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mhughes

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Reply with quote  #101 
finished up the second Tate novel by Paul Cleave last night, again loved it.....  still cant believe that i waited so long to get to these books.   another dark and gritty story,  had mutiple points of view in this one,  didnt mind that but really liked the first person point of view the best,  and hope he sticks to that in future books.  Another five star rating..

i have taken Summit Lake off my tbr stack,   i put alot of weight to ratings that you all put on books, and to see a one star from mysticpt done it for me....i have toooooo many good books to read to try and read one that i may not get, and after reading his review doesnt sound like something i want to read anyway.

i have never read John Hart,   may have to try his new one if its a stand alone.
i also have CJ box's new one queued up after i get through the one im currently reading, which is Anthonly Neil Smith's Hogdoggin, the second billy lafitte book.  


mike

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mysticpt

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Reply with quote  #102 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhughes


i have never read John Hart,   may have to try his new one if its a stand alone.

mike


hey, have no fear with John Hart, all his books are standalones and all are easily in the 4-5 star range imo.  I really enjoyed Betty's review and I am looking forward to his new one very much.
Tiger

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Reply with quote  #103 
John Hart's   The Last Child is one of my favourite reads ever.  
TravisMcGee

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Reply with quote  #104 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticpt


lol, one thing I don't like about goodreads is that they don't really have anything besides a 1 star rating to say you didn't care for a book.  the 2 star rating indicates you think the book was ok......so sometimes hard to select when I don't think a book really was ok.  so then it becomes as you say a 1 star slam....
In this case I know quite a few of you have marked this to read so I will mark this as major spoilers.   Glad you enjoyed this one Travis, and it looks like plenty of others did too, so definitely in the minority again for this one. 

 I know I can go on and on with my reviews and I don't really enjoy slamming a book, but the more I read of this one, the more things I found not to like.

SUMMIT LAKE - DEFINITE SPOILERS AHEAD:

this is the first book by Charlie Donlea and it involves a magazine reporter looking into the death of young blonde student from a wealthy and influential white family.  so right off the bat the plot kind of perpetuates the notion that the press only cares to write about these kind of crimes while many many others don't get this kind of attention.  but whatever......blah blah blah
now the author can definitely write a sentence and set a scene, most of my problems were plot and character related.
a lot of the story takes place in flashback leading up to the character's demise.  she is part of tight group of 4 friends (2 men,2 women) at college who as far as we know are just friends.  however this character seems to have the knack of attracting male attention because she is so attractive, while at the same time being totally oblivious to this fact.  this happens with several characters that she seems to be leading on, but she gosh darn just doesn't realize it.  some pretty unbelievable scenes happen where this takes place.  then like a soap opera one of her male friends of course has a crush on her, but then we learn that of course she is really in love with and secretly dating the other one.  oy, very simplistic plotting imo.
anyway, events progress to a night where she is alone at Summit Lake waiting for her boyfriend to join her at some point.  but she is murdered instead and thus begins an investigation.
this brings to town the other major character, the female magazine reporter who takes this assignment as her first job after being off a month dealing with her own personal trauma.  this case of course becomes personal for her as they shared some of the same trauma.  anyway, she just meets so many ppl who are so helpful it really stretched believability.  she runs into someone who can give her all the background on the town and ppl and provide cover when she needs it.  then she meets the head of the police department who is so disgruntled that the case is being taken away to be handled by the state that he decides to not only discuss major points of the case but hand over all the files.  wow.  then she meets a doctor who can get access to major details about the victim and even tho he doesn't know her and these activities are illegal, he seems to have no problem doing whatever she needs.  double wow.  then there is a family friend of the victim who has very important evidence (a journal) of the victim that could provide clues to investigators but for reasons that are never explained decides to keep and hide this.  you would think they would want to help solve the murder..., but...so this sets up where the reporter has to deduce where it is and steal it....oy, more eye rolling here.
then as we get closer to the end of the case we discover a twist, however I feel this is more an author cheat than a twist.  2 words are left out of an earlier scene so the reader assumes one thing, but then turns out it was not.  not a clever twist or character reveal at all.  just the laziest way to deceive the reader imo, not clever plotting at all.  then it turns out that a character who might be another suspect just also happened to die the same day in an unrelated event, which of course we don't find out till near the end.  another eye roller......oy.
I know I have blabbed on and on (what else is new), but these and other very simplistic ways to tell the story (don't get me started on the "gossip group" at the coffee shop......wow) made this book more absurd and less enjoyable as I finally made it to the end.  and yea, the ending was terrible. 

