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text 2016-04-27 02:31
Review for Mr Kiss & Tell by Rob Thomas
Mr. Kiss and Tell - Jennifer Graham,Rob Thomas

This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews


Veronica's back with another difficult case. The Neptune Grand has always been a touch on the shady side. Though it is an upscale hotel, it's obvious illicit deeds go down there. When a woman who is brutally raped and beaten claims that the Grand was the last place she could remember being, the hotel knows that this could turn out disastrous. Veronica is hired to prove or disprove the story. But something isn't adding up. The victim had severe head injuries and can't remember all the details, the other witnesses won't talk, and it's clear someone, somewhere, is hiding something. Can Veronica figure out the mystery? Or is the perp going to continue to go free?


Okay, I think I got most of the fangirl gushing out of my system in my last VMars review and hopefully this one will be a bit more coherent. Veronica is the same character she's always been. She's smart, resourceful, resilient, and snarky as hell. Veronica's snark is what initially drew me to her in the show and her character has stayed true to that. It's not all positives for VMars though, because she has some negative qualities as well. We get to see the best of her here and she's dogged in figuring this thing out. It's not long before she disproves the victim's initial statement, but she can tell there is more to this. This girl was raped and beaten nearly to death and someone needs to pay for that crime.


Logan is actually home (for most of this, anyway) and I couldn't be happier about his presence in the story. He's relationship with Veronica is proof that just because something is right doesn't mean it's easy. Life with her is always going to be a give and take. She has a tendency to hide her feelings when she knows they aren't what he wants to hear. She would rather bury it and enjoy their time together. He understands her fears and worries, but there are just some things that he must do. Regardless, his appearance makes things better. I'm a big Logan fan (as if you didn't get that from my last review) and I'm always happy when he's in the picture.


The rest of the family all make an appearance. Once again, I feel like we don't get quite as much Wallace as we should. He was a big part of the crime solving team in the show and I miss his help. I was also a bit disappointed in Weevil. I won't say more than that, but it wasn't cool man. I can see his reasoning, but still not cool. As for everyone else important, we get just the right amount. I must admit I'm a sucker for Cliff McCormack and I love seeing him. Him and Keith have their own side project going on, suing the Balboa County Sheriff's department for damages to Eli Navaro during their criminal investigation after planting evidence on him. That added to the race for Sheriff election with a brand new candidate and things get just a bit heated. We all wanna see Dan Lamb out of office, regardless of what that takes.


This novel has that big mystery feel. The plot has so many twists and turns that it's impossible to know who the bad guy is from the very beginning. There is no way you can tell how this will turn out. One thing I loved about reading this one as opposed to listening to the audiobook as I did with book one, is that I could hear each character in my head. Don't get me wrong, Kristen Bell does an amazing job narrating the first one and there is no one better for the task, but there is a slight difference between hearing her do it, mimicking everyone else's voices and actually hearing the proper voice in your head. I don't know if that makes sense to anyone other than my fellow marshmallows, but trust me, it was awesome.


What you really need to know is that: it's Veronica Mars! You need no other incentive to pick this novel up and read away. Beyond that, it is a well written story with a nail-biting plot. I think it's written in a way that it could be read as a stand-alone. Previous knowledge of this world is not required, but I think it enhances the experience. Now, Rob, Jennifer, are we gonna get another? 'Cuz, you know, I really want one!


****Thank you to Vintage for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review****


Tabitha's signature

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review 2016-03-04 16:43
The First Time Rats Saw God
Rats Saw God - Rob Thomas

Rob Thomas is known to me first and foremost as the creator of Veronica Mars and its titular heroine, one of my favorite television shows and characters. If I had to choose one character that I wished were real, it would be Veronica. That's saying a lot; I love countless fictional characters to distraction.


A highlight of the show is Veronica's caustic wit. Other characters are funny (e.g. Logan, Mac), but there's something about a tiny, blonde, teenage girl who used to be on the pep squad cutting people down to size with a sharp tongue (or bantering with her father, friends, or boyfriends)--after suffering the murder of her best friend, the abandonment of her mother, the destruction of her father's reputation, and rape--that is unique and paradoxically pleasing for a female character especially.


Rats Saw God and its protagonist, Steve York, display the same jaded wit, and it's the best feature of the book. Before VM, Thomas wrote YA novels, and his grasp of high school and teenage life is strong. He taught high school journalism, and his experience is evident. 


