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review 2016-05-25 15:49
Flawed, but with good potential
Dead Spots - Melissa F. Olson

“Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” ― Shannon L. Alder

 

Scarlett Bernard is one pragmatic lady. Of course, she has to be considering her job is supernatural crime scene cleanup. As in, get in, clean up the mess, steal the body, and book the hell out of Dodge before the cops arrive. She is truly good at her job, and her boss, the cold and distant Dashiell, Master Vampire of the city, may be scary, but he pretty much allows her to do her job without interference. But then, the worst happens.

 

She gets caught. Caught by a newly minted detective, Jesse Cruz, just after she arrives at a scene more bloody and grotesque than any she has ever seen. What happens next is fast paced action with terrific world building and interesting characters. I first read the book back in 2012, and enjoyed it then. This time I listened to the Audible edition narrated by Amy McFadden (one of my favorite narrators) and, as sometimes happens, I liked it even more as I listened. Scarlett is a strong character with a well-developed, though brutal, background and is likeable. She isn’t perfect, but that is what makes her interesting. She has taken horrific hits in her life – but the one she walks into later on is absolutely devastating and Olson does a rather wonderful job of writing the horrors of betrayal. I would have liked her to be more mature in her interactions with others – her tendency to cope a nasty, self-serving attitude at times was a downer. I am hoping that the next books will show growth in her as a character (especially since I own them all). Her behavior isn’t as horrendous as other female characters in the genre, but I am hoping for more maturity in upcoming works.

There are some things that were irritating. The Dreaded Love Triangle. Irritating! Not only do love triangles make me retch, this one felt stilted and unnecessary, dragging down the storyline. Also, the POV switches between characters and from first to third person erratically and unnecessarily. Irritating, but not as irritating as the lurrve (titter titter, Groan) triangle. Olson’s take on werewolf psychology was more interesting than a lot of other books in the genre, and her friendship with the Alpha and Beta were more realistic than many others. The Alpha isn’t as ‘Alpha’ as in other books (thank the Goddess!) and the tortured Beta was very realistically portrayed in the vein of “I never wanted this in the first place.”

 

So, flawed, it isn’t perfect by any means, but I still enjoyed it as much as I remembered, and Amy’s narration was, as always, spot on.

Source: soireadthisbooktoday.com
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review 2016-02-26 11:46
The Walnut Tree (Short Story loosely connected with Bess Crawford series)
The Walnut Tree: A Holiday Tale - Charles Todd

Meh. That's about the best I can come up with. This book did nothing I hoped for when I

wanted it to. When I wanted more Bess...nothing. More nursing...Elspath gets kicked

out. (I'm sorry, that's not a spoiler. It was practically in neon lights from the moment she joined!)

 

 

Lady Elspath Douglas is in Paris keeping an old school friend company before the birth of her first child. Elspath's long had a crush on her friend's older brother, Alain, and he finally notices her...just as WWI starts. Our..."intrepid" hero's journey leads her across France in the early days, giving her the desire to become a nursing sister. But she's the ward of a very conservative uncle who'd never let her join - so she doesn't tell him and basically lies to get in. A love triangle develops...blah, blah, blah.

 

I wanted to like Elspath (though it could have been Bess!! Why wasn't it Bess?) but I never could quite connect with her. I think she's suppose to be independent and strong; I found her selfish and TSTL at times. She's suppose to be a great nurse; she lets worries and personal concerns take precedence. (I could talk here about the fact we've seen other nurses handle the same instances better...but that would make me sound like I'm blaming this character for not being the other one.) Elspath is suppose to be a character from an elevated position seeing the world change around her forever. She's shown to be okay with this; yet she flaunts rules, drops names and calls in favors, and seems to want the best of both worlds.

 

While I never thought Alain and her were a good match, I'm frankly left thinking Peter's too good for her. I think she's clearly on a path of growth but the problems is we see little of it. And she basically does one of the worse rebounds I've ever seen.

 

So...why am I giving this three stars? (I keep asking myself that very question.) In the end, the parts that worked...really worked. The historical aspects were well done and integral to the plot. They felt real and you could understand and feel them in a way it's difficult to in non-fiction. Some of the scenes where Elspath is growing and changing as her world changes around her are good and I absolutely loved the final part (where the story gets its name from).

 

Am I glad I read it? Yes and I will probably even buy an ebook copy of my own. Will I read it often?

 

 

Links to reading updates:

25%

58%

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text 2016-02-26 10:42
Reading progress update: I've read 58%.
The Walnut Tree: A Holiday Tale - Charles Todd

Just as I was complaining about the love triangle the main character was selfishly continuing...I really didn't see that coming. Or maybe more hoped.

 

 

The man she became...sort of engaged to right as the war started came home with a prisoner exchange but he'd lost his right arm. She raced to Paris (breaking rules left and right) to be with him...but he wanted to call it off. She wouldn't hear of it and now she's found him in a part with his service revolver...

 

I didn't want her to be with him (Peter's way better) but come on! Didn't see this going quite that dark!

(spoiler show)

 

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review 2016-02-20 02:10
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe - And now I crave cupcakes!
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe: A Novel with Recipes - Jenny Colgan

I happened to see Audiobook Junkie's review of this book and decided to take a chance. I'm so glad I did.

 

I'm still not sure what to do with this book. I don't read books like this. If there's no murder, history, steampunk, Sci-Fi...something, you need to work real hard to hold my attention. Yeah, I know I need to branch out more in my reading habits.

 

Issy's (Isabel) life is in a decent place. A good job, a house with her best friend Helena as a roommate, her grandfather still alive though starting on the slippery slope of dementia, and in a secret relationship with her gorgeous boss, Grahame. Then one day, the dominoes start to fall. Her position is made redundant, her boss turns out to be a complete jerk (though why this was a surprise to her I have no idea), and she has no idea where to go next.

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review 2015-03-09 06:35
The Dress Shop of Dreams
The Dress Shop of Dreams - Menna van Praag

After Murder by Death and Obsidian Blue's great reviews, I simply had to check this out from the library and give it a try. Thank you both so much for introducing me to this because I'd have never picked it up otherwise.

 

The plot of this reminds me of Love, Actually (a movie I loathe, actually - sorry to anyone who loves it) as you have several different characters whose story weave together with one another.

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