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review 2018-08-07 20:27
Strike 1
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

This is the first of the Cormoran Strike  novels written by JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. The story revolves around a beautiful troubled model Lula Landry who one cold snowy winters night falls from the balcony of her penthouse London flat. Was it suicide or was she pushed? Her brother John Bristow is convinced she was murdered and employs the services of Private Investigator Cormoran Strike to uncover the perpetrator.In Cormoran Strike we have a wonderful fictional detective, even his offices with a steel spiral staircase and unfashionable London location has a touch of Philip Marlowe, Chandler's finest creation. Strike is a man who is deeply scared both mentally and physically by his experiences in war torn Afghanistan. His right leg below the knee is missing the result of an improvised explosive device (IED) when he also saved the life of one of his comrades. The pain from his missing limb is a constant reminder of the hell of Helmand province. His childhood was no less traumatic, living in squats with his drug addicted mother Leda and rarely seeing his rock star father Jonny Rokeby

 

Strike has acquired a new secretary Robin and it soon becomes clear that this highly intelligent woman is a golden asset in the disorganized lifestyle that our PI leads. Although Robin is engaged to the controlling Mathew there is certainly an attraction between this ambitious lady and her older damaged employer. Strike is aware of this danger but he cannot help himself admiring the beauty and intelligence displayed before him..."but having normal sight and an unimpaired libido, he was also reminded every day she bent over the computer monitor that she was a very sexy girl."..

 

A good crime author will always attempt to shield the identity of the killer until the final chapters and Robert Galbraith is a master of illusion and deception. The reader is taken on a descriptive journey through the beating heart of London where..."its colourful windows displayed a multitudinous mess of life's unnecessities"....and on that journey an eclectic  mix of characters is on show including the extravagant camp designer Guy Some...."nearly a foot shorter than Strike and had perhaps a hundredth of his body hair. The front of the designers tight black T-shirt was decorated with hundreds of tiny silver studs which formed an apparently three-dimensional image of Elvis's face"...and Lula's birth mother Marlene Higson..."she was wearing a pink Lycra vest top under a zip-up grey hoodie, and leggings that ended inches above her grey-white ankles. There were grubby flip-flops on her feet and many gold rings on her fingers; her yellow hair, with its inches of greying brown  root, was pulled back into a dirty towelling scrunchie".....

 

I must confess that I have managed to read the 3 books in the series out of order but that has certainly not ruined my enjoyment. The writing is of the highest quality and it has been a great adventure discovering the complicated background of Cormoran Strike and his beautiful assistant Robin. The dynamics of this relationship is something that Galbraith explores in more detail in the later books and it all adds to the excitement of this highly accomplished beautifully written novel.

 

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review 2018-05-28 17:27
Steamy read, second in series, still waiting for more story
Calling Caralisa - Virginia Nelson

Another quick read in the series. This is Caralisa, Bentley, and Jackson, and how they came together. I enjoyed the different dynamics with this trio. Caralisa had low self-esteem, but Bentley and Jackson were wonderful in how they made her see otherwise. I still hope for more of the world story, so I look forward to more in this series.

I received a copy of this story through Candid Book Review, and this is my unsolicited review.

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review 2018-05-01 17:08
Good Characters and story
Dark Moon Wolf (Calling the Moon Book 1) - Sarah E. Stevens

Julie is a single mother who works as a librarian with a four month old baby- Carson- had turned into a wolf puppy on the full moon. Julia is totally confused and decides to go look for Carson’s father- Mac. Julie never told Mac she was pregnant. Julie tries to get in touch with Mac but can’t so she decides to go to his hometown with Carson. Julie finds Carson’s grandparents  who belong to the pack. But Mac had been murdered and he isn’t the only one from his pack who has been murdered. Lily is the pack leader of Mac’s pack and Julie shows prejudice toward Lily. . But now someone is after Carson. Julie does found out she has recessive wolf genes which means if she was bitten she could turn into a werewolf or die. The genes make Julie a Dark Wolf. Max had been murdered in Las Vegas. With the help of a friend Sheila who julie finds out is a witch. and Eliza who was a werewolf and a few other werewolves and they start hunting for the murderers.  

I really enjoyed this paranormal book. I do wish it had been longer. But I liked the plot and pace. It had my attention from the first page until the last page. This can be emotional and choke you up at times. I felt this was well written. I loved it had a lot of twists and turns. There were: wolves, witches, suspense, murder, mystery, betrayal, wolf pup power play, politics, experiments, action, loss, family, a Dark Wolf, and a lot more. I loved how the author  showed us a lot of different kinds of wolves. I also really liked how Julie didn’t have any special powers but she did find ways to contribute and help to try to find the murderers. I liked the characters and the ins and outs of this book and I recommend..

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review 2018-02-28 18:59
J.K. Rowling Does "Mystery"
The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

 

... and really, is there anything she can't write?

 

This may not be the most ingenious of plots (supermodel with "issues" falls to her death from the balcony of her high rise apartment; after the police have declared her death a probable suicide and closed the case, her brother shows up at the office of a down-and-out P.I. with a somewhat checkered past and pleads with him to reinvestigate; P.I. has a new temp secretary who gradually and reluctantly becomes his sidekick), but as always, it's all in the execution, and here, Rowling delivers on all fronts; from tone of voice to attitudes to every other aspect that's indispensable to creating well-rounded characters ... and what a cast of characters she's come up with, too.  She has an impeccable ear for dialogue, for the snazzy, street-wise language that few mysteries can do without, especially those published today -- all the more those set, like this one, in the demi-monde of fashion, film, rock (music, meth / cocaine, and whisky-on-the), modeling, moguls, and money both old and new -- and for endowing her characters with entirely credible human emotions.  All of her characters, that is, regardless how important they are to the story.  Even today, there are few mystery writers who manage that sort of feat.

