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review 2018-01-22 14:36
Book Better Than Movie
The Morning Show Murders - Al Roker,Dick Lochte

My family and I love the Hallmark Channel (January to October 15th, after the 15th you start seeing non-stop Christmas). We love the mystery movies that they put on and the mystery shows. So after Christmas, the commercials started talking about Al Roker's mysteries. I had seen them but had not read them. So with the movie coming, I decided I needed to "read" this book, but I have been unable to find it in Kindle format, so I borrowed it as an audio. 

Billy Blessing (male) is a chef with a popular NYC restaurant and host of morning news segments and a cooking program. One night the restaurant is visited by the local corrupt DA who demands that he be given a private room for his entourage. Billy's manager, Cassandra - a strong woman who doesn't take anything from anyone, refuses to move people to please this man. The next night, the restaurant is closed down by the police because one of Billy's coworkers, Rudy - a man who has a black book of women and cheats on all of them, is found dead in his apartment and they believe that Billy committed the crime. Because Billy is the main suspect and the police and DA are causing him problems in his business, he feels the need to find out who really killed Rudy. As he searches for the real killer, he comes across another killer, a serial killer called Felix. Because he is now being threatened, he is given a security detail and still works to find the true Felix. 

There were moments that the story felt like "The Gourmet Detective" by Peter King. At other times you could clearly see the author's beliefs. He dedicates the books to his family and says they think he hasn't got a clue. 

Overall, the book was pretty good, but the movie was okay but definitely different from the book. Billie (female), Cassandra (aunt) and Ian the detective helps while in the book, the detective was adversarial and crooked as well.

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review 2018-01-21 05:07
THE GREAT AND SECRET SHOW Review
Great and Secret Show - Clive Barker

”Mind was in matter, always. That was the revelation of Quiddity. The sea was the crossroads, and from it all possibilities sprang. Before everything, Quiddity. Before life, the dream of life. Before the thing solid, the solid thing dreamt. And mind, dreaming or awake, knew justice, which was therefore as natural as matter, its absence in any exchange deserving of more than a fatalistic shrug.”

 

Behind everything — all of life and non-life — is Quiddity: a metaphysical dream-sea, a sort of collective consciousness that is accessible only thrice in life. Those moments are just after birth, while lying after sex for the first time with one’s true love, and, finally, after death. To access it is nearly impossible, divine; it is the Art. If that sounds heady and über philosophical, especially a dark fantasy/horror novel, it is. And in a lesser author’s hands it would fall apart; this is Clive Barker, however, so 1989’s The Great and Secret Show is a masterwork.

 

At the heart of this novel is a war between two former acquaintances-turned-enemies: one wants to access the Quiddity, to swim that water and know its secrets; the other wants to protect it at all costs. From there spins out a tale of demonic possession and romance; incest and the apocalypse; the shallow face of West Hollywood cracking while a hole is ripped in the universe, exposing what lies beyond the only thing the human mind can comprehend: the carefully balanced façade of modern living.

 

This is a weird novel, and I loved every moment. I picked it up last night and couldn’t put it down. That’s almost seven-hundred pages read in forty-eight hours. Barker is an author whose prose I love to nibble on, suckle at, mull over. But I couldn’t put this book down. By combining the grotesque and fantastical, this novel is a titillating mashup of genres and ideas, all tied together with the confidence of a legendary myth maker.

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review 2018-01-20 20:45
Undercover Princess
Undercover Princess (Rosewood Chronicles) - Connie Glynn

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley.]

There were good ideas in there, and I was fairly thrilled at first at the setting and prospects (a boarding school in England, hidden royals that looked like they’d be badass, etc.), but I must say that in the end, even though I read the novel in a rather short time and it didn’t fall from my hands, it was all sort of bland.

The writing itself was clunky, and while it did have good parts (the descriptions of the school, for instance, made the latter easy to picture), it was more telling, not showing most of the time. I’m usually not too regarding on that, I tend to judge first on plot and characters, and then only on style, but here I found it disruptive. For instance, the relationship between Ellie and Lottie has a few moments that border on the ‘what the hell’ quality: I could sense they were supposed to hint at possible romantic involvement (or at an evolution in that direction later), but the way they were described, it felt completely awkward (and not ‘teenage-girls-discovering-love’ cute/awkward).

The characters were mostly, well, bland. I feel it was partly tied to another problem I’ll mention later, namely that things occur too fast, so we had quite a few characters introduced, but not developed. Some of their actions didn’t make sense either, starting with Princess Eleanor Wolfson whose name undercover gets to be... Ellie Wolf? I’m surprised she wasn’t found out from day one, to be honest. Or the head of the house who catches the girls sneaking out at night and punishes them by offering them a cup of tea (there was no particular reason for her to be lenient towards them at the time, and if that was meant to hint at a further plot point, then we never reached that point in the novel).

