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LitStephanie

LitStephanie

Joined June 2020

review
LitStephanie
Don't Believe It | Charlie Donlea
Bailedbailed

I don't watch or listen to dramatized real crime shows. This book is about a real crime show, with entire chapters describing the setup and film directions of the show. I find it boring. Just not my thing.

dabbe #hailthebail! 🤩🤩🤩 5d
9 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
Innocence | Dean Koontz
Panpan

Over half of this book is quite good, about a man who has some sort of possibly supernatural mutation or deformity that drives people to want to murder him on sight, so he lives in isolation below the city. Scary and interesting adventures ensue, and then Koontz takes a hard turn into religion. Just a ridiculous Catholic apologist story. Felt like bait and switch, but I finished it. Seriously corny, absurd ending.

dabbe #fanofthepan! 🤩🤩🤩 5d
9 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
Reykjavk: A Crime Story | Ragnar Jonasson, Katrn Jakobsdttir
Bailedbailed

I just don't find this mystery, about the disappearance of a teenager 30 years prior, interesting enough to finish.
#foodandlit @Texreader @Catsandbooks

dabbe #hailthebail! 🤩🤩🤩 3w
LitStephanie @dabbe oh I like that! In the past couple of years, I have been training myself to just bail instead of slogging through to the bitter end of books I don't like. 3w
dabbe @LitStephanie It's a reminder to me that there are too many other fantastic books out there and too little time to read them all! 🤩😂🤗 3w
See All 6 Comments
LitStephanie @dabbe agreed. Unlike movies, there are just way more excellent books out there than I will ever get to. 3w
Texreader @dabbe @LitStephanie I agree! Our time is too valuable and too short with our long tbrs 3w
dabbe @Texreader Our TBRs are never-ending, aren't they? 😂 2w
15 likes6 comments
review
LitStephanie
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Pickpick

Good murder mystery about a retired cop trying to solve a case he never cracked. I know Iceland was last month but just now getting around to posting. #foodandlit @Texreader @Catsandbooks

Texreader At least there was a good one for you for Iceland! 3w
17 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
The Searcher | Tana French
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Pickpick

Beautifully written story set in an Irish farming town. The reader is outstanding. Highly recommend. Don't be intimidated by the 15 hour run time. It doesn't feel long.

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LitStephanie
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The real tragedy of global warming: you can't just drop a body into a glacier crevasse and assume it will stay hidden anymore. What is this world coming to when a hard working murderer in Iceland can't count on ice to hide a victim? #foodandlit @Texreader @Catsandbooks

DaveGreen7777 Won‘t someone think of the Icelandic murderers?!? 😂😂😂 1mo
Catsandbooks 😂😂👏🏼🇮🇸 1mo
11 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
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Pickpick

Solid mystery thriller about Noah, whose police chief mom just made a drunken confession before shooting herself in the head, and Grace, who is determined to clear her murdered dad's name. As they and the FBI investigate, they uncover some nasty corruption in the Austin PD, and romance brews between Noah and Grace. This opening dedication is a lovely bit of foreshadowing.

review
LitStephanie
The Girl Who Died: A Novel | Ragnar Jonasson
Mehso-so

Atmospheric thriller set in a remote village of 10 in Iceland. Una moves there to teach the town's two children. It's a ghost story--or is it? Una has some mental health issues, which are worsened by the darkness and isolation. Is her host's house haunted? Are the villagers hiding some secret that involves two mysterious children's deaths decades apart? Or are the villagers just average unwelcoming hermits, and Una is unravelling? #foodandlit

12 likes2 comments
blurb
LitStephanie
The Girl Who Died: A Novel | Ragnar Jonasson
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Such a sense of isolation and depression overcoming the main character. I find this interesting for #foodandlit because it evokes what is probably a uniquely Icelandic mileau--tiny, dying fishing village where the lack of sunshine throws many into mental crisis, few people interested in befriending a newcomer, within an island nation with few outsiders. Una seems more unstable all the time. Photo is the actual village.

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LitStephanie
The Girl Who Died: A Novel | Ragnar Jonasson
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@TexReader @Catsandbooks
Just checked out a few Icelandic thrillers for this month's #foodandlit. Starting with this one, which begins with a substitute teacher barely making ends meet in the city intrigued by a want ad: "Teacher wanted at the edge of the world."

