Month: February 2017 (page 1 of 4)

The Drop (Harry Bosch #17) by Michael Connelly

The Drop (Harry Bosch #17) by Michael ConnellyThe Drop by Michael Connelly
Published by Little, Brown and Company on October 27th 2011
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 388
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

Harry Bosch has been given three years before he must retire from the LAPD, and he wants cases more fiercely than ever. In one morning, he gets two.

DNA from a 1989 rape and murder matches a 29-year-old convicted rapist. Was he an eight-year-old killer or has something gone terribly wrong in the new Regional Crime Lab? The latter possibility could compromise all of the lab's DNA cases currently in court.
Then Bosch and his partner are called to a death scene fraught with internal politics. Councilman Irvin Irving's son jumped or was pushed from a window at the Chateau Marmont. Irving, Bosch's longtime nemesis, has demanded that Harry handle the investigation.

Relentlessly pursuing both cases, Bosch makes two chilling discoveries: a killer operating unknown in the city for as many as three decades, and a political conspiracy that goes back into the dark history of the police department.

Trigger warning: Child rape and pedophilia.

So this was a pretty cool Bosch book. We have Harry trying to work two cases with his new partner David Chu who readers met in “Nine Dragons”. And Bosch acting like a jerk again (that’s becoming a theme). If you expect to get any back and forth with Bosch and his daughter Maddie in this one, you will be sad. Seriously, at this point Maddie is practically a pet that Bosch refers to but doesn’t seem to know what to do with (Connelly does not either).

Bosch is called in to investigate when former Captain Irving (and current nemesis of Bosch) son dies. It appears that it is an open and closed suicide. However, Irving wants Bosch to investigate. Even though the two men don’t like each other, Irving knows that Bosch will be up front about what happened, no matter what the cost is.

Bosch has also gotten DNA back in a young woman’s rape and murder from 1989. The DNA matches a convicted rapist. It seems like an open and shut case until Bosch and Chu realize that the man whose DNA it matches would have been 8 years old when the rape occurred. This honestly was the most fascinating case. I was surprised at the twists and turns that Connelly throws out and when we finally realize what happened and who was behind the 1989 murder your skin crawls. There was also a couple of graphic scenes with a man who was molested as a kid and…yeah the imagery that Connelly inspires made me want to take a few showers.

We have Bosch with another love interest in this one. She is not that interesting. I think at first I liked the character since we have Bosch attracted to someone whose job would go against the grain of his. But in the end, her whole story seemed unfinished. We find out why she took the job she did and why she is so adamant about finding the underlining reason why some men rape and molest when they come from what others would consider good homes.

We continue the parade of Bosch is better than his partners in this one. I liked Chu in “Nine Dragons”. Mainly because we got to see Bosch realize that for once he may not be as smart as someone else and heck he needed to apologize about all of the assumptions he kept making about him. But in this one of course Connelly paints Chu in a negative light and Bosch acts like some spurned lover the whole time. Men are exhausting. And I honestly hate how Bosch cuts Chu out of one of the investigations. He claims he is doing it for him, but I didn’t get that sense at all. He wants Chu to be the computer guy why he investigates and interrogates everyone. I can see why J. Edgar and Kiz got tired of his crap after a while.

As I said above, don’t expect to get much out of Maddie living with Bosch in this one. She’s barely in the story. I wanted to see if Bosch was continuing her therapy after the death of Eleanor Wish in the last standalone book, but I guess not? Who knows.

We have Kiz in this one and once again I hated what Connelly did with the character. At this point, everyone in the LAPD is a bad person but Bosch. There’s never any shades of gray with anyone.

There are other secondary characters that I definitely felt for in this one.

The writing was fast paced in this one since we had Bosch investigating two separate murders from beginning to end. Honestly Bosch’s final confrontation with Irving was a bit of a boring scene to me. I know that Bosch is all “het” up about it, but I really shrugged. Since Irving has done his best to come after the LAPD since being part of the City Council, I don’t get what Connelly was trying to say what was behind the motivations of others in this book. It definitely seems like something shady was going on based on Irving’s son’s job and what the man’s own wife said about him.

This book didn’t have a typical noir feel to it. It just felt a little paint by the numbers at times. I liked it, but I think splitting Bosch’s focus in this one was why it felt a little off to me. I wish we had the Irving investigation as it’s own separate book in a different book or something. Connelly does combine them together quite well, but you definitely know you are reading about two separate cases. Thank goodness that Connelly does not try to combine them by some ridiculous coincidence though.

