As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to have it! Thanks to NetGalley and to Quirk Books for granting my wish.
Andrew Shaffer takes the former leader of the free world, joins him back up with Joe Biden, and together they work on a mystery. Amtrak Joe lost a friend, an engineer on the train that he rode nearly every day before he before he became Vice President. (This story is told from Joe's point of view.) After discovering a few unsavory facts about his friend and discovering a few things about himself, he teams up with former best friend Barack Obama, and together they set about learning what happened. Will the two solve the mystery of the Amtrak engineer? Will they continue to be friends after this case is over? You'll have to read this to find out.
I'll admit here and now that I was and am a big fan of both of these men. It's because I miss them and because the cover made me laugh that I requested this book. HOPE NEVER DIES doesn't get into politics much and I appreciated that. (I did enough comparisons between these two and our current administration in my head, I didn't need anything more spelled out.) I have no way of knowing how close this book comes to the real personalities of these two, and you know what? I don't care! It was a fun and entertaining story and that's all that I was looking for.
That said, I had only one big issue and it's likely mine and mine alone. I know that Joe Biden loves cars, (well Corvettes at least for sure.) So do I, and I've worked with them in some capacity my entire adult life. With that in mind, I couldn't understand why a lot of the vehicles referenced in this novel were referred to incorrectly. Ford does not make Impalas. I'm pretty sure Plymouth didn't make Firebirds either. (They made Thunderbirds and Superbirds- Firebirds were all Pontiac.) I did receive an ARC of this book, so perhaps those things were tidied up before publication? Even if not, most people probably wouldn't even notice.
Other than that, HOPE NEVER DIES was a lot of fun. It's not going to break any literary records or anything, but as a humorous detective story featuring two of my favorite politicians, it certainly fit the bill! I recommend it to anyone who thinks this premise is fun!
*Thanks to Quirk Books and to NetGalley for the e-ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*
Don Strachey uses his powers of snark and observation to help a pair of old women being targeted for hate crimes. Wrapped up in the mystery are some eccentric neighbors, a shopping mall tycoon, one of Don's old lovers and a gay advocate trying to put together a national gay strike. Part-time helper/part-time foil Detective Bowman, who drops homophobic slurs like they're going out of style (hey, it's the 80s and it's New York) but somehow still manages to do his job and take Don seriously.
I thought I had this figured out at one point, but I was so wrong, lol. There are plenty of potential suspects to go around. The snark was off the charts, the characters were fun and well-written, and even Bowman got some ironic chuckles out of me.
Timmy and Don are, well... Don's not the best boyfriend in the world. (These books are NOT romance.) Timmy finally puts his foot down but the conclusion of that was kind of confusing to me. It was left somewhat up in the air.
The formatting is again terrible. There are no page breaks between chapters. It goes into italics for pages or chapters at a time for absolutely no reason, and at one point even switched to a smaller font size. I'm not sure if that's because I got these first few books at Kobo and so they're not Kindle-formated, or if that's just how the books are no matter where you get them from. But it was annoying.
Oh, and the author does that thing where he constantly shoehorned the title into the dialogued and text, which is a pet peeve of mine.
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey originally had me quite frustrated because I felt that the labeling (the library's call number) misrepresented the content of the book. [Essentially The Bad Guys was labeled as a Young Reader meaning that the intended audience was anywhere from 2nd-4th grade depending on the reading level of the child. I feel that it was more accurately categorized as an Easy Reader (1st-2nd grade) which is quite different and generally means there are less words and more illustrations per page. I'm mentioning all of this because while it might not matter to some (like if you're not picking up books for your kid(s)) it may have an impact on others.] This is the first book in a series (6 so far) which follows a crew of 'bad' animals: a wolf, snake, shark, and piranha (who is the funniest and fartiest). The wolf decides to round up fellow bad guys to change their image and reform their behavior. He is initially met with skepticism but throughout the book the other members of the club start to come around to his side and become quite enthusiastic about the enterprise. Their first mission is to break 200 dogs out of an animal shelter but from the outset there are large obstacles in their path...mainly how 4 dangerous animals are going to get in the front door of an animal shelter. Cue the shark coming up with a rather camp solution... The appeal of this book rests mainly in its silly humor and quick pacing. Young audiences will surely gobble this up and ask for the next in the series immediately. 7/10 because it didn't totally blow me away but I could see myself reading more for a quick palate cleanser (I may or may not have read the #6 already).
Blabey's website with the total list of books in this series (as well as his Pig the Pug series which is great fun): Aaron Blabey books.
What's Up Next: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead
What I'm Currently Reading: Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastair Bonnett & When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
From the author of the beloved New York Times bestselling book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and the creator and star of The Mindy Project comes a collection of essays that are as hilarious and insightful as they are deeply personal. In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.
Really thought I would dig this one more, as I DO find Kaling funny in her movie and tv roles, but something just didn’t work for me here. It wasn’t gawd awful or anything that bad, but I was surprised to find that I did not laugh out loud once. Not. Once. Even though I could count at least half a dozen mentions of her pointing out that she was a comedy writer. All I could think was one of my favorite lines from Finding Nemo: “You know, for a clown fish, he’s not that funny.” And at times I felt like she went a little heavy-handed with the self-deprecation… to the point of being irritating. Additionally, I found myself cringing a bit at some of the people she refers to as friends.
I did finish it, as it is an easy read and it is mildly interesting in a “skimming People magazine in the waiting room” kind of way, but about the only bit where I was honestly invested was the portion where she writes this whole scenario for “alternate Mindy” – the Mindy she imagines if she hadn’t found fame, the Mindy who teaches Latin at a private school in NYC. That whole bit is done in a blend of work emails, text messages and IMs and she actually does make a pretty entertaining story there. I would’ve happily read a whole novel with those characters!
A couple things I did appreciate or relate to: I give props to Kaling for her work ethic. Regardless of what I think of this book, I can’t knock her dedication to her job, as she lays out an average day for her readers, a day that she says typically runs from 5:30am one day to 12:30 am the next… over and over again. You have to give a nod to that.
Also nice to know it’s not just me that worries if some Uber drivers are secretly serial killers.