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oblue

Obsidian Blue

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

Currently reading

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons Series)
Leigh Bardugo
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
Trevor Noah
Colonel Roosevelt
Edmund Morris
Toil & Trouble: 16 Tales of Women & Witchcraft
Tehlor Kay Mejia, Tristina Wright, Emery Lord, Andrea Cremer, Tess Sharpe, Jessica Spotswood, Brandy Colbert, Robin Talley, Anna-Marie McLemore, Zoraida Córdova, Brenna Yovanoff, Nova Ren Suma, Shveta Thakrar, Kate Hart, Lindsay Smith

It

It - Stephen King

I read "It" many years ago when I was a kid. I also had nightmares for about a week about a clown that was under my bed chanting that "we all float down here." too. So thanks for that Stephen King. Though I find "It" brilliant and often cite this one as my favorite King book, there are still some problems with it that are hard to gloss over during my re-read decades later. You all at this point should know about one scene that pretty much had every reader going WTF. My WTF this time made me actually cringe while reading. It makes zero sense to the story and could have been edited out long ago. Also the flow isn't that great when we go back and forth between our gang called the Losers Club (Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan, Ben, Beverly, and Mike) and other characters. The book truly shines when King looks at these characters as kids, they seem to fall apart a bit when we get to see them grown up and facing with their return to Derry.

 

"It" was published in 1986. I read this when I was 10 (which would make that 1990) due to the television series coming out. I remember thinking that the series was the best showing the kids and it all kind of went to pot when we see them as adults confronting It again. There are some nice Easter eggs for constant readers to other King works ("Dreamcatcher", "11/22/63", "The Dark Tower", and of course King's latest "The Outsider").  

 

There are a lot of characters in this book, so let's focus on just The Losers Club for this review. King shines when he shows us how this group of 7 kids came together and routed the boogeyman/monster that was hell-bent on murdering kids.

 

Bill is essentially the leader of the club. When his younger brother Georgie is murdered, Bill is determined to kill "It." I was rooting for Bill throughout this book though there is some weirdness between about the fact that the woman he marries resembles Beverly (yeesh).

 

Beverly (Bev) is the only girl in The Losers Club and has red hair. Each boy has a crush on her at some point during this story. I only bring this up because I watched Season Two of Stranger Things last year and the girl that joins the cast is called Max in the show. She's a tomboy and you can tell her home life is a hot mess. She also has red hair. While watching Stranger Things I started thinking about Bev from this book and how similar both characters were. 

 

The other boys in this story don't stand out as much as Bill and Beverly though. Ben I thought was great as well. A lonely and overweight boy, he ends up being a very successful adult. Richie ends up becoming a DJ. I felt sorry for Eddie and Stan and Mike the most though. 

Going into the secondary characters (people who tormented this group as kids and later as adults) gets a bit boring after a while. I thought King does a great job with the horror elements as well as the fantasy elements. Everything you read seems possible.

 

The writing was very good though the flow gets clunky towards the end. At first you feel relief when you read about what the kids end up going through in the 1950s. I think King made a mistake though going back to the past and present (1980s) after each other though. After a while I wanted the story to hurry up and get going. 

 

Derry, Maine is the setting of "It" and seriously at this point you have to wonder about anyone living in that town. I do love reading this book mostly since this is the start of Derry being the place where funky/crazy things happen. We do get a sequel of sorts to this book in "11/22/63" where the main character in that book comes across some of the Losers. 

 

I thought the ending was so good, but once again sadness cause you have to know if this is a King novel not everyone makes it. 

 

Image result for it gif

An Intimate Look at the Victims

Green River, Running Red: The Real Story of the Green River Killer--America's Deadliest Serial Murderer - Ann Rule

This was a really good true crime book, the main reason why I didn't give it five stars is that there was too much filler in here for me towards the end. A good 20 percent of this book could have deleted (after we get into the 1990s) since we all should know at this point that Ridgway (the Green River Killer) didn't get arrested until 2001 and was not convicted until 2003. Depending on the book I don't mind when Rule segues into the lives of the police officers who are responsible for apprehending these killers, this time though there was a lot of repetitiveness that ended up boring me to tears. 

 

"Green River, Running Red" is a look at the Green River Killer who murdered 71 women in Washington State in the 1980s and 1990s. Rule gives us an intimate look at these women and in some cases teens. We find out what drove many of them to the streets and how they got involved with prostitution. I find it appalling how little people seemed to care that prostitutes were being murdered. Ridgway purposely chose women in this profession since besides hating them, he thought no one would notice them going missing and if they did, would not care. Rule manages to have you feel nothing but sympathy for these women and their family who would not know for years or decades in some cases about what happened to their daughters/mothers/sisters. I loved that Rule added in pictures before she got into the history of each woman. I also found myself hoping for a different outcome once I got caught up in all of their lives. 

