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Obsidian Blue

Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!

Currently reading

They Thirst
Robert McCammon
Halloween Party (Fear Street)
R.L. Stine
Vendetta in Death
J.D. Robb
Colleen Hoover
Progress: 51 %
It's Always the Husband
Michelle Campbell
Let Me Lie
Clare Mackintosh
After the End
Clare Mackintosh
Progress: 40/400 pages
The Institute
Stephen King
Dean Koontz
The Vine Witch
Luanne G. Smith
Progress: 2 %
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Reading progress update: I've read 51%.

Verity - Colleen Hoover

This book reminds me a bit of Jane Eyre, but the heroine knows the wife is still alive. I love how Hoover has structured this with Lowen living now with Verity's husband and young son while she also snoops and finds an autobiography that Verity wrote before her accident. This book is definitely dark and twisty. I don't know about Jeremy who is painted as tall, dark, handsome, and super sexy. I don't know about Lowen whose personal and professional life is a mess. And I am super curious about the nurse that doesn't seem to like Lowen much. Maybe some shades of Rebecca? Hmmmm


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2019 Halloween Bingo: Report Your Bingo

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1. Spooky's Maze of Books (1) (10) (18) (23)

2. BrokenTune (2) (11) (19) (20)

3. Themis-Athena's Garden of Books (3) (4) (5) (13)

4. Mike Finn (6) (25) (26) (30)

5. Portable Monsters (7)

6. Obsidian Blue (**) 

7. Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark (8)

8. Lora's Rants and Reviews (9) (31) 

9. Jennifer's BooOOOoooks (12) (34) (35) 

10. Leah's Bookish Obsession (14) (24) (36)

11.  Moonlight Murder (**)

12. Emerjas (15) (27) (28) (29) 

13. Kell's Reading Realm (16) (38)

14. Carmilla Reads (17)

15. Murder by Death (21)

16. Lillelara (22) 

17. A Man With A Spooky Agenda (32) (37)

18. XOX (33) 




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Great Peek at Poirot During Christmas

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story - Agatha Christie

Well this was short, but sweet. I loved the set-up of Poirot going to an old country house in order to retrieve something for a prince. While there though not only does he get to the bottom of the mystery of a stolen item, but is also able to help sway a young woman to her future. No Hastings, which is a disappointment, but everything else works. This would definitely be a great story for the Festive Tasks that we do every year.


"The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding" follows Poirot being asked by a higher up in the British government, to help a foreign prince retrieve a priceless ruby that got stolen from him by a special friend of his. Poirot is implored to go to Kings Lacey and stay with the Laceys during Christmas. Poirot who loathes cold wants to stay in his modern little flat with the heating and plumbing. He finally agrees to go and while there manages to figure out who is behind the stolen ruby and direct a young woman away from a bad romance.


So Poirot was actually agreeable to me in this one. Usually he drives me a bit insane, but he is really there to listen to certain characters and give advice. My favorite part of this story was him talking to Mrs. Lacey who is concerned that her granddaughter Sarah has become involved with a man named Desmond Lee-Wortley. Mrs. Lacey and Poirot comment on how much has changed with young girls of the day (this book takes place in the 1960s I assume since it was published in 1960) and how "far" they seem to go with unreliable young men. 


Mrs. Lacey is quite smart and reminds me a bit of past Christie characters (an older relative knowing what's what and the best way to get a young woman over an infatuation with an unremarkable man) and definitely knows what what.

I liked Sarah a lot and she seemed to be realizing that maybe things with her beau Desmond are not all they are cracked up to be.

We also have secondary characters like the Lacey's grandson, the aging butler, the cook, and other friends as well. 

So the writing was really good and maybe I laughed at Christie talking about how young women nowadays dress terribly and don't wash or brush their hair. Was this a thing in England at the time? Yikes. I always laugh a bit that Poirot via Christie laments the changes in the young and how things were much better back in the day.

The flow really works and the story moves along nicely. We have Poirot arriving before Christmas day, Christmas, and then the day after.


The setting of this country house that is much too large (though modernized here and there) definitely to not be the norm for the time that this book is taking place. Lots of Christie books it seems get into the small fortune that many had to pay to upkeep family homes and how they have to be let and or sold off (see The Body in the Library and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side to see how the Bantrys eventually sold off their home). 


