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I just finished the latest by Louise Penny, All the Devils Are Here. Good, but I think her intrigues are getting too complicated. I’m getting weary of the powerful forces trying to take Chief Inspector Gamache down. Just let the man be a hero, not a martyr, for a few books!

Edited by MargeGunderson
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I'm currently reading The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne.

Athough I've only only read about a third of the book so far, this is the best novel I've read this year.

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16 hours ago, partofme said:

But NYPL is being annoying now and only allowing me to have 3 books on hold at a time in Overdrive and 3 in CL when I used to be allowed ten holds meaning I had to cancel another book I had on hold, which is especially annoying when the holds are all at least a month out.  

Pro tip: I use my sons’ accounts to park my overflow requests. 😏

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25 minutes ago, cherrypj said:

Pro tip: I use my sons’ accounts to park my overflow requests. 😏

Unfortunately I only have the one account and my mom who lives in NJ reads books from my account.

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Weekend road trip! So far I read We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin. It was very creepy, gothic style, great atmosphere. An interesting twist but not a "gotcha" twist, and a good mystery. I would definitely recommend it.

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17 hours ago, Minneapple said:

Weekend road trip! So far I read We Are All the Same in the Dark by Julia Heaberlin. It was very creepy, gothic style, great atmosphere. An interesting twist but not a "gotcha" twist, and a good mystery. I would definitely recommend it.

Have you read any of her other books? I have Lie Still in my cart.

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On 9/6/2020 at 12:34 PM, peacheslatour said:

Have you read any of her other books? I have Lie Still in my cart.

I haven't, but I'm putting her books on my Want to Read list on Goodreads. They sound pretty good, particularly for Halloween time. Nice and creepy.

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Because I’m finally able to adopt a 🐶, (I think I mentioned this up thread), I’ve been rereading all of Nora Roberts’ books that feature them as supporting characters! I’ve read The Obsession, The Search (Newman, Bogart, and Peck going to the Vet always makes me 😂😂😂😂😂😂, especially Newman!); just finished Whiskey Beach, and started The Witness

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I finished Pretty Things by Janelle Brown last night.  It was...fine.  I enjoyed it, I didn't see some of the twists coming (but I did see others coming) but it isn't something that I found especially memorable.  I did feel like it lost me in the epilogue, though. The book would have been better without it.

I started You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen.  Normally, I would not read two thrillers back to back, but there are holds on this one and I won't be able to renew it.  I wasn't wowed by the first of their books that I read (The Wife Between Us), so the bar is a bit low.

Still working through my re-read of The Butterfly Girl by Rene Denfield (for my book club) and my listening to From Scratch by Tembi Locke.

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1 hour ago, Minneapple said:

I haven't, but I'm putting her books on my Want to Read list on Goodreads. They sound pretty good, particularly for Halloween time. Nice and creepy.

That's me and Riley Sager. Every one of his books sound right up my alley and I know they have all been bestsellers and he's quickly built a pretty good reputation for himself but I just haven't gotten around to reading even one of the books. They're all still in my Want to Read/TBR list. 

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5 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Because I’m finally able to adopt a 🐶

Congrats, Scorp!

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On 9/5/2020 at 8:18 AM, tres bien said:

I'm currently reading The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne.

Athough I've only only read about a third of the book so far, this is the best novel I've read this year.

OMG, I loved this book! Also read by Boyne "A Ladder to the Sky". The protagonist in that one was HORRIBLE! But you couldn't stop reading.

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22 hours ago, truthaboutluv said:

That's me and Riley Sager. Every one of his books sound right up my alley and I know they have all been bestsellers and he's quickly built a pretty good reputation for himself but I just haven't gotten around to reading even one of the books. They're all still in my Want to Read/TBR list. 

I always put books on my Goodreads list and then realize months later that...I've got a long list of books to read on Goodreads! At least it's a resource I can use when I'm in a reading funk (when I remember that it exists).

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Shadows in Death!!!!!!

Not spoilery at all, but the "whole gang" will in this! Paging @DearEvette!!!!!!

And what a way to just let jump back, or rather, be pulled back into Robb's world! Both Roarke and Eve from page one!

And really, "Tween" had me rolling. 😝😂Why? Because that's the surname of the

victim's husband

!!!

But I'm loving how I'm we're in Roarke's head from the first line. I think that's a first.

