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Rick Kitchen

What Are We Currently Reading?

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I’m reading The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare.  I’m a sucker for a marriage of convenience turns to love romance. 

 

Edited to add: If you like marriage of convenience stories, The Weekday Brides Series by Catherine Bybee has some great stories set in the present.

Edited by Luckylyn
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I've started King Leopold's Ghost. Because what's a summer reading list without a little genocide and the brutal destruction of a country by a ruthless colonial power?

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I’m reading The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory which is a fun contemporary “falling in love while pretending to be a couple” romance. 

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So I finished Nora Roberts' Hideaway a couple weeks ago. Not as good as Shelter in Place or Under Currents, The Witness, or any of her classics, but it wasn't too bad. But like other books, and especially in a few of her (as JD Robb) In Deaths, I REALLY, and I mean REALLYYYYYY

wanted to see Red and Michaela tell Grant that is "fool proof" plan to destroy Caitlyn

FAILED, and that the fool lawyer he turned, wanted soooo badly to please him, went off script and fucked up everything for him. Because I love how Nora writes when villains realize/have been told they weren't as smart as they think they are.

Some called the ending abrupt. I didn't think so. But I wanted that scene I described above, so I wouldn't have to imagine it.

Oooh! Thought of another Nora Classic that I think you'd really like @DearEvette, if you hadn't read it already: Private Scandals. Set in the world of Daytime Talk Shows/First Persian Gulf War. I just ADORE 🥰💘🥰😍🥰Finn🥰💘🥰😍🥰

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I just started Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis.  I have been a fan of her youtube page and film/tv/pop culture analysis for a while now.  

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I just finished In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.  It took me on a journey I wasn't expecting.  I think I will be chewing on it for a little while.

Edited by Crs97
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10 minutes ago, Crs97 said:

I just finished In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.  It took me on a journey I wasn't expecting.  I think I will be chewing on it for a little while.

The Goodreads summary is intriguing. Would you recommend it? 

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Yes I think I would, but if you think you are getting a breezy Nora Ephron read, you aren’t.  She quotes her at the beginning and it starts that way, but it doesn’t end that way.  

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 I'm reading The Devil in the White City. Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America  by Erik Larson.

This the true story of Chicago in the 1890's when the World's Fair was conceived and built while an unknown serial killer was on the loose. 

Parts of the story are terrifying but the history is exceptional. Although nonfiction,  it mostly reads like a novel.

Edited by tres bien
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4 hours ago, tres bien said:

 I'm reading The Devil in the White City. Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America  by Erik Larson.

This the true story of Chicago in the 1890's when the World's Fair was conceived and built while an unknown serial killer was on the loose. 

Parts of the story are terrifying but the history is exceptional. Although nonfiction,  it mostly reads like a novel.

I read this several years ago for a book club and really enjoyed it.  I really should read more by Larsson.

So, I finished The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett last night (er....early this morning) and am still in awe of it.  I feel like I only captured about 1% of it--but I have a podcast episode about it saved up to listen to and it will be the first book in a new book club my friend and I are starting where we only read books by marginalized authors.

I also have Darling Rose Gold going, but I'm finding it a little too unsettling, so I'm not sure I'll finish it.

Next up is Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, which I'm not especially excited about. but it is the book of the moment for 2 book clubs (I know it sounds like my life is nothing but book clubs!) so I really should read it.  I may be dropping my current IRL book club and stick with just my postal group and my new marginalized authors book club because it keeps choosing books like this.

 

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Before We Were Yours-I read it for my book club and found half terrific with the other half a bad romance novel.  My fellow bookworms admitted they just fast forwarded or completely skipped the schlocky bits to get to the great stuff.

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22 hours ago, tres bien said:

 I'm reading The Devil in the White City. Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America  by Erik Larson.

This the true story of Chicago in the 1890's when the World's Fair was conceived and built while an unknown serial killer was on the loose. 

Parts of the story are terrifying but the history is exceptional. Although nonfiction,  it mostly reads like a novel.

