Category Archives: Reason: LitHub Bingo

The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James

The Bitter Taste of Betrayal by CeeCee James

The Bitter Taste of Betrayal is a pleasant cozy mystery. The story is engaging. I’m not sure how she figured out where the (not) dead guy was being held. That was kind of sudden, but if you just go with it and don’t think too hard it’s fine. There are a lot of characters, some who are important but not mentioned for long periods of time so you have to try to remember who is meant when they pop back up. Overall, it’s a nice bit of brain candy. I recommend The Bitter Taste of Betrayal to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 6
Pages Read in 2023: 1988

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: B&N Book Challenge, Reason: Flourish & Blotts Reading Challenge, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Pandora Gets Jealous by Carolyn Hennesy

Pandora Gets Jealous by Carolyn Hennesy

Based on the Pandora’s Box myth, young Pandora accidentally opens the box with all the ills of the world and she (along with her two friends and her dog) must go and collect them and put them back in the box. Pandora Gets Jealous is the first in the series. It’s a very cute book, and often quite funny. The main characters are well rounded and have distinct voices and personalities. I found it to be quite enjoyable, and a quick read. It’s one that can be used as a family read aloud or given to kids to read on their own with no concerns. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Greek mythology.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2023: 3
Pages Read in 2023: 1063

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Filed under Middle Grades, Reason: B&N Book Challenge, Reason: Flourish & Blotts Reading Challenge, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Marriage Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Carol is back at trying to solve yet another too-close-to-home murder. There is a lot in this book that is ridiculous (such as the reasons for having basically no one at the wedding) and those things often took me out of the story while I rolled my eyes. The writing is mediocre. The formatting on the Kindle makes it very hard to enjoy reading. The big reveal pretty much came out of left field. Marriage Can Be Murder is not a book to go out of your way to read.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 115
Pages Read in 2022: 39,843
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood

Banana Peels on the Tracks by Jason Lockwood

The author of Banana Peels on the Tracks spent a year (1992-93) teaching English in Slovakia. I’d hardly say he “came of age” in post-communist Slovakia as his book cover says (he was already an adult with college and some years of work under his belt). He spent the year looking down on his students, judging them hard, and traveling, always looking for whatever he could find that was most similar to what’s found in the US (because it is, obviously, far superior to anything local). His attitude toward Slovakians and pretty much anything in Slovakia started out mildly annoying and got downright infuriating by the end. He was just kind of rude (and then spent the last chapter talking about how open minded and accepting he is, particularly compared to his friends who only think they are, which just made me laugh because of the incredible lack of self-awareness). He described most of his younger, high school age, female students as “pretty” which was a bit creepy given the age difference. Some of his reasons for disliking Slovakians included things that happen in the US as well (a woman being dragged by her husband/boyfriend, a man being assaulted in a subway tunnel). As with many memoirs, he did not seem to know how to end it and went on for about two chapters too long. Some things in the book are interesting enough, but I definitely wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 113
Pages Read in 2022: 39,266
Graphic Novels: 4

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Filed under Memoir, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

Lost and Found by Amy Shojai

The attitude toward those with autism in this book is a bit alarming, clearly a “they are damaged and so we must fix them” sort of thing. Also, the medical people refer to the medication they are giving as a cure. A medication that must be given daily at precise intervals for life in order to prevent violent side effects and keep the person taking it free of signs of autism is not a cure. The premise is kind of over the top unbelievable. Refusing to involve the police makes no sense. That they just wanted a flash drive and were willing to kill and kidnap multiple people in order to get it also makes no sense. It’s a quick and easy read and, while totally unbelievable, the writing itself is excellent. It’s not a must read, but it’s not one that should definitely be skipped either.

