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text 2021-01-04 03:25
2021 Reading Challenge

So...2020 was an absolute shitshow and we all know I did not finish my reading goal. I'm not even angry or disappointed. I'm proud that I made it through that dumpsterfire of a year in once piece and (partially) sane!

 

For 2021 it's more of the same, 52 books which breaks down to one book per week. As always, I make no promises to myself or anyone else; however, my goal is to get myself together. Last year was a disaster in just about every way possible. I allowed myself become so out of sorts and-- it was a mess; seriously not pretty. So it's back on track with journaling, organizing and scheduling. So I have hope that I will actually get to 52 (and beyond) this year.

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Still attempting to finish the books I started in previous years:

  1. Twice Bitten
  2. Werewolves and Shape Shifters
  3. The Silmarillion
  4. Boys Will Be Boys
  5. Shattered Hourglass
  6. Legacy of the Jedi
  7. Young Bucks: Killing the Business from Backyards to the Big Leagues
  8. Dread Nation
  9. Deathless Divide (Dread Nation, Book 2)
series project

The Series Project continues:

The Chequey Files

     1 Stiletto

Day By Day: Armageddon

     2 Shattered Hourglass

     3 Grey Fox

     4 Ghost Run

Inheritance Series

     5 Brisingr

     6 Inheritance

*Tolkien

*Star Wars

 
End of 2021 TBR

Tentative TBR

  1. The Princess Bride
  2. The Hate U Give
  3. Army of Darkness, Omnibus 2
  4. NOS4A2
  5. Six of Crows
  6. Black Hole Sun
  7. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
  8. Smoke & Mirrors
  9. The Martian
  10. You're Never Weird on the Internet
  11. The Legends of River Song
  12. The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl
  13. The Gospel of Loki
  14. White Fragility
  15. Zoey Punches the Future on the Dick

Good luck to us all!

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review 2020-07-28 19:28
Fair Warning
Fair Warning - Michael Connelly

This took me almost an hour to be able to post something. I just want to scream. Trying to add tags and all of that took me a really long time too. 

 

Interesting third book looking at the character of Jack McEvoy. Or as I started to call him, his own worst enemy. I honestly dithered about 3 or 4 stars, but ultimately gave it 4 stars because I thought this one had a lot of interesting sub-plots that I was glad to see Connelly tackle (privacy and DNA). But I was tempted to give it 3 stars because Jack is beyond annoying at this point with his constant need to be a jerk and awful to Rachel. Also it's kind of annoying that Jack will get some success and then we find him 10 years later down in his fortunes (again) due to mess he did (again). Also if you are a serial killer one wonders why anyone even goes near McEvoy.

 

"Fair Warning" finds Jack McEvoy 10 years later after the events in the second book. Readers know that he and Rachel Walling had plans to open their own agency after she finishes up with the FBI. Rachel was in a Harry Bosch book, a few years back, and I can't remember what book it was. She mentions at the time that she was with Jack though as an aside to Harry. So between that Bosch book and now, Jack and Rachel are once again done. We don't get the details, initially, but just go with your gut that Jack messed things up. When you read what happens you are going to go yep he messed things up. Shocker.

 

Jack is now working at a site called "Fair Warning" that deals with consumer warnings. It doesn't sound too exciting and you wonder if Jack misses the big stories that he used to chase down. When Jack is interviewed by the police due to his connection to a murder victim though, he starts to investigate the dead woman and finds a surprising connection between her getting her DNA tested to then being murdered. When Jack starts to identify more victims, he is put on the radar of three men. Jack also reaches out to his former lover, Rachel Walling in order to put together a profile of the killer. Connelly moves the story back and forth between Jack, two men, and the murderer.

 

Honestly Jack kind of sucks. I think that Rachel and other characters really drove this story for me. He stays selfish and doesn't trust anyone and constantly bleats about his story, his scoop, and wanting to ride along with the FBI or police. We do get into the rights of the media in this one which I do think is important now more than ever, but Jack once again kind of sucks so you want him to just be quiet after a while. He also messes so many things up that you are kind of exhausted by him.

 

The murder mystery and how it ties into DNA and privacy though I thought was cleverly done. I have to say that I have never done one of those DNA tests things and have zero plans to do so. There's way too many caveats and I am always surprised that the same people who want to yell about their freedom don't care they are giving up a lot of information to a random DNA site.

 

The ending leaves you with more questions than answers though. We have Jack moving into a new direction which honestly makes sense for him and for a lot of journalists these days. However, he still wants something more. With the ending I think we end up seeing a fourth book in this series.

 

The whole Fair Warning publication is apparently real so if readers for a need, they can click on it and see some stories.

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review 2020-07-02 17:29
The Mystery of the Blue Train
The Mystery of the Blue Train - Agatha Christie

I re-read this previously back in 2014. I gave it 3 stars then, but gave this 4 stars now since I appreciated this one a bit more the second time through.

 

Previous review:

 

We have the famous Hercule Poirot on the scene again investigating who murdered heiress Ruth Kettering.

 

When the novel begins we are introduced to many characters who will come to play some importance in showing how and why Ruth Kettering was murdered on the Blue Train she eventually takes for a rendezvous.

 

Though I am happy with the pains Ms. Christie took to provide depth and understanding to all of the characters I felt myself impatient since I wanted to get to Hercule Poirot.

After the disappointment of the "Big Four" I was glad to see that this was a classic who dun it and we don't have Poirot investigating a crazy crime syndicate in this one. However, there was still some disappointment.

 

A character we are introduced to in this novel, Katherine Grey, takes up a great portion of this story. She apparently is just one of those women that when a man meets falls instantly in love with her. I wish that there was some other reason for that since I myself couldn't see it. Though it was nice to read about St. Mary's Mead (home of Miss Marple) I rather would have had Miss Marple and Poirot meet in this novel and she help him solve the murder.