end of scathing review!  :)

because I read so many better books with a lot being recommended by this board, when I come across writing like this, it really stands apart.  or maybe I was just having a bad day! :)


Hey Mystic thanks for posting this, I can definitely see your points. When writing is good and the story has momentum I'm able to gloss over plot holes or contrivances. I saw you were ready Caught Stealing, if you pan that one, then we may have to have a rumble ;)
mysticpt

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Reply with quote  #105 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisMcGee

Hey Mystic thanks for posting this, I can definitely see your points. When writing is good and the story has momentum I'm able to gloss over plot holes or contrivances. I saw you were ready Caught Stealing, if you pan that one, then we may have to have a rumble ;)


hey, no worries on that front.  funny you should mention that one, I believe I read that right after Summit Lake as I was looking for something a lil grittier and hard boiled.  definitely fit the bill.  I know many of you have mentioned Charlie Huston but I had not read any of his books yet and our library had the ebook available, so I gave it a shot.  looking forward to the next one!

and re Summit Lake, yea, depends on your mood I think sometimes with books.  I think I thought going into it that it would be a lil grittier, etc, not as mainstream as it turned out to be.
TravisMcGee

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Reply with quote  #106 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticpt


hey, no worries on that front.  funny you should mention that one, I believe I read that right after Summit Lake as I was looking for something a lil grittier and hard boiled.  definitely fit the bill.  I know many of you have mentioned Charlie Huston but I had not read any of his books yet and our library had the ebook available, so I gave it a shot.  looking forward to the next one!

and re Summit Lake, yea, depends on your mood I think sometimes with books.  I think I thought going into it that it would be a lil grittier, etc, not as mainstream as it turned out to be.


Wow, that probably means you have not read his Joe Pitt casebooks! They are noir that just happens to be set in a world were vampires inhabit NYC. I'm not big on the vampire motiff but this is one of my all time favorite series. Book 1 is Already Dead and while the series builds as it goes it also starts with a bang so after reading the short 1st book you'll know if you want to continue. 
mysticpt

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Reply with quote  #107 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisMcGee


Wow, that probably means you have not read his Joe Pitt casebooks! They are noir that just happens to be set in a world were vampires inhabit NYC. I'm not big on the vampire motiff but this is one of my all time favorite series. Book 1 is Already Dead and while the series builds as it goes it also starts with a bang so after reading the short 1st book you'll know if you want to continue. 


yea, I know you guys have mentioned this series and I have the 1st book on my tbr list, but when I was browsing I thought Caught Stealing would be a lil safer to try first as no vampires In case I didn't like that, but I am sure I will get to that series at some point as so many of you have enjoyed it and now I know I like his writing :)
Tiger

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Reply with quote  #108 
Finished up the 3rd David Raker novel from Tim Weaver......Vanished.....and liked it a lot.   Grittier than the first 2, with a multilayered plot, it reminded me of both Mo Hayder's writing as well as some of Michael Connelly's darker stuff such as Echo Park.  The fact that a good portion of the action occurred beneath the city in the Tube tunnels only added to the eerie atmosphere. 

Now onto Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty.

mysticpt

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Reply with quote  #109 

just finished Rain Dogs by Mckinty which is #5 in the very good Sean Duffy series.  this one started off well enough with some nice personal moments and then what looks like 2 murders.  however one seems to be of the been there, done that variety with another possible locked room mystery.  even the characters talk about how this seems pretty incredible as it just happened 2 books ago.  however events take off again with lots of international intrigue and possible child abuse allegations reaching to the highest levels.  I really like this Sean character, great sense of humour and I enjoy his interactions with co-workers, friends and enemies.  very satisfying 4+stars with a great ending.

read quite a few others in the past month, we touched on Nowhere by Roger Smith which was another dependable 4 star read, just not quite as good as his best ones.  lots of the usual corruption, murder, politics, racism , etc and this time the literal trappings of being a social media star.  nice to see Disaster Zondi again.

as mentioned i also read my first Charlie Huston, Caught Stealing. this is the first book in the Hank Thompson series, and while the plot of found money and how to try to keep or get rid of it has been used many times, it is all about execution.  this one was done very well, Hank becomes a character to care about as an everyman caught up in circumstances that only get further and further out of control as he tries to survive gangsters, bad cops and more as he deals with a found fortune.  this book also had the ability for the first time to make me care for the well being of a cat.  wow.  I was very nervous reading about what was happening to this cat.  huh.  definite 4 stars and looking forward to the further adventures.

