March 15, 2018

yolo by Lauren Myracle

Through texts and messages, the mega-bestselling, beloved Internet Girls series followed the ups and downs of school for three very different, very close friends. Now it’s freshman year of college for the winsome threesome, and *everything* is different. For one, the best friends are facing their first semester apart. Way, way apart. Maddie’s in California, Zoe’s in Ohio, and Angela’s back in Georgia. And it’s not just the girls who are separated. Zoe’s worried that Doug wants to break up now that they’re at different schools, and Maddie’s boyfriend, Ian, is on the other side of the country.In the face of change and diverging paths, Maddie’s got a plan to keep the friends close, and it involves embracing the present, making memories, and . . . roller derby! Using of-the-moment technology, Lauren Myracle brings her groundbreaking series into the brave new virtual world of texting and tweets.
So, I know this isn’t my typical genre, but I have loved these books since I was a little youngen.  So, when this one came out, I jumped on the opportunity to get back into these girls’ lives. It took me awhile to get to it, because I was waiting for the right moment, but I’ve finally done it!

yolo is a pretty typical “feel-good” young adult book. Well, except for the fact that it’s written in all text messages. That’s what initially drew me to the series. Maybe it had something to do with growing up with the Internet, but I’ve always had a soft spot for these types of books.

It took me back to being a freshman in college and how much of a culture shock it is from high school. It was kind of sweet reading it from their perspectives even though their first year isn’t treating them all well. They have their ups and downs. But, the one thing keeping them going is the promise of spending their Thanksgiving break together.

I know some people might say that the series should end here, but I would love it if it kept going. I read so many books about rough subjects, it’s nice to have one that’s up-beat even if everything isn’t always happy. I think Myracle does a great job giving each character their own voice and personality even though it’s all told through text.

I also want to know how their Thanksgiving went, so another book is necessary.

5/5 Stars

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March 14, 2018

The Murderer’s Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

A brilliant, deeply dedicated psychologist, Grace Blades has a gift for treating troubled souls and tormented psyches—perhaps because she bears her own invisible scars: Only five years old when she witnessed her parents’ deaths in a bloody murder-suicide, Grace took refuge in her fierce intellect and found comfort in the loving couple who adopted her. But even as an adult with an accomplished professional life, Grace still has a dark, secret side. When her two worlds shockingly converge, Grace’s harrowing past returns with a vengeance.
Both Grace and her newest patient are stunned when they recognize each other from a recent encounter. Haunted by his bleak past, mild-mannered Andrew Toner is desperate for Grace’s renowned therapeutic expertise and more than willing to ignore their connection. And while Grace is tempted to explore his case, which seems to eerily echo her grim early years, she refuses—a decision she regrets when a homicide detective appears on her doorstep.
An evil she thought she’d outrun has reared its head again, but Grace fears that a police inquiry will expose her double life. Launching her own personal investigation leads her to a murderously manipulative foe, one whose warped craving for power forces Grace back into the chaos and madness she’d long ago fled.

The Murderer’s Daughter was my first Jonathan Kellerman book, and I think I am going to have to invest in more of them.

Grace Blades is an interesting protagonist. Kellerman does a good job of making her a very deep character, using flashbacks from her past to paint the picture of what led to her life currently. I almost enjoyed the flashbacks more than the present time because it was a bit messy.

I felt like there were so many characters involved with the “present time” that it was hard to keep them straight. This also stems from them having a bunch of different names for one character. I still don’t know if I kept it straight in the end, but I got the point of the book and the story. I enjoyed it a lot; it was just a bit difficult to keep it all together at times.

One thing to really note about this book is the description of death and, later on, grief was really spot on. It was interesting to read, and I think people will be able to relate to what Grace saw and how she felt.

The Murderer’s daughter is a fast-paced mystery/thriller that will keep you turning pages until the very end.

3.5/5 Stars just for how difficult it was to keep some characters straight.

Memorable Quotes: "If people like you, maybe they won't hurt you."

"Whatever it took to survive. She'd always been driven to survive. Which is why she was still around. A bit of luck didn't hurt, either. Fate, karma, divine will, choose your delusion."

"Despite everything she told her patients about open communication, she craved the balm of ignorance. She supposed that could change. 
Meanwhile, she'd drive."

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March 8, 2018

Never Never by James Patterson

When Sydney police department sex crimes detective Harriet Blue is called into her boss’s office, she never imagined it would be to tell her that her brother is the prime suspect in the brutal murders of three women.
Shocked and in denial, Harry is transferred to Perth to avoid the media exposure this case will attract. Harry is sent into the outback – the never never – to investigate the disappearance of mine worker Danny Carter. The mining town is a seedy place, full of money and immoral ways to spend it. As Harry delves deeper into the murky lives of these miners, she finds that Danny isn’t the first to go missing.
Never Never introduces a new heroine in James Patterson’s list of badass leading characters. This time, we are taken to the middle of the desert in Australia to solve the case of missing miners.

I think this book was more of a case of the co-author’s writing style shining through. It didn’t seem like a James Patterson book. I can’t pinpoint the reason why, it had the basic formula, it just seemed different.

