Too sweet, too twee, too much forced Christmas cheer with insta-love - and not enough story development or fleshed out characterizations. Carol Claus, daughter of Santa Claus, is going undercover as a nanny (Carol Candy Kane) to the Hanson family as a favor to her dad. The father of the family is working on a book "Beyond Bah Humbugs: Why Lying to Your Children about Santa Claus is a Bad Idea", and wants a low key, low expectations holiday for him and his two kids (girl 8 and boy 5). Miss Kane must help him find the Christmas magic before he ruins Christmas for his kids forever. In addition to all the toos I mentioned at the beginning, there is also the spectre of the awful, evil dead wife. At least it was short 91 pages.
I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to find this as amusing as I did, but I'm several decades past its target demographic. I'd never read a Three Investigators book before and know a few people with fond memories of them, so I wanted to give one a try.
I'm not going to touch on the sheer fantasy of what is the foundational premise of the books; they were written to be adventures and mysteries for kids (I use 'kids' as a broad spectrum noun here) and why not make these kids important? Why not give them more parental freedom and the only junk yard in the world that would be fun and safe to play in.
But it was still hilarious. The gnomes, which are probably not PC by today's standards. The Japanese representation, which is definitely not, yet feels innocently done here - yes, the authors' should have been more sensitive, but the kids reading it at the time would likely have read it in total naiveté. I didn't find the Japanese speaking stereotypically funny at all, but I did have a good head shake over it.
Mostly what I found funny were the three boys, and that's just because despite my best efforts, I grew up and can't avoid seeing the playacting taking place. Still, their hideout sounds cool as hell and I loved the Alfred Hitchcock appearances. That man just couldn't stay on the sidelines of anything, could he?
I read this for the Baker Street Irregulars Square in Halloween Bingo.
***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***
I really enjoyed the world building in this book and wished there was a little more explanation about it. You do get snippets here and there on what happened with the world and why the Church came on top and in charge of the city. The setting is wonderful though. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s survival. It’s what you might see from a cyberpunk novel without the futuristic theme.
The plot itself is interesting thanks to the setting. It’s a nice blend of old and new. I say old because of the way the characters talk. It’s meant to be a form of street slang, but it also sounds a mixture of old english and modern. It’s interesting and fun to read (if you have a crush on Lex you’d like it). There is an element of mystery and I like the magic used. It’s a nice blend of using tattoos and actual spell components.
Chess is likable as a character. She’s hard working and is good at what she does, despite her faults and vices. The vices do play a big part on her behavior and takes a hold of her life. She still manages to soldier through her tasks and proves to be a fighter.
There is an aspect of a love triangle in the book although I’m not sure if it could be called that. I don’t see Terrible as a love interest at all, I see him more as a loyal friend and the muscle of the duo. Lex on the other hand - so swoon worthy if you’re into the bad boys. He’s self serving and most likely not a good thing for Chess but they both got this spark. Maybe it’s because of their backgrounds and they’re similar but they get along so well and Lex has this subtle charm about him (let’s not even compare him to Doyle)
This is a must read for urban fantasy fans. It’s got a bit of everything and Chess is such a great character to follow through the journey. Will definitely go onto the second book of the series.
Drew Beaumont is a successful actor who's bored with the usual Hollywood fare when it comes to movie roles. So when he gets the chance at something that's different and pushes all of his acting buttons...there's not much that Drew won't do to not only have a role in it but to make sure the movies gets mad.
Steve Sopol is so close to having his dream come true of seeing his first screenplay become a movie...but is he desperate enough to step out from behind the camera when the leading man wants Steve to take on the role of co-star. Is Steve brave enough to speak the words he's written in front of the camera?
I wasn't looking for big, convoluted problems or overly dramatic resolutions and for the most part what I found was that any problems or conflicts seemed too be resolved just a little too easily to the point of bordering on tedious at times.
The steam and sex were fairly low key in this one and that's not an issue, but something somewhere has to happen to make me feel the connection between a couple and while I'm not a fan of over the top excessive amounts of sex. I am a fan of steam and heat and attraction...something that makes me say 'yes, these two are going to melt my e-reader' ...there has to be something that still gives me a sense of their connection, makes me feel a little melty inside but I just never quit felt it with this pair. I could see where it was possible. On paper they're a good match. But I wanted to feel that connection not see it as a logical forgone conclusion...sorry, I'm a romantic sap about this stuff.
While both men had their problems to deal with...as well as being a self professed diva Drew's every move is scrutinized because of his fame as an actor and there was of course an ex or two in his past. Steve ironically has a bit more to deal with as well as an ex who thankfully stayed in the past but left his mark on Steve in terms of emotional damage. Steve has reasons why he wants his personal life to remain private but with stepping into the limelight it becomes not a matter of if things will be revealed but when.
Also just a quick mention as far as secondary characters go I really liked Steve's mom, she was one of the only sparkling moments in what turned out to be an ok but rather lackluster story. I truly don't need a lot of over the top drama in a story but I have to admit this one went a bit to far the other way.
It's been a long time since I've read anything by this author and I guess maybe I was looking for something more along the lines of 'Return to Sender' or her 'Lost Boys and Love Letters' series, I loved the hell out of that series...like really loved it...maybe it's time for a re-read? Or maybe if the audio gods are smiling on me these will be on audio one day (yeah, that's totally a hint on my part, but hey, you don't get, if you never ask, right?)
Thankfully, Kenneth Obi was the narrator for this one and while the story may have had some lackluster moments his narration did not and kept me on track with things making for a more enjoyable story experience.
An audio book of 'His Leading Man' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.