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review 2018-07-25 17:17
Two Different Baltimores
Butchers Hill: A Tess Monaghan Novel - Laura Lippman

Going to applaud Laura Lippman here for tackling race. I was wondering if she was going to do it, and it's slightly imperfect, but I did love her showing how Tess was steeped in privilege and didn't even get how much until she met Jackie (one of her clients with a surprising connection to her) and Luther Beale. I loved how Lippman showcases two different Baltimore's (one for white people and one for black people). I also love the shoutout to HBO's "The Wire."

 

Image result for the wire gif

 

"Butchers Hill" has Tess single and dealing with the effects of being badly beaten in the last book. She finally opened up her own P.I. firm in Baltimore and is nervously waiting for business to come her way. Her first client is Luther Beale, an older African American man who was charged with manslaughter years earlier when he fired when some young kids started vandalizing his car. Beale is a pariah in his community and wants Tess's help in tracking down the survivors in order to provide them with money to help them out.

 

Tess's second client is a woman named Jackie that is looking to find her adopted daughter.  I won't get into how Tess and her relationship is complicated, but the reveal we get is outstanding. What is great though is that Tess is floundering without her best friend Whitney by her side. She needs someone to interact with that is not her nutty family or her aunt. When Tess and Jackie start to interact, Tess finds herself envious of Jackie's money and clothes, but realizes that even that doesn't change that the rest of the world still looks down on Jackie because she's black. 

I have to say a few times I wanted to shake Tess cause her thoughts and comments pretty much shows she doesn't get it when African American people she comes across don't want to have anything to do with her, and she seems to have a vague idea that racism is a thing. She makes a few jokes about the confederacy and I wanted Jackie to smother her. 

 

That said, you can see Tess in her own misguided way, wants to help Jackie and really sees her as a friend. I was surprised by the ending with these two and I think most readers will be as well.


These two cases really have nothing to do with each other besides Jackie helping out Tess with her first investigation and things tying up nicely in the end. 

 

Tess's family shines in this one. You have heard about the bickering and pain in the butt grandmother, now you get to meet people in the flesh. I maybe laughed a few times at some of the scenes and was surprised to see how things ended up with Tess, her family, and some other characters. 

 

The writing was really good and I liked the flow.

 

Baltimore is still a perfect setting for this series and this third book really comes alive with things. I don't know about the fourth book, looks like Tess is going to Texas and I am sad we won't see her in her usual habitat. 

 

Great read! 

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review 2018-07-23 16:51
Charm City
Charm City - Laura Lippman

Dealing with the fallout of the death of her ex in book #1, Tess is finally pushing to become a private investigator. Seeing someone new (Crow) she feels a bit more centered, but not by much. Her family still drives her up the wall, her boss (sort of) who is pushing her to get off her butt and set up her own office. We get to see Tess pounding the pavement to figure out the mystery behind two cases and come to a decision about her love life.

 

When her uncle ends up in the hospital, Tess is left caring for a dog he recently got and trying to figure out why mysterious men in cars are following her and her family. On top of that, Whitney talks her up to the editors at the Beacon Blight to hire Tess to figure out who is behind a story going to press that was killed.

 

Tess having a background in newspapers definitely helps her out here. She manages to use what she knows to go back and look at the sources/writers of the newspaper story that was supposed to get killed. Tess also manages to piece together what her uncle was up to and why people are looking for something he hid. Tess we find out in this book used to have an eating disorder and we get why she's so focused on working out every day if she can. I already knew she rowed in college, but finding out there's a reason why she was into working out and having bulimia made me feel for her.

 

I thought Tess and Crow were pretty meh. There was foreshadowing all along how that was going to end up. He just seems to be there for her to stomp all over. I would have gotten fed up too. I also would have gotten fed up with him wanting more than I wanted to give, so they both cancel each other out. Tess's second love interest didn't do a lot for more either. Never a fan of love triangles in books, but this one didn't really bother me so much since Tess at least did the right thing by not jerking two guys around at the same time.

 

The setting of Baltimore is played up here a lot and you hear all about Charm City in this second book. It's funny that I live so close and I have been to Baltimore just once. Tess via Lippman talks a lot of crap about those who came in and tried to gentrify Baltimore and the white and black flight from certain areas.

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review 2018-07-23 16:33
Baltimore Blues
Baltimore Blues - Laura Lippman

Wow. What a crazy ride! I loved reading about Tess, her family, her uncle (who may not be a uncle) and having this whole thing set in Baltimore. Lippman manages to make Baltimore come alive and you get to see the many sides to Charm City. I really enjoyed Tess too since we don't just get her off and running in her new freelance career as a PI. Lippman introduces some great characters, Tess's aunt Kitty, her ex Johnathan, her rowing buddy Rock, and her best friend Whitney.

 

"Baltimore Blues" has Tess Monaghan still dealing with being unemployed after being let go from the Star. She still dreams about going back to a newspaper and becoming a reporter again, but for now works in her aunt's bookstore and for her uncle at a state agency. When her friend Rock asks her to follow his fiancee and get some answers on why she is acting so weird, she does so, cause being broke is not that much fun. Following her around, Tess realizes there is more than meets the eye with her. When his fiancee tells Rock that a lawyer she is working with has forced her to sleep with him, he goes and confronts the man. When the lawyer is found dead, fingers point to Rock, and Tess is hired to work alongside his lawyer.

 

Tess is such a mess and I love her. She has a weird family and lives above her aunt's bookstore. She has an on and off relationship with an ex, but also finds herself thinking of someone who works with her aunt named Crow (I am also reading books with characters having terrible names). Tess is in a rut and her investigating to help out her friend seems like the best thing she can do. She seems to be drifting through her life.

Tess's aunt is pretty hilarious, but sketched thinly. I did love Tess and her relationship with her friend Whitney and how they pushed/pulled each other though.

 

We don't get to really see the different Baltimore's here though. Lippman addresses that in her third book (Butcher's Hill) and I was happy to see it. I maybe laughed at Tess talking crap about how bad D.C. was compared to Baltimore (it's funny cause it's true).

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review 2018-07-15 23:02
Surprise
Freed - Carly Phillips

This is the 3rd book in the Rosewood Bay series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment & understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Juliette comes to Rosewood Bay to meet the sisters she never knew she had.  She meets Braden right away and they click immediately.  The attraction burns bright on both sides.

 

Braden is tasked to keep tabs on Juliette, and he has no idea how to tell her.  Her father and her past is quickly going to ruin the great start they have.  Braden must convince Juliette that they have a future and its worth it.

 

This was a sexy sweet combo in one book.  A great addition to this series, the story starts with serious heat that just burns all throughout the book.  I loved the banter and the very real subject matters.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2018-01-03 05:50
Best
Kairos - Mary Calmes

Joe has left behind his family and their odd reaction to his life.  He now works with his new best friend, and roommate, who has also partnered with him in business.  Together Kade and Joe are private instigators in Chicago.

 

Kade has waited a long time to tell someone his feelings.  As he meets his partners family, he cannot help but pour out how he has felt.  With the cloud of danger around them - can they protect their charge and still find love?

 

This author is a must read.  So I did what I always do, and I clicked purchase.  Then I could not put the story down, did not want to make dinner, ring in the new year, nothing!  I just wanted to keep reading this amazing story that just sucked me in.  I turned every page eagerly and when it was over all I wanted was more.  So is there.... more?  In the mean time, I give this great book a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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