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Obsidian Blue

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

Currently reading

I'd Know You Anywhere
Laura Lippman
A Place of Hiding (Inspector Lynley, #12)
Elizabeth George
The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead
The Sisters Grimm
Menna van Praag
Destiny's Embrace
Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins
The Black Cabinet
Jill Watts
Love Unscripted
Owen Nicholls
The Institute
Stephen King
Progress: 79 %
18 Tiny Deaths
Bruce Goldfarb
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Reading progress update: I've read 79%.

The Institute - Stephen King

How did this win best horror? I love the King, but this is pretty terrible. And it's just a smashup of Firestarter and some of his other books. But also this is terrible.

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

The Institute - Stephen King

The story is dragging with the kids in the institute. I do feel badly for Luke (the MC we are following) along with the other kids who are being tested to see if they are TKs are TPs (read the book to figure that one out). 

Parts of this is making me think of "Black House" and "The Low Men in Yellow Coats." 

TBR Thursday Library Reads: January 9, 2020

Due to BL difficulties, I couldn't update my list like I wanted to. Started anew in 2020.


Borrow (3):


Cover image for A Place of HidingCover image for I'd Know You AnywhereCover image for The Institute


Hold (7):


Cover image for Ninth HouseCover image for Dear GirlsCover image for The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)Cover image for The Woman in the Window

Cover image for One of Us Is NextCover image for The Nickel BoysCover image for The Sea of Monsters

The Right Swipe

The Right Swipe - Alisha Rai

Honestly this is more of a 3.5 star read than a 4 star, but I rounded up. I enjoyed this book, but thought the heroine at times was such a pill it was hard to root for her. I get why she was the way she was, but after a while I wanted to say, quit being an asshole. And the hero was just all instant forgiveness and perfection. I think the end was a little too pat for my tastes too.

"The Right Swipe" follows Rhiannon Hunter who has set up her own dating app. She wants to buy a matchmaking company that she thinks she can take up to the next level. When she shows up for a presentation that they are doing, she is shocked to see her one night stand who ghosted her (yeah will get into that below) there as the new face of the company, Samson Lima.


So here is the thing. Rhiannon uses her own app to do hook-ups (which....girl why?) and when she meets up with Samson they don't know each other's real names. They have a hot night and he promises to see her again soon. Even though her own profile is like, only for a night. What I don't get or understand is based on Rhiannon's past, why in the world would she jeopardize her company if something like that got out? At one point she mentions she had contingencies if others found out. Second, she is fine with one night stands, so her getting angry she got ghosted was weird and never made sense to me. 


I liked Samson's character and finding out he used to play in the NFL and why he left was great. I think his story-line didn't mesh well with Rhiannon's when all was said and done.


The plot of Rhiannon and Samson going out on dates to boost both their companies sounded interesting, but the execution fell flat. The love scenes were great, but I was honestly missing a lot development wise.

The writing was good in parts, and other parts seemed a bit too dogged down in things that didn't flow together naturally. The "Metoo" movement has been popping up in contemporary romance books lately. I think that's great, but some writers do more with that then what I think was here. I don't know, something just fell off as I was reading. 

The ending was okay, I just got tired of Rhiannon being wrong on things and Samson going to forgiveness mode. 

Full Throttle

Full Throttle: Stories - Joe Hill

Per usual I am grading the anthology as a whole with star reviews for the short stories. I thought some of the stories were quite brilliant and others I hard passed on due to how they were formatted. I tend to be fussy about things like that when reading a hardcover, I end up getting a headache most of the time. Two stories I previously read in other anthologies though which was kind of annoying. I prefer it if I am buying a new hardcover it's all new stories.


Throttle (3.5 stars)-This wasn't a bad short story, but reading about a biker gang and a trucker gone astray was weird. I think it's the problem that the tone was wrong in this one. If Stephen King had written this, it would have made more sense to me. I think the voices in this just didn't "feel" right to me while reading.


Dark Carousel (5 stars)-Yeah, I still say carousel rides are the creepiest thing on this Earth and this story has cemented that to me. Reading about a group of teens who are not wholly bad, or wholly good, pay consequences when they do something terrible to a carousel operator. I loved the ending of this one too.


Wolverton Station (3 stars)-Yeah this was just weird to me and I think I was supposed to be scared of think deep thoughts about this, but I just kept going, is this weird? Yes. 


By The Silver Water Of Lake Champlain (4.5 stars)-I honestly really loved this one. It takes a while to build up. You have a young girl who is what you would call a "dreamer" when she and the boy she loves (and who she sees a future with) find what they consider a dinosaur on the beach of Lake Champlain. I felt so bad at the ending of this story. I think Hill writes kids very well, and this short story showcases that.