also read one of the Golden Post runner ups, Pretty Girls by Slaughter.  like last years standalone Cop Town, this one was very good.  this tale of a missing sibling brings together the surviving sisters many many years later and involves some gruesome torture and killing scenes , so not for the faint of heart.  tho I get the feeling with this author that if she didn't have some scenes like this it would be like the Stones not playing Satisfaction on their tours.  however the scenes were necessary I think to bring home the depravity of the characters involved.  very good page turner with a few good twists, definite 4 + stars.

in preparation for next months read by Johnny Shaw I read his first book Dove Season which many of you I think enjoyed years ago.  I had only read Big Maria previously and while I enjoyed it, I don't think as much as most of you.  Dove Season features Jimmy Veeder who comes home to Southern Cali, just north of the Mexican border to be with his dying father.  he gets reacquainted with him, old friend Bobby and his old girlfriend.  while I liked Jimmy and there were some good character moments, I found the murder that takes place and the events leading to it's resolution to be nothing special.  the book was slow at times and also featured a final scene with his father that I wouldn't have minded some more time spent dealing with.  3 stars but I am looking forward to the new one.

then I read book 2 in the David Raker, missing person investigator series, The Dead Tracks by Tim Weaver. this time he is hired to reignite the search for a missing 17yr old high school girl.  I like the Raker character and the pacing of the story, tho the villain is a lil more over the top than I care for.  most twists you see coming, but a decent page turner worth 3 stars from me.  what knocks it down a bit is some author shortcuts such as having a hacker character he can call whenever he needs info virtually anytime at all.  he also has cop friends who owe him favors thus providing more info for him instead of investigation.  and for the second book in a row his neighbor who he is trying to date, happens to be a lawyer who can get him out of the police trouble he keeps finding himself in.  but despite this , I like the writing and look forward to the next book and I am encouraged by Tigers 5 star rating.

then as you may remember I liked Travis's pick of Life or Death for book club last year so I wanted to try Michael Robotham's Joseph O'Loughlin series.  the first book is Suspect, and It was pretty good.  he is a psychologist and gets involved with the murder of a former patient.  Joe is not always the most likable character but I enjoyed the storytelling and there were enough twists to keep me guessing.  I also liked the cop character Ruiz and I am glad to see he will be in future books as well.  definitely a series I will continue.  4 stars.

A Midsummer's Equation by Keigo Higashino was next.  I really enjoyed the other 2 books in the Galileo series that were translated and I liked this one as well.  a young boy ends up for the summer in the same town as Galileo and learns some nice life lessons and not so life lessons during his stay.  a family run resort becomes the scene of a murder and the past of many characters comes into play.  while maybe not as urgent as the other books in the series, very nice writing featuring good scenes between Gaileo and the boy.  4 stars.

next was last year's Erlendur book by Arnaldur called Reykjav√≠k Nights.  this is a prequel that takes place very early in Erlendur's career and as the title suggests, he is on night duty.  the book takes us thru the various cases that occur on these shifts such as accidents, robbery and a disturbing amount of domestic violence.  Erlunder of course gets obsessed with the possible murder of a homeless man from many months previous.  he cannot let go until he gets some satisfaction.  while I enjoyed reading about the beginning of his career, I just found the main storyline to not be that interesting.  looks like the next book will also be in the past but will feature more prominently his mentor.  I look forward to that one, but this was just 3 stars for me.

then I read one recommended in a bi-weekly column in our paper by first time author Lisa Sandlin called The Do-Right.  this is slang I guess for prison and the book takes place in 1973 and features Delpha Wade who was released after 14 years for the murder of one of her rapists.   one job she gets is working for new PI Tom Phelan.  a lot of the book is Delpa getting used to life on the outside and the various cases Tom finds himself handling.  tho some of the cases last the whole book, others are resolved in a chapter or 2.  Delpha gets part time work, begins a relationship and makes a discovery that adds more drama to the proceedings.  a bit of a slow pace at times, but great writing.  you really get to know the characters and drama is heightened as it reaches its conclusion.  4 plus stars and I look forward to whatever she writes next.  check it out.

I will have to check my tbr pile to see what is next, tho lots of items coming in from my libraries north and south of the border.  good problems to have :)

fyi, currently enjoying season 4 of House of Cards, then I should be able to get to Bosch, season 2.  looking forward to it!



mhughes

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Reply with quote  #110 
Hogdoggin by Anthony Neil Smith,   the second in the Lafitte series.   This one was much better than the first book in the series, and really makes me want to get to the third and fourth one soon.   Smith has been posting on facebook about the fourth one,  after alot of feedback on the new book, Holy Death,  it has not taken off after the release like he wanted, so he is talking about not writing any more of this series.  Hope the book takes off and he does continue to write it,  im starting to like the character, even though he is a big time scumbag, lol.