 

Rule smartly does not make Ridgway the focus of this book. Every couple of chapters or so we peek back in at Ridgway to see where he is in his life, but he is depicted as a malevolent ghost for most of the story before Rule goes into how he was finally apprehended. 

 

I do think in this case going into the Green River Task Force could have been cut way down in this final book. They really didn't find anything to go on with Ridgway for a long time, so reading about other suspects wasn't interesting. I also thought Rule carried the water for the police a bit too much in this book. She also weirdly takes potshots at Robert Keppel who enlisted Ted Bundy who provided some insights into the Green River Killer before his death. Keppel even wrote a book about it entitled "The Riverman". 

 

The ending of the book goes into Ridgway going out with law enforcement and finding the locations of other victims and him recounting how he murdered them.

A Look at a Real Life Point Break

The End Of The Dream The Golden Boy Who Never Grew Up : Ann Rules Crime Files Volume 5 - Ann Rule

So this was a welcome take from Rule's usual look at murderers and serial killers. Rule looks at the backstory behind a man who was responsible for robbing 17 banks in the Seattle area over a period of four years back in the 1990s. I weirdly found myself completely taken in by Rule's recounting of the childhood and later life of the man whose plan it was to rob banks, Scott Scurlock.

 

"The end of the Dream" talks about two families who were apparently destined to live in each other's pockets, the Scurlocks and the Meyers. Both families ended up settling in Reston, VA and from there two of the boys, Scott Scurlock and Kevin Meyers would be life long friends who seemed to follow each other all over. Rule obviously interviewed members of both families and from Kevin you start to get a sense that he realized that over time something in Scott became bent.

 

Scott seemed more intent on making sure he didn't have to work a "straight" job. He eventually moved from Virginia, Hawaii, and then to Washington State. While in Washington state he started to become a meth dealer. 

 

I wondered while reading how so many people obviously realized that something (not legal) was going on with Scott, but ignored all of the red flags that were being thrown up. I do laugh at Rule though, she always describes these people as being handsome, attractive to women, etc. and I saw pictures of Scurlock and just kind of shrugged.

 

When Rule goes into the rift that eventually happens between Kevin and Scott, and how Scott pulls in Kevin's brother and another long-time friend to start robbing banks you start to realize that this story is not about to have a happy ending.


Scott's plan to rob banks seemed pretty smart, but he obviously had a spending problem that needed fixed. Rule at one point asserts that he spent something like $300,000 in one year. Though you may start to have sympathy at a certain point for Scott, the way he treats women and others around you will start to turn you off. He seemed to have a sixth sense on how to draw people in and have them owe him favors. 

 

I thought Rule did a great job of showing the backstory to Steve Meyers (Kevin's brother) and Mark Biggins. These last two men Rule doesn't skimp on details. Both men get into bank robbing because they want their daughters to have a better life. I would of course respond that they would probably prefer their dads not doing something illegal.

Rule eventually gets to the tragic end of Scurlock and what happens to Meyers and Biggins. The book does falter in the end a bit as if Rule didn't quite know how she wanted to tie this up.


Rule provides details on the police which I would happily have preferred to be left out. I didn't care about the police hunting the robbers. It ended up reading as filler after a while and ruined the flow depicting Scurlock's chronology along with everyone else. 

The Case for Not Writing Trilogies

The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro

I should have skipped this, but I was hoping that maybe, just maybe Cavallaro could pivot this series. With talk of a fourth book coming out I wanted something interesting out there in the world of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. Instead this Young Adult pastiche in the world of Sherlock Holmes is lacking across the board. We somehow have no development of Charlotte and Jamie, there are no real deductions to be made, we still have Charlotte and Jamie in a toxic friendship and we get to see Jamie's father in his own messed up relationship with a Holmes. 

 

"The Case for Jamie" is the third book in the Charlotte Holmes series. Told in first person points of view by Jamie and Charlotte this time you have back and forth chapters with the not dynamic duo before they finally get to confront another Moriarty.  

 

Jamie is feeling lost and angry after the events of "The Last of August". He is rightfully over the Holmes family and a year later is settled back in school with a girlfriend. FYI, Jamie treats his girlfriend appallingly and at this point I am wondering if he is a undercover MRA or what. There is no there there this time. Jamie is asked to help find Charlotte by his uncle and father because reasons. I am thinking they are alluding to the fact that Jamie is in love or was in love with her or something. Instead of Jamie actually pushing back on this BS he does eventually get involved and becomes a suspect (again) when a series of pranks goes on.