That is a great book.  I enjoyed the narrative about the World's Fair as much as I did the story about Holmes.  Larson has a way of ferreting out tidbits of history that you've probably never heard before.

Last night I finished The Binding by Bridget Collins.  It was sweet, nothing I'll remember after a while, but a nice enough diversion from all that's going on.  It's about people with the ability to remove memories from others, placing these memories in books, and what happens when this ability is exploited.  The style was interesting- the first third is about a POV character who has this ability but finds out in a violent way that he too has had his memory wiped.  The middle third is a flashback to what had happened.  The remainder of the book switches POV to another character involved in the mystery who has likewise had his memory erased.  It's pretty original and an enjoyable read.

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Currently reading The Comeback by Ella Berman and it's really good. The story of a former child star turned tabloid mess who is struggling with her MeToo story.

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I love Devil in the White City. I assigned it to a class once, but I don't think they liked it as much as I did.  Larson's Isaac's Storm is good too. I haven't read his others yet.

I just finished Lilac Girls, which i enjoyed very much and didn't realize two of the characters were real people until I was halfway in the novel. 

Edited by Constant Viewer
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7 hours ago, Constant Viewer said:

I love Devil in the White City. I assigned it to a class once, but I don't think they liked it as much as I did.  Larson's Isaac's Storm is good too. I haven't read his others yet. 

Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania is very good too.  And my husband enjoyed The Splendid and the Vile.  He's a big WWII buff but learned some new things.

7 hours ago, Constant Viewer said:

I just finished Lilac Girls, which i enjoyed very much and didn't realize two of the characters were real people until I was halfway in the novel. 

Right?  I had finished the book before I learned this.  Makes it all the more horrifying.

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On 8/5/2020 at 9:10 PM, GHScorpiosRule said:

Oooh! Thought of another Nora Classic that I think you'd really like @DearEvette, if you hadn't read it already: Private Scandals. Set in the world of Daytime Talk Shows/First Persian Gulf War. I just ADORE 🥰💘🥰😍🥰Finn🥰💘🥰😍🥰

Yeah, that one was part of my re-visit as well. 

I have moved in my from my NR re-read and am now revisiting choice volumes in her In Death series.  I already did Treachery In Death earlier this year.  Which, imo, is one of my top five in the series.  And timely because it is about good cops taking down bad cops from within because they taint the entire dept.  Such an exciting installment.  Sigh. If only.  I just finished Strangers In Death which is the homage to Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.  I am just tickled that Eve hated the perp on sight.  Even before she knew the person was guilty.  And I always love scenes where Eve and Roarke go to seedy little places and meet colorful characters.   Right now I am starting on Origin in Death.  I love how this one case gets referred to later in the series but also because cloning and sex-trafficking is creepy.  Also it almost feels like it would not be out of place as a plot in a James Bond movie.    I have long felt it was always a contender for my favorite in the series (it changes depending on my mood).  I always like to see how people rank their top five favorites for the series, some books seem very common across various lists (Innocent in Death  is one -- I would also rank this in my top 5) but it can be fascinating how varied some lists are.

Edited by DearEvette
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18 hours ago, Constant Viewer said:

I love Devil in the White City. I assigned it to a class once, but I don't think they liked it as much as I did.  Larson's Isaac's Storm is good too. I haven't read his others yet.

I just finished Lilac Girls, which i enjoyed very much and didn't realize two of the characters were real people until I was halfway in the novel. 

I read Devil in White City a few years ago. It was great but it can be rather dry.

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My favorite Eric Larsen book is In the Garden of Beasts. It’s about the US Ambassador to Germany and his family in the years preceding WW II. It’s a really fascinating and sobering look at Hitler’s rise to power through the eyes of Americans, as it slowly became clear to them what was happening, and how they tried to make it understood to the President and other members of the Administration. 