What?

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The second book of my road trip was Majesty, the sequel to American Royals, by Katharine McGee. I wasn't going to read Majesty because I was meh on American Royals, but it was available from my e-library and I wanted something that didn't require much thought. I actually liked Majesty much more than American Royals. The characters are more likable and have a bit more depth than they did in the first book. And the relationships make more sense, they are deeper, they involve the characters actually getting to know each other rather than fleeing romance at first sight.

There will clearly be another novel in this series. I hope it's more like the second book than the first.

Edited by Minneapple

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On 9/7/2020 at 2:45 PM, truthaboutluv said:

That's me and Riley Sager. Every one of his books sound right up my alley and I know they have all been bestsellers and he's quickly built a pretty good reputation for himself but I just haven't gotten around to reading even one of the books. They're all still in my Want to Read/TBR list. 

I recommend him. I've read all of his and they were all pretty good. The only one I didn't really enjoy was The Last Time I Lied. It was a bit meh. I like that his books have a theme of sorts. Final Girls (my favorite of his) has slasher movie theme, Lock Every Door has Rosemary's Baby vibe just because it takes place in a NY building like the Dakota, The Last Time I Lied has a summer camp vibe and his latest one, Home Before Dark has an Amityville Horror vibe. 

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9 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Shadows in Death!!!!!!

Not spoilery at all, but the "whole gang" will in this! Paging @DearEvette!!!!!!

And what a way to just let jump back, or rather, be pulled back into Robb's world! Both Roarke and Eve from page one!

And really, "Tween" had me rolling. 😝😂Why? Because that's the surname of the

  Reveal spoiler

victim's husband

!!!

But I'm loving how I'm we're in Roarke's head from the first line. I think that's a first.

What?

Yup that showed up on my Kindle on Tuesday.  I have it next on deck.  I saw they are going to Ireland and I am looking forward to Roarke interacting with his family.  I hope he gets to beat somebody's ass.  Last time he went to Ireland he beat up people to find out about his mother.  Ah... good times!

Right now I am buddy reading two books:

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole which is her first foray into thriller/suspense.  I love her she is so versatile.  She has written post-apoc fiction, Civil War era romance with black women spies, contemporary romances that span the Civil Rights era up through the present, and even a book with an A.I. main character.

Also reading Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center.    I read another book by her a few months ago,  What You Wish For and really enjoyed her voice, so I am following up with this one.

 

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I’m about to start The Boys Club by Erica Katz. I have a feeling I’m going to like this book based on the dedication that cracked me up before I even got to the first chapter.

Quote

To my mom and dad, for this amazing life and their unwavering support each and every day of it. (I’m begging you to skip over the sex scenes when you read this.)

 

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13 hours ago, DearEvette said:

Yup that showed up on my Kindle on Tuesday.  I have it next on deck.  I saw they are going to Ireland and I am looking forward to Roarke interacting with his family.  I hope he gets to beat somebody's ass.  Last time he went to Ireland he beat up people to find out about his mother.  Ah... good times!

I LOOOOVE when Roarke's rage is the cold and icy kind. Or in Eve's words: "Scary Roarke." Even though I'm a woman, I always cringe when reading the passage in Rapture in Death, when Roarke has his "talk" with Jesse. And when he's done, he's sitting back, contemplatively smoking and sipping brandy, while Jesse is curled up like a shrimp in the chair.

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Just finished: Playing Nice by JP Delaney, about two couples who find out years later that their babies were switched at the NICU. I enjoyed it--it goes way beyond a child-swapping thriller/nature-vs-nurture domestic drama and gets into the backgrounds of the parents and how four very different personalities would approach such an impossible situation.

Next up: One By One by Ruth Ware.

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I am in the middle of Finding Freedom about Harry and Meghan.  I was under the impression this was going to be a gossipy book.  But it's a big valentine to Meg on what a wonderful gal she is and how bananas they are about each other.  Yawn.

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I'm not actually reading this yet, but I just got "Troubled Blood" by Robert Galbraith (AKA J. K. Rowling). The book is almost 1000 pages long, 925 to be exact. WHY????? Who thought making this story ginormous was a good idea?Why isn't this two books? They would still be huge books at 500 pages each. Is someone trying to push people into buying the ebook by making  the hardcover ridiculously large? I just can't understand what story she could be telling that requires that many pages. I read a lot, & I normally enjoy a big book, but this is just too much. I don't know when I'll get around to reading it, it feels like once I start, I'll be reading the same book for months.

