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review 2017-12-04 14:24
Alternating narrators! Argh!
Words in Deep Blue - Cath Crowley

Rachel's brother Cal drowned several months ago. She's moving back to the city where she will see her old love, Henry. Henry's also down in the dumps. His girlfriend left him, his family is going through tough times and their bookshop is in trouble. Will they find their way back? Could they find happiness in the stacks? 

 

Another book-related book seemed like it might be a good read and as a YA novel I thought it might be a good chance of pace (plus with recent events I just wanted something a little lighter). But cue my dread when I saw the book alternates between POV, which is a technique I can't stand. Some authors do just fine with this and some stories actually do very well when told by multiple narrators. This wasn't one of them.

 

But it just didn't do much for me. It's not as romance centered as this book could have been and while I was sympathetic to Rachel and her loss the book was just boring. Framing Henry as a lovesick young man who got dumped to start his story off was pretty much a huge turn-off for me. The dynamic between Rachel/Henry/Amy also bored me since we know where this is going.

 

Clearly didn't work for me. It's too bad because I had been waiting to read this one for quite a while. I'd skip it or make sure you get it from the library instead.

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review 2017-11-30 02:34
Poor Lori Anderson suffers through another great read. Her pain is our gain.
Deep Blue Trouble - Steph Broadribb

I really could just say, "You know that book that I (and just about everyone else) was so excited about a few months back? Well, the sequel is out now, and it's just as good, if not better. Everything I wrote before still applies." That'd be cheating, and not 100% accurate, but close enough I could do it with a clear conscience.

 

But let's see if we can give it a bit more justice...

 

When we left Lori, she was agreeing to work with an FBI Agent to bring someone in, in exchange for this, he'll help exonerate JT from the crimes he's been accused of. Lori has brought this particular escaped con in before -- Gibson "The Fish" Fletcher, a thief and convicted murderer -- and Agent Monroe assumes that should give her a leg up. This hunt takes her from coast to coast (and coast to coast), and even across the border. I'd like to think that her career before these last two cases was a whole lot more benign, because what she goes through in the couple of weeks recorded in these two novels is probably more than most people go through in their lives.

 

Lori brings a PI she worked with before to track Fletcher in to help with some background, and Monroe hooks her up with a group of bounty hunters that he has experience with. Lori and her PI get along well, and work together even better. The bounty hunters, on the other hand, just don't seem to want to work with Lori. The contrast between the people she's allied with in this hunt is striking and helps the reader get a real grasp of Lori's character. Every other character in this book deserves some discussion -- well, most of them do -- but I can't do that without ruining the book. Let me just say that I'd be glad to see everyone that survives this book intact in the future -- and maybe even some of those that don't.

 

This case is primarily Lori using her brain (and her PI's) to get her man -- yeah, there's some fisticuffs, some gunplay -- but this is about Lori being smarter than anyone else in the case. Similarly, in Deep Down, Lori takes some real physical punishment, but this time the punishment is more mental and psychological -- she doesn't escape without some serious bruising (at least...), but primarily it's the emotional stress and punishment she's given while on the hunt for Fletcher that will take its toll.

 

In Deep Down the threat to Dakota was obvious and immanent -- this time out, it's more abstract, theoretical. Lori's used a little money she just made to send her to camp. But if Lori can't keep JT out of prison (or worse), getting him as a donor to help treat Dakota's leukaemia is going to be near impossible. This is a nice change -- you can't have Dakota in constant peril, nor can you have Lori constantly distracted by her. Don't get me wrong, I don't want her to disappear, or be conveniently occupied all the time, but the reader needs it occasionally.

 

As for JT? Well, being in prison in a state where one of the major crime lords has a hit out on you isn't exactly easy. We don't get the flashbacks to his training Lori as much, but Lori is constantly returning to his lessons for guidance -- so his presence is felt throughout the book, even if he's locked up the whole time. That training is what ultimately helps her -- even if she has to ignore a good chunk of it, naturally, watching her decide when to ignore his training is painful, because she picks bad times and ways to do so. Lori is keeping something from JT -- which is going to come back to bite her. I get why she's doing it, and can sympathize -- but I know she's a fictional character and I know what usually happens to fictional characters who do this kind of thing. Am truly hoping that Broadribb is going ti zag here when we all expect her to zig -- but even if she zigs, I expect the execution of it to be better than my imagination.

 

It may seem like a little thing, or at least a strange thing to comment on in a post like this -- but I really appreciated the way that Broadribb worked in a recap of Deep Down Dead to the opening pages here. It's a lost art anymore, and I just wanted to take a second and say way to go.

 

One minor criticism: it was much easier to tell that this was a book written by a Brit writing an American.

