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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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review 2017-08-13 20:51
Eater of Souls (SEPCTR #4)
Eater of Lives - Jordan L. Hawk

Ugh! NOOO! Not the "MCs refuse to talk to each other so Big Misunderstandings" occur! And not the "ex comes back and causes trouble" trope. You're better than this, Ms. Hawk. So I could knock off half a star for that nonsense, but the rest of the relationship stuff was strong enough to overcome it. (And I guess when you fall in love in just a few weeks, before you really get to know the other person, it's not too far out of the realm of possibility for these things to occur.) 

 

Complicating things further is just the basic way that possession works in this world, and we get to "go inside" the head of another victim. It's a great way to counter what's happening with Caleb/Gray and seeing why anyone would be extremely concerned about John at this point, and why Caleb is worried about losing himself completely if the 40 days come up and they haven't succeeded in exorcizing Gray. How can he really trust what Gray tells him, that Gray won't take over his mind, especially when they're getting better at sharing his body. 

 

And then cliffhanger! Thank goodness this series is complete already. Onto the next!

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review 2017-08-13 20:32
Reaper of Souls (SPECTR #3)
Reaper of Souls (SPECTR) - Jordan L. Hawk

The Fist is back, and they're not the only ones causing trouble for SPECTR and other paranormals at large. A political fervor is getting stirred up, and while that whole thing and its outcome were mostly predictable, it still amped up the tension and the stakes - but not actual wooden stakes. ;) No stakes near this vampire, who once again proves that real vampires do NOT sparkle. 

 

The situation with John/Caleb(/Gray) is getting more complicated too, but in a way I found interesting and compelling. It's still way too rushed, but since the time factor sort of dictates that, I can roll with it. I am bemused at John's continued PDAs while at work where anyone can walk in on them at the wrong time while simultaneously worrying about people finding out. Um... then stop calling Caleb "babe" where anyone could hear you! And stop sneaking kisses. And how are the empaths not picking up on any of this anyway, for that matter? Or maybe they are. Dun dun DUN! :P

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