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39 minutes ago, GaT said:

The book is almost 1000 pages long, 925 to be exact. WHY????? Who thought making this story ginormous was a good idea?

The only thing I can say for sure, GaT, is that it's that long because Rowling wants it to be that long. No publisher or editor can dictate anything to an author who's sold as many books as she has. She does not have to take anyone's notes, except to stick them in her circular file.

It does seem pretty typical of authors who reach that untouchable status: The books get longer and longer while having more and more filler.

I just finished Silvia Moreno-Garcia's Mexican Gothic. It's largely an atmospheric mood piece, and I wish we knew Catalina better, to be more invested in her, since she's the damsel in distress that brings the protagonist into the situation, but it was a good read. I did not expect the novel explanation for the goings-on, and the climactic sequence is quite exciting.

Now I've started on Adam Higginbotham's Midnight in Chernobyl. I watched the excellent HBO miniseries about Chernobyl last year, so when I saw this book for sale at my Costco, I decided to pick it up. I'm not far into it, but I think the author does a very nice job so far of explaining technical processes, like how a nuclear power plant works, in a way that is readable for a layperson like myself.

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13 hours ago, GaT said:

I'm not actually reading this yet, but I just got "Troubled Blood" by Robert Galbraith (AKA J. K. Rowling). The book is almost 1000 pages long, 925 to be exact. WHY????? Who thought making this story ginormous was a good idea?Why isn't this two books? They would still be huge books at 500 pages each. Is someone trying to push people into buying the ebook by making  the hardcover ridiculously large? I just can't understand what story she could be telling that requires that many pages. I read a lot, & I normally enjoy a big book, but this is just too much. I don't know when I'll get around to reading it, it feels like once I start, I'll be reading the same book for months.

What's interesting is that Rowling has expressed regret that Order of the Phoenix, the longest book in the Potter series by over 100 pages, ended up being as long as it was and that she wished she had cut some subplots out. Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows were much shorter as a result. So kind of weird that she's slid back into this habit when it has bitten her in the butt before.

However, I'm not surprised that an editor wasn't able to get her to trim things down, if they even tried. It's become abundantly clear in recent months that Rowling has forgotten what it's like to be told no.

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I was a book editor in another life and saw this happen time and time again. I don't get why the authors forget that a close edit was likely a reason their bestselling book was a bestseller. I still cringe when I read a review that asks where the editor was or wishes the book had gone through another round of editing. A big enough author will dig their heels in and refuse to make changes, and what can you do? Ultimately it's their name on the title page and they're the ones who have to stand by it. (And if they're unhappy enough, they'll pick up their toys and go to another publisher.) Though of course if a typo makes it through, it's all the editor's fault!

I enjoyed it when Alec Baldwin was unhappy with what he thought was sloppiness in his finished book, and when he complained, the publisher rightly pointed out that he saw final proofs and it was as much up to him as the editor to make corrections. Ha!

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46 minutes ago, helenamonster said:

What's interesting is that Rowling has expressed regret that Order of the Phoenix, the longest book in the Potter series by over 100 pages, ended up being as long as it was and that she wished she had cut some subplots out. Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows were much shorter as a result. So kind of weird that she's slid back into this habit when it has bitten her in the butt before.

However, I'm not surprised that an editor wasn't able to get her to trim things down, if they even tried. It's become abundantly clear in recent months that Rowling has forgotten what it's like to be told no.

 

18 minutes ago, dubbel zout said:

I was a book editor in another life and saw this happen time and time again. I don't get why the authors forget that a close edit was likely a reason their bestselling book was a bestseller. I still cringe when I read a review that asks where the editor was or wishes the book had gone through another round of editing. A big enough author will dig their heels in and refuse to make changes, and what can you do? Ultimately it's their name on the title page and they're the ones who have to stand by it. (And if they're unhappy enough, they'll pick up their toys and go to another publisher.) Though of course if a typo makes it through, it's all the editor's fault!

I've read some of the reviews on Amazon, & there were a lot of complaints about there being too much astrology in the book, so I'm guessing that's where some of the unnecessary bulk comes from. I can't even imagine what astrology has to do with anything, or why there's so much of it. 

