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review 2018-10-02 23:24
The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure
The Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure - Robert Arthur,Alfred Hitchcock,Harry Kane

I'm pretty sure I wasn't supposed to find this as amusing as I did, but I'm several decades past its target demographic.  I'd never read a Three Investigators book before and know a few people with fond memories of them, so I wanted to give one a try. 

 

I'm not going to touch on the sheer fantasy of what is the foundational premise of the books; they were written to be adventures and mysteries for kids (I use 'kids' as a broad spectrum noun here) and why not make these kids important?  Why not give them more parental freedom and the only junk yard in the world that would be fun and safe to play in. 

 

But it was still hilarious.  The gnomes, which are probably not PC by today's standards.  The Japanese representation, which is definitely not, yet feels innocently done here - yes, the authors' should have been more sensitive, but the kids reading it at the time would likely have read it in total naiveté.  I didn't find the Japanese speaking stereotypically funny at all, but I did have a good head shake over it.

 

Mostly what I found funny were the three boys, and that's just because despite my best efforts, I grew up and can't avoid seeing the playacting taking place.  Still, their hideout sounds cool as hell and I loved the Alfred Hitchcock appearances.  That man just couldn't stay on the sidelines of anything, could he?

 

I read this for the Baker Street Irregulars Square in Halloween Bingo.

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review 2018-10-02 01:30
The Fourth Bear (Nursery Crimes, #2)
The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde

What can ever be said about a Jasper Fforde book that would make sense to anyone that hasn't read one?  This is the second in what is, so far, a two book series about what crime would look like if Nursery Characters lived in the real world.  Jack Spratt, the head of the Nursery Crimes Division, investigates several seemingly unrelated crimes:  Porridge smuggling, a missing Goldilocks, the escape of the Gingerbread man, and his new car that never ages, with a painting in the boot that does.  All while fighting suspension based on a pending psych evaluation after being swallowed by the Big Bad Wolf.

 

It's not all Mother Goose either, side characters include Spratt's daughter Pandora and her soon to be husband, Prometheus and at least one character from Shakespeare.  Oh, and an alien.  Because, why not?

 

In spite of sounding (and mostly being) silly, it's not an easy/breezy book to read.  There are layers in the writing and the jokes and the references that are easy to miss.  There's a subtle - very subtle - disregard for the fourth wall, where the characters not only recognise they're in a book (a la Thursday Next), but will make subtle reference to the author and the reader.  So not only is it a book where the overload of satire is best enjoyed in small doses, but one that if carefully read will give more humorous dividends than a quick read would.

 

Generally it's just a hell of a lot of fun to read.  The puns get punnier towards the end and there was at least one *snort*chuckle in the last 30%.  It might have been it was late and I was tired, but 

 

cuculear power 

(spoiler show)

 

made me laugh.

 

I read this for the Modern Noir square in Halloween Bingo.  It's a gimme for the Grimm Tale square, but I've already read that terrible retelling of Snow White and it's not going to have been for nothing, and Spratt's attitude and methods are definitely noir-ish.

