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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-12-02 14:52
Death in Focus (Elena Standish #1) - Anne Perry
Death in Focus - Anne Perry

Death in Focus is the first book in a new series by Anne Perry. It features Elena Standish, a seemingly ordinary girl who is trying to develop a career in photography (see what I did there?) in the years between WWI and WWII. 


I'm having a hard time understanding how Anne Perry is going to make a series out of the adventures of Elena Standish. Mainly because Elena should have been dead a thousand times over by the end of the first book. 


This book was pretty awful. I've been working on putting down books that I know are going to be one star reads for me. There are too many books waiting for me. Why waste time on books that aren't going to be any good? This book was an exception to that rule. Be warned there are a lot of potential spoilers ahead.


Elena was the biggest problem with this book. She was flat out stupid. At several points during the novel, the reader is reminded that Elena has more poor choices regarding men before. We aren't told exactly what her previous flame does. All we know is he betrayed England during WWI. He made her look like a fool. The reader is told this several time. Elena tells herself this several times. One might think a person would learn her lesson. If you can't trust a man you knew for years and found yourself to be in love with, why in the world are you trusting a man you met on the street in a foreign country? I have no idea what the answer to that is. Elena does though. Or at least she must have a good reason because that's exactly what she does. More than once. 


Elena decided to abandon her sister in Italy and go fleeting to Paris with a man she just met. The trip to Paris is interrupted when her new love interest is given a secret mission that requires him to immediately go to Berlin. "I'll just go to Paris and wait for you." That's what you might think Elena would say. You'd be wrong. Elena decides she should go to Berlin (a current powder keg where Hitler is doing everything he can to throw a match) with this man she knows nothing about.


Long story short, the man ends up murdered. Elena ends up on the run. She spills her guts to every stranger she meets but then can't figure out why the German police are after her. Meanwhile in England, her grandfather who use to be the head of MI-6 can't seem to come up with a plan to keep tabs on Elena and get her out of trouble. 


This was one of the most absurd, unbelievable novels I have read in a long time. I really only finished it thinking that the publisher was pulling a fast one on readers. Elena ends up dead at the end of the novel and there's actually going to be an entirely different series. Hopefully a series featuring Elena's Luger wielding grandma, Josephine. There's your series folks. If it weren't for the anachronistic political discussions sprinkled in, I would have forgot I was reading an Anne Perry novel. This had none of the trademarks of her Pitt, Monk, or even Christmas novels. 

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review 2019-11-17 03:22
I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight - Gilly Segal,Kimberly Jones

Date Published: August 6, 2019

Format: Kindle

Source: Library

Date Read: November 4-5, 2019




A fast paced story that did not skimp on characterization, this is the story of Lena's and Campbell's chaotic and scary night. Lena is an African-American high schooler who has a strong network of family and friends and dreams of being a high-profile stylist. I loved Lena which is why I hated that she let Black skip out on rescuing her where she was at rather than meeting him where he was at. But Black came through as a solid boyfriend at the end of the story, so I can't be too mad at him. Campbell was the new girl and the reader sees how the neighborhood/area of Atlanta has the tension among residents and the government (police) rising. Campbell was forced to move in with her dad because her mom took a job in another country and wouldn't let Campbell go with her. Her family wasn't really there to support her at all and she didn't really have a support structure before the night went sideways; she did, however, have a certain inborn privilege that helped her and Lena survive the riot and get home. 


Everything about this book was pitch perfect and I highly recommend it.

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text 2019-11-04 23:53
Big Library Read Starts Today!
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight - Gilly Segal,Kimberly Jones

So I logged on to my library's OverDrive system and the big cover story was the Big Library Read that starts today and goes until November 18th. The book is I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones, a YA contemporary. 


Here's the blurb:

Lena and Campbell aren't friends.

Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she's going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.

When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.

They aren't friends. They hardly understand the other's point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they're going to survive the night.


The Big Library Read is an OD program where OD makes one book available to everyone who borrow it - no limited copies per library. Then go onto your favorite books sites/social media pages and talk about the book. I'm reading it for an upcoming 24 Festive Tasks book prompt.


Anyone else reading this?

