems the one story-line though the other one is pretty much left flapping in the wind somewhat. We do have frequent callbacks to prior characters and book so I really would not try to read this one unless you have read the other books in the series. 


Bosch is working cold cases with the San Fernando Police Department. That changes when two people are murdered at a pharmacy, the first time in some time that there has been a double homicide that the local force has worked. On top of that, an old case that Bosch worked decades ago comes back to the forefront when DNA clears a man who is on death row for the crime. Bosch's old partner Lucia Soto is working the case, but Bosch worries that there is a fix in somewhere that he can't see.


In this book we get an age check on Bosch (someone asks him if he is 65 or older and he goes yes) which makes me wonder how much longer Bosch can keep going. At this point his daughter is in her second year of college (do not ask about Maddie's ever weird age thing, at this point she should be done with school) and Bosch is just making as much money as he can to provide for her some day. 

Bosch has not had a love interest in a long time, but this book introduces a character that resembles Bosch's dead ex-wife that I could have done without. Bosch once again gets obsessive about something that does not look good on him. And he ignores all of the advice he is getting about it. 


I was happy to see references to some of Bosch's former partners considering how many were treated terribly by Connelly (IMHO). We actually do not only get Lucia Soto in this one, but also J. Edgar. I don't know, I think Connelly still writes the character of J. Edgar piss poor in my opinion. Writing an African American character as lazy just bugs me a bunch and the fact that we have Bosch still acting as if J. Edgar is somehow not as good as he is...eh. I like television series Bosch and J. Edgar way more than the book versions. 


We also get to see Bosch and Haller for once not acting like adversaries, or at least Bosch seems to enjoy him a lot more in this one. I loved all of the legal aspects of the former case that Bosch brings Haller in. We also get Bosch working with Cisco which was welcomed. I really do wish that Connelly had resisted the urge to go and shit all over the two brothers relationship in the end, but nope, we had to end things on a sour note. 


The writing was typical Connelly, we get Harry's POV throughout. As I said above, having two plots affected the book in my opinion. When Harry goes off to work the double homicide the book slows down considerably. We get many characters railing against the opioid crisis in America and dirty pharmacies and Big Pharma and it just got boring after a while. The flow was impacted too from bouncing from both story-lines. The book picks up again when we get a final courtroom scene which made me long for another Mickey Haller book. I think I enjoy the character of Mickey more than Bosch, cause at least Mickey sees all the angles and plays them. Bosch pretends to be all noble and right, but he goes around bending a lot of things in order to help out a character so hard shrug to him.


The ending leaves Bosch a bit rudderless when a cold case he is working comes to an end. He decides to see if he can get back to working with LAPD on a cold case, but I don't see how that is going to happen based on all of the things that went down with Bosch and the LAPD in prior books. 


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