Obsidian Blue

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

Breakdown

Breakdown - Sara Paretsky

Not going to write a long review. This was not a good book. Seriously just skip it and if you really do want to read it, borrow it from the library.

 

Once again we have VI investigating something no one asked her to and I had a really hard time with most of the characters in this one. They all felt way too cartoonish to me.

And VI's love life is limping along with a guy who does not seem up to her level.

I should have put this down once I saw that Petra was littered all over this one.

 

Paretsky could have shined a light more on the problem with the 24 hour news cycle and some far left and far left personalities attacking each other via the media to score points with their followers. However, this book seemed to have everyone who did not agree with VI as the enemy. We eventually have people sitting around listening to a Holocaust victim's memories and the whole thing made me uncomfortable. Not because of the subject, but because we had VI demanding that she somehow be told about what was a painful period in his life. At that point, I was 100 percent done with this character. I will probably pick up the remaining books in this series some other time. But as of now, I need a break from VI.

Reading progress update: I've read 5%.

Natchez Burning - Greg Iles

Holy crap. I did not know this book was so long. I plan on finishing it up by this weekend. Sorry to all my BL-opoly peeps. I know I have been sparse lately. I have gone back and just pushed out books to my planning to read list and am going to get more focused on the next couple of weeks.

 

 

Bodywork

Body Work - Sara Paretsky

This was terrible. I am so mad that I even wasted my time finishing this book. I really should have DNF it at 25 percent, but I am a perverse reader sometimes and finished the book.

 

Nothing makes sense.

 

Petra (VI's cousin from Hardball) is back in this one and still the most annoying character ever. She and Mr. Contreras are awful. I think at one point VI says that he (Mr. Contreras) is in his 90s and I hope we have a book soon with him dying. I am just over him. He's worthless.

 

And at this point, VI is 50 or almost 50 and her picking a fight with the police or anyone in authority is getting old. In fact, it is old at this point.

 

The main plot is convoluted and there's a whole lot of coincidences to even have things make sense. I think the worst part for me was the ending though. I just rolled my times about a million times. It was crap and I have to say it was really stupid how VI brings all the parties together a la Poirot to get someone to spontaneously confess. The next book does this mess too and it just seems a lazy way to end a book.

 

There is a lot of people telling VI things and her telling people things and I think a couple hundred pages could have been cut and it would not have affected this book one way or the other.

Hardball

Hardball - Sara Paretsky

This was a frustrating read to me. And honestly this and the next few books in the series started a slow slide of quality IMHO with this series. "Hardball" is way too unbelievable to be believed. And I really hated the introduction of VI's cousin Petra (called Petey) that everyone including Mr. Contreras is infatuated with. I had a hard time that VI's dogs would not have been impounded at this point with her dragging them along when she's investigating and or when people come to her apartment to be shouted at by her and her annoying downstairs neighbor. There were so many scenes like this in this book that took me entirely out of the book.

 

We have VI going asking questions that somehow according to her partially estranged Uncle Peter has caused her cousin Petra to be kidnapped. The book then jumps back in time to what exactly was VI up to that would have caused Petra to be kidnapped and what does it have to do with a murder that occurred during the Civil Rights Era.

 

I think the whole story was terrible. Not that I don't believe that something like this could have happened back then (hello look at news headlines now) but because I think VI tried to force fit too many things in this one dealing with her family, her dead parents, her investigation that turned into something else, that turned into something else. I mean at one point we have nuns in this one and there's a fire and someone is dead and VI who at this point should be in the hospital is still running around. It's just unbelievable at this point that she's not suffering from some long term medical issues due to her always being beat up, shot, or something is blowing up near her in every book.

Fire Sale

Fire Sale - Sara Paretsky

This one was pretty enjoyable.

 

We have VI dealing with being forced to volunteer (voluntold) as a basketball coach at her old high school.

