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review 2017-01-26 09:48
Death Was the Other Woman by Linda L. Richards
Death Was the Other Woman - Linda L. Richards

So, what were the plucky secretaries of rye-guzzling PIs doing while their employers moped about gorgeous women and betrayal? They did the actual detective work around the office, apparently.

 

DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN is a feminine take on the hard life of a struggling P. I. and his assistant during the harsh years of the beginning of the Depression before the Prohibition repeal. Both the investigator and the crime are pure throwbacks to classic hard boiled crime: a glamorous woman walks into a P.I.’s office and pays the investigator for some simple work, which inevitably leads to dead bodies and danger. What makes the story stands out is that it is told from the perspective of said investigator’s secretary, a young woman named Katherine “Kitty” Pangborn.

 

I freely admit that I’m a snob when it comes to neo-noir and hardboiled crime. It’s not uncommon to see writers capitalize on the style without an inkling of how the dark themes of classic hard boiled crime related to the American world at large. What might be portrayal as “tough” or “cool” in another book is shown in a harsh light, especially alcoholism and the cultural despair created by the Great Depression. Huge swathes of the book are spent with Kitty’s inner thoughts on the economic devastation underlying the glamorous veneer of Los Angeles. As Kitty herself went from the ideal American heiress to a penniless working girl after the stock market crash, she adds unique commentary that isn’t often found in a genre dominated by male/middle class attitudes.

 

The mystery itself is underwhelming. The setup is cliché as hell, and the book does little to make it stand out against the grain. Much of the detective work is buried underneath Kitty’s day-to-day social life, and there are only a handful of moments where Kitty’s ingenuity shines. Too many of the plot twists are saved for the last couple chapters, leading the book to feel unbalanced in consequence. The ending likewise feels too abrupt, as if watching a movie that ends with the second act. None of the characters are given substantial arcs, and we don’t even see any aftermath in the office after the whodunit is revealed.

 

Whether the reader likes DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN depends entirely on if the Depression Era setting of Los Angeles appeals to them. To that end, it’s a solid read. Noir buffs might get a kick out of the story, otherwise, there are better books for mystery lovers out there.

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text 2016-02-01 11:32
Another Great Kresley Cole Series
If You Dare - Kresley Cole

Wow! This woman, Ms. Kresley Cole, can write anything. I began reading her action packed-under and above the covers- Immortals After Dark series many years ago. I read quite a few, then put her books on hold for a while. I came back last year and have nearly completed IAD. As we Geminis love to do, we read at least five books at one time (depending upon our mood). In doing this, I thought I would try Ms. Cole's earlier works after having recently completed her new-amazing-contemporary erotica series, The Game Makers. Knowing how great she handled Contemporary in addition to Paranormal Romance, I had faith that her earlier works-The MacCarrik Brothers trilogy- would be fantastic. Well, I can honestly say that I placed my faith in good hands because this series, so far, is really wonderful. For those who like non-paranormal romance, don't mind period pieces with minimal historical details, and more detailed erotic scenes with brawny, sensual, loving, alpha-males who happen to be Kilt wearers, then this is your series. This book of three, is well written, has a good story line, is erotic but tasteful, and is an easy read! I highly recommend it. There is just a special way that Ms. Cole, and only Ms. Cole, writes sex scenes that are the most unique and erotic in general romance. I have never read anyone else that writes them like she does. It's strange because the scenes are so normal and vanilla, but they make you puddle on the floor every time. And oh yeah, did I mention there's an actual plot that takes up most of the book! I know, right?! Amazing how now we can get a two-for-one deal in today's literature. This book is indeed a "kilt lifter" not a " bodice ripper." Just to clarify ;) But not a cheesy Harlequin; one of few genres I detest vehemently. Yes, there is a clear distinction. So, check this first book out via Overdrive, it's free! You can't go wrong with that, especially if you are new to her works. Enjoy what's under the kilt, I mean cover ;)

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review 2015-11-26 10:18
Nirvana by J. R. Stewart. Revised version and revised review. Still about bees, and virtual reality, less grief and politics.
Nirvana - J.R. Stewart

Thanks to the publishers (Blue Moon Publishers) and Net Galley for providing me with a new copy of the revised version of the novel.

