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review 2017-12-17 23:06
Venetian Blood
Venetian Blood: Murder in a Sensuous City - Christine Evelyn Volker

Anna decides to take a trip to Venice and visit her friend Margo in order to get her mind off of her impending divorce back in the states. Instead, Anna finds herself in a romantic entanglement with serious complications; furthermore, she is the prime suspect in a murder when the man she slept with is found murdered. Anna's job at the US Treasury is put in danger when she begins to look into the life of Count Sergio Corrin, Anna finds a sordid past entangled with many other Venetians who just may want to kill the man. While Anna desperately searches to uncover any information to clear her name, she reveals some other secrets of the closely-knit Venetian people. Meanwhile, the person who murdered Sergio is still on the loose and is attempting to throw Anna off the trail. 

An exciting and suspenseful murder mystery set in the sensuous and mysterious island of Venice. Immediately, I was pulled in by the murder scene, a gruesome murder committed by someone who appears to be female. Then, I was connected to Anna's character. Anna is intelligent and resourceful but has been handed a difficult lot in life, her parents died when she was younger, she has had a miscarriage and her marriage has fallen apart. Venice was made into a sumptuous setting, I could easily image the aging but descendant buildings, the murky canals and small passageways. The suspense grew for me as Anna started digging up the past. Most interestingly, I began to question Anna's reliability as a narrator even as she began to uncover other's motives. Overall, a uniquely woven murder mystery with intricate twists and turns.

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text 2017-12-17 17:24
Reading progress update: I've read 218 out of 384 pages.
Ragdoll: A Novel - Daniel H Cole

if you were living in a city, and all of a sudden there were news reports suggesting that a body had been found, and that the body was actually the stitched-together parts of six bodies, and the body had been theatrically set up in a window across from the high-rise abode of a maverick detective who had taken the law into his own hands over a serial-killer case from years ago...would it all not seem a bit over the top?--unreal? hard to believe? and if more news started coming out, that whoever killed those people and stitched parts of them together had also given the police a list of five future victims to be killed on certain days no matter what precautions were taken, and then reports started hitting the news that the intended targets were being knocked off even despite the advanced warning...would it even feel like you were in the reality we know anymore? top it off with the last intended victim on the target-list being the maverick cop I mentioned, and everyone dying, or being marked for death, being slowly linked to something extreme from the past, and basically, if that was the news for weeks, it would feel like living through The Dark Knight, or Angels & Demons, or at the very least, a Jack the Ripper, or Zodiac Killer case, but with the added detail that the cops were being warned on what days certain specific people were going to be successfully killed. 

 

what I'm trying to say is: I love this type of Extreme, Suspenseful Fiction, but it's amazing how you can buy into this stuff, and love it, but if you really sat back and thought about it, there's a level of absurdity to such a collection of dramatic details, that it's clear why the term "suspension of disbelief" got created. it also makes clear to me why people like me get sucked into this kind of nutbar plotting as a form of escapism, and for others who sample it, the result might be a blog entry starting with "I got about 50 pages in...and then I threw this rubbish against the wall...".

 

anyway, that's just me trying to figure out why I love stories that are really...outside the bounds of what normally happens in the world of cops and killers--even though the world lately seems to be crossing the line into this territory. the last thing I would say is that I have a wild theory, to apply to the puzzle in this wild book--ie. who is doing all the killing and what assumption is a dangerous assumption--and I will of course eventually learn if I'm right.

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review 2017-12-17 09:39
Twilight at Blueberry Barrens
Twilight at Blueberry Barrens (A Sunset Cove Novel) - Colleen Coble

This is the third book in the Sunset Cove series and it is my least favorite by far.  

 

Kate is the main focus of this book and she is somehow both bold and brave and completely stupid at the same time.  The author is making her out to be this brazen woman who speaks her mind but then she is doing some pretty dumb things.  There have been reports of a peeping tom in the area where she lives and then a woman is found murdered but Kate can´t sleep so she decides to go sit outside on the porch at night and sip a cup of tea.  I was really annoyed by several instances in the book when she realizes someone has been in her house or she hears a noise in my basement but she doesn´t want to tell anyone or report it to the police because they will think she is overreacting.  I also knew who the murderer/rapist/peeping tom was well in advance and was hoping I was wrong but no.....  There was other stuff going on too that I didn´t see coming so that was good.  Instead of a strong character, Kate comes off as weak and whiny.  

 

Kate meets Drake when he comes to Maine to investigate the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law. The police believe it was a murder/suicide but Drake is sure his brother would never kill his wife.  He rents a cottage from Kate and hires her to be a nanny to his two nieces who are now in his care.  Of course he is perfect in every way and falls in love with Kate while they work to unravel the details of what happened.  

 

This is my book for Square 14.

Book themes for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Celebrate the sun and read a book that has a beach or seaside setting. –OR– a book set during summertime. –OR– set in the Southern Hemisphere.

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review 2017-12-17 08:58
Origin by Dan Brown
Origin - Dan Brown

Professor Robert Langdon is invited to the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao to a presentation by one of his former students, futurist Edmond Kirsch. Kirsch's presentation is supposed to be revolutionary, presenting the answer to humankind's two oldest and most intriguing questions;Where do we come from? and Where are we going?

But before Kirsch can launch the gist of it, he's killed by a bullet to the brain. Someone doesn't want his findings to be made public, but Langdon is prepared to do anything to thwart their plans. Even go on a run with the future queen of Spain, be accused of kidnapping, and dodge an assassin from a Catholic sect...


Whenever I pick up a book categorized as a thriller I expect to be thrilled. Dan Brown has been failing at that in the last three installments in this series, with this last one being the absolute worst of the bunch.

Instead of mysterious, suspenseful and thrilling, I got boring, dull and plodding. It started off slow, slightly hurried up along the plot, yet never really picking up pace to even get to the level of "interesting" with its nonlinear narrative jumping backward, forward and sometimes even sideways in time resulting in severe loss of momentum at most inopportune times.
It was unnecessarily overcomplicated and filled with redundancy and unnecessary side-plots (that ended up not leading anywhere and/or didn't provide the "oomph" the author probably wanted), until the main story arc got lost in the twists, turns and spirals (pun utterly intended) provided by the fillers and ballast of the rest of it.

In the end, the final revelations of Kirsch's discovery and who was really behind his televised murder and why, came at a point where I wasn't excited about what happens next, but eager for it all to end.
The real "murderer" was no surprise, since I expected something along those lines; everything was set up too nicely for it not to happen the way it did. And the revelation about our origin and destiny certainly didn't inspire the awe and internal debate that was supposed to, I guess. It wasn't anything new—not the past and certainly not the future.

So what was this book really about? Why was it really written? It didn't bring anything new to the table, it wasn't intriguing, it wasn't thrilling. It also didn't adhere to the canon established in Inferno if the conversation about babies between the future kind and queen of Spain was any indication.
Was it really just for the money?

If it was, that's even more disappointing.

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text 2017-12-17 03:43
Reading progress update: I've read 113 out of 230 pages.
Partners in Crime - Agatha Christie
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