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Just finished: The Girl from Widow Hills by Megan Miranda. I enjoyed it for the most part--it's about a woman who, when she was 6, got swept away in a flash flood while sleepwalking and was found alive 3 days later in a sewer. The event was a media sensation and as the 20th anniversary approaches, the story starts to resurface in an unexpected way. I did find the ending a little rushed...just a lot of information the reader wouldn't have been able to put together on their own earlier thrown at you all at once. I did enjoy the reveal that

Spoiler

the entire thing was staged (with some unanticipated elements complicating things).

But otherwise it was just too much information to process that late in the game, and I didn't quite get how it all came together.

Next up: The End of Her by Shari Lapena.

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On 8/8/2020 at 7:54 AM, Haleth said:

That is a great book.  I enjoyed the narrative about the World's Fair as much as I did the story about Holmes.  Larson has a way of ferreting out tidbits of history that you've probably never heard before.

Last night I finished The Binding by Bridget Collins.  It was sweet, nothing I'll remember after a while, but a nice enough diversion from all that's going on.  It's about people with the ability to remove memories from others, placing these memories in books, and what happens when this ability is exploited.  The style was interesting- the first third is about a POV character who has this ability but finds out in a violent way that he too has had his memory wiped.  The middle third is a flashback to what had happened.  The remainder of the book switches POV to another character involved in the mystery who has likewise had his memory erased.  It's pretty original and an enjoyable read.

Just put The Binding on hold at the library. I could use a sweet & diverting read right now!

 

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On 8/6/2020 at 8:32 PM, Crs97 said:

I just finished In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.  It took me on a journey I wasn't expecting.  I think I will be chewing on it for a little while.

I read this one and it's a different kind of read than the one the synopsis promises. I was expecting something a little lighter and more fun.

Spoiler

I appreciated that the real love story in the book was between the main character and her best friend; however, the ending was something of a jolt; it felt tacked-on and unnecessary, like the journey we'd taken with Dannie was kind of meaningless.

Just finished The Night Swim by Megan Goldin and it was a decent read. It has rave reviews on Goodreads/Amazon so I borrowed the e-book from the library. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but again, the synopsis/marketing make this book out to be something it's not. It didn't really tick all the thriller/horror vibes for me. And there are twists, but they're kind of meh.

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On 8/9/2020 at 2:48 PM, DearEvette said:

Yeah, that one [Private Scandals]was part of my re-visit as well. 

One of my favorite scenes is when Dee and Finn are in the hot tub and she's trying to convince him that she and Goofy are "just good friends."😂

And how Finn doesn't trust that "long'eared son of a bitch."😂

On 8/9/2020 at 2:48 PM, DearEvette said:

I have moved in my from my NR re-read and am now revisiting choice volumes in her In Death series.  I already did Treachery In Death earlier this year.  Which, imo, is one of my top five in the series.  And timely because it is about good cops taking down bad cops from within because they taint the entire dept.  Such an exciting installment.  Sigh. If only.  I just finished Strangers In Death which is the homage to Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.  I am just tickled that Eve hated the perp on sight.  Even before she knew the person was guilty.  And I always love scenes where Eve and Roarke go to seedy little places and meet colorful characters.   Right now I am starting on Origin in Death.  I love how this one case gets referred to later in the series but also because cloning and sex-trafficking is creepy.  Also it almost feels like it would not be out of place as a plot in a James Bond movie.    I have long felt it was always a contender for my favorite in the series (it changes depending on my mood).  I always like to see how people rank their top five favorites for the series, some books seem very common across various lists (Innocent in Death  is one -- I would also rank this in my top 5) but it can be fascinating how varied some lists are.

I can never, never choose a top five or even top 10 favorites from this series. Just by the condition of my paperbacks (before Kindle was even a thing), I tend to reread the first 21 the most. I won the ARC of Born in Death and was ridiculously excited, because I thought it was going to be the story of Innocent in Death. The former is okay, but I didn't and still don't give any figgedity fracks about Mavis' pregnancy or her baby, or whether the baby was a girl or a boy. Conspiracy in Death really made me cry. Another good one that dealt with not only good cops taking down bad cops, but very Roarke and Eve centric with regard to her going after an old enemy of Roarke's, an old colleague she'd had a moment with years ago, and who's now in IA (which made for a tricky situation), and the corruption--and had me on the edge of my seat is Judgment in Death. Another one I liked was Remember When--the first half being a Nora about a diamond heist, and the follow up/resolution in the second half, with the two protagonist from the first half showing up in the In Death half!

