431 Followers
361 Following
oblue

Obsidian Blue

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

Currently reading

Silken Prey
John Sandford
The Invited
Jennifer McMahon
Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik
The Wife: A Novel
Meg Wolitzer
99 Percent Mine
Sally E. Thorne
Progress: 100 %
Hidden Empire
Kevin J. Anderson
An Alaskan Christmas (Wild River #1)
Jennifer Snow
One Night Gone
Tara Laskowski
Flag Counter

Read Like a Filler Book

Another Thing to Fall: A Novel (Tess Monaghan Mysteries) - Laura Lippman

Not too much to say here except that this read like a filler book in the adventures of Tess and her private investigation business. It's pretty apparent she got some of this plot idea from being married to David Simon. It just didn't work and honestly all of the characters we are used to (Whitney, Crow, and even now I guess Lloyd) felt very muted. 

 

"Another Thing to Fall" has Tess almost being ran over by a television crew boat. She's somehow offered a job out of nowhere to keep an actress on their set safe. The young actress's photos were found in a man's home who killed himself. But now there are crew accidents and there seems to be someone out there trying to stop production on the show called "Mann of Steel." 

Tess is still level headed and has a high BS meter, however, she kind of stumbles onto what is going on and who is behind it on the set. Her and Crow seem quite comfortable though she's a bit over him letting his "protege" Lloyd stay with them. Frankly I don't get why Tess allows it and I wish someone would tell Crow it's creepy he's adopted a young black man who he thinks he needs to teach about the world. The white savior nonsense in the past two books is a huge turn off. 


There's not much else to say. The book focuses mostly on the writer/director/ on the show who are childhood friends. We also get POVs from one of the actors along with a man who is very interested in the set. It takes a while to figure out how he fits in. Instead of Lippman juggling all of this together, it read like everyone was in a different book. Tess is supposed to be the draw and I wish we had stayed with her mostly. Whitney is only on hand to babysit and I miss kick ass Whitney and Tess doing their thing. We also only hear about Tess's aunt and we get one appearance of the man she married. Same thing about Tess's parents who used to be prominent in the series, we just hear about them.


The writing felt stilted since Lippman is trying to make television writing sound interesting. Going on about sets, the script Bible, etc. made my eyes glaze. I just didn't care. Things got interesting once the first character was murdered, but again, she (the woman who was murdered) didn't feel very developed and also seemed just there to move the plot along. The flow was pretty off. I had to sit and make myself get through all of the parts not showcasing Tess.


The setting of Baltimore feels a bit off in this one. Maybe because we are reading about it via stranger's eyes. Tess has nothing but love for Baltimore and we usually get some history lessons in her quick soliloquies to herself. Instead we have a lot of people complaining about how big the residents are, how their teeth look weird (a la not bright white) and the crime. 


The ending was a mess. I guess we are supposed to cheer new starts for one of the secondary characters even though we know that justice really wasn't done in the case of one of the murders. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

99 Percent Mine - Sally E. Thorne

Thought the MC was a nasty piece of work and she and her twin brother needed to be smacked for the concept of owning another person. Not very developed characters or plot line. 

Reading progress update: I've read 336 out of 336 pages.

Another Thing to Fall: A Novel (Tess Monaghan Mysteries) - Laura Lippman

This wasn’t very good. If feels like the series has lots it’s heart a bit. Tess  goes behind the scenes to protect an actress who may have a stalker.  But of course there’s more going on than what she initially knows. All the characters felt very flat. And honestly I am over the Crow and the whole I’m gonna take in this poor black child and teach them how to live trope.

Halloween Bingo 2019 Booklikes Players!

Programming note: Thank you all for being patient with me! I have been busy with work and other things and it's nice to come back and see everyone so excited about Bingo. Don't forget to follow Moonlight and I so that you can see the daily bingo posts! Also don't forget to follow each other!

