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review 2018-04-24 15:37
Fantastic Follow-Up to Lock In!
Head On - John Scalzi

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


Not a lot to say here besides I freaking loved this book. I loved Lock In (the first book in the series) and the world that John Scalzi created. I adored the characters of Vann and Chris. Though the book is told via Chris's POV, I do wish one of the books would be told in Vann's POV. She is just my favorite.


It's been several months or at least a year since the events in the first book. We have Chris still working for the FBI and partnering with Vann. When Chris goes to meet his parents at a Hilketa game, he witnesses a player being taken off the field. Everyone quickly realizes the player is dead. The FBI is brought in due to the fact that the Hilketa game is played by Hadens and that means though the crime took place in Washington, D.C. the Haden player's body was somewhere else. What follows is a lot of twists and turns until you have Chris and Vann figure out how somehow could have killed someone while they were playing a game. 


Chris is still living with his roommates and though they were barely in the first half of the book, they do pop up in the second half more. His partnership with Vann is still the best. They crack me up and pop off each other a lot. Chris's parents are still reassuringly there for their son and are involved with the plot in this book too. 

We do get new characters in this one and we get to meet another integrator (someone who had the first symptoms of Haden's, but didn't get the full disease) whose life I wish we were told more about. I swear that Scalzi could totally publish some novellas featuring new characters and I would not be upset. 

I do love the world that Scalzi has built in this one. Hadens are unfortunately dealing with the fall-out from a bill that was passed in the last book. Many are struggling to make ends meet and now there are rumblings about having non-Hadens get their own threeps as well. I like that Chris sees the issues with this in this book, and I wonder if this is going to pop up in the next book as a plot point. 


The ending leaves things with some of the bad guys caught, but with Chris and Vann realizing a bigger conspiracy may be out there. I really did need the X-Files theme song blaring away in the background at this point. 


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review 2018-04-24 15:04
ARC Review: The Worried Man
The Worried Man - Lisa M. Lilly

Please note that I received a free ARC in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating or review. 


So this was a solid debut, but there were still some issues with it. The book became very repetitive after a fashion, and the book was overly explained in parts. I honestly didn't get the main character's (Quille) love for her dead boyfriend (Marco). Maybe if the author had made sure that we as readers got a sense for him and Quille together as a couple first, I would have cared more. I will say that I was fascinated by Quille as a character, and wonder how Lilly plans on having her involved in mysteries in the future. 


"The Worried Man" is the first book in the Q.C. Davis mystery series. This first book finds ex-actress, now lawyer, Q.C. (goes by Quille) about to move in with her boyfriend of a few months Marco. When Quille goes to his place she finds him dead. The police and Marco's ex-wife all suspect that he fell off the wagon again and committed suicide. Quille believes that someone killed Marco. Marco's son asks her to investigate, and Quille does.


Quille as I said above was a fascinating character. You find out she used to act. She currently sings in a trio. Currently she is an attorney and seems to be doing pretty okay for herself. You find out that Quille is named for a dead sister and her mother has never really recovered from the first Quille's death. Quille runs into Marco months before his death after singing with her group and feels a spark. I have to say that I didn't feel a spark, and it's never really explained how Marco recognized her from her acting days. This part felt rushed to me since I think that Lilly was more focused on the murder portion of the book. 

The other characters in this book, Quille's trio group, a friend who gets involved with investigating, all were interesting to me. I hope Lilly ensures they are developed a bit more in the next book. This book really just focuses on Marco and Quille's feelings for him. Reading about Marco from Quille's POV doesn't help especially at times when I didn't like his character. He sounded like a mess and I wondered why she was even with the guy at times. 


The writing was good, though I did say it got repetitive in parts. Also Lilly over explained things so much at times. For example, she goes into why a person that Quille knows is named Mensa Sam. All she had to say is that the guy was a member of Mensa and tells everyone about it. Instead I think we go into three paragraphs about it and it wasn't necessary. Same thing with her explaining that she gets nasty migraines and she needs to take aspirin and do other things in order to stop the migraines. We just need a quick reminder about that, not an explanation every single time. 


The book takes place in Chicago and I have to say that Lilly does a good job of describing the city and other locations in it. 


The ending though felt a bit off to me. I think it's because I got a little lost about who did what to who and why it was a thing worth killing over. 





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review 2018-04-24 14:51
The End of Armand?
Glass Houses - Louise Penny

I think I am being overly generous with four stars, but honestly, when I read a ton of books over a few days, I just go back with my gut feeling about books. So for me, this was not the worst out of the Armand Gamache series, but it was definitely not the best. I felt myself just rolling my eyes at another book looking at the opioid crisis. Maybe because I feel a bit tired of reading about how predominantly white families are torn apart and how countries (the United States and Canada) need to do something. This book just felt a bit samey in parts is the big reason why I didn't give it five stars. We have Jean Guy betray Armand again, Armand forgiving him again, Three Pines being at the center of something massive again, the villagers involved again.


