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review 2018-10-22 03:29
On Borrowed Time by Jenn McKinlay
On Borrowed Time - Jenn McKinlay

In this entry in the series, Lindsey is setting up for one of the Crafternoon meetings that these books always begin with, only to discover her brother, Jack, hiding in their meeting room. At Jack's request, she doesn't tell anyone about him, lets him stay in the room, and makes up an excuse to have the Crafternoon meeting somewhere else. She's both shocked and worried when she goes to check on Jack and discovers that 1) he's gone and 2) there is now a dead man in the meeting room.

Lindsey is sure Jack didn't kill the man but knows it looks bad, so she reports the body to the police but doesn't mention Jack. She soon learns that Jack is involved in something very dangerous. If she wants to rescue her brother, she has to somehow figure out what's going on and who she can trust.

Jack apparently lives an overly exciting, globetrotting, and sometimes action-filled life. There were things in this book that made me think of James Bond - a coffee cartel, a dangerous and beautiful woman, and a boat chase. With all that action and Lindsey's worry over Jack, the murder at the beginning of the book was almost forgotten. Yes, I know it was part of the whole storyline involving Jack, but it didn't feel as much like the book's focus as the series' previous murders did. I was a bit disappointed by that.

In general, I found this book to be extremely frustrating. While I get that Lindsey was worried about her brother, her behavior made no sense. In the book just before this one, Emma Plewicki, the new police chief, demonstrated that she could keep secrets and wait for just the right moment to pounce. She's always been level-headed, careful, and trustworthy. I could sort of understand Lindsey stupidly leaving out her brother's sudden appearance in her initial report to the police, but her continued refusal to talk to Emma when things with Jack took a turn for the worse was just bone-headed. In a small town like that, there were ways she could have communicated with Emma that wouldn't have alerted Jack's kidnappers. But that would have required Lindsey to step aside and allow Emma and others to assume control of the efforts to save Jack, which McKinlay couldn't allow.

A lot of the things that were wrong with this book were due to McKinlay bending over backwards to make things more difficult for her characters. In addition to Lindsey's repeated refusal to involve the police, there was also the issue of the love triangle. I suspect even McKinlay didn't have much interest in Robbie as a potential love interest for Lindsey, because this was his second book and he still didn't have much going for him beyond being a good-looking charmer. And I couldn't help but wonder if Lindsey's primary appeal, for him, was that she kept resisting him.

Robbie and Sully's constant arguments about who should get to spend time with Lindsey and what rules they should be operating by grated on my nerves. There were a few nice scenes with Sully, including one where he finally talked about the event in his past that made him freak out when he thought Lindsey might still have feelings for her ex-fiance (I still think this was sloppily done), but they were always ruined by his arguments with Robbie. They were like two dogs fighting over a bone.

This is my least favorite book in the series so far, and if it weren't for how popular this series is with a few of my coworkers, I'd probably be quitting at this point. But I do like having books I can actually discuss with the people around me, so I'll be giving the next book a go. Here's hoping that at least the mystery portion of the next book is better.


  • The Briar Creek Library guide to Crafternoons
  • Readers guide for The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Craft: Recycling candles (creating new candles from the remnants of old ones)
  • Recipes for Beth's Spinach Dip, Violet and Charlene's Meatballs, and Nancy's Fruit Cake Cookies. I don't plan on trying any of these, but the dip sounded easy and the meatballs were tempting.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2018-10-21 21:21
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - Malala Yousafzai

I knew very little about Pakistan outside of news clips before reading this book, and I knew even less about Malala. She's a passionate young woman who loves her family, her country and Islam, and she's dedicated her life to seeing that every child receives an education. Coming from a country where over five million children never receive an education and where girls are encouraged to leave their educations unfinished, and where the Taliban target schools for bombings and shootings, she came to appreciate the importance of education early in her life. She was able to go to the school her father ran, but even that was not always easy after the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley, but she didn't back down and neither did her father. 


The writing flows here, whether she's talking about her classmates, her life at home, Pushtan customs or about growing up in the Swat Valley. Her detailing of the various events in Pakistan history, from its founding after being broken off from India to its current state of affairs, is concise and enlightening without getting bogged down. It's clear that her early years of writing and orating has made her confident in speaking her mind and she chronicles the events of her life openly and frankly. 


Most of the book takes place before the shooting that changed her life, with the last third or so talking about the shooting and the events afterward, including how it came about that she was removed from Pakistan and her recovery to date. She is an incredibly lucky young woman to have survived, and many people were responsible for that, and she continues to campaign for education for all children. 


She truly is an inspiration. 

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review 2018-10-21 14:29
Lullaby ★★★★☆
Lullaby - Scott Brick,Jonathan Maberry

Entirely predictable haunted house story, but still very enjoyable. The author does a fine job of creating the spooky atmosphere and mood and imagery, even if the plot and characters were a little thin. I think Scott Brick's excellent narration elevates it. 


Audiobook short story, free for download as part of their new 2 freebies/month Audible Originals perks for members. 

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text 2018-10-20 03:49
Reading progress update: I've read 271 out of 271 pages.
On Borrowed Time - Jenn McKinlay

McKinlay's foray into James Bond-ish levels of action. This was the most frustrating entry in this series yet. Lindsey repeatedly withheld evidence from Emma, even though Emma has more than demonstrated (just one book ago!) that she has an excellent poker face and can keep big secrets. Also, the love triangle was unnecessary. I think even McKinlay knew that, on some level, because Lindsey and Sully had better and more frequent scenes together than Lindsey and Robbie. Robbie's appearances tended to feel like an afterthought.


Halloween Bingo: I'm using this for Murder Most Foul. There was one murdered guy, who was almost forgotten in the face of Lindsey's worries about her brother.

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text 2018-10-14 23:57
Reading progress update: I've read 201 out of 271 pages.
On Borrowed Time - Jenn McKinlay

Every time Lindsey has lied to Emma in order to protect her brother, I'm reminded of the previous book. Wasn't Emma in on the whole thing with Robbie? If she could handle that without any of it showing on her face even a little, she could handle this. This newest revelation makes all of that even more frustrating.

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