 

-Blue

 

Image result for pumpkins gif

 

1. Locus Amoenus: All By My Shelf

2. Themis-Athena's Garden of Books

3. A Man With An Agenda

4. Mike Finn

5. LEAH'S BOOKISH OBSESSION

6. Lora's Rants and Reviews

7. Chris' Fish Place

8. Moonlight Reader

9. Obsidian Blue

10. Char's Horror Corner

11. Linda Hilton

12. Books, hockey, and a bucketful of snark

13. LILLELARA

14. BrokenTune

15. Jennifer's Books

16. Darth Pedant

17. The better to see you, my dear

18. Ani's Book Abysss

19. TEASTITCHREAD

20. Emerjas

21. isanythingopen

22. Carmilla Reads

23. Rachel's books

24. XOX

25. Murder by Death

26. Familiar Diversions

27. Portable Magic

28. 100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

29. Reading is my ESCAPE from Reality!

30. Hol

31. Wanda's Book Reviews

32. Bark at the Ghouls

33. Blood Rose Books

34. Spooky's Maze of Books

35.  Kell's Reading Realm

 

Links to previous participants:

 

Halloween Bingo 2018 Booklikes Players

 

Halloween Book Bingo 2017! Follow Booklikers

 

 

Image result for pumpkin gifs

 

If I Knew Nothing About Congress This Would Have Been Mildly Interesting

The Dance of Legislation: An Insider's Account of the Workings of the United States Senate - Eric Redman

Bah. I am still annoyed we had to read this terrible book for our course. We are not new to the government or understanding the branches of government. I think if you are a new federal employee you should check out this book. I was probably also not pleased because we had to hear an all day lecture about how Congress works (the House, the Senate), the Judiciary, and then the Executive Branch. My face was just a literal grimace when we finished. You know how hard it was for me to not jump up on the table and scream this isn't the way things work anymore! 

 

"The Dance of Legislation" follows Eric Redman as a new staffer on the Hill trying to pass the National Health Services Bill in the 1970s while working for Senator Warren Magnuson. Redman seems so quaint now about how things work on the Hill when you realize that Mitch McConnell is the devil's own and is doing his best to break the government. Sorry, I had a lot of bile to spill since it became apparently some of my class was conservative leaning (not an issue) but it is when you have to hear people complaining about why can't people on both sides get along. Shut the hell up, kids are in cages, the Amazon is on fire, the President of the United States is a freaking racist. I got no patience anymore. 

 

Ahem.


Back to the book, this was just very long. I got really bored. There's a foreword to the 2001 edition and then another one to the original edition, and then a freaking preface. i fell asleep reading this book several times until I made myself sit up and drink coffee. I hate books that make my brain angry because I really really wanted to DNF this book a bunch. I couldn't of course since this was part of our case study work. Stupid learning. 

 

Redman is not a natural story teller. He jumps around. A lot. You want to yell get to the freaking point several times on. Also reading about how he had to work to get support for this bill started to bore me. I rather have watched Schoolhouse Rock sing to me about how a bill becomes a law on a loop for 24 hours. I say this as someone who loves history, but only when the person writing is can tell that history in such a way that compels me to want to read more. The history major in me went gah a few times. I even went to Wikipeida at one point to read a condense version of events since I just wanted to get to the end already. 

 

There's an epilogue (which I skipped) and even a postscript that I also skipped. 

Why Change is Hard

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard - Dan Heath, Chip Heath

So this is the first of the books I had to read for my training this summer. I have to say that "Switch" was my favorite just because it really gets down into why change is hard for people and organizations. And it shows how small changes can build into such big successes. I am at an organization right now going through some upheaval since our boss was let go after our employee feedback survey and overall morale dropped over three years. Of course looking back now and after completing my training I can point out where things went wrong. Ignoring feedback from employees, refusing to adjust to others and listen, having "process" improvements every couple of months and not sticking with one approach, etc. It's no wonder I was full of stress and would wake up grinding my teeth. 

 

The book really focuses on what is called the elephant, the rider, and the path. And that the elephant for many of us are dealing with emotions. The rider is supposed to be the rational part of yourself. And the path is where you want the elephant to go. Well you would think that it would be pretty easy to steer an elephant right? Nope. It's really hard. In fact it takes a lot to control the elephant so that you can get to the path you want to go.