Faun-(5 stars but only after re-reading)-This was so damn slow and boring. I was wondering whether to pitch the book after this, but then things pick up halfway through and by the ending my jaw dropped. I do have to say that this needed to be edited a lot more tightly. It just drifts and you jump around to other POVs and I was confused about who was "speaking" at times.


Late Returns (5 stars)-Every reader out there should read this short story. All I am going to say.


All I Care About is You (5 stars)-Gut punch I was not expecting. This one is truly straight up horror and I would love to see it get the Dark Mirror treatment. No spoilers on this one. It was just so surprising. 


Thumbprint (3.5 stars)-Honestly this one dragged for me. The ending was interesting though. 


The Devil on the Staircase-Can't rate cause I skipped over it due to how Hill decided to tell the story. He had the sentences formatted as staircases. Gimicky as heck and it drove me up the wall and I quit after trying to read and follow 2 pages.


Twittering from the Circus of the Dead-Can't rate due to reading tweets is not my favorite thing to do on my freaking phone. Trying to read them in a book was worse somehow.


Mums (5 stars)-Wonderful story from beginning to end. I think this one would have been a better anchor story.


In the Tall Grass (5 stars)-Re-read. I previously read this before in November 2018, see my review, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2584567581?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1


You Are Released (5 stars)-Re-read. Previously published in Stephen King's short story collection that he edited, "Flight or Fright." I gave this 5 stars before, so gave it 5 stars again, you can see my review, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2522435151?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1



Cross Her Heart

Cross Her Heart - Melinda Leigh

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

So I really liked this first book though I think that things got a bit too convoluted towards the end. I will definitely read the next book though because I like how Melinda Leigh set this up and I adored the characters of Bree and her partner from the Philadelphia police, Dana. I was okay about Mike (the other lead I guess you could say) but not that focused on him while reading this. 

"Cross Her Heart" starts with a bang. Bree Taggert grabs and hides her little sister Erin and and her baby brother Adam when their father starts hitting their mother. In one dark moment though both parents are lost to Bree. We fast forward decades later with Bree dealing with a stake-out with her partner Dana. We know that Bree lost her parents and due to that it has left her feeling shy about romantic relationships. She also doesn't have the closest relationship with her siblings either. When Bree gets a call that something has happened to her sister, she's thrown about the fallout and wants to do what's necessary to figure out who is behind it.

Leigh also shows us the third person POV of Matt Flynn. Matt is best friend's with Erin's husband, who has gone missing after Erin's murder. Matt previously worked as a K-9 unit with the sheriff's department before something happened that had him leaving. 

I really liked Bree. She is very good at her job and it shows in this when she starts investigating her sister's death. I also was relieved there wasn't any big romantic things with Matt in this first book. Obviously Leigh is setting it up this way, but to me this book read more thriller/suspense. Some authors I have found have a hard time balancing romantic suspense in their books. 

I thought the other characters like Dana were great and I look forward to reading more about the sheriff department characters and the town.


Rafe - Rebekah Weatherspoon

Fans self. Seriously. This book was ridiculously hot. I loved Rafe and I loved Sloan. I am so going to track down the books in the rest of this series. Thank you for hot male nannies with tatoos who also can comb little girls hair.

"Rafe" I thought was really good, there are some odds and ends that I would usually ding a book for, but the love scenes more than made up for it. I loved that the main character was a black woman, top of her field (heart surgeon) dealing with two 6 year old twin girls. Sloan has already let herself be ruled by a man before (her ex) so when she interviews Rafe as a nanny, she's thrown when he admits he is attracted to her and she admits she is attracted to him.

I loved the character of Sloan and her phone conversations and texts with her bestie. I was cracking up. I will agree with other reviewers though that Sloan and Rafe are not that deep. They just want to have sex with each other. I didn't really get a sense of character/relationship development. I think it's because this was on the shorter side and Weatherspoon just didn't have time to work that in. I did think that on their own the characters were developed very well. I hope that makes sense. For example, I got what made both of them tick, I loved their families, I also felt for them when you realize what went on in both of their lives before. I just wish that I got more intimacy outside of a bedroom with them.

The setting of the book is mostly Sloan's home and Rafe's parents home. We don't get a sense of Los Angeles. I read something the other day that most movies and tv shows get LA wrong and just show the usual crap. I do think that some books are able to capture LA like the Bosch series written by Michael Connelly. I wish more writers would incorporate the city the book is in more. I think if it's not New York, most don't worry about it.

The ending was a surprise (a time jump) and things are left on an unusual note, but seems a set-up for the next book in the series.

An invitation to the BL Expats group on GR

Reblogged from Moonlight Snowfall:

Back in 2016, it seemed prudent to set up a group on GR where we could all meet up if BL didn't survive. The group still exists, and there were a few requests to join while BL was down (which I have approved - sorry for the delay, but it took me a while to notice them) but now that we're back up, it seemed prudent to post the group address over here again.


