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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-11 05:32
The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters #1) (Audiobook)
The Unsung Hero - Suzanne Brockmann

This audiobook is brought to you by Patrick Lawlor and Siri. Ok, Melanie Ewbanks reads the female POVs (I googled it - she is not Siri), but true story: I was driving to a meeting at a building I hadn't been to before when I first started listening to this audiobook, so I had my GPS turned on. The first time Ms. Ewbanks took over the narration, I seriously thought that my GPS lady got bored and started to randomly narrate the book. (I googled the GPS lady too - not Ms. Ewbanks.) She improves a little as the story goes on - or I just got used to her - but if you want to know what sex scenes sound like when read to you by a Siri-esque voice, now's your chance! (I didn't, so I skipped over them. Even when Lawlor was reading them. Narrators reading sex scenes are just painful.) Patrick Lawlor did a much better job of getting into the material and bringing life and warmth to the story. Unfortunately - as happens too often with dual narrators - the narrators are clearly not in the studio together when they recorded their parts, so Lawlor still has to do female voices and Siri still has to do male voices and I have no idea why you would pay for two narrators and then split up the reading this way. Stop doing this to your listeners!

 

Sadly, even the best narrators couldn't have saved this book. This has three - count them - one, two, THREE - romances crammed into one long-ass boring romance novel with an attempt at an intriguing suspense subplot to thread it all together. It just doesn't work. Rating them from blandest to most promising, the romances are these:

 

3 - Charles, Cybelle, Joe - Love triangle. Bored now. Love triangle set during WW II? UGHHHH! At least it's not set in Pearl Harbor? Seriously, it's WW II and that's the best the author could think to do with these characters? STAHP. The only good thing about this part of the story is that Charles and Joe stay friends.

 

2 - Kelly and Tom - The old "girl kisses boy, boy freaks out and enlists in the Navy, boy and girl don't see each other for 16 years and in all that time they clearly barely even change since they're right back where they left off as soon as they're in the same room again" story. Yeah, nothing new here either. I did like Tom's struggles with his head injury and wondering if he's still capable of leading. I'm just not sure this story actually answers that question. I also liked Kelly's struggles with understanding her father, Charles, and getting closer to him as his health is failing.

 

1 - Mallory and David - The old "geek boy who's really a nice guy (but not a Nice Guy) stalks beautiful girl and gets her" story. Ok, stalking is a little strong. He just makes himself visible, and he's a lot more confident and self-assured than geek boys tend to be in these stories. Mallory's change of heart toward him is gradual, and while it occasionally threatens to veer into boring romance cliche territory, it mostly avoids it.

 

The terrorist stalker subplot is one I've read before also, so again, nothing new here. This was published pre-9/11, so maybe the regulations were a wee bit more relaxed then, but I doubt it. If a bomb threat gets called in, it has to be investigated. End of story. If a building needs to be evacuated in a hurry, pull the fire alarm. The ending was convoluted and eye roll worthy, and the negligence on display here by literally everyone except our protags defies logic. 

 

This series is not off to a good start, but I've seen other reviews mention the books get better after this one, so I'm going to at least give the next one a try.

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review 2017-06-02 23:04
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium #1) (Audiobook)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson

This is a tricky one, since there are two different plots going on here, as well as all the background set up on the protags. Plot 1 with the financial scandals going on in Sweden was of little interest to me. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it bookended the book, so it was slow to start and then the ending just kind of dragged on way past where it should have ended. Plot 2 concerns a missing niece and a 30-year old mystery of what happened to her. That part took up the bulk of the book and was easily the best part. It gets a little melodramatic,

because why stop at serial killings when you can add incest and child molestation,

(spoiler show)

 but overall was well-done. The only thing I didn't care much about it was that even this was shuffled around the various personal happenings in Blomkvist's love life and professional life, and there wasn't much opportunity for the reader to try to figure things out separate from the characters in the book (though I had no doubt who the perp was after a certain point, then I was hanging around waiting for the characters to put the hows and whys together).

 

I did like Lisbeth Salander. She's awesome and you do NOT want to mess with her. :D

 

The narrator, Simon Vance, was easy to follow along with and had a good range of voices for the various characters. 

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review 2017-01-26 02:11
The Winter Spirit by Indra Vaughn
The Winter Spirit - Indra Vaughn
I absolutely love the story, love the fairy-tale setting of "I love you" conquers death and evil evil relatives. Love the snowed-in isolated dwellings, love googly-eyed couples. Love characters damaged and hurt by former lovers/spouses.

The problem for me here is the length of the book. Not enough Owen. Not enough of the lovey-dovey couple (there were adorbs!), not enough Nate's history, not enough Nate/Gabriel interaction prior to the events. I hope some day the author will expand and build upon this story. But right now I have to take a star (maybe even a star and then some) for missed opportunities.

In the end it still mounts up to 4 stars.
Thank you for a cozy winter/holiday miracle read, Indra! :)

PS Oh, and I love the cover, too! :D

===========

Found Gabriel and Heath :D

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review 2017-01-16 03:03
Book Review: Cheating Bastard by Devon McCormack
Cheating Bastard - Devon McCormack WTF did I just read? What kind of twisted tale was this? Didn't expect it to end this way, but probably should have. Dark. Never mind the rough sex, the dubious consent, the mind games - the sociopath within takes the cake. Holy shit, what a ride.
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review 2017-01-11 03:18
Old Loyalty, New Love (L'Ange #1) by Mary Calmes
Old Loyalty, New Love - Mary Calmes

I am not sure why Roman had to be set on fire. Mary Calmes already set him up with such a tragic family history, you think "WTF? Give the kid a break." Right? NO - Off With His Face!
But what is the purpose of this ...exercise? Kids in college couldn't care less about his scars. Everyone in the state of Maine (and beyond) still wants Roman. His injured face does not pose any difficulties to him, once he stopped the surgeries. He himself sometimes uses it for 'shocking' purposes or excuses when he doesn't want to talk to people.
i dunno, i dunno.... will keep reading. maybe it will make sense somewhere down the road.

UPDATE
I get it now. The pack accepts you. YOU. Not what you look like. The appearances don't matter. You're not damaged unless you can't hunt or contribute in any other way.
So, what if we have an ex-marine (for example), big and strong in no way physically damaged, except for a severe PTSD? Let's put another character through hell, so we can learn the ways of the pack when someone looks perfect but can't contribute, shall we? We'll have a manual on jackal shifters in no time by dragging people through pain and suffering.

Don't get me wrong, I love most of Mary's books, it's just this one seems to me unusually cruel. She has this meaninglessly mean (a sad 'ha-ha') streak that pops up every once in a while in her fiction. As much as I loved the first two Change of Heart books, #3 & #4 got 2 stars from me for that same reason. Jin, a cute lovable boy, was turned into something hateful, fearful and highly unpleasant. No wonder he didn't want to get mated in book one, he knew. Look where it got him.

That said, I do read books where the characters are damaged physically or emotionally or both, that doesn't bother me. But I am uber cautious now when it comes to reading Mary Calmes. Sad days :(

PS Forgot to mention: it ticks me off that the tragedy (actually many tragedies) that befalls Roman serves a singular purpose - to support one and one character only, Quade, who did not have live through the horror of it personally or even deal with it much. At least not the way Mary Calmes describes it. We only have a couple of tiny little peeks of how boys dealt with it. A brush off, no more :/

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