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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-02-26 17:01
Embers
Embers (Common Law) - Kate Sherwood

And here's the unprofessional-professional, and here's where I check out of this series. 

 

*sigh*

 

I don't understand Jericho or what Sherwood is doing with his characterization. She wants me to believe this dude survived eight years in the Marines, four tours in Afghanistan, and went on to be a beat cop for the LAPD and eventually made detective. But here's the thing: Jericho's in idiot. He has no balls, no backbone, no brains; he's constantly being shoved around in one direction or another by everyone around him, not just his ubercrush Wade, and he does nothing about it except dig himself in deeper. Oh, but he has authority issues. If that's the case, how did he make it through boot camp? He survived four tours and eight years as a Marine but can't figure out how to get a gun out of someone's hand whose standing a mere three feet away from him? Really? He has authority issues but willingly lets himself be manipulated by Wade even after Wade says straight to his face that's what he's going to do? Jay needs to grow a pair and grow up.

 

At least Hockley shows some flexibility here and doesn't just keep up the "I'm a fed so I'm a jerkface for no other reason than I'm a fed" nonsense that he's had going on in the last book, but frankly, I'm getting close to being over the "locals vs the feds" nonsense that fiction writers just love to drool all over. There is at least an explanation of sorts in this one about why they're being such major tools. Kayla's tough and decisive where she can be, but really, by the time the feds are done with this town, I doubt she'll have anything resembling respect from her subordinates the way things are going right now.

 

As for the biker wars story - please. Just...that was the most convoluted plotline I've seen in awhile. And Nikki and her kids - honestly, I don't understand why Jericho gives a crap about any of them, when Nikki is constantly taking advantage of him and the kids are so horrible. Clearly, the only conclusion I can draw at this point is that he's a masochist. Which brings us to:

 

Wade Granger. Why am I supposed to give a crap about this dipshirt and Jericho's star-crossed obsession with him? If it really is star-crossed since Jericho's just barely pretending to act like a cop at this point. And is Jericho serious about his "if they made drugs legal then they wouldn't be a problem" logic? I guess he's a-OK with elementary school kids being used as mules and pushers, and teens getting hooked on this stuff and people OD-ing left and right and throwing their lives away for a high. But hey, if they're legal, then his ex-boyfriend would have a legitimate business enterprise and it'd be all good for them. Well, except the illegal weapons running and whatnot. Shoot, I guess we're just going to have to make that legal too. (And even if Wade ends up being revealed as being undercover (unlikely) or an informant (somewhat more likely) that still doesn't excuse Jericho's behavior up to this point.)

 

Writing is still good, but I have get off this stupid train.

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review 2017-01-29 16:47
The Custom of the Army
The Custom of the Army - Diana Gabaldon

Third time's a charm? Let's see if it actually posts this time.

 

Reread dates 1/28/17-1/29/17:
I didn't do a full reread as I skipped the bulk of the battle sequences. I didn't like this one when I originally read it in 2012, but felt I should at least give a go-over on this reread of the Lord John series. When placed in chronological order, it still doesn't make much sense. I think Gabaldon just really wanted an excuse to write about the British capturing Quebec and so found a way to send John there. It's still very scattered and doesn't have much of a point in and of itself.

 

Original review (2014, read Oct 2012):
I always enjoy spending time with John, but this is a gap-filler that doesn't really provide much of any substance. It starts with an eel party in England, then John gets whisked away to Canada to avoid potential trouble with the law until charges can either be cleared or swept under the rug. His purpose for coming to Canada is quickly put on the back burner and John ends up spending most of his time on random adventures. Then John returns to England accomplishing nothing. So it was good to see John again, but I don't really see the point in this short story other than to provide a few more details on things we've been told about already in other stories.

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review 2017-01-02 13:47
The Bridge ★★☆☆☆
The Bridge: A Novel - Karen Kingsbury,January LaVoy

While I can happily suspend disbelief for fantastical story elements, like elves and magic spells and talking trees and, yes, even miracles from God, I have very little tolerance for illogical or grossly improbable plot points in a story that is supposedly set in a realistic world and peopled by functioning adults. This, unfortunately, is one of those books. 

