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review 2018-08-02 07:12
The High Tide Club
The High Tide Club - Mary Kay Andrews

Three words:  Phoned. it. in.


That's what this book appears to be.  Something Andrews - an author whose books I've always enjoyed - phone in.  Huge continuity errors, like an off-stage character that dies in WWII, first over Iwo Jima, then over Germany.  A fragmented sentence ended with a period that is truly a fragment - just cut off half way through; I can't even guess what it was supposed to have conveyed.  Monster gaps in the timeline, and I don't just mean time passes, but time passes where plot-important stuff happens and it's just ... gone.  Like maybe it used to be there and someone went all highlight-and-delete happy without turning Track Changes on.  The first half of the book is like a time warp, without the narrative overlay.  


There's supposedly a romance in here too, one that gets exactly two scenes.  Normally this would be fine; this story isn't about the MC's romantic life.  Except the story starts with Brooke being a single mom because she didn't tell the boy's father she got pregnant the night before he left for a 3 year research trip to Alaska, then continued not telling him.  During the course of this story he comes back, hoping to start back up, having no idea he's a father.  Even after he meets the boy.  All of this ... baggage; seems like it would call for more than 2 scenes.


The most unfortunate part of this is that The High Tide Club is, at its core, a really great story about extraordinarily strong women, friendships that span a century, and a ripping good murder mystery.  It's genuinely lovely; with a lot of heart and, at the same time, a delightfully brilliant mystery.   The American South setting is something Andrews excels at, even, apparently, when she's phoning it in, and the characters are all fully realised.  


If St. Martin's and Andrews hadn't been so short-sighted as to publish the raw manuscript, instead of a finished, edited work, this might have been one of her best.   As it is, I think I'll just re-read Hissy Fit.

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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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text 2017-05-26 18:55
Friday Reads - Summer Holiday Weekend Part I
After the Storm: A Kate Burkholder Novel - Linda Castillo
Her Last Breath - Linda Castillo
Among the Wicked: A Kate Burkholder Novel - Linda Castillo
Death by Tiara (A Jaine Austen Mystery) - Laura Levine
Egg Drop Dead - Laura Childs
Purl Up and Die (A Knitting Mystery) - Maggie Sefton
Nothing but Trouble - Susan May Warren
Diary of an Accidental Wallflower - Jennifer McQuiston

I feel like it has been a long time since I did a Friday Reads post. I hope all my fellow US'ians have a safe holiday weekend. I hope my British neighbors have a safe bank holiday weekend. We got caught in a heat wave (in the 80s come afternoon time) so I broke out the kiddie pool; forecast states we have one more beautiful summer day, then the rain and lower temps are coming by the end of the weekend. I am spending most of my weekend with books and a long walk in the Thetford Forest with the family before the rain comes.


Here is what I hope to read over the weekend/the final week in May.


1. After the Storm by Linda Castillo

2. Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo 

3. Among the Wicked by Linda Castillo

      I picked these three books from the library. They're from the Kate Burkholder series (Amish police procedurals). I've wanted to try this series for a while now. These books are from later in the series.


4. Death by Tiara by Laura Levine

5. Egg Drop Dead by Laura Childs

6. Purl Up and Die by Maggie Sefton

        Another bunch from the library, this time in really cute cozy mystery flavor. The first is from the Jaine Austen series, and the name of the series was enough for me to take it off the shelf. I tried one book from Laura Childs before (from that tea shop mystery series) and DNF'ed it, so I don't have much expectation for this one (from the Cackleberry Club series). The last one's titled just made me laugh.


7. Nothing But Trouble by Susan May Warren

           Borrowed this one from OverDrive because I kept getting recommended it (OD has the first three books in the series). I'm at the 62% mark and really liking it; PJ is not one of those perfect model of a Christian, but she is a Christian with good intentions and a good heart. The writing is different from a lot of Christian fiction without being profane. I am looking forward to book two and three.


8. Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuinston

          My BL-opoly pick which makes it a priority. New to me author, but I loved the interviews she did for the Smart Podcast, Trashy Books podcast - she talked about her work at the CDC in general and her work in Africa dealing with Ebola outbreak specifically....along with her weekend job writing historical romances.