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As a reader, you can almost tell at what point the author decided he/she was too big to listen to the editor.  Tom Clancy was another one whose books got bigger and bigger and more nonsensical.  JK Rowling - I swear she must have watched Lord of the Rings right before writing Deathly Hallows, and clearly no one could talk her out of it.  I keep authors together on my bookshelves and usually put their books in chronological order, and you can almost point to a specific book and say, “There is the moment they got too big.”

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Every book that I've read in the last month has at least three pages of acknowledgments.  The writer has to say thanks to everybody that has ever crossed their path from their 3rd grade BFF to their gardener.  Those are the pages I skip.

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Just completed An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This is the second book by them I've read - the first of course, was The Wife Between Us. My conclusion is that I'm not very impressed. 

The books are okay - light and easy reads. But that's it - they're just okay. And so I don't get the hype. After two books, I now realize that they seem to follow a similar pattern, in that there's a lot of unnecessary padding in the story that keeps hinting at these big, twisty, WOW moments that are coming. And these moments never actually do.

None of the so-called twists were even remotely surprising and the big dramatic end was the most anti-climatic ever. Also, Jessica was pretty meh as a main character. 

Spoiler

I mean really, were we supposed to be surprised that the husband slept with the dead girl? That even before it was revealed, the unknown man Jessica hooked up with was the husband? Or that the wife had something to do with the dead girl's death considering the whole point of the story was that she was batshit fucking crazy?

A real twist would have been if the husband had indeed murdered the dead girl and the wife was just a nutjob using unethical means to prove her husband wouldn't cheat again. So the twist would have been a battle of which of the two was more dangerous to Jessica. They hinted at this but instead settled on the most bland conclusion. 

 

Edited by truthaboutluv
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I’m almost finished with Troubled Blood and it’s going by pretty quickly for such a long book. There is some astrology stuff and it’s important to the plot, but I’m not having any problem following it even though I’m not at all interested in it. You can definitely forget the details and not be lost.

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3 hours ago, MargeGunderson said:

I’m almost finished with Troubled Blood and it’s going by pretty quickly for such a long book. There is some astrology stuff and it’s important to the plot, but I’m not having any problem following it even though I’m not at all interested in it. You can definitely forget the details and not be lost.

I hope I feel the same way, thought I don't know when I'm going to get to it. Every time I look at it, it just seems like too much.

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I just started Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Based on the first bit and the raves it's been getting, this might be a one-sitting read.  

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22 minutes ago, Darian said:

I just started Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Based on the first bit and the raves it's been getting, this might be a one-sitting read.  

I'm looking forward to reading this one.   It is the October book for my Marginalized Authors book club and I'm waiting a few weeks before starting it so that it will be fresh in my mind when we discuss it.

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I just put Mexican Gothic on hold at the library.  I did both ebook and regular book as the wait lists are so long that the pandemic might be over by the time they come through  (hopefully?).

I'm going to be watching closely at what you guys think of Troubled Blood.  I love that series.  I really do.  But I HATE the things JK Rowling has said.  "Separate the art from the creator" was my goal but then I learned some things about a character in the book that normally wouldn't bother me but it's hard to separate that choice with the things she has said.  In addition, it's really hard to get reviews from people who have actually read the book.  At least with Amazon, you can see how many reviews come from people with a verified purchase.  Goodreads reviews have been worthless since so many have chosen Goodreads to render a referendum on the author, not the book.

Edited by Irlandesa
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8 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

I'm going to be watching closely at what you guys think of Troubled Blood.  I love that series.  I really do.  But I HATE the things JK Rowling has said.  "Separate the art from the creator" was my goal but then I learned about some things about a character in the book that normally wouldn't bother me but it's hard to separate that choice with the things she has said.  In addition, it's really hard to get reviews from people who have actually read the book.  At least with Amazon, you can see how many reviews come from people with a verified purchase.  Goodreads reviews have been worthless since so many have chosen Goodreads to render a referendum on the author, not the book.

I'm in this boat too. I was really disappointed when all these things started coming out a few months ago, but I enjoy the series and felt I could read this book while putting my disagreement with her stance on certain issues to the side. However one thing in her big blog post gave me pause, which is when she mentioned writing the Strike series and how as one of the main characters, Robin, was a young modern woman and would probably have opinions about these issues, she wanted to be more informed or something along those lines. I love Robin and got really nervous that we were in for a book where she would be espousing Rowling's viewpoints, and that I couldn't stomach.

