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review 2019-01-07 04:57
Ice Blues (Donald Strachey #3)
Ice Blues - Richard Stevenson

I do love a snarky bastard, and Don Strachey is up there with the best of them. <3 He's not always easy to love - like when he's bemoaning his forced monogamy due to the AIDS crisis - but he keeps Detective Newman and the bad guys on their toes. Even when they think they have him where they want him, he's always one step ahead, if only just. Timmy is way too good for Donald. I honestly don't know why he puts up with half the stunts Don pulls in this one. He has way more patience than I would.

 

The case is kookier than ever, as Don finds himself unexpectedly neck deep in political intrigue, possible dope dealers and millions gone missing - all thanks to some dude he met once at a party. Which really is all the more reason not to go to parties and stay home with a good book, if you ask me. Poor Timmy is put through the wringer in this one, but I think I felt most sorry for the anonymous men and women at Don's call service. You know they gossip about him during their lunch hour! Watching Don scrambling to stay ahead of the game, and the ease with which he lies and schemes and snarks his way through one scene after another was a treat. 

 

There were a bit more typos than I could put up with, especially in the last third of the book where "he" and "be" were constantly mixed up. There was also some punctuation misuse and so on. 

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review 2018-12-23 20:07
The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out (TGWYS #2)
The Ghost Had an Early Check-Out - Josh Lanyon

The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks was one of the earliest Lanyon books I read, after Fair Game and the Adrien English series. I adored Perry and really liked Nick. The atmosphere of the old house full of crazies was perfectly written and eerily portrayed, and the mystery was engaging and just as zany as the people in the house. I've read that book at least three times and enjoyed it more each time.

 

However, it wasn't a book or a pairing that was crying out for a sequel. Even so, I was one of the ones (semi-)excited when the sequel was first announced a few years ago. But I was nervous too because so many of the JL's books lately just haven't appealed to me or haven't lived up to those earlier books, so I went into this with mixed feelings.

 

This was painfully average. Once again, I found myself asking "who wrote this" while I was reading it because this isn't the JL of ten years ago, or even of five years ago. The writing was adequate but there was no real sense of atmosphere or the space this story was taking place in, which is too bad because she really could've done a lot with this setting of a broken down hotel full of B-movie horror props. The characters were zany but randomly so, as if their characteristics were chosen by throwing darts at a board. They didn't play off each other very well at all, and there was so little interaction with them - or maybe they were just so forgettable - that I couldn't really keep them straight, even though this only took a little over a day to read. The mystery was all over the place and didn't even make any sense. There are just too many unanswered questions, and it felt like Lanyon was just making things up on the fly instead of plotting out the mystery elements ahead of time.

 

Most importantly, Nick and Perry's relationship was just there. Because they're a couple and in the same book. It was barely touched upon. They have next to no conflicts in their relationship. Nick is gone a lot because he's the low man on the totem pole at work and has to do the overnight and away assignments, but Perry's busy with work (whatever that is) and school and his paintings, so while he misses Nick it's not really an issue for him. Perry's homesick, but that's hardly touched on either. Nick misses Perry but that's just mentioned in passing. He's frustrated their rare weekend together is being hogged up with a silly mystery in an old house, but other than a couple of short conversations about it, it's also not really an issue. So there was no real development, either individually or as a couple. There was only one sex scene - interrupted thank God, because it was averagely written as the rest of this.

 

I have to say, I finished this and had to wonder why this story was even necessary. Maybe a lot of this could have been improved if the story had been longer, but then we'd still be waiting for it.  

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review 2018-12-07 05:00
Guardian Spirits (Spirits #3) (Audiobook)
Guardian Spirits - Jordan L. Hawk

The final book in the Spirits trilogy is adequate. This hasn't been my favorite series by Ms. Hawk by a long shot. I never really felt the romance between Henry and Vincent, the ghost adventuring is pretty standard though she does bring a certain flair to it, and the narrator is listenable, but nothing to write home about.

 

The plot here was again predictable and I could see every twist and turn coming from a mile away. While it makes emotional sense that Vincent and Jo would make the incredibly stupid decisions they make, it still felt like all the characters were given a case of the dumb-dumbs in order for the plot to happen, which is why this got downgraded half a star.

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review 2018-11-18 19:19
Dangerous Spirits (Spirits #2)
Dangerous Spirits - Jordan L. Hawk

I don't have much to say about this one. It was fun, and the ghost story was less obvious than in the first book, but I still figured it out way before the characters did and it still follows all the usual tropes. Henry does a stupid thing at the beginning of the book and then lies about it for the next 75% of it. Vincent is also holding things back, so all the relationship angst is based on them not talking or trusting each other. I did like the background that we get about Vincent and Lizzie and their mentor Dunne, and the climax was sufficiently tense. Overall though, this is pretty average.

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review 2018-11-06 02:54
Rites of Winter (Inheritance #6)
Rites of Winter - Amelia Faulkner

This is the first book in a new "season" and it shows. (I didn't steal that line from Elena! She just got to her review first.) ;)

 

It was nice to pick up more or less where the previous book ended, and to see Laurence and Quentin start to work on some of their issues. Quentin especially is messed up from the events of the previous book, but Laurence has his own hangups he needs to work out too. I really would've liked to see more emphasis made on their emotional and psychological trauma, but that was mostly skimmed over in favor of focusing on their sex life. Which is also important because of what Quentin was forced to remember in the last book, and I don't want to discount that. I'm happy none of that caused a backslide. 

 

But look, I don't like D/s at all and this is getting very close to bordering on that and has been steadily going in that direction for awhile. I also have no idea what's supposed to be so sexy about mesh shirts. To me, they look like an overenthusiastic cat attacked someone's wardrobe. So none of this was working for me, and for it being such an important part of their relationship development it left me cold. Add onto that Laurence wondering when the hell he became so submissive and the theory I've been working with since the end of the second book, and this all gets unfortunately cringe-worthy. I could be totally off with my theory, but there is no way for me to know that at this point. All that combined means their sex scenes are the equivalent of dumping me into the Arctic Ocean.

 

The plot itself is well done and paced, and it was good to see more of Otherworld and see the various ways that fantasy and magic blend together in this world. I did think there was a little too much focus on the action at times, when it would've been nicer to see the emotional tolls some more. I'm not really sure what to make of Basil or Jon at this point, since they're not given much dimension. They're interesting though and I'm looking forward to seeing what they bring to the mix in the future.

 

There were a few missing words in this one, and one chapter's formatting was just wonky - but readable. I also don't remember Laurence being so excessive with the "baby" endearments in past books. I'm not one to quibble over that word like others are, but even I wanted to cast it into the fires of Mt. Doom after the third or fourth chapter.

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