The mystery gets nicely resolved and it's up to the reader to imagine what is next for some of the characters in the story. But based on past Christie books it's pretty obvious what Sarah is going to end up doing next. Or who she will end up with. 


TBR Thursday Library Reads: October 17, 2019

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What a whirlwind this week has been! I had some renovations outside completed (new deck and bench built) and also booked a trip to visit my friend who is in Honduras now. Now I have two friends who are battling it out to have people come on trips to Jamaica to celebrate their birthdays come January. I may pass on both and take myself to Vegas to celebrate my 40th. Or do something fun and book related. How is everyone's week going so far?



Borrowed: (6) 

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Hold: (16)


Physical Copies: (6)

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Electronic Copies: (5)

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Electronic Copies Suspend Hold: (5)

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Read: (2) 


[More detail about this title is available] Title details for Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier - Wait list

Bingo call: 10/17/19

Reblogged from Moonlight Murder:

Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding: A Hercule Poirot Short Story - Agatha Christie

I am going to finish this in the next 30 minutes to just get this off my plate. The cover is so not Christie. It tickles me though.


Reading progress update: I've read 17%.

Verity - Colleen Hoover

Ooh this book is pretty good so far. We also have some Gothic elements too! The main character (Lowen) is being asked to finish off a series of a popular author of thriller novels. Lowen has just had to bury her mother and is in a ton of debt due to taking care of her. She's been evicted from her apartment. She definitely needs the cash that is being offered by Verity Crawford's husband and publisher to finish her novels. Now she has arrived at Verity's home in Vermont and the stone facade of the home seems dark. And of course Verity's husband Jeremy is tall and dark. 


Reading progress update: I've read 1%.

Verity - Colleen Hoover

I don't mind hardcover books, but I can't drag them to meetings and read them during breaks. For some reason people get offended. So jumping back to this Kindle book version of Verity that I am reading for Halloween Bingo 2019.


Reading progress update: I've read 40 out of 400 pages.

After the End - Clare Mackintosh

Not bad, but not getting the mystery aspect of this yet. We have three POVs, the mother Pip, the father, Max, and a doctor called Leila. Pip and Max are dealing with their son Dylan who is being treated for a brain tumor. 


Struggle to Finish

The Dead Girls Club - Damien Angelica Walters

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

Not too much to say here. I will echo what other reviewers have said. The parts of the book focusing on the protagonist's childhood were great. When it moved to her as an adult the book felt off in some way and I just didn't want to keep reading further. I finished this around midnight last night since I was up fuming about the debates that were on. I think there is some promise in Walters writing, it just needs to be tightened up a bit. I thought the way that some of the characters talked to each other was weird too in some places. One of the worst parts of getting a book via NetGalley and downloading it to your Kindle is that you can't upload your notes on the book. I am too lazy to post the writing that I went what at a few times. Some of the sentences made me hard pause and wonder what the heck the author was trying to say.  


"Dead Girls Club" follows Heather Cole. She and her friends back in the early 90s formed a club that was obsessed with telling stories about serial killers, death, etc. They were pretty much the hosts from Stay Sexy, Don't Get Murdered before that became a thing. The girls in the group become obsessed with a woman they call the Red Lady. When Heather's best friend Becca starts talking about the Red Lady and how she's real Heather doesn't believe her. Then Becca ends up being killed. Fast forward decades later and Heather is now a child psychologist. Heather has never told anyone what happened to Becca, but now Heather thinks that the Red Lady is out there stalking her and leaving her creepy clues about what happened with Becca. 


I really can't say much about the characters. Though this book isn't written in medias res it should have been. We just get kind of pushed into the book and I felt a little lost at first. I didn't know who was who or what anyone was doing. I had to re-read sections so many times to even make sense of who was speaking sometimes.


Heather being a child psychologist was kind of laughable cause she seems to have no empathy (at least I didn't think she did) for children or the ability to relate to him. She's married to a bland dude whose name I am totally blanking on. Two of Heather's younger friends, Gia and Rachel are also kind of bland in the present, but not in the childhood portions. 


