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review 2017-09-08 14:06
This book has me wondering; what it's really like for the movers and the shakers' children in Washington DC???
The Fixer - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

 

Book Title:  The Fixer

Author:  Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Series:  The Fixer #1

Genre:  YA, Mystery

Setting:  Washington DC

Source: Kindle eBook (Library)

 

 

 

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Ratings Breakdown

 

Plot:  4/5

Main Characters:  4/5

Secondary Characters:  4/5

The Feels:  3.5/5

Addictiveness:  3/5

Theme or Tone:  4/5

Flow (Writing Style):  5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  4/5

Originality:  4/5

Book Cover:  4/5

Ending:  4.2/5 Cliffhanger: Not so much…but it's not the end of this storyline.

Total:  3.8/5 STARS - GRADE=B

 

 

My Thoughts

 

Seriously though, high school is difficult enough without that kind of pressure added to it. I loved this Author's other series The Naturals, but this first book in The Fixer series has left me underwhelmed and missing that thrill…although, it still has her whip smart style of writing.  Maybe, political intrigue isn't what I'm into right now.  Politics, in general, ugh…need I say more?  Not that this book chooses one side/party or opinion over another, it does really good job of staying neutral, which is very astute of Ms. Barnes.

 

Will I continue this series It's still quite possible…but neither of my library's have it right now.

 

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review 2017-09-01 21:27
Frozen Memories by Cassie Miles
Frozen Memories (Harlequin Intrigue) - Cassie Miles

Super read, tension from beginning to end. The plot is very intricate but well done. I like the way the male protagonist is forced to re-think some of the male over-protectiveness the culture has convinced him he should have, and the way he's forced to trust her completely when she flies a small single prop Piper Cub and lands it on a patch of nothing. Here's the blurb:

 

Amnesia made her forget him. His love will bring her back. 

Their mission is compromised. Their cover is blown. And FBI Special Agent Spence Malone has found his partner—and love of his life—disoriented and suffering from drug-induced amnesia. NSA cybercrimes expert Angelica Thorne has forgotten her name, her mission and, worst of all, Spence and their nights of passion. And now they're in a race against an unseen enemy bent on nuclear destruction. Spence vows to protect her and help her remember…everything. All Angelica knows for sure is that when Spence holds her in his arms, she feels so right. Why, then, does everything else seem so wrong?

 

As usual, the emphasis in the blurb his woman getting strength from man, when the actual book is more them getting strength from each other. And it's more he learning about her than the reverse, that trust is a two-way street, and the caveman routine only gets you so far.

 

Recommended.

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review 2017-08-02 00:00
Turbulent Intrigue (Billionaire Aviators Book 4)
Turbulent Intrigue (Billionaire Aviators Book 4) - Melody Anne Talk about saving the best for last. Ace was the perfect brother to close out The Billionaire Aviators series. The mysterious brother with a chip on his shoulder and a thirst for danger. He's a master at flaunting his pilot skills but not so skilled at opening his heart. The secrets don't end with emotional blinders. Pride has lead him down a road of loneliness and intrigue that is as complex and explosive as the man himself. Walking the edge been good guy and dangerous man, can love save him from himself? The thrills may be bigger and the danger more intense. Turbulent Intrigue brings a breathtaking, eye catching and heartwarming conclusion to a hot series.
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review 2017-06-28 21:35
A solid and entertaining cozy mystery set in the world of the circus, and a must for those who love big cats
A Spark of Justice - J.D. Hawkins

I was sent an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

This book is classed as a cozy mystery and is set in the world of the circus, probably in the recent past, although this is not specified and the novel has a somewhat timeless feel.  There are mobile phones (but hardly ever used, and most people rely on land lines as nobody is located unless they are at home or at work), computers (but only an old-fashioned one is ever mentioned or seen and reports are paper based) but most people do not seem to use any modern commodities, although the mauling of Rolo, the lion tamer and the victim whose murder/accidental death is the mystery at the centre of the novel, is available on YouTube. And of course, the circus where the story is set still has performing animal, including big felines (lions, leopards, tigers, and panthers). In the US there is no federal ban as such yet (although they are banned in many countries) but most of the big circuses have stopped showing those numbers (and indeed Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus gave its last performance in May this year) and there are many local bans, so that adds to the feeling of a somewhat idealised and old-fashioned world.

The story is told in the third person but from the point of view of John (Juan) Nieves, an insurance investigator of Puerto Rican origin, born in New York, who left his studies as a vet to join the police, and after working for the police for a time, moved to the Mid-West and changed his job to try and save his marriage. Unfortunately, it did not work, but he loves his son, thinks about him often and lives for his visits.  His lifestyle is itinerant and he feels no strong attachment to his current job or to his apartment. For some reason, he feels irresistibly attracted to the world of the circus from the moment he sets foot in it. Although he does not like clowns and he is less than welcome by the circus artists initially, he cannot stop going back, even when he does not have a very good reason to. At first, it seems it is due to his attachment to detective work and to his wish to solve the mystery, but later we realise there is something else at play.

