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#278383 - 01/08/18 07:58 PM 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
Guess I'll start the ball rolling:

#1 What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Quote:
Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details.


#2 A Beautiful Terrible Thing: A Memoir of Marriage and Betrayal by Jen Waite

A woman learns that her husband isn't who she thought he was.

It's a sad story but...in the telling it comes off weak. She suspects her husband is having an affair. Instead of doing some research, she immediately loses it and and screams at him. Yeah, he was a jerk. But her behavior came off as immature too. From reading the internet, she decides he was a sociopath. And her therapist agrees with this diagnosis, never having met the man?

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#278448 - 01/12/18 09:05 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
Annie B. Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 1048
Loc: California
1. Native Tongue, by Carl Hiaasen

When the precious blue-tongued mango voles at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills on North Key Largo are stolen by heartless, ruthless thugs, Joe Winder wants to uncover why, and find the voles. Joe is lately a PR man for the Amazing Kingdom theme park, but now that the voles are gone, Winder is dragged along in their wake through a series of weird and lethal events that begin with the sleazy real-estate agent/villain Francis X. Kingsbury and can end only one way.

This book was full of Hiaasen's signature humor and bizarre, only-in-Florida characters. An entertaining read.

2. Love Lessons at Midnight, by Shirl Henke

No one knows the true identity of the mysterious madam who runs London's most notorious brothel, The House of Dreams. This is the place where a man's wildest dreams can come true, but even in his most secret fantasies, Robert St. John has not imagined the pleasure he will find or the danger he will court while seducing its mistress.

This was the last novel Henke wrote before her publisher stopped publishing paperbacks and she and her husband started co-writing romance novels for the e-book market. Like most of her novels, it's very well-researched, but at times it shows a lack of a good editor (obvious typos). I needed to look up some of the Regency slang, but on the whole this was a good book.

3. Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, by Dave Barry

Complete with maps, histories, quaint local facts (France's National Underwear Changing Day is March 12), song lyrics, helpful hints on how to get through Customs (all insects must be spayed), and tidbits from Dave Barry's own fond vacation nightmares, DAVE BARRY'S ONLY TRAVEL GUIDE YOU'LL EVER NEED is just that.

This satirical travel book makes fun of travel guides and the way they describe everything as dynamic. The "facts" aren't facts, although the description of traveling with children is on the nose: "Are we there yet?" "He's looking out my window!" "This is boring." "You suck!"
_________________________
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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#278503 - 01/14/18 11:47 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#3 After You by Joyo Moyes

Sequel to Me Before You.

Quote:
How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.


I found this sequel disappointing. Obviously it dealt with different issues than the first book. But I thought we saw Lou blossom as a person there - learning that she could be more. While the events of the first book would impact her, this new book starting a year and half later has her with even less than she was before! Even at the end of the book, she seems to have no clue what she really wants.

Joan

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#278534 - 01/15/18 05:49 PM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#4 With Love from the Inside by Angela Pisel

Quote:
Grace Bradshaw knows the exact minute she will die. On death row for murdering her infant son, her last breath will be taken on February 15 at 12:01 a.m. Eleven years, five months, and twenty-seven days separate her from the last time she heard her precious daughter’s voice and the final moment she’d heard anyone call her Mom. Out of appeals, she can focus on only one thing—reconnecting with her daughter and making sure she knows the truth.


Interesting idea but it came off flat. The 'last minute' evidence seemed a bit too contrived.

Joan

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#278641 - 01/21/18 08:26 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
Annie B. Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 1048
Loc: California
4. The Female of the Species, by Mindy McGinnis

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone. As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

This is an excellent book. The three main characters are well-developed and believable, as is a secondary character who has an important role in the story. The consequences of taking the law into one's own hands are explored in a thought-provoking manner, as are the stereotypes concerning both boys and girls.

5. Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, by Michael Wolff

The first nine months of Donald Trump's term were stormy, outrageous—and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.

A riveting story this was not. It read like a gossip magazine (which I tend to find approximately as interesting as watching paint dry). After all the fuss (which was why I bought this book in the first place), the book commits the cardinal sin of being boring. Bleh.
_________________________
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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#278663 - 01/21/18 04:51 PM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#5 The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham

Quote:
Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store in a ritzy London suburb, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her.

When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…


The reviews on this book compare it to "Gone Girl" and "The Girl on the Train". While it was an entertaining read, it is not the same caliber as those books.

#6 Fatal by John Lescroart

Quote:
Kate loves her life. At forty-four, she’s happily married to her kind husband, Ron, blessed with two wonderful children, and has a beautiful home in San Francisco. Everything changes, however, when she and Ron attend a dinner party and meet another couple, Peter and Jill. Kate and Peter only exchange a few pleasant words but that night, in bed with her husband, Kate is suddenly overcome with a burning desire for Peter.

What begins as an innocent crush soon develops into a dangerous obsession and Kate’s fixation on Peter results in one intense, passionate encounter between the two. Confident that her life can now go back to normal, Kate never considers that Peter may not be so willing to move on.


