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review 2018-06-13 10:50
Abstract Aliases (Bodies of Art Mystery, #3)
Abstract Aliases - Ritter Ames

If you're willing to suspend disbelief and are looking for an action packed pseudo-spy caper, this series is worth checking out.


Abstract Aliases has Jack and Laurel chasing after art forgeries, crime syndicates, ex-employees gone rogue and trying to figure out who is killing forgers throughout Europe, and why.  It's a jet-setting kind of story, with trains, planes and automobiles and character far more likeable than they were in the first two books (more cooperation, less game-playing).


I was feeling lukewarm about the series as a whole and this one languished on my TBR for some time before I grabbed it, but the pure escapist fun, and the plot and character progression have left me eager to read the next book.

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review 2018-06-05 02:16
Dog Dish of Doom (Kay Powell Mystery, #1)
Dog Dish of Doom - E.J. Copperman

I've only read one other E.J. Copperman series, centering around a haunted guesthouse.  It was good, but the characters always felt a little stiff and awkward.  This first book in a new series, centered around a animal talent agent in New York, hit me like the author's attempt at over-correction.  The characters in Dog Dish of Doom are almost exuberant and the humor, including wise cracks made to the reader directly (what fourth wall?) were refreshing, but sometimes a bit too thick on the page.


Still, it was this humor and liveliness on the part of the characters that made the book as enjoyable as it is.  The plot could have been tighter and as it's written, its more of a frustration than a puzzle for anyone trying to solve the mystery.  Too many red herrings and diversions, but I found myself going along with it because I liked the setting and I liked Kay.  it fit my current reading mood and because of that, I'm happily willing to try book 2.



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review 2018-05-28 09:27
A Shattering Crime (Stained-glass mystery, #3)
A Shattering Crime - Jennifer McAndrews

It's getting harder for me to find good cozy mysteries that are well written, but I enjoyed the first two in this series well enough.  Not so much this one.  I don't know if the series continues on from here, but I don't think I will be.


Georgia's romance angst was over-the-top, unbelievable, and silly.  If you've had a string of relationships end in heartbreak, it would not be entirely irrational to be gun-shy about relationships (although probably not a bad idea to examine one's choices in mates, either), but to have one, ONE, relationship sour and then act like every man, every relationship is out to destroy your soul is ... sorry, I gotta be judgy here... stupid.  Childish.  And it wasn't just the men in her life Georgia was childish about; the whole sub plot with her mother and new 'stepdad' made my head ache from the eye rolling.  Grow up already.


On top of this, the plot was weaker than wet tissue.  There were so many things about the construct that were phoned-in it's not even worth enumerating them.


The setting is nice, and the animal love was awesome; even the characters were likeable enough, but none of it was enough to save this one.  

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review 2018-05-18 08:48
Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything
Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything - Nancy Martin

I enjoyed this as much as I did because I really love Nancy Martin's writing, her Blackbird Sisters series was one of my all-time favorites.  Unfortunately, it ended after the last book and even though the title of this one had me raising my eyebrows, I thought, why not?


Story wise... meh.  It didn't quite work, mostly because the twist at the end felt like an afterthought, bringing the whole story to an unrealistic conclusion.  The romance aspect didn't quite work either - the chemistry was there, but the manufactured obstacle's resolution lacked emotional sincerity; I was left wondering why it even existed at all.


But I did love the setting, the characters and the writing, which made it easy to lose myself for a couple of hours, so no regrets.  Mostly, this book felt like an accomplished writer experimenting; stretching her boundaries.  Not up to snuff, but not a waste of time, either.

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review 2018-04-30 11:21
The Ninja's Illusion (Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt, #5)
The Ninja's Illusion - Gigi Pandian

Meh.  This one took a long time to catch my interest, but that was probably equal parts slow start and my complete disinterest in the character of Jaya's best friend Sanjay, the Hindi Houdini.  I love watching magic, but turn apathetic when faced with reading about it, and Sanjay has always stuck me as an immature egoist.  Jaya's sudden angst about a possible romantic entanglement with him was another strike against the story's tart; the amount of eye-rolling going on severely impacted my reading progress.


But the story does get better once, frankly, someone dies, and further improves soon thereafter when Jaya gets over the silly romantic I-have-to-find-myself nonsense.  This is about the time she starts paying more attention the history involved in the mystery and makes the connection that was insanely obvious to the reader from the start.


So the story improves and by the end definitely doesn't suck, but it's definitely not one of the series' better books.

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