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review 2018-01-10 21:52
Well this creates a problem...
Reckless Behavior - L.A. Witt,Cari Meister

you see I do try really, really hard to be honest in my reviews and I'm sure I'm hardly the first person to face this dilemma but I gave this one 5 stars and that's where my problem arises...I need more than 5 stars...seriously more than 5 on this one.

 

I loved the hell out of this story. I was addicted to this series from the word go and with each book my love for these books for the stories and characters contained within has only continued to grow. While there's not a lot of sexy times in this series what there is...is one hella' good relationship. It's there, it's strong and from that first book where we got to watch as Darren struggled to find a way to make his partnership with Andreas work to this one where we watch as Andreas and Darren work together as partners both on a personal and professional level to find Andreas's kids and bring them home to Darren's own heartbreaking news the strength of the relationship between these two men is so evident. 

 

I love the relationship that's built between these two. For all that might not be here in terms of the physical relationship between these two the emotional connection, which to me is so much harder for an author to bring out has been made and is so wonderfully real and present between these two. I love that no matter what is going on for one of them they don't lose track of what's going on with their partner and the toll that events are taking on each other emotionally. 

 

There's a lot going on in this one but it's well done and I didn't have a problem following events or feel like it was a jumble of chaos as could have easily been the case. A lot of this story focuses on every parent's worst nightmare. Andreas and Darren are doing dinner with Andreas's kids. Andreas is trying really hard to fix his relationship with his kids and come clean with them about things that he's kept from them as well as introduce them to the other important person in his life...Darren. Things start out a little awkward but for the most part the dinner's going well or at least it was until the evening comes to an end and suddenly two of the kids are missing and as everyone's trying to find the girls, Erin and Emily there's a threat to Andreas's sons, Ben and Casey. When the dust settles only Ben's still there...Erin, Emily and Casey have all been abducted. 

 

As Andreas and Darren work to find the missing children, they're surprised to realize that for whatever's happened in the past their brothers in blue are there for them and they're not alone. But even with the addition of all this unexpected support for Andreas it's Darren's presence that means the most. But when Darren gets hit by a personal tragedy of his own...choices have to be made. Choices that neither man finds easy, but Darren is determined to be there for Andreas, he knows that he can't control or change what's happened in his life and it'll all be there for him to deal with once Andreas's kids are safely back where they belong.

 

Having children of my own it took zero effort for me to understand how Andreas and his ex's felt. Just the thought of one of my kids being taken is terrifying and makes my blood run cold...so yes, there were tears and more than a tissue or two was sacrificed to the reading of this book but more than this what twisted my heart and still reduces me to a sad, little sobbing puddle of tears was the tragedy that blindsided Darren because truthfully it blindsided me as well because I so did not see that one coming and there went a whole lot more from the tissue box and then there was the ending and there went a few more tissues...hey, even happy tears require tissues.

 

There's so much more that I could say about this story because it's not a simple story and a lot of what happens in this book is connected to events of the previous two stories and truthfully I think the best thing that I could say here is if  you haven't read those first two books go back and read them before you tackle this one because it'll all make a lot more sense and be a more enjoyable story if you have all of that background filled in.

 

I know there's at least one more story coming in this series and it's going to be released real soon...like in less than a week soon...it's called Romantic Behavior and it's hopefully going to give Andreas and Darren the happily ever after that they so very much deserve. I'm looking forward to the next installment in this series and if it's anywhere near as good as this one I'm going to need a lot more than 5 stars to show how much I enjoyed it.

 

*************************

A copy of 'Reckless Behavior' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-01-03 02:21
Dahlia goes to work in the gaming industry in her best adventure yet
The Questionable Behavior of Dahlia Moss - Max Wirestone

I am so glad that this eARC asked me not to quote anything from the book until I could check with the published version because by the time I hit 5%, I'd already come up with a handful of candidates of quotations to start this post with, and I didn't want to have to choose.

 

Literally picking up where The Astonishing Mistakes of Dahlia Moss left off -- with Emily Swenson asking Dahlia to be an industrial spy. She's being sent to serve as a Temp in the offices of a game development company -- they're best known for a really simple game, the kind you play in line at the DMV or something, it's relaxing. Still, it's a gaming company and a pretty successful one at that -- it's the kind of place Dahlia should work (if she wasn't becoming a detective). There's another company about to buy them out, but they need some more information -- there are rumors of problems in the office, are they true? Could they look at the existing code for the new version so someone can see why it's delayed?