The ending once again lives Bosch standing alone and one wonders what his future is going to bring since he has made even more enemies at this point.

four-stars

Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch #15) by Michael Connelly

Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch #15) by Michael ConnellyNine Dragons by Michael Connelly
Published by Little, Brown and Company on October 13, 2009
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 385
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer.
The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation--not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li's life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.

And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.

Well this is one of my least favorite Bosch books. We get Bosch just bumbling from the beginning of this book to the end. We have Connelly get rid of two characters we have been following for a number of books now in completely (IMHO) stupid ways, and I don’t know, I think Bosch is just casually racist towards Chinese people. I also didn’t get a sense of Hong Kong at all while reading this book. I felt like Connelly watched “Knock Off” a few times, visited Hong Kong, took a couple of terrible pictures he inserted in this book and called himself done. As someone who has been to Hong Kong and adored it, he completely misses the mark on just how big the city is and how many people are there. I also think the fact that Bosch is there for about 24 hours makes the whole story-line dance towards ridiculous by the time we get to the end and realize what happened with Bosch’s kidnapped daughter.

In “Nine Dragons” we have Bosch investigating the murder of a Chinese store owner that Bosch feels a connection to since he gave Bosch a match to light a cigarette. I am not kidding people. That is something that Bosch repeats to himself and others throughout the story. I maybe wanted to smack Bosch across the face when he says this to the victim’s son. And then we have Bosch acting like how come no one gets what he is talking about and man oh man I broke out some wine since I could see we were dancing towards that kind of story.

When Bosch and his partner (poor Iggie) investigating the murder, Bosch brings in someone from the Asian Gang Unit to lend a hand (David Chu). Bosch though of course acts like an asshole to David and to Iggie so that’s like negative 10 we got for Bosch at this point in the story. When David and Bosch start to dig deeper, it looks like the murder may have links to a local Triad. And when Bosch swoops in to make an arrest, everything gets “F” up when his 13 year old daughter Maddie is kidnapped.

From prior books, readers know that Bosch has a daughter named Maddie with former wife Eleanor Wish. Maddie and Eleanor live in Hong Kong where Eleanor makes a living playing poker (don’t ask). Though Bosch has had relationships with other women, he still sits around thinking about Eleanor and how one day things may work out (considering how she left him and didn’t tell him about his daughter for I think 4 years I think Bosch is out of his mind). We never get to see Bosch and Maddie interact at all with each other until this book so I had a hard time with Maddie in this one. She was being a brat up until she went missing, and when we find out about what went on I definitely didn’t like her one bit. And Bosch questioning Eleanor’s parenting style…look there’s a lot to yell at this character about, but she’s the main parent taking care of Maddie while Bosch is off avenging folks. And him being a jerk about the new man in Eleanor’s life, sigh at this point we are at about minus 1,000 with Bosch.

I ended up feeling really sad about what happens with Iggie and other people in this one. I think Connelly was so focused on moving the action to Hong Kong he didn’t sit and think about how other people got the end of the short stick in this one. Since Bosch treated Iggie terribly in the last book (IMO) I was not feeling him acting as if Iggie was being a baby or less of a cop since he got shot in the last book. I would think Bosch could feel some type of empathy towards Iggie who now has three kids, but nope, he acts like unless Iggie lives and breathes the job he is less of a cop than Bosch.

Connelly of course nails Bosch’s voice. But I have to say, he is way more bumbling in this one. His arrogance as far as I am concerned got people hurt. Going to a foreign country and trying to show your ex wife’s new boyfriend you know better than him was just eye roll inducing. I want to say something about Ugly Americans, but I want this review to be over and am going to skip over it.

The setting of Hong Kong wasn’t used very well at all as I said above. Bosch flies in and manages to wreck havoc in 24 hours. I don’t even get a sense of Hong Kong in this one probably because Bosch was too busy obsessing over Eleanor and being a jerk. And then we have Bosch flying back to LA and somehow setting up his daughter with a therapist to discuss what happens while continuing his case against someone he believes murdered a shop keeper. I got whip lash while reading this book. The flow was off as soon as Bosch gets to Hong Kong and never gets fixed. And the fake out ending making you think that someone was dead and you find out that actually someone else died off screen was BS of the first water. I was mad at the way Bosch showcased this character’s death (not at all) and the character of Bosch not really giving two craps about it that I could see.

three-stars

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell

Three Amazing Things About You by Jill MansellThree Amazing Things About You by Jill Mansell
Published by Sourcebooks on October 4, 2016
Genres: Chick Lit
Pages: 384
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

Hallie has a secret...doesn't everybody?