Catsandbooks 👏🏼🇮🇸 1mo
21 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
No One Can Know: A Novel | Kate Alice Marshall
Pickpick

Great thriller. Emma returns to her family's house years after she and her two sisters found their parents murdered there. The murder was never solved, and Emma's life has been haunted by suspicion from the police and the townspeople. Her sisters, Daphne & JJ, don't like Emma sniffing around and trying to solve the old mystery. I really liked the theme of estranged sisters still having a strong camaraderie when they meet after years of no contact.

LitStephanie Even though they are suspicious of each other because they all say they don't remember everything that happened that night, they will protect each other's secrets at all costs. 2mo
8 likes1 comment
blurb
LitStephanie
1776 | David McCullough

I so miss Litsy! I got a new phone, and Litsy doesn't meet the latest requirements to be on the Android play store. Just got on here via the web version, but this was always a phone activity for me. Sorry to everyone who has tagged me in the past couple of months. Thanks to everyone who has hosted fun readalongs, viewing parties, and holiday activities. I hope Litsy is available on Android in the future. Tagged my current NF read.

AllDebooks That is so annoying. Litsy is the only app I regularly check on my Android phone. Good to see you back x 9mo
14 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
Killing Her Softly | Beverly Barton
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Bailedbailed

Early on, I was about to throw this book if one more recent professional acquaintance or obnoxious relative touched this woman in an unwelcome intimate matter and her response was anything other than throat punch, taser, or pepper spray. It feels gross. Because the psychological thriller premise was intriguing, I tried to skip around to at least see whodunit, but the writing is so bad, I quit.

SamAnne Ugh. Gross. 11mo
11 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
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Pickpick

This installment in the Jack Reacher series goes back to 1990 to tell a story of one of his Army MP cases, a murder he is ordered to cover up. At the same time, his mother is dying, and he and his brother are finding their own ways of coping. Well written and poignant, it provides a lot of background and insight into Reacher's early life. Helps the reader understand why he is in some ways extremely capable and in others quite helpless.

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LitStephanie
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"A person lives 60 years, does all kinds of things, knows all kinds of things, feels all kinds of things, and then it's over, like it never happened at all."
"We'll always remember her."
"No. We'll remember parts of her, the parts she chose to share, the tip of the iceberg. The rest, only she knew about. Therefore the rest already doesn't exist as of now." Dialogue between 2 brothers upon their mother's death.

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LitStephanie
Old New York | Edith Wharton
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#rereadtheclassics #whartonbuddyread
Found just what I needed at our local bookstore for September's Wharton read and October's classics read. Plus picked up Ethan Frome for my mother-in-law, who was just evacuated due to a wildfire near her home. 😟🔥

Graywacke I‘m sorry about your mom. The books are beautiful 11mo
LitStephanie @Graywacke thank you. The fire passed her cabin by and she got to go back home! 11mo
16 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
Six of Crows | Leigh Bardugo
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Pickpick

If you like the TV show Shadow and Bone but frankly could do without the Sun Summoner stuff and the Alina-Mal-Darkling angsty love triangle, you will love this book. All the cool characters from Kaz's gang are here, and they are attempting a heist to make them rich. Great character development and lots of tense action.

julesG Definitely better than Shadow and Bone. 11mo
LitStephanie @julesG I was delighted to discover that Shadow and Bone sort of mashes two books together so I have the option of just reading about this gang. 11mo
julesG My daughter and I are hoping that the next season of the show concentrates more on the Six of Crows and their heist(s) than on the Sun Summoner. 11mo
20 likes4 comments
review
LitStephanie
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Pickpick

Despite the grumpy, rude, bitter protagonist, this is a suspenseful and interesting crime thriller. I plan to read more of this series.

review
LitStephanie
Ninth House | Leigh Bardugo
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Pickpick

It took me awhile to get into this, mostly because I did not like the tactic of starting it post-disaster and then going back in time to explain everything. But I kept reading, and the writing was much better about 1/5 in. It's a reimagined modern day Yale where magic and ghosts exist, and magic societies of rich, often ruthless, students and alumni hold enormous power. The Ninth House tries to keep them from abusing it. Dark, gory, scary fantasy.

