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review 2017-12-13 04:47
Murder on Moon Trek 1 completely rocks... moon rocks, that is
Murder on Moon Trek 1 - Diane Vallere Murder on Moon Trek 1 - Diane Vallere

Murder on Moon Trek 1, the first in a planned series follows Sylvia Stryker, a half-Plunian, half-Earthling who wants nothing more than to go to space as a member of the Moon Unit 5 crew. After leaving her Federation training before completion (under less than stellar conditions), Sylvia had quietly studied at home, hacking the Federation for the class outlines and studying from outdated textbooks.

 

After discovering a Moon Unit 5 crew member had broken her leg just prior to the cruise ship's maiden voyage, Sylvia breaks into the Federation records and inserts her name and doctored Federation files as the next acceptable candidate for the job of second lieutenant over the Uniform Ward; sure its a glorified laundry position, overseeing the cleanliness, repair and distribution of the crew's uniforms, but it allows her to leave her family's dreary dry ice mining operation and head into space!

 

Unfortunately things do not go as planned... almost immediately Sylvia discovers a Code Blue. The dead body in question is that of a navigation office, hidden in the Uniform closet, bringing her not only into the critical eye of her supervisor, Yeoman D'Nar, but also of Neptune, Head of Moon Unit 5 Security, Dr. Edison, the Head of the medical Facility, and Captain Swift. Now Sylvia must try ever harder to protect not only her checkered past, but to try to figure out just who the murderer is before they strike again.

 

Enough on the premise and into the review already, right?

 

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. On the one hand, Diane Vallere is a fantastic author who has yet to fail to not only hook me into the story, but to also solidly deliver on her storylines and deliver great endings to her mystery books. On the other hand, while I do enjoy watching Star Wars, Star Trek, old Battlestar GALACTICA, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, I had never embraced reading much of it. Battlestar actually put out a pretty good series, which I enjoyed, but, other than that, I never did like reading all of the different takes on those universes, or even all new series and worlds.

 

In other words, I wasn't sure what to expect here, or if I would even like a "space opera mystery", but I was completely surprised to find myself quickly pulled in and pacing the corridors (and security cells) alongside Sylvia, trying to work out who the guilty party was: could it be the impossibly cranky and disapproving Yeoman D'Nar, the by-the-book Neptune, or possibly the sweet Gremlon stowaway, Pika. When anyone else would just hunker down and contemplate saving their own skins, Sylvia, against her own better judgment, boldly strides in to help save the day.

 

So, would I suggest this to others? Without a doubt, yes. I couldn't stop reading, and had this devoured in a day, and am eager for more. My sci-fi, Trek book reading husband just asked to read it, and I happily handed my e-reader over. Here's to more Sylvia Stryker mysteries to come!

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review 2017-08-13 11:39
The Decorator Who Knew Too Much (Madison Knight #4)
The Decorator Who Knew Too Much - Diane Vallere

This series has always been oddly compelling to me - I can't say I ever really loved it, but yet I keep coming back for the next one.  Part of the problem, I think, is that of the three permanent characters in the books, Hudson, Tex and Madison, I really only like Hudson and Tex. I don't have patience for Madison; she's not written to be a warm or likeable character, in my opinion.  Vallere touts Madison's independence to much, she ends up being off-putting, and her independence isn't really independence at all; her heart got broken so she shut everyone out.  That's a bitter cage, not real independence.

 

Anyhow, I like the two males and generally the mystery plots are pretty good.  But this one just failed for me.  I'm tired of the lack of growth in Madison, even when she's supposedly growing, and the plot was just too twisty and convoluted.  At several points, it reads as though the author confused herself trying to make the plot too labyrinthine.  And what am I supposed to do to with that damn ending?  Are she and Hudson breaking up?  If so, over what?  It was as clear as mud and I'm not in the mood for obscure endings.

 

I also have to say that while Henery press generally has a stellar record regarding publishing quality, this one was a hot mess.  Grammatically it was, I think, nearly flawless, but the timeline was messed up in places (Madison referring to things happening the day before that happened that morning) and there were more than a few places where she'd start out inside at the beginning of a sentence only to suddenly be outside by the end of it.  Lots of evidence of a major re-write without a final read through for consistency.