Started the new CJ Box book last night,  i hope it takes off soon,  i have really liked the last two Pickett books,  but this one is starting kinda slow,  20% into it and not really thrilled yet......



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TravisMcGee

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Reply with quote  #111 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhughes
Hogdoggin by Anthony Neil Smith,   the second in the Lafitte series.   This one was much better than the first book in the series, and really makes me want to get to the third and fourth one soon.   Smith has been posting on facebook about the fourth one,  after alot of feedback on the new book, Holy Death,  it has not taken off after the release like he wanted, so he is talking about not writing any more of this series.  Hope the book takes off and he does continue to write it,  im starting to like the character, even though he is a big time scumbag, lol.



Good to hear, I thought the first one was only okay.
TravisMcGee

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Reply with quote  #112 
I read a another great debut book that straddles the Crime genre. Sweetgirl by Travis Mulhauser was described by one reviewer as a funny Winter's Bone. I would call it a more focused Trampoline. Like Trampoline it has less action than the books most of us read and an adolescent heroine you will fall in love with. I thought the writing was top notch and the dialogue was incredible. The dialogue is a little bit stylized ala Pulp Fiction which I consider a compliment. Definitely in my top 3 for 2016 GP books with Dark Matter and The Sound of Gravel. The book is a very fast read and has the feel of an Appalachia setting but is set in Northern Michigan. 5 stars from me.
mhughes

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Reply with quote  #113 
i saw Sweetgirl the other day and almost downloaded it,   so now i will,   thanks travis



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mhughes

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Reply with quote  #114 
another book that caught my eye today was Cambodia Noir,    nice blurb from Ken Bruen about it,  so i got it also,  looks pretty good...


dont forget all you Jack Daniels lovers,   new book out tomorrow,  man i cant wait to read this one!!!     Rum Runner.....i will devour this one come saturday,  i wont be moving off couch till im done!



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Reply with quote  #115 
I wasn't thrilled by the latest CJ Box book, Off the Grid. I always enjoy spending time with Joe and Nate but the plot just didn't do it for me. I really wish Joe would have more cases that involve his actual job of being a game warden.

I have read a few other really good books though.

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer was excellent.  It was sad because it deals with the disappearance of a child and what that does to his parents.  It was also funny sometimes because of Detective John Marvel who struck me as a curmudgeon, but not an old one.  There is just a hint of the supernatural to the book but not, IMO, enough to scare off any one who doesn't like that kind of thing.  I listened to it on audio and the narrator did a terrific job.  5 stars on goodreads

Goodbye to the Dead by Brian Freeman.  I just love the Jonathan Stride series and this is a wonderful entry to it. Some very unexpected twists and turns made it exciting and fun to read. 4 stars but I would have given it 4.5 if I could.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz.  This is a more serious book than Lutz's Spellman titles. It is about a woman who obviously has secrets and a past that she is running from but the reader gets very few clues as to what that might be.  It was a page turner because I really wanted to know where the story was headed. Another 4 to 4.5 read.

Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty, the latest Sean Duffy book.  I always listen to McKinty's books because I want to hear the Irish accent of the reader.  Another strong book in this awesome series. 4 to 4.5 stars again.

I have Indridason's latest Erlendur novel, Into Oblivion, to read but I think I may read Konrath's Rum Runner first.  It has been a long time since the last Jack Daniels book.
mhughes

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Reply with quote  #116 
i agree betty,   i finished up Off the Grid today also,   not a bad book,  3 stars for me,  but i like yourself think that he needs to stay in his job duties.   this one was a little bit too "spy" novel for me.   such a shame, Nate and Joe are such great characters and Box screws them up every other book.


no onto Rum Runner for me!!!



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Tiger

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Reply with quote  #117 
I also enjoyed Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty.  Thought it was a little lighter than the other 4 in this series set in The Troubles with lots of humor between the 3 main characters while they investigate what appears to be a suicide.

Have now started The Girl In The Ice, the debut novel for Robert Bryndza set in England................about 1/3 of the way in.    Some of the usual devices from a writer.......a female cop with some past baggage and a bit a nasty streak..........but so far it is working pretty well.
TravisMcGee

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Reply with quote  #118 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betty
I wasn't thrilled by the latest CJ Box book, Off the Grid. I always enjoy spending time with Joe and Nate but the plot just didn't do it for me. I really wish Joe would have more cases that involve his actual job of being a game warden.