As happens in all good detective or mystery novels, the story is not only about the mystery but also about the investigator. In this case, John’s motives and sense of self and identity are put into question from the very beginning, and eventually, the process of self-discovery becomes more interesting than the case itself. If circuses have traditionally been places where people could run away from their circumstances and become a new person, this novel shows them as a big family happy to accommodate those who might not fit into normal society and others who want to become who they feel they really are, no matter how alternative. It is perhaps significant that Rolo did not spend all year with the circus but lived at times with his outside family, and was not as fully invested as the rest of the artists and did not truly belong.

The mystery is pretty intriguing too, don’t get me wrong. A death by a deadly tiger attack is not everyday news, and the fact that the tiger had been spooked by an electrical spark from a damaged cable makes it even less common. There are a suitably large number of suspects (both from within the circus —as Rolo was not very well liked, for reasons we discover later—, and from his personal life, including a wife, a lover, and a brother), a complex web of deceit and betrayal; there are threats and warnings to John to keep out of circus’s business, and there are wonderful descriptions of the world of circus, wild cats, clowns, and behind the curtains insights that will delight anybody who has ever felt curious about this world.

Although there are anxiety provoking and scary moments (near- miss accidents, close calls with a knife thrower, eerie moments with a lion and a panther, and also more run of the mill human violence), there is no actual gore and the investigation itself is not precise and full of detail (in fact, once some of the suspects are removed from the scene they practically disappear from the story).

I liked John (Juan) Nieves, the main character. He is not the usual noir detective, full of clever repartees and sarcastic comments. He thinks before he acts (mostly); he is not unduly violent and uses no foul language; he thinks of his son often and is kind towards animals and kids, and he acknowledges his weaknesses, his doubts, and his mistakes. He is happy to let certain things drop and to hide others that have no real bearing on the matter and will not affect his employer. He is not a rigid believer in the value of finding the truth and revealing it at all costs and is more interested in human beings (and big cats) than he is in some perfect vision of duty.  The author, who describes a personal background in carnival attractions, creates some interesting secondary characters, particularly the circus’s performers, although due to how different clowns look with and without makeup, it is quite easy to get confused as to who is who, but this does not prevent us from following the plot and enjoying the story.

I have read some comments that describe the ending as a let-down and this is true if we think of the novel as being only about the investigation of Rolo’s death. On the other hand, if we see it as a process of investigating and revealing who the real John (Juan) Nieves is, there is no disappointment at all.

Recommended to lovers of cozy mysteries set in original settings, to those who like big cats (or cats of any size), and to readers who appreciate a good background and an inside knowledge of the world of circus, especially those who feel nostalgic about a world that seems to be on the verge of disappearance. A solid and entertaining read.

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review 2017-06-26 23:30
Brief Thoughts: The Substitute Sister
The Substitute Sister (Harlequin Intrigue) - Lisa Childs

The Substitute Sister

by Lisa Childs

 

 

Ghostly Whispers

Rocking chairs moving to and fro in the night... and an inherited house straight out of the eeriest of ghost stories.  These were the things Sasha Michaelson found when she arrived on Sunset Island to collect the body of her identical twin... and take charge of her newly discovered niece.

But even more frightening to Sasha than her sister's shadowy presence in the old house, and the killer still running loose on the small island, was the fact that Sheriff Reed Blakeslee stopped her breath and made her heart pound fast.

But was the brooding lawman's determined search for answers caused by a love that hadn't stopped with death...or by a desire - for Sasha - that he couldn't deny?



The Substitute Sister had a pretty intriguing premise that had drawn me in.  And the book started out pretty good.  It had a creepy enough feel, and the additions of a hostile house staff as well as strange noises in the night was a nice touch.  The not quite there paranormal elements were also a lovely add-on, giving the book itself that Gothic feel of being set in a huge mansion on a scenic island.

But the moment that Sasha meets love interest Sheriff Reed Blakeslee, the entire story seemed to automatically slide into "Romance, First and Foremost" territory.  The insta-lust picked up, and despite there having been a murder on the island, and other matters that Sasha now had to attend to, the two of them kept coming back to "growing feelings" that went from insta-lust straight to insta-love.

I feel like I'm repeating myself lately, but I suppose my selection of reading material just hasn't been all that varied.  Although much like some other books I've quite recently read (To the Rescue, The Mysterious Twin), The Substitute Sister is bite-sized and didn't take long to finish.

Don't get me wrong:  The writing style is serviceable and the progression was smooth, actually outlined pretty well on the murder mystery side of things.  Even our main characters had a bit more personality to them than the other romances I mentioned.  And while the main culprit wasn't a surprise, I WILL admit that the book kept me guessing about the entire fiasco--even about whether or not Sasha's twin sister, Nadine, was really dead.

I would probably give this book props for atmosphere, that's for sure.

And as silly as it is to be complaining about how this Romance novel had too much focus on the romance, with an uneven development in our main couple's relationship...  Honestly, that was really the biggest quibble I had about it.  The murder investigation was a bit weakly constructed, but overall effective.

Despite my low rating and my few disappointments, I'm actually interested in continuing to keep Lisa Childs on my radar as an author to check out other books for.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly

Roll #20:
Water on book cover.

Page Count:  240
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $109.00

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/brief-thoughts-substitute-sister.html
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