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review 2017-11-27 16:20
What a Weird Book
A Thin Dark Line - Tami Hoag

What a weird book.

This doesn't even read like a Tami Hoag book. The main plot is a mess (investigating assault and murders of women) with multiple character POVs. I don't get the romance between Annie Broussard or Nick Fourcade. The setting of Louisiana could have been interesting, but ultimately fell flat. I just couldn't get behind Nick being an abusive police officer and Annie getting harassed by her fellow officers for daring to do the right thing.

I forgot I had "A Thin Dark Line" until I started rummaging through my bookshelves. I honestly didn't recall a thing about this book either so even though I had this book for years, nothing came back to me as I reread this.

Annie Broussard is a deputy looking to eventually become a detective. She finds herself fascinated by Nick Fourcade who is a loose cannon on the force. When Nick lashes out at a suspect, Annie steps on to stop the assault. This leaves Annie with a man who becomes obsessed with her. Nick also becomes obsessed with Annie initially thinking she is part of some conspiracy to ruin him.

I didn't really like any male in this book. Annie deserved better than Nick. In the end I think we're supposed to think Annie will keep Nick on the straight and narrow. Annie is put in danger repeatedly by her fellow officers and gets crapped on. She has an old flame try to tell her what to do and push his feelings on her. Maybe if Annie had a strong female relationship it would have helped balanced the overly masculine POVs.

I didn't believe the person who ended up being the suspect. It just read as false and something to throw out there. And I hated how things ultimately got wrapped up.

The writing was so so since we had multiple POVs. And we had Annie investigating and being harassed and Nick barely doing a thing it felt like. The flow was off. I found myself getting bored at parts. There were so many red herrings in this I just didn't even care at the end who was responsible for what.

I read this cause Hoag has a new book coming out that is a continuance of this series. Hopefully it's better than this.

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review 2017-04-21 00:00
Alabaster Shadows
Alabaster Shadows - Matt Gardner,Rashad Doucet Alabaster Shadows is one of the few kids’ comics on Comixology Unlimited. It is perfectly suited for a middle grade audience, though even younger kids will probably get a kick out of looking at it. (They may just not understand the story line.)

I love the bright and warm color palate used in Alabaster Shadows. It draws the eyes, and makes each panel into a pleasing visual experience. The illustrations are great as well. The illustrator does a great job of conveying the character’s emotions without a single word needing to be said. Though when words are said, they do match up perfectly. I found myself grinning every time the character Polly was on the page, perhaps because she reminds me (in spirit) of my own daughter.

Alabaster Shadows features a diverse family in a non-diverse setting. The mother is African American, the father Asian. The houses in their neighborhood all look the same. The rest of the people all appear to be white. So, it isn’t really a surprise that the Normandy family is an obvious catalyst for change.

It does follow some typical middle-grade tropes, such as the parents not really being part of the story. (They are, at least, both present, though!) Its very much pesky kids against evil adults.
There are some positive reinforcements mentioned in the book as well. As when one adult tells Polly early on that “…you don’t need to wait to grow up to be important.” And showing that stuff like ‘throws like a girl’ isn’t something that should be said by showing that a girl can really throw.
There is a Lovecraftian bent to the story, but nothing scary. At the most, all that the reader sees is some people staring off into space mumbling weird words. There are a few ‘monsters’ but considering how brightly colored they are, they’re not scary at all. Even Polly goes ballistic over how ‘cute’ something is.

Alabaster Shadows would be a great way to introduce middle-graders to the ‘weird fiction’ and horror of Lovecraft. It’s got a story line which will keep young (or older minds) engaged. The characters are likable ‘normal’ ones (no trace of super powers here!), and range from the scaredy-cat, to the confident and calm, to the ‘weird’ one, so some sort of character there for every one.
I love Alabaster Shadows. It’s a gorgeous book with a good storyline. I would love to have a hard copy of this one.