 

Not only does she have to deal with girls who are in gangs and others who are trying to raise kids, she gets pulled into a family dispute among the rich when she goes looking for donations to help with equipment, uniforms, and other essentials for the team.

 

I also like how Paretsky works in VI's long term romance with her boyfriend Morello at this point. I liked we get to see VI making it work with someone and also becoming jealous when a colleague (female) from his times overseas comes to stay. We have a lot of interesting characters in this one and though I found some of the things that happened implausible (hence the 4 stars) I really did enjoy this one.

Blacklist

Blacklist - Sara Paretsky

Wow. You would think Sara Paretsky had a crystal ball and could look into the future of America with this book.

 

"Blacklist" taking place in a post 9/11 America where everyone who is a Muslim is automatically a terrorist is starting to wear on VI. Due to her protesting during her college days, she knows what a slippery slope the US is in right now with allowing The Patriot Act to allow the government to spy on its citizens all for the great good of security. When VI is asked by one of her long-standing clients to look into his mother's accusations that someone has broken into their old home, VI comes across a dead journalist/writer. And it looks like his investigations into a pioneer in the African American art scene during the Red Scare in the U.S. has run into an America that is ready to do whatever it can in the name of terrorism.

 

I loved this book and it in turn broke my heart while reading. VI can be self righteous. But you definitely (or I did) get where she is coming from. You can see parallels to what the US did back in the 50/60s to those who they claimed where Communists to them saying anyone with brown skin is automatically an enemy. VI ends up running into a powerful publisher and a character who reminded me a little too much of Glen Beck while I was reading.

 

We get the usual cast of characters in this one. We also have VI feeling lost now that her lover Morello is in Afghanistan investigating the Taliban. She makes a lot of comparisons to her being Penelope and him being Odysseys. I would have to say though that no one puts VI in the corner, so it was a bit much to have her being all fire and brimstone towards anyone who is blocking her ability to figure out who murdered this journalist to them being all weepy over the state of her love life.

 

The ending shocked me (in a good way). I wish that sometimes Paretsky would do what Sue Grafton does with her Kinsey Millhone detective books and write an epilogue. I hate things being left twisting in the wind.

Nine Women, One Dress

Nine Women, One Dress: A Novel - Jane L Rosen

Yikes. I went in liking the idea behind following nine women who are all tied to the same small Little Black Dress (LBD) but after a few chapters there were way too many people to track. The book included following some men as well which made things doubly confusing. And after a while it just felt like we got a few short paragraphs per chapter and would skip ahead to someone else.

 

I was hoping more for a book set up like the The Secret Lives of Dresses.

 

I wish that I could pick out one character that I liked the most, but honestly I can't even recall someone that is standing out in my mind right now. The model turned actress character was interesting, but honestly I found her whole rise to stardom to be implausible in this day and age with so many insta-models becoming the new hot thing. And the Hollywood leading men character was not believable at all. Maybe because I had some friends who dated actors/actresses and they all had some stories to tell.

What could have worked better for me is if we followed the elderly (male) dress designer as he worked on designing a dress and each chapter would show a different woman coming to Bloomingdale's finding THE DRESS and wearing it a pivotal part in their lives. I think that is where Rosen was going, but it just got lost with the shifting perspectives.

 

And I am going to say it seemed like to me she got bored towards the end since the chapters were so choppy. And then everyone got a happy ending (well except for one character who I could not figure out who it was).

Giveaways: win free books and give your titles away

Reblogged from BookLikes:

If you have books to spare, want to promote and popularize you titles, give your books a second reading life, please do! With the giveaway program you can give the titles away as well as win ARCs and review copies right now.

 

Hey, I want to create a giveaway!

 

If you haven't visited the Giveaways page yet, it's hight time. Let's start with setting up a new giveaway and them we'll move on to winning some free books.

 

The giveaway can be started by all BookLikes members, readers, writers, publishers. To make you giveaway happen press the upper menu and choose Giveaways.

