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review 2018-03-10 05:27
Hardcore Twenty-four (Stephanie Plum, #24)
Hardcore Twenty-Four - Janet Evanovich

Why yes, I'm still reading these.  No, Stephanie hasn't chosen Morelli or Ranger.  Yes, she's still destroying every car she touches, and no, she's still not all that good at her job.


In a world where if feels like I'm constantly pissed off because someone has changed their stock/location/rules, the constancy that is Stephanie Plum is a welcome relief and when Evanovich is on her game, the humor is worth the static world of the Burg (Berg?).  


I'd say Evanovich is on her game for Twenty-four.  Diesel makes an appearance, which leaves me wondering if his spin off series has died a premature death.  Zombies are also a big part of the plot and that plot is ... yech.   Just... yech.  


It occurred to me while reading this book why the love triangle doesn't bother me:  neither the Stephanie/Ranger nor the Stephanie/Morelli dynamic is very deep.  There's love, yes, but nobody is deeply emotionally attached.  Instead there's a lot of affection, respect (ok, maybe not a LOT), and humor.  Everybody involved is satisfied with the status quo, and since I've never been all that insistent that sex be about love, I too am happy with the status quo.


The topper for me though, was the scene involving the groundhog.  To say more would be to spoil it for anyone who might someday read it, except to say, even though I saw it coming a mile away, I still laughed till I cried.  And that's why I'm still reading these books.  


Hardcore Twenty-four met the criteria for the Kill Your Darlings Cause of Death card:  Revolver:  Read a book that involves a character that carries a gun.  Stephanie rarely has a gun, but every other character in the book carries at least one, including her grandmother.

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review 2018-02-26 16:21
Cute, But Lacking on Coherent Plot
For Better or Hearse - Laura Durham

Though I enjoy this cozy mystery that takes place in Washington, D.C. I have to say that this one ended up bugging me a lot. The reveal behind the murder was nonsensical and I got really tired of Annabelle's friends telling her who she should go out with. They were aggravating to the extreme to me in this one. I also cannot stand the next door neighbor who invites herself in. Probably because I am an introvert (with extrovert tendencies) I just found myself ready to pummel this person. I with that Annabelle would stand up for herself more and get more of a personality too. 


"For Better of Hearse" has Annabelle dealing with another dead body. A loathsome chef is found dead before one of her weddings (seriously how does she still have a job?) and when one of Annabelle's friends is accused she takes it upon herself to investigate. I think my main issue with this series is that there is not a real organic way for Annabelle to keep investigating. She's a wedding planner. Why in the world the police don't warn her for being involved with things is baffling. It's one thing when the main character is a private investigator or something. 

I also couldn't stand Annabelle's friends in this one, Richard and Kate were off-putting about a potential love interest. I liked the idea of someone else being interested in Annabelle since I am not a fan of the detective character at all. He's bland and jerky.


The writing is good. I was more interested in the wedding planning details though of the crazy brides to be. I found myself annoyed anytime we went back to the murder mystery cause I really didn't care. Maybe I should just read some chick lit wedding planning romance books or something. 


The setting of DC is always a favorite of mine and Durham definitely knows her way around the city. I just find it hard to believe that the rich of DC would not be shunning Annabelle's wedding planning business after two of her weddings have been ruined by dead bodies. 

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review 2018-02-26 15:44
Two Sisters and A Daughter
Sisters Like Us (Mischief Bay) - Susan Mallery

"Sisters Like Us" focuses on two sisters (Harper and Stacey) and Harper's daughter, Becca. This book picks up more than a year after the events in "A Million Little Pieces." There is a connection via the hero in this book to the characters in the last book, so you do have a tenuous connection there. I think that my problem with this one is that the transition from Harper to Stacey's POVs don't work. You honestly did not need Becca included in this. And I still don't know if Stacey had Asperger's Syndrome or what. Mallery is not clear about that and it just felt like it was something that someone would mention. There is also unresolved tension from Harper and Stacey's mom that I wish had been actually worked out. She acts like a jerk and everyone ignores it.


Stacey is the top in her field and now that she is expecting her first child, she and her husband agree that he will be the one to stay home while she continues to work. Though Stacey gets science, she doesn't get how having a baby is going to change her and she honestly doesn't want it to. Stacey is also hiding her pregnancy from her mother because she's terrible. I honestly didn't get why anyone was even dealing with the mom in this story, she's a nasty piece of work and I was not a fan.


Harper is still trying to recover after being left and divorced. Running her own virtual assistant business (which I was very intrigued by) doesn't leave her with a lot of time to be there to listen to her daughter Becca, but she is trying. Harper has a long time client, Lucas, that definitely seems to be sniffing around her and she's wondering if she is ready to give romance another go.