So the writing is so weird to me. Walters writes the sections dealing with Heather in her childhood so well. Then it moves to the adult portion and it was just not working for me at all. The "Then" and then "Now" format seems to be a thing in a lot of thrillers written in the past few years and I wish that it be utilized a little more judiciously. Sometimes writing in that style can make the novel great when you get a third act twist or something. But this just bogged down my reading enjoyment. Also fair warning since this came up the other day, this is written in first person present tense. It doesn't bother me as a reader, but I know it bothers others, so thought I bring that up. 


The flow wasn't great jumping back and forth between the "dead girls club" and present day Heather. I felt myself getting so confused while reading this ARC cause there were not clear spacing between paragraphs so that just made things worse for me. I am sure when it's published that will all get cleaned up.

The ending had a lot of plot holes I thought but at that point I was just glad to be done. A good first effort. I wouldn't re-read this in the future though. 


Obsidian Blue's 2nd Halloween Bingo Card



Bingo Calls:


9/1/19: Ghost stories

9/2/19: Genre: Horror

9/3/19: Creepy Crawlies

9/4/19: Amateur Sleuth

9/5/19: American Horror Story

9/6/19: Dystopian Hellscape

9/7/19: Fear Street

9/8/19: Black Cat

9/9/19: Relics and Curiosities

9/10/19: A Grimm Tale

9/11/19: Stranger Things

9/12/19: Creepy Carnivals

9/13/19: Country House Mystery

9/14/19: Classic Horror

9/15/19: Supernatural

9/16/19: Psych

9/17/19: Darkest London 
9/18/19: Cozy Mystery
9/19/19: Southern Gothic

9/20/19: Read by Flashlight or Candlelight

9/21/19: Modern Noir

9/22/19: Spellbound

9/23/19: Dark Academia

9/24/19: Deadlands

9/25/19: Slasher Stories

9/26/19: In a Dark, Dark Woods

9/27/19: It was a dark and stormy night
9/28/19: Paint it Black
9/29/19: Truly Terrifying
9/30/19: Locked room mystery

10/1/19: Raven/Free space

10/2/19: Full Moon

10/3/19: King of Fear

10/4/19: Vampires

10/5/19: Halloween

10/6/19: Sleepy Hollow

10/7/19: Diverse voices

10/8/19: Demons

10/9/19: International Woman of Mystery

10/10/19: Film at 11

10/11/19: Cryptozoologist

10/12/19: Stone Cold Horror

 10/13/19:Baker Street Irregulars 

10/14/19: Romantic Suspense 

10/15/19: New Release

10/16/19: Monsters


These are the extra squares and books I am reading for Halloween Bingo 2019!


13-The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie

A Grimm Tale-A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell read 10/9/19

Darkest London-A Mind to Murder (Adam Dalgliesh #2) by P.D. James read 10/7/19

Halloween-Halloween Party (Fear Street Book 8) by R.L. Stine

New Release-After the End by Clare Mackintosh

Read by Flashlight or Candle light-Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane read 10/7/19

Sleepy Hollow-The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman read 10/12/19

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night-Acceptable Risk by Robin Cook read 10/16/19

Country House Mystery-The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie

Cozy Mystery-Lowcountry Boomerang (Liz Talbot #8) by Susan M. Boyer

Modern Noir-The Pyramid and Other Short Stories by Henning Mankell read 10/10/19

Romantic Suspense-Verity by Colleen Hoover

Vampires-They Thirst by Robert R. McCammon

Fear Street-Help Wanted by Richie Tankersley Cusick (Buddy read with MR) read 10/7/19

Classic Horror-The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

And Old Favorite Still Resonates

Acceptable Risk - Robin Cook

So I read this story for the first time as a teenager and actually read it during the winter months in Pennsylvania. I loved the atmosphere of this book and it started my interest in the Salem Witch Trials as well. It was great to re-read my copy again and besides a few pacing issues here and there, I thought this was a solid thriller to read for Halloween Bingo 2019. I won't lie though that the medical mystery that Cook gets into is a reach although his proposed solutions to what afflicted the girls during the Salem Witch Trials was also brought up via Shirley Jackson when she wrote "The Witchcraft of Salem Village." I don't think that the "theory" is true at all and I kind of just hard shrugged my shoulders at it. I consider this more science fiction than anything and thought this book reminded me a lot of some of Dean Koontz's earlier works. 


