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Search tags: amateur-sleuths
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review 2018-05-30 05:17
Lock Nut (The Plumber's Mate #5)
Lock Nut - J.L. Merrow

More fun with Tom and Phil as they get wrapped up in yet another murder mystery where everyone around them drops like flies and yet somehow their friends and family don't run for the hills. :P

 

Although maybe they did, because they sure weren't around for a lot of this book. I was hoping to see more of Mike Novak and get to know him better, and see him and Tom start to forge a relationship together, but nope! There was a sweet scene between Tom and his dad though, so that was nice.

 

The mystery was as twisted and tongue-in-cheek as you would expect from this series. There were plenty of potential suspects and motivations all around, and a couple of twists on expectations that were nice. 

 

Still hate that cover though. Seriously, it looks like Riptide is marketing this series to pre-teens, and I know they can do better. I don't know who those two blokes on the cover are supposed to be but they're not Tom and Phil, that's for sure.

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review 2017-02-17 02:29
Crazy Like a Foxe (Skyler Foxe Mysteries #6) (Audiobook)
Crazy Like A Foxe (Skyler Foxe Mysteries Book 6) - Haley Walsh

Maybe I wasn't quite in the right mood for this one after all, or maybe Skyler was being too OTT and TSTL for my tolerance levels. Skyler's always been reckless but this is the first time I remember fearing for the future since, as a teacher, he's responsible for molding young minds. He really should not be responsible for teenagers. :P

 

Summer's coming to a close and Skyler's summer job at the local museum is coming to its end as well. Everything's hunky dory until valuable items start going missing. A mysterious death soon follows, and Skyler's on the case (and frankly, I thought it took him too long to cotton on to what was going on, at least in one respect). There's also Keith's old boyfriend back in town, and the ex is up to no good. On top of all that, Skyler's still trying to wrap his head around his parents getting back together, and his various trust issues with his father.

 

Actually those same trust issues could explain a lot about Skyler's behavior in general - why he's such a control freak and needs to know everything NOW instead of when people are ready to tell him, and why he always assumes the worst case scenarios. That doesn't explain the various members of the SFC going along with his harebrained antics, especially when it involves

breaking into a storage facility and busting their way into a storage locker. If I were Sydney, I'd let them all sit in the tank for a night instead of finding ways to get them off the hook all the time. That's not even mentioning hacking into Keith's phone, which is a far worse offense on a personal level.

(spoiler show)

But then they wouldn't be the SFC we know and love if they didn't 100% support Skyler. At least Phillip has some sense.

 

We don't spend as much time with the kids in this book as in previous ones, and there's a lot of focus on the football team when we do, due to Keith signing up a girl to play on the team, and not as a kicker. We also get to learn a bit more about Keith's background, which leads to some in depth discussions about where Skyler and Keith envision their relationship going.

 

Joel Leslie usually does a decent job on the various accents, but in this book we meet a female football player name Eleigh (sp?). The first time she spoke, based on the accent Leslie was using, I figured she'd be Australian. Nope. Turns out she's Samoan, and I don't think she grew up in Australia. That's just the complete wrong accent to use. I've lived around Samoans my whole life and never once heard any of them use any accent even close to Australian. Just...WTF was that? It was terrible and it grated more and more each time she spoke. Everyone else, he does well and Joel and Rodolfo have always been my standout favorite characters that he voices. They all continue to shine here. 

 

This was still funny and fun, and hopefully some of the growth we see in Skyler in this book will stick.

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review 2017-01-01 01:23
So This Is Christmas (Adrien English #5.5)
So This is Christmas - Josh Lanyon

Worth the wait.

 

 

Oh, I've been waiting forE-V-E-R for Adrien and Jake's HEA. The end of The Dark Tide is, beyond a doubt, perfect and poignant and hopeful, but it's also so bittersweet that I've spent the last six years since I first read this series wondering how in the world these two were ever going to make it. I can imagine a million different ways these two will carry on and live out the rest of their days together, but seeing it on the page - or the dimly-lit screen of my Paperwhite - is so much better. 

 

Their relationship is the most solid we've ever seen it. They're still learning how to be together, how to support each other and give each other the space they need. They're still figuring each other out and finding new firsts to experience (!!!!!!). It's not a perfect relationship, if such things truly exist, but it's as near as perfect as I could've hoped for. 

 

Jake's still trying to get his private investigator business off the ground, is still navigating the awkward and painful waters of his divorce with Kate and the shunning of his family. Adrien is still figuring out how to live a heart healthy lifestyle - which apparently seems to include less swearing LOL - and definitely includes less sleuthing. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men...

 

Enter Kevin O'Reilly, former archeology student and would-be foible to Jake and Adrien's budding relationship from A Dangerous Thing. His boyfriend has gone missing and he's come to Adrien for help. If that's not enough, Natalie has a surprise of her own to test Adrien's newly repaired heart valves.