I have read a few other really good books though.

The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer was excellent.  It was sad because it deals with the disappearance of a child and what that does to his parents.  It was also funny sometimes because of Detective John Marvel who struck me as a curmudgeon, but not an old one.  There is just a hint of the supernatural to the book but not, IMO, enough to scare off any one who doesn't like that kind of thing.  I listened to it on audio and the narrator did a terrific job.  5 stars on goodreads



Betty, happy to hear how much you liked The Shut Eye, it was in my top 3 for the Golden Post.
mysticpt

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Reply with quote  #119 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisMcGee


Betty, happy to hear how much you liked The Shut Eye, it was in my top 3 for the Golden Post.


the Shut Eye was very good, but I always keep coming back to The Facts of Life and Death.  I think I should have given this one 5 stars as I do find myself thinking of Ruby from time to time.  one of the great character creations imo.  I know Travis enjoyed some of her other books a lil better than this one, but Betty you should give this standalone a try as well, highly recommended.
TravisMcGee

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Reply with quote  #120 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticpt


the Shut Eye was very good, but I always keep coming back to The Facts of Life and Death.  I think I should have given this one 5 stars as I do find myself thinking of Ruby from time to time.  one of the great character creations imo.  I know Travis enjoyed some of her other books a lil better than this one, but Betty you should give this standalone a try as well, highly recommended.


I rated Rubbernecker and The Shut Eye higher at 5 stars and Blacklands lower at 4. There are 2 more written after Blacklands I still want to read.
Betty

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Reply with quote  #121 
I want to read more Belinda Bauer, certainly.  I really enjoyed Rubbernecker and Blacklands but The Shut Eye has raised her greatly in my estimation.  My library only has Blacklands so I may buy some of her other titles to read and then donate to the collection.  I would have no problem recommending Bauer to some of our patrons that I know would enjoy her books.

On another subject, I have the ARC of John Hart's Redemption Road that I can't donate to the library.  If anyone on the forum here would like to have it I would be pleased to mail it out. PM me if you would like to have it. If more than one of you would like it, maybe we can pass it around. I don't need it back.
Tiger

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Reply with quote  #122 
Finished The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza and it was pretty good.   Basically a British police procedural, but with a main character........Ericka Foster.......who has a tough back story,  has trouble with authority, and tends to do things her own way.  When a young girl is found murdered and frozen in an icy grave, Ericka doesn't stop until she finds the killer,  going head to head with the girl's very powerful father, who has his own ideas about how to solve this.  The 2nd book in this series.....The Night Stalker....comes out in June and I look forward to it.

Then I started Skeleton Hill by Peter Lovesey, an English author I have wanted to try for a long time now, but it has not been what I hoped for.   About 1/3 of the way in and it's basically a cozy mystery where the characters interact verbally without a lot of action.  Not a terrible read but certainly not a "thriller" per se.   Has anyone else read Lovesey before ?     I think I am going to put this one aside for now as the Harlan Coben book Fool Me Once arrived yesterday and I want to start it immediately.  

Chrissy

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Reply with quote  #123 
Hi All!!  

Re-reading the Bosch series from The Black Echo.   Funny how I now picture Titus Welliver as Harry, and see the house from the TV series when he talks about his cantilevered home!  

Also very good to get refreshed on the history of Harry and Eleanor knowing the book and TV version differ greatly. Loved series 2 though, hope there is more to come. 

I really do need to read Rubbernecker, been on my TBR list for months! 

x



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Chrissy

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Reply with quote  #124 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeO
I attended a book event in Madison WI for Brian Freeman's Goodbye to the Dead this week.  Brian shared that he is working on a new standalone which might have series potential.  The book takes place in San Francisco which is a place that he spent some of his younger years and that he still has family.  The book is due out in January 2017.  Brian plans to release another Stride novel next year as well....May 2017.  Two books in a year - good news for his fans!  It appears that his books will be published at the same time now as his UK releases have been months sooner for awhile.


Great news!  I've loved all his books, a new series to get our teeth into will be wonderful!

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Tiger

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Reply with quote  #125 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Betty

On another subject, I have the ARC of John Hart's Redemption Road that I can't donate to the library.  If anyone on the forum here would like to have it I would be pleased to mail it out. PM me if you would like to have it. If more than one of you would like it, maybe we can pass it around. I don't need it back.



I love Betty's idea of sharing ARC's.   If anyone would like to read The Widow by Fiona Barton  PM me a mailing address and I'll get it to you.

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