Hallie doesn't have long to live. And to make things even more complicated, she's in love with a guy who's seriously out of bounds. She's never going to let him know, of course; she's just going to enjoy every remaining moment of her crush. She's also determined to spend her last months helping those who write into her Dear Rose column with problems of their own. Her doctors can't fix her, but maybe she can fix a few other people's dilemmas before it's too late.

All our lives are full of choices, for better or worse. The amazing thing to see is how connected we all are-in ways we don't even know. On occasion, we have the chance to see the ways we change one another's lives for the better.

Well this is the first Mansell book I have loved. I think the reason why though is that we follow three separate couples/groups and then we get to see how in the world they all connect up with each other at the end. I maybe cried a bit too when I got to certain parts. I will say that I didn’t buy the character of Flo getting along with her boyfriend’s sister towards the end of the book. She (Lena) I found to be terrible. I don’t know if I could have been so forgiving due to an accident that I still feel was Lena’s fault. Either way though, I liked how the story moved months and then months again. We definitely get a sense of time passing and people growing up.

“Three Amazing Things About You” follows Hallie, Tasha, and Flo. These three women are thinly connected and until almost the end of the book, you don’t understand why Mansell told the story the way she does.

Hallie has cystic fibrosis and knows that due to her condition that she does not have long to live. Her condition causes her to miss out on things that she yearns for like the ability to travel all over the world and just to walk without getting winded. What I really did like about Hallie though, is that she has her own blog where she gives out advice to her followers/readers. Due to Hallie’s age though, I have to say that this whole thing with a 20 year old person giving out sage advice rung hollow for me. I have to call Dawson Creek levels of shennigans here. My friends and I say that all the time to each other when we read a book or watch a movie with a character who is young and dying and is full of wisdom about everything around them. Did I get a kick out of Hallie’s column? Yes. Did I find it believable? Not a bit. I also found her responses to some readers to be harsh too.

Tasha is single and I am going to say it, picky as anything regarding what guy she will date. I am too though, so I actually cheered her for this. Out of the women we follow, I have to say that Tasha was my favorite. Tasha ends up having a fun meet-cute with a guy named Rory. She doesn’t think she will see him again, but luckily for her, Rory can’t get her out of his mind and arranges to see her again. These two quickly start throwing around the “L” word and both know they have found the one they want to be with. However, these two are complete opposites. Tasha likes to be safe and worries a lot about Rory who drives a motorcycle, rock climbs, and seems to be a total adrenaline junkie. Both Tasha and Rory’s best friends think the couple is doomed though since they don’t have a lot in common. There was a couple of moments there that I thought I knew where Mansell was going with Tasha and Rory, but glad to be proven wrong.

Flo is a carer at a retirement home. She ended up working for an elderly woman who of course lavished all of her love on her cat (yep, catlady). When the woman dies, she leaves the cat to Flo with the condition that Flo can leave in her flat as long as the cat lives. This of course ticks off the great niece and great nephew (brother and sister Zander and Lena). Flo though finds herself becoming more attracted to Zander even though Lena does her best to break them up.

There are a few secondary characters heads we get into while reading. We get to see Rory’s and Zander’s POV a few times throughout the story. I wish Mansell had included them more too since a lot comes up because of these two men. We also get Hallie’s doctor, Luke’s, POV as well. We actually get more of Luke which I thought was a shame since I think the women and men in this book all meet because of one character, and I wish we get more insight into that person.

We also get some secondary characters like Hallie’s best friend, Tasha’s best friend, etc. that don’t come off very well while I was reading. I think it was because we had whole things revealed about them that you get told about later. It would have been nice if that was included while reading instead of being told, why yes, I have been doing X this whole time.

The writing was pretty good. The plot I will leave out since it will spoil you on the ending. The flow for this one was a lot better than previous Mansell books though. I think telling this in three separate stories works for this book. Usually Mansell has a huge cast of characters you are supposed to follow who all know each other, are lying about something, or are sneaking around. It’s too much to be believed at times.

The setting of this book with the small villages and other locations (Hallie’s home, Flo’s flat, etc.) were very well done. I could picture each place perfectly in my head.

The ending really ties everything up. I was glad that Mansell actually wrote what I would consider a more mature chick-lit. You still get the romance side of things, but we also get to see something realistic and you get to see how one person’s of HEA could be someone else’s tragedy.

four-stars

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

The Murder on the Links by Agatha ChristieThe Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
Series: Hercule Poirot #2
Published by William Morrow on November 23, 2004
Genres: Classic Mystery/Suspense
Pages: 240
Source: Purchased: ebook
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.

But why is the dead man wearing his son's overcoat? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse . . .

I realized this year that I have never read this book. I could have sworn I had since I did my Poirot readings a few years back, but then realized nope that I must have confused this book with another. Either way, I am thrilled that I got a chance to immerse myself back into the world of our egg-head shaped detective and his “little gray cells.”

Image result for poirot gifs

Told in the first person POV by Hastings (Poirot’s mostly bumbling and honestly dumb as anything assistant) in this one. We have Hasting and Poirot go off to investigate after Poirot receives a letter from a Monsieur Paul Renauld. Renauld believes he will be murdered and asks for Poirot to come as quickly as he can. However, when Poirot and Hastings arrive, they find the police on the scene since Renauld was found murdered and his wife bound by unknown attackers.

We have Poirot getting into a mental pissing match with another detective named Giraud who hates Poirot and seems him as old and outdated. I did want to shake Hastings a bit here and there since he wants Poirot’s deductions to be correct since he doesn’t want Poirot to look foolish which would mean he would look foolish. Speaking of Hastings, he falls in love at first sight with a young woman he calls Cinderella. I hope you like that name, because she is referred to as such throughout mostly the entire book. We even have a connection to the murder and we have Hastings acting a fool (IMHO) cause of love. I don’t know. I may be heartless, but if I think you committed a crime I am going to get the heck away from you.

This is not one of Poirot’s locked room mysteries, but it does leave a lot of intrigue into who killed Renauld and why. Also I have to say that once again I was totally in the dark about who the villain was in this one. I guessed wrong (twice) and just gave up on who dun it until Poirot revealed all.

The ending in it’s own way had a HEA which surprised me.

Image result for poirot gifs

five-stars

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan MirandaAll the Missing Girls Published by Simon & Schuster on June 28, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 384
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

Like the spellbinding psychological suspense in The Girl on the Train and Luckiest Girl Alive, Megan Miranda’s novel is a nail-biting, breathtaking story about the disappearances of two young women—a decade apart—told in reverse.

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

Told backwards—Day 15 to Day 1—from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance, revealing shocking truths about her friends, her family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago.

Like nothing you’ve ever read before, All the Missing Girls delivers in all the right ways. With twists and turns that lead down dark alleys and dead ends, you may think you’re walking a familiar path, but then Megan Miranda turns it all upside down and inside out and leaves us wondering just how far we would be willing to go to protect those we love.

This book was terrible. Besides a gimmick of telling the main story backwards (which I swear I have seen before in books like “The Secret History”) there was nothing appealing about this book. The main character was terrible, her family was terrible, and there was no development at all with secondary characters. I didn’t get a sense of anyone at all and when I got to the letdown of an ending I was really ticked I had wasted any time at all with this.

Nicolette (or Nic) is reluctant to return to her hometown. We know that she is still haunted by her best friend Corrine that disappeared years ago. Nic left town and ended up going to school and settling in Philadelphia. She met a great guy named Everett and is finally engaged. However she feels stunted by her past and when her brother Daniel calls her to help with selling their family home she goes. Deciding to take two months off to help her brother Daniel, Nic is quickly confronted with an old boyfriend (Tyler) who is now dating Corrine’s younger sister Annaleise. Things go sideways for Nic again though when Annaleise goes missing just like Corrine did years ago.

Nic sucks. Sorry, when you eventually go from day 15 back to day 1 you have all of these things revealed which just makes her a small and just messed up person. I don’t see any “Gone Girl” comparisons here since with Amazing Amy you get a really cool reveal about her. Telling the book backwards like she did, Miranda hid things until they were revealed earlier on which doesn’t work. There were so many plot holes that I skipped counting them after a while.

I had so many questions about Nic’s family, but everything dealing with her father and brother Daniel was vague. There is barely any dialogue by the way by anyone in this story. So you are fully immersed in Nic’s head at all times. People’s motivations for doing anything was murky and downright stupid at times.

Tyler is pathetic from beginning to end. I still don’t get what drew him to Nic or her to him. Once again I am going to blame this on the writing though. Maybe if Miranda had told the story with the setup of everyone involved and then jumped to the present it would have worked better. But instead we just glimpses of Tyler and everyone else in this book through the count back day gimmick. And Tyler acting like a spurned lover though he has been dating and having sex with other women and Nic acting like they had this bond was ridiculous. Once again I am going to blame that on the narrative structure.