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review 2015-01-04 02:18
Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs (Tara Holloway, #7)
Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs - Diane Kelly

Normally, I love these books, but this particular one didn't do it for me.  Most likely because I just could not relate.


Our MC, Tara, is assigned to investigate her favorite country music singer for tax evasion.  She is besotted with this man and when she finally gets a face-to-face with him, our normally strong, intelligent, hard-working heroine loses her freaking mind.  Turns to jello right there inside her skull.  For a good portion of the book, she reminded me of those awful female characters that are treated terribly by men, and then make excuses for the terrible treatment.  This, of course, causes conflict between her and her boyfriend, also an IRS criminal investigator; you'd expect it to.  But Nick doesn't use his words very well and he comes across as a jealous ass, instead of just jealous.


I genuinely believe this story line didn't work for me because I can't relate to the über-fan mentality; I'm a big fan of Chris Hemsworth and if I saw him walking down the street in Melbourne (he's from here, so there's hope!), I'd definitely stop, gape and admire.  But my underwear and I aren't parting ways and I wouldn't chase him down the street squee'ing and giggling.


The other main plot line, an investigation into an oil and gas company, was much better.  Except one obvious connection Tara failed to make (come on!!  Smart, remember?) it was a much more interesting story for me.  I'd have liked to see more of Tara's two best friends - they make only the shortest of appearances, but there's some very good character development taking place between Tara and Nick.


...Silver Spurs is a fast, fun, well-written story, but it's just not my kind of story, and that's ok - not every book can appeal to everyone and this book gave me no reason not to look forward to Tara's next investigation.



[PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A book you can finish in a day - because I did.]

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review 2014-02-11 05:04
Love Game (Matchmaker #3)
Love Game - Elise Sax
"I never want to leave this town.  Cannes is a village on happy juice. LSD.  It's the Wizard of Oz on shrooms."


I want to live in Cannes, California.  It's definitely on my list of Fictional Places I'd Like to Live.  I'd have a comfy chair and a big bowl of popcorn and I'd park myself on the sidewalk and just watch.  It's crazy town in the most entertaining way possible.


I can't move to Cannes, but at least I have these books and I can visit this nutville and it's residents anytime I'd like.  


In Love Game there's an ill wind blowing, and her name is Luanda.  She's brought a special brand of crazy to Cannes and it's undoing all the good matches Gladys and her grandmother Zelda have made.  Add to that a suitcase full of spider infested clothes, Gladys car keys going into a ravine, a group kidnapping and a murder and you have the makings of a very entertaining week in the best possible slapstick style.


I like Gladys, but I have to admit she's not always my favorite character in the books.  I don't think I could be friends in Real Life with someone who has been known to be extremely flighty.  But she's still a character you can get behind and cheer on.  While each book has presented the entire cast in all it's zany glory, I would have to choose Ruth as my favorite from this book - she's got all the best lines.  I should hope to be her when I'm in my 80's.  She reminds me of the little old lady cartoons on the Hallmark cards - you know which one I mean?  The skinny one that smokes, wears glasses, and has absolutely no filter between her brain and her mouth.


The romantic angle of the book is chaos of the best kind.  I normally HATE HATE HATE love triangles, but what Gladie has going on here really doesn't qualify as a love triangle -  more like it's raining men. (Hallelujah!) Holden is out of town and out of touch in this book, but we have a new player - Remington Cumberbatch.  A detective working for Spencer Bolton, he's around often enough to keep Spencer from a sure thing and Gladys' hormones in overdrive. The chemistry is constant and intense between Gladys and both of these men, and her flirtations are fun without stretching the readers patience.


The kidnapping/murder was excellent - Ms. Sax can write a mystery.  I didn't even know who to suspect until the end, when Luanda's denouement puts Gladys in the spotlight, leaving her to piece together the clues and come up with the answer.  I'm not sure how realistic the deductions are, but they were fun nonetheless.  


I'm hooked on this series and I hope Gladys has a long run full of fun, laugh-out-loud adventures.  I'll be looking forward with eagerness for the next one.

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