2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 0 books toward her goal of 200 books.

Book Review: Diamonds and Deception by Ellen Butler

I have enjoyed this series since the first book. Karina is such an unusual blend of smart woman, foolish choices, and those choices seem to get more foolish book/adventure by book/adventure. By this, the third installment, some of them were (frankly) downright ridiculous. By rights, those choices should affect the overall credibility of the series, yet somehow they do not. I don’t know how Butler pulls that off (frankly again), but she does – and with aplomb. Many of Karina’s choices require a significant suspension of disbelief because they seem so utterly disregarding of personal safety. This is NOT a typical defining characteristic of the lobbyist-lawyer (which I know from personal experience). They are, however, choices that drive the action and adventure forward at ever-elevating levels – and perhaps it is because of that ramping-up effect that they wind up working over the course of the book even if they do occasionally cause eye-rolling while they’re happening. Continue reading Book Review: Diamonds and Deception by Ellen Butler

Book Review: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

I wasn’t familiar with Jia Tolentino when I requested this. I was intrigued by the title, cover, and blurb. When I started reading, I was a little worried I was falling into some sort of Millenial-takes-herself-too-seriously world, one in which being on a reality show as a teen meant she thought she should be an arbiter of pop culture and that this somehow earned her chops as a *real* thinker/writer/personality.

Wow, was I mistaken.

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of essays, finding them thoughtful and provocative and very well written. Continue reading Book Review: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

Book Review: Pivot by L.C. Barlow

Wow. This was NOT what I expected AT ALL! I almost put it down when the first pages offered up a six year old girl being taught to murder…

Thankfully I gave it a longer look than that (I am usually turned off pretty quickly by children and violence, particularly since I HAVE a six year old girl), because this turned out to be a unique, bizarre, cool story that thoroughly engaged me (even when I occasionally felt like I was reading through half-closed eyes). It’s NOT for the faint of heart. In addition to the opening scene I mentioned, there are numerous other instances of what seem to be gratuitous violence involving death, torture, children and animals, and they are brutal to read. But fairly quickly you come to realize there IS a point to all of the violence, and it couldn’t be farther from gratuitous. It’s still tough to swallow, but easier once you realize that – or at least was for me. Continue reading Book Review: Pivot by L.C. Barlow

Book Review Blurb: Good Girl, Bad Girl by Michael Robotham


This was a wholly engaging, thoroughly original, utterly captivating tale – and yes, it deserves and requires all of those adverbs, conventional wisdom against them be damned… 

I loved the world Robotham crafted here. The characters are a marvelous amalgamation of broken bits pieced together into wholes that are truly stronger than their parts. The plot is well-crafted, complex, revelatory, and perfectly paced. And the setting is creepy and realistic and edgy. The result is a brilliant tale told with nuance and an eye for suspense that is superlative. The revelations at the very end were game-changing and left me frantically searching the internet for the announcement about the next book – which I didn’t find, much to my disappointment. Here’s hoping the next Cyrus Haven book comes quickly (with more immediately following) because there’s a LOT going on here and I cannot wait to see how it all plays out!

Books Review: The Secrets We Bury and The Lies We Tell (The Undertaker’s Daughter series) by Debra Webb

This series was a GREAT find. When I was contacted about reviewing it I noticed this was the second-in-series. The publisher graciously sent me the first so that I would be able to follow the storyline – from the opening pages of that first book, I was hooked.

As with so many thrillers, it’s tough to write a review that details what I like about each book with specifics but without giving anything away. Because the teasing out of the details, large and small, is so essential to what made these excellent reads for me, I’m going to give you the publisher descriptions of each book instead of lots of specifics. That way you know what you’re getting into without my accidentally giving you clues that are better left uncovered within the course of reading. I will wrap up with my overall thoughts though, as those apply to both books (and the prequel novella, The Undertaker’s Daughter, which sets out how Rowan and Julian find themselves as opponents) equally. Continue reading Books Review: The Secrets We Bury and The Lies We Tell (The Undertaker’s Daughter series) by Debra Webb




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