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Tweet Cute Is Just That

Tweet Cute by Emma LordPepper goes to a private high school in New York City, where she’s lived since she was 14. Her parents own a fast food chain. She doesn’t feel like she fits in at her school and her mother has left her to be in charge of the company’s Twitter feed. Enter Jack. He’s a senior at Pepper’s school and his parents own Girl Cheesing, a deli. Girl Cheesing accuses Big League Burger of stealing their grilled cheese recipe. Let the Twitter War begin.

Tweet Cute could easily be pigeon-holed as a YA Rom-Com and left to teenage girls to read. If you did that, you would be missing out on a delightful book. It may be because I have kids that are about this age, but I loved the story. It has the perfect combination of snark and sweet. It’s a magic recipe. The characters are likable and well-developed. It’s a sweet story that discusses things that all teens and people can relate to – interpersonal relationships with your parents, peers, and sibling; misunderstanding a person’s motives; social awkwardness; and peer pressure. The story flows as easily as the banter between Jack and Pepper.

This was just the book I needed. It was light and sweet and refreshing. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And you will, too.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no compensation in exchange for this review. The views expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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True Believer

True Believer (James Reece, #2)So I listed the Terminal List as one of my favorite books in 2018. The debut thriller from Jack Carr was one of the best firsts in a series I have ever read. His second book, True Believer just came out and I was worried that it wasn’t going to live up to the Terminal List. I had no cause to worry. True Believer is pure rocket fuel.

The last time we saw James Reece, he was traveling via sail boat away from where he brought down a large government conspiracy to avenge the deaths of his wife, child, and teammates. Reece ends up in Africa at the game preserve of his friend’s uncle. He works there and is enjoying the life of a guide when a former teammate shows up. But he hasn’t been ordered to kill or capture Reece, he has come with an offer- work to dismantle a terrorist cell led by a former Iraqi general and be pardoned by the President, along with all his “accomplices,” or suffer the consequences. Reluctantly, Reece accepts the offer.

This sets off one of the best cat-and-mouse thrill rides I have ever been on. Is Reece going to find the Iraqi and the rogue CIA officer? Is he going to die from a brain tumor that has been festering? Will his friends survive? Those are all questions I am not going to answer here. It would take away the insane amount of fun you will have reading this book. It is tightly plotted and well paced. I really only have one complaint about the book, but I can’t discuss it here because it’s a spoiler, but if you have read the book, you absolutely know what I’m talking about.

I like how Jack Carr brings some of his real life struggles to the page without being obvious about it. In fact, I wouldn’t have known he did so if I hadn’t heard him on the Jocko podcast. And while the book is a thrill ride, my favorite section was when Reece was on the game preserve. The description of tracking the elephant will stay with me a long time. Jack Carr has the same gift as Lou Berney – he shows, he doesn’t tell. It’s rare and it’s beautiful. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for James Reece and us next. Do yourself a favor and read the Terminal List and True Believer. They are fantastic books. written by a gifted writer.

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American Kingpin

American Kingpin by Nick BiltonAmerican Kingpin reads like a thriller. It is the engrossing true story of a man who built the biggest illegal website in the world. The book talks about Ross Ulbricht and his Silk Road website, the people who helped him make it, and the people who ultimately brought him down. It is also the story of a dogged investigator and two agents who broke the law, influenced by Ross and greed.

Nick Bilton tells a compelling story. You can tell that he did his homework. The book is narrative nonfiction and that, with the obviously meticulous research he did, makes this book a great read.

I am on the internet a lot. Facebook, email, Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads. And I Google everything I’m curious about. But I knew nothing about the dark web and the Silk Road until I read this book. On the Silk Road you can buy virtually any drug you desired, including heroin and fentanyl. You could buy fake ids. You could buy guns. Without the watchful eye of big brother and tax free. The site operated using bitcoin as its currency. Though the site started small, it got so huge, its founder, Ross (or The Dark Pirate Roberts) almost a billionaire. We are introduced to Julia, Ross’ long-suffering girlfriend; Variety Jones, Ross’s right-hand man; Agent Force of the DEA, who got too far undercover; IRS investigator Gary Alford; an intrepid FBI agent and a crooked FBI agent. The supporting actors are sometimes more interesting that Ross. But the story is all about a young Ph.D. flunkie developed the biggest illicit items website in the world.