 

Dahlia jumps at the assignment -- which is good, because otherwise the novel would be a very short, and pretty dull, story. She shows up for her first day to find, well, chaos? Chaos seems to be an understatement. She starts to acclimate pretty quickly and is behaving more professionally than just about anyone in the office. If Dahilia is the standard of professional behavior, that tells you everything you need to know about the rest. Oh, and then Dahlia finds a dead body. Now in addition to her Industrial Espionage work, there's maybe a murder for her to look into in her spare time.

 

The problems she faces staying staying incognito: The detective in charge of investigating the murder/suspicious death knows about her from Shuler. There's a reporter sniffing around -- and scheduled to tour the company -- who's written about her exploits. Her friends can't stop saying things to her coworkers about her being a detective. And, well, she's just not that subtle of an investigator -- she largely pulls it off, but that's primarily due to the company being in turmoil and no one having a lot of attention to devote to the question "why is our temp asking all these questions?"

 

Part of the fun of these books has been watching Dahlia flail around, unsure what to do next. There's less of that here -- she's learning. I'm not suggesting that she's transformed herself into Kinsey Millhone or Joan Watson, but there's something about her that's less flailing. Maybe because she has some pretty clear objectives this time out. I liked that hint of growing skills. Not bad for someone with a recent concussion.

 

Now, to the rest of the cast: the people in the office, by and large, feel like characters from other series. Gamers, SF geeks, cosplayers . . . those seem like people Dahlia interacts with. Responsible adults with steady jobs? Nope -- which serves the plot. There's a knitting circle that feels like what Dahlia's crowd will become in 30 years, and her interacting with them feels a bit more fitting.

 

The book is just as amusing as its predecessors, I literally laughed out loud a few times -- not at big comic moments, but at a line of dialogue or a quip Dahlia makes. The big comic moments worked for me, but not as effectively. As always, half the fun is from the very odd circumstances that Dahlia finds herself, but the other half of the fun is the way Dahlia narrates things, the metaphors, pop culture references, etc. Yeah, I thought the Mad Men references were a little too close to each other -- but I appreciated both of them so much, I didn't care (also, pairing Joan Holloway with Della Street? Perfect). One of the things that the writers behind MST3K always said that when they go for super-specific references that are obscure, they know that not all viewers will get the joke, but those that do will love it. There's a half-chapter in this book (and a couple of call-backs to it later) that I could swear was written just for me. And, yes, I loved it (I didn't give the book a bonus 1/2 star because of it, but I thought about it).

There's some maturing -- at least indicators that maturing and responsibility are on the horizon for ol' Dahlia. It reminded me of Lutz' The Last Word in that respect, but I had a lot more fun with this The Astonishing Mistakes than I did with Izzy Spellman's swan song (not that this is necessarily the end of Dahlia's adventures, though it's always seemed to be marketed as a trilogy). It's good to see that trajectory with Dahlia (and, honestly, her roommate).

 

Other than that, there's not much to differentiate this from the other two books in the series (as far as the writing goes, not the stories): the writing itself is fun, as is the story, a good mix of serious subject matter and comedic moments (none that detract from the tragedy of murder or anything). There's some good character moments and a decent mystery, too. If you haven't read any of Dahlia Moss' adventures, you should grab one and dive in -- this one will work just as well as the first or second. In the end, you'll want to read all three.


Disclaimer: I received this eARC from Orbit Books via NetGalley in exchange for this post -- thanks to both for this.

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/01/02/the-questionable-behavior-of-dahlia-moss-by-max-wirestone
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text 2017-12-05 17:34
Exciting December Releases! (TBR)
The Girl in the Tower - Katherine Arden
The House on Foster Hill - Jaime Jo Wright
The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill) - Julie Klassen
Bad Behavior - Kiki Swinson,Noire
Ziegfeld Girls - Sarah Barthel
His Secret Son (The Westmoreland Legacy) - Brenda Jackson

Very excited for these December releases. Almost all of these books are by authors I have read and enjoyed their work. Considering it is December, I think I will be able to get all six books read. The Girl in the Tower is book two in The Winternight Trilogy so, I will need to read The Bear and the Nightingale first.