"Acceptable Risk" starts off with a flashback to the Salem Witch Trials and the soon to be hanging of a woman, Elizabeth Stewart, is accused of being a witch.We don't know what evidence the man holding the proceedings is talking about, but Elizabeth is accused of also afflicting children as well. Then the book proceeds to the "present" day with one of Elizabeth's descendants, Kimberly Stewart. Kimberly is a nurse and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Kimberly is coming out of a relationship with a dickish resident (sorry he is) Kinnard when she gets set up with by her cousin with a medical researcher, Edward Armstrong. Kimberly and Edward hit it off and start dating. While dealing with that, she is trying to figure out what to do with her family's old home in Salem (where Elizabeth Stewart also lived) and while there, Edward finds a new strain of something that I can't even remember how to spell. Through his research, Edward finds that he can use this strain to turn it into a drug that has no negative side effects, but also causes the user to be more calm and confident. 

Kimberly is shy and I felt for her. She is overwhelmed in a good way by Edward and quickly gets talked into things she is not sure about. I think that the biggest issue with Kimberly though is halfway through the book she just lets Edward and her cousin walk all over her. I also hard paused at her jumping into something so new with Edward right away and living with the guy. She also agrees to let the medical research company work out of her home and she is starting to have misgivings about the drug. She flounders around a lot and then starts talking to her ex who was the worst from the glimpse of him we get in the beginning of the book.

Edward is shy and him getting hooked on the wonder drug was a good look at how prescription drugs can cause people to become too dependent on them and the danger in taking them. His whole personality undergoes a change through the book.

We get some secondary characters, but mostly just have Kimberly and Edward's third person POVs. There's also a mystery going around about vandalism in the town of other things that Kimberly finds that get explained by the end of the book. 

The writing I thought was good. Cook has Kimberly researching Elizabeth's history and the Salem Witch Trials with her trying to find out what evidence the town had to show that Elizabeth was a witch. 


The flow though as I said at times gets a big bogged down whenever we get into the medical aspect of things with the new designer drug. I don't really get anything that Cook is getting into and thought that it seemed beyond strange that Edward and those he hired would just blithely take drugs that had not been through testing. 

The setting of the old home that quickly gets overrun by Edward and his colleagues takes a dark turn after a while. Kimberly is having to deal with the fact that the home doesn't feel like hers and that many of the researchers are just haphazardly treating the home. 

The ending felt gruesome to me and I have to say I wonder at how Cook left things since it seems as if this story would be perfect for a sequel. I also didn't like how things ended for Kimberly since I thought that Cook changed the whole tone of the book up and had to make it into a happily ever after for her. The "It was a dark and stormy night" piece from this book comes to the next to last scene with Kimberly running (from something) in the rain. 



Obsidian Blue's Halloween Bingo 2019 Card

Updated: Read all books on card!

First Bingo and Second Bingo!



Bats equal "Call"

Ghosts equal "Read"

Pumpkins equal "Call and Read"


Bingo Calls:


9/1/19: Ghost stories

9/2/19: Genre: Horror

9/3/19: Creepy Crawlies

9/4/19: Amateur Sleuth

9/5/19: American Horror Story

9/6/19: Dystopian Hellscape

9/7/19: Fear Street

9/8/19: Black Cat

9/9/19: Relics and Curiosities

9/10/19: A Grimm Tale

9/11/19: Stranger Things

9/12/19: Creepy Carnivals

9/13/19: Country House Mystery

9/14/19: Classic Horror

9/15/19: Supernatural

9/16/19: Psych

9/17/19: Darkest London 
9/18/19: Cozy Mystery
9/19/19: Southern Gothic

9/20/19: Read by Flashlight or Candlelight

9/21/19: Modern Noir

9/22/19: Spellbound

9/23/19: Dark Academia

9/24/19: Deadlands

9/25/19: Slasher Stories

9/26/19: In a Dark, Dark Woods

9/27/19: It was a dark and stormy night
9/28/19: Paint it Black
9/29/19: Truly Terrifying
9/30/19: Locked room mystery

