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review 2017-07-19 16:15
Once and For All Book Review
Once and for All - Sarah Dessen

This was cute. Not my favorite Dessen novel. I felt a little let down by the end. Could have used more back story with the main character and the school shooting scenes. Enjoyed the fact that she worked with her mother with weddings. 

 

Dessen fans will probably like this one. Its her usual cute and fluffy summer read. 

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review 2017-03-18 01:17
A strong mystery, fun characters & an as close-to-perfect ending as you'll find.
Hack: A perfect summer read... - Duncan MacMaster
Little victories, since they're all I can hope for, they're what I live for.

Jake Mooney used to be a pretty good reporter -- good reputation, good results -- but he got out of that game and got into a more lucrative field, even if it was more distasteful. Events transpired,  and that goes away -- I'll let you read it for yourself, but it involves lawyers and an ex-wife. Nowadays, he gets by being a ghost-writer for established authors who don't have the time or ability to write their own material. Out of the blue, he gets an offer to help a former TV star, Rick Rendell, write his autobiography. He'll even get credited for it. Credit -- and a nice cash bonus. How can he say no?

 

Before you can say "Jessica Fletcher," someone tries to kill Jake and then Rick is shot in front of a handful of witnesses, including Jake. Between his affection for (some of) the people in Rick's life, worry over his own safety, curiosity, and his own sense of justice, Jake dives in and investigates the murder himself.

 

Jake finds himself knee-deep in a morass involving unscrupulous agents (I'm not sure there's another kind in fiction), wives (current and ex-), Hollywood politics, an IRS investigation, a Drug Cartel, former co-stars, hedge fund managers, hit men, and a decades-old mysterious death. And a few more fresh deaths. . The notes he's already taken for the book gives Jake fodder for his investigation -- but the combination of notes and his continuing work provides the killer a constant target (and threat). As long as Jake's working on the mystery/mysteries -- and doing better than the police at uncovering crimes and suspects -- the killer can't just escape, Jake has to be stopped.

 

The voice was great, the mystery had plenty of twists and turns, Jake's ineptitude with firearms was a great touch and served to keep him from being a super-hero. I really can't think of anything that didn't work. There's not a character in the book that you don't enjoy reading about. I had three strong theories about what led to Rick's death and who was responsible -- the one I feared the most wasn't it (thankfully -- it was a little too trite). My favorite theory was ultimately right about the who, but was absolutely wrong about everything else. I take that as a win -- I felt good about my guess and better about the very clever plotting and writing that outsmarted me.

 

That's more about me than I intended it to be, so let me try this again -- MacMaster has set up a great classic mystery -- a la Rex Stout or Agatha Christie. A dogged investigator with a personal stake in the case, supporting characters that you can't help but like (or dislike, as appropriate), a number of suspects with reasons to kill the victim (with a decent amount of overlap between those two groups), and a satisfying conclusion that few readers will see coming. Hack is funny, but not in a overly-comedic way, it's just because Jake and some of the others he's with have good senses of humor. I chuckled a few times, grinned a few more.

 

I bought MacMaster's previous book, A Mint Condition Corpse, when it came out last year -- sadly, it's languishing in a dark corner of my Kindle with a handful of other books from Fahrenheit Press (I'm a great customer, lousy reader, of that Press).  Hack wasn't just an entertaining read, it was a great motivator to move his other book higher on my TBR list. Get your hands on this one folks, you'll have a great time.