The Heath's do a great job of putting in a ton of case study work in this book that I found fascinating. My favorite was of the man given a finite amount of time to improve nutrition and pretty much solve hunger in I believe it was Thailand. And then him realizing after studying mothers in some villages how they were able to make sure that their children were fed and not suffering from malnutrition. He had those mothers show the other mothers and from there all of this knowledge was passed on. It seems like such a small thing, but it wasn't.

 

I have dealt with some employees this past year that I want them to get on the path and I know it's my job to keep control of my elephant so that I don't show frustration or impatience and have to clearly show them why the path in the end will be worth it. It definitely helped me rethink some things and how I interact with others. 

TBR Thursday Library Reads: August 22, 2019

Training is done! I got a lot of cheers by my cohort today when we all had to get our certificates and say something. That was nice especially since I almost kicked out the chair under the mansplainer on Wednesday. I am glad that the past two days he toned it down. Maybe he finally learned to read verbal cues. At least this time he didn't explain racism to me. Never change mansplainers. Never change. That said, I didn't get a lot of reading done. I did read a ton of books for class though. I am going to try to do those over today and this weekend. I am just going to see how much energy I have for it.

 

Some of my books for bingo are here already, but got to wait another 7 days! I also lost my place on some books here because I didn't get a chance to read them, so you may see some repeats that were in borrows now in holds. 

 

- Blue

 

Borrowed: (10) 

Cover image for 99 Percent MineCover image for The WifeCover image for Spinning Silver[More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]Cover image for The Turn of the Key Cover image for My Lovely Wife

 Cover image for The PassageCover image for Hidden Empire

 

Hold: (15)

 

Physical Copies: (5)

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available]

 

 

Electronic Copies: (10)

Cover image for The Zookeeper's WifeCover image for Fleishman Is in TroubleCover image for Daisy Jones & the SixCover image for The Five

Cover image for The Lost ManCover image for Under CurrentsCover image for Our HouseCover image for Gingerbread

Cover image for Hungry HillCover image for Wizard and Glass

 

 

Wish list: (1)

 Cover image for Practical Magic

 

Read: (3)

 

Cover image for StepsisterCover image for In Pursuit of the Proper SinnerA Traitor to Memory by Elizabeth George

 

 

There Was Once A Girl Named Isabelle

Stepsister - Jennifer Donnelly

Wow this book was perfection. I laughed, held my breath, cried a bit, and cheered. Donnelly did such a wonderful job with this book I can't wait to read more from her. 

 

"Stepsister" follows what happens after Cinderella (Ella) is locked away and her two stepsisters remove parts of their feet (Tavi cutting away her heel and Isabelle her toes) and are found out by a bird singing in a tree. What follows is the two girls and their mother are shunned by their village while Ella is carried off to be married and become Queen of France. Isabelle though still has a chance to change things for herself, her family, and even France, if she can remember the girl who played pirates, fenced, and rode her horse with no fear.


I loved Isabelle. Donnelly made her feel so read. A young girl who is considered ugly and doesn't care for dresses or tying up her hair in elaborate hairstyles. She read about soldiers, generals, and conquerors and her heart yearned for more. In the time and place she is born though, she's a woman and a woman is only meant to be a wife and mother. We have Isabelle's life also being fought over a bit by three people (Fate, Chance, and an Old Magic). I loved the interplay between all of these parties and how even though they all have different goals in the end, Isabelle still manages her own path. 

 

Tavi was my second favorite. I wanted to read more about the experiments she was trying and loved her fighting with Hugo (a neighbor's son who is baffled and scared by both of them for being such weird women). 

 

Donnelly manages to imbue romance in this, but it's not the point in the story. In the end, the love story is about Isabelle and what she has denied herself for so long. I want to talk so much more about this book but it would spoiling for other readers.


I loved the writing and found myself highlighting so many passages. The flow was actually very good too. The chapters were pretty short, but Donnelly impacts so much in the story you don't realize how much you have read until you get to the end. At least I didn't.

 

"She did not know that this was a good thing for a girl to have, because everyone had always told her it was a terrible thing. Everyone said a girl with a strong will would come to a bad end. Everyone said a girl’s will must be bent to the wishes of those who know what’s best for her."

