Glen Gardner, NJ, United States | Member Since 2008
Aurora began the series as a local librarian and (I would say rather predictably) inherited enough money to quit. In this book, she toys with being a realtor like her mom. I guess authors can't resist the urge to free their "detectives" from day jobs so they can get involved in more varied situations. Anyway, she hangs out with realtors for this one. Aurora, aka Roe, spends too much time doing her hair and makeup and picking out outfits. She annoys me for a variety of reasons but I seem to keep reading these anyway. Her dealings with men are always a main part of the book. In this one, she has a new love interest. He falls immediately in love with her despite her doing everything you shouldn't do when you meet a guy - like go straight to a motel on your first date. I am not sure why this annoys me, other than this being so unrealistic in a book that isn't a romance. (Men are supposed to behave in unrealistic fashion in romances.) Roe is pretty shallow and self-centered really. However, it was entertaining enough that I do plan to read Aurora's next one, The Julius House. It also probably helps that these are maybe 7 hour audiobooks and sometimes I just want something short and light.
I am enjoying this series. This is book 2 and continues with the characters from Murder of a Small Town Honey, now caught up in the mystery of the murder of Skye's grandmother. This is a small town cozy mystery series so if you don't like some small town drama, descriptions of homemade meals and the occasional visit to a pork chop supper, pick a different series. We spend a lot of time with Skye's relatives in this installment and now we can completely see why she moved away in the first place. She endures a lot of family stress and work stress in this one. I used to think school psychologist sounded like a good job, but this installment definitely talked me out of that as Skye's job provides a lot of unpleasant drama for her. Additionally her love life does not come to satisfying conclusion in this one, but there is hope for improvement going forward. The mystery kept me interested throughout despite some occasional over the top perhaps not entirely believable twists. However, I don't think readers of books like this are as concerned about such things if they can accept that some random school psychologist in a small town will keep getting caught up in murder investigations in the first place. I have downloaded the next in the series. I'm not sure I love Skye exactly, but I do like the narration and the books keep me interested.
I would say it was time well spent, though I wouldn't necessarily say I enjoyed the book. It did provide useful information that helped my understanding of the developmental levels of girls and their particular methods of interacting. I was a girl many years ago of course, and it was interesting to see how many of the experiences you remember from childhood are actually generic - things that all girls come to experience over time, as opposed to the very personal experiences they seemed to be. I like the way they use situations that can be generalized (ie a situation of being different in the example the girl is Japanese American, but it is the "differentness" that can be changed and the principles reused) and then give specific examples of how you would use their 4 step plan. Admittedly the four steps seem pretty simplistic and at first I thought the book might be useless. But it really wasn't. It is through the examples they share that you see ways you could do something similar. It had a lot of sections that could inspire discussion with your daughter and some activities you can try as you (1) observe, (2) connect, (3) guide and (4) support to act. There is one scenario that we look at from one girl's point of view that is later revisited from the other girl in the story's point of view. This was particularly good in helping to see how the information that you may get from your child is colored by their world view. I discussed parts of the book with my 8 year old daughter. It helped me think of the right questions to ask her to learn valuable things about her friendships. You have to be starting with the right info to be guiding your daughter in the right direction. I started the book because I was thinking my daughter might be in a friendship with a mean girl, what they call a "yo-yo friendship". I realized what I had heard could just as easily be interpreted as my daughter being aggressive rather than assertive in her interactions. Now I really know what I want to look closer at. It also helped me to evaluate my level of connectedness with my daughter which is much better than I had assumed. I definitely learned things from this book. It felt longer to me than it actually was, but that is just because I'd rather be reading a mystery than be working on improving a skill, in this case, parenting my daughter. That's hard work.
I would not have selected this book to read on my own. It was a selection of our IT department book club. In retrospect it is a somewhat ironic choice since IT groups tend to be introvert heavy and our management adheres to the "extrovert ideal". As a sensitive introvert myself, I did enjoy that the book is very against the extrovert ideal. That ideal implies that any act which you do not celebrate by marching back and forth in front of a bigwig's office blowing you own horn is of no value. Of course most people like books that are affirming so it isn't surprising that I liked it. The book has several different topics. It discusses introversion and extroversion in the context of brain functioning. I always find books on the brain interesting so I enjoyed that part. I was less interested in the long discussion of the cultural differences between American and Asian views of introversion/extroversion. The beginning talks a lot about the extrovert ideal - how it came to pass that extroversion is prized in current American society above all other things. I found that discussion of interest. I did not realize how much that had changed. The author also discusses her attendance at various events designed to make you more extroverted or celebrate introversion. I did find her stories of interest. The ending section about relationships between extroverts and introverts (romantic or parent child) was also interesting. Although I found the narrator's voice pleasant, I did find it hard to hear when listening in my car, even at full volume.