 

Not sure I'll read another if it's published.  Not because of the editing but because I'm just over Madison's issues and the emotional cages she keeps creating for herself.

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review 2017-05-31 00:00
Designer Dirty Laundry
Designer Dirty Laundry - Diane Vallere Dollycas’s Thoughts

What do you do when you show up for the first day of your new job and find your new boss dead? Well I would turn around and run as fast as I could, but not Samantha Kidd. She faints while someone else calls 911. Then she becomes the prime suspect due to the killer’s master set up. Not the new life she imagined for herself…she has no choice but to turn her fashion trending talents into sleuthing talents before she loses everything.

Such as entertaining read. I immediately fell head over heels for Samantha Kidd. Everything was stacked against her and she did not give up. She had no idea who to trust and was being hounded by a mortgage company to verify her employment and the police who were determined to find her guilty. Her inner dialogue and outer antics were hilarious.

The story is very well written with a tight plot and a quick pace. There were several potential suspects and I was completely surprised when the killer was revealed. Seems Samantha and I missed the same clues 🙂

I really enjoyed the fashion/department store backdrop. The author brings her life experience into the story and it shows her passion for the field.

This story will put a smile on you face and maybe even have you laughing out loud!

I am excited to continue reading this series. Is there romance on the horizon for Samantha? What is next on the job front? I can’t wait to find out.
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review 2017-05-31 00:00
Designer Dirty Laundry
Designer Dirty Laundry - Diane Vallere Dollycas’s Thoughts

What do you do when you show up for the first day of your new job and find your new boss dead? Well I would turn around and run as fast as I could, but not Samantha Kidd. She faints while someone else calls 911. Then she becomes the prime suspect due to the killer’s master set up. Not the new life she imagined for herself…she has no choice but to turn her fashion trending talents into sleuthing talents before she loses everything.

Such as entertaining read. I immediately fell head over heels for Samantha Kidd. Everything was stacked against her and she did not give up. She had no idea who to trust and was being hounded by a mortgage company to verify her employment and the police who were determined to find her guilty. Her inner dialogue and outer antics were hilarious.

The story is very well written with a tight plot and a quick pace. There were several potential suspects and I was completely surprised when the killer was revealed. Seems Samantha and I missed the same clues 🙂

I really enjoyed the fashion/department store backdrop. The author brings her life experience into the story and it shows her passion for the field.

This story will put a smile on you face and maybe even have you laughing out loud!

I am excited to continue reading this series. Is there romance on the horizon for Samantha? What is next on the job front? I can’t wait to find out.
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review 2016-10-06 00:00
Masking for Trouble
Masking for Trouble - Diane Vallere The Good
+Liked Margo, her pathology
+Positive therapy rep
+Didn’t see the culprit or ending coming
+Liked the details & intricacies of the relationships, town,
+Unique protag and setting There is a loose end...
+Plan to continue the series

The Bad & The Other
=Lots of em dashes mid-sentence to clarify who Margo was talking about, e.g., “I waited until she left—the waitress, not Bobbie—before resuming the conversation.”
-Info dumps sprinkled throughout for details on the relationships, businesses, and city
- “Didn’t realize we were going for a couple’s costume” MY FAT ASS! Makes 0 sense.
-Ebony and Tak feel like stereotypes


As you can see, I agree with the all the praise listed above and don’t have much to add besides the less than stellar aspects.

It’s exactly what I look for in a cozy mystery. It’s all about the people, the relationships surrounding the crime and Margo’s an amateur snooping around. It doesn’t take over her life since she has to run her shop and there’s reasons why law enforcement isn’t getting it done.

My favorite thing about Margo is her pathology. She has issues and reasons for those issues. It’s a life-long problem that she’s aware of and dealing with. I adore the fact she takes about coping mechanisms and therapy is a positive experience.

Her and her dad are so cute. Hell, cute is a great way to describe most of her relationships. Though her romantic life is messy. And I cannot forget her adorbs kitty, Soot.

I can’t say much about the mystery besides the fact I didn’t see that coming. The villainous exposition was a requirement because of the oh what factor. Unfortunately, there is a loose end that I’d love the answer to. I’m not quite sure how they would’ve pulled it off, TBH.
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