 

There is much more humor in this book and it has a much lighter tone overall than the rest of the series, which is fitting for a final epilogue-ish novella. Adrien's wit is nowhere near as acerbic as before, and it's great to see these two get to be happy and enjoy each other after all their struggles. 

 

I did feel that some of Adrien's usual wit was a bit off in the first half of the book, but that evened out by the end. Just to make sure it wasn't just an expectation thing, I went back and reread the first four chapters to see if my impression changed, and it didn't. But that's my only real complaint, aside from some typos and one or two references/observations that felt un-Adrien-ish and more in line with what JL has put out in the last few books of hers that I've read. At least the purple was toned down here.

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review 2016-12-26 01:48
Dead and Lost (L.A. Paranormal #4)
Dead and Lost: L.A. Paranormal - Lou Harper

This is the third book and fourth novella in the L.A. Paranormals series. I really enjoy Leander and Jon. They're a mix-matched couple and it works for them. Jon is prone to worrying and Leander lives in the moment. I love how Andy looks after Jon and sees his inner softie - though I could've done without the nicknames. Grumpy Bear? 

 

Unlike the other novellas, this one is from Andy's POV. I didn't quite click with his voice like I did with Jon's but it did provide for a more light and easygoing read. Andy also gets more hands-on in this story with the mystery, following his own leads, much to the chagrin of poor Detective Cora. 

 

The mystery is a cold case, going back to some remains that Andy found in a previous book, and trying to find out how the remains of a four-year old ended up in the desert. In the process, he discovers a much bigger mystery. Some of the leaps were a bit on the convenient side, physic abilities aside, and it took a little too long for Andy to suspect and finger the perp. A little bit of regular detective work would've helped him get there faster than his psyching. 

 

Andy and Jon also have some changes in their personal life centered around Jon's schooling and life goals. I really do enjoy seeing Andy get to the heart of what's bothering Jon and gets him to open up and laugh. 

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review 2016-04-30 05:37
Desert Foxe (Skyler Foxe Mysteries #3)
Desert Foxe - Haley Walsh
Yes! Time for more fun and hijinks with Skylar, Keith and the SFC. This time, they're heading for the White Party in Palm Springs for a weekend of sexy good times with their boyfriends. Murder and Mayhem - and a couple of delinquent teens - have other ideas.

This was fun, and funny. I laughed several times, and I still enjoy hanging around with these guys. Walsh mixed things up a bit. Nearly the entire story takes place within a 24-hour time span, and most of that over the course of the night, so it's more condensed than other stories in this series. It was a great way to keep the momentum going (sort of, more on that in a sec) and helped with the suspense of disbelief as there was less time for all these guys to stop and ask if they should be doing what they're doing. (Some of them - No! Some of them - Yes!)

We also get multiple POVs for the first time, getting to see events taking place when Skylar isn't there. I did like getting to see glimpses of the other characters without it being filtered later with the "tell and catch up" aspect we get in previous books. There were a lot of sweet and touching moments between the various characters that just wouldn't have worked hearing about them second-hand, and we got to see how these characters actually relate to each other on their own.

The only thing I didn't like about this was that the storylines aren't told chronologically. Maybe that was an attempt to amp up tension and suspense, and maybe that would've worked better if I'd read it instead of listened to it. It didn't quite work for me, whatever the case, and I thought it would've flowed better and tighter if the storylines were closer together. It would've meant more scene jumps, but it would've kept the momentum going too, instead of stopping a scene mid-action, and then jumping to somewhere else to play catch up with the other guys. That's just my opinion though. Others might not have the same issues and prefer it the way it's told.

There are a couple of niggles: the generic "Asian" guy. Asia's a pretty large continent. Is he Russian? Chinese? Cambodian? Indian? Israeli? Like, if you have a Canadian character, you wouldn't call him the North American. I would really like to see authors at least narrow down "Asian" to a specific country, if nothing else.

I know some people will have issues with the terms "Native American" and "Indian" being used interchangeably. I personally don't see how one is really better or worse than the other. But my opinion doesn't matter and I'm not getting into that here. Just follow this link to see what actual Natives feel on the topic, because they're really the only ones who have the right to be picky about this:
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/21/blackhorse-do-you-prefer-native-american-or-american-indian-6-prominent-voices-respond

Narration: Joel Leslie is back and he... sounds like he's getting over a cold? I actually stopped the first chapter to see if it was the same narrator. After I finished the book, I even went back and downloaded an earlier book, wondering if it'd just been too long and I'd forgotten what he sounded like, that maybe after the smooth silkiness of Chris Patton, Leslie just sounded gruffer by comparison. Part of it was that, but his voice is a wee bit on the scratchy side here. I hope he wasn't sick and it was just an issue of recording equipment instead. :( To be clear, he still knocks it out of the park and does a great job, overall, especially with all the SFC. Except he mispronounced "dour" as "doer" at one point. I did have issue with his "big guy" voice, or Keith's voice. I love it for Keith's voice. I didn't love it when it was used for the other "big guys" as there wasn't enough of a difference and it made it a little hard to follow along sometimes when there was more than one "big guy" in the scene.
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