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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-07 04:42
The Monet Murders (The Art of Murder #2)
The Monet Murders: The Art of Murder Book 2 - Josh Lanyon

 

***SPOILERS AHEAD!***

 

After I recently reread The Mermaid Murders and realized it didn't quite live up to my original impression, I dialed down my expectations for this book. I really only wanted two things: an explanation of why Kennedy is the way he is, and a reason for me to root for this couple. It delivered on the first - eventually. It did not deliver on the second. I can’t be invested in a "relationship" that was barely lukewarm in the first book and then "developed" in between books, started the second book with them split up and kept them apart until the 60% mark. I had no reason to care about Jason's moping - and boy did he ever mope, often while processing crime scenes. He really needs to learn to compartmentalize. Jason and Sam had no chemistry and I really didn't care if they got an HEA or even an HFN. The sex scene was just that - a sex scene. 

 

Kennedy's reasons for treating Jason in the passive-aggressive, jerkass way that he does certainly did explain a lot - but it's not what I expect from a 46-year old top-notch FBI investigator-now-supervisor known for his directness. His behavior was very wishy-washy, and his excuses were more suited to a man half his age and a fraction of his supposed maturity. 


The mystery was good once it got going. There were a lot of layers to it, but it's not overstuffed. There are some TSTL moments from both Jason and Sam, and I actually have a hard time believing these guys have been in the FBI as long as they have - or never seen or read a mystery book to know basic murder mystery tropes. The climax was rushed and would never have gone that way. There's this thing called mobilization. And not running off solo to chase down something hinky when you've got an entire task force at your beck and call. 

 

I had a vague feeling while reading the first book that Jason and Sam were lightweight versions of Adrien and Jake, and that impression was solidified here. Jason's not as interesting a POV character, and Sam's not as complex or compelling as Jake, so the comparisons just make these characters feel flatter as a result. That whole sidestep with Shipka had shades of Bruce Green to it too (minus him being a homicidal maniac). Lanyon often reuses themes in her stories, but this is the first time I felt like she was reusing characterizations. On top of that was the constant pimping of Winter Kill, another just-okay book with likable characters that I never got invested in, during the last half of the book. It worked my last nerve. Lanyon's crossovers used to be a lot more subtle. Not anymore. I didn't want to read about Winter Kill; I wanted to read this book.

To try to figure out a rating for this book, I'm going to split it up:

 

Romance - 1 star. It's pretty much non-existent until the last 75% of the book and that's just too late for me to get invested. 

 

Mystery - 3 stars. The various branches of the mystery were interesting and seeing Jason's determination to solve them was great. The resolution for Jason's case wasn't the usual, but I actually liked that. The climax was good until I started thinking about it and all the TSTL crap that went on. 

 

Characters - 3 stars. I did like what we learned about these two, but the side characters were just filling in spots, with maybe the exception of George. Kennedy's reasons for treating Jason like crap were pretty big - but something he should've worked out with a therapist early in his career before his obsession could become a potential liability to his investigations.

 

Editing - 4 stars. Above the average for this genre, but there are a lot more typos than Lanyon usually has in her works. 

 

Writing - 4 stars. Masterful as always, and really the saving grace here. She has a way of describing imagery and settings that put you in the location. She gets a little purple in the sex scene. I really wish she'd tame down the purple metaphors and similes. It's not as bad here as in some of her other works, but it still pulls me out of the scene.

 

Will I read the next one? I don't know. Maybe eventually, but it won't be a pre-order. 

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review 2017-04-12 13:55
The Mermaid Murders (Audiobook edition)
The Mermaid Murders: The Art of Murder, Book 1 - Inc. JustJoshin Publishing,Kale Williams,Josh Lanyon

Well, this is a first - my rating actually went down on a reread. The book just wasn't as effective for me in audio and knowing the outcome already tended to show its flaws more.

 

The narrator, Kale Williams, has a decent enough voice, but I never really warmed up to it, and I had to listen at 1.25 speed just to be able to listen to him. At regular speed, he was just too slow (most narrators are, to be fair) and he didn't really bring the story to life - at either speed, really. Much of the atmosphere that was so intimate when reading it myself was lost in the audio, at least for me, and it was the atmosphere that made up a big part of the story.

 

Then there's the story itself. A lot of the impact of the first read was learning who the whodunit was. This time around, I was looking for more specific clues or hints, and there really weren't any. And that whole climax was just non-sensical, to say the least. They really should've just pulled you know who into questioning while they called in backup to look for you know what, but I guess that wouldn't have been as exciting - and it wouldn't have given Jason a chance to face his fears, but that wasn't a big enough plot point for me to overlook the TSTL there at the end, not this time around anyway. Plus, knowing the ultimate reveal makes everything that comes before it rather a moot point, so while it was still interesting, at least in relation to Kennedy and his precarious position in the bureau, and to a lesser extent Jason's connection to the previous murders, it didn't really hold interest for the mystery itself. I was getting rather impatient with all of it, actually.

 

The biggest mystery continues to be Sam Kennedy. While I liked Jason a lot, I never got why Sam liked him - or at least why he liked him as quickly as he did. Except that this is m/m, and in order to be m/m there must be the sex, and in order to have the sex the MCs have to find each other appealing in some way. I still think this would've worked better as a dual POV instead of getting everything from Jason's POV. 

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review 2017-01-05 20:53
Disney Princess Storybook Collection - Disney Book Group,Disney Storybook Art Team

I have always love stories of Disney Princess. This was a quick and easy read. The stories are cute and the illustrations were awesome. A great read for any Disney fan.

 

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text 2016-11-24 08:12
Book art - Leopold Carl Müller

Leopold Carl Müller (1834 – 1892) was an Austrian genre painter. He is known for life scenes in Italy and Hungary and for his oriental paintings. I think this lady is reading a book of fairy tales. What else could be so big and have her so engrossed?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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text 2016-10-17 00:42
Book art - 1603

Here is a painting by an unknown Flemish artist, entitled The Botanist. The date on the painting is 1603. Note the flowers pictured in his botanical. And what is that interesting tool in his hand? Something to do with gardening, I presume, although it looks like a weapon.

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