 

This book is all about a girl/young woman being forced into something that she doesn't want. To realize to squash parts of yourself every single day to fit in makes you stronger in a way you don't even realize when you decide you have had enough. 

 

"But an ugly girl? Ah, child, the world is made for men. An ugly girl can never be forgiven.”

 

Disgusted noise made but yeah, it's gross how many people judge by looks. You can be beautiful and have the ugliest soul around I have found. 

 

"Isabelle swallowed hard. Deep inside her, the wolf, asleep under her heart for so long, opened his eyes. She hefted her sword and stared the man down. “I say, en garde.”

 

Kick his ass Isabelle!

“The feeling that you want to own someone body and soul, spirit them away from everyone else, have them all to yourself forever and ever and ever,” Hugo said dreamily. “It’s called love.” “No, it’s called kidnapping,” said Tavi.

 

Y'all don't even know how much I laughed and loved Tavi. I want a story starring her!


The setting of this book is a France in a different time and place (Fate, Chance, and a Fairy Queen are running around in this book and somehow that seems reasonable). 

 

The ending made me want to stand up and cheer. Or go out and fight a scoundrel with just a sword and a shield. 

A few more quilt pictures

Reblogged from Moonlight Murder:

I was waiting until Char got her hands on it to post any pictures. Here's a few more!

 

 

It's about 60 by 60 inches, give or take.

 

 

It's backed in a soft and cozy black & white flannel plaid. I machine quilted it with black thread.

 

 

My helper, Jonesy, gave his full approval! He especially admired the print with the black cats in orange party hats. The prints are mostly black, white, gray and orange, with pops of purple and green. And, Char, I don't know if you've noticed, yet - but one of the text prints was designed on Spoonflower, and is printed with last year's Halloween bingo categories! ;)

Training all week! Will try to keep popping in!

The Hallmark Movie Channel Wouldn't Take On This Book

The Lucky Dress - Aimée Brown Price

This book was so bad. I don't even know what to say. Brown jumps around between present day and past timelines and all it did was make me hate the main character (Emi) even more. At one point something happens that had me wondering if the author had just watched a lot of Hallmark movies and said, yes, I will try to replicate that. And honestly, even Hallmark wouldn't make this movie. The motivations of all people was out of whack. We got an antagonist that made zero sense. You had Emi and her former fiancee Jack not acting like real life people at all. And you have a cast of characters too dumb to tell Emi and Jack to work their shit out like adults. Instead there are schemes on top of schemes that even The Party Trap wouldn't have tried to pull. Do not recommend.

 

So "The Lucky Dress" follows Emi as she struggles with going to her brother's wedding. It wouldn't be such a big deal except she is going to see her former fiancee Jack for the first time in a year. And Jack is in the wedding (he's her brother's best man) and she has never told everyone all of the things that happened that had Emi call off their wedding two days before they were to be married and to follow her best friend to Dallas to set up a coffee shop. Yeah that's a lot. So the whole book is Emi getting into mess after mess after seeing Jack and his family. And she's face to face with his new girlfriend who she also knows. And Brown jumps back and forth between their romantic history which doesn't paint Emi or Jack in a good light.


I think my biggest problem is Emi is an idiot. She sees two things and she doesn't discuss it with Jack. Instead she packs up and moves across the country. She leaves him with explaining to people what happened and she's then angry when she sees who he is now dating. Frankly, if you ignore someone for a year, you get what you get. I was just done in beyond the stupidity of all involved. 99 percent of this book would have been taken care of if everyone talked instead of trying to "hide things." Emi meets a new love interest who I called Red Herring who I didn't even care about, since it was pretty obvious how this one was going to go.

 

Jack doesn't act like a normal man at all. That's all I got.


Jack's mother....woo boy. There is some stuff that happens that made me go did everyone in this book never meet a human being that they actually talked to? 


The main antagonist in this one went to the Disney school for movie villains. She didn't act like a real person and her motivation behind all of this was flimsy at best. 

 

I thought the writing was painful. Emi was a brat. I wanted someone to call her out on her acting like an ass during her brother's wedding festivities along with the bride. The flow was awful due to the jumping back and forth between the present day and previous milestones in Jack and Emi's story.


