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review 2020-05-09 14:27
How to Host a Killer Party
How to Host a Killer Party - Penny Warner

Presley is a party planner (I mean event coordinator!) who also has ADHD. She was laid off at her prior job in the psych department at the U of San Fran. She has a habit of diagnosing people. Her mom, who now has dementia, was a successful party planner, so Presley hopes to take up the reins. She gets a chance hosting the mayor's surprise wedding....at Alcatraz. Things don't go as planned and there are 2 dead bodies and Presley is considered a suspect.
I did like this. I was interested and the who-done-it was good, as was the motivations behind it. But, Presley came off as a ditz. Did I mention she has ADHD & she taught psych? Sometimes when a character says something stupid/wrong/pick your poison, it makes them more relate-able. Not so much with Presley. The secondary characters were fun.
Will I read the next and rest in series? Nah. (And did you know Presley was a psych major..... and has ADHD? The reminders constantly got old. Fast.)
I read this for Romance-opoly Sleuth Street moon track

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review 2020-05-09 01:13
Penny for Your Secrets (Verity Kent, #3)
Penny for Your Secrets - Anna Lee Huber

Each time after reading the first two books, I told myself I wasn't going to read the next one, because I really dislike the way she setup the characters.  To explain more would be a plot spoiler for book 1, sorry.  But yet, I keep on picking up the next book and reading it.  


Characters' lives aside, Anna Lee Huber writes a good mystery.  The plots are generally intricate and mostly avoid the trite or well-worn paths of the genre.  This one was no different, except that it's setting up a multi book arc with a nemesis, and I'm pretty wishy-washy about nemeses.  I also got a little bit tired of the constant references to Verity's spy career during the war.  I suspect this is a Kensington editorial thing as it's the type of over-reference I find a lot in their books, making me wonder if they underestimate their readers' abilities to reading comprehension.


Generally an enjoyable read, but once again, I find myself thinking I might not buy the next one, though of course, I probably will anyway.

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review 2020-04-21 15:02
How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon - Power Pack!
How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon - Power Pack!: Sell Books by the Truckload & Get Reviews by the Truckload - Penny C. Sansevieri

by Penny C. Sansevieri


I requested this book for review out of curiosity, because a lot of books claim to have the magic secret to book sales and most of them have similar advice, so I wanted to see if the grand claims in the title had anything different to offer.


A lot of the familiar advice about building an author platform was there, but what was different about this book was that instead of just advising authors about tagging their books, it gave some good advice about HOW to tag their books effectively. I got an author friend to test some of the theory and at first, it worked. Her books came up within the first few pages of chosen search terms.


Of course the real trick to that is determining what words people are likely to search on to find your kind of book, but advice for that is given too.


Accompanying the book is a companion book about getting reviews. This was mostly familiar techniques; asking appropriate Amazon reviewers, joining review sites on reader sites, etc. My one niggle was the emphasis on Goodreads, which I would personally tell any author to avoid, or at least to tread very carefully on.


Overall a good choice if you're going to buy just one book on indie book marketing. It has all the advice the others do plus results of the author's own experiments, and a link to her blog where you can keep up on changes in algorithms.

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review 2020-01-27 16:58
Elements of Chemistry: Attraction
Elements of Chemistry: ATTRACTION (Hypothesis Series Book 1) - Penny Reid

Martin is rich, smart, hot, athletic, and a bully. He has everything but a loving family. Kaitlyn is smart, socially awkward, shy, a product of a loving, but overachieving family. Martin happens to be her lab partner and she overhears something that could damage him. More on that later.
She tells him what she overheard. He invites her on vacation with him and his team. She admits to really liking him and they (of course) have great chemistry. Kaitlyn is *different* from all the other girls. This ends of a cliffhanger. Both Kaitlyn and Martin are likable and I enjoyed the writing style/banter. I probably would read more of their story, but the ebook is too overpriced (4.99) for the length and I didn't enjoy this *that* much to fork out that.
And on to my problem and it's NOT resolved in any satisfactorily way.

Kaitlyn overhears a guy and gal talking about drugging and raping Martin to blackmail him. Bonus points if a pregnancy occurs. The guy was bragging about drugging girls and then having sex with them. Kaitlyn hears him OPENLY admitting to drugging and rape. It turns out the guy is Ben, one of Martin's teammates. The gal is nameless. Does anything happen to Ben? Nope. Actually this quote sums it up perfectly: "Because he's strong and we, the boat, need him to win." Lovely, right? Good to know winning trumps everything else. Priorities bitch. 

(spoiler show)

Romance-opoly Campus Corner sun track

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review 2020-01-09 22:18
Still Life (Penny)
Still Life - Louise Penny

The title of this book has at least two meanings in the context of the work: first, and most obviously, the victim of the murder is an artist (and her work - though not exactly still life - contains clues that point to the murderer); secondly, there are references in various conversations to people who do not progress morally, who have "still" (i.e. unmoving, unprogressing) lives.


I already like Chief Inspector Gamache, which is a good thing, as he has numerous further adventures and two of them await me on my shelf. And I like his faithful lieutenant, Beauvoir. I am left speculating whether Agent Yvette Nichol is going to have a story arc of her own in which she learns not to let her own egotisms and insecurities stand between her and becoming a good officer. She certainly gets the rough edge of Gamache's tongue in this volume; I am wondering if she is the police equivalent to the much darker case of the murderer - someone who obstinately refuses to learn, but wallows in past mistakes. As such, she might be a one-off character.


The jury's still out for me on whether I'm going to embrace this series whole-heartedly. There's something about the rather jumpy conversational style that holds me at a bit of a distance from the characters. I can't quite put my finger on it. On the other hand, I really liked the characterizations (the gay couple running the Bistro, and the sharp-tongued eminent old lady who's a poet, stand out for me). I liked the rural Quebec setting, and the fact that Gamache was clearly an outsider in some ways, but still knew his way about. I liked the range of cultural reference, and the way that the police officers didn't just listen to the answers to their questions, but also read the way people answered (or didn't answer) them. I liked the specificity and oddness of the detail about hunting bows and painting technique.


Onward to volume 2 in the series for me.

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