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review 2018-03-03 21:53
Knight of Flames (Inheritance #2)
Knight of Flames (Inheritance Book 2) - Amelia Faulkner

You know that feeling when you're reading a good book and you sort of know where it's going and it goes there but it's still okay because you still had a good time getting there? But there's also this undercurrent of weird niggling at you the entire time and then you get to the last page and it sucker punches you in the brain and then you can't figure out if you're really excited or super dreading what's going to come next?



And all of a sudden everything you've read prior to that moment is put into this whole other context and it makes this horrible kind of sense and you don't know what to make of it? Yeah, that's me and this book.


This was going to be a solid four stars, and the first 95% of the book totally is. But now? Gotta raise it up a star. The author is toying with us, just because she can! I bet this is what Ms. Faulkner was doing as she was writing that page:



Laurence and Quentin are still figuring out their psychic powers and their relationship, and how to get past Quentin's various hangups with sex or anything sexual in nature. Along the way, Quentin gets an unexpected visitor, Ethan gets a boyfriend, and we get to meet new psychics. The other really starts to expand on this world while also giving us a little more background on Quentin. We don't get quite as much focus on Laurence, as this one is more Quentin-centric, but we still go back and forth on their POVs.


The flaws exist only because the characters are flawed, and to say more about it would be giving away too much of the plot. Let me just say, you'll yell at these characters like they're in a horror movie but at least Laurence is somewhat genre savvy. Quentin is as always tragically oblivious.


What else can I say? The author's geography of San Diego continues to prove good. Kind of off on our weather. May's usually not that hot, but freak heat waves do happen all year long so I'll give her that one.

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review 2018-01-20 22:39
Agent Bayne (PsyCop #9)
Agent Bayne (PsyCop Book 9) - Jordan Castillo Price

*happy sigh*


I didn't read Skin After Skin, so the last new PsyCop book I read was Spook Squad which was FOREVER ago. To say that I've been impatiently awaiting this book is not an exaggeration, and it did not disappoint.


This is around the time in most long-running series where the author runs out of steam (if they hadn't already) and just start phoning in their books. Not JCP though. She keeps this series fresh, keeps finding new ways to challenge her characters and push their boundaries, and keeps delivering hilarious commentary on the absurdities of life. (Vic vs smartphone is my new favorite.)


I loved seeing Vic in this new environment at the FPMP. He finally starts to realize just how toxic things were at the precinct when his new coworkers are not only nice to him but actually excited to work with him, and some are genuinely in awe of him. It's a lot for him to adjust to. Along with that, he has a new assignment unlike anything he did when working homicide and he has to figure out how to work with Darla.


Darla is a great addition to the cast, and her history with Vic has a lot of possibilities for exploring not just their shared pasts but their ever-changing understanding of what it means to be a medium. Jacob also does some growing here, though not quite to the degree as Vic. He is not okay after the events in Spook Squad and has some anxiety to deal with. It's the first chink in his armor that we've seen and it brings him more down to Earth in his view of psychic abilities. 


As for the mystery, the perp was pretty obvious from the get-go, and while we expect Vic to be clueless and obtuse, I was rather bemused that Jacob didn't start asking the necessary questions sooner. Thankfully, the mystery isn't the sole focus here. Vic's got his mediumship project and he's also starting to unearth some memories of his childhood and realizing that his fuzzy memories don't mean what he always expected they did. But they all tie together and it opens this whole new realm for exploration in future books.

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review 2017-09-03 18:40
Blow Down (The Plumber's Mate #4)
Blow Down - J.L. Merrow

More fun and snark from our psychic plumber. 


Tom's little secret - the ability to locate hidden objects (which occasionally includes dead bodies) and leaky pipes - is not so secret anymore now that someone let the cat out of the metaphorical bag. Tom's propensity to martyrdom allows him to be guilt-tripped into displaying his talents to the public - with the expected disastrous results.


Really, y'all, this is why you don't ask the guy who can find dead bodies to perform "magic" tricks. I mean, that should just go without saying.

(spoiler show)


I did feel the whodunit was a bit more obvious this time around and wondered why Tom and Phil didn't cotton onto them sooner. That aside though, the mystery was full of wackadoodles and cagey relatives aplenty, enough to be fun while still making you wish Tom would start wearing a helmet everywhere he goes. :P And it does seem Tom's abilities are taking on possible new skills - not that he's anymore open to testing them out than he was before.