This book was compelling and entertaining. I can’t think of any complaints I have about the book. The story is expertly plotted and told so well, I didn’t want the book to end. If you are interested in computers, true crime, or just a really good story, you will like this book. I highly recommend it.

I won this book and received no compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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Gone Tomorrow

Gone Tomorrow by Lee ChildI read Killing Floor, the first Jack Reacher book last year or the year before. While these books should be in my wheelhouse (I like thrillers and lone heroes), I couldn’t quite get into the book and I walked away thinking it was just okay. As for Gone Tomorrow, I found it to be a little bit better than Killing Floor, but I still do not understand why everyone likes Jack Reacher so much.

Jack seems to be a technophobe, but figures out cell phones. He doesn’t really understand computers, but knows enough to buy a duplicate stick drive. He’s so big that he automatically stands out, but manages to blend in everywhere he goes. I’m not sure I understand why it’s so important to know that he stands out, yet blends in.

The book was well-plotted, but I found the ending to be extremely predictable and there wasn’t much, if anything, left to surprise. That being said, the book wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t great either.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.

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My apologies

Short recap of my month thus far: bad medical news for me, trying to find my son a place to live for college, dad in the ICU for 10 days and counting. So my reading time has been really small. I’m working on two print books, an audio book and a book on CD. If I ever get one finished, I will post a review.

This Sunday is the big book sale for our local library. Fill a bag for $5. So you know my husband is going to be VERY unhappy Sunday when I get home. I’m planning on buying two bags but you never know.

In the mean time, happy reading.

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Midnight In Chernobyl

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam HigginbothamI was a freshman in high school when Chernobyl happened. I don’t remember much of what I thought about it then. Probably not a lot. Even though I was in debate and more attuned to the news than most teenagers, I doubt I thought hard about it. I didn’t even get it much thought when I went to Moscow and St. Petersburg in January 1993.  I’ve always been fascinated with what happened since. The wasteland that lay in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. I don’t have HBO and haven’t seen the miniseries. But I was excited to see this book.

I listened to the audiobook and it was engrossing. The book has a million characters, but they aren’t too terribly hard to keep track of. Adam Higginbotham wrote and exceptionally detailed and meticulously researched book. He discusses the disaster, the reaction, and how things went wrong. The scariest part of this book is that this disaster could still happen today. Though the governments in the west wouldn’t be so secretive about it, I can see them passing blame like a hot potato.

I think the thing I liked most about this book is that though it follows a lot of people, the author does a great job of keeping you from feeling lost. He tells very human stories about the disaster and its aftermath. I was particularly bothered by the fact that looters in the military were taking contaminated items from the exclusion zone and sending them all over the Soviet Union for sale. All of those unsuspecting people being exposed to radioactivity.

I also felt for the first responders. They had horrible effects from the radiation poisoning they received. The Soviet government, of course, covered that up. And unfortunately, an opportunity to learn and make things safe gave way to secrecy and saving face with the West. A lot of the people who tried to make things better and safer were vilified by the Soviet leadership and that’s a shame because these men and women did what they were assigned to do, without regard for their personal safety, like first responders all over the world did.

I really liked this book. It was sad, and parts of it difficult to digest, but it was so well-written and so well-narrated, that you can’t help but like it. If you are interested in Soviet history, nuclear power, or anything related to Chernobyl, I highly recommend you check this book out. And if you do audio books, this one is really, really. good.

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All That You Leave Behind

All That You Leave Behind by Erin Lee CarrDavid Carr was a reporter for the New York Times. He also was an addict. He wrote about it in his memoir Night of the Gun. He died suddenly a few years ago and his daughter, Erin, has written a memoir about her life, her father, his death, and the aftermath. She has written a wrenching, gut-punch of a book. It was honest and raw and is a must-read.

Erin Lee Carr grew up in the shadow of a larger-than-life man. Her dad was tough on her. But he was also her biggest cheerleader. She shares emails and gchats they had about life and career. The book brings you inside their lives and provides a touching, real look at her dad – her hero.

I loved this book because it was raw and unflinching. Erin writes so candidly about the havoc her dad’s death brought to her and her family’s life. She is honest about her life as well – her tendency towards addiction (no doubt inherited from both her parents), her non-relationship with her mother, and her tenuous relationship with her stepmother. She talks about her drinking and the multitudes of embarrassment it brought to her.