10/1/19: Raven/Free space

10/2/19: Full Moon

10/3/19: King of Fear

10/4/19: Vampires

10/5/19: Halloween

10/6/19: Sleepy Hollow

10/7/19: Diverse voices

10/8/19: Demons

10/9/19: International Woman of Mystery

10/10/19: Film at 11

10/11/19: Cryptozoologist 

10/12/19: Stone Cold Horror

10/13/19:Baker Street Irregulars 

10/14/19: Romantic Suspense 

10/15/19: New Release

10/16/19: Monsters


Row #1

SupernaturalUnnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman  read 9/4/19

Diverse Voices: The Moai Island Puzzle by Alice Arisugawa 9/23/19

Truly Terrifying: The Wilderness of Ruin by Roseanne Montillo read 9/30/19

Amateur Sleuth: They Do it With Mirrors (Miss Marple #6) read 9/7/19

Terror in a Small Town: Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou read 9/21/19

Row #2

Ghost Stories: The Invited by Jennifer McMahon read 9/9/2019

Black CatCat out of Hell by Lynne Truss read 9/9/2019
Dark Academia: First Evil (Fear Street) by R.L. Stine read 9/11/19

Genre: Suspense: Field of Prey by John Sandford read 10/3/19

King of Fear: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King read 9/26/19


Row #3

Spellbound: Secrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston read 9/11/19

DoomsdayThe Road by Cormac McCarthy 9/22/19

Raven: Silken Prey by John Sandford read 9/11/19

Murder Most Foul: The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware read 9/1/19

Dystopian Hellscape: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood read 9/16/19


Row #4:

Magical Realism: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey read 9/19/19

In the Dark, Dark Woods: The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Katherine Howe read 9/24/19

Psych: I Let You Go by Claire Mackintosh 9/25/19

Locked Room Mystery: The Decagon House Murders by by Yukito Ayatsuji read 9/9/19

Stone Cold Horror: White is for the Witching by Helen Oyeyemi read 10/3/19


Row #5

Gothic: The Pride of the Peacock by Victoria Holt read 9/16/19

Film at 11: A Stir of Echoes by Richard Matheson read 9/16/19

Paint it Black: Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi read 9/22/19

International Woman of Mystery: Cover Her Face (Adam Dalgiesh #1) by PD James 9/20/19

Stranger Things: Strangers by Dean Koontz read 10/1/19

Bingo Call: 10/16/2019


Monsters: This square covers any crytpozoological or mythological creature that isn't a vampire, werewolf, or demon. Or zombie

Book Felt Up and Down While Reading

What I Remember Most - Cathy Lamb

Trigger warning: Depicts incidents of physical abuse of a child


So this one was my least favorite out of my Cathy Lamb reading spree. I think the problem is that the main character (Grenadine) doesn't even sound similar to the headstrong girl and then young adult we hear about via CPS reports and then court proceedings. I think that Lamb didn't think that through enough when she set this up. She wanted I think to have a book about a wife in hiding from her soon to be ex and had a whole story about her past. It didn't help that we also get narratives from an unseen killer in this one and it doesn't take too long to figure out who this may be and why it's important to Grenadine. I also thought the romance was pretty meh. I also loathed, loathed Grenadine's temper and how she talked and threatened people. It wasn't funny or anything like that to me. There's also comments about how she gets grossed out thinking about a woman in that way, but she's fine with lesbians (yeah that happened...twice in this book). All in all I was glad to put this one away. 


"What I Remember Most" follows Grenadine Scotch Wild who is in hiding from her husband Covey. Covey is apparently the head of a similar type Enron business and has tied Grenadine up in his financial shenanigans. Grenadine is trying to hide from Covey and also come up with money to pay her divorce attorney and her possible criminal attorney if the case goes to court. Grenadine has only $500 and her car and the art supplies she took. After being told no in several towns about possible work, Grenadine ends up in the town of Pineridge and gets work at the local bar/restaurant and then eventually at a furniture maker business as well. We also have Grenadine thinking often of the parents she recalls from her memories, but she never saw again after she was 7. 