That ending had me once again wondering do the secondary characters in this story have any type of life at all or what? 

Awful

The Good Bride Guide - Matt Dunn

Wow. I don't know what to say about this book. Oh yeah, I do. This was terrible. A terrible main character who wants to get married for some really ridiculous reasons who seems to be stalking a woman who is tied to another character he knows. I didn't laugh once while reading this, though I was told this was supposedly humorous. The main character (Ben) really just needs to be by himself, because even though he is a struggling artist with a terrible place to live, he still sees there should be some higher standards concerning whatever women he fools into marrying him. I wish the book had ended with some self-awareness on his part, but Dunn ends things so you can tell what is probably going to happen next.


"The Good Bride Guide" has Ben Grant feeling thrown when his agent pops up engaged. He finds out that his agent has an arranged marriage and that he feels less stressful about his life because his parents ultimately picked the woman he is going to marry in a few months time. Ben who we already meet and who is dealing with breaking up with a woman who he says didn't like him for him and was not right for him decides all of a sudden that he should get married too. So the book follows Ben as his parents try to set him up with a variety of women while Ben sits back and criticizes each woman. There's even a creepy meet-up when he hangs out with a woman who back in college he and she drunkenly promised to marry each other if they didn't find other people. That whole scene was cringe inducing.

 

I didn't like Ben. I thought he was self absorbed and I never got a sense of why he wanted to marry. He's not a hopeless romantic. He doesn't watch romantic comedies. He's judgmental as hell. 

 

The other characters are barely developed though we spend the most with his family who you can tell Dunn tried to write as kooky but lovable, but ended up reading more ridiculous than anything to me. 

 

The writing was so-so. I think if it had been longer, maybe he could have developed Ben more. As it was, this book felt rushed. 

 

I was thrilled to get to the end. 

I Wanted This Book to End So Badly

A Traitor to Memory - Elizabeth  George

This was my least favorite of George's reads. It went on forever. The two narrative styles did not fit. I already guessed at who did what and it was a long winding road to get there. The Webberly thing read as ridiculous after a while. Lynley is even more of an ass in this one. It felt like a lot of things happened without a lot of police work to get people to where they needed to go. 

 

I liked the book focusing on memory and what we remember as being accurate or false. But after a while I just didn't care. We have Lynley asked to investigate, when a former woman who is known by Webberly and other former New Scotland Yard forces is found dead by a hit and run. The woman's young daughter was drowned years ago and now after she is found dead people wonder what was it that caused her death. When more people connected to that case start being found dead, Lynley, Winston, and Havers are put on the case to figure out who is running people down.

 

Lynley of all people doesn't follow prior characterizations when he decides to hide something important on a case. Havers of all people points out to him how dumb this is. I maybe laughed a bunch of times considering the last book. St. James, Deborah, and Helen are barely in this one. They just seem to come on stage for Lynely's character and that's it. Winston's story-line was weird, I don't know what George was going for there, but it felt....off. I don't even know what else to say without spoilers. 


The writing was not good in this one I am sorry to say. George using a diary style format for a character told in the first person didn't work with the narrative style being told via third person point of view. Also, the diary style was way too long. It kept taking me out of the story. I started to skim after a while since I could guess what happened since George practically points a red arrow at the guilty party(ies). 

 

The flow was awful due to the narrative style. We also have a wrench thrown in via Lynley and Helen's marriage that had me dislike Lynley even more. At this point the man just wants a mannequin, not a wife. 


The ending left too many plot holes I assume will be resolved in the next book or the one after. I don't know...I started off enjoying these, but I noticed a drop off between this book and the last one. And I have been warned there is another one that is going to tick me off and the quality is going to be really bad. So I may stop here, I don't know. 

The Fallout

In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner - Elizabeth  George

Not too much to say except that reading about the fallout from Haver's actions in the last book drove this one a lot. Havers is still with the force, but demoted. Lynley feels as if Havers was not properly punished for what she did and is reluctant to work with her again. Through a new case though (the investigation into two young people who are found murdered) Havers works mostly with Winston Nkata in this one. So we get to see a new dynamic between long standing characters. And we get to see more changes between Lynley and Helen now that they are married. Per usual, Lynley is angry that Helen dares to act independent of him. I thought the case was interesting, but the why behind it was pretty ridiculous. Usually that would be enough for me to lower a star. However, I read the next book in the series already, and this one is practically Shakespeare compared to that one.