I like the way Tom and Phil's relationship is progressing. There's still plenty of ways for them to miscommunicate without going the whole Big Misunderstanding route, and they trust each other enough that they don't blow everything (well, most things) out of proportion.


That's not the only relationship Tom has to foster here either, now that he's found his "real" dad. I like that their reunion and getting to know each other was realistically awkward and that they're taking their time getting a feel for each other. I still need to know a lot more about Mike, so hopefully we'll see that in the next book, which I'm pleased to see Ms. Merrow has planned for next year. Fingers crossed there are no delays it getting it to us. 

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review 2017-08-22 03:12
Heat Trap (The Plumber's Mate #3)
Heat Trap - J.L. Merrow

Oh geez, so much going on in this one! 


I complained in my review for the last book that I thought Tom and Phil's relationship took a backseat. That was not the case here. The case Phil's working on effects them both personally and even brings out some secrets Phil has been hiding about himself. It really tests their relationship, bringing up old concerns, but doesn't go into melodrama territory. 


The case is again well-done. Marianne, the new bartender at the Dyke, is running from her abusive ex-boyfriend, and Phil's asked to dig up dirt on him. The ex is a Douche-with-a-capital-D and annoyingly wily when it comes to the law. 

And I can't believe Tom fell for Grant's line about being misunderstood. Com'n Tom, that's Abuser Manipulation 101.

(spoiler show)

This has some good and creepy twists to it and definitely doesn't end up anywhere I thought it would.


On the personal front, Tom's still trying to sort out how he feels about a family secret coming out in the previous book,

about his mother having an affair and his father not being his biological father,

(spoiler show)

so there are family tensions to deal with but again it avoids from going into melodramatic territory. I enjoyed seeing more of Cherry and Greg, and of course Gary and Darren are always a hoot. Oh, and I have to give a shout out to Arthur and Merlin too. They're just the coolest cats, if maybe a bit too quick with their affections. :D

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review 2017-08-17 04:45
Summoner of Storms (SPECT #6)
Summoner of Storms (SPECTR Book 6) - Jordan L. Hawk

That was one hell of a ride!


I liken this series to working similar as a season of tv. This is a complete arc and can be read on its own, with a beginning, middle and end. There is room left though for more stories to be told, and if the second series Ms. Hawk is working on is anything like this one, I'll be eager to read it. But I don't know if I can wait months in between books, and she's only halfway through the next series. Dilemma! 


I'd sworn off vampire books way back in high school when I tired of Anne Rice, and I really haven't read very many at all since then where the vamps were front and center. There's the Dresden Files, and now this, and both that series and this one do some really refreshing things with their version of vamps. (I guess the Kate Daniels series does too but that whole series was bordering on corn with a hefty side of cheese. ... Cheesy popcorn? Yeah, I think that fits. Starts off promising but you just can't finish the whole bag.) Here, the "vamp" in question only has the blood drinking to liken it to common vamp lore, and even that isn't used in the usual way, so I really enjoyed how everything was changed up and made its own thing. Also, no sparkling. No sparkling is always key to a good vamp story. :D I'm not going to rush and start reading more vamp-centric stories after this, mind you. I really am done with that genre, but I'll make an exception for this series.


I did get rather bored with the sex scenes. Maybe reading these one at a time as they came out, they might not have seemed as numerous. But reading the bundle, one story after another, I just started finding the sex scenes tedious halfway through, and by this one I was skipping them to get back to the plot. 


Another thing that got repetitive was how Ms. Hawk reiterated basic information - characters' appearances, basic background info, etc - in each book, I guess so those who decided to come in halfway through wouldn't be lost. It started to drag things out that didn't need to be dragged out. Thankfully, she did keep these bits to the bare minimum, but even those bits I started skimming/skipping. And what is her obsession with tigers? No, stahp!


Once again, Ms. Hawk shows her flare for action as the team figures out the big conspiracy afoot and all the plot threads come together in one epic climax. This is one of those stories I would love to see on the big screen. There's even a new development with J/C/G that opens up all sorts of possibilities for the next series. And then there's Sean, who inspires various complicated feelings. He's easily the most interesting character here and has the most potential to really grow in the next installment. 

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