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text 2019-08-24 21:55
The Library Book - Susan Orlean
The Library Book - Susan Orlean

It's been soooo long since I have read a book that was any good. The wait was completely worth it. 


If you love reading, you need to read this book. It is so much more than just an in-depth look at the Los Angeles Public Library fire of 1986. It is a emotional, uplifting, and deep look at the role libraries play in our society. It goes beyond America. It looks at the impact of libraries on a global scale.


Once you get into it, the library fire is actually a very small part of the story. The Los Angeles Public Library is the star of this story. The supporting cast is a wide variety of people from all walks of life. By the end of this book. I found myself wanting to go the Los Angeles just to see if I could meet some of these people at the library. 


My husband was more than annoyed with me by the end of this book. I was constantly sticking my head of spouting random facts about fires and fire fighters. At one point, before I even said anything, he put his hand up "I use to be a fire fighter. I know!" Ok but did you know........There was just so much I wanted to share. And if you think he was annoyed with the fire facts, it was nothing compared to the look on his face when he watched my cry through all of chapter 9.


I could go on and on about this book. Or you could just read it yourself. It's just one of those books I feel like you need to read to understand how wonderful it really is. 


I can say all kinds of things that might convince you. Instead I want to share a passage:

"My mother imbued me with a love of libraries. The reason why I finally embraced this book project- wanted, and then needed, to write it- was my realization that I was losing her. I found myself wondering whether a shared memory can exist if one of the people sharing it no longer remembers it. Is the circuit broken, the memory darkened?"


And maybe one more-

"The idea of being forgotten is terrifying. I fear not just that I, personally, will be forgotten, but that we are all doomed to being forgotten- that the sum of life is ultimately nothing; that we experience joy and disappointment and aches and delights and loss, make our little mark on the world, and then we vanish, and the mark is erased, and it is as if we never existed." 


Seriously. Read this book. It is the best book I've read all year. 


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text 2019-08-22 14:26
The Electric Hotel - Dominic Smith
The Electric Hotel - Dominic Smith

I was immediately draw to this book by the cover. When I flipped it over to read the blurb, the spine had black and white images of tigers. Hotels and tigers? I don't even care what this book is really about, I need to read it.


About 50 pages in, I was already setting myself up to read yet another disappointing book. At least I'm consistent at this point. I really had to push myself to get through the next 50. At about 105, I knew sticking with it was the right choice.


The book follows Claude who is one of the very first concession agents for the Lumiere brothers. The Lumiere brothers invented the cinematographe, basically an improvement on Edision's peepshow device. I did a little research after reading this novel. Edison was a douche in this book which as it turns out is pretty true to life. 


Claude eventually decides to branch out. He decides he wants to make his own movies. He collects a group of people including an aging actress, a man who lights himself on fire, and a guy who just wants to get out from under the mod. It's the stuff good television is made of, right? Together they embark on the most adventurous cinema project of the age. The Electric Hotel is Claude's epic work. The story follows the "gang" through the movie's production and the events that follow the movie's controversial release.


All of this is being told to Martin, a college student who seeks out Claude at his current residence, the Hollywood Knickerbocker Hotel. Claude's story telling is mixed with current events. Current, like 1962 current. 


As mentioned before, the first 100 pages were a bit of a struggle for me. More than anything going on in the story or the author's writing, it was the format. I thought it was clunky. The author uses block paragraphs. Some paragraphs are full of three or four long sentences. Some are long paragraphs filled with short sentence. He doesn't punctuate conversations the way you normally would. 



--How is your day?

--I think we need a tiger in this movie.

--I'll find one.


That is how conversations appear. It took some getting use to. If that tiny example turns you off, don't even bother with this book. 


So why did I stick to it? One, I'm determined to get out of my bad book slump. Two, once I got to the part where Claude and crew are making their epic masterpiece, I couldn't put the book down. The author made me feel like I was watching a silent movie. The images that ran through my head were black and white accompanied by dramatic piano scores. It was brilliant. It was haunting. It was beautiful. 


I'm curious to know if anyone has read The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Smith. I would love to know if his different style is his signature or just something done with this novel. 

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