 

 

The very first giveaways page presents available books. Let's leave the free books aside (what?!?) and proceed to the next tab called Create your Giveaway:

 

 

The giveaway form is short and easy to follow, let's have a look at the specific spots with short descriptions:

 

Search the book title -- this will save your work and time. Once the book is found in the BookLikes catalog almost all book information will be filled up automatically (based on the details available on a book page): a book cover, a title, an author, a description note, and a book language -- they will pop up once the book is found.

 

If the book is not in BookLikes catalog, you can fill up all the date manually and upload the book cover image.

 

Fill up the giveaway dates -- the start date and the end date.

Please have in mind that if you choose a future date, you'll schedule the giveaway to go live accordingly to the start date, until then it will stay hidden and invisible for the readers and guests.

 

We've noticed that the giveaways lasting 2-4 weeks are the most effective but it's up to your how long your giveaway will last.

 

Copies -- how many books do you want to give away? 

That's easy. Decide how many books copies you're willing to share.

 

Select winners -- who will pick the winners: you or BookLikes?

If you appreciate when the hard work is done for you, choose BookLikes algorithm. This means that BookLikes will choose the winning readers based on the bloggers' reading history, BookLikes activities and other attributes. 

 

 

If you wish to create more personal bonding with the winners, choose me.

This means that when a reader requests your book he/she will have to answer the questions "Why do you want to read this book?" and you'll receive all the notes and when the giveaway comes to an end you'll be able to choose the best answers = winning readers. We highly recommend the me option :)

 

Book format

All book formats are available, you can giveaway paper books (hardcover, paperback, mass market), e-books and audiobooks. Make sure to choose a right format for your giveaway.

 

If you wish to give away the title in different formats, please create a separate giveaway for each book format.

 

Let's move on:

Book ISBN: to make sure which book edition you're giving away, add the ISBN number.

 

Book language: the language will be added automatically if you searched the book via BL book catalog, if it won't be added, select one.

 

18+: Make sure to notify if the book is restricted to adults only. then the giveaway entry will receive a special note:

 

 

Comment & Video comments: tell the readers more about the titles, add your own insights and a video link to engage more readers.

 

 

Available for countries: This spot is important manly when you;re giving away paper books -- before choosing the countries the book(s) will be available for you should take into consideration the shipping time and costs (remember that it is the giveaway creator who is responsible for the shipment)

 

Book categories: select up to 5 genres the book falls into.

This information will help readers decide whether the title is for them. 

 

 

Before making your giveaway public, read the terms, tick the agreement and Save.

 

Now you just have to confirm your giveaway and it's all ready - your giveaway is on! Congratulations!

 

By the way, did you know that you can share the Giveaway news by using the giveaway widget (menu->Goodies->Widgets)? The widget can be added to your BookLikes webpage (copy the code and paste it in the customization tab in the Widget Area) or any other www webpage of yours.

 

Let's go back to the main Giveaways page (menu->Giveaways) and let's have a loot at the other tabs:

 

 

Giveaways tab: the main page where all BookLikes giveaways are listed

Create your giveaway: a short form to create your own giveaway

Giveaways I've entered: a list of giveaways you take part or you took part (if the giveaway came to an end it will have the finished  note in the upper right corner.

My giveaways: the giveaways you've created, i.e. books you're giving away to other readers

 

Important! When your giveaway comes to an end you'll receive a notification that the winners are ready to be picked. Click the link from the notification or simply go to your giveaway and select the winners. Once it's done you'll receive the winners contact information on the very same giveaway page.

 

Now all you have to do it to send the books and set up a new giveaway!

 

 

Hey, I want to win free books!

 

The main Giveaways page presents the sneak peek into each giveaway with some core information. You can also use the filters and sorting options or just scroll down to look for a perfect book match.

When searching the giveaways, remember to pay attention to the countries the book is available for. If you've found your next read, press Enter to win.