Charlotte and her POV chapters were pretty freaking soulless. I hate her entire family. I know these people are mythical and all, but when Charlotte recounts being told her mother was disappointed that she was raped cause she thought Charlotte could handle herself better, her brother making excuses about how nothing is his fault, and her father is just an absent asshole. There is nothing interesting about the Holmes besides all of them seem to be devoid of feelings. Charlotte is focused on keeping Jamie safe (again) and tracking down another Moriarty. 

 

There is nothing to say about the secondary characters. They are not well developed at all. I didn't like Jamie's father and started to hate Charlotte's uncle. There seemed to be some repercussions for Jamie's father at the end of the book, and once again Jamie barely seems to care.

 

I honestly felt for August's family. He was a good person who had his life ruined because he romantically rejected Charlotte. Then her brother killed him. He is mentioned multiple times throughout this book, but I felt like no one really gave a damn he was dead and should not be. 

 

The writing was okay, the flow was slow. I think this book was hampered by having alternating chapters between Jamie and Charlotte. Charlotte just recaps things in her chapters that readers should already know about.


The ending was whatever. We have Jamie and Charlotte reunited again and I just don't care enough to read if there is a fourth book. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro

Not good.

Reading progress update: I've read 25%.

The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro

Trying not to laugh about the fact my Kindle just shit off due to low battery. Maybe it’s even tired of me reading bad books. This is not really bad per se, it’s just boring. The POV’s or Jamie and Charlotte, so each chapter alternates between them.

 

It’s been at least a year plus since the events in the last book and we do have Jamie back at school wanting nothing to do with the Holmes family and Charlotte on the tail of Lucien Moriarty.

TBR Thursday*: June 14, 2018

Reading (7 books):

 

Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & WitchcraftThe Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes #3)ItBorn a Crime: Stories from a South Afri…

Colonel RooseveltWe Were Eight Years in Power: An American TragedyWonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

 

 

Going to Read (26):

 

 

As You WishAn American MarriageAdulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 535 Easy(ish) Steps

Their Eyes Were Watching GodBeloved The Hollow Man

Why Didn't They Ask Evans?Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins, #1)Strangers on a TrainPostern of Fate (Tommy and Tuppence #5)

The Sittaford MysteryOrdeal by InnocenceN or M? (Tommy and Tuppence, #3)Cover image for The Hazel Wood

Title details for Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins - Wait list Cover image for Aru Shah and the End of TimeCover image for FledglingCover image for Parable of the Talents

Cover image for Leah on the OffbeatCover image for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

 

Read (4 books):

 

 Come Sundown by Nora RobertsOne of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManusWhat to Say Next by Julie BuxbaumThe Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

 

This was not a great read week for me. I caught a summer cold and was laid up all day yesterday just taking meds. I am at work right now feeling hot and stuffy. Ugh. 

 

My TBR is 33 books which is weird. I realized that I haven't added that many books to my to read pile. I am going to focus on clearing up a few things via my interlibrary loans and just polishing off my physical books through the summer on top of finishing my two lists. 

 

*TBR Thursday is the brainchild of my partner in crime, Moonlight Reader. 

Beyond Bored

The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

I don't have much to say here. This book took me almost three days to get through because that's how boring it was. Taking place in the 1930s, I was expecting to see some language/slang from that era. You don't get that at all and just have a woman on the run (who decides to reinvent herself as a reporter) and a former magician (yeah I know) getting caught up in murder and mayhem.

 

Irene (formerly Anna) is pulled into investigating when a woman turns up dead in Burning Cove, CA. The woman is found dead at an exclusive hotel run by Oliver Ward. Oliver is angry that someone dared to murder someone on his grounds. Irene is hoping for a story that is going to launch her career. 

 

Irene and Oliver felt like cardboard cutouts when compared to Quick's Regency heroines and heroes. We get I think one love scene with them and I think after that everything is just a fade to black type thing. I don't even get why they were attracted to each other. Oliver being an ex-magician should have been more interesting than what we got. 

 

There are also too many secondary characters to keep track of while reading this book. You have Nick Tremayne (up and coming Hollywood actor), his assistant, Irene's boss, a hired killer, the hired killer's father, Oliver's close associates (who I refuse to look up) and at a certain point I ceased to care about keeping people straight in my head.

 

The writing was not typical 1930s. I was hoping for a screwball comedy type writing (think His Girl Friday) or some typical noir mystery book that would have fit in perfectly.