The writing I found to be so-so. Honestly, there was way too much tell going on here. And I had a hard time with even understanding why thing on day 15 would be vague since by then Nic obviously knows what happens and who did what. You can’t do it that way and then have readers go the whole way to day 1 and all of a sudden things suddenly make sense. Frankly Miranda should have said on day 15 what went on and who did what and then you can work forward that way. This makes me think a little bit of “The Secret History”. “The Secret History” worked better for me even though you have the reveal of who did what and who was murdered upfront. You get to work forward (or backwards in a way) and get to see what was the final incident that caused the murder.

The setting of this small town does not come alive at all. Probably because of the structure of the book. Besides Nic and Daniel’s childhood home no place felt “real” to me while reading.

The ending was a joke and a half.

one-star

In Twenty Years: A Novel by Allison Winn Scotch

In Twenty Years: A Novel by Allison Winn ScotchIn Twenty Years by Allison Winn Scotch
Published by Lake Union Publishing on July 1, 2016
Genres: Chick Lit
Pages: 334
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.

But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.

Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.

I dithered about this book for a while. There was something bugging me about it and then I realized. I pretty much called every single one of the endings for the characters. I didn’t really like the character (Lindy) who was bisexual being portrayed as “slutty” and the poor girl/woman (Annie) who sat around harboring same lame crush on a guy (Colin) that didn’t want her. I was more interested in the married couple (Catherine and Owen) but even after a while I tired of them. I think this book was a mash up of The Big Chill and I will be the first to say I was not a fan of that movie. Probably because even as a child I had no patience for selfish people (which I counted a ton as while watching that movie).

I had liked I think maybe 1 or 2 of Scotch’s prior works. But the later stuff has not been doing a thing for me. I think if this had been shortened a bit, or maybe just didn’t include this manic pixie girl (Bea) as this bigger than life character we never get to really see as readers it would have worked better. I just had a hard time with people who have been sporadically in touch through 20 years to all of a sudden make a sojourn back to a house they stayed at during college. Don’t get me started that one of the characters is as popular as Martha Stewart and another one is a world famous musician. You don’t get the sense at all from the little introduction chapter we get on these people that these are the careers they would fall into or want to do.

I don’t know who I disliked the most out of the characters: Bea, Colin, Annie, or Lindy. It’s pretty much a toss-up for me. I didn’t care for the character of Bea based on what we see about her during some other character’s flashbacks. Bea to me is very manipulative. I didn’t get some wise woman living in a young woman’s body. We are told constantly that Bea lived on the edge and was IMHO way too close to her friends from college. We get some bare insight into this character about finding out she’s an orphan. But I ultimately didn’t like how she chose to treat Annie like a small child who had to be protected.

Annie was aggravating. I never got a handle on this character either. I think that her unrequited crush on Colin and her ridiculous propelling of him onto a pedestal is what made it so hard to like this characters. Plus Scotch introduces the husband via Annie’s character who you don’t care for at all, but then you learn some things so you end up having some sympathy for him, and then Annie proceeds to make terrible decisions throughout the book.

The character of Lindy is a popular musician who is a lesbian some of the time but has sex with men still. I am still confused by this whole character. Did Scotch not want to have a bisexual character? Cause it made me confused why Lindy I think identifies as a lesbian though she is attracted and sleeps with men. Seriously someone help me out here, I just didn’t get what was going on and what was Scotch trying to portray with this character at all. I also hated the whole Lindy can’t be monogamous thing that was going on either. I know that one of my friends who is bisexual and happily married with kids now said it used to tick her off when people thought her identifying as such meant she slept around. I think ultimately I was confuse though because a secret is put out about why she really went about sleeping with the character of Colin and I just wanted to tell her to go see a therapist.

Colin I found to be gross.

Catherine and Owen were ultimately the only two characters that seemed to be fully fleshed out. I wish that Scotch had stuck with them more honestly. I was more interested in this atypical marriage which is becoming the norm (wife works and husband stays home) and seeing how Owen is feeling unfilled at this role. Heck, this is what a lot of mothers feel as well, so it would have been great to see these two acknowledging that things are not working out and how to fix it. There’s just a lot of drinking, fighting, and acting crazy.

The writing was okay, though I got really confused while reading. Maybe if the book had been told in a linear fashion (start off with them about to graduate, then go to the wedding, then hit 17 years later or whenever it was they all received letters). Instead we have characters flashbacking and being in “present” time while reading chapters.

I honestly think the multiple POVs throw this book off too. We start off with Bea, then go to Annie, Lindy, and after that I believe it’s Catherine, then Owen, and finally Colin. Then we beep bop around for the whole book. The last chapter made me roll my eyes a lot too. I think I was supposed to get a feeling of well being instead of annoyance that made me feel like none of these people learned a thing. We also don’t equally stick with characters. Most of the book belongs to the women characters. And honestly, after two rounds of Lindy, I was pretty much done with her.

