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review 2019-08-18 06:48
Quick Thoughts: Lethal Lifestyles
Lethal Lifestyles - LynDee Walker

Lethal Lifestyles

by LynDee Walker
Book 6 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller

 

 

The groom is the prime suspect in a murder at his own rehearsal dinner.  Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke doesn't believe he's the killer—but now it's up to her to find out who is.

When Nichelle Clarke is invited to be the maid of honor in her friends' Virginia vineyard wedding, she looks forward to the celebration.  The storybook ceremony has been planned to the tiniest detail, and the rehearsal dinner is going off without a hitch.

Until a dead body is found in a barrel of award-winning Riesling.

But when the dust settles, the corpse is no longer Nichelle's biggest worry.  There is a growing list of evidence pointing to her friend the groom as the killer.  Nichelle doesn't buy it, but finds herself the lone skeptic.

Wading through skeletons of past love and loss, Nichelle sets out to prove the groom's innocence.  But the journey forces her to face hard truths about how well she really knows her closest friends.

Can Nichelle track down the truth in time to save her friend from life in prison--or worse?  Assuming he is innocent, who is the real killer?  And more importantly, will they strike again?



I'm having a hard time deciding how to feel about this book.  On the one hand, this was an exciting, fast-paced read where the action just keeps the story moving forward.  On the other hand, you once again get Nichelle spending a lot of her time racing against the clock, the upper administration, her rivals, and now other mysterious higher powers, to find the truth in a murder mystery.  And once again, law enforcement is conveniently absent with no power to do any true investigating.

While I love that Nichelle is such a strong, resourceful heroine, I'm also exhausted after reading this book (and not only because I kept at it when I probably should have been sleeping).  There was SO MUCH going on in this book, and so much going on in Nichelle's life already, that I'm frankly kind of getting tired of the constant upward battle that she's facing off with with her weasel-y publisher.  And while I understand that the rivalries are fierce and probably necessary between her and other ambitious reporters, sometimes the battles get a little too catty for my liking... and maybe too repetitive.

BUT, on the other hand, I really DID enjoy the mystery in this book; sans all the office drama, I think I would have really loved all the action, the investigation, and all the strange twists that were thrown in.  I also loved that Nichelle and Kyle could team up and investigate the case together without romance or hurt feelings getting in the way--they DO make a pretty good team.

Unfortunately, speaking of the romance, I'm STILL not feeling Joey, the mysterious mafia love interest, now serious significant other.  I just don't see enough of him and don't know enough of him to care about this love story.  It's been six books into the series, and Joey is really taking the tall, dark, mysterious, and handsome love interest trope to a new level.  At some point, I feel like we need to start getting to know Joey more if I'm to believe that Nichelle and Joey are having a serious relationship outside of physical attraction.  And because of that, I'm actually warming up to Kyle a little bit more... even if I still like Nichelle's co-worker Grant Parker more.

At least we get to see Kyle on a more personal level and we're getting to know him better with each book.  His cockiness is also starting to grow on me, even if his over-protective streak is a bit tiring.

Apparently I'm hard to please.

As far as the series itself goes, I'm still very much enjoying it, so I'll definitely continue reading, even if I'm not planning on jumping into the very next book right away.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly 2019


Roll #20:
Square: The Stay-cation 6 | Read a book set in your home town, state, or country, or that you checked out of your local library, or that has been on your (physical) bookshelves since last summer.

How it fits:  This book takes place in my home country (U.S.A.)
Page Count: 372
Cash: $3

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/quick-thoughts-lethal-lifestyles.html
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review 2019-08-18 06:34
Brief Thoughts: Madam, Will You Talk?
Madam, Will You Talk? - Mary Stewart

Madam, Will You Talk?

by Mary Stewart

 

 

Widowed Charity Selborne had been greatly looking forward to her driving holiday through France with her old friend Louise - long, leisurely days under the hot sun, enjoying the beauty of the parched Provencal landscape.  But when Charity arrived at their hotel in the picturesque French town of Avignon, she had no way of knowing that she was to become the principal player in the last act of a strange and brutal tragedy.  Most of it had already been played.  There had been love--and lust--and revenge and fear and murder.