(On that subject, I did however like the Ellie/Lottie friendship in general. It started in a rocky way, that at first made me wonder how come they went from antipathy to friendship in five minutes; however, considering the first-impression antipathy was mostly based on misunderstanding and a bit of a housework matter, it’s not like it made for great enmity reasons either, so friendship stemming from the misunderstanding didn’t seem so silly in hindsight. For some reason, too, the girls kind of made me think of ‘Utena’—probably because of the setting, and because Ellie is boyish and sometimes described as a prince rather than a princess.)

The story, in my opinion, suffers from both a case of ‘nothing happens’ and ‘too many things happen’. It played with several different plot directions: boarding school life; undercover princess trying to keep her secret while another girl tries to divert all attention on her as the official princess; prince (and potential romantic interest) showing up; mysterious boy (and potential romantic interest in a totally different way) showing up; the girls who may or may not be romantically involved in the future; trying to find out who’s leaving threatening messages; Binah’s little enigma, and the way it ties into the school’s history, and will that ever play a part or not; Anastacia and the others, and who among them leaked the rumour; going to Maradova; the summer ball; the villains and their motivations. *If* more time had been spent on these subplots, with more character development, I believe the whole result would’ve been more exciting. Yet at the same time all this gets crammed into the novel, there’s no real sense of urgency either, except in the last few chapters. That was a weird dichotomy to contend with.

Conclusion: 1.5 stars. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll be interested in reading the second book. I did like the vibes between Lottie and Ellie, though.

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review 2018-01-08 14:22
Fun Hats for Kids or Chemo Patients
Animal Hats: 15 patterns to knit and show off - Vanessa Mooncie

This winter has been super cold for many of us and I have a friend who is ill. I have wanted to make her some fun hats and saw this book at the library and while the patterns are really nice looking, the yarn is bulky yarn. Not something I enjoy working with on hats. But for my friend, I would definitely hunt up the yarn and make these. 

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review 2017-12-28 14:37
The Late Show
The Late Show - Michael Connelly

So I really enjoyed this new character created by Michael Connelly. Renee Ballard is a LAPD detective who has been bounced to "The Late Show" i.e. the night shift that means she no longer gets to work hot cases. We find out that when Renee filed a sexual harassment case against her supervisor, her ex partner failed to back her up, which caused her to get booted to the late show. When Renee starts working two cases that brings her back into the periphery of her ex-supervisor and ex-partner, Renee finds out that she doesn't want to just be pushed out and ignored anymore. In the current climate that is going on (women coming forward with sexual harassment complaints) Connelly could not have written a more topical novel. I really loved the character of Renee. She obviously has a lot of issues, but she is smart and refuses to back down. I can see her going down as a fan favorite just like Harry Bosch.

 

When Renee catches the first of the two cases we follow in this book, we get to see her not just going by the numbers like her current partner Jenkins is doing. Getting to investigate who left a prostitute near death, has Renee wanting to catch "the big evil" that she thinks the perpetrator has to be. When Renee and Jenkins are called to another crime scene at a nightclub that left several people dead, she runs into her ex-partner Chastain and her former supervisor Olivas.

 

The characters in this one really do come alive. I liked Renee a lot. You definitely get that she's smart. And I liked that something in her would not just allow her to write off an attack on a prostitute. With her going back to figure out what happened to the victim and doing the groundwork needed to figure out who the perpetrator was interesting. And I am glad that Renee got to redeem herself in this book though she really didn't need to be redeemed. It sucks her career got derailed because she refused to have sex with her supervisor. I can see that Olivas is going to be set up to be a thorn in her side (unless Connelly kills his terrible ass) for at least one more book.

 

Renee's partner Jenkins is just sticking around til retirement trying to take care of his sick wife. Unlike with Bosch though, Renee truly seems to value his partnership and even though Chastain betrayed her, she still knows the ins and outs of him long after their partnership is over. I always felt like Bosch was just a lone wolf who didn't need anyway. I liked Ballard having to bring in people with what she was doing through both cases.

Renee's grandmother was barely in this book, hope we see more of her in the future.

 

The writing was really good. It took a bit though for me to get a handle on Ballard. I honestly didn't know if I even liked her at first. She seemed to be pretty hard and when you read about what all happened to her (losing her father, not having her mother around, dealing with her partner betraying her) I can see why she was so prickly. I don't know if I would be done with just sleeping on a beach most nights though.

 

I really did love how this book calls back to a few things from the Bosch series. Many long time readers should realize who Chastain is, his father appeared in several of the Bosch books, "The Black Ice", "Trunk Music" and "Angels Flight." We also have references to Bosch himself and a series based on his life. That part cracked me up though. Can you imagine Bosch wanting to be part of a tv series?

 

The ending left things with Ballard at a crossroads of sorts. I am curious what she is going to do, stick with "The Late Show" or finally be called back up to Homicide. I do hope that she runs into other characters from the Bosch universe.

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