Like Veronica, Steve has recently gone through some shit (less serious than Veronica, but just as devastating, and, as I like to say, suffering is not a competition). The conceit of the book is that in the present, Steve is doing horribly; he's a stoner flunking out despite obvious intelligence and past academic success. He is on the verge of not graduating and must somehow make up his English credit. His guidance counselor asks him to write 100 pages (unthinkable for a high schooler--hell, for an undergrad), in chunks each week, of anything he likes. Steve complies, so the flashbacks to how Steve got where he is take the form of his first person writing.


The back-and-forth between present and past comes in quick bites, generally. We're to understand that writing is helping Steve move on from what happened back in Houston (I won't spoil what that is, but from the beginning it's clear it has to do with his then girlfriend, Dub, and his father, whom Steve refers to as "the astronaut," after his famous profession). The progression wasn't always clear to me (like how and why Steve became interested in another girl in the present), and I found myself more engaged by the past. When the source of Steve's heartbreak is revealed, it's upsetting, but given the nature of the shock, it feels unexplored. Steve and Dub never deal with each other significantly face-to-face either. While this makes sense given Steve's character especially, it still left me hanging. I could've used another 50 pages.


If you're a VM fan, you'll recognize the book's title (in the book's context, it's part of the coveted yearbook photo for Steve's extracurricular, GOD--Grace Order of Dadaists), referenced in season two. You'll also recognize the name of Steve's girlfriend, Wanda Varner, who goes by "Dub," from a season one episode in which that Wanda ran for student president but lost and also turned out to be a snitch. She's not the most trustworthy here either, but that doesn't mean you don't like her until the end.


Thomas's protagonists tend to be whip-smart and jaded. For me, this is ultimately much more interesting when that character is a girl.

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review 2016-01-24 21:41
The Hollow Men - I NEED A DOCTOR Paging Dr Harry Kent....
The Hollow Men - Rob McCarthy,Thomas Judd,Hodder & Stoughton UK

LOVED this. Adore Harry Kent. Love a criminally good medical drama and Rob Mccarthy is the first author in ages who can make the medical side both exciting, authentic AND understandable. Plus murder and mayhem and all sorts of other stuff. Excellent all round. I may need a Doctor.

Lucky enough to be able to interview the author for the blog tour coming up on release and a full review will follow then.

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review 2015-11-27 22:10
Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham
Mr. Kiss and Tell - Jennifer Graham,Rob Thomas

In the second book in the Veronica Mars series it takes off not long after the first book ended. This time Veronica must find out what happened to the girl in the hotel room who cried rape. It looks like the girl is keeping secrets, and no one can figure out how she got out of the hotel at all. Now, Veronica and friends are going to figure out what happened to her no matter what. But Veronica is also having problems in other areas of her life, and with the election coming up for Sheriff things aren't looking so great. But Veronica must figure it out before time runs out. 


This book was a great addition to the Veronica Mars series. Although, this one did seem kind of repeats the first book in some ways, it was still really enjoyable. I'm anxious to see what happens next to Veronica, espeically when it comes to the Sheriff. 


But this one was a great way to express everything that I enjoy about Veronica Mars. It had great Logan and Veronica time, and a great mystery with Veronica coming out awesome as always. Now, I can not wait for more! 

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review 2015-11-17 00:00
Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line
Veronica Mars: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line - Rob Thomas,Jennifer Graham,Kristen Bell The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line was an enjoyable but not spectacular continuation of Veronica Mars. I really liked that Kristen Bell was the narrator. It made listening to the audio book kind of feel like watching the TV show. This was set after the TV movie which took place 9 years after the TV show ended. I honestly miss the teenage Veronica and am not crazy about reading about her as an adult. I would like to know what would have happened next if the TV show had continued. Some fill in books for that time period would be great. I just wish that after 9 years there had been more character growth for Veronica and her friends. Why is Wallace working as a teacher/coach? What happened to Wallace's dreams of becoming an engineer? He gave up basketball for it after all. With the exception of Weevil they are 28 years old and none of them are married or even engaged. Dick Casablancas is still acting like a teenage idiot at 28. Weevil went back to the motorcycle gang for some reason that isn't explained. Keith is still not remarried. And I know I am definitely in the minority here, and will probably have people coming after me with pitchforks for saying this, but I wish that Veronica had moved on from Logan and not gone back to him. I was never a huge fan of that relationship. Multiple viewpoints like the TV show would have been nice too, especially since the book is written in third person. Overall it wasn't a bad read, just a little lack luster.
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