"Glass Houses" appears at first to be another murder mystery, but something else is going on in this book. We have Gamache on the stand as a witness at a murder trial. We don't know who died (and it takes a while to get there) but something is going on with Gamache. He seems to be hell-bent on making sure the trial is a cover for something else. And once again it takes the readers a while to figure that out. 


I have to say that Gamache's reasonings in this one made absolutely no sense to me. I think that Penny threw it out there to once again have some conflict between Gamache and Jean Guy. At this point, Jean Guy is freaking Thomas from the Bible. He always has doubts about Gamache, but we are supposed to believe he loves Gamache the most. A real life human being (Gamache) would be sick of it at this point and have an actual human reaction instead of constantly turning the other cheek. 


We get more interaction with the villagers in this one. The last one they felt thrown in the plot half haphazardly. This one makes more sense. I actually didn't want to strangle Ruth or Clara in this one either.  


I did like how the villagers even called out the things that they have done that they still have regrets over. We have Clara regretting not listening to Gamache that led to Peter's death, Ruth regrets her mother choosing her over her cousin, Olivier admitting that he used to steal from people by omission, etc. 


The book jumps back and forth between Halloween and what led to somehow being found murdered in Three Pines along with the murder trial which is taking place in the present day. I have to say that the back and forth in the book was hard to take after a while. I just wanted to either read about the trial or the murder. I was sick of trying to figure out what was going on. The flow was up and down a lot. Once you are finally graced with knowing what is going on though, I just found myself bored until we get almost to the end of the book. 


The ending leaves things up in the air with a major character. I don't know if Penny plans on writing another book, but with the events that went down in this one, I don't see how Gamache can come back. At this point another character needs to be the focus of the series. 

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text 2018-04-24 14:48
Reading progress update: I've read 132 out of 231 pages.
Bats in the Belfry - E.C.R. Lorac

Macdonald finally gets to confront Sybilla, and is unimpressed by her behaviour; he keeps in mind that she is a talented stage actress, and while discussing her husband's fate, she may be putting on a show. nevertheless, she's just one suspect, and the best theory for what has happened doesn't necessarily involve her.


Martin Edwards' Intro to this book drew a comparison to Freeman Wills Crofts' way of writing a Mystery, but this book is certainly more fun and engaging than the last two Crofts efforts I read (although it will have to continue to work hard to top a couple of my Crofts favourites), and I would have to say Lorac (Carol!) is a better writer than Crofts when it comes to style, and making sure scenes aren't just confined to the lead detective. shall likely finish this one tonight, and expect some cool twists and surprises.

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review 2018-04-24 06:39
the Awkward Squad
The Awkward Squad - Sam Gordon,Sophie Hénaff

I can't remember where I heard about this book (best bet is here on BL) but it was described as a new mystery series similar to the old tv show Leverage*.  The premise of the show was a group of misfits coming together to right the wrongs big business perpetrated against the people.  The Awkward Squad's misfits are police officers unfit for regular duty but can't be fired, banded together and stuffed away in a remote location with the ostensible task of investigating cold cases.  I loved Leverage, so bought this directly after it came out.


It's not quite Leverage - the misfits here aren't conmen, toughs or savants; these misfits are all broken by their jobs in one way or another, but it's close enough.  For a first novel, I thought the story was excellent and well plotted too, although with definite room for improvement.  It was written well enough that I only had vague suspicions about the solution, but not done so well that the author was able to lead me down the blind alley she'd constructed.  The characters were the kind you cheer on, even if some of them aren't always likeable.


I didn't know when I bought the book that it was originally published in France a few years ago, under the name Poulets grillés.  This leaves me with a lingering suspicion that it might have been an even better book in the original French.  Not that the translation is bad - as far as I can tell it's flawless - but some of the marketing I've seen raves about the book humor. I can see how it's meant to be amusing, and one scene was definitely shooting for hilarity, but either something was lost in translation or it's a cultural difference of what defines funny.  


Either way, I didn't like it less because I suspect I'm missing something, I just wonder if, had those 2.5 years of French lessons stuck at all, and I were able to read it in the original, I'd have liked it even more.  Ce n'est pas grave, if Hēnaff writes another one, I'll happily be on board for reading it (in translation). 


* - Has also been compared to Jussi Adler-Olsen’s tales about Copenhagen’s equally marginal Department Q.  I cannot comment on how accurate this is, as I've not read Adler-Olsen.  Yet?

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