 

 

The next steps depend whether the book is a paper book or not.

 

If it's a paperback/hardcover/mass market paperback you'll be required to fill up the postal address and hit Request button.

Please add your correct data, otherwise the author won't be able to mail you the book you've won.

 

If you've chosen the digital copy (e-book or audiobook) you'll be asked to confirm your e-mail address (the same as the one your BookLikes account is created on). Hit I want this book and Request if the e-mail address is correct.

 

Please make sure to use the correct and up to date e-mail address. Otherwise, the author won't be able to send you the book you've won. If you want to update your e-mail address you can do it anytime in the general Settings (menu->Settings).

 

 

Important! If you won the book you'll receive a notification (Congrats!), the author of the giveaway should inform you how you can collect your free book. Your e-mails and addresses are visible only to the author and cannot be seen or used by anyone else.

 

Now all you need to do it to visit the Giveaways page, choose your next read and wait for it :D

 

 

Happy reading!

I love this woman and once again am so glad that I am not playing to win at this point :-D

Game Play Shake Up

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

Image result for shake up

 

As I posted a few days, it's time to shake, shake, shake it up! First off, we've moved into the double your money phase of the game! From here on out, the money values have doubled as follows:

 

0 to 100 pages: $2.00
101 to 200 pages: $4.00
201 to 400 pages: $6.00
401 to 800 pages: $10.00
over 801 pages: $20.00

 

Second, we're going to have a location multiplier: the first time you finish a square is the baseline reward. The second time, your reward is enhanced by 50%, and the third time, the reward is doubled again:

 

Second finish:

 

0 to 100 pages: $3.00
101 to 200 pages: $6.00
201 to 400 pages: $9.00
401 to 800 pages: $15.00
over 801 pages: $30.00

 

Third finish:

 

0 to 100 pages: $4.00
101 to 200 pages: $8.00
201 to 400 pages: $12.00
401 to 800 pages: $20.00
over 801 pages: $40.00

 

This is prospective only, so start keeping track of the number of times you land on a square going forward.

 

Third, what are you going to do with all of that money? Well, you can hoard it all for the win. In the alternative, you can spend it in two ways: free rolls and roll aheads. A free roll will cost you $2.00. If you don't like the square you landed on, buy a free roll and roll again right away to get onto a new square. Roll aheads can be bought if you are going on vacation or are going to be incommunicado for a while - they are only $1.00, and you can buy up to 5 at a time, to plan vacation reading.

 

Fourth is free book Friday. Regardless of the square you are on, you get a free choice on the next seven Fridays to read anything.

Hard Time

Hard Time - Sara Paretsky

Not much to say here besides the fact that I really enjoyed this one a lot. We get to see VI go into the prison system in order to find out how an escapee from a woman's prison was found on a road in Chicago. We get to see VI and other characters go through some changes in this one due to a new age of American politics as well.

VI in this one is accused of a hit and run after she barely misses hitting a woman's body in the road. Though VI has her run ins with the law at times, she still doesn't know why the police are looking hard at her for this one. When she turns up details on the dead woman which ties her into a high profile private security firm, it becomes pretty clear that VI may not be able to get herself out of trouble in this one.

 

VI is a bit slower in this one. She is definitely feeling her age. She also feels a bit flat since her long time rival and friend Murray is now being pushed to do more public friendly stories and the era of print media has seemingly died in Chicago. What I think made me like this one a lot more is that honestly VI is left friendless in this one and has to survey by her own wits. Her assistant pretty much quits and blames VI for how she behaves which is why she is always targeted. And VI has a power crazed Chicago cop on her heels who is not going to stop until he has her arrested.

 

The book shifts gears though with it's smart insight into the prison system and how easy it is to abuse women behind bars. Some of the descriptions were stomach inducing.

