Just Watch Me

Just Watch Me is Jeff Lindsay’s latest novel after bidding his infamous character Dexter Morgan behind
Riley Wolfe gets his thrills from thefts and disguises. But Riley isn’t your typical con man; he’s not running Ponzi scheme or such. Riley goes big, ripping a statue right from its anchors at its unveiling. But he’s getting bored; the thrill diminishes after each scheme. Then Riley finds his big get: the Crown Jewels of Iran. It will take all great foresight and a master talent of disguise to make this master robbery work; Riley salivates at the challenge.
This book is an easy read. And I don’t mean it’s simply written or flippant. Lindsay pulls you in and wraps you into the scheme too. The reader is a passive by standard that is privy to each thrill and twist of Riley’s brain. Lindsay also ensures that the reader starts to understand a little about the way he is. His antihero isn’t just some evil cliché. I was just-watch-mequite impressed with the imagination and thought that went into this book flipping each page as fast as I could.
I only have two issues with the book. the first concerns a major point in his robbery; I just couldn’t spend disbelief enough to see that it would work. The second is that I don’t like Riley, But I am mesmerized by the people he becomes. I shouldn’t call this an issue as I don’t think we are supposed to like Riley right off. Instead, we are to respect the talent it takes to pull off his cons.
The author leaves Dexter behind except for one misstep: the main character talks about the “dark” that overtakes him when he kills. Luckily, it doesn’t follow the main story but the side plot of Riley’s childhood. Other than that, Riley stands on his own without being too much like Dexter. Riley’s maladjustedness focuses more on deceit and theft for a set of all new adventures (I’m sure Riley Wolfe will ride again).
Over all, Lindsay lures you away from the Dexter legacy, allowing Riley Wolfe to stand on his own two feet. The author creates a new kind of adventure following a sociopath with a talent for extravagant cons. While, I’m not fond of Riley as a character, I can’t help but be amazed at what he pulls off when he sets his mind to it.

 

Publication Date: December 3

I received an arc from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

The Deep

The Deep is the result of work by many voices. The book written by Rivers Solomon is inspired by the work of clipping. which was inspired by yet someone else’s work. Because editor Navah Wolfe saw a beautiful vision, this multifaceted art project exists.
Yetu is the historian. She holds the memory of the Wajinru, merfolk who evolved from solomonr-deepusthe African slave women who were thrown overboard pregnant. Once a year, Yetu shares these memories, the pain with her tribe; this is The Remembrance. Yet she doesn’t exist outside these memories and this year Yetu makes a choice that will change her own life and the lives of her people.
Click below to listen to The Deep by the clipping. Because this book is so entwined with the song, you cannot truly appreciate what has been done with this novella and how it has beautifully captured (mostly) the themes and moods from the song. This is art within itself.
The novella can easily be broken down into three parts. The first is a lyrical presentation to the characters, the location and their situation. There is beauty in the writing here; Solomon has written their own song. As a reader, go with the rhythm as the plot and story will be explained more in the second section.
The second portion takes Yetu away from the collective and here is where the reader truly understands what the Remembrance is, what it contains and why it is important. The third section wraps up the modern fable but doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the past two sections.
My only true negative issue is that it is too short. Not too short as in I needed more, too short as something huge was given and built and then-Snap!- resolved. The third section crescendos with a flat fall and everything is suddenly and simply fixed. There was no true fallout to the events beyond Yetu and the population, while remembering their past, seemed to forget their present. Maybe this was a way to say there is no simple answer for the real world parallels the book follows but it felt weak on a literary level.
Overall, The Deep is a lyrical, moving, and crosses culturally lines many other novels cannot. This is also multifaceted art. While this book starts from one song, clipping. has created new music based from this book that will be released simultaneously with the book. This brings this project full circle and will touch you emotionally whether you respond more to written or vocalized word.

Publication: November 5
I received a copy from the publisher for review; all opinions are my own.

 

 

She’s Out

After I finished the sequel to Widows, I swore I was done with the series. But Lynda La Plante pulled me with a great concept. Dolly has done her time in prison, done good for other and has plans to open a home for foster children. Meanwhile, Shirley Miller {21ED394E-BE5D-4562-8BBD-FDE33210E75E}Img400brother is plotting revenge for her death. Sadly, the story quickly changes. Dolly gets the raw end ad everything with the brother Mike falls apart. You end up with a heist story that makes no sense and is written poorly.
She’s Out is written like TV where short scenes can convey a lot of info and keep interest. But books can’t just be three lines about what’s going on in one area and then move on to another. We need something to sink our teeth in. This style runs the ending. The heist is sped through quickly and the reader doesn’t have time to soak in what’s going on. It loses any excitement or thrill. The ending is just sad and no way satisfying.
That being said, I enjoyed getting to know the characters. The women aren’t just cookie cutter stereotypes and the author pushes their boundaries. That works well. In fact, it’s the best part. I honesty wanted more for each character that they ever got in the ending.
She’s Out isn’t my style of heist stories but I can see how it good TV when the author originally created the content.