 

And honestly, can you possibly think of a greater name for a protagonist, a run-down P.I. at that, than Cormoran Strike?

 

Count me in for book 2 of the series soon -- I wonder what took me so long to get to it in the first place.

 

Oh, and never mind that she published this under a male pen name (nice try, Joanne) ... the cat was out of the bag within weeks, if not days IIRC, and I am SO counting this book towards the "R" square of the Women Writers Bingo / Challenge.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-17 01:51
The Dark Calling Review Ramble
The Dark Calling - Kresley Cole The Dark Calling - Kresley Cole

I'd really been looking forward to the next book in the Arcana Chronicles series and this one just didn't work that well for me. Usually I do a series reread leading up to a new release and didn't this time. Maybe I was behind on a bunch of details? I don't know. TDC just didn't grab me like the last books had. The ending also makes me cranky. Harrumph. 

 

***My review is spoilery and full of rambles. I'm in a weird place after reading this book.***

 

Arcana Rising (book #5) ended with Evie living with Arik and pregnant with his child. :( But we also got confirmation that Jack survived. (Yay!! Happiest of dances!) TDC begins with Evie being suspicious of everyone, especially Paul, the jack of all trades handy-medic-cook who's Arik's assistant. And then no one believes Evie's version of events. She wonders if it's her pregnancy hormones. Ugh. It's kind of an odd start. I appreciated that the villain used gaslighting to torture Evie. It feels timely and is super evil. I also appreciated that Evie was not thrilled to have an unplanned pregnancy during an apocalypse. Kind of a low bar, but pregnancy in romance is so often treated as a fix-all, and in this story it is not. 

 

Evie has a huge falling out with Arik, gets kicked out of the fortress, and teams up with Joules and Kentarch (who shows up with a sweet truck). Paul, our new villain, has tapped into Arik's long-standing distrust of Evie and he (Arik) now hates her and wants to kill her. This set up a huge conflict in the Evie and Arik branch of the love triangle. I get it, but it felt like a retread for them. Also, Arik's actions were super shitty. I know he wasn't in control of himself, but he was awful to her for weeks. Maybe I'm not appreciating how he was controlled by Paul. Just, lines were crossed that couldn't be uncrossed. We've also seen other characters resist mind control, especially for the sake of someone they love. It was meaningful to me that Arik couldn't. He needed another character to get out of it. 

 

In order to contact Circe, who is too far under a frozen moat to talk to, Evie & co venture out to find a big enough body of water for Circe to communicate with Evie. Evie believes that Circe knows how to stop Paul. 

 

Finally, in this book, Evie travels east to the Outer Banks. Along the way, the Arcana run into Jack. I have been DYING for their reunion. It was okay. Maybe the way they find him felt mundane? Argh. Jack is Jack tho: hard to kill, cunning, and gone for Evie. :)

 

Evie felt passive through a lot of this story. She's sidelined by both men in her life at different points and it's frustrating. She's a badass, and she finally uses her skills, and by the end of the book seems to understand how to access them, which is nice. It's odd that so many Arcana are scared of her when they first meet her, but Arik and Jack want to lock her up in a secure location. It's strange that the two people who love her the most don't believe she can take care of herself. (She just did that in the last book!)

 

Okay, so Evie & Co plus Jack reach the shore, LOTS of adventure ensues and Evie hits a turning point in her powers. This was excellent. Also, Evie and Jack reconcile and I loved that. Jack just rolls with her pregnancy because of course he does. Again, another low bar, but it really showed how Jack is focused on the now. He loves Evie. If she has a kid, he'll love Evie's kid unconditionally. Heroic behavior from my fav Cajun. 

 

Arik shows up in spectacular fashion and then there's a lot of emphasis on the love triangle. If you want to read about a heroine who truly loves two people and they accept that about her, here you go. (No, not in a polyamory way.) This was well done. All three of them talk about it with each other in depth. Six books in, I want Evie to pick one--PICK JACK, EVIE!--and be done with it. 

 

They return to the fortress and strategize how to kill Paul without Arik succumbing to his control over him again. I loved how this played out. Evie shows what she can do and freaks everyone out. *shrug* I didn't like how, because she's pregnant with Arik's baby, Jack decides to leave and Evie's reaction is to let him. So frustrating. 

 

Highs: I think my favorite part of this book is the main villain. Paul was scary and twisty and difficult to vanquish. There were other villains who were wonderfully creepy too. I also love Evie and Circe's friendship.  

 

Lows: Richter didn't do anything for me in this book. He comes across as a meathead, so not particularly scary. At times, Jack felt a bit muted. He's not really jealous or possessive, which is good, but he doesn't fight for a future with Evie. I get it that he wants her to be in a safe place, but ugh. Apocalyptic love is rough. Love triangles are aggravating when I'm used to (and prefer) an HEA with one couple. 

 

I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I'll do a reread so I'm ready. I know what I'm hoping for, but maybe I need to prepare myself for a different outcome. Bah. 

 

 

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