Let me explain why I’m reviewing this novel for the second time. Nirvana was gifted to reviewers in Net Galley and it garnered many reviews. I was one of the people who downloaded it and reviewed it over the late summer and published a review, aware that the book would not be published officially until later. The site offers you a chance to be kept informed or contacted by publishers with news about the authors and I said I’d be interested. I had a member of the PR department for the publishing company contact me and ask me if I’d be interest in reading the revised version. I was curious and they obliged and sent me the book.

It took me a while to get around to it but when I did I was surprised by how much it had changed. Rather than a revision it was a full rewrite. The story is about a dystopian future where the bees have died, and with them most of the plants and animals. The ‘Hexagon’ controls everybody’s lives, food and entertainment have become big businesses, and virtual reality is the only way people can experience life as it was, but this is also monitored, and very expensive. The really rich can live in a virtual reality paradise, called The Bubble, and there are several in different countries (although the story is set in Canada, near Toronto). Nirvana is the virtual reality system where the protagonist (Larissa Kenders) works and it has been created in its majority by her live-in boyfriend Andrew. Andrew disappears and the authorities tell Kenders he is dead. But he keeps appearing to her whilst she is in Nirvana, and although initially she thinks he is just a virtual reality creation, soon she realises that’s not the case. The rest of the book becomes her attempt at following the clues he gives her to retrieve something hidden but very important to the future of humanity whilst trying to remain alive. It’s difficult to know who she can trust and there are traps and conspiracies everywhere.

The novel now fits more neatly within the YA/NA dystopian genre. The story is told only from the point of view of the protagonist, Larissa Kenders, and in the first person person. It is told chronologically, and that avoids some of the confusion of the previous version. It also allows for a closer identification with the main character, and the reader gets to know more about her, about her activism and how her music was always socially conscious (even if she later realises things weren’t as she thought and she might have been playing into the hands of the big corporations). She is younger than in the previous book, although I wasn’t clear of the timeframe, as she’s supposed to be still 17, bus she has been engaged in campaigns in the past, is a famous singer, and has known Andrew, studied at university and visited many places with him before the Earth became practically a desert. It’s true though, that it falls with the genre’s convention that young protagonists seem to have lived several normal lives by the time we get to meet them.

It is easier to empathise with Kenders in this version and we also get to see more of her relationship with Andrew before he disappears. There are bad characters clearly delineated, some heroic ones (more so because doubts were cast upon them), and a more optimistic outlook. It ends with a big hook and the chase starts again, as it should in a series.

Sadly I missed what I had noted in my first review as perhaps not fitting in the genre. I liked the disquisitions about physics and musical theory that have not disappeared, and there is much less emphasis on the politics and funding of research (it is mentioned, but in passing). Perhaps the author will write, at some point, the book that according to her biographical note she had thought of writing, looking at the truth hidden behind the virtual reality industry and research. I’ll be waiting.

In summary, this is solid YA book, with romance, angst, chases, mystery, a strong, talented and intelligent female character, and an interesting world with a strong ecological theme and a warning. Look after the bees and the Earth before all you have left is just a holographic image and your memories.

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photo 2015-11-04 02:36

Boo, Blue, & Kisses with Lou
Such a Freaking Beautiful Crew
Parties at the Zoo
Chocolate Fondue, Aqua Shampoo,

& Nothing but Thank You
His Heart Always True
and You Know What is Due
Baby We at Number Two!!!!!

Source: instagram.com/p/9pNb5ZjWqJ/?taken-by=monroearieltk
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photo 2015-08-22 20:59

The #Countdown Begins Today!

#Curious #Shocked #Exciting
Hold on Tight Baby!!!!
It's Coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Source: instagram.com/p/6smWt0jWlu/?taken-by=monroearieltk
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