Published: Oct 29
I received an ARC through NetGalley; all opinions are my own.

Stronger Than Death

cover162744-mediumStronger than Death is the harrowing story of what real missionary work should be. There is more than just religion; there is action combined with care and love of the poor. Reading this book shows me this world has people who are truly good.
Annalena treated TB in places like Kenya and Somalia. She faces down violence every day but never stops caring for those in need. She knew that religion called for care and love for the needy. Unlike many of the biggest “missionary/pastors”, Annalena doesn’t live in opulence. She lives in the same poverty as those she assists pouring all her money into the saving of those with TB. If I say more, I’ll tell you the whole story.

Even though Annalena would never like the publication of this book, I agree with the author that this book should be written, her story must be told. By reaching just one person through this book, Annalena’s work continues.

The book itself is well written and researched. The background of the countries and wars are included in the tale are explored. The author spoke with as many people involved as she could giving many first account stories. There is just one negative here: the author inserts herself. These are odd moments that, instead of bolstering Annalena, make the author seem like she just wants to be connected to Annalena so she can feel better about herself. There is no need: Rachel Pieh Jones shares this story with dedication, love, and respect with a connection that never dies.

I would encourage everyone to read this book. To think about their calling. To challenge the idea of Christianity. I am blessed to have read this story.

Published: Oct 1

I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Christmas Shopaholic

 

Sophie Kinsella brings Becky Bloomwood (opps, Brandon) back into our lives withshopaholic 2 humor and heart just in time for Christmas!
Becky is still shopping way too much but she has evolved into the digital age: she is an online shopaholic. But she only purchases from discount site and charity sites! Not too bad right? But Becky is distracted by her online prizes by the Christmas Holiday. Her parents have asked her to host Christmas! Becky’s initial day dream is overwhelmed by the details that go into it. There is so much to do and so many people to please! It doesn’t help that her ex-boyfriend, now a rock idol, has sauntered into her life. Can Becky keep it together this Christmas Season or is she in over her head?
I love Becky but I am sad that she still hasn’t gotten past buying too much stuff and hiding it from her husband. The good news is that while that stays the same so does the heart that goes with Becky. Becky loves shopping for others and will go above and shopbeyond for the perfect present. When that idea of care is magnified by the fact that she wants her family to have the perfect Christmas, she will do anything to get the right presents for the ones she loves. While there may be instances where she buys just to make herself happy, she shops to show how much she loves her family and friends.
Kinsella has always balanced her stories keeping them from being too frivolous while not dragging them down with the moral and that continues here. This novel, in particular, made me both laugh out loud and weep. I found myself so much in Becky this time and empathized with her more than ever. Even though I cried, the book didn’t get bogged down in tragedy and lack of hope. With Becky there is always heart.
With great fun and just as much heart, Christmas Shopaholic is Becky at her best.

 

Publication Date: October 15

I received an ARC through the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Takes One to Know One

Takes One to Know One is a basic mystery that is as boring as the main character’s suburban life.

Corie Keller used to chase terrorists for a living until she left the FBI to get married and be a mom to her stepdaughter. Cori works free-lance in publishing and meets with a lunch group that discusses their current freelance projects. At one of these lunches, Corie gets a bad feeling about one of the men. Is Peter really dangerous or is she inventing intrigued because she’s bored in Suburbia?

I htakes onead a hard time getting through this book. It was mundane in every aspect, not just in the detailed of the suburban life. The storyline is basic with no twists or turns. Everything is exactly as it seems.
I was hoping for an exciting showdown to take the book up a notch. But even the climax doesn’t give you a true sense of danger. The most interesting parts are told to the character afterward; you don’t even get to live through it for an adrenaline rush.

SPOILER 
I was most disappointed because the book summary gives you the idea that there will be a delicious argument that the character may just be imagining things. It was this puzzle that called to me. While there is some discussion of if she was inventing the danger, there was no depth to the idea and it was quickly dismissed (as was my enjoyment in the book).

A basic story dragged down with suburban life, I would tell my friends to pass on this.

Publication Date: October 1
I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own

Lost You

Lost You gets a 3.5 Stars for a fast-paced story that enjoyable but predictable.
Libby is vacationing when her son disappears after entering the elevator without her. In her anguish to find him, she realizes her horrible secret has come back to haunt her. A 42927039tale of terror, surrogacy and violence unveil itself through this tale of Libby’s life.
The abduction is just the framework to lure you in. The majority of the story is about Libby’s surrogacy. The book jumps between three perspectives, each character adding another layer to the story.
Unfortunately, these characters are all unlikeable. Haylen Beck adds complexity to the characters but doesn’t make me care; they are just that unlikable. I did almost feel for one character but the author made a choice that instantly took that away.
The book is enjoyable because the events move quickly building anticipation. You see what is going to happen and try to tell the characters to “stop!” But, never the less, they each make one bad decision after another. It is Beck’s ability to keep the story moving that makes this story interesting. You must know whether your predictions are correct or not.
An easy read, Lost You is a good read for people who like shock drama.