An engaging read. I figured out 'who dun it' before the end of the book.





Edited by scifiJoan (01/21/18 04:52 PM)

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#278681 - 01/23/18 06:39 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#7 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Quote:
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.


My daughter and I watched the NetFlix version so I thought I'd read the book. While there are some differences, the main plot was the same. Both were engaging. I liked the idea that even little acts can make a difference.

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#278789 - 01/29/18 08:51 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
Annie B. Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 1048
Loc: California
6. Wayne of Gotham, by Tracy Hickman

When the Batman begins to investigate the events surrounding his parents' murder, he will also uncover the darkest secrets of his family's past.

This novel goes back and forth between the present and the 1950's, when Thomas Wayne took part in an ill-fated experiment to cure people of criminal tendencies. Overall, the book is a good read, although I found some of the prolonged descriptions of cars tiresome.

7. Batman: Nightwalker, by Marie Lu

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

This is the second book in the DC Icons series, each written by a different YA author. This novel shows Bruce Wayne as an 18-year-old, just starting his journey toward the hero he will become. It shows a very high-tech world, one that can be turned against the people who rely upon it. A good read, and one I would recommend.
_________________________
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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#278899 - 02/01/18 01:12 PM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#8 Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

Quote:
From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.


Just re-read this book for a book club I'm hosting next week. This book gave great insights regarding the factors impacting this group.

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#278937 - 02/04/18 09:16 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#9 The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton

Quote:
A gripping story of love and loyalty as Sara Jenkins must choose either to fight for the people she has come to love or return to her life of solitude and simplicity.


Not bad for $1. Typical romance novel.

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#278989 - 02/08/18 07:43 PM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
Annie B. Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 06/29/13
Posts: 1048
Loc: California
8. The Hit, by David Baldacci

Will Robie is a master of killing. A highly skilled assassin, Robie is the man the U.S. government calls on to eliminate the worst of the worst-enemies of the state, monsters committed to harming untold numbers of innocent victims. No one else can match Robie's talents as a hitman...no one, except Jessica Reel. A fellow assassin, equally professional and dangerous, Reel is every bit as lethal as Robie. And now, she's gone rogue, turning her gun sights on other members of their agency. To stop one of their own, the government looks again to Will Robie. His mission: bring in Reel, dead or alive. Only a killer can catch another killer, they tell him. But as Robie pursues Reel, he quickly finds that there is more to her betrayal than meets the eye. Her attacks on the agency conceal a larger threat, a threat that could send shockwaves through the U.S. government and around the world.

This is the first book I have read in this series, and now I am going to try to read the others. The story was engaging and kept me reading long after I should have put the book away for the night.
_________________________
"Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad."
"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.”

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

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#279022 - 02/12/18 08:26 PM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
Mouserocks Offline
Merriwether

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 1713
Loc: California
I love reading but I have so little time for it (outside fanfic of course) but I figured I'd give the challenge a whirl this year. I've only got one book down so far, so I'd be happy if I hit 10, let alone 50!

1. Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build your routine, find your focus, and sharpen your creative mind

Quote:
Are you overextended, over-distracted, and overwhelmed? Do you work at a breakneck pace all day, only to find you haven't accomplished the most important things on your agenda by the time you leave the office?

The world has changed and the way we work has to change, too. Manage your day-to-day will give you a toolkit for tackling challenges of a 24/7 always-on workplace.


I actually found this to be a really good read (i.e. listen-- full disclosure this was an audio book, but made for an easy way to kick off the new year). It's kind of an in-between of a self-help book and testimonials. My biggest problem always tends to be finding balance throughout my day/week/month/life and this took several aspects of that and simplified it. Very helpful especially when working in a creative field-- it even helped me focus and follow through on writing some fics. wink

Not doing a lot of fun reading right now (besides here), so we'll see what I get to read next.
_________________________
"If we got murdered right now, I'd feel *so* ripped off."
-- Richard Castle

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#279158 - Today at 06:39 AM Re: 50 Book Challenge 2018/What I've Read in 2018 [Re: scifiJoan]
scifiJoan Offline
Top Banana

Registered: 11/15/10
Posts: 1238
Loc: out in the cornfields
#10 Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Quote:
Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this debut novel reveals a story of love, redemption, and secrets that were hidden for decades.


This historical romance focused on the 'rabbits' - female concentration camp prisoners who were used for horrible experiments. There were points within the book that I would've liked the author to develop more (such as how the Nazis doctor goes from balking at lethal injection to performing such atrocities), but on the whole it was a good book.

#11 Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton's Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

Quote:
It was never supposed to be this close. And of course she was supposed to win. How Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump is the riveting story of a sure thing gone off the rails. For every Comey revelation or hindsight acknowledgment about the electorate, no explanation of defeat can begin with anything other than the core problem of Hillary's campaign--the candidate herself.


The book brought up some interesting points regarding why they felt they campaign failed.


Joan


Edited by scifiJoan (Today at 06:40 AM)

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