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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-25 04:51
Dark Economy
Dark Economy - M.J. Keedwell

This was the book that would never end. I should have DNF at 50% like I planned to, but I thought that adjusting (and lowering) my expectations would suffice. And it did get better for awhile. But then it started dragging again and I had to skim the last 5% or so to get through this because I wanted it finished tonight.

 

Maybe it was reading this while also listening to What Angels Fear, since they're roughly in the same time period (this one takes place 17 years after Angels) and they both feature amateur sleuths who pursue murders that will ultimately never see true justice done for them, but I found this book lacking. Where Angels had a protag who was interesting, versatile and charismatic, Dark Economy's MC is kind of an obnoxious git. Where Angels has an intriguing mystery within the mystery - French spies in wartime England - Dark Economy has privileged boys who couldn't wait for their allowances to buy things. 

 

You've got Cadell Meredith, the obnoxious git, whose constant back-patting made my hand itch to smack him. He's supposed to be a conscientious, top-rate medical student but he's barely in class. He decided to take it upon himself to solve the murder of a man whose body he stole from the graveyard because he obviously couldn't go to the cops with the info. He also clearly didn't know what he's doing, though he did a decent job of faking it, and I was scratching my head what he planned to do with any of the information he was digging up. Even an anonymous letter to the copper who's supposedly dogging his every step yet missing 95% of his antics wouldn't do much good since Cadell messed with most of the evidence he found. Then again, who needs evidence in Ye Olden Tymes? He kept running into one dead-end after another only to find out that it's exactly who you thought it was right from the start.

 

Then there's the "love interest," or shall I say love interests. He lusted after every other guy he came into contact with and even got a mutual hand job from one of them, but it's the copper who he really wanted. Why? I have no clue, actually. Their first interaction, Breton had broken into his home, cooked him dinner (why? IDK!) and interrogated him, threatened him, was an overall jerk and then manhandled him against the wall. I guess it was sexy manhandling??? And from this encounter on, Cadell's supposedly in lust with the guy but since he was lusting after every other guy, it was hard to see why Breton was so special. They did finally get some real interaction after the 50% mark, but most of that was so nonsensical I couldn't buy into it. They didn't actually get together until 98%.

 

The author did well in portraying what it must have been like being a medical student at a time when grave-robbing, even for medical purposes, could get you sent to the gallows, and there's a good sense of atmosphere for the time period. Unfortunately, that atmosphere was often lost by Cadell's inner-thoughts, which made him come across more like a modern-age brat than a mature medical student of the early 1800s.

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review 2018-10-24 03:29
What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) (Audiobook)
What Angels Fear - C.S. Harris

It's 1811, England's at war with France and the Regency is about to begin. When a young actress is found murdered in the Lady's Temple, the evidence points to the Duke of Hendon's heir, Sebastian, who goes rogue to prove his innocence. Inspector Lovejoy is determined to catch St. Cyr and bring him to justice, while Lord Jarvis makes his plans for the future of the kingdom.

 

This is a decent first installment. There wasn't a whole lot innovative about it, but it did capture the sense of the early 1800s very well and explained the political climate of England at the time. Many of the twists are predictable, and have been done to death before. There's a little too much repetition as everyone has to exclaim their shock at the heinousness of the actress's death, and there's even the damsel-in-distress rescue at the end. Sebastian has some unusual abilities that had be rolling my eyes on occasion (man can literally hear through walls and has excellent night vision to boot). His investigation gets a little heisty at points, with all his disguises. He's a literal man of mystery. 

 

I'm not sure at all how that ending was supposed to prove Sebastian innocent, but it all worked out for everyone involved so what's the harm in a little rug-sweeping-under?

 

I'll probably try the next one, since my library has the whole series (though not in audio), because this does show promise and I'm interested to see what kinds of investigations Sebastian is going to get involved in next. 

 

This is narrated by Davina Porter, who also narrates the Outlander books, and she's perfect as always. 

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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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