I think that most of us have made our way over there as a place to get info and stay in contact, but for anyone who follows me who isn't already part of the group, if you are also on GR, the group link is BL Expats. It's a private group, but I think that the link will take you to the group so you can send a request to join.

The New Husband

The New Husband - D.J. Palmer

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


This was just okay. I think once we get the reveal about what was really going on the book lost any interest to me. I think if Palmer had cut out one of the POVs so that we (readers) could be shocked about what was going on, it could have worked better. I also have to call BS for some of the explanations we get in the end. The big had some small plot holes that I just rolled with. I would be interested in reading Palmer again in the future. 

"The New Husband" follows, well not the new husband, but the new boyfriend of Nina Garrity. About 17 months ago, Nina's husband Glen disappeared. It takes a long time to find this out, but it seems that Nina's husband was having an affair, wasn't working for several years, and then poofed into the wind. Nina assumes he left her for the other woman and is now trying to repair her life with her two kids, Connor, and Maggie. Nina is now living with her boyfriend, Simon, who is a high school teacher and the community is side-eyeing Nina a bit for moving on so quickly after Glen disappeared. Nina is trying to get a new job though and get more settled with Simon. Too bad her daughter Maggie hates him and now Nina is getting weird warnings about Simon. 


The POVs in this book jump to Nina, her daughter, and another character (no spoilers). I have to say at first I was annoyed with Maggie cause she was acting bratty, but you feel for her when you realize what she is going through at school and how much she misses her dad. I wish that Palmer had included the character of Conner as a POV. I think if we had just stayed with Nina things would have been better honestly. She had a lot to deal with. Having us get Nina in therapy, and then Nina alone was weird. And then we get Maggie's POV's too. I started getting a bit jumbled after a while. 

The ending felt a bit rushed to me. We follow up with everyone 3 years later and I maybe just rolled my eyes at the too pat ending. I wish that Palmer had gone darker a bit with this book or had not revealed so much up front which took out some of my enjoyment of this book. 

Got Tired of Reading Challenge Bug and Just Deleted It

It was annoying me to not see it moving. Thanks though to Themis for the tips on how to add the private notes to our books!


One interesting thing, I found out that BL got sold to Legimi sometime in 2016. So I don't know if there is a way to reach out to someone on there about the bugs, spammers, etc. 

Lust Killer

Lust Killer - Ann Rule

Not too much to say about this besides it's disturbing to get into the head of convicted serial killer Jerome Brudos. I think that the Mindhunter series included him in season 1. Shudder.


"Lust Killer" follows Brudos who murdered several women and had the state of Oregon in a panic in the late 60s. Rule wrote this as Andy Stack, but it still reads as Rule to me. She starts with the murder of one victim, and then works backwards into Brudos' life and hatred of his mother. And surprisingly we find out that he gets married and even has children while still kidnapping women, raping them, and murdering them. 

Rule then goes into the lives of the detectives on the hunt for him, we get into more details of the victims, and then of course how Brudos is captured. 

What surprised me and what I didn't know is that a neighbor of Brudos wife lied on her (she did lie) and said she was helping him abduct women. The poor woman had to go on trial and defend herself. I liked how Rule gives this woman (living under a different name at the time of the book's publication in 1981) a voice in this book. She was young and naive and wanted to get away from her dominant father, and then married an equally dominant man who she didn't understand, but did scare her. 


There are some photos included of Brudos, the detectives, and victims. 

The Case of the Caretaker

The Case of the Caretaker - Agatha Christie

What a cute short story! I love revisiting Miss Marple. I think I read this in a collection before, but it seemed to be longer in this version which was weird. 


"The Case of the Caretaker" has Miss Marple getting over a nasty flu. She's down and out and being morose. Her friend and doctor, Doctor Haydock, invites her to read a story he is writing and wondering if she can figure out the whodunit. It's based on something real in the doctor's life. 


I always go back to Christie since she can set a scene. We get to get into the heads of several characters via Doctor Haydock's story. Harry Laxton has returned home married after a somewhat scandalous past to St. Mary's Mead. Harry has torn down his old ancestral home and built something new and shiny. He also turfed out the former's caretaker's wife who keeps popping up like the Babadook and harasses his new wife. The doctor comes into play since his niece feels very protective of the Harry and his wife. When Harry's wife is thrown from the horse after the caretaker ambushes her again, Doctor Haydock asks Miss Marple what does she think.


Image result for babadook gif


Honestly I was surprised at the ending since I didn't see it coming. I just thought what Christie wanted me to think and of course re-read this since the clues are all there. I thought it was a clever story and loved how Miss Marple puts things together. 

Golden Prey

Golden Prey - John Sandford

Every time I think of this book I think of Golden Eye and the Tina Turner song. So that's now in my head now and I hope it's in your heads as well LOL.


