Natchez Burning by Greg Iles

I really expected to like Natchez Burning. I've read Iles' books before and found the gripping and thought-provoking. This one just didn't work for me. The plot itself is good, I liked, or hated, the characters, and the setting was well-done. I enjoyed seeing the story from different characters points of view and it was easy to follow whose side of the story we were hearing. I did listen to the whole 35+ hours, but in the end I wished I hadn't bothered. First, there is a lot of repetition. Cut some of it out and it would be a tighter, more enjoyable book. I hate it when authors seem to think I'm going to forget things two chapters after they told me the first time. Second, it was overwrought. I don't know whether to blame the writing or the reader, but it was all overdone, just too much. Maybe the goal was to maintain tension and be descriptive, but it came...
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Elvis Sightings by Ricardo Sanchez

Sometimes I forget how fun books can be. If you read the blurb above, you know this mystery's definitely quirky and pushing believability. But I loved it, pure and simple. The mystery itself is pretty good. The author plays fair enough with clues and motives. It's the characters that are outrageous and the situations they find themselves in. It's not a book for everyone. It's silly in some spots and laugh-out-loud funny in others. You have to be able to just relax and go with the ride. I don't want to tell too much and spoil the fun. It's like a ride at an amusement park that you just can't stop smiling during. Elvis Sightings is in no way serious, just really light, enjoyable summer read. It's one of my faves so far this year.  ...
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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Of course, I had heard about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before I picked it up. I knew she emphasized only keeping what brings you joy and that sounds simple enough, but there actually is more to the book than that. She gives you an order to de-clutter, starting with your clothes. She also talks about how to store things after you only have what you truly want. I'll grant you, some things are a little odd, like talking to your stuff and thanking you house. I'm going to talk to my things, but it does remind you to appreciate them and to let them go when they're job has been fulfilled, whatever that job may be. I'm not exactly following her method to a T. I did start with my clothes but didn't spread them all out all over the living room. I don't have that kind of time or space. :) I did start with my drawers though, and...
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The Whole30 by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig

I can't tell you if The Whole30 is a healthy choice, although the Hartwigs give plenty of reasons why it is. What I can tell you is that I'm glad I did the 30 days and will hopefully eat better having done them. David and I did it together which was definitely helpful, although I let Amber eat pretty much what she wanted. The Whole30 rules in the most basic form are easy to understand. YES: Eat meat, seafood, eggs, vegetable, fruit and natural fats. DO: Do not consume sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes or dairy. Do not consume baked goods or "treats." Do not weight or measure yourself. I know it seems pretty restrictive, but like they say, "keep in mind that the Whole30 was intended to be a short-term reset and learning experience, not a permanent plan." I will admit that I "cheated a couple of times" and made a delicious apple breakfast cake that fit the rules. I also weighed myself. The...
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Watchmen by Alan Moore

This is a tough review to write. On the one hand, I found the Watchmen boring for the most part. It picked up a bit at the end, but I was never really invested in the story. The world wasn't going to explode, and if it did, I didn't really care about any of the people anyway. I also thought it was a bit heavy-handed. On the other hand, putting it back into the time it was originally published, in the 80s during the cold war, the alternate history he painted probably stuck a bit closer to home. Our political outlook, the world's threats are not the same now as they were then. He also does a fabulous job of weaving together everyone's stories and provided a comic book within his novel portraying pirates and allowing it to mirror his real world. The popular comic is about pirates, not superheroes. Superheroes, or at least costumed adventurers, exist is the real world,...
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Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

I want to live in Midnight. It's a really, really small town full of really, really odd people, but they are all so friendly toward each other and protective of each other. I'd love to visit Fiji's shop or have dinner with them all at the (only) local restaurant. I guess this is a mystery - who killed Manfred's client, but there is a lot going on in the background. The new hotel in town is questionable. And the new kid in town could be more dangerous than they suspect. As far as the mystery goes though, I was surprised by the whodunit and equally by the "justice" they received. We learn a lot about the characters and who/what they are in this one, it's more about them than the actual plot in some ways. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. I listened to the audio and the narrator did a good job. She gives everyone their own personalities, even the visitors to town. The...
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