 

 

 

December 5

 

 

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage (Tales from Ivy Hill #2) by Julie Klassen

 

The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) by Katherine Arden

 

His Secret Son (The Westmoreland Legacy) by Brenda Jackson

 

House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

 

 

December 26

 

 

Bad Behavior by Kiki Swinson and Noire

 

Ziegfeld Girls by Sarah Barthel

 

 

 

If at all possible I will try to read books in my personal library that are 150 pages or less. Have an awesome reading month friends and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa.

 

 

 

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review 2017-08-23 22:27
It's time for a little game of catch me if you can...murder style...
Suspicious Behavior (Bad Behavior) (Volume 2) - L.A. Witt,Cari Z.

Corliss and Ruffner somehow survived the events of 'Risky Behavior' but at what price? Detective Darren Corliss is barely holding himself together between the injuries he suffered in their last case, going back to work at a precinct that's not only less than friendly but views him and his partner Andreas Ruffner as villains for bringing down enough dirty cops and politicians to cause a staffing crisis at several precincts and city hall. Darren's also got a brother who's suffering from early onset Alzheimer's which has left him with his own fears about whether or not he'll share his brothers condition. Along with a lot of Darren's worries. Andreas has a few of his own but he seems to be holding it together a little better.

 

But both men would definitely agree that what they need is to get back to work...or at least that's what they thought until they were handed some cold cases...cold cases that at first glance only had one connection...the killer. However, once they start to find the connections it quickly becomes clear that there's a clock ticking. One that they have to beat if they want to stop another murder from happening. 

 

The mystery here wasn't really the who did it, I actually figured that part out fairly quickly it was all about the how and why of things. While I really enjoyed the mystery, it was the relationship development between Darren and Andreas that happened in this book that I really loved about the most.

 

Admittedly there wasn't a lot of sex in this story and that's ok because there was a lot going on and honestly in real life chances are pretty good that there really wouldn't be much going on in the romance department between the serial killer case, Andreas's kids, Darren's brother, recovering from injuries and the abuse they're being exposed to from their fellow officers, if they'd been having sex like bunnies I'd have thought I was reading a fantasy story. 

 

I found that the relationship growth was shown in the emotional exchanges and immediate unquestioning support that Darren and Andreas gave to each other...when Darren was there to help Andreas deal with his ex and her problems and I maybe melted a little over Darren's internal and sometimes external gushing about Andreas with his kids and there was Andreas's support of Darren as he dealt with his brother combined with their support of each other as partners at work...there was no hesitation or questioning of whether or not they had each other's backs it was just a done deal.

 

Book #1 Risky Behavior laid the ground work for this series and the relationship between these two men as they dealt with corruption and found their way together as partners both on and off duty and now with book #2 Suspicious Behavior we're given more action and a closer look at Darren and Andreas as they deal with life as a team both on a personal and professional level.

 

I was totally hooked on this series with the first book and this one has not changed that decision even slightly...except for the fact that if anything I'm even more anxious to get my hands on the next book. I just read the blurb and holy hell, it's going to be good...seriously good.

 

I love a good steamy romance story as much as the next person but what I love even more is a story with substance...characters with depth who grow, a plot that I can follow but that also challenges me and most of all one that leaves me wanting more. 'Suspicious Behavior' does all this and then some.

 

********************

An ARC of 'Suspicious Behavior' was graciously provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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review 2017-07-23 21:47
No Longer Human (manga, vol. 2) by Usamaru Furuya, based on the novel by Osamu Dazai, translated by Allison Markin Powell
No Longer Human, Volume 2 - Osamu Dazai,Usamaru Furuya

[Content warnings: this volume includes on-page sex, and there’s a deliberately disturbing sequence in which a children’s manga character is given an enormous penis, has sex, and is then killed and left to be eaten by birds.]