So Grenadine as a child was all spitfire. I loved the parts showing via other people (police reports, CPS reports, court proceedings) what a fighter she was. Your heart also breaks for her though when you find out how she split through the cracks and eventually was in one foster home after another. She holds onto her art (which seems to be mixed medium collages) through her childhood and adulthood and then marries Covey. This is where Lamb looses me though. We are shown how Grenadine has a good bullshit detector after what she has been though so the Covey thing made zero sense to me. Also I didn't like Grenadine much as an adult living in Pineridge. I thought she was nasty and her temper and remarks to men and women at the bar she was working got old after a while. People saying they come in to watch the show were gross too. How about the owner telling people from the start no harassment of her staff? I guess it was done to make us tee hee about it. I did not. 

I also thought all of Grenadine's relationships were shallow. We just have her eventually meet Cleo and her daughter and then they are calling each other soul sisters. I don't even want to get into that nonsense plot with Cleo cause it didn't even work in the book. I forget though that Lamb always has to have some senseless tragedy though in her works.


Grenadine's love interest Kade was a no go for me. His backstory made zero sense, and the supposed attraction was lame. 


We have the usual case of some of the women and men in this town being eccentric. The thing with the snake guy creeped me out and that's all I am saying about that. 


The writing was okay. I liked the parts actually looking at Grenadine's past and the present stuff was boring. The narratives with the unseen killer could have been edited out. 

The setting of Pineridge seemed like the typical Oregon town that Lamb likes to write about. Everyone knows each other and likes each other and they embrace the eccentricities of all. The police also totally turn a blind eye to crimes if you cook for them or give them pie. I seriously remember this as a thing that happened in "Julia's Chocolates" and something else I am blanking on too.


The ending didn't work for me. I just thought it didn't work. We have Grenadine acting out of character with regard to Covey (no confrontation or anything) and then we have the story go on too long with the reveal of what happened to Grenadine's parents. And then the book just kept going. 

Dragged Too Much

The Language of Sisters - Cathy Lamb

Trigger warning: References to rape


So this was just okay to me. I think the biggest reason why I couldn't give it more than 3 stars was that the whole big just got so bogged down in the Russia plot, the sister dealing with a serial killer case (yep) and then the heroine's constant repetitions to herself to keep a secret that I just didn't care in the end about any of the characters after a while. There were some bright spots, but a couple of things that happened stuck in my craw (the outing of two men via video was gross to me and it being hailed as great was not okay) and I just felt myself getting annoyed. Also too many of the characters in this book sounded similar to previous Lamb characters in "Such a Pretty Face" and "If You Could See What I See". I read this immediately after "My Very Best Friend" and felt let down.


"The Language of Sisters" follows Toni Kozlovsky. She and her family immigrated from Germany after escaping from Russia decades earlier. Toni is a crime reporter and has two sisters, Valerie and Ellie. Valerie is a prosecutor and Ellie designs pillows that are sought after. We find out that Valerie is happily married with two children. Ellie is newly engaged to a man that her family finds wanting. And Toni is dealing with a devastating loss. When Toni realizes she can't keep up with writing about crime, she seeks to get a job at a new magazine that will take about people's homes. While dealing with this Toni is fighting to not get into a relationship with one of her neighbors while also remembering her family's past in Russia and the secret she was told to keep by her parents.

Not too much to say here except I found Toni lackluster. Her romance with Nick also sucked. There was nothing there to grab onto. We hear how great he is, but since Lamb only references them sleeping together and him discussing books in a general way with her, I had nothing else to go on. The men in most of Lamb's books tend to not be very developed, and Nick was not. We also have the whole thing with Toni and her sisters able to "talk" to each other in their heads. Toni needed a lot of hand holding and help and I get that with her past everyone was trying, but I thought she needed therapy.

We have the usual eccentric characters in this one though they are all Toni's neighbors on the dock where she lives on her tugboat. And of course her family. I was able to keep the family straight for the most part. Though the twin sisters and them being hyper sexual got old quick. Same with Ellie and her need to breathe in a bag and talk to herself and her heart like a character that did something similar in "Such a Pretty Face." 


The writing was okay, but the story took way too long to be told. The parts going back and forth to her family in Russia took forever to get to and then I was just bored after a while. It takes a while to get to Toni's father and grandfather being taken away and then what befalls the family after that. 

The setting of Oregon was good, we have references to places or people from her other books that was nice to read about. 

The ending was kind of ridiculous (sorry) with the whole serial killer case and the fallout from that. And I thought the trip back to Russia didn't seem quite realistic either, but what do I know, I have never traveled there.