review
LitStephanie
Untitled | Untitled
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Bailedbailed

Not in Litsy yet. I liked another thriller from Christine Feehan. This didn't thrill me. A nurse is playing at a high stakes televised poker match while trying to decide if she should jump into a relationship with a guy she really likes but who has a dangerous job with lots of travel. I. Don't. Care. The scenes of poker games, with details of the hands, are interminable. If you really like analyzing poker, you might like it.

review
LitStephanie
Hot Blooded | Lisa Jackson
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Bailedbailed

Usually I can make it to the end of a mediocre crime thriller with judicious skimming, but I just couldn't with this sophomoric murder mystery. Between cheesy, clicheic lines, poor editing of the ebook so you can't tell when a new speaker has started, and a main character who is annoyingly gullible, careless with her safety, and a bad judge of character despite being described as a very intelligent psychologist, I gave up.

review
LitStephanie
Wicked Appetite | Janet Evanovich
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Pickpick

Like a silly, funny version of the 80s TV show Friday the 13th, with a guileless pastry chef who can sense magic objects helping a handsome magic detective guy, Diesel, find charms that curse people with various types of gluttony. They face off against Diesel's rogue cousin and his delusional Ren Faire sidekick, Sir Hatchelot. 😆 I highly recommend the audio version because the reader is spot on and hilarious with the voices and accents.

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LitStephanie
Wicked Appetite | Janet Evanovich
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I listened to half of this silly, funny fantasy book while doing housework yesterday, and I am here to warn you that it will make you want baked goods. 😆 The main character is a pastry chef, and she is helping track down some cursed objects that cause gluttony. Low fat vegan microwave mug cake to the rescue!

review
LitStephanie
Snow: A Novel | John Banville
Pickpick

Soft pick. A parish priest is murdered in 1957 Ireland and the Catholic church naturally wants to cover it up. I don't think it's a spoiler alert to say he was a child rapist because it is pretty obvious early on, plus, well, many of them are. The detective, a bit of an outcast determined to solve the crime, is likeable, and the politics are kind of interesting, but I didn't find the story terribly memorable.

review
LitStephanie
Bailedbailed

I made it to 25% and there is still no hint of what the mystery is. A mediocre travel journalist with a messy personal life has her apartment robbed while she is in it, which gives her panic attacks. She is then stuck on the first voyage of a fancy cruise ship for work, full of other desperate journalists and rich boring people. The repartee is not witty. Just not enough here to hold my interest.

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LitStephanie

"They did that sort of manly half hug thing, where you're too metrosexual for a handshake and not hip enough for a fist bump." I am not sure about this book, but I like the author's funny commentary.

Roary47 I felt the same way reading this book. 13mo
LitStephanie @Roary47 I just bailed. Did you finish it? 13mo
Roary47 @LitStephanie Yes, it was pretty expected. I didn‘t hate it and I think it got better, but I know a lot of people were very disappointed. 13mo
11 likes3 comments
review
LitStephanie
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Panpan

Highly romanticized version of ranch life set in CO. Lots of casual sexism--consensual sex initiated by a woman is "taking her virtue," blatant assumption that single working mom=bad mom, and the dangerous idea that men show they are really in love by being jealous and possessive. Martin doesn't say the murder victims deserved to be beaten and strangled to death for being cheating sluts, but clearly implies their choices lead to their murders. ?

LitStephanie In fact, several characters specifically state the female murder victims didn't deserve to be murdered, which makes a reader wonder why you would even need to say that if you weren't kind of thinking it. I managed to finish because the murder mystery itself is just intriguing enough, but the writing isn't great, and I can't recommend. 14mo
paper.reveries Oh yuuuuck 🤮🤮🤮 14mo
LitStephanie @paper.reveries before I posted this review, I seriously flipped to the copyright page, wondering if I was being too hard on the book. Even though there are cell phones, I thought maybe it was at least in the early days of cell phones, but nope! Copyright 2021. 14mo
13 likes3 comments
review
LitStephanie
Book of Night | Holly Black
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Pickpick

I usually despise conartist characters, but Charlie was compelled to become one and then manipulated into also becoming a thief as a child, plus she is a very relatable badass, so she gets a pass. This fantasy envisions an Earth where magic exists and people's shadows can become sentient. Charlie is trying to live the straight life as a bartender, but gets sucked back into her past life when a job to bring home a miscreant to his GF goes bad.