Okay, now I must go back to Nora...and then JD Robb...but I'm so anal that I have to finish my re-read of this historical series I read many moons ago, and didn't realize that the author had written stories for all seven siblings! Candace Camp's Mad Morelands series. Of course the final book is actually a prequel, as one of the sibs was already married in book one.

I told ya, I'm weird! And I make no apologies for loving and continuing to read my romances!

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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On 8/9/2020 at 7:37 AM, Haleth said:

Dead Wake about the sinking of the Lusitania is very good too.  And my husband enjoyed The Splendid and the Vile.  He's a big WWII buff but learned some new things.

The Splendid and the Vile was the book that finally got me reading again. I went through a real dry spell in March and April--nothing mattered, nothing interested me. I did not expect to enjoy a book about Churchill's family as much as I did.

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I finally started reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It's... rough going. I don't mean that it's bad, it's not. It's just tough to read. The prose has a sort of detachment that really drives home the dehumanisation of slaves, and it's full of casual references and word choices that hit you in the gut. Talking about how many "head" of slaves a man owns, describing men as "studs" or "bucks", even from the POV of the slaves themselves.

 

Edited by Danny Franks
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42 minutes ago, Danny Franks said:

I finally started reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It's... rough going. I don't mean that it's bad, it's not. It's just tough to read. The prose has a sort of detachment that really drives home the dehumanisation of slaves, and it's full of casual references and word choices that hit you in the gut. Talking about how many "head" of slaves a man owns, describing men as "studs" or "bucks", even from the POV of the slaves themselves.

 

Yeah, it's brilliant but very, very harsh.  I had to skip some pages.

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On ‎08‎/‎08‎/‎2020 at 11:48 PM, Constant Viewer said:

Larson's Isaac's Storm is good too.

Isaac's Storm is amazing.  But you may not want to do what I did: read it while waiting out a hurricane.

I tried reading Dead Wake, but I thought the beginning got bogged down with excessive detail, and that was just the first chapter or two.  Maybe I was in the wrong mood.

I just finished A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh, a taut little murder mystery set in an isolated New Zealand town.  The story was excellent, the mystery gripping (I figured out some elements of it but not the whole story), and the characters intriguing.  I wish she'd write more like it, but her other books are fantasy novels about angels and vampires which aren't my cuppa.

 

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11 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

I finally started reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. It's... rough going. I don't mean that it's bad, it's not. It's just tough to read. The prose has a sort of detachment that really drives home the dehumanisation of slaves, and it's full of casual references and word choices that hit you in the gut. Talking about how many "head" of slaves a man owns, describing men as "studs" or "bucks", even from the POV of the slaves themselves.

 

I had a hard, hard time with The Underground Railroad—not so much with the subject matter, but with the structure.  I also had read Kindred not too long before I read The Underground Railroad, which I actually think was a more effective book with the same basic message.

I just finished reading Darling Rose Gold and, um, that was something.   There were good things about it—I never saw the twists coming—but it was a truly uncomfortable read.  It’s basically two horribly damaged people doing horrible things to each other.  

I am about to start The Cutting Season by Attica Locke—I’ve heard great things about her, so I’m looking forward to this one.  I’m also in the middle of an audiobook written by her sister! (From Scratch by Tembi Locke.

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Just finished: The End of Her by Shari Lapena. I think I've read all of Lapena's books, and I enjoyed this one the most, probably because she managed to restrain herself from dumping a ton of information on the reader at the last minute to make the conclusion make sense (she still did it a little, but I'll get to that in the spoilers). It's about a married couple who are at their wits end, running on no sleep due to their colicky twin babies, when a woman from the husband's past shows up alleging he murdered his first wife (the conclusion at the time had been that her death had been an accident), and then it spirals from there. The story drags in parts, but it was a quick read and I was generally satisfied with the conclusion.