The book mentions that this is about 6 friends (a 6 pointed star) who go to Penn and I can tell you that no one calls the University of Pennsylvania Penn. If you say Penn, most people think you are talking about Penn State. I was so surprised when I realized this book was supposed to take place in Philadelphia and then I put two and two together and was like oh she mans University of Pennsylvania. And can I say that besides some random talk of cheese-steaks, I did not get Philly from this book. Let alone these people who had lived at a house nearby the university for a number of years.

two-stars

Account Deleted

In case some people are wondering where I went on Booklikes, I finally deleted my account.

I decided to import my books over from Goodreads since a lot of people started messaging asking where my other reviews were. I directed them towards the blog, but I guess a lot of people don’t like looking in a bunch of places for reviews which is understandable.

So I exported my reviews from Goodreads and reviewed the CVS file. I made sure I deleted out reviews from prior to January 1, 2017. I logged into Booklikes and finally hit the import button. Things were going smoothly and then I realized when I went to the import page that I had a bunch of books on my page 1 that were not part of my Goodreads file. I start getting worried that maybe even after deleting the rows prior to January 1, 2017 that Booklikes could somehow still read them. So I go into the import page and start deleting out the books. I, in my complete stupidity never put two and two together and realize these are books from the last time I imported books into Booklikes from four years ago and they are connected to my current reviews/shelves on Booklikes.

I also don’t realize until that moment that Booklikes posts reviews/books from import without looking for duplicates.

So in about five minutes I see a bunch of books I already posted onto Booklikes there twice. So I go through and start hitting the remove button on the import page. And that was my fifth or sixth mistake at this point. Those books I was removing were connecting to my current reviews from the past couple of weeks and they went poof. I realized that after I went to Booklike’s page for one of the books I removed and saw my review was no longer there.

The duplicates I saw all over the page made no sense to me. How can Booklikes not check out each edition and merge reviews so that all reviews stay with the book?  That has been a common complaint I have made for the past couple of months that I see is still not fixed.  I saw that all of my shelves were completely messed up and even removing the book from one shelve did not remove it from the All shelve.

So within 30 minutes my total number of reviews danced towards 900 (I should only have 851). After removing and trying to clean up I went down to 816. So with having no more F’s left to give I just deleted my account.

I hate that I lost everything, but there is no fixing these. Others have offered to help, Booklikes has never gotten back to me about shelves issues even though I emailed them repeatedly during the past year about it. So that’s it. When I get some time and don’t want to kick my computer dead I will just re-create another account. There’s not much to do at that point.

Blue

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

Bitter is the New Black by Jen LancasterBitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster
Published by NAL on March 7, 2006
Genres: Non-fiction
Pages: 400
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
four-stars

This is the story of how a haughty former sorority girl went from having a household income of almost a quarter-million dollars to being evicted from a ghetto apartment... It's a modern Greek tragedy, as defined by Roger Dunkle in The Classical Origins of Western Culture: a story in which "the central character, called a tragic protagonist or hero, suffers some serious misfortune which is not accidental and therefore meaningless, but is significant in that the misfortune is logically connected."

In other words? The bitch had it coming.

I ended up re-reading this book yesterday because I needed something to make me laugh. I have always gotten a kick out of Jen Lancaster’s older memoirs and even though I know them by heart, I still laugh each time. I think my main take away at reading this again after several years of reading her latest memoirs is that her older memoirs were more honest and up front about her life and family. Nowadays it feels like she always keeps things back. And she mentioned in one of her memoirs she was estranged from her family. And now it seems she is only estranged from her brother (who I loathed in this book and the others where he makes an appearance).

Jen Lancaster in her first memoir details how she and her now husband (then boyfriend and fiancee) were living the high life in Chicago, and then they were not. Due to the economy and dot.coms being on the upswing prior to 9/11 it seemed like the young and up and comers were making money hand over fist. And then Jen is fired due (according to her) her boss wanting to make sure that her family member got a job that Jen was already doing quite competently. From there we go from Jen being angry and then depressed when it becomes readily apparent she is not able to find a job that matches her skill level. When her boyfriend Fletch loses his job as well the two of them have to dig deep and move elsewhere while their finances keep spiraling out of control.

I liked seeing Jen go from being in her own words spoiled and realizing that the choices she made in life (spend thousands and thousands of dollars on stuff instead of saving it all) were partially to blame for the situation that she ended up at. Also I think this book really showcases how hard it is sometimes to trust people you work with cause they will stab you in the back to get ahead. I always wonder what happened with Jen and her co-worker that she was close to who she was trying to talk out of having an affair with some idiot they worked with. She like many of the characters in this book disappear never to be heard from again.