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review 2018-09-26 09:38
the weakest one, for me.
The Wilderness - Rosalind Abel
(Verified purchase, Sept 12 2018) This is book 8 in the Lavender Shores series, and you don't NEED to have read the others before this one. I would, however, probably recommend that you read book 6, The Glasshouse. You'll get a better picture of what Will suffered, and it gives a hint to this book! Will was left at the altar in font of a multi million viewing audience. Andre's wife passed away. Together, they get themselves through a really tough period. But it's not until Will decides to run clear across the world, does Andre realise what Will means to him, and just how much his heart would break, if he lost him. For me? The weakest of the series, and I've no idea why! And you KNOW how much that pains me!! I loved the other books, all 4 and 5 stars reads, and I really was looking forward to this one, especially after that hint in book 6, and I really don't know why in falls flat *insert wailing* It's well told, from both Will and Andre's point of view, in the first person, just like the rest. It's extremely well written and well delivered and I saw no spelling or editing errors to spoil my reading. And I DID read it in one sitting, just like the rest! It has very early (internal) professions of love, from both guys, and I don't usually like that but its quite some time before they SAY the words. It's a bit more . . . whats the word . . . lovey dovey . . . hearts and flowers . . . . .type of thing, than the rest, or at least I thought so? Maybe that's it?? **insert more wailing** I just don't know WHY this one didn't hit the spot, and for that I'm sorry. But still a nice read and a good addition to the series. 3 good solid stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-09-26 09:10
love love LOVED this one!
Searching For A Soul To Love - JP Sayle
I was gifted my copy of this book from the author, that I write a review was not required. This is book 4 in the Manx Cat Guardian series, and you really SHOULD, at the very least, read book three, Where It All Began before this one. It has a direct impact on this one. Book two, When Past and Present Collide, would be helpful to know what happens to Stuart, but not as necessary as book 3. Aadan goes to the Isle of Man to help Joe deal with his ex. His cat, Max, comes with. The minute Max lands on the island where it all began, the island that was once his home, things start happening: to Max, to Aadan, and to Greg, who works with Martin (book one) and Stuart (book 2) Can Max finally bring peace to his charges: to Olafr and Magnus, the two souls he has carried for a millennia and to Aadan and Greg? After reading book two, I was waiting for this one, Aadan and Greg have a poweful reaction in that book and it flows over into this one. It bubbles and simmers along for a huge chunk of the book, and it's not til over 90% do they FINALLY come together! Aadan was fighting the attraction, the pull of Greg a scary thing, but once he decides to go with it?? Interruption after interruption keep them from being together! While incredibly frustrating, for them and us, I think it was right and proper it took them so long. Greg now carries the soul of Magnus, and he feels everything that Magnus did on the fateful night in the nightmares that plague him. I said in my review for Where It All Began, that it would have been too much to hear from Magnus in THAT book. But here, Magnus has his voice, and while I stand by what I said, because it's truly painful reading, when Magnus calls to his beloved to finally end his torment, it is NECESSARY that he has his voice here. And you do need to hear what he has to say. Max in utterly smitten (it's the best word I can find!) with Princess, and at the end of this book, he's left with an impossible choice! I could not call which way he will go, and hopefully I won't have to wait too long to find out. Aadan's younger brother, Nick plays a part here, and his story is laid out. That could be quite explosive, given how Nick reacts to Brody, Aadan's friend! I loved the final chapter, with both Magnus and Olafr having a say and them finally, after such a long time apart, coming together forever. OH!! Loved the little twist about when the souls were both in Max. The author's skill continues to grow, and it shows in each and every book. Aside from having to wait so bloody long for the main event, and for the choice Max in left with, I loved this book, so... 5 full and shiny stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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review 2018-09-25 23:45
A Simple Romance by J.H. Knight 4 Star Romance!
A Simple Romance - J.H. Knight

Skip thought he had it all: the fabulous husband, the great apartment, and the teaching job he’d always wanted. Even the cat was perfect. When his partner of eight years decides he wants something else—something that doesn’t involve Skip or the apartment or even the cat—Skip decides it’s time to go home to the other side of the country. 

However, Skip’s hometown doesn’t just hold a loving meddling mother but also the memories of his awkward crush on a boy he met his senior year in high school. A boy he humiliated himself in front of just when it looked as if his fantasies might become reality. Finding out Paul Miller is now working at the same high school where Skip has just been hired flips his world upside down. After a heated night together, Skip is happy being friends with benefits. Paul will have to convince him love is worth the risk.

 

Review

I liked the humanness of this romance.

Skip's marriage to Monty fell apart and he didn't even really see it coming. He doubts trusting his feelings.

He has a wonderful support system with a bestie and her husband, a great sister and her partner and an amazing mom. 

This has the moving back home theme in a lovely way. Skip ends up teaching at his old high school where it just so happens his high school crush teachers too. Oh, and their moms are friends and in PFLAP together. Squee!

Paul is super hot. Super great. And is just getting over the death of his long term boyfriend. 

Skip has a lot of fear of love ending and for the most part it felt real and understandable but he doesn't talk about his feelings enough for me and I kinda wanted to bop him in the head a few times.

And yet... a real pleasure of a read overall.

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