First review: Oh, I loved this one. I could have done a full review on it. (And might in the future.) Beautifully drawn and colored, with an intriguing storyline and interesting characters, Alabaster Shadows is a great pick for middle-grade+ readers.
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review 2017-04-07 19:58
The Blood Key (The Wander Series Book 1)... The Blood Key (The Wander Series Book 1) - Vaun Murphrey,Nathalia Suellen,Esther Doucet,Sam Norman

Zane/Z is freed from an asylum that she had been in since she was in there for three years Z had been falsely imprisoned for the murder of her brother who had gone missing. There were secrets and lies at home. Z comes home from the institution with Izzy who was a employee at the asylum but had become Z’s friend. Strange things started happening as Z and Izzy try to find out what really happened to Z’s brother and about Z herself. Z’s stepmother gave Z her childhood home with the stipulation that she never see   Z again. On her way home Z interrupts a robbery and to one of her brother Christopher’s friends Dominic. Z and Dominic start spending time together.

I kinda liked this story but wasn’t really impressed  by it though I did finish it. I had mixed feelings about this story. I would have liked more background on Z’s abilities and her background. Z’s dad really irritated me. Some things weren’t as clear as I thought they should be. I also got confused a lot about what was going on. I also would have liked to know more about the alien worlds. There was a lot of drama and action. It was fast paced with a lot of twists and turns that I did like. This was a quick read and at times made me laugh. Still all and all I was disappointed.

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review 2016-02-13 23:40
Meh & Monsters
Fight Like A Girl: Learning Curve TP - David Pinckney
Alabaster Shadows - Matt Gardner,Rashad Doucet

Fight Like a Girl A young girl takes on an epic quest in an attempt to save her brother from illness.  If she's able to pass 9 trials the pantheon of various gods (Loki, Chronos, etc. etc.) will save her brother, but if she fails, she's dead.


I enjoyed the fact that it was her brain that made her weapon work, if she could imagine it, then she could use it.  However, I wasn't really that interested in her fate.  We also never even got to see an interaction with her brother, so it was hard to sympathize with her or him.  It needed a lot of work in the story and plotting department.


The artwork too was just ok, nothing to write home about, but not awful either.  If comics got grades this would be about a C+.  It's not surprising there was an ad for the Princeless series in this one.


Alabaster Shadows Carter Normandy and his family are new residents of the Alabaster Shadows community and things aren't starting out great.  Sure, Carter makes friends with three other students right away, but only because the three of them all get caught up in a strange conspiracy.  Carter found an underwater city in his basement.  Harley and Warren have dreams and theories and Dudley listens to strange creatures chant beneath his bed.


Some readers may already be picking up on something here.  Dudley, Warren...Carter and the nice man who tries to help the kids called Mr. Randolph all have something in common.  They share their names with characters from H.P. Lovecraft stories.


And that's what this comic is about, middle school kids facing eldrich horrors and the evil adults (all strangely women so far) who summon them.


Definitely a fun story for kids in grades 5+ I'd say.  It's not too scary, but has it's moments (the shadow creatures I found the most chilling). The art wasn't my favorite, but I enjoyed the characters and the story quite a bit.

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review 2014-10-19 06:55
List of Rant: Cry Wolf
Cry Wolf - Tami Hoag

1. Tami Hoag can be a good writer. I can see it in the other two books she's written that I recently read. The story progression isn't absurdly staunched or anything like that. And she can be good with words. Unfortunately, I think she tried WAY too hard to emphasize EVERYTHING in this book. The purple prose is strong with this one, suffocating and deliberate in its plight to squeeze meaning into every scene and every dialogue and every action.

It got tacky.

The only part of the writing I really DID appreciate about this book was the vivid imagery about the bayous. But otherwise, everything else (character descriptions, action descriptions, character dialogue, character monologue...) all just needed to be toned down a notch. Even all the sex scenes were so flowery that I started envisioning rose petals and climbing vines in the background framing our couple as they made passionate love.

2. The story (and the romance, since this is what the book was mainly about) was pretty much Lucky's Lady Redux. Same time, same place, same heroine, same hero, different story, same formula. The only difference is that this one had a murder mystery in the background and the last 50% of the book.

Jack Boudreaux and Laurel Chandler are no different than Lucky and Serena in their personalities, the courting ritual, and their physical appearances (except that Jack may have one-upped Lucky by throwing in a kidnapping offense on top of the spewing of sexual innuendos, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and plain rude arrogance; and playing the self-pity game to the tipping point).

3. The murder mystery is as significant to the story as me sitting in my home listening to the news telecast a serial homicide the next state over. Basically, until we hit the half-point of the book, it HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, period. I was almost wondering if the murder mystery even existed anymore.