As far as I know that's not the case. But I think I have also heard the same information you have about a character in the book. In a vacuum, I probably wouldn't even notice that sort of thing, but coupled with her absolute refusal to budge on this issue, it really sticks out. Apparently now other reviews are coming out to say that's it's not "what the book is about" but you can't unring certain bells.

What I find interesting is that the third book took a very sympathetic, nuanced view towards BIID, which I think is much more morally gray subject matter. But this seems to be a real sticking point for Rowling, unfortunately.

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@Irlandesa, are you referring to there being a character in the book that is transgender? I got to the end of the book and was still wondering who the transgender character was. I think the criticism that is being leveled at Rowling for the character is overblown, started by a review in a UK paper who gave it a rather misleading review with a tagline “never trust a man in a dress,” which if that’s really what the reviewer took away from the book I’m not sure that person even read the book. Rowling should be called out loudly and often for the transphobic comments she has made, but she has hung herself quite ably without having to reach for it. She’s given us plenty of ammunition that should be lobbed right back at her. (Also, the book definitely dragged in spots.)

ETA: this is not to say you should read it if you no longer want to read anything Rowling has written. That’s totally fair. I actually forgot I put it on pre-order on Amazon months ago, so was surprised when I received it. 

Edited by MargeGunderson

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1 hour ago, MargeGunderson said:

@Irlandesa, are you referring to there being a character in the book that is transgender? I got to the end of the book and was still wondering who the transgender character was.

No, the character isn't transgender.  I'm going to spoiler tag this next part but if anyone has read any generalized reviews of the book, it's mentioned so I don't think it's a SPOILER or gives away any major plot points.  In other words, I think it's pretty safe to read.
 

Spoiler

 

I just read mention that the serial killer--maybe an old serial killer?--would dress as woman to get them to trust him.  So he doesn't identify as transgender but it's still a depiction of the "stalkery men in women's clothes" image that some people believe, JK included, about transgender women.

And I think it's the second book in this series that has a character like that.

 

 

1 hour ago, MargeGunderson said:

ETA: this is not to say you should read it if you no longer want to read anything Rowling has written. That’s totally fair. I actually forgot I put it on pre-order on Amazon months ago, so was surprised when I received it. 

I'm going to read this book and then decide.  But I'm definitely doing the library route.  I can't believe six months ago I was thinking of just going ahead and buying it.  That will be my weak middle ground.

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Books I have read within the last few months:

Wrath of Poseidon by Clive Cussler.  He died this year.  It was really obvious that all of his co-authors were writing the books even though his name was on them.  I'm assuming that going forward, they will do like Tom Clancy and Vince Flynn and have his name in big bold letters and say "By ________".  I thought this was a fast paced, good Sam and Remi Fargo adventure, full of the usual action and historical intrigue.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.  I was intrigued by the Agatha Christie-like premise.  A group of college friends take a trip to a hunting lodge for New Year's and get snowed in.  "All of them are friends.  One of them is a killer."  I was disappointed by this book.  It became increasingly more and more predictably ridiculous.  It seems that all of these "psychological thrillers with a woman in jeopardy" more or less follow the same formula.  Peel the onion layer by layer, add in atmospheric suspense, and then find a solution so ridiculous but hope that critics find your writing masterful and brilliant.

Long Range by C.J. Box.  I love this mystery series set in Wyoming featuring the game warden Joe Pickett.  They never get old, he manages to find a unique story in each book, I believe there are almost 20 now.  The part I appreciate most is that unlike in many long-running series, the characters actually age pretty much in real time.  When the series started, Pickett was in his 30s and his kids were elementary school or younger age, now the kids are all in their 20s and moved away from home.

Walk the Wire by David Baldacci.  The latest in the Amos Decker series, featuring an FBI agent who has a condition where he can never forget anything.  The best part of this book was the re-introduction of Will Robie, another of his long-running characters.  I thought he had stopped writing Will Robie books (I'm assuming his publisher told him to move on to new characters) so I was pleasantly surprised when Robie was a significant supporting player in this one.  