My main issue with the book was that it felt like there were too many extraneous details and plot points that felt like they didn't go anywhere. The twins having colic and robbing Stephanie and Patrick of sleep is supposed to add tension to an already tense situation, which it does, but why? It puts Stephanie in a frame of mind to be more paranoid and susceptible to suggestion, but there are other things that take her along the investigation regardless. I also don't think the Cheryl/Gary/Devin and Niall/Nancy subplots added anything at all.

Spoiler

Erica having Patrick's kid is useful to prove they'd slept together, but he admits they did before that becomes a factor. And Niall really told a random woman he was sleeping with about the guy he hit and killed with his car when he was drunk(this was the big reveal she dumped out of nowhere)? Why? I feel like all either of these things did was give motive to more people to kill Erica at the end so we don't know who did it, but at that point who cares? I get she needed to go or else we'd be left on an ambiguous note about her relationship with Stephanie going forward, but maybe that would have been more interesting. Stephanie thinking her problems are solved once Patrick is dead, only for Erica to hang around? That's a great, unsettling way to end a book! There's like 5 pages left, her death has no meaning!

Next up: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.

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Isaac's Storm by Erik Larson sounds like a must read for me.  Thanks for the recc's.

Reminds me of Hemingway's Hurricane by Phil Scott.  The story of the 1935 Labor Day hurricane that devastated Key West.

Lots of good history of The Keys in the '30's.  The sheer destruction of everything in it's path was sad.  It was the first known and documented cat 5 hurricane to hit the US.

 

Edited by tres bien
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31 minutes ago, MargeGunderson said:

Isaac’s Storm is my second favorite Erik Larsen book. I love a well-written disaster story.

I third (or fourth?) the recommendation.  

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I'm reading Blood Apprentice by Elizabeth Hunter, the 2nd in her Elemental Legacy series. I enjoyed the 1st book, & so far this one is interesting.

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Regarding Erik Larson, I’ve read Isaac’s Storm, Dead Wake, and The Splendid and  the Vile.  Loved all of them.  He isn’t a fast read for me; I’m engaged, but can only digest a chapter or two at each sitting.

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On ‎08‎/‎11‎/‎2020 at 7:04 PM, helenamonster said:

Next up: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.

I really liked that one.  The characters are not all likeable, but they are three-dimensional, and I found the mystery engaging.

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Finished Verity by Colleen Hoover.  HMMMMmmm.

Reading the hysterically funny Finding Freedom, the Harry and Meghan book. It's like the diary of a 14 year old, the writing is so so bad. The Twilight of historical biographies. 

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Finally got to reading 'The Alice Network' and I overall enjoyed it and didn't  realize how much of it was based on fact until I'd finished. I think I liked both timelines being portrayed equally until the end , which felt like after so much struggle it rushed to a happy ending. Loved the characters and I'm glad to hear that the author and I both imagined Emma Thompson as Eve.

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I’m almost done with Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis.  I feel like it takes time to really get going but then gets very engrossing.  It reminded me a bit of the movie Arrival regarding the complexities of communication between humans/extraterrestrials.  

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On 8/13/2020 at 8:32 PM, raezen said:

Finally got to reading 'The Alice Network' and I overall enjoyed it and didn't  realize how much of it was based on fact until I'd finished. I think I liked both timelines being portrayed equally until the end , which felt like after so much struggle it rushed to a happy ending. Loved the characters and I'm glad to hear that the author and I both imagined Emma Thompson as Eve.

The Huntress is really good too.

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I’ve started the historical romance A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian.  This is the third in her Regency Imposters series.  This one focuses on the sister of the lead from the first book falling for a man who is keeping a secret.  I really enjoyed the first two books in the series.  

She’s very inclusive and has had leading and supporting characters from the LGBTQ community in her books.  I also read her Seducing the Sedgwicks series that featured M/M pairings. 

