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review 2018-11-07 04:20
The Missing Chums, Hardy Boys #4
The Missing Chums (Hardy Boys, #4) - Walter S. Rogers,Franklin W. Dixon

'The Missing Chums' is the fourth book of the Hardy Boys mysteries and the first released after the simultaneous launch of the first three in 1927. This is a marketing move still used by publishers for some juvenile series. I've also always loved how incredibly outdated the title of this one is, revise THAT Harriet Strathmeyer. Ha.

 

I never read the revised version of this, likely because of that silly title, but I can imagine this would have been drastically altered after seeing how our boys behave in this round. They put themselves in a great deal of danger, blithely discount the proper authorities until the case is wrapped up in a neat bow, and show a lack of respect to their long-suffering Aunt Gertrude.

 

I forgot to mention that this title is also the introduction of good ol' Aunt Gertrude, an often tiresome relation, but one who offers a great deal of color to the series and a much needed tonic to the blissful perfection of the rest of the Hardy family.

 

The mystery here is that shortly after a strange encounter on the waters while testing out Biff Hooper new speedboat (every teen boy in Bayport gets a motorcycle and a speedboat it seems), Chet Morton and Biff go missing! Could they have been lost in that sudden storm, or is it something else? As most of Bayport assumes our two supporting characters are dead, the Hardy Boys refuse to give up, especially when they connect the boys' disappearance with a high profile case Fenton Hardy is working on.

 

A trip to a snake infested island caps off a so-so mystery, but a good adventure story. Much like in 'The Secret of the Old Mill' I couldn't find anything objectionable enough to merit revision.

 

Hardy Boys

 

Next: 'Hunting for Hidden Gold'

 

Previous: 'The Secret of the Old Mill'

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review 2018-10-28 01:52
The Doctor and Peri in steampunk Rome
State of Change (Doctor Who: The Missing Adventures) - Christopher Bulis

After taking Peri to snap photographs of Cleopatra's barge as it sails down the Nile, the Doctor and his companion set course for their next destination: Rome in the 2nd century AD. Upon landing, however, they find that they've journeyed forward only a few decades and that they have arrived in a Rome with electric lighting and dirigibles floating in the sky. With the Doctor's TARDIS inexplicably cut off from the Eye of Harmony the two scramble to restore the ship's power and unravel the mystery the steam-powered Rome one which will lead them to one of the Doctor's most dangerous enemies.

 

With over a dozen novels to his credit, Christopher Bulis ranks as among the most prolific contributors to the various series of Doctor Who novels in the 1990s and 2000s. Reading this book, it's easy to see why. His novel is a brisk work that nicely conveys the larger world in which Bulis sets it. Best of all is his portrayal of the sixth Doctor, which conveys all of the best parts of the character without any of the flaws which made his tenure on the show so controversial. While the plot itself has plenty of formulaic elements, the novel itself is an enjoyable read that will provide many fans of the franchise with a pleasant way to pass the time.

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review 2018-10-23 20:15
Exquisite Trouble by Ann Mayburn
Exquisite Trouble - Ann Mayburn

WTH? This book is only the first part of the story? How could I miss it while reading the introduction and the reviews of the book. 

The main character Swan has autistic traits - she can't stand people touching her skin, can't read people's expressions very well, and has several weird habits. She works as a waitress in a strip club, has two university degrees (in maths and accountancy) and watches porn in her free time. She also has a twin sister Sarah, whom she doesn't communicate very much. But then her birth mother steals from very bad people and leaves her daughters in very dangerous situation. Sarah goes after her mother trying to protect her fiance and Swan. She disappears and Swan gets kidnapped. Fortunately Iron Horse MC has Swan under surveillance and they manage to save the girl. That's how Swan finds out that the sexy client from the strip club is actually a member of the Iron Horse MC. Smoke has been keeping an eye on Swan form weeks now. He likes everything about the young woman and wants her for himself. He is also a sexual dominant and decides to take his time to ease Swan into the lifestyle. Sarah's fiance is the leader of the Iron Horse MC and asks Swan to find her sister. So, Smoke and Swan leave the town to find Sarah and girls' treacherous mother.

The story was a bit too kinky for my taste.
There were also some contradictions - Swan always stressed how people couldn't touch her skin without her feeling bugs crawling all over her. The only people who could touch her, were the people she really trusted. And then during a few days she meets three men, who all can touch her without any problems. Oh, and don't forget, all three are smoking hot. Why am I not surprised. 
Swan also seemed to be addicted to Smoke. She didn't need more than seeing him and immediately her panties were wet. I'm quite sure, it's not healthy to walk around wearing wet underwear all the time.