The Last Trial by Scott Turow.  The modern inventor of the legal thriller.  He runs circles around that hack John Grisham.  Alejandro Stern, the hero lawyer from "Presumed Innocent", takes on one last case.  There's a lot of legal jargon and the case is complicated and wrought with legal issues, but I found it very gripping.

On 9/4/2020 at 7:00 PM, MargeGunderson said:

I just finished the latest by Louise Penny, All the Devils Are Here. Good, but I think her intrigues are getting too complicated. I’m getting weary of the powerful forces trying to take Chief Inspector Gamache down. Just let the man be a hero, not a martyr, for a few books!

Just finished this one, and I agree, I think the case here was too complicated.  And you're right, the last few books have involved some kind of conspiracy and intrigue against Gamache.  This one is set in Paris.  While I thought the change of setting would be nice after so many books, I was disappointed at how little Paris played a role in the story.  Sure, the characters travel to some Parisian landmarks, but Paris really didn't add anything to the novel.  Whereas I have always felt like Three Pines was always like another character.  I found myself missing Three Pines a lot when reading this one.  I missed the residents who were almost completely absent from this one except mere mentions in passing.  I found myself missing Ruth a LOT.  I missed the bistro, and Myrna's bookshop, and Clara's studio, and all the familiar locales.  Whenever Penny writes about Three Pines, I actually feel like I am there.  I didn't feel the same way about Paris and this one.

 

The Pillars of the Earth is my all-time favourite book.  So I was especially surprised and delighted to discover that Ken Follett has come out with a prequel called The Evening and the Morning which I am currently reading.  The events occur about 125 years before the events in "Pillars".  It weighs in at over 900 pages and I would definitely call this a tome.  I'm going to savour every page.  I did enjoy A Column of Fire but not as much as the first two books in the series. 

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On 8/17/2020 at 7:24 PM, helenamonster said:

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.

Ah, good to know!  I just finished The Guest List on Audible, and it came with the first couple chapters of The Hunting Party at the end.  I listened, I read the synopsis on Goodreads, I thought...Didn't I just read this. same. book??  I may give The Hunting Party a pass.

On 9/20/2020 at 12:06 AM, truthaboutluv said:

Just completed An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. This is the second book by them I've read - the first of course, was The Wife Between Us. My conclusion is that I'm not very impressed. 

The books are okay - light and easy reads. But that's it - they're just okay. And so I don't get the hype. After two books, I now realize that they seem to follow a similar pattern, in that there's a lot of unnecessary padding in the story that keeps hinting at these big, twisty, WOW moments that are coming. And these moments never actually do.

None of the so-called twists were even remotely surprising and the big dramatic end was the most anti-climatic ever. Also, Jessica was pretty meh as a main character. 

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I mean really, were we supposed to be surprised that the husband slept with the dead girl? That even before it was revealed, the unknown man Jessica hooked up with was the husband? Or that the wife had something to do with the dead girl's death considering the whole point of the story was that she was batshit fucking crazy?

A real twist would have been if the husband had indeed murdered the dead girl and the wife was just a nutjob using unethical means to prove her husband wouldn't cheat again. So the twist would have been a battle of which of the two was more dangerous to Jessica. They hinted at this but instead settled on the most bland conclusion. 

 

I devoured this team's entire catalog (along with about 5 other novels in the same vein) in the early days of the pandemic...a psychiatrist would say that reading/listening to thriller novels was a safe way of processing my anxiety 😉  I've moved on.  Maybe?  I found myself googling "knitting-themed fiction" the other day.  I don't knit, and all of those books are the same:  widow (with or without small children) moves home or to a small town (frequently by the seaside) to start over.  She opens or takes over an existing knitting shop, and gets involved with the local hunky handyman or artist.  But they are so soothing!

Talk about anxiety-inducing, though...I started Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital, by Sheri Fink, last night.  Its about the health care providers that were stranded inside Memorial Hospital in New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, and how they struggled to take care of the sickest patients.  You probably heard the story in the media; several were accused of what boiled down to euthanasia, which they allegedly chose when they had to leave patients behind in the final evacuation of the building.  I have a feeling it's not going to be an easy read, but if I got through The Stand this summer without having a nervous breakdown, I think I can handle it.

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On ‎09‎/‎19‎/‎2020 at 1:06 AM, Black Knight said:

The only thing I can say for sure, GaT, is that it's that long because Rowling wants it to be that long. No publisher or editor can dictate anything to an author who's sold as many books as she has. She does not have to take anyone's notes, except to stick them in her circular file.