Very soon her dreams turn into a nightmare, when by befriending a terrified boy and catching the attention of his enigmatic, possibly murderous father, Charity has inadvertently placed herself center stage. She becomes enmeshed in the schemes of a gang of murderers.  And now the killer, with blood enough on his hands, is waiting in the wings.



Well, this isn't my favorite of the Mary Stewart books I've read so far, but I'll give a kudos for the strong start it had, although the book was punctuated by a lot of banal moments, some of which were quite idyllic, but others of which were just a little draggy.

The truth is, I really liked Charity a lot, because she comes off strong and flawed, all at the same time, which is what makes her an interesting character.  More so, I was really, really getting into the book as the danger and the conflict began to pick up.  And even as I started to find the rest of the mystery quite predictable, I still got drawn into the story and the atmosphere.

But then the instalove happened, and I found myself a bit jarred out of the book.  I guess after following Charity's high speed chases, her escaping from Richard, the man she believed to be an evil murderer... I hadn't really expected the sudden turn of events that happened mid-book.  The insta-attraction might have been believable to an extent, but the sudden declarations of love kind of threw me.

The second half of the book then proceeded to spin further out of control, and I'm not quite sure how I feel about the chaotic conclusion to the mystery and the thriller itself.  Everything kind of all happens at once to bring all the tangents to a head, and yet I kind of felt like the ending was a bit unsatisfying.

Nonetheless, this was exciting enough to keep me hooked until the end.

On a side note, was it just me, or was there an extremely unhealthy and unbelievable amount of smoking throughout this book?  Or was it just the time period?


***

 

Booklikes-opoly 2019


Roll #18:
Square: Robot Card | Create a number list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you.

Note:  Used in place of Beach Week 13.  See post for the numbered list.
Page Count:  372
Cash:  $3

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/brief-thoughts-madam-will-you-talk.html
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text 2019-08-11 06:07
BL-opoly 2019 Wrap Up
Gentleman of Her Dreams - Jen Turano
A Change of Fortune - Jen Turano
A Talent for Trouble - Jen Turano
On Distant Shores - Sarah Sundin
In Perfect Time - Sarah Sundin
Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon & Spiro Agnew - Jules Witcover
All the President's Men - Carl Bernstein,Bob Woodward
The Dancing Lady: The Ninth Day - Mimi Milan
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian - W. Kamau Bell
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars - Nathalia Holt

First of all, to MM/MR and OB - 

Image result for thank you space

(I went with a space theme in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.)

 

Stats:

Earned $75.00 and donated $3.00 to the bail fund

Landed on Race Car twice, The Cat once

Read 11 books

Read 5 historical romances (3 Gilded Ages, 2 European-set WWII era)

Read 1.5 contemporary romances (1 novel and 1 novella)

Read 4 nonfiction titles

Read 2 books off my Nixon Reading List

DNF 3 Books

Read 5 books by women authors

Read 3 books by male authors (1 book had 2 male authors)

Read 2 books by AoC (one woman and one man)

Authors who were read multiple times:

Jen Turano (2 novels and 1 novella)

Sarah Sundin (2 novels)

One series completed (Wings of the Nightingale trilogy)

 

 

 

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text 2019-08-10 20:15
Booklikes-opoly 2019 | End Game Update and Brief Wrap Up
Booklikes-opoly
@ Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

Ani's BL-opoly 2019 Summary Page



My plan had been to compile the books I had read for the last half of Booklikes-opoly 2019 in one post, and then do another post for a wrap up, but I'm too lazy, so I'm just going to throw everything into this post.  So this post will be slightly longer than I'd intended, but there it is.

As far as final tallies go, here are my totals:

Final Bank:  $111
Bail Fund Donation:  0 pages
Books Read:  21
Pages Read:  7,085

I'm extremely satisfied with my progress for BLopoly this year, even though I'm pretty sure I read twice as many books the last time we played.  Of course, I think this year the game play duration was shorter, but if I had been reading at the pace I used to read at two years ago, them my totals would be a little different.  Nonetheless, I'm still very happy with how my game play went!