Through it all her dad was her rock. He tried to help her with sobriety. He gave her career advice. She was reluctant to use his name to open doors, but did so. When he died, the rug was pulled out from under her and she reacted to that badly. The fact that she’s brave enough to write about all of this without making excuses and shouldering the responsibility of her behavior made me like this book all the more.

She doesn’t glamorize addiction. She portrays it for what it is- blackouts and all. She also discusses the toll her behavior took on her personal relationships. She talks about how devastating her father’s death has been for her, and at first how upset she was that the general public would comment on it. She has since come to appreciate when people relay their stories because it shows her how much he meant to so many people.

I really liked this book. However, for some people, it might be really hard to read. Be forewarned the book discusses some difficult and possibly triggering topics. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic book and I’m glad I read it.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions contained herein are mine and mine alone.

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The Cold Dish

The Cold Dish by Craig JohnsonI’ve been meaning to get to the Longmire series for a long time. I finally got the audio book of The Cold Dish and I’m glad I did. Walt Longmire is the Sheriff of Absoroka County, Wyoming. Cody Pritchard ends up dead after being convicted of rape and given a suspended sentence. Cody had three accomplices in the rape, who were are given suspended sentences. Walt wonders if this is revenge, or something else. He also wonders if there will be more victims.

As the investigation moves forward, we are introduced to a panoply of supporting characters. There is Harry Standing Bear, Walt’s long-time friend; Vic, Walt’s deputy and sassy heir-apparent; and Lucien Connolly, Walt’s mentor. The characters are well-written and I found all of them fascinating. Craig Johnson does a good job of making even minor supporting characters interesting. He provides lush descriptions with few words. The writing reminded me a bit of Lou Berney.

Craig Johnson does a really good job of describing the town, its inhabitants, and its surroundings. The audio book was so well narrated by George Guidall, I will always hear his voice as I read more books in the series. I loved listening to him talk about the cold and the snow, the small-town people and their quirky personalities, and Walt’s thoughts about all of it.

This was a good mystery and solid story telling. I enjoyed the audio book immensely. I will definitely be revisiting Walt and his cast of supporting characters in the future.

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Dark Site Is Lightening In A Book

Dark Site by Patrick  LeeSam Dryden is looking at a villa in the Malibu hills to rehab, when he’s shot at and almost killed. Danica Ellis is the victim of an attempted abduction in Oregon. She drives to Southern California to talk to her stepfather. At the same time, Sam drives to Danica’s location to prevent a murder. Sam and Danica meet up and together, the team up to figure out why people who seemingly have never met would have people try to kill them.

That is the basic plot of Dark Site by Patrick Lee, the third in the Sam Dryden series. I hadn’t read the first two books, but own them and am going to read them now. This is one hell of a great thriller writer. I was sucked in from the first page and was enthralled with the plot and the characters until the very end. The plot moves quickly. The twists are real and compelling.

This book was a thrill ride and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Sam is an interesting guy and I liked the intermixing of time between 1989 and the present. It wasn’t presented in a confusing manner as authors are so prone to do these days. I appreciated the way Patrick Lee wrote young Sam and Danica. They were real. Like I said, I haven’t read the prior to books in the series, but I certainly am going to now. I like Sam. He’s likable and a good dude. I’m looking forward to what Patrick Lee does next.

If you are a thriller fan, you will love this book. If you haven’t read any Patrick Lee, I highly suggest you do. He’s worth the investment. Happy reading.

I won this book from Goodreads and received no compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone.

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The Silent Patient

A woman is accused of killing her husband. They are both artists and she is now in a mental hospital and has not spoken sine the crime occurred. A therapist is trying to get her to speak and find out what happened on the day the woman’s husband was murdered.

I am not saying another word about plot because if you read this, you won’t want to know. This is an OUTSTANDING thriller with plot twists that I did not see coming. Just when I thought I had it figured out, another curve ball was thrown at me. It starts a bit slowly, but then the pace is blistering. The last third goes by really quickly. I did the audio and it is narrated by a man and a woman, and they alternate between the two characters telling the story. They do a fantastic job.

If you want a thriller for the beach or something to read that will keep a hold of you until it’s done, this is the book for you. I’m looking forward to reading more books from Alex Michaelides. He is a fantastic story teller. 

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