I think Harriet Blue is a great new heroine. I love Lindsay Boxer more than any other novel protagonist, but Harry differs in that she has a “don’t give a crap” attitude and it can be funny to read. I’m still waiting for the James Patterson version of The Avengers when all of his detectives play a role in the book or in a separate series. I think it would be fun.

Back to this book – it keeps the bad guy a secret until the end, but I guessed the twist pretty early on. So, I wasn’t surprised when it was revealed, but that’s okay. It didn’t take anything away.

There was a depth to this book that I enjoyed. It was a great debut for the character and I can’t wait to read the next one.

4/5 Stars

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March 6, 2018

Behind the Bench: Inside the Mind of Hockey’s Greatest Coaches by Craig Custance

They are motivators, key strategists, tough bosses, and choreographers. They can be branded as heroes, ousted as scapegoats, quietly valued as friends, and everything in between. It's all in the job description for an NHL head coach. In Behind the Bench, ESPN's Craig Custance sits down for film sessions and candid conversations with some of the game's most notable modern luminaries—names like Mike Babcock, Joel Quenneville, Dan Bylsma, Todd McLellan, Ken Hitchcock, and Claude Julien—all of whom share their singular views on topics ranging from leadership secrets to on-ice game plans. Dissect some of hockey's greatest moments with the men who set the pieces in motion. Go straight to the source on what it's like to manage a dressing room full of the league's top stars or execute line changes with everything at stake. Signature games, including Stanley Cup finals, Olympic gold medal clashes, and World Championship contests—both wins and losses—are reflected upon and broken down in detail, making this essential reading for current and aspiring coaches, players, and hockey fans alike.

Being the self-proclaimed hockey nerd that I am, I couldn’t help grabbing a copy of Craig’s book. Most of the time, you have no issue hearing from players and getting their perspectives about the game, but this one was different. This one dives into the mind of an NHL coach – maybe one of the most scrutinized jobs in the sport.

I’ve got to admire the work and time that Craig put in to crafting this book. It wasn’t as simple as writing his thoughts out about the coaches and their successes. He took the time to travel to them, spend hours with them, and watch a hockey game that has defined their career. That takes effort, commitment, and passion for the work. That shows through in the quality of writing.

If you are also a hockey fan (which, I couldn’t really imagine a non fan picking up a book all about the sport) then you will probably fly through this one like I did. The writing is crisp and to the point while allowing each coach’s personality to come through. Quotes, descriptions . . . he’s got it all.

I’ll admit my bias and say I was most interested in reading Joel Quenneville’s chapter since I’m a Blackhawks fan. But, I think it says a lot about the book that it wasn’t even my favorite interview or the one that stood out the most. That award would probably go to Tortorella/Sullivan or Hitchock.

Behind the Bench is a great read, and I highly recommend it to any fan of the sport.

5/5 Stars

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December 6, 2017

‘L’ Is For Lawless by Sue Grafton

When Kinsey Millhone's landlord asks her to help deceased World War II vet Johnnie Lee's family find out why the military has no record of his service, she thinks it'll be a cinch. But she is about to meet her match in world-class prevaricators who take her for the ride of her life.
When Lee's apartment in burgled and a man named Ray Rawson, who claims to be an old friend of Lee's, is beaten up, Kinsey soon finds herself on the trail of a pregnant woman with a duffel bag. Soon the intrepid P.I. is following leads halfway across the country and encountering another man from Lee's past—a vengeful psychopath.
Stalked by a new enemy and increasingly suspicious of Rawson—not to mention running out of time and money—now Kinsey must steer a collision course to solve a decades-old mystery that some would like better left unsolved.…

L is another action-packed and thrilling installment in the Kinsey Millhone series. This one barely takes place in California as Kinsey is forced to Texas while following a lead.
It seems that she got into more nonsense than usual this time around. I mean, she stole a maid’s uniform and pretended she was part of housekeeping. Meanwhile,  I was laughing through it all.
These books have a way of being highly entertaining and humorous while maintaining integrity and offering up a true thriller.
L keeps you on your toes and keeps the pages turning.

4/5 stars only because I missed the California crew.

Memorable Quotes: “I don’t mean to be a bitch, but in the future I intend to hesitate before I do a favor for the friend of a friend.”

“This is the beauty of keeping up those skills. In a crisis situation, I had only to open my mouth and a fib flopped out. An unpracticed liar can’t always rise to the occasion like I can.”

“There’s a certain horror when you can’t quite remember who’s whistling so merrily behind the bathroom door. Often, when I found out, I couldn’t help but question my taste in male companionship. It didn’t take long to see morality as the quickest way to avoid self-loathing.”

“’What do you know about family?’
‘Not a thing. That’s my point. I like all this bickering now that I’ve got the hang of it.’”

“So far, almost everything I’d done was illegal except the vacuuming – breaking into hotel rooms, aiding and abetting escaped felons. Probably even the vacuuming broke some union contract. Why bother to get prissy at this late date?”

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