Publication Date: August 6
I received an ARC through the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Keeping Lucy

Keeping Lucy is a beautiful tale full of heartbreak and love.

Ginny gives birth to a daughter with Down’s Syndrome but since it is 1969 and those with disabilities are treated less than human. Ginny is unaware that her daughter is sent 41150385away to school until it is too late. Her husband and his powerful lawyer father brush it all aside saying it is what is best or everyone. Two years later, a series of articles exposes what is going on at the school: horrible conditions, suicides, and uncared for children. Ginny is compelled to go to the hospital and sees her daughter for the first time. Even though her husband disagrees, she takes Lucy for the weekend. What she found horrifies her and she knows she cannot take Lucy back to the school. Ginny finds herself at war with her husband and his family while trying to take care of her precious daughter.

T. Greenwood brings the same humanity to these characters that she did with Rust & Stardust. Ginny’s reactions to what was done to her child were mine; I felt her heartbreak and determination and cheered her own.
Others charters moved me as well. Ginny’s friend Marsha was amazing, and I was so glad Ginny had Marsha in her life. These characters were so real to me. Especially little Lucy who couldn’t walk because she was neglected in that “school.”
Because of this, the ending brought tears to my eyes. This journey had gutted me. Greenwood never held back giving the book heart and real emotion. The topic would have been too sugary without any depth in any other writer’s hands.

I will recommend this anyone who loves a good tale but isn’t afraid to see the ugly side of the world and feel despair. I know there will be those who this is too much for and there will be people who understand the struggle from experience. To them, I let them decide on their own.

Publication Date: August 6

 

Bonus Review

Engaging and griping, Rust and Stardust is the fictionalized story of Sally Horner, the inspiration for the infamous Lolita.

Sally Horner is caught trying to steal a cheap composition notebook in New Jersey in 1948. The “FBI agent” tells her she must go with him to face trail over her crime. So begins the years long capture of an eleven year old girl by a 50-sometyhing pervert. While the novel is the fictionalized version of these events, the majority of the story’s rust-stardust-book-covercomponents are factual.

I finished this book in two days because the book was engaging and the chapters short enough to spur the reader to want to know what happens next. The story follows the point of view of a variety of characters including Sally, her mother, and those she meets along the way.

As both a novel lover and a true crime buff, I loved Rust & Stardust; I was entranced on page 1.

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

I received ARCs from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

Ragnarok Unwound

I loved this book! It pulled me in from the beginning and wouldn’t let me go!
Ives meets her destiny in a bar (I’m not talking true love!). As the Fate Cipher, Ives has tried to brush off her power and ignore it; she doesn’t need or want the responsibility. 41146916But when Ragnorak (and the end of the world as we know it) becomes imminent, she has no choice. Accepting her blood given gift, Ives sees the whole world in a different way and makes friends she would never have imagined.
The book has dashes of Christopher Moore and a sprinkle of Rick Riodiran while being completely unique, fun, and enchanting. Kristin Jacques gives a spin on the traditional Norse lore while weaving in other religions and pantheons that all work together. She pulls off a twist that respects the traditions of the past while creating her own spin.
I really love how there was no romance. Ives has too much going on learning her history and taking ahold of her future without adding a romantic over layer. When the world is ending, there isn’t time for a forced coupling and that aspect often pulls down action movies and other adventure stories.
The characters are charming (Hel is the best), the writing funny and action exciting. I would love to read more tales of the Fate cipher.
I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.

What’s Next

In What’s Next: Your Dream Job, God’s Call and A Life That Sets you Free, Daniel Ryan Day walks you through figuring on what steps you should take in your life to heed God’s call. While the goal is to help you find what the next step in your career, it’s not really a book about careers or a dream job; instead the book focuses on the idea of God’s calling.
This approach makes sense in the fact that Day is trying to dispel the idea that God’s calling exclusively refers to your occupation. He walks you through a variety of biblical figures whose calling aren’t considering jobs as well as looks into the New Testament ideas of what we are called to be. We are called by God to be a specific kind of person, not just a laborer.
42046635._SX318_But fear not; the final chapter gives you ideas to help you figure out what you want to do next occupation-wise. The author provides readers with ideas of how to apply Biblical concepts of calling to find your dream job.
The book is well written and Ryan has a voice that is straightforward to the average reader. He doesn’t get too bogged down in scholarly material or wording letting the book flow from one pint to the next. The fact that he makes these ideas accessible to a broader audience is the best part of the book and shows that the author understands his audience.
For me, I had decided a long time ago my calling was’ necessarily my job. Personally, this book wasn’t helpful for me, and I wasn’t as invested as some might be. But I do believe it can be helpful for others. If you still think that your calling only refers to your occupation, then this is a book you need. God is calling you for so much more than a paycheck.
I received an ARC from the publisher; all opinions are my own.