 

Additionally, when we get to the final who and why of the murder it makes no sense. Frankly for all of the pains that were taken the murderer could have taken up other means to get what they wanted without murder especially when you find out the person's reputation.

 

I was not at all surprised to find out that this was one of Christie's least favorite stories. This just didn't have quite the same oomph of her other novels. I still say my least favorite is "The Big Four" though.

 

One funny thing that I read was there was the discussion of trains and how "journeys end with lovers meeting" which quickly made me think of "The Haunting of Hill House" which creeped me out quite a bit.

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review 2020-06-29 19:24
Cheerleader The Second Evil
The Second Evil - R.L. Stine

Ahh, I do love returning to Fear Street. A place that I still say is the inspiration for the Hellmouth on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. "The Second Evil" I found to be too short and also it doesn't give you a chance to mourn any characters that we lose. Of course the ending leaves open another book (which I am so reading).

 

"The Second Evil" follows some months after the events in the first book. Corky is left mourning her sister Bobbi who was murdered. She's left the cheerleading squad and is now dating Chip. Yeah that Chip. Chip who has gone from dating another member of the squad (Kimberly) and then Bobbi and now Corki. I was not a fan of Chip. When Corky starts seeing things and one of the squad keeps intoning the evil has returned, she starts to worry that what they all did a few months ago didn't vanquish the evil for good. And she's right to worry.

 

Corky is definitely a MC you can root for. I do miss Bobbi, but Corky has more of an investigative spirit I thought. She starts trying to run down leads with Chip and then some of the girls on the squad. I have to say though there's not much development of anyone else really in this one besides us getting more information on Sara Fear. I definitely loved the more information on the Fear family and wanted to know even more about them. When I was a pre-teen and later teen reading these books I would get so freaked out about the whole idea behind Fear Street. A few blocks down from my home was a cemetery that sat besides the railroad tracks. We would go down there during the summer and picnic and play touch football or tag, but we were always taught to be respectful of the graves and people visiting. In the daylight there was never anything that was too scary about the place, but as soon as dusk came around 7, 8, or 9 (depending on the time of year) the place felt lonesome and you felt like someone was out there wanting to touch you. Stine at times makes me recall how I felt the first time as a pre-teen reading this (I was 12 when this book was published) and that alone was enough for me to give this 4 stars.

 

The writing was solid, but there's not a lot of scares (at least for me) in this one. We do get some gruesome scenes here and there, but Stine quickly moves along as if he is afraid of freaking out his readers. The flow is a bit stop and start in a few places too, but since this is a fairly short book (180 pages) it doesn't hamper things.

 

The setting of Shadyside and Fear Street still resonate with me and I so wish that Netflix or someone else would consider picking up this series. You can easily update these books and I think would be a fun horror series to sink your teeth into.

 

cheerleaders gifs Page 2 | WiffleGif

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review 2020-06-28 19:51
The Scarecrow
The Scarecrow - Michael Connelly

The main reason why I am not giving this five stars is that it's a bit much that Jack keeps facing off against killers. It's okay that he's a reporter and that's it. Also the story gets a little lost at times I thought. It picks up when Jack meets Rachel again, but I wish that Connelly actually spent more time in going into Jack's life up until this book. We just get a really quick series of things dropped on us as readers. Jack is now divorced (to who?) is working for the paper (what happened to his book thing? We get that addressed eventually) what happened to his sister in law? What happened with his parents? There's a lot of things I still don't think got addressed int his one. I am glad I finished though since I plan to read the next book in this series soon.

 

"The Scarecrow" picks up 12 years after the events in the first book in the Jack McEvoy series. Jack is working for the Los Angeles Times and is number 99 on the list of journalists who are getting RIFed (I work for the government, we have a fear of that acronym). Jack is told to train his replacement (which ouch people) and decides on the last two weeks of the job to look into a case where a grandmother says her grandson did not murder a woman and leave her body in a trunk. Jack quickly runs down leads and realizes that it appears a serial killer is on the loose. He calls up ex-lover Rachel Walling who is still with the FBI. Rachel initially dismisses Jack, but soon enough realizes he may be telling the truth. The two of them go head to head with a serial killer who seems to know their every move.

 

So first off, I ended up liking Jack more in this one. The petulance of the character seems to be way down in this installment. He still tries to get indignant about things, but it didn't bug me as much as it did in the first book. We know that Jack has been keeping tabs on Rachel, and Rachel rightfully so has wanted nothing to do with him since the events in the first book. I liked the two of them together in this one and I definitely enjoyed it when Rachel explains about the whole "one bullet" theory. We get more characters in this one, but I have to say that I didn't really have interest in the "Scarecrow." Per usual we get some hints about the serial killer in this one, but nothing is ever definitely found in the end. I think I like Bosch novels more because at least with Harry, he's chasing down leads so you can see the full picture of the bad guy(s) that he is after.

 

The writing was good in this one, it's a bit different since Connelly rails at times about how the world of journalism has changed because of the internet. I wonder how Connelly would change up this book in the year of 2020 with so many newspapers and sites going under?

 

The flow was off a bit, since Connelly switches between Jack's POV and then the "Scarecrow.". Those sections were so short that you won't miss anything by skipping them. They started to read very repetitive after a while.

 

The ending leaves things on a new note with Jack and am interested to see how things work out in book #3. I do have to say that the book kind of loses steam at the last 10 percent. I just think Connelly wanted to throw in a twist without seeing if it worked and then we are left going wait did I miss something? This also I think is a bit shorter than his usual novels. I got to the 87 percent mark on my Kindle and that was it. The book just does sneak peeks and an interview with Connelly.

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