I'm 100% positive this is George R.R. Martin's approach as well, and why it's been 9 years since A Dance With Dragons and not a sign of book 6.

14 hours ago, blackwing said:

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley.  I was intrigued by the Agatha Christie-like premise.  A group of college friends take a trip to a hunting lodge for New Year's and get snowed in.  "All of them are friends.  One of them is a killer."  I was disappointed by this book.  It became increasingly more and more predictably ridiculous.  It seems that all of these "psychological thrillers with a woman in jeopardy" more or less follow the same formula.  Peel the onion layer by layer, add in atmospheric suspense, and then find a solution so ridiculous but hope that critics find your writing masterful and brilliant.

I liked The Hunting Party, but I didn't love it.  Probably because some elements did become both predictable and ridiculous.  But I thought the resolution was pretty good, and I'll confess to not seeing it coming, although maybe I should have.

I'm currently reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton.  It's good, but dense, in an early GRR Martin kind of way (before he decided he didn't need to listen to editors).  I'm 300 pages in, and I think she's finally done world-building and finished establishing characters so that the mystery can take center stage, but who knows.  Still, it's a fascinating look at late 19th century New Zealand, and I'm enjoying it.

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2 hours ago, Lovecat said:

I got through The Stand this summer without having a nervous breakdown

LOL. The first time I read The Stand was during allergy season, so my brain automatically decided this was it and I was dying. I can't imagine reading it in 2020!

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On 9/21/2020 at 10:30 PM, blackwing said:

The Pillars of the Earth is my all-time favourite book.  So I was especially surprised and delighted to discover that Ken Follett has come out with a prequel called The Evening and the Morning which I am currently reading.  The events occur about 125 years before the events in "Pillars".  It weighs in at over 900 pages and I would definitely call this a tome.  I'm going to savour every page. 

I’m first in line to read it when it gets to my library. Any day now!

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I'm in the middle of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke and loving it so far. The mysteries of where we are and who's who and wth is happening are compelling, but the potential threats to the (at least seemingly) innocent and vulnerable protagonist are stressing me out. It helps that the book is relatively short. Meanwhile, the massive and still unread Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell sits accusingly on my bookshelf going on 8 years, so I should probably get to that soon.

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13 minutes ago, krankydoodle said:

Meanwhile, the massive and still unread Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell sits accusingly on my bookshelf going on 8 years, so I should probably get to that soon.

Ha! I had Helter Skelter in my TBR pile for ages, and once I got through the first chapter on the murders, the rest of it was about the investigation (and how botched it was) and trial minutae. Had I realized the murders themselves would be dealt with so early, I'd have read it much sooner.

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On 9/23/2020 at 3:51 PM, krankydoodle said:

Meanwhile, the massive and still unread Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell sits accusingly on my bookshelf going on 8 years, so I should probably get to that soon.

I tried this one like three times. Mine glares at me occasionally too.

Anyway, despite being a pretty big fan of YA (even if the tropes sometimes make me roll my eyes), I had never read One of Us is Lying. I finally rectified that -- and I loved it! So much that I quickly read the sequel too. Both books have a great cast of characters, an interesting mystery and a fun teen noir setting. The author takes some of those eye-rolling tropes and freshens some up and turns some of them on their heads. I look forward to her next book.

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56 minutes ago, Minneapple said:

I quickly read the sequel too.

I didn't know there was a sequel!  What's the title?  

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Just finished: One by One by Ruth Ware. I think it's the fourth book of hers that I've read, and definitely my favorite. It's about colleagues from an insufferably hip startup who go on a retreat to the French Alps, get stranded in their chalet by an avalanche, and then start suspiciously dying. It has a lot of similarities to Lucy Foley's The Hunting Party and Shari Lapena's The Unwanted Guest, and there's a lot of great tension between the characters as the stakes keep heightening. There's a little too much ski jargon, especially as I don't ski, and a lot of it is very European-specific terminology so the dictionary function on my Kindle got quite the workout. One of the characters being American felt like a note from the editor, to give other characters a reason to explain to him what he might call things back in the States, as he otherwise uses a lot of British turns of phrase that were not tweaked to fit this. That's kind of my main complaint, but otherwise I really enjoyed it.

Next up: The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell.

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