Ultimately Jen and Fletch make it out okay though they had a hard time in their lives.

I will say that since I read the other memoirs you can definitely see that Jen’s writing and stories have gotten better over time. I found her a bit hard to take at times while re-reading this. And God knows I tend to not have a lot of sympathy with formerly upper middle class people who don’t realize that saving their money is a good thing. But I feel for Jen since it was definitely a hard thing for her to swallow.

Jen’s family is a bit much to deal with in book #1. I didn’t care for her brother who seemed nasty and a piece of work. Her mother also seemed overly dramatic. We only get bits and pieces about her father though. And we learn enough about Fletch’s family to understand why they are not part of their lives. When Jen delves into things like this, it really is when the book gets better. I really didn’t get her obsession with her dogs, (I have a cat) and thought that some of that could have been cut. And maybe I am a jerk, but reading this years later, I don’t understand why they kept two dogs that I am sure cost a lot for them to pay for when they were days away from being evicted from their apartment. Heck, it sounds like Jen gave her one dog to her parents before, so I am puzzled why that wasn’t a solution here (just having the two days stay with her parents til they were back on their feet).

four-stars

The Vanished Man (Lincoln Rhyme #5) by Jeffrey Deaver

The Vanished Man (Lincoln Rhyme #5) by Jeffrey DeaverThe Vanished Man by Jeffrey Deaver
Published by Pocket Books on July 1st 2004
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 560
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

It begins at a prestigious music school in New York City. A killer flees the scene of a homicide and locks himself in a classroom. Within minutes, the police have him surrounded. When a scream rings out, followed by a gunshot, they break down the door. The room is empty.

Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs are brought in to help with the high-profile investigation and to ferret out a master illusionist they've dubbed "the conjurer." As the fatalities rise and the minutes tick down, Rhyme and Sachs must move beyond the smoke and mirrors to prevent a terrifying act of vengeance that could become the greatest vanishing act of all.

I can honestly say I am surprised that I loved this book. I thought the last two Rhyme books were seriously off and I didn’t even know if I could continue with this one, but I did. Glad I bought it. We have Rhyme and Sachs investigating a case in which a murderer has someone escaped from what appears to be a locked room. The more they investigate, the more they find themselves embroiled in the world of magic and illusion. I got a kick out of this book since Deaver sprinkles little gems throughout regarding some famous tricks and illusions. I also loved how those into this use a variety of methods to trick an audience’s senses.

The love between Ryhme and Sachs makes more sense in this one. Thank goodness. I really didn’t get what was going on between the two of them in the last two books and wondered how the heck they even worked together. What really works this time through is that we get to see a stronger and more confident Sachs. We have Sachs testing for the sergeant’s exam and it looks like she has a promotion in her sights.

Rhyme is still his sarcastic self and ready to rush out and feel injured on perceived slights. However, this one made him more human to me due to an introduction of a secondary character named Kara.

I love the characters we have grown to know through the series like Lon and others. But with the introduction of the character Kara I finally found someone that I hope pops up in future books.

We also per usual have a POV starring the bad guy and I wish that Deaver would stop that. These books feel so full and I wish he either cut the number of characters we track, or just leave out the bad guy’s justification. Also the final final reveal of the bad guy didn’t work for me at all. It was way too out there to be believed. But I felt that way about most of the bad guys in these books except for The Bone Collector.

The writing was great. There is a lot of historical information and detail included in this book. I can say that for once I didn’t feel overwhelmed on how the science was presented to me either. Deaver did a better job of including the science talk in dialogue with characters.

The flow was off throughout though. I think that’s because of the multiple red Herrings we get in this book. At one point I maybe said please just let it end. But the book kept going and going. The big case that Rhyme and Sachs investigating ties into an active case dealing with a white supremacist movement so that was gross to read about it considering what is going on in the US right now. It seems like lately a lot of my books are apt due to current political shennigans.

The ending though leaves things changed in Sachs professional life. I wonder how that is going to impact her continuing work with Rhyme.

five-stars

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie KinsellaMy Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella
on February 7, 2017
Genres: Chick Lit
Pages: 438
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
three-stars

Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

Ok, so the real truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers.

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business.

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams? Or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman with everything – have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems.

And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?

