This Pen for Hire

Book 41 in 2017.

“This Pen for Hire” by,  Laura Levine.

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Well, I am in a little bit of a reading funk.  Eh.  This was literally the fifth book I started in the last week and a half.  I would get about 50-100 pages in, and think, “nope, don’t care”.  I will not mention the names of the other books, they are irrelevant.  There have been many slumps before, and I will persevere! I thought this might be cute.

Jaine Austen is a pen for hire, who writes up various things for her customers; programs, flyers, personal ads.  She is hired by a man who wanted a love letter written, who ends up getting accused of murder.  Jaine felt so bad, she decided to find out the truth and clear his name.

She is a witty character, who I found kind of crass.  I solved the crime fairly quick, which I am not always able to do so.  I enjoy the thrill of the chase.  I just did not find it here.  I will not be reading anymore of the Jaine Austen Mysteries. Overall afterthought, not my cup of tea.  The search for my next good book continues!

Love in a Nutshell

Book 40 in 2017.

“Love in a Nutshell”, by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly


Oh chick lit, sometimes you just make me smile.  I loved “The Husband List”, by Evanovich and Kelly, so much that I just wanted a little bit more. Apparently these two books are classified in the same series because they both deal with the Culhane Family, but they can be read completely separate. 

This is just a cute fluff read with a little love and a little mystery.  Super clean and a happy ending.  After my last book being so heavy, it was just what I was looking for. The main character Kate Appleton just oozes cuteness and you wanted to cheer her on.  Matt Culhane was the perfect love interest, such a gentleman. Overall afterthought, simple and sweet. 

Tattoos on the Heart

Book 39 in 2017.

“Tattoos on the Heart, The Power of Boundless Compassion” by Gregory Boyle.

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Holy mercy and all that is good in this world.  I have had a lump in my throat since I started this book yesterday.  I listened to a lot of it today, as I did my day to day hum drum of busyness.  There was something about hearing Gregory Boyle himself read, that opened the flood gates of tears.  Such devoted, real, awe inspiring compassion for people.  If this was not a library book, I would of highlighted something from almost every page.

Gregory Boyle is a Jesuit priest who lives and works in the heart of the largest Latino gang area in the projects of Los Angeles.  He started his ministry in the 80’s and continues his work in the community.  He is the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, which helps give gang members jobs and a way out.  Check him out, it’s amazing, http://www.homeboyindustries.org.

I really enjoyed this book.  It was hard to hear some of the stories, they were just so tragic and sad.  There was a lot of language scattered throughout, but it kept it raw.   In the preface of the book, Gregory says, “If there is a fundamental challenge within these stories, it is simply to change our lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.  William Blake wrote, We are put on earth for a little space that we might learn to bear the beams of love.  Turns out this is what we all have in common, gang member and nongang member alike: we’re just trying to learn how to bear the beams of love.”  Overall afterthought, loved it.

 

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On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service

Book 38 in 2017.

“On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Sevice”, by Rhys Bowen

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I am just a huge fan of Rhys Bowen.  She is super clean, no language, no gore, no unnecessary drawn out sex scenes. She has great characters, a little humor, some wit, and a little mystery.   The Royal Spyness Series is just cute and fun.  This is the 11th book. If you wanted to read any of the series, I would highly recommend starting at the first book, “Her Royal Spyness”.  The stories make more sense when you go in order.

Lady Georgiana is 35th in line for the throne in the royal family.  It is the 1930’s, and Georgie is trying to make her way on very limited funds. She is asked by her second cousin Queen Mary to travel various places and check up on things for her.  Pretty much everywhere she goes there is a great mystery or murder to be solved.   She finds friends and love along the way!

“On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service”, takes Georgie to Italy.   She is spying on her cousin the Queen’s son, The Prince of Wales and his mistress Wallis Simpson, to see if they are trying to have a secret wedding against the family’s wishes.  While keeping an eye on her cousin at a house party she stumbles across Nazi and Mussolini supporters trying to convince him to join Hitler’s cause.  What will Lady Georgie do next? Overall afterthought, can’t wait for the next book!

The Husband List

Book 37 in 2017.

“The Husband List” by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly


This had a little bit of everything in it. A little mystery. A little history. A little drama. A little love.  Super cute story.   Same ole turn of the century story of the rich family, with an overbearing mother, trying to push a British title on her America heiress daughter, who would much rather marry for love.

There was some twists and turns to make this story unique.  It was relatively clean, I would describe some scenes as “steamy”, but nothing to make me skip over it. I loved the main character, Caroline Maxwell and her spunky attitude.  If you are looking for an easy, fluffy beach read, here it is.  Overall afterthought, adorbs.

Fierce Kingdom

Book 36 in 2017.

“Fierce Kingdom” by, Gin Phillips


I have been following  a book review account on Instagram.  It had this book on there, and also Ruth Ware’s “The Lying Game”.  I already returned the next book I got from it.  Apparently we do not see eye to eye on good reads!  I read around on a few reviews for this book and it did really well, I was excited to read it. 

It is about a woman who is at the zoo with her four year old son, when a shooter enters and starts killing people, so they hide and try to survive while waiting for help.  There are a couple other characters that you learn a little bit about.  The beginning was ok. The end was ok.  I only finished because I wanted to know how it ended. I won’t lie though, I completely speed read almost the entire book.  To me, it had random insight for different characters, not a lot seemed to tie together, and not enough of the main story.  Overall afterthought, not sure what all the hype is about.

Born a Crime

Book 35 in 2017.

“Born a Crime”, by Trevor Noah.

I think I have said this before, but I will say it again. I love reading autobiographies. Different lives, different cultures, experiences, overcoming odds, perseverance, ugh, I love it.  I had briefly heard of Trevor Noah before, I have not seen his stand up, or watched him as the host of “The Daily Show”, on Comedy Central.  I read a small article about his book in a magazine at the doctors office, and requested it from the library right then. (Even though you are not supposed to have your cell out at the dr office… rebel, I know)

He was born toward the end of  apartheid in South Africa, and grew up wading through the turmoil and drama of a country trying to find its way after centuries of cruel, demeaning, relentless racism. I will admit I knew absolutely nothing of South Africa. I remember being a kid and hearing of the unrest and violence that was taking place, but nothing specific.  Trevor Noah’s account of his life was gripping and well written.  It did have a ton of language, but it was raw, real and honest.  I absolutely fell in love with his mom.  Tough women are so inspiring.  Overall afterthought, page turner!

The Lying Game

Book 34 in 2017.

“The Lying Game”,  by Ruth Ware.

This is the third book of Ruth Ware’s that I read.  I really loved “The Woman in Cabin 10”. I thought it was awesome. Could not get enough of it.  When I read “In a Dark, Dark Wood”, I was not impressed. Blah, eh not my favorite. Unfortunately, for me, “The Lying Game”, is going to be in the blah category.  

I just could not get into it.  It had a ton of language.  The entire story line was just a bit too much for me.  The characters where connected in high school for one year and had not seen each other for at least 15 years.  It kinda felt like they still were teenagers now in their 30’s.  I will say, the ending threw me , I thought I figured it out, but had not.  That is probably the only thing I really liked. Overall afterthought, too much “eh”.