All-in-all, I managed to (mostly) stick to books on my already owned TBR shelves.  Of the 21 books I read, 15 of them were previously owned prior to the game start, 2 were bought during the course of the game, and 4 were library e-book check-outs.  I finished reading all the books for two different series that had been languishing on my shelves for a few yeas, so yay for that!  And then I caught up with all the books I currently own for one ongoing series.

Me being me, I was stubborn enough to make myself read for all the squares I landed on, with only one exception.  And because of that, I ended up with three Novelty Cards left in my pocket that never got used.  For fun, I may go ahead and "use" them post game just to determine my next few reads leading up to Halloween Bingo.  Maybe.

This was another great reading game from our favorite BLer game hosts, and again, I'd love to give them a great, huge thank you for always bringing so much excitement to the BL dashboard feeds!

The following are some rambles for the books I read during the last half of the game.  Here is also a link to the first set of books I read for the first half of the game:

BL-opoly 2019 | Mid-game Update

If anyone is interested, that is.

Afterward, I've included my tracking table and a repeat of my final stats once again at the end of this post.

 

 

Books and Squares

 

Roll #12 | The Summer Blockbuster 25
A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael #1)
Rating:  3.0 Stars


This book was slow to start, and took a while for me to get into.  I'm not certain if it was the book or my own personal life happenings that caused this, but for such a short book, it DID take a long time to finish.  I WILL admit that Brother Cadfael is an interesting man, and I wouldn't mind continuing to follow his story, and I DID find the antics of the Shrewsbury brothers quite amusing.

The conclusion of the mystery felt a little too convenient, and I'm not entirely sure that I really saw much investigation going on... though it could have just been that I was distracted and couldn't fully appreciate Brother Cadfael's investigation techniques?

Anyway, I didn't really write a review, so the short above paragraphs will have to suffice.

How the book fits:  This series was adapted into a television series.

 


 

Roll #13a (July 4th Bonus) | The Summer Blockbuster 27
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (DC Icons #1)
Rating:  3.5 Stars


What better book to read for "a hero's journey" than one about a superhero?  Although this book wasn't exactly what I'd been expecting, it was still enjoyable, and Leigh Bardugo continues to prove that she is a wonderfully solid author.  Unfortunately, I had recently seen the new film adaptation starring Gal Gadot... and so kept picturing the teenage Diana in this book with the Gadot's face... not that she couldn't pass off as a youthful teenager, really...

How the book fits:  This book follows a hero's journey.

See my review:
Thoughts: Wonder Woman  Warbringer

 


 

Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James
Rating:  3.5 Stars


Simone St. James writes beautifully, and creates great atmosphere.  This wasn't my favorite of her books, and I was actually disappointed that the haunted hospital aspect felt a bit underused.  Nonetheless, a great read.

How the book fits:  This book is historical fiction.

See my review:
Quick Thoughts: Silence for the Dead

 


 

Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz
Rating:  3.5 Stars


Jayne Ann Krentz always presents great characters, banter, and entertaining excitement in her romantic suspense books.  Sharp Edge was no exception.  I liked the tidbits about glass art.  And I also found the characters likable.  And I saw the conclusion coming ten miles away.

But I was satisfyingly entertained, as I usually am with Jayne Ann Krentz, so no real complaints.

There will be no actual review aside from the simple few lines above.  I have trouble reviewing JAK books anyway since they're fairly formulaic, even if I love them so much.

How the book fits:  This book is tagged as a 'mystery.'

 


 

Roll #15 (July 4th Bonus) | The Stay-cation 8
Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin (Wolfe Security #2)
Rating:  4.0 Stars


This was another great romantic suspense by Laura Griffin that I enjoyed immensely and could not put down.  She never fails to deliver her usual dark and gritty, action-never-stops crime thrillers.

How the book fits:  The author's name begins with the letter 'L.'

See my review:
Thoughts: Her Deadly Secrets

 


 

Roll #16d | Who (2)
Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker (Nichelle Clarke #4)
Rating:  3.5 Stars


I'd been meaning to get back to this series for a while, and this square gave me the push to do so, and I'm glad I did.  It's so easy to hop back into Nichelle's world and follow her around while she investigates murder when the local police are so stumped themselves.  Great writing and atmosphere, and Nichelle is always a top-notch heroine.