 

The pacing was awful from beginning to end. When you think one mystery is over, the second mystery jumps in and it goes back and forth. I still don't know what happened and who did what to who except in one of the plot-lines. Maybe that was the issue, we had too much going on in the first book in this series.

 

Burning Cove, CA is the setting of this book and it did not come to life to me at all. You would think there would be some hint of the Great Depression or the second World War. The whole book felt weirdly out of touch with the time period being depicted.

 

Hard pass. 

Not a Bad Message....Think Needed More Polish

What To Say Next - Julie Buxbaum

So I have to say that I at first was pretty delighted with this book. I loved the two leads, we have David and Kit and the circumstances surrounding them that have them developing a friendship and something more. Then, we start to have some problematic things happening such as David's sister telling him to make sure that Kit doesn't put him in the friend zone. At this point we readers know that David doesn't even have any friends at school, so his sister should just be happy that he has made a new friend. We also get comments made about his clothes and hair and then his sister does a Pretty Woman style make-over and everyone thinks he is hot. There are some problematic adults in this one too (David's parents, his guitar teacher, the school principal, and Kit's mom and her "Uncle Jack."). Buxbaum also left some loose threads dangling in the end which I don't know if she thought things had been resolved sufficiently or what. 

 

"What to Say Next" is about David and Kit. Both are teens going to Mapleview High who don't feel a part of things for different reasons.

 

Kit is a biracial teen (her mother is Indian and her father is white) who is dealing with losing her father in a car accident. She doesn't feel as if she fits with her two best friends anymore and resents that everyone just seems to want her to return to who she was before her father died. She sits with David at lunch one day since she figured that he would be quiet and not talk to her. Instead, an unlikely friendship blooms between these two. 

 

David is a high functioning autistic teenage boy who has no friends if you don't count his sister Miney and his parents. He likes Kit for a lot of reasons and his notebook that he uses to remind him of things has a lot about Kit in there. When Kit and he start to talk to each other more and more, he starts to hope that they are friends. When things turn out to possibly be more romantic, a few things pop up to get in the way.

 

I really did enjoy Kit and David. Buxbaum did a good job of showing both of their POVs in their chapters. She kept both voices authentic. I have a few relatives who are autistic and I think she did a good job with some of the comments that David makes. However, there were a few things that stuck out to me that sounded weird such as him saying that he can make eye contact which I went huh about. Both of my relatives make eye contact and like hugs and even like to sit near me on the couch while we discuss things. I think a few reviewers mention where Buxbaum got things wrong with regards to autism so I would read those reviews. 

 

The secondary characters were a bit problematic for me. First off, when you hear David describe his relationship with his sister Miney it sounded fantastic. You had someone that is in his corner and you find out later on why she wrote out a list of people never to be trusted (that whole story when revealed was heartbreaking) but she definitely needed to be brought into 2017 with understanding male/female friendships and how the friend zone is not a thing. I also hated her forcing David to have a makeover. I don't even get why David agreed to it since he says repeatedly he likes his clothes because they feel good against his skin. The stuff she bought (except for the cashmere) sounded like it was harsh. And when you have Kit's POV mentioning she know gets why David used to dress the way he did prior to his makeover (he wore similar clothes to his dad) I wish that David or his sister had made a comment about that. It just felt weird how we were getting reveals about the other person in the other person's POV chapter. 

 

David's parents sounded interesting, but they did something sneaky that I didn't approve of (no spoilers) which sounded like they didn't even have to discuss later with David which is a bit outrageous to me. I also question whether David's father is autistic, it sounded like he may be based on descriptions, but Buxbaum doesn't come right out and say it and it's just left hanging there. 

 

Kit's mother and her father seemed sketched out and not fully developed. Same with her "Uncle Jack." We get some reveals happening, I just wish that Buxbaum had set it up differently. 

 

The bullies in this school sounded sadly familiar. I was pretty disgusted though with the school principal in this one. I don't know if the dialogue and mindset is realistic or not. I hope not, cause if someone acted and said this crap to me I would be suing and also possibly lifting up a desk to put it on top of the person.

 

The writing was good and I thought the flow worked too. I wasn't bored while reading. 

The setting takes place mostly at the high school with Kit and David's home/rooms featuring pretty heavily too. 

 

I thought the ending was good, but once again I don't know if it was realistic or not. I don't want to spoil, but there is pretty big bump that I don't know if it would have been possibly to get over in real life. And I think that not all of the threads were wrapped up. 

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

This is so freaking boring. Reading Quick set in modern times in America is not doing a thing for me at all.

 

Things just keep happening to Irene (fleeing, finding a dead body, etc.) and there seems to be very little set up for the plot at this point. Just stuff happening. I had a hard time keeping people straight at this point.