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LitStephanie
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"I discovered that my house actually had its site, in such a withdrawn, but forever new and unprofaned, part of the universe." I visited the tiny cabin and property (more remote than Thoreau's, actually) I once lived in last weekend, and this passage resonated with me. @AllDebooks #naturalitsy #rereadtheclassics

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LitStephanie
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AllDebooks Lol, he doesn't mince his words!! 'ambitious booby' 🤣 1y
LitStephanie @AllDebooks he sure doesn't! Earlier, he explained how elderly people have no knowledge to offer. 😆 1y
15 likes1 stack add2 comments
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LitStephanie
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I am enjoying the discussion of how the more luxurious the house, the more burdensome it is. People toil through a lifetime deep in debt to have a nice house, and nowadays a lot of other things, they don't really need. And the maintenance, represented by his tossing out a couple of pieces of lime because they required dusting, sucks more of our lives than it is worth. #rereadtheclassics #naturalitsy @AllDebooks

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LitStephanie
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I haven't been on here much because someone I loved died and it's hard to do all the things. But here is one of my favorite poems, which I am really feeling today. It's not in Facts about the Moon. I don't know if it is in any of her books. But it is brilliant in its brevity and universal human truth.

TheBookHippie ♥️ 1y
Bklover I am so sorry you lost someone special to you. ❤️❤️ 1y
Cuilin Sorry for your loss ❤️‍🩹 1y
See All 8 Comments
SamAnne Beautiful. Let's do another beer on a patio soon. 1y
LitStephanie @SamAnne I love that idea! 1y
Reggie I‘m sorry. Lovely poem. 1y
LitStephanie @Reggie thank you. It is such a beautiful poem, I wanted to spread it. 1y
18 likes8 comments
review
LitStephanie
A Gambling Man | David Baldacci
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Pickpick

Second novel in the Archer series. Good murder mystery set in a CA coastal town with some serious corruption problems. Archer goes to work for an experienced PI, travelling with a feisty, smart showgirl friend he meets on the way. I love how this series describes everyday life in late 1940s USA. It makes me realize what an embarrassment of riches most of us have in the U.S. compared to what our grandparents had.

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LitStephanie
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Chapter 33. Ayesha opts for a depressing, existential Shakespeare quote at the mosque's youth summit. 🤦 Khalid chases her to her car and congratulates her on her fortunate engagement to him, the rich guy who will help her be more religious and quit her job to write amateur poems. Wow. Way to read your audiences, people! #pemberlittens

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LitStephanie
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Chapter 35. 🤣🤣🤣 Is Idris anyone else's favorite character? He steals the scene every time he walks onstage. I have no doubt he will be the head of a giant tech company someday. #pemberlittens

LitStephanie Also, he is 17 and has how own business cards. Love this kid's confidence. 1y
13 likes1 comment
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LitStephanie
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Chapter 30. I love how the best Farzana can do toward a smile is an upturned grimace. She is so mean. Tarek is clearly up to no good, but I sympathize with his opinion of Farzana. #pemberlittens

review
LitStephanie
Naked in Death. J.D. Robb | Robb, J D Robb
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Pickpick

This is a good murder mystery that keeps you guessing, with a strong female protagonist. A detective investigates a series of murders of prostitutes. As she tries to work through a mess of politics to solve the case, she becomes involved with one of the main suspects, which is problematic for several reasons. Set slightly in the future but nothing too crazy except cars that can fly to get around traffic.

robinb Are you just starting with this series? If so, you‘ve got a lot to look forward to with Eve and Roarke if you stick with it. 😊 1y
LitStephanie @robinb yes. I was just looking for a new mystery/thriller and happened upon it. Glad to hear the next books are good, too! 1y
robinb There are currently 67 (I think). It‘s one of my favorites. Hope you‘ll continue on. 😊 1y
Liatrek Hands down one of my favorite series❤️ I‘ve loved every book in the series and Eve and Roarke all time best fictional couple🙂 hope you enjoy 1y
LitStephanie @Liatrek good to know! I just placed a hold for book 2. I can't believe there are 67! 1y
17 likes5 comments
review
LitStephanie
Upgrade: A Novel | Blake Crouch
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Pickpick