Exquisite Trouble had a lot of potential and I enjoyed parts of it. Swan's family was amazing and snippets about her childhood were really interesting. I also liked how Smoke didn't rush with having sex. They did quite a lot of kinky stuff, but he always made sure that Swan was comfortable with those acts. 
It annoys me a lot that Swan and Smoke's story continues in a second book. I really wanted to find out who the villains were. 
I would say it was a little bit more than OK read.
2.5 stars

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text 2018-10-01 11:46
September wrap up
White Lies - Jeremy Bates
Hark! The Herald Angels Scream - Christopher Golden
John Peters in the land of Demons - A.H. Matai
Loch Ness Revenge - Hunter Shea
Doomsday - Samie Sands
Rose Cottage - Mary Stewart
Unsettled Spirits - J. Matthew Saunders
Barnabas Tew and The Case Of The Missing Scarab - Columbkill Noonan
The Hermit's Creepy Pet (Single Shot Short Story Series Book 10) - Terry M. West
Trapped in Room 217 - Thomas Kingsley Troupe

 

Wow, 14 books this month! That's a lot for me. Admittedly I was going for the shorter ones to get through as many as possible. I do have some reading done on longer ones too, so we'll just see how things go in the coming month.

 

Stand outs this month are The Last Werewolf, White Lies and Pieces of Her. These were all really good. I got various levels of enjoyment from most of them, only one got below 3 stars from me.

 

Bingo reads continue! But I also have 4 Netgalley books that aren't for Bingo squares so will need to at least make a start on those. Not much sample reading during Bingo. I'll have to devote some time to that in November.

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review 2018-09-16 06:45
Missing Abby by Lee Weatherly
Missing Abby - L.A. Weatherly

I assume this is set somewhere in England, based on the author's bio. It's written from the perspective of Emma, a 13 (or possibly 14?) year old girl who realizes that she was likely the last person to see her former best friend Abby before she disappeared. She reports their encounter to the police and is forced to think about a time in her life that she thought she'd left behind and that she desperately hopes no one at her new school will ever find out about. Although a part of her wants to try to continue with her life as normally as possible, she can't stop thinking and worrying about Abby, Abby's last words, and the events that eventually drove them apart.

This was aimed a bit younger than the YA I normally read, and some of my issues with it stemmed from the fact that I was too old for this book - definitely not the book's fault. Emma was concerned with how others viewed her in a way that made perfect sense for her age and experiences but that I found extremely frustrating. For example, back when she was friends with Abby, Emma loved sci-fi, fantasy, writing stories, and playing make-believe games in which she and Abby were adventurers fighting against an evil witch named Esmerelda. Some horrible bullying eventually led to her cutting herself off from Abby and attempting to completely remake herself, right down to her hobbies and interests (this isn't a spoiler - it comes up pretty early on). It struck me as a huge and emotionally draining amount of work for something that seemed likely to cause a new set of problems later on.

Although Emma's actions and thoughts often frustrated me, I could see where she was coming from. Every time she considered taking the route I wanted her to take - talking to an adult about her plans to find Abby, talking to her friends about the bullying she went through - something came up that made that route seem, to Emma, potentially more dangerous and/or difficult than the alternative.

This was a more realistic take on a "missing persons" mystery than I was expecting. Emma wasn't smarter than the cops, although she had knowledge, through her past connection with Abby, that turned out to be helpful. Also, there were no 13-year-olds battling adults in adrenaline-fueled climactic moments - instead, Emma mostly battled her own emotions and the reactions of some of Abby's friends.

I appreciated the scene between Emma and her friends near the end, and I liked the way the relationship between Emma and Abby's friends progressed, once I got past Emma and Sheila's horrifically awful first encounters. Unfortunately, one sore spot for me was the way Weatherly wrote about counseling. It wasn't so much Emma's reaction to the idea of it - horror and anger that her family thought worrying about Abby was crazy - but rather that her reaction was never really challenged. One character told Emma that she'd been to counseling before and that it wasn't what Emma thought. In the end, however, Emma's dad decided that it'd be better to just talk and listen as a family more. Readers were never shown that Emma's ideas about counseling were false.

All in all, this was pretty good, if occasionally frustrating and exhausting from an adult perspective. I did wonder how dated certain aspects were, though. This was originally published in 2004. The parental controls on Emma's internet seemed to be extremely strict - at one point, she mentioned that there was really only one site that she could go to that at all interested her. And is it still believable for that many parents and teens to be weirded out by teens who play Dungeons & Dragons and like sci-fi and fantasy?

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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