This volume picks up where the previous one left off. Yozo has survived his attempted double suicide with Ageha. The idea of being punished for her death gives him the sense of purpose he craves, but this is snatched from his hands by the police’s decision to set him free and deliver him to the hands of one of his family’s former servants. Yozo blames his father and stews in his own bitterness while essentially living trapped in the former servant’s home.

Yozo manages to escape one prison only to end up in another. Having no other place to go, he ends up living with his friend Horiki's editor, Shizuko. She dotes on him, seeing his pretty face and nothing else. Although outwardly things appear to be going well for Yozo - he now has a roof over his head, a job as a children’s manga artist, and somebody willing to fork over money anytime he wants to go out and buy booze - he feels stifled by Shizuko’s love and her young daughter’s wish for him to be her real father.

By the end of the volume, Yozo has finally found something like happiness. Will it last? Ha ha, of course not.

I think I’ve finally accepted that this isn’t so much an adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human as it is Dazai’s plot and Usamaru Furuya’s Yozo. Although I still end up comparing the two works a lot in this review. Sorry.

My interpretation of the original book and Furuya’s interpretation continue to differ wildly. Furuya’s Yozo is less sympathetic than Dazai’s (who, granted, tended to be pretty terrible), more likely to blame his father for his own problems, and more calculating. Rather than just sort of being taken in by Shizuko, he does his best to manipulate her into offering to take him in, making use of both his good looks and his abilities in bed.

Yozo isn’t a likeable guy. He’s prone to self-destructive behavior, doesn’t think things through, and then wallows in bitterness rather than accept the consequences. He was even more disgusting than Book Yozo when it came to life with Shizuko and Shiori. I remember Book Shizuko putting up with more from Yozo than I thought was wise, but I’m pretty sure the undressing scene was entirely invented by Furuya, and it was awful. The inclusion of Dazai’s “Papa is...too good of a person” scene afterward was bizarre, since both Shizuko and Shiori had just witnessed Yozo being very much not a good person.

In some ways, I’d argue that Yozo’s brief period of time with Mama at the bar was probably the best period of his life, even better than his “romance” with Yoshi at the end of the volume - this was vastly different from how I felt while reading the original book, by the way. I think Furuya’s Mama was a more fascinating character than Dazai’s.

Mama was an older woman who, for some bizarre reason, was fond of Yozo but also well aware of his problems. She didn’t expect anything from him, and her happiness certainly didn’t depend on him. There was one scene I particularly liked that I think Furuya invented (I don’t recall it being in the original book). Mama was acting as Yozo’s nude model and asked to see Yozo’s drawing of her. She accused him of being too kind and told him to redo the drawing, this time including her wrinkles. I loved that she not only refused to accept flattery from Yozo, but also that she seemed to genuinely love her own body. Here’s her description of her wrinkles: “These are my growth rings. Each stands for a love and a parting.” I don’t recall having any favorite characters in Dazai’s No Longer Human, but Furuya's Mama was wonderful.

Had Furuya broken free from the constraints of writing an adaptation, I imagine his Yozo could have stayed with Mama long enough to finally gain something resembling emotional maturity. Or maybe she'd have eventually gotten tired of him and tossed him out. At any rate, the story moved on and continued to follow Dazai’s original plot. This was another instance where I felt that Furuya’s changes to the original story were an improvement upon the original. Furuya’s Yozo was younger than Dazai’s Yozo, which meant that his Yozo was also closer in age (only 20) to the

cigarette shop girl Yozo fell in love with, Yoshino Asai (18). It was still a terrible idea for her to agree to marry him, considering he was drunk almost every time she saw him, but Furuya’s Yozo and Yoshino worked better for me than Dazai’s.

(spoiler show)


As happy as he seems to be by the end of the volume, this series is pretty upfront about the fact that things do not end well for Yozo. If I hadn’t already read the book, and if it were just bad things happening to Yozo, I might be tempted to read on. However, I’m going to stop here.

Yoshino’s a sweet girl and, despite her terrible taste in guys, doesn’t deserve what happens next. I don’t particularly want to read it, and so I won’t.

(spoiler show)


I prefer main characters who inspire me to root for them, or who at least interest me. Furuya's Yozo, a loser who hurts and/or drags down most of the people around him, doesn’t appeal to me. That said, I did think this volume was better than the first.

 

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

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