This book is a somewhat realistic thriller about what might happen in the not-too-distant future when gene-hacking tools are a few levels more advanced. Agent Ramsay works for a federal agency that goes after unauthorized genetic work and is infected with a massive gene upgrade. He has to run to avoid becoming a science experiment and try to stop the potentially catastrophic genetic virus developed by his own family before it's unleashed.

blurb
LitStephanie
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Ch 14. Jalaluddin shows us the flip side of having a traditional extended family when Ayesha confronts Hafsa. It is wonderful that Hafsa's dad gave Ayesha's mom a house and gives his children everything they could want, but now we've got a 27 year old woman covering for her irresponsible teen cousin and afraid to stop because her generous aunt and uncle might not see her as saintly anymore if they find out. And Hafsa is an entitled little sh!t.

19 likes2 comments
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LitStephanie
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Chapter 13. Why not? How about because it is hard to imagine a more uncomfortable feeling than heart-pounding, electric (sexual, let's call it what it is) attraction at first sight while your mom and teenage brother eagerly watch? I guess that is sort of what happened with Jane and her nosy mom when Bingley first met her, but then they danced together away from prying, immediate vicinity supervision. #pemberlittens

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LitStephanie
Ayesha at Last | Uzma Jalaluddin
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Chapters 11-12. So Tarek straight up tells the small mosque that they are bumping their already scheduled conference because a bigger fish came along. Anyone else started to think this guy is a little slimy and a bit too shiny? Also, Ayesha is an idiot to cover for Hafsa again! #pemberlittens

IndoorDame Yes! That line totally made me nervous that they were going to turn out to be one of those fake fronts that uses fundraisers as a scam to raise money for themselves claiming their operations costs exceed what was raised… really hoping my instincts are wrong here 🤞🏼😬 1y
LitStephanie @IndoorDame oh yeah, that could totally be it. That Imam seems clueless about technology so probably hasn't even checked their credentials and reputation. 1y
IndoorDame @LitStephanie Clueless about technology in the best way though! “The bird and the book” 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 1y
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LitStephanie @IndoorDame oh that was great. 1y
Clare-Dragonfly @IndoorDame I am 💯 with you, unfortunately! Ayesha is smart, maybe she‘ll work it out? 1y
julieclair That Imam is so endearing! I do hope the mosque is saved from bankruptcy. But like y‘all, I fear that Tarek is a bit too slimy. I don‘t trust him. And Ayesha covering for Hafsa… what is she thinking? Bad, bad decision. 1y
StayCurious I‘m so worried about how this will all turn out! 1y
Bluebird Totally agree! Tarek is very shady. I‘m hoping Ayesha and Khalid can save the day. And why is the mosque in such danger of closing. I thought Hafsa‘s family was ultra rich and funding it. I‘m suspecting they are in financial trouble..overspending to look good for the neighbors and it‘s gone too far. 1y
LitStephanie @Bluebird that is a good question. Although I think Hafsa's dad said something about reducing his support, but they should not have been so reliant on one family's funding anyway. 1y
Bluebird @LitStephanie quite true. It does seem strange that the Imam is keeping the financial difficulties quiet. You‘d think they‘d be a bit more transparent and ask all members to donate as they are able. 1y
17 likes10 comments
review
LitStephanie
November 9: A Novel | Colleen Hoover
Bailedbailed

The premise sounds interesting. Guy meets girl, she moves, they keep in contact, and he rips off her traumatic story to write a novel. But the story is about a meet-cute that goes on forever, and I just can't wait that long for the more sinister stuff.

Reggie Last year I was reading a lot of horror. When I finally read something else I thought to myself- you know what would make this better? A monster or a murder. Lol 1y
14 likes2 comments
review
LitStephanie
Mehso-so

Oops, just realized I never posted a review after the #pemberlittens read. The prose is clever and often subtly funny, but I really had to slog through the first 2/3 of this book before I cared about ANYBODY, so it doesn't get a pick. Plus the misogyny, and I don't mean the times, I mean how Eliot describes women. The character development of Dori is my favorite part even though I despised her at first.