 

I also don't get why Irene would go work for a gossip columnist in order to keep a low profile from someone that could hurt her. I am still confused why this is a thing.

 

FYI, I am guessing this book takes place in the 1920s or 1930s cause of the terms and slang being used. It would have been helpful if Quick had used a location and year to set up the first part of the book. She at least does that in her regency romances. 

 

 

 

 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

What To Say Next - Julie Buxbaum

The book flails at certain points. There’s a certain point where I think the author doesn’t want to make it seem as if David has to change for others, but he has a makeover which causes everyone to see him as different as which had me booing.

 

I loved Kit and David, but some of the secondary characters (David’s sister) kind of sucked. I did love Kit’s two best friends who I wish we got to spend more time with.

 

I also hated some of the scenes. For example one scene we get with the school principal who talks about bullying and doesn’t defend David. At least his parents are not having it.

 

Will have to think on the rating some more.

Reading progress update: I've read 38%.

What To Say Next - Julie Buxbaum

His sister gave him a make over to help him be hot. Gah. What is this book?? Miney supposedly cares about her brother, but seems awfully fixated on him looking and acting like everyone else (being normal). The whole thing is offensive. 

 

Kit also finds out a devastating secret about her parents.

Book Stuffing, Bribery and Bullying: The Self-Publishing Problem Plaguing Amazon

Check out the link below:

 

http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/book-stuffing-bribery-and-bullying-the-selfpublishing-problem-plaguing-amazon.php

 

I know that a lot of us here have been talking about this. Very interesting read. 

Source: http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/book-stuffing-bribery-and-bullying-the-selfpublishing-problem-plaguing-amazon.php

Reading progress update: I've read 34%.

What To Say Next - Julie Buxbaum

Ugh. It's official, I don't like David's sister. She just told him to be careful about being put in the friend zone by Kit. She's a freaking teen girl, if she was a teen boy maybe I would buy this nonsense coming out of her mouth. But she's a young woman and should know that the friend zone isn't a freaking thing. 

Reading progress update: I've read 30%.

What To Say Next - Julie Buxbaum

Eh. I am not loving David's sister Miney. She's kind of an asshole. She popped up from college and when David makes a comment that Kit is the prettiest girl at his school she goes, eh she's cute enough. Also she is coaching her brother through asking Kit out. It's weird. He seems content with being friends. 

Compelling Read, Think that Author Chose a Softer Ending Which Didn't Work

One of Us Is Lying - Karen  M. McManus

Oh the majority of this book was so freaking good! I loved the description of this being "The Breakfast Club Meets Pretty Little Liars." The ending though ruined what came before (IMHO). I think that the author wanted things wrapped up neatly with HEAs, it just didn't make much sense since this whole book had a kind of dark comedy aspect to it at times. I loved all of the characters, the writing, the flow, etc. 

 

"One of Us is Lying" is about four high schoolers (Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper) who witness one of their fellow classmates (Simon) die from an allergic reaction. Things become tense around school though when it appears based on anonymous social media postings that one of the four that were in the room had reasons for wanting Simon dead. When the police and news media descend on the teens, they end up trying to figure out who wanted Simon dead and how they managed to do it. 

 

What I thought was cleverly done is that McManus has these teen archetypes in this book. Bronwyn is the brain, Addy is the attractive popular girl, Nate is a criminal, and Cooper is a star athlete.  McManus slowly reveals each of these characters and why they had a secret that they would have been willing to kill Simon from revealing.

 

I did think though that due to the abundance of characters, that not everyone got equal weight in this story. My favorite character was honestly Addy. Her story-line was ridiculously good. I don't want to reveal too much, but Addy and her sister were pretty kick-ass in throughout this book. Too bad we probably will never get a sequel to this book starring these same characters. 


I have to say though I did despise Simon. We find out that he was a gossip and had a blog where he revealed secrets about everyone in his high school. I likened him to a younger Perez Hilton a few times. Simon is nasty and I am glad that some of the characters called out the hypocrisy of anyone out there trying to cry that Simon was a good kid. 

I did find it very realistic though for the police and others to be watching/reading social media and to take their cues from it. The characters in the book a few times even acknowledged how the media at one point is ready to attack them all and the next day cries out about abuse of power by the police. 

 

The writing was very good and McManus manages to ensure that all four characters have a distinct voice from each other. 


I loved the setting of a high school with everyone being on the top of the suspect list. I was enjoying reading and wondering who did it and why. 

 

I didn't like the ending though. It seemed way too far-fetched and I actually had to go back and re-read some things.