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review 2017-06-16 04:52
Infected: Shift (Infected #5)
Infected: Shift - Andrea Speed

I'll be honest. Since this was the last book in the Dreamspinner bundle, I was ready to quit the series here. Up to this point, the stories were good, with some brilliance hiding in amongst the mediocre, and the characters were compelling but at the same time not exactly giving me much to come back to. Most of my issues with this series to date has been the author's writing style, which I've detailed over the previous reviews, and there's just no real way to get around that no matter how promising the premise. I'm not sure what happened with this book, if this is a sign of the author's growth as a writer or the editors doing their job, but while there were still some of the issues present, they were far less numerous and much less annoying. With those out of the way, and two well-done and well-written cases, the writing was finally able to get out my way so I could enjoy the story - if that makes sense. (Though it's not completely without side-eye, hence the half-star off the rating.) 

 

Oh, and there are hockey players. Clueless, lovable, batcrap crazy dude-broing hockey players. :D I loved the Falcons and the dynamic they brought to the story and really hope to see them again. It doesn't make sense. It's like trying to squeeze The Mighty Ducks into an episode of Thundercats (which itself is really more like an episode of Fringe pretending to be an episode of Thundercats), and yet somehow it works.

 

I should probably slap an "unprofessional professional" on this story but it seems a little late for that. Roan's never really walked the line anyway, and while he should've had his PI license revoked about three books ago, there's no denying he gets the job done. And those jobs are getting messier, more dangerous and much more personal. I guess I have more of a vigilante streak than I thought I did, because instead of headshaking at the dude (or at Holden), I'm rooting them on. Seriously, these scumbags deserve it. 

 

There are some ups and downs for Dylan and Roan too, and I'm getting to the point where I'd like to see more of Dylan's POV, especially with all the challenges he faces in this book. Telling me he's doing 'y' because of what he did after 'x' just doesn't cut it. I want to see it, and I hope we get that in the next book. Because I will be reading it. I'm in it for the long haul after this and can only hope the series doesn't backslide after getting this much needed boost.

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review 2017-06-02 22:39
At the Corner of Rock Bottom & Nowhere
At the Corner of Rock Bottom & Nowhere - L.A. Witt

What happens when a blackjack dealer/stripper/occasional prostitute meets a homeless man/former ad exec on the streets of Vegas and offers him a hand up? You get role-reversed Pretty Woman!  

 

I didn't really buy the way these two met, at first. Adrian's constantly walking right on by the homeless people living on the streets of Vegas without a backward glance - but backward glances at Max because of his designer suit and shoes. I guess if you want any hope of being rescued off the streets, you better be wearing Gucci. (Does Gucci design men's clothes? I have no idea.) Weird setup aside, it was a nice read and the characters are likable, and the writing when talking about Max's fall from grace was particularly strong. Other than that, there was nothing special here. It's a standard romance with standard sex scenes (which I skipped). I also never really understood why Adrian sometimes slept with his customers for money since he didn't need the money. It felt like that was there just to give them something edgy and progressive to deal with.

 

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review 2017-05-31 00:56
Infected: Freefall (Infected # 4)
Infected: Freefall - Andrea Speed

In this two-fer, Roan's falling apart. Not literally, but definitely figuratively - and okay, a little literally I guess. It's not pretty, folks. Well, except maybe that one scene was pretty sweet. You know the one. 

When Roan goes to confront the new DT guy who put out the hit on Dylan. Hahahaha, that scene was pretty rad. While also being worrisome.

(spoiler show)

 

The main case in book one involves a trans-male looking for his missing son. At this point in the series, I guess I have to accept that the cases just aren't going to be worked out like they would in a typical mystery series. I thought there was a really fricking obvious potential lead that was never followed up on when the kid originally went missing - 

The crazy anti-cat church fanatic lady with a baby. Um... seems she'd be the type to steal a child away from a transexual parent, you know?