 

I do have to say though I loved this book, I found most of the circumstances involved to be highly implausible. I have finished a bunch of the books in this series recently, and I do have to say that after "Fire Sale" I started to just feel a shift in quality. I constantly compare VI to my other favorite female private eye, Kinsey Malone. And I think what gets me the most is that VI is antagonistic towards everyone and even the police. With what she gets up to I am surprised she hasn't been arrested for how many times she gets involved in a police matter. And I just don't like how she treats others around her. That said, I would be a happy person if the character of Mr. Contreras would be written off from this series along with the two dogs that VI ends up bringing everywhere in the latest books.

Respond back to OP.

Author Talks: Chasing the elusive book review + Giveaway

Reblogged from BookLikes:

Rod Raglin shares his insights on the book review long wait from the Indie Author perspective. Let's read on. And review.

 

Those of you who are interested in receiving the review copy of Rod Raglin's newest novella The Rocker and the Bird Girl, please request the titles on the giveaways page. Read & review here.

 

*

 

A guest post by Rod Raglin,

Follow Rod Raglin's blog here

 

The Local Rag - Rod RaglinMy first novel was published seven years ago followed by six more with the most current one, The LOCAL RAG, released last October .

 

Over that period of time I've had a total of about thirty reviews - that's for all books combined, non-duplicated. They've appeared and can actually be read on Amazon,

Goodreads, and Library Thing.

 

I've had a few other reviews on personal blogs, and there may even be more out there I'm not aware of.

 

I confess I actually paid for three on Reader's Favorite Book Reviews, but never again. Despite the assurances from paid for review sites that the fee does not guarantee a positive review I can't reconcile this practice with my own conscience.

 

So how does an indie author get honest reviews since reviews apparently sell books?

 

I say apparently because I don't know otherwise. My experience has been a few reviews equal a few sales. Would a whole bunch of reviews translate into a whole bunch of sales? I can't say for sure because...well, you figure it out.

 

As a journalist I was trained to not to assume anything and take nothing for granted. I strongly urge other indie authors to do the same. As far as unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims, the charlatans in the  writing/publishing industry rank right up there with those affiliated with miracle cures and get rich internet scams.

 

But I digress. How does an indie author get honest reviews?

 

I've tried book giveways here, on LibraryThing, Goodreads and StoryCartel. I've offered my books as pre-orders, discounted and free. I've uploaded them to sites like WattPad and Inkitt. I've sent hundreds of free e-books attached to personalized e-mails. I keep an up-to-date website, tweet everyday and even blog, as you are no doubt aware.  

 

I have yet to establish any link between WattPad, Inkitt or any social media site to reviews or book sales, unless after reading this you decide to buy one of my books and post a review (let me know if you do).

 

Media reviews or other established review outlets like Publisher's Weekly and Library Journal seem reluctant to review your book unless it's successful(?) or at least traditionally published.

 

In desperation I checked out a site called The Indie View. If you're inclined to read and subsequently write reviews of the work of independent authors you're invited to add your name to their list, which is quite substantial.

 

If you're an author and fishing for reviews the site provides you with the name of the reviewer, their website, their preferences, guidelines, where they post their reviews and the date this information was last refreshed.

 

Abandoned Dreams - Rod Raglin Keeping all this in mind I sent about a dozen review requests with an e-book of  my novel Abandoned Dreams months ago. So far nothing. No reviews, no responses.

 

However, here are some interesting things I discovered.

 

A least twenty-five percent of the reviewers listed on this site are closed for reviews due to a backlog. I take that as not a good sign.

 

Quite a few reviewers state they will not post a review of a work they cannot rate as at least three stars. I imagine they do this out of consideration, however misguided, thinking a bad review can pull down an author's average rating.

 

Depending on why you write, you may be of the opinion, as I am, there is no such thing as a bad review. First and foremost I want to become a better writer - money and fame, well, I'll accept those too - if you insist. Critical reviews, especially those that are specific, point out where I've let the reader down and allow me to consider how to improve in those areas.