 

This was a fast thriller, with a story that propels you to keep reading -- you'll read more than you should per sitting, because you just can't put it down. Broadribb writes like a seasoned pro, with panache and skill. Lori remains one of my favorite new characters for this year, and the rest of the cast of characters are just about as good. I can't wait to see what Broadribb puts poor Lori, JT and Dakota through next.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2017/11/29/deep-blue-trouble-by-steph-broadribb
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review 2017-11-20 00:00
A Bolt of Blue
A Bolt of Blue - Nicky Spencer it starts quite interesting but goes downhill about halfway through the story. There is too much emphasis on sidestories which are presented in a rather boring way and there is an entire chapter that reads like a lenghty report about a baseball game in the sports colum, which doesn't really contibute anything to the story, and is the worst of this book's many fillers.
There are some typos and editing problems, but not too many to be fair.
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review 2017-11-19 01:05
If loving one man's hard...is loving two even possible?
A Bolt of Blue - Nicky Spencer

Ian and Mitch have been friends for most of their lives and for a lot of that time Ian's been in love with Mitch but to scared of losing his best friend to tell him. Mitch can't imagine his life without his best friend in it but it's only Dusty who makes him want forever...or at least that's what he thought until he finds himself face to face with Ian and thoughts of how his lips would feel and what it would be like to wake up next to him start creeping into Mitch's brain.

But he's so sure about how much he wants Dusty...so how can he want Ian too...it's not possible to love more than one person, right?

I'm more than a little impressed with this one. Nicky Spencer isn't just a new to me author...she's a new author and while there were things about this that weren't perfect for me there was a lot that I liked. I've read a few books where the author wrote each chapter from the POV of one of the MCs and yes, those books were written about traditional pairings of 2 people so I have to admit when I saw that this was done that way but alternating between 3 MCs my brain might have stuttered a little but when I took a deep breath and thought about it I decided that reading it certainly couldn't be harder than writing it and it wasn't...for me it actually worked well since I tend to enjoy stories told from alternating points of view. Spending too much time in one person's head space more often than not tends to be annoying, disconcerting frustrating or some combination of those things for me so alternating POVs usually works best. 

I found the dynamics between these three men interesting...Mitch and Ian are both college students Mitch comes from a family that's fairly well to day. His parents pay for his schooling, his condo, provide an allowance and gifted him with a nice car, he's on a sports scholarship for baseball...yep, basically Mitch is one lucky dude and in a lot of ways I got the impression that he doesn't take this for granted, he knows he's lucky so I like that about him. But at the same time I didn't feel like I could relate to him. For me Mitch just seemed to wear his rose colored glasses too much when it came to how he viewed life in general and there were times when he was a little to quick to pass judgement on things when he didn't really know all the facts.

While Ian's had a very different life. He's studying to be a nurse and he works as a CNA (certified nurse's aide) to help pay for this, he rides the bus to get where he's going. Ian's been raised by a single mom and an absentee dad that he learned long ago not to rely on. I really liked Ian, I'm not even 100% sure why I liked him so much but I did. He came across as cute and funny, a bit of a nerd but a sexy one and a really loyal friend.

Lastly we have Dusty. Dusty's a bit older than Mitch and Ian. He's working as bartender at 'Angel's' when he meets Mitch and they're one night stand turns into a relationship. Dusty turns out to be the grounding force for this trio. He's a little more mature and that's partially due to his age but it's also because of his life experience and yet, ironically in some areas of his life Dusty has definite issues with self-esteem and confidence.

I can't say that the dynamics between the three of them didn't work for me but more like...it wasn't quite what I expected. I was really surprised to find that when all was said and done I felt that while Dusty and Mitch seemed to still loved each other. The relationship that I really felt and bought into was Ian and Mitch. I just really, really liked and enjoyed the interaction between these two men, it felt more natural and realistic. Which also leads me to feel that Dusty was actually what pulled the three of them together and yet when I take everything into consideration logic tells me it should be Mitch or even Ian but when I break it down and look at Mitch & Dusty/Ian & Dusty/Mitch & Ian (and I have to admit I wasn't feeling this last pairing at all) things just kept coming back to Dusty.

The other part of this menage that strangely enough I was ok with was the fact that there isn't a perfect balance between these three...realistically even a relationship involving only two people doesn't have perfect balance at all times...it's give and take and when that happens quite often the balance shifts back and forth...that's just how it goes as long as one person doesn't always seem to hold the control in a relationship I'm ok with things shifting around. 

I really enjoyed this story. While it wasn't perfect for me there was definitely more good than not in it. It held my attention and I had no problem with involved with the characters and the events of the story. There were some things that I would have enjoyed more of such as maybe a bit of Mitch and Dusty pre-Dusty-meets-Ian or a bit more Erik and Ian...just to be clear, we're talking a purely platonic friendship here. I'd love to see more of these two interacting and maybe even eventually becoming friends. I'm pretty sure the worlds not ready for that but it'd sure be fun. The one thing that I would have been ok with less of was April...but that's a very, very subjective opinion so we won't worry about that one. 

Last but not least I really enjoyed the author's writing style it worked for me and I found myself easily about to re-engage with the story whenever I was able to resume reading...pesky RL is pesky. I'm impressed with this author's first time story and I look forward to finding out what she has planned for the future.

If you're looking for something new...check it out, it's being released today...'A Bolt of Blue' by Nicky Spencer...curled up in a comfy chair with 3 hot men...it's definitely my idea of a good way to spend a cold winter's day.



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A copy of 'A Bolt of Blue' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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