 

More than one character is expected to

take over a successful family business from their supposedly business-savvy parent, but is actively discouraged from learning basic business skills at university. A character who resists learning how to run a business is magically able to run a charitable foundation, which seems to consist of just approving scholarship applications and manning the adoptions desk at a pet shelter. I can get behind a miracle from God causing someone with massive brain injuries to suddenly wake from a coma with no neuro deficits, but all my sensibilities cry out at the notion that his visitors were allowed to store 9 boxes full of books in his ICU room alongside his ventilator and other medical equipment. That same ICU room also held an entire choir of carolers who came in to sing him awake. I’m not sure where those carolers were all standing. I imagined them perched on top of his ventilator, clinging to his IV poles, balancing on boxes of books, and sitting on each other’s laps along both sides of his bed.

(spoiler show)

 

 

 

Then there’s the thought processes employed by the characters, especially the main protagonists.

The entire plot of lovers wrongfully separated for years hinges on the guy just accepting that the woman he desperately loves is planning to marry another, just because her overbearing father calls him up out of the blue and says so, and despite her already having explicitly told him she won’t. He doesn’t even ask her about it, and she doesn’t ask him why he’s suddenly turned cold. This goes on for years, and continues when they meet up again. Finally, after 5 minutes conversation, the misunderstanding is all cleared up and they’re going to live happily ever after, because of course they’re suddenly capable of having a mature and adult relationship.

(spoiler show)

 

Ugh.

 

Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. January LaVoy’s performance was the best thing about this book.

 

I read this for the 2017 Romance Bingo reading challenge. This book clearly fits the square for TSTL (too stupid to live).

 

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review 2016-12-29 02:43
Top Floor
Top Floor - K.C. Faelan

I don't know how a story can be this long and still not really show any of the relationship buildup, but this one somehow manages to do it by skipping weeks of relationship development at a time. One minute, Sean is cleaning up Mr. Deuvaux's foot after he cuts it on a broken glass, the next minute Mr. Deuvaux is hiring Sean as a personal assistant, the next minute they're flirting in a tailor's shop, and so on. Is it really that hard to SHOW the MCs actually getting to know each other on page? And no, all their overly-detailed and long, drawn-out smexy times don't count. At least not for me. If you like lots of sex, you'll probably love this book but I was mostly bored.

 

There was one point after the Big Misunderstanding when Mr. Deuvaux was wondering when Sean became such an important part of his life, and I honestly didn't know how to answer that because we were only ever told a few little things that Sean did for his employer. We never saw that bond form. It felt more like Mr. Deuvaux latched onto Sean because Sean just happened to be standing in the room when Mr. Deuvaux's doctor told him to sober up.

 

Then there's the subplot with the hotel manager Mr. Trant, who is blackmailing his employees if he finds them having dalliances with the hotel clientele, making them steal items for him or he'll fire them and report them to the police. I was hoping that would at least provide some sort of on-page action, but most of that happens off-page too.

 

But hey, at least there's that four-chapter long foreplay and sex scene at the Dionysus Club that would never end. *sigh*

 

It wasn't all bad though. There were a few cute scenes and I liked what we saw of the other hotel staff who were Sean's friends. The period details were well done and there weren't that many grammar errors.

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review 2016-12-23 03:45
Always Another Side
Always Another Side - Annabelle Jacobs

I was hopeful when this started and our two guys, both fresh out of relationships, one after 16 years and the other just a few weeks, decided to take things slow. And they actually talk! For about ten pages and then this becomes the standard old m/m romance with lots of sex and little substance. *yawn* I deleted it at one point, but I was curious if my theory about James was going to end up being correct, so I downloaded it again. (My theory was correct. It really wasn't that hard to figure out. It bit too convenient and unbelievable, but whatever).

 

There wasn't anything bad about the book, per se. It would've been nicer to have more of the actual relationship development (outside of the sex scenes) to be on page, because I just wasn't feeling any chemistry between these two guys or understanding what they saw in each other. It would've helped if there had been anything else going on in the book, but this is all romance. If the MCs aren't talking to each other or thinking about each other, or boinking, then they're talking to other people about each other. Hardly anything else happens. The only good thing is that the guys's honest all the time policy prevented a Big Misunderstanding. 

 

If I hadn't read similar stories a thousand times already, I'd probably like it better. But as it stands, it's just meh. 

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