I didn’t want to be too hard on this book, but sorry it worked my ever loving nerves. What started off as typical chick-lit turned into some hey we are all just the same Kumbaya circle thing that I just got tired of reading. The main character, Katie Brenner, should know enough at her age that no one’s life is perfect. I can’t get over she thought because people were rich that yes they must be happy and be just dancing in the fields singing. And I hated how Katie treated her female boss just because said boss may be involved with a guy she (Katie) had a freaking crush on who was also her boss.

Girl, he is not your boyfriend, lover, and you have not kissed, made out with, or even sent a do you like me, I like you note. Go sit down.

Empire FOX fox empire stop fox tv

I tend to like Kinsella’s books (Shopaholic books other stories). This one honestly felt like a retread of “Can You Keep a Secret” to me. Woman in love with boss (check). Woman and boss keep having moments (check). Woman falls in love with boss and there’s something keeping them from each other (check). There is a different plot set-up, but the subordinate boss thing needs to stop. I honestly had to have a conversation with someone the other day about hey you do you, but I don’t recommend going out for drinks with someone who does your rating. Am I getting old? Am I a prude? Bah. Don’t care if I am. Dear women and men, don’t do this. Shitting where you eat will not end up like “2 Weeks Notice” with you and your boss declaring your love and running off to eat Chinese food in your parent’s small apartment.

Katie Brenner moves to London excited to finally have the life she has dreamed of since she was a girl. She is working at a branding/strategy company as a junior something. Just know that she’s at the bottom of the totem pole at work. Katie is not living a perfect life. She doesn’t really have any friends she can talk to. Her housemates are cold and gross in that order. Her coworkers seem nice, but aloof. And her boss, Demeter Farlowe can’t even remember her name. Katie (who keeps trying to go by Cath and wants others to call her that) thinks that all she needs is one big idea for Demeter to finally see how good she is. And then they will just run off into the sunset and be best friends.

Sorry, once again this book kills me. I am a boss/manager. I definitely care about developing people who work for me. And maybe some thing I have it so easy because I am always getting awards or being asked to trouble-shoot something. But being a boss is hard. You have to be firm, but fair. And you can’t have a freaking off day (like we see in this book) because you can get kicked out the window as fast as anyone else. It’s definitely a case of what have you done for me lately when you get to the top. Kinsella touches upon this towards the end of the book. But I honestly think it came rather late for me.

Katie meets her other boss, Alex, and after a couple of meet-cutes (they were rather cute) finds herself falling for him. However, after dealing with the company losing some clients, Katie is quickly on the chopping block and finds herself back home where she doesn’t want to be.

I think for me the book comes alive when Katie is back home. I honestly wish that Kinsella had done the book differently with Katie realizing success comes in different forms in life. And her being in London didn’t make her more successful than those who have jobs and families back in their hometowns. Especially because I thought Kinsella did a really neat thing for Katie and her family to get involved with. I honestly wanted more stories about Katie’s ex, the disgruntled cleaner, and her father’s mad schemes. It felt like we got a different book until Katie runs into Demeter and Alex again.

When the secrets are revealed about what went on etc. I had a hard time buying it. I won’t spoil it for other readers. You read and you let me know if it seems believable.

The writing was okay. Not great though. And maybe I am just a little tired of things right now, but I really wanted to yell at Katie about her choices. She has a scene where she goes out with a coworker and said coworker’s boyfriend doesn’t pay for her meal after she thought he would. Instead of her saying I brought my food, or saying never mind, she freaks, goes outside, sits down (outside the cafe) and tries to eat her sandwich. Gets caught, lies, throws out her sandwich, and gets weepy when she goes to retrieve it. She is also mistaken as homeless and gets $50 from a woman. I don’t know. I probably should have laughed instead of rolling my eyes.

I recall being broke as a joke when I first started working in DC. I was upfront about it. I would have so much money for drinks and that was all I spent. When I went out I never got food and didn’t mooch off of others food. I ate a lot of cup of noodles and commuted to work from VA because no one I knew at the time could afford to live on Capitol Hill. Katie’s whole thought process about being ashamed and embarrassed of her beginnings and state of her bank account doesn’t feel real to me in this day and age. But, I am a budget person (I still balance a check book and have spreadsheets tracking all expenses, assets, etc.) so maybe that’s why there’s a disconnect.

The setting of London actually doesn’t really come alive in this book. Due to Katie being poor, she doesn’t go anywhere besides work. She describes a London that sounds like something from Bridget Jones, her reality is definitely different from that.

Image result for bridget jones diary gifs

The ending has everything work out. I wish that Kinsella had kept with the independent woman theme she kicked to towards the second half. But instead we get a ham-fisted HEA that didn’t work with what came before it.

On another note, I hated this cover.

three-stars
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