 

If you're in this game for ego, if you some how think you can fool all the readers all the time than I can understand that a bad review really sucks.

 

But not for me.

 

If someone hated my book, well, that's okay. I'm just glad they read it and took the time to review it.

 

For the most part, they're obviously not doing either.

 

Read & review -- review copies of The Rocker and the Bird Girl

available here:

 

— feeling wink
Respond to OP please.

Summer Bingo Card for Romance Readers

Reblogged from Tea, Rain, Book:

The Ripped Bodice bookstore designed a bingo card for romance readers to play during the summer. They did an Instagram live event to answer questions and set up the rules for playing. The hashtag to follow on Twitter is #rippedbodicebingo. All romance genre reading starting June 1, 2017 counts!

 

MIA

Sorry all. I don't know when I can return to Booklikes right now. I have tried to keep up with reviews but I am really behind right now. I have a lot of travel due to work right now and also doing some marches with friends this past weekend. I am a little bushed today.

 

I am hoping by Friday I can catch back up. If not Friday, hopefully the following week. No matter what before July 4th I think I should be back here on the regular again.

 

Blue

Due to Length, Could Not Get Into All Stories Equally

An Avalon Valentine - Darien Gee

If you have read the story "Friendship Bread" you know that story takes place in the fictional town (maybe? I don't know) of Avalon. Author Darien Gee has returned to this location and characters in subsequent books: "The Avalon Ladies Scrapbooking Society", "An Avalon Christmas" and now in "An Avalon Valentine." It is nice to revisit some of these characters we have come to known. But due to the length of this book (176 electronic pages) Gee doesn't have a lot to work with regards to the four main story-lines she decides to follow. 

 

Story-line 1 follows long time character Hannah Wang. She is happy in her relationship with her boyfriend Jamie Linde, but now her ex-husband is back trying to rekindle their former relationship. 

 

Story-line 2 follows another long time character, Connie Colls who is getting a bit bored with her samey relationship with vet Eli. That is until a new vet comes along who has Eli changing his ways.


Story-line 3 and 4 follow two characters that are new, Lucia Blake and Goldie Love (yeah that last name...sigh). Lucia is dealing with having a crush on her mail carrier and Goldie is a retired romance writer who is resistant to celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary. 


There's a little hidden story-line in this one too, Julia Evarts daughter from the first book, Gracie, gets a little part of the Valentine's Day theme, I honestly wish that it had been cut since it just didn't work well with the other 4 story-lines. 

 

I have to say for me this whole book was a wash. The POV jumped around a lot and we don't get to spend much time with any of these characters. I thought that Hannah's story-line had the most potential and could have been it's own stand alone book taking place in Avalon, but shoehorning in Connie, Lucia, and Goldie's stories just made the whole book feel cluttered. Maybe if Gee had decided to make this into a full length novel so some of these stories could have breathed it would have worked better. 

 

The writing was okay, but I was missing the magical sense of this town that I have read about for a few years now. I just thought that the background of Valentine's Day would make it more interesting, but I was honestly bored. Maybe if Gee had shaken things up a bit with regards to some of the longer term romances in this book that would have made for a more compelling read? It just seemed most of the issues were once again adults not talking to each other and everyone just ignoring having a conversation that ended up fixing all in like ten minutes. 

 

The ending fell a little flat. I am happy to get some new Amish friendship bread recipes though. 

Booklikes-opoly: Roll! Main Street 13

Due to not getting a book for a couple of weeks I haven't been able to roll for Booklikes-opoly in a while. I forgot to roll yesterday and post my spot and what book I am going to read, so am doing so now. Mental note, if I can't get the book in question within a few days I am just going to have a backup ready in case for the future. 

 

 

 

I already own this book but just haven't started it:

 

Image result

 

 

Currently reading

Natchez Burning
Greg Iles
Progress: 5 %