Becca's story should have been another book since it didn't fit well in here that much. Becca is dealing with losing her friends during the school year when she finally admits a secret to her best friend. Falling for her aunt's nephew, Becca starts thinking about having sex for the first time and what to do about her lack of a relationship with her father. 


Stacey's husband was not really there at all in this book. Lucas was up front and center in the story and I am sorry, I was over that clown after he pulls a BS move after forcing his way into Harper's life. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth and I did not find myself rooting for him at all. The only saving grace was Becca told his tiresome butt off and he deserved it. 


Most of Stacey's POV is oddly flat and it's so jarring to go from her to Harper. When we jump into Becca it becomes a bit worse. I think if we either focused on the two sisters the book could have been stronger or just have a stand alone book with Becca. 

The ending was abrupt as anything and I was surprised there was not more to the story. There was so much left unresolved regarding Becca and her father that if Mallery does another book in this series, I hope she follows up with her. 


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review 2018-02-26 15:15
One of the Story-Lines Drove Me Up the Wall
A Million Little Things - Susan Mallery

I think after this I am pretty much done with the Mischief Bay series. This book really aggravated me since I think Mallery wants her cake (write a contemporary romance) but then she there feels like there is very little romance and people just running around acting like assholes for most of the book until the very end. 


"A Million Little Pieces" follows two characters who should be familiar to readers from the first book, Jen and her mother Pam from "The Girls of Mischief Bay." It's been about 2 years since that first book. Jen was pregnant in the first book and Pam was dealing with being widowed. Now two years on, Jen is a mess freaking out that her young son is not talking. Pam has gone on with her life and is happy, but a potential romance has her thinking if she is ready to be alone forever. The third person this book follows is Jen's best friend Zoe. I tried to like Zoe, but I was over her after Mallery took a real bad direction with her story-line.


The characters felt very flat in this one. It was hard to feel sympathy towards Jen since she was acting shrill and insane through most of the book. Someone mentioned post-partum depression and I wish that more of the characters pushed her on talking to a doctor. Instead her mother and Zoe hold an intervention and even I was all "you both suck so hard right now." I also cringed when Zoe's mother is all you need to have sex with your husband more cause who cares if you are barely sleeping and freaking out about your son. I felt like at times I had time traveled back to the 60s with some of the comments Pam was making.


Pam was okay at first, I just don't care about her weird dog. She also turns into an uber asshole when a story-line involving Zoe and her son comes about. I mean...she had good points, she just went about it the wrong way. I was honestly team no one during this whole thing.

Zoe. Nope. I just could not with her entire ludicrous story-line. 


The writing was okay, I just found myself bored. Flip flopping between the three women was not done very well. I found myself missing the other characters from the first two books more. 

The setting of Mischief Bay is a good one. I just wish that Mallery was doing more with it. I don't know if it would help to age down or up the characters or what. Or maybe just focus on one person one story-line. Nothing really gelled here for me in this one. 

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review 2018-02-20 13:32
Surprise Me
Surprise Me: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella

Meh. Annoyed that I didn't just wait for this one via the library. I decided to buy this instead of the new Michael Connelly (shakes head). Surprise Me sounded interesting which is why I got it. A married couple (Sylvie and Dan) are told they have more than 60 plus years to go after their health assessment freak out since they don't know what they are going to do with all that time together. Yeah I know, I would be happy, but these two have no common sense. They decide to surprise each other so that they have something to look forward to since they know each other so well. Well, Sylvie thinks she knows Dan very well, instead she founds out she doesn't know everything. We also get a total tone shift towards the second half of the book and it did not work at all. I honestly worried at one point maybe I was misreading things.


I wish I could have liked this one better. I just didn't gel with the main character Sylvie. I think if Kinsella had told the chapters in alternate POVs with Sylvie and Dan it would have worked better. I was more intrigued by him. And I honestly think that Kinsella tried to hand wave away too much stuff that was going on with Sylvie with her blaming Dan for being overprotective.


Sylvie is in a bubble and doesn't really want to accept most things around her. She keeps her hair long cause her late father loved it long. She thinks her husband is good and all, but was totally outshone by her awesome and handsome father. I seriously rolled my eyes the many times we had to read about how great/fantastic Sylvie's father was and how people flocked to him like he was the Piped Piper. The fact she didn't even see how things were going in her marriage and kept doing things that she knew was hurting her husband (like constantly showing their wedding DVD that barely featured them and instead featured her father) just got on my last nerves.


There is some chances for levity here and there. We have Sylvie and Dan going through the whole surprise me motions and I chuckled a few times. But honestly the whole book dragged. When we get a reveal I wasn't expecting, it just made the whole book go sideways. Things got too rushed for a resolution and I honestly don't think Sylvie learned much of anything really.



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