3 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 111
Pages Read in 2022: 38,989
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Thriller

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton had a way with writing that made me actually enjoy sci-fi. He was able to explain scientific sounding things in a way that made them easy to understand. The Andromeda Strain progresses at a steady pace making you feel like you are in the lab with the scientists. Often it’ll say things like “he wouldn’t realize his mistake for two days” letting the reader know that something was missed or done wrong and there will be repercussions that you are just waiting to watch unfold. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sci-fi thrillers or is a fan of Michael Crichton’s writing.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 106
Pages Read in 2022: 37,190
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Science Fiction, Thriller

Class Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

Class Reunions Can Be Murder by Susan Santangelo

I’ve read some fabulous cozy mysteries. And I’ve read some pretty terrible ones. Class Reunions Can Be Murder definitely belongs in the latter category. Supposedly the characters are in their late 50s, but they act like they are in their 20s. They are kind of insufferable, immature, and never got over things from high school. But lest you forget that they are not in their 20s, the author continually makes references to their age and aging. The main character is extremely annoying. She’s just plain unlikable. The story is both predictable and ridiculous. The book is in bad need of an editor. There are so many editing errors. The author does not seem to know what a scene change symbol is for. They are inserted randomly right in the middle of scenes. Generally they are put in places where the main character begins to think about something else or do whatever she said she was going to do. But the scene is still the same so the symbols just ended up being irritating. The whole book was about a 40-year reunion being planned, but the author doesn’t really give any time to the actual reunion activities. The book would’ve been way better if she did (though she included lots of recipes, including how the food was made then and how it’s made now, and reunion ideas in the back which was basically useless fluff). As they are planning the reunion they make a decision to include significant others in the pre-union mixer, but then suddenly significant others aren’t allowed and this becomes a whole scene with the main character’s (equally annoying) husband because he can’t go. So she says he can walk through but he doesn’t want to actually do that, he just wanted to be invited and then later it turns out he did walk through the mixer briefly. Several of the women spent the night in their old school (which is now an active construction zone), but it was literally show up, go to bed. Why in the world would you have a slumber party which only involved sleeping in a different location? Maybe she thought that would show that these women are SO OLD that they couldn’t stay up late which, if they were real people in their late 50s, they absolutely would have. The reunion itself is barely mentioned at all. While the book had its moments that weren’t horrible, overall this is just a poorly written, not very entertaining book. Definitely one to skip.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 96
Pages Read in 2022: 33,834
Graphic Novels: 3

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Filed under Cozy Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Eat the Rich by PJ O’Rourke

Eat the Rich by PJ O’Rourke

Some parts of Eat the Rich are amusing. Some parts are educational. And some parts are just plain ridiculous and not good satire at all. Pretty much every chapter just went on way too long like the author didn’t quite know how to finish it out. I did find a comment about capitalism increasing violence and hopefully that violence would be aimed at Donald Trump to be funny mainly because the book was published way back in 1998. At the end he tried to make an argument that wealth distribution violates the tenth commandment (because it’s obviously due to people coveting the rich peoples’ money). He also made a weird argument for evading taxes not being so bad since that money just goes into the economy instead of to the government. I don’t recommend this book unless you just want to see what certain countries were like to visit in the late 90s and what their economies were like at the time.

2 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 79
Pages Read in 2022: 28,500
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst by Julie Valerie

Holly Banks Full of Angst is so over the top farcically funny. Every character is exaggerated but still totally relatable. Everyone around Holly in her new village seems perfect. She tries so hard to fit in but is still a hot mess no matter what she does. The head of the PTA is kind of a bully, and maybe a little crazy, pressuring people into volunteering so they can have a much better school and town then the next town over. I laughed out loud several times while reading it. It’s just such a fun mind vacation. I recommend it to anyone who has ever dealt with “perfect” neighbors or an overbearing PTA.

4 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 77
Pages Read in 2022: 27,870
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Contemporary Fiction, Reason: Grim Readers, Reason: LitHub Bingo

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion

From a Distant Star is an incredibly sweet book. I was sucked totally into the story and completely invested in what happened to the characters. I couldn’t put it down telling myself “just one more chapter” repeatedly. The ending is absolutely perfect. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys light scifi.

5 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 70
Pages Read in 2022: 25,511
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Reason: I Like the Author, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N, Science Fiction, Young Adult