SamAnne I‘m still slogging through this one…. 1y
LitStephanie @SamAnne good luck! It actually gets good toward the end, although probably not good enough to be worth the slog. 1y
SamAnne @litstephanie yeah… and I have so many good books lined up to read right now! 1y
See All 8 Comments
LitStephanie @SamAnne how much, percentage-wise, do you have left for Middlemarch? 1y
SamAnne @LitStephanie a little more than a third…. 1y
LitStephanie @SamAnne oh just quit! 🤣 1y
SamAnne @LitStephanie @Rubyslipperreads hah! Yes….maybe DNF. But I have enjoyed the humor. But not as much as I‘m enjoying the biting humor in Birman Wood! 1y
17 likes8 comments
review
LitStephanie
Pretty Girls: A Novel | Karin Slaughter
Bailedbailed

I just couldn't get into this one. A woman's husband is murdered and she discovers he was involved with videos of women being tortured and murdered. She and her sister, the other main character, are not very likeable, and the scenes seem too drawn out and slow. It is also pretty predictable (I checked at over halfway to confirm) Maybe if I were reading it instead of listening, I could have skimmed some and made it farther, but I bailed at 20%.

SamAnne Same with this one. 1y
10 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
The 6:20 Man: A Thriller | David Baldacci
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Pickpick

Finished in the nick of time! Suspenseful murder mystery. MC is an Army vet trying to get into finance in NYC. He gets roped into helping with an undercover investigation of the firm he works for, and people he knows keep getting murdered. I was totally wrong about who the killer was! Good voice artists.

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LitStephanie
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Chapter 59. I am really getting tired of Eliot's snide sexist remarks about women. I get that Rosamond is kind of a shallow jerk who gets all her self-worth from the admiration of men, but here, as elsewhere, she makes sweeping statements about women's inferior minds. Anyone else noticing this? Am I overreacting? #pemberlittens

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LitStephanie
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Chapter 56. Caleb Garth never learns. Now he is going to hire the lazy privileged guy who already defaulted on debt guaranteed by Caleb to make a man of him. Anyone else think this sounds like a very bad business idea? #pemberlittens

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LitStephanie
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Dorothea's husband wakes her in the middle of the night . . .to read him a book. Like a CHILD. I hate all the husbands in this book. #pemberlittens

Bookwormjillk The worst 1y
LitStephanie @Bookwormjillk the wives aren't that much better. 😆 1y
14 likes2 comments
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LitStephanie
Tell No One | Harlan Coben
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I am new to downloading audio books to my phone as I always thought it sounded like a headache, but now that I am on board am loving how you can listen while cooking, in this case vegan omelette and waffle with veg bacon. I am noticing a pattern to a lot of Coben's stories--woman does dumb illegal thing, doesn't tell her partner, and either disappears to later reappear and cause problems or stays but the secret later causes problems.

LitStephanie Here is the easy vegan omelette recipe in case anyone wants it. https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2007/09/vegan-omelette-for-one.html 1y
13 likes1 comment
review
LitStephanie
Tell Me Lies: A Novel | Carola Lovering
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Mehso-so

About 1/3 boring, 1/3 frustrating, and 1/3 funny. I only got through it because I could do other things while listening, and the male reader is very good at putting the right amount of contempt and arrogance into Stephen's voice. Privileged Lucy goes off to college and in short order becomes anorexic and hopelessly obsessed with Stephen, a cheesy d'bag that some women find charming. Stephen has minimal, atypical attachments and emotions to the ⬇️

LitStephanie point of possible sociopathy. The book is set up in he-said, she-said alternating narrator style. Many of the Stephen chapters are hilarious because his thoughts about everything are so scathing. The book gets bogged down by the minutiae of boring teen/college dating melodrama. The author keeps telling us how smart Lucy and Stephen are but never shows it. There isn't one intellectual conversation in the book. Lucy is so pathetic I almost hate her. 1y
11 likes1 comment