 

"In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner" has Lynley asked to investigate from a former undercover who was well renowned in the police force. The man's twenty year old daughter is found dead and a nearby young man is also found. Through a lot of twists and turns, Lynley finds out about a darker life that the young woman was embarking on. What I thought was interesting about this one is that so many people were setting out to protect others, but in the end, if any of them had been honest about things, I think a different ending would have happened.

 

Lynley is a prig in this one. He's pretty ticked that Havers disobeyed a direct order and he wants her to show some contrition about what she did. This of course gets back to Lynley not really liking it when the women in his life don't act as he wants then to. Heck, this book sets up several unpleasant revelations regarding how he views his now wife. She is supposed to agree with him always and not take anyone else's side. This view of marriage is quite grim.


Havers though she's feeling thrown due to the ultimate decision about her police fate and now with Lynley not really talking to her or wanting to talk to her, is still focused on showing him what she can do. She also wants to prove him wrong and I can't blame her. I loved her burgeoning friendship with Winston though. He truly sees Havers for how she is and how good she is. Something Lynley often does not.

 

The writing was good, but could have been cut way back. Per usual George throws in POVs via a variety of people I won't get into here. The flow does work though because she keeps the book moving pretty crisply until you find out who the murder is and I really went what and shook my head.


The ending leaves things on a more hopeful and friendly note with Havers and Lynley though. 

Reading progress update: I've read 100%.

In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner - Elizabeth  George

The why behind the murder was a hot mess. Everything else before that was pretty much perfect. We have Lynley and Havers at odds since the results of the internal investigation into Havers actions in the last book have left her on the job, but demoted. Havers refuses to be cowed under by this, but is when she realizes that Lynley doesn't support her and if it wasn't for the actions of someone else, she would be off of the force. The case that Lynley is involved in is the murder of an ex-undercover man who worked for an elite unit. Lynley and the local DI on the case get into the life of Nicola Maiden and what they find isn't pretty. I have to say I went back and forth on who did it and why and felt oddly deflated by the reveal. Also i wish someone would just put it out there that how Lynley views women is problematic at best. Every book there's some new revelation into his psyche and it's getting old. He doesn't think that women in his life should be allowed any freedom to not do what he says. We have to see if this times it sticks or what. 

TBR Thursday Library Reads: August 15, 2019

So I had mandatory training for two days this week and am getting slammed with job demands. Asked to speak to my boss and she has time to talk at 2 P.M. Sigh. I am hoping I can take Friday off since I need some me time desperately. I don't think that's going to happen though since we have an employee issue we need to address and I finally was honest about where I see this employee at right now and that I am disappointed they are not stepping up to take things off my workload. They want to get promoted but seem to think that just saying that is enough and am not doing enough actions to actually be doing so. Case in point, they just emailed the director and I to go so I am teleworking today. Sigh. 

 

I also got a lot of books that I need to go through and update on here and Goodreads. I had a lot of books planned for Halloween Bingo but had to put holds out now since it's going to take some time for some of them to pop up for me. Be good peeps!

 

-Blue

 

Borrowed: (10) 

 

 

Cover image for Hidden EmpireCover image for Practical MagicCover image for 99 Percent MineCover image for Stepsister

Cover image for The WifeCover image for Spinning SilverCover image for In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner[More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

 

Hold: (19)

 

Physical Copies: (7)

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

[More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available][More detail about this title is available]

 

 

Electronic Copies: (12)

Cover image for The Zookeeper's WifeCover image for Fleishman Is in TroubleCover image for Daisy Jones & the SixCover image for The Five

Cover image for The Lost ManCover image for Under CurrentsCover image for The Turn of the Key Cover image for My Lovely Wife

Cover image for The PassageCover image for Our HouseCover image for GingerbreadCover image for Hungry Hill

 

 

Read & Reviewed (2):

 Cover image for In the Presence of the EnemyDeception on His Mind by Elizabeth  George