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review 2018-04-21 02:34
Invisible City
Invisible City - Julia Dahl

First in a series is tough. Making the jump from journalist to novelist is tricky. 

 

Invisible City is a solidly plotted murder mystery that reads more like a police procedural than a cozy (though our main girl is a journalist not an officer of the peace).   While better than many first novels, there's plenty of room for growth.  In particular, I felt like the book was a hodge-podge of thinly veiled elements from a number of recent sensational news stories rather than being fully original. 

 

Like the main character, author Julia Dahl has a Jewish mother and a Christian father.  While it's always difficult to write about insular communities without a true in, I felt like a lot of Ms. Dahl's personification of the Ultra-Orthodox characters was built on stereotypes.

 

I'm counting this as an IRL bookclub read because Julia Dahl will be speaking in my community about book #3 in the series (released about a year ago) on Sunday.  I read Invisible City because Conviction was checked out of the Library and I wanted to have read something by the author before I went to brunch.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-21 17:04
Skim Blood and Savage Verse - Offbeat Crimes #3 Book Review
Skim Blood and Savage Verse (Offbeat Crimes, #3)Skim Blood and Savage Verse by Angel Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really do like this series. It's just so gosh-darned wonderful and fluffy; like being wrapped in your favorite blanket on a snowy day with your fav hot chocolate spiked with something creamy and boozy.

Angel's 3rd book in the Offbeat Crimes focuses on Carrington Loveless III, the 77th's very own skim-blood drinking vampire as the leading man and the the lead officer for the investigation. And what an unusual crime. Feral books that literally fling words as weapons. But where did they come from, who set them on the loose, and just who is the mysterious Ms. Hunter Green Pea Coat, other than LJ's (Leather Jacket's) love on the lamb. Angel's characters simply come to life with wit, humor, and heart.

We meet Erasmus, shy unassuming library expert on all things Beatrix Potter from fluffy rabbits to dapper ducks. He starts off as Carr's literary consultant on the case and then his friend but Carr has a type, a hot, studly, absolute train-wreck of a type. Enter Heath... the train-wreck waiting to happen. Will Carr be sucked into yet another train-wreck or will he realize that there's something much much better hiding in the shy, literary wings? And how will they catch the feral books and contain them? Who unleashed them on the city? Will LJ and Hunter Pea Coat reunite?

Sooo many questions - read the book to find the answers!



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review 2018-03-09 01:35
Book Review - Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters
Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters (Offbeat Crimes, #1)Lime Gelatin and Other Monsters by Angel Martinez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG I loved this book! It was just so darned cute... and hot... and really freaking adorable!

So I should start my review by saying my bff said 'read these books'. The bff and I tend to like the same books so I said, okay I'll give it a try. So glad I did! The premise of the series is an interesting new twist on both paranormal fics and cop stories.

Philadelphia PD cop Kyle Monroe had a strange encounter with a strange, lime green, gelatine like creature in a back alley that leaves his hands severely scarred and changed forever. That change has him transferred into the 77th precinct, where all the paranormal 'freaks' go. Just one catch, they're all defective.

Just as Kyle is learning to work with his fellow misfits he is assigned a partner - tall, gorgeous, zen and pretty much perfect in every way (including his talent - or so he claims) - Vikash Soren both irritates and attracts Kyle in equal measure. But there's something about his abilities that just meshes well Soren's and produces 'explosive' results - both in their partnership and in their burgeoning relationship.

And they may need that explosive combo to save the city, and possibly themselves, from a mysterious killer that is hunting its prey along the banks of the Schuykill River, leaving strangely mutilated bodies behind and it's presence casting a malevolent pall over the once safe and friendly riverwalk.

Kyle, Vikash, and the misfits of the 77th precinct put everything on the line to save their city from the monsters... and leather jackets with severe attitude.

I have to say I really enjoyed Angel's playful style of writing. It was just a fun, amusing read. The cast of characters she created were so much fun. I can't wait to dive in to book 2.


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review 2018-01-29 05:47
The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away #1) by Roni Loren
The Ones Who Got Away - Roni Loren
Finn and Olivia are part of a group of students that survived a school-shooting on prom night known as The Ones Who Got Away. He has been working as a cop for the past few years but returns home to take part in a documentary that will mark the anniversary of that fateful day. Once back home, he gets reacquainted with Olivia and other friends, but it’s definitely Olivia who’s never far from his thoughts and for whom he still has deep feelings.

I really liked their relationship. The traumatic event they went through helps them form a very unique bond since not many people around them are capable of understanding what their lives are like. At first they are a little hesitant to start any kind of relationship but then they realize that it’s in each other’s company that they will find the courage to move forward and live the lives they always wanted to live. I also liked how realistic and relatable the characters felt. I can honestly say I’ve never related to a character as much as I did to Olivia. Someone would say something to her and my mind would wander to a response and sure enough, that’s how she had responded in the book! I thought that was terrific and funny! Finn was such a perceptive and lovable man what with him being a cop trying to atone for past mistakes, and also being a regular man facing the same kind of problems any other person in his situation would. I thought the author did a great job in making such authentic characters. 

The story itself was different and even a bit gritty. While it has dark themes and deals with some PTSD issues it never falls into the extremes of angst or revenge, and it keeps the humor on the lighter side without being comical. In short, it was an endearing story about friendship, survival, leaving the past in the past, and above all, love. 

** I won a copy of this ARC through BookishFirst. This is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.**
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text 2018-01-28 01:16
January Round-Robin

Now that the year-end report has been submitted for my primary project, and I'm down to 2 competing work deadlines, I actually have the brainpower to update you on what I read in January.

 

Naked in Death - J.D. Robb 

 

First entry in the long-running In Death series by J.D. Robb (now up to 45 volumes).   I enjoyed the audiobook read by Susan Ericksen, but am not sure that I will continue with the series.  Many people prefer more sexy-times in their books that I typically do and Naked In Death skirted the edge of what I'm comfortable with.  I wasn't really surprised with the focus on sexuality in this book considering that the cover blurb states that prostitutes are being murdered and J.D. Robb is one and the same as Nora Roberts. I was a bit annoyed at the insta-attraction between our protagonist Eve Dallas and rich-boy Roarke, and the late bombshell about Eve'd background, but otherwise liked the flow of the story.  In many ways what I found most appealing was how much the 2058 that JD Robb imagined in 1985 looks like the world we have today (granted minus the flying cars). 

 

Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie 

 

Finished the Imperial Radch trilogy regarding AI Breq Mianaai.  Ancillary Mercy felt much like the second half of the previous book in the trilogy rather than its own independent story. While I liked spending additional time with Breq, I found the resolution of the story an anticlimax, While it wrapped up some of the story's threads, I wasn't satisfied with where the story stopped.  

 

Rosemary and Rue - Seanan McGuire 

 

I've very much enjoyed the other books I've read by Seanan McGuire, so thought I would try her traditional Urban Fantasy series.  I enjoyed Rosemary and Rue, but didn't find it nearly as original as the InCryptid universe. While there were some 1st in series wobbles, I will probably give the rest of the series a go. I read this in the thick of report-writing frenzy, so don't have anything more insightful to say.

 

I also started and skidded out of 2 non-fiction books, though I chalked that up to long-hours and general exhaustion rather than any fault of the book.  So both are back on my list of books to consider reading at a later date.

 

Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life - Helen Czerski  My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner: A Family Memoir - Evan Fallenberg,Meir Shalev  

 

All of these books, including the ones I didn't finish count towards the Library Love Challenge and Naked in Death counts towards the Audiobook Challenge

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