(spoiler show)

- but Roan goes in the complete opposite direction. He never even considers that other lead, which just seemed really strange to me that he wouldn't. I know he's got spidey senses and at this point we're just supposed to assume he's probably right even when it can't be verified, but that was still a glaring oversight. The case in book two was much better executed and had the weight and scope to carry the whole book from start to finish, bringing in Holden again and getting to see the whole "team," ragtag though they may be, working together. This is more what I expected all the cases to be like. 

 

I have to say, as much as I like Dylan as a character, I'm just not feeling him and Roan as an item. Maybe because Roan's not really feeling it. He's gutted after the loss of Paris and probably should've taken more time to mourn before getting involved with someone else. We do get some POVs from Dylan's perspective, which certainly helps, but I still don't really understand his motivation for staying with Roan or wanting to be in a relationship with him. Since this isn't a romance series, I have no idea if they're supposed to have staying power and we the readers should be rooting for them, but I honestly want to see Dylan move on and find someone else. I love Roan, but the dude is not good for Dylan at this point.

 

I continue to appreciate how real Roan is as a character. The various side characters aren't always prominent in each book, but when they are, I feel that's when this series is at it's strongest. Ms. Speed's characters are complicated and don't always make the best choices - looking at you, Holden - but you can understand why they make them even if you don't agree with them. 

 

The weird potentially transphobic language is still present in this book, and I'm starting to get a little weary of the guys referring to themselves as queens all the time. I'm not a gay man, so maybe I just don't get it. *shrugs* Yes, I'm sure this is how some people actually talk but it still makes me uncomfortable, and it seems improbable that every single person Roan knows, including Roan himself, would talk like that.

 

This book still has the same issues with editing as the previous books. I guess it really is true that Dreamspinner doesn't bother with editing their books anymore because the overuse of "his" when the "his" being referred to isn't clear and the repetition is ridiculous at this point. There was one point where Roan thinks no less than five times over the course of about five pages that he doesn't know why he's angry with Dylan over a painting Dylan made. Three of those times were in a single paragraph. That's probably the worst example, but there are others. Get better editors, DSP!

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review 2017-03-29 05:06
The Crown Tower (The Riyria Chronicles #1) (Audiobook)
The Crown Tower: The Riyria Chronicles, Book 1 - Michael J. Sullivan,Recorded Books LLC,Tim Gerard Reynolds

Hadrian and Royce are back...in time! No, they didn't time travel. This is fantasy-lite, not sci-fi-lite. ;) But this prequel goes back to when they first met and follows them on their first adventure together, when they were just as much a threat to each other as the enemies chasing them.

 

I was hoping that jumping to the prequel would show an improvement in story structure and writing, and that bet paid off. This was much better paced, with a stronger sense of the main characters' POVs and not so obvious twists. I was especially interested in how Hadrian and Royce went from not trusting each other to becoming the BFFs we saw in Theft of Swords. This is just the beginning - there are twelve years between the starts of these two series - but it's a promising beginning. We also spend time seeing how Gwen gets started in Medford.

 

I would still like to see more fantasy in this supposed fantasy series, instead of the sprinkles we get here and there. But as a fun, easygoing romp, this series hits the spot.

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review 2017-03-09 01:36
Tipping the Velvet (Audiobook)
Tipping the Velvet - Sarah Waters

This was well-written and well-narrated by Juanita McMahon, just like Fingersmith was, but it didn't quite grab me the way Fingersmith did. Nancy King and her plights and travails through London on her quest to find herself, love and acceptance are all just a little too over the top for me. And talk about your coinkydinks! The last chapter especially was loaded with them. Maybe Waters was doing a final curtain call thing, but it was a bit too much, ya know?

 

I do like Nan's tenacity to keep going and never get knocked down no matter what life threw at her, and it was an interesting journey through London in the late 1800s, when things were still very dangerous for LGBT people. I didn't always understand why Nan made some of the decisions she made. They at times felt kind of generic, like she needed to make x decision so the story could go to y plot line, and the story just kind of meandered at points. 

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