How the book fits:  This book is a cozy mystery.

See my review:
Some Thoughts: Devil in the Deadline

 


 

Roll #17 | The Stay-cation 9
Cover Shot by LynDee Walker (Nichelle Clarke #5)
Rating:  4.0 Stars


Hmm... while this book was a lot quieter and less gruesome in terms of details and investigation, I found I really liked it a lot more, if only because we're more focused on Nichelle's human interest story, the investigation, and the crime thriller itself.  Another excellent addition to the solid cozy mystery series.

How the book fits:  Our author's name begins with the letter 'L'.

See my review:
Some Thoughts: Cover Shot

 


 

Roll #18 | Robot Card
Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart
Rating:  3.5 Stars


Having actually landed on Beach Week 13, I decided to use one of my novelty cards since I wasn't feeling in the mood for any of the books on my TBR that would fit the square.  Since I had two Robot Cards in my pocket, I figured, what the heck?  So my list was made, and Madam, Will You Talk? was the winner.

This book is pretty suspenseful, and kind of dives into the story and the conflicts right from the beginning, even if there were moments of quiet.  An enjoyable Mary Stewart book, but probably not my favorite.

I will have a review posted pretty soon.

See my review:
Brief Thoughts: Madam, Will You Talk? (link coming soon)

 


 

Roll #19 | The Lake House 19
Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz
Rating:  3.0 Stars


Another interesting JAK book, although probably not one of my favorites.  Sometimes her characters get a little overly philosophical, and the dialogue gets a bit eye-roll-worthy.  But Deep Waters still had all the charm and "feel good" of any other JAK book.

And so, once again, a short review above in three sentences since I probably won't bother with a full, individual review post.

How the book fits:  The book's cover is definitely greater than 50% blue.  Also author's last name begins with a letter 'K.'

 


 

Roll #20 | The Stay-cation 6
Lethal Lifestyles by LynDee Walker (Nichelle Clarke #6)
Rating:  3.5 Stars


This was an exciting, fast-paced read with maybe a few quibbles from myself, but overall another great addition to the series.  It's a little early, so I don't have a review yet, and it should be out within the week.

How the book fits:  This book takes place in Richmond, Virginia; in the United States, which is my home country.

See my review:
Quick Thoughts: Lethal Lifestyles (link coming soon)

 

 


 

Table and Other Stats


Final Bank:  $111
Bail Fund Donation:  0 pages || in table: remain in parentheses in (italics and red)
Books Read:  21
Pages Read:  7,085

Table notes:
*Dates link to corresponding dice roll updates / other links for related activities included.
*Book titles link to reviews if written.
*Page/Cash values in parentheses are still pending reads/ not yet cashed out.
*Doubles rolls are depicted as such (dbls) under the dice roll number.

 