"Golden Prey" now follows Lucas as a U.S. Marshal. After the events in the last book, the presidential candidate and several congressmen and the governor of Minnesota owe him. So he gets a job where he gets to hunt. Lucas is bored though. There are cliques within the marshal service and a lot of people don't like him. Lucas gets an interesting case to work though, one no one else wants to deal with. A fugitive who is on the most wanted list (Garvin Poole) robs a cartel (why dude why?) and kills the people at the heist along with a child. Lucas wants to track him and his companions done. The book follows Lucas through Mississippi and several other states. Garven doesn't realize it though, besides Lucas, he also has two stone cold killers from the cartel out to hurt anyone he is related to and knows in order to get the money back. 


So this book at times felt a little weird to me. We don't have Del or anyone else that Lucas has worked with. Instead we have him having to rely on all new people. He ends up with two new side-kicks though, Bob and Rae. The book got much snappier when the three of them were around each other. 


The book jumps around though and we get Garv's POV along with the two killers who are hunting him. I felt a bit bored reading about Garv and others though. They are all killers and we get to see why they make the choices they do, but I was happier just staying with Lucas and new friends.


The setting of the book moves several times. I can't even recall how many states they were in and out of. After a while I just went with it. 


The ending was freaking hilarious though with the bad guy and bad guy dust-up with Lucas's supposed supervisor and a shovel. 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill - Abbi Waxman

Nina Hill is doing just fine. She has a job at a bookstore, she gets plenty of time to read, and she has an adorable home filled with books and her cat. However, she starts thinking about one of her rivals at trivia night. And things get shaken up for her even more when a father and family she never knew about pushes their way into her orderly life.


I loved Nina so much! She has her planner and loves her schedules. She knows the most ridiculous trivia (except about sports). She realizes that her mother was not the best mother, but there is no lasting resentment there. I really loved how the book shows us how shaken things get for her when she's contacted by a lawyer and informed her biological father has passed away. Watching Nina trying to weave into a family that has it's own issues while trying to work out what is going on with her boss at the bookstore and trying to decide if she is interested in a guy named Tom.


The writing was great along with the little facts dropped about books here and there. There is some dialogue that is so snappy and hilarious that at one point I laughed for ten minutes straight (see one of the woman discussing a gentleman caller and how he talks to "her" body.) The development of the secondary characters was fantastic. I honestly didn't care too much about Tom's asides in this book, but didn't mind them after a while. 


The flow of the book was great from beginning to end. And I thought the ending was so cute. 

Hidden Depths

[(Hidden Depths)] [By (author) Ann Cleeves] published on (September, 2007) - Ann Cleeves

Vera is called into a case when a teen boy is found drowned in his bathtub. Vera and others wonders if it has anything to do with his best friend accidentally drowning months ago. When a young woman is found dead posed the same way, Vera starts to wonder if it ties into an amateur bird watching group. 


I really enjoyed "Hidden Depths". Cleeves did a fantastic job of having Vera on the scene quite quickly in this one. We also get a chance to see into her "head" more in this one too. She's very good at her job, and is reluctant to allow others on her squad to do a lot without her input. I thought that Cleeves did a great job of allowing us to see mode depth with Vera wondering about a potential life she could have had if not for her father. 


Cleeves offers up different points of view in this one with several characters, the divorced mother racked by grief (Julie Armstrong), and three separate men (Peter Calvert, Gary Wright, and Samuel Carr) who are part of the bird watching group, along with one of the men's wife (Felicity Calvert). We eventually see how things tie together in this one, and although it's a slow read, it's a satisfying one.


I do think Cleeves does a great job of showing how toxic personalities can shape a group or person (no spoilers) and loved the slightly unsatisfied ending in this one. I honestly wish the tv series had followed more of the book's plot since I thought it worked better.  

Christmas Shopaholic

Christmas Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella

"Christmas Shopaholic" has the Brandon family back in Britain after the misadventures of the whole clan in Hollywood. Becky no longer has a job (again) and is instead all about mindfulness (not really). Her half-sister and her husband are about to return to the UK and now Becky's parents are giving up their home in order for her sister and her husband to live there. No that doesn't make any freaking sense and I refuse to dwell on it. Now that Becky's parents are living in a hipster community, her mother doesn't want to host Christmas. Instead, she asks Becky to do so and per usual shopping shenanigans commence. 


I laughed through this whole book, and no not in a good way. I feel like Kinsella re-used plot elements from her prior book, "Mini-Shopaholic" with her now trying to throw a great Christmas party that makes everyone happy, instead of trying to throw a surprise birthday party for Luke. One wonders why Kinsella keeps going back to this character. Her stand-alones have been pretty good in my opinion. And I loved her YA book she did as well. Ah well, I guess we will be getting Becky Brandon nee Bloomwood novels until death.