And also, the killer was obvious from the very moment that he appears in the book and all but tells you that he's the "brilliant predator" he keeps talking about.

The investigative process on this serial killer case was laughable.

4. I wouldn't pay a dime to have Laurel Chandler represent me in court even if I had no other choice. The book keeps alluding to how she's an excellent attorney and has a shining record of great case investigation and whatnot. But she blows one case (because she didn't have enough evidence and all but went public with her cause despite not having enough evidence to make these claims which strikes me as an amateur move for someone hotshot lawyer with a shining record), and then goes crawling into a hidey-hole, never to be seen again in her outstanding career field.

Because she lost ONE case!

Outside of the courtroom, she cannot stand up for herself or her sister. She won't say anything at all when it matters. And half the arguments she starts with a witty retort or a controlled, well-thought out line usually fizzles within seconds and she's left fuming mad and speechless because she can't finish her argument. Instead, someone else has to resort to coming to her rescue (usually Jack with his threats of physical violence, because being a disbarred lawyer and all, that's how we solve ALL our problems).

I was always under the impression that a good lawyer is good with words and can manage to, even if not manipulate a situation verbally in his or her favor, be able to stand up for herself or others and at least leave the debate with some form of dignity. A good lawyer should have the ability to argue a point with facts and fancy words that drive people crazy, without resorting to quiet tantrums or gawking like a dumbfounded goldfish. But Laurel's typical reaction to a confrontation (many of which she was the one to initiate in the book) is simply standing there and fuming.

Also, Laurel is hot and cold. She returns home so she can be pampered and not have to do a thing but relax, but she simmers when her aunt and her sister try to coddle her. She's got her own problems to deal with and doesn't want to do anything remotely close to legal obligations, but she'll butt her nose into others' problems, and when they request, she becomes their legal go-between to help settle their problems (which she does a shit job doing, by the way). She is indignant that Jack is a terrible, annoying, arrogant man, and that she is this pure, innocent, Mother Theresa type who doesn't just sleep with anyone... but ends up having sex with Jack anyway; and on top of that, she can't seem to keep her self-control under check. As with the rest of the confrontations she initiates, she can never seem to win an argument with Jack, but after her first witty retort, he'll smirk at her or say something alluding to sex or sex parts or any kind of sexy times and she is putty and forgets why she's annoyed with him in the first place.

She also seems to become sexually aroused and heated very easily around Jack, which is why she has so much trouble finishing her arguments with him.

And then she slut-shames her own sister.

5. Jack is a self-pitying cry baby who exaggerates his problems. I understand that he's been caught in tragedy and a terrible few years as a hot shot lawyer who went down the wrong road. I get it. But the point didn't need to be reinforced in his monologues repeatedly. Cause I get it. And even though you came across a bad streak when you were hotheaded, there are other issues in life other than your own self-made misery for you to try and care about. Case in point, when Laurel is going through a big heart-breaking loss near the end of the book, rather than being there for her, he chooses to reveal his own past and making the situation all about him. So then Laurel feels bad for him 

despite the fact that her sister was just discovered murdered

(spoiler show)

and tries to console HIM instead.

Jack is a walking double standard because he's allowed to pry into Laurel's past and make remarks about how she needs to forgive herself and move on with life. But when anyone even glances in the direction of his own wounds, he crawls into his own self-made prison and growls at everyone walking by. He's allowed to wallow in his self-pity, but when he comes across Laurel doing it, he makes rude remarks about the pot calling kettle and how she's arrogant to think she can shoulder all the world's responsibility. Then she calls him out on his own assessment, using it to compare his own tragic past and he tells her she's wrong, pushes her out the door, and goes whimpering to his hidey-hole again.

I get that there was a lot of darker content and subject matter in this book. I'm not ragging on it. I just think it could have been handled better. Rather than hammering the point about our character's tragedies every other chapter, how about we move on with the story and try to see our characters into development and a Happily Ever After... or something akin to that. Or not. The point is, we needed to move on with the story after everyone's wallowing in self-pity was re-emphasized for the fifth time--cause otherwise the book just gets depressing.

I'm at the edge of trying to decide whether or not to finish this series. I own the paperback copy of A Thin Dark Line, then went and checked out the first three books from the library so that I could get around to reading A Thin Dark Line, but now I'm having misgivings.





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