Date
(Roll #)
Dice Roll Space/Prompt Book Title / Author Pages Cash
5/20 Game Start $20
#1 5 The Silk Road:
Read a book set in any of the 40 countries along Silk Road, or by an author from any of those countries.
Hard Target by Pamela Clare 261 $3
5/22  
#2a 8 Novelty Card Robot -- save for later
(Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you)
n/a n/a n/a
#2b 4 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Tightrope by Amanda Quick 320 $3
5/25 See Also: Roll #3 and Memorial Day Bonus Roll Activities
#3 5 The Lake House 20:
Read a book that features a dog or which has a dog on the cover; or that is set in an area known for its lakes or on a fictional lake.
Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle 312 $3
  Memorial Day Bonus Rolls
#4 7 The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier 516 $5
#5 9 European Vacation 35:
Read a book set in Europe; or that was written by an author who was born in Europe; or that involves travel by boat or that has a picture of a ship on the cover.
A Grave Matter by Anna Lee Huber 433 $5
6/8  
#6a 10 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Novelty Card Race Car -- save for later
(Race around the game board to the space of your choosing and read!)
n/a n/a n/a
#6b 11 Mountain Cabin 18:
Read a book that is set west of the Mississippi in the USA, or that was written by an author who comes from that region, or that is considered part of the Western genre.
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin 357 $3
6/10  
#7a 7 BL Square:  Spin the Wheel Decide n/a n/a n/a
Wheel Decide:  Take one extra roll n/a n/a n/a
#7b 10 European Vacation 33:
Read a book set in the UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.
The Indignation of Haruhi Suzumiya by Nagaru Tanigawa 212 $3
6/13  
#8 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
School's Out For Summer 1:
Read a book that appears on any school related "summer reading list," or that is identified as YA or MG
Going Rogue by Robin Benway 321 $3
6/16  
#9 10 Beach Week 10:
Read a book that appears on any beach reads list, or a book whose author's first or last name begins with any letter in B-E-A-C-H.
Chasing Evil by Kylie Brant 324   $3
6/19  
#10 6 Mountain Cabin 16:
Read a book that is considered mystery/suspense genre, or which has a title that contains all of the letters in the word C-A-B-I-N.
Touching Evil by Kylie Brant 288 $3
6/26  
#11 4 The Lake House 19:
Read a book with a cover that is more than 50 percent blue, or by an author whose first or last name starts with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.
Facing Evil by Kylie Brant 314 $3
6/29  
#12 6 The Summer Blockbuster 25:
Read a book (or a book in a series) that has been adapted for film or television.
A Morbid Taste for Bones  199 $2 
7/2 July 4th Bonus Rolls
#13a 2
(dbls)
The Summer Blockbuster 27:
Read a book that features a hero's journey or is a Bildungsroman (coming of age tale); or that has a word related to space in the title (i.e., star, planet, rocket).
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo 374 $3
#13b 8 When? (34):
Read a book that is time travel or historical fiction, or a book with the word "when" in the title.
Silence for the Dead by Simone St. James 386 $3
#14 5 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Who? (2):
Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.
Sharp Edges by Jayne Ann Krentz 338 $3
#15 7 The Stay-cation 9:
Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library or a park, or that the author's name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.
Her Deadly Secrets by Laura Griffin 368 $3
7/21  
#16a 4 Novelty Card Robot -- save for later
(Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you)
n/a n/a n/a
#16b 7 Free Parking:  Roll 2 dice.
A 2 or a 3 sends you to the robot;
4, 5, or 6, go to the race car;
7, 8, or 9, go to the Scottie dog;
10, 11, or 12 takes you to the cat.
n/a n/a n/a
#16c 9 Novelty Card Scottie Dog -- save for later
(Post a list or poll of 4 books, and ask your fellow players/followers to "fetch" you a book.
n/a n/a n/a
#16d 10 Pass Go:  Collect $5! n/a n/a $5
Who? (2):
Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.
Devil in the Deadline by LynDee Walker  282 $3 
7/23  
#17 7 The Stay-cation 9:
Read a book that includes a visit to a museum, a concert, a library or a park, or that the author's name begins with one of the letters in R-E-L-A-X.
Cover Shot by LynDee Walker (360) ($3)
7/28  
#18 5 Beach Week 13:
Read a book with sunglasses, swimsuit, beach bag, beach towel, or other beach items on the cover, or a book that has a cover that is more than 50% yellow.
Using Robot Card n/a n/a
Novelty Card Robot
Create a numbered list of ten books, and let a random number generator pick for you.
Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart (372) ($3)
7/31  
#19 7 The Lake House 19:
Read a book with a cover that is more than 50 percent blue, or by an author whose first or last name starts with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.
Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz (376) ($3)
8/7  
#20a 5 BL Square:  Spin the Wheel Decide n/a n/a n/a
Wheel Decide:  Move to the Start Space n/a n/a n/a
Go Space:  Collect $5 and roll again. n/a n/a $5
#20b 6 The Stay-cation 6:
Read a book set in your home town, state or country, or that you checked out of your local library, or that has been on your (physical) bookshelves since last summer.
Lethal Lifestyles by LynDee Walker (290) ($3)

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/08/booklikes-opoly-2019-end-game-update.html
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text 2019-08-10 16:47
BL-opoly: That´s a wrap up

I made $113 in all and despite the many DNFs I had during this game, I´m more than satisfied with the books I have read during the game (no one or two star books). Thanks for this years game :D.

 

 

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