Let me preface this review with the fact that I love Terry Brooks and that I am a big fan of many of his books. People should just know if they are fans of his Shannara books, or the Word and Void books, or any of his other series that these are not like those books. I have read this book a number of times because I like the set up that leads to Ben Holliday becoming the king of Landover. But the adventures in Landover are not serious fantasy. They are more on the sillier side ie inept mages suddenly shower the enemy with flowers instead of something deadly. So know that going in and read it if you like that sort of thing. Like any book where someone basically ends up in another world there is that frustrating part of the book where our main character doesn't believe in the situation - the "this can't be real" part. I always hate that but plotwise I suppose there is no way around it. Narrator was good too.
Hard to say. It was mildly interesting, though Olive's actions sometimes annoyed me. (I guess I should cut her a break since she is a kid, but still its hard to watch someone make bad decisions.) I was also hoping for more closure for Morton but if that's coming it will have to wait til a later book.
The is book 2 of a series of (at least) 4. Readers should know that this is basically a cliffhanger. You clearly need to read more books to finish the story of Olive, Morton and the cats. I'll probably read the next one but am not in a rush to do it.
I would but I really didn't like the voices she used for the characters. Very over the top.
Yes, I think they could make a good movie if the story completes.
I did have an extreme reaction to the book. It made me CHANGE. I've been looking for lost keys for most of my 45 years, and did not believe that any book could change that situation. I also did not think that I could actually listen to someone talk to me about organization for about 10 hours without my head exploding. I now admit I was wrong. I have to say I really loved the book. Mellen actually managed to explain to me the ways I would need to change to make my life less overwhelming. My stuff had become such a burden - and I am by no means a hoarder or anything - just have a small home and too much stuff. The book gave me the tools and steps to solve my own problem. And Mellen manged to do all that and be entertaining as well. Highly recommended. Keep in mind the book does have some what may seem "corny" exercises. Just go with it. No one is watching you. I found it helpful to print all the downloads in one shot so I had them when they were referred to.
Grave Secret is the last of the 4 Harper and Tolliver books. I thought it was interesting all along how Harper who can find dead bodies and know the cause of death had been haunted by her missing sister. In this book we learn the fate of her sister Cameron. I expected that to be a little bit of a letdown as it usually is when you learn something like that. It was a little bit, but I guess I am ready to be done with these people and their somewhat sad somewhat white trash existence. However the book itself was very interesting and it takes us back in the lives of Harper and Tolliver when they were young and I was always interested in their backstory. I think the series could have gone on longer if they decided to look outside the family for romance. But I was satisfied that everything tied up nicely.
Grave Secret is the 2nd in this series of 4 books and is probably my favorite. In later books, we have some excessively graphic material but that is not the case here. There is growing sexual tension between Harper and Tolliver, but it is not acted upon. It is an interesting mystery. Harper, while doing a reading of another grave, comes across the body of a missing girl she had previously failed to find. This leads to all sorts of complications. I did not know before the end who did it. There is something a little bit dark about these books and characters. These are not lighthearted like many other Charlaine Harris books. If you liked the first one you'd definitely like this one as well.
I really wanted to like this book because it was written by Cammie McGovern who wrote the moving and beautiful Eye Contact. A couple simple things prevented that though. I didn't really like our main character Betsy, I found her at times boring, depressing and frustrating. Even hearing anything from her point of you made me feel like I was in a helpless fog, like she always seemed to be. I can't say that I liked any of the characters. To me, the characters are the main part of any mystery. But the worst thing about Neighborhood Watch was simply that the plot just goes berserk at some point. One moment we are following our unlikable characters through the secrets of their interpersonal relationships on their myndane cul-de-sac and the next moment people are babbling on about secret corporations working on cold fusion. Huh? It really was a bad book.
Like the previous books in the series, this one is well done and has excellent narration. It continues in the darker style of the second volume, so some mild violence, gore. But I really like the way the story wraps up. Throughout the series, Jared has been struggling with anger issues over his parents divorce, and in addition to vanquishing Mulgarath, those have to be vanquished as well. I liked that the authors didn't choose the uneasy, unrealistic solution (think of The Parent Trap) where kids problems are fixed by reuniting their parents - who clearly had reasons to split in the first place, Instead, Jared's experiences teach him to redefine family and to appreciate those around him. It was very positive. And I enjoyed the fate of Mulgarath as well.
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