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I just completed Followers by Megan Angelo and my verdict is pretty much eh. It was okay but I felt like it was a book that kept hinting at and promising more than it ever actually delivered. The biggest thing working against it was that none of the main characters were particularly compelling. An issue I picked up quickly but kept hoping would get better as the story progressed. It didn't. 

Spoiler

The ending also made no sense. Well unless we were somehow supposed to find Orla and Floss' weird co-dependent "friendship" endearing. Except for how the friendship was predicated on Floss always taking, right up to taking Orla's damn baby. Then Marlow goes back to New York to relive out the days of Orla pre-Floss I guess and the sketchy childhood enemy who was ready to hand her over, somehow sees and recognizes her but leaves her alone. It just didn't make much sense and was unsatisfying. 

 

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I just finished the second in Jane Casey's Maeve Kerrigan series of crime novels and I'm hooked! (already ordered books number 3 and 4 from eBay as my library is *still* closed). Thank you so much to whomever upthread recommended this author! Wonderful characterizations, very twisty mysteries and not too gory.

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Just finished: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. It was very similar to her other book The Guest List, though THP came out first. Both were about a group of people celebrating at a glamorous lodging in a remote location (an island off the coast of Ireland in TGL, the Scottish highlands in THP), involved flashforwards about a murder where both the victim and perpetrator were unknown, and had multiple POVs. I enjoyed THP overall, but I think you'd only need to read one of these two books, and TGL is better.

Next up: His & Hers by Alice Feeney.

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I started the biography Black Gun, Sliver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves by Art T. Burton.  He was the inspiration for the character the Lone Ranger but was whitewashed.  Until shows like Drunk History and Watchmen included him, many people didn’t know about him or mistakenly believed he was white if they had heard of him.

edited to add:  So far what I am learning is interesting but the delivery is dry.  At times it’s like a recitation of events.  A more fluid narrative flow is needed.  I like switching to listening when doing household chores but the audible narration of this book is robotic.

Edited by Luckylyn
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Morbid curiosity resulting from this pandemic got me to get Wired Bob Woodward's "biography" of John Belushi, and boy am I regretting it. It helps that I already know what stuff was wrong, misquoted, and taken out of context, but geez, Woodward's writing style is just dark and dreary and just SUCKS. And why he felt the need to basically recap certain SNL skits by every detail is beyond me -- everybody's seen them, we KNOW how it happens, and they way he recounts them just sucks the humor right out of them.

What really bugs me is how little detail he gives to anything about relationships or generally good, emotional stories about John. Like if it wasn't about drugs or couldn't be skewed in a negative way, it's only worth one paragraph at best. Clearly, Woodward was only interested in the Hollywood drug scene, which was NOT what the participating family and friends wanted.

What can I say, I needed something to hate-read and I already degraded myself by watching that horrible movie.

Edited by Spartan Girl
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EGADS!!!!! I had to stop reading Candace Camp's Mad Morelands series. Even though I have one left. Boring ass dreck. And I used to love her back in the day. Yes, she's the author I was talking about in the Unpopular Opinions Thread about changing the eye colors of characters. Honestly, I was only interested in Theo (the heir) and the youngest twins Alex (Alexander) and Con's (Constantine(Father, the Duke, is an antiquarian--interest in Roman and Greek stuff)) stories based on the first book, Mesmerized, which was Olivia's (fifth child (Theo/Thisbe (twins), Reed, Kyria, Olivia, Alex, and Con) story. 

So, because I got the GREAT NEWS that my complex will now allow us to have pets (and I've wanted a doggie for sooooo long!), after finishing Alex's story, I picked up Nora's The Obsession, because I love the way Naomi fell in love and kept Tag, the wonderful Siberian Husky/Lab mix mutt she found. Nora is just so wonderful in how she portrays dogs. It's believable because she's that good and because she's had various dogs over the years. But she's very good at writing cats, too. And yet, she doesn't have any. @DearEvette, Galahad! Believable because I have friends who have kitties who have displayed such characteristics!

After I'm done, I'll go to Anne Stuart's latest historical, which I know will be great fun.

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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