 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from the publisher, nevertheless, the opinions expressed are my own.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/03/17/hack-by-duncan-macmaster-2
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photo 2016-01-17 19:17
The Reluctant Sacrifice - Kerr-Ann Dempster

I am so excited to invite everyone to THE RELUCTANT SACRIFICE READ ALONG being hosted by @sandrathebookworm on Feb 12. Please repost to help me spread the word. If you haven't read the book yet, please join @sandrathebookworm for the read along. One lucky reader wins a kindle fire❣❣‪#‎trsreadalong‬

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review 2016-01-01 00:00
LOVE ON ST. BARTS a summer romance beach read (St. Barts Romance Books Series Book 1)
LOVE ON ST. BARTS a summer romance beach read (St. Barts Romance Books Series Book 1) - EMME CROSS See review of Box Set

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1584347200
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review 2015-11-05 02:52
Review | The Summer We Read Gatsby by Danielle Ganek
The Summer We Read Gatsby - Danielle Ganek

When two estranged sisters inherit a Hamptons beach house, they search for fortune but find love instead. Cassie and Peck are half sisters with little in common beyond a shared last name--that is, until their beloved aunt Lydia bequeaths them equal shares of her ramshackle old cottage in the Hamptons with instructions to "seek the thing of utmost value" within it. Cassie and Peck fantasize about discovering a lost Jackson Pollock, or a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, as they revel in one last summer of fabulous parties and nostalgia.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

Pecksland "Peck" Moriarty, an NYC theater actor, gets invited to a summer Gatsby-themed party in the Hamptons. She convinces her half sister Stella Blue (named after the Grateful Dead song) Swiss to go with her because Peck is nervous that a certain fella she has a history with is going to be at the party and Peck doesn't want to face him alone. This guy, Miles Noble... Peck makes him out to be a modern-day Jay Gatsby, all slick, smart, funny, wealthy & well-traveled. Stella's never met him before, only heard the legendary tales her sister spins about him, Peck going so far as to say there's something Jim Morrison about Miles. Quite the description to live up to, right? But upon first seeing him, Stella's first gut reaction is "he looks exactly like a frog." LOL ohh those evil love blinders! So starts a summer of Peck & Stella discovering what they really want out of men and life. 

 

What's the importance of summer for these two sisters? Well, Stella explains her lifelong tendency to categorize summer memories by what memorable reads end up coming from the box of books her English teacher aunt sends her each summer season. The summer of 2001 proves to be "the summer of Gatsby, Woody Allen and Jackson Pollack", Stella and Peck being in their 20s. It's also the summer they're left Fool's House, the Hamptons estate of their rich, eccentric aunt Lydia. While trying to figure out what they want to do with this property -- keep, sell, what? -- they decide to have an epic summer of romance, parties, sister bonding time and general summer fun. There's also a light mystery woven into the story regarding a theft. 

 

To be 100% honest here, I only picked this book up out of mild curiosity because F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of my favorite writers and I was wondering how his most famous book would be worked into the plot. Also, the book was priced stupid cheap, so I figured it was worth a shot. Never know, right? Well, it's not literary fiction by any means. I doubt you'll bump into anything profound in its pages, but in it's favor, it never pretends to be more than a beach read. And for being what it is, it's a decent good time for an afternoon out. 

 

There were a few things that annoyed me as far as some of the characterization. For instance, Peck was just a mountain of affectations. But at least she has a small moment of self awareness later that makes a nod to this. Also, the dialogue in general, at least whenever a group of people would form, was insanely vapid. You can also expect to see a fair amount of "literally" being used hyperbolically as well as some truly cringe-worthy pretentious, irony-laden conversations. But then again, the plot is focused on partying in the Hamptons for the summer, soo.... ;-) That being said, there's also something a little tongue-in-cheek about the tone of the novel, almost like Ganek saying I know it sounds ridiculous, I meant it that way. I'll give her that. Doesn't mean I didn't still find it annoying lol. 

 

While most of the story is told from Stella's perspective, I found Peck's version of events in the Epilogue to be really cute. It really plays on how sisters can be with each other -- or how I've seen sisters interact anyway, not  having one myself. 

 

===============================

 

Note To Readers: I thought I would mention a couple French phrases that are used in this book and note the translations here, in case you were not familiar with them --

 

coup de foudre = literally translates to "a bolt of lightning" or "thunderbolt" but conversationally typically refers to a sudden, unexpected event

 

comme il faut = correct in behavior or etiquette, in line with social standards or expectations

 

 

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