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review 2019-12-30 15:05
The Damned
The Damned (The Darkest Hand Trilogy #1) - Tarn Richardson

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

Not much to say about this besides this was not a book for me. It dragged. Endlessly. I stopped and started this thing about a dozen times and finally finished it because I got tired of seeing it on my NetGalley dashboard. It's a horror novel set during World War I that had way too much dialogue. I mean to the point that I went, please shut up. All of you. Also I feel like I have seen this book played out via movies before. I think at one point I started Googling things and then realized it didn't matter cause I just didn't like this book. It also appears to have been updated and re-released every year according to Goodreads which to me was another bad sign that I wish I had known about before clicking on the damn request button. Mental note, in 2020 I am going to research books before getting click happy on NetGalley.

"The Damned" is the first book in "The Darkest Hand" trilogy. Taking place in 1914 in the city of Arras, a priest is murdered. The Catholic Inquisition (I guess they are still a thing at this point, no, I am not looking that up to see if that's true or just literary license) sends one of their inquisitors, Poldek Tacit (seriously that name was hilariously awful) to investigate. While this is going on with Poldek (seriously, that name sucks) trying to investigate, British and German forces are fighting across No Man's Land. 



I don't even know what to say here. Poldek is found by the Church after he is found holding on to his mother who was murdered and raped. So yeah, we are still using the rape and death of a woman to "mold" men. Cause if women were not there to develop men what good are we? Can we stop doing this in 2020? I would love it. Thank you. 


There's also another character named Sandrine who is trying to get a soldier (British) Henry to leave the area. Yeah it sounds like I just got booted into another book there didn't it? This is the whole freaking book. A lot of stuff happening that doesn't seem connected that drags on forever. 

The writing was so so and the flow was awful. It takes too long to get to the whole who are the damned thing and of course I guessed at it because I have read horror books before. I don't mind if books revel in cliches, but at least make it worth my time. 


The setting of the book as I said above is during World War I. There was so much information being thrown at me I just wanted to scream at some point. I am not one of those people who love to read endless books or watch movies about World War I or World War II. Also every time I read "No Man's Land" I kept thinking of the Wonder Woman scene depicting that place and then started to wish I was just watching that movie all over again (though the third act is a mess). 


I have zero intention of reading books number 2 or 3. 

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review 2019-11-14 17:58
Southside Collection
The Hustle of Kim Foxx - Steve Bogira
Cellmates - Tori Marlan
The Waiting Room - Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve
The Gun King - John H. Richardson
Payback - Natalie Y. Moor

This is a series of 5 articles/essays about the Southside in Chicago, or to be on point crime, justice and race in Chicago.  They are by five different authors so somewhat mixed.


The Waiting Room is most likely the most moving as it deals with the presence of a jail in the neighborhood as well as the impact of jail on the lives of people.  It is more thoughtful and deep than The Gun King, which is about a young man sent to jail for dealing guns.  Gun King does raise legit questions but it needed to be a bit longer.


The profile of Kim Foxx is good and in depth.

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review 2019-10-29 04:20
A Cowboy for Christmas (Rocky Mountain Riders, #6) by: Sara Richardson
A Cowboy for Christmas (Rocky Mountain Riders, #6) - Sara Richardson



A Cowboy for Christmas brings charm to chaos. Whether laughing your head off or crying your heart out, Richardson never ceases to deliver perfection. When two good-hearted people find themselves in over their heads and close to losing their hearts, it will take a bit of small town meddling to get them back on course. Darla and Ty are adorably, clueless. Caught up in the craziness, will they lose their chance at forever? Richardson blends old friends with new drama and delivers irresistible fun.

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review 2019-07-13 15:47
Social Capital?
City Crime - new

“City Crime” is another debut novel and I bought a copy at a talk by the author, Ian Richardson, at our local library. The title might give the impression of misdeeds in the affluent financial sector, but while the action is perpetrated in the hallowed square mile, the real novelty factor is the involvement of detectives from the City of London police, which seems akin to the unusual challenge of policing Beverly Hills. Still, DCI Gould and newly promoted DS Phillipa Cotterell preside over an investigation that is more well-versed than its setting, driven by familiar human frailties of jealousy, greed and lust. Family in-fighting, organised criminals, drug-dealing, blackmail and tainted money, are deftly woven within a plot that belies the veneer of affluent success and culminates in brutal murders and the exposure of baser instincts.

In essence the reader can find little sympathy for any of the cast of victims or the numerous suspects, nor for that matter the police officers. Notwithstanding the rather naïve ideals of Ms Cotterell, one gets the feeling the more tempered cynicism of her superior also has its place, when unpicking layers of deceit. In what seems destined to be a short-lived partnership, the clandestine coupling of the police officers outside of the investigation also appeared likely to heap pressure on their relationship, rather than support it, but in or out of work, their collaboration seems to have a limited shelf life. This may be disappointing if the reader is looking for the next ‘crime-fighting duo’, but the chemistry, á la Morse and Lewis; Poirot and Hastings; Holmes and Watson, has to be right in order to evolve, though such novels also need to be able to stand alone and this it does.

In truth, I found the plot more convincing and developed than the characters, but the twists and turns of the story were absorbing and as the introduction of a new voice in criminal fiction, this book was an enjoyable and promising light read. I hope the author continues to write into a well-earned retirement.

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review 2019-07-13 00:32
Hometown Cowboy by Sara Richardson
Hometown Cowboy - Sara S. Richardson

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Jessa was just dumped by text and for someone who has such an open heart, she sure has trouble finding someone to love her back. 
Ever since Lance's mother left without looking back, he's been a love them for one night and leave them.
When Lance needs help watching his father, Jessa is there and he's starting to enjoy her at his home more than he should.
Jessa loves love, Lance wants to be a loner, and long held family secrets are bubbling under the surface as these two heat up under the Colorado sky. 

She might have sworn off relationships, but technically she hadn't sworn off kissing. 

I enjoyed how this one started off, we're introduced to the Cortez family of Lance, his younger brothers Lucas, Levi, and their father Luis. With Luis out following the rodeo circuit as a champion bull rider, their mother couldn't handle the stress of raising three boys alone and leaves. As the oldest, Lance feels it is his responsibility to take care of the family but Levi has serious anger issues with his father and ends up burning down a barn. The three boys decide Lucas will take the wrap as his record is squeaky clean but things go sideways when he gets charged as an adult and ends up going to jail. When he finally gets out, he leaves not wanting to deal with the small town always looking at him like he is a criminal, Levi can't stand the guilt and constantly travels on the rodeo circuit, which leaves Lance to run their ranch and work on becoming the best bull rider like his dad. I wish there had been more detail to Lance running the ranch and his bull riding career. They're mentioned but not really done anything with, we get a few glimpses of Lance practicing for World's, championship rodeo in Las Vegas, but I didn't understand how he ran the ranch year round and was such a top bull rider, when would he have time to travel to rodeos? 

The Cortez family drama kind of overshadowed Jessa, she grew up spending the summers with her father and school year with her mother, she craved a big stable family. Her father just died and she is trying to take over his animal rescue, Lance's father Luis tries to help her out with it. Like Lance and his ranch and rodeo, there wasn't much to Jessa's animal rescue. We know she needs money to keep it running but other than carting a pig around, it was definitely pushed to the side of her life and the story. Her friendship with two other women, helped to flesh out her character more but they never seemed to have longer, in depth scenes together to endear them to me more than series baiting. 

It's a gift when someone believes in you at a time no on else does. When you've lost some of the belief in yourself. 

I thought the first half was just a lot of lust attraction making up Jessa and Lance's relationship. Jessa is supposedly on a break from wanting a relationship and Lance is supposed to have this hardened heart but the storyline of Jessa not wanting a relationship seems abandoned almost as soon as she says it. I'm not sure until the very end I felt any depth to Lance's feelings for Jessa. They are thrown together because of circumstance and they never evolved for me beyond “sexy legs” and “hot bod”. 

This was an easy quick read, the outline for a deep emotional story was there but the depth and building blocks never showed up. The big ending had me disliking Jessa's character a bit as she acted fairly inconsiderately towards Lance and very blindly towards one of her friends, all because she “knew” she was right; family dynamics are tough waters to wade into and I just didn't think she gave it the consideration it deserved. There was nothing new or exciting to this story but, like I said, the outline is there for deep emotion with the Cortez family trying to heal from the lie they told that fractured the brothers. Details, depth, and fully fleshed out characters were absent in this one, but with two brothers left single, the author has a nice setup for their stories.

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