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review 2015-10-21 00:00
Winter Kill
Winter Kill - Josh Lanyon

3 stars? Maybe.

Well, I saved quite my bucks and waited to buy this book and read it at a time when I was "so ready" for a good romantic suspense story. Winter Kill didn't disappoint - not completely. It didn't knock me off my feet, either. Rob Haskell, local cop in Nearby, has a skeleton on his hands and his superior invites the FBI to take a look. Because it could have something to do with a serial killer. Agent Darling shows up with his partner, takes one look and is... not sure. Maybe there could be a connection, but mostly he doesn't think so, so this is the end of that investigation in Nearby. Well, almost, because firstly, he has a little fun between the sheets with Rob. Nothing earth-shattering, just some uncomplicated pleasure between two adults.

Or not. Because some time later there is another body, and now Agent Darling is personally requested to help investigate the murder of one of the town's very own. Of course, there is sexual tension between Rob and Adam, amongst other things.

What I liked? The Writing. Lanyon just has a way with words that impresses me, and gets to me every. Single. Time. I love it!

But the story was something else. Firstly, the investigation is clearly more important than relationship building. Which is fine with me, because hello?! Serial killer on the move! And I'm a huge fan of suspense/crime mixed with a little romance, so this aspect made me like the book more.

Which is not what I can say about the rest of it. I'll hide it, because I'll probably spoiler a lot.

Firstly, the solution of the crime was awful, no two ways about it. Two serial killers, both not entirely convincing? Really? Uhm, no. Not for me. The way to the solution was good. I liked the suspense, the guessing. They actually did some investigating, and had some adventures doing it - in and outside of the bedroom. That was really fine with me. Not quite as fun as some of Lanyons previous works, but still good. But the end?! The solutions?! So not my thing.

The other part? The epilogue! Actually, make that the last chapters and the epilogue! What, do you absolutely need a life altering, possibly fatal, catastrophy to bring people together?! I admit it, I'm tired of the whole "Oh my god, you almost died - I love you!" And the epilogue was just the icing of the cake. Because What. The Hell. And I'm supposed to believe that? Adam abandoning his city life and career with the BAU, with a legend profiler, to be with a man he barely knows? Come! On! Agent calm, controlled, and coll as a cucumber? Absolutely not. Sounds romantic in other stories? Maybe. I just didn't buy it here.

So, what's left to say? It was okay. Lanyon has a wonderful style that I enjoy immensely. But the plot here was just not "good enough" and the details didn't work together as a whole as I'm used to from her. For most authors it would have been 3.5 stars or something. But I already said it and I'll say it again: I hold Lanyon to higher standards. So 2.5 stars, because it was only okay. I liked it well enough, but I'd hoped for a lot more going in, and was somewhat disappointed.

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review 2015-10-16 00:00
Personal (Jack Reacher, #19)
Personal (Jack Reacher, #19) - Lee Child

Barely 3 stars - because Reacher

Alright, I'm not sure what happened. I love Jack Reacher, I've read all the books. Some were better, some were weaker, but all in all I love the stories. But this one was different. As in, not really Jack Reacher.

Although I was able to catch glimpses of "my" Reacher doing his thing. He still thinks in short, (mostly) precise sentences. He still has a very analytical mind, and some unusual but very efficient investigation techniques. The "case" was rather interesting. A sniper Reacher put behind bars years ago, seems to be back and planning an attack on the world's leaders in Europe. So far, so good. Reacher gets sucked into it somewhat involuntarily - as alsways - and tries to make the best of it. And travels all over the world. Something wrong with this picture? To me it sure is! Reacher traveling from A to Z back to K because the CIA tells him to, was a little hard to swallow - it didn't feel like something he would do, not like this.

The investigation wasn't that complicated or too drawn out, just... lacking? Analytic is fine with me, but this was a little over the top. And, dare I say it, boring. I needed forever to finish it! Which is unusual enough, just saying. But most of all, I was shaking my head more and more about the solutions of the mysteries. It was all so very... all over the place. Weird, surreal and not the quality I'm used to from Lee Child. Not that I was consulting with my SO when it came to the technical aspects of Child's descriptions of arms and shootings and weaponry in other books. But with this one? I was so sceptical, I even read several pages to him out loud, because really?! I just didn't buy the last third of he book. Neither did he, by the way.

Very disappointing. Additionally, I was absolutely not convinced by the side characters. Not even Reacher's female apprentice of the week. Barely a 3 star read for me.

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review 2015-10-09 00:00
Behind Iron Lace
Behind Iron Lace - Mercy Celeste

2 stars - 1 for some scenes, 1 for N'awlins

Dang, what the hell happened here?

I read my share of Mercy Celeste's work, and I already know that her writing and her characters are somewhat... unusual? I like that about her. Most of her stories really work for me, even with a lot of purple and cheese and sugar.

But this one?! Boy, did I really just read that?!

But first, the good part. New Orleans is a great place and a wonderful setting for stories with a little "bite", some sultry love and dirty little (and huge) secrets. I've never been to Oregon, so I can't say the same about that place, but New Orleans - when described good - really does it for me. And it worked fine here.

I also liked to read about Darcy in the beginning. Marcy Celeste knows how to write jaded, complex characters and Darcy wasn't an exception. Life is seldomly black and white, and it reflects beautifully in his musings about his private life, his professional decisions and his regrets. I liked that.

And I was happy with some of the sexy scenes.

Unfortunately that also brings me to one of the two things that absolutely ruined this story for me. Darcy never consciously even LOOKED at another man, yet he let's Caleb fuck him BARE WITHOUT LUBE after knowing him for two days?! Really? There are so manny things wrong with that, I can't even... NO! What really killed it for me though, was the situation after their break-up. You KNOW you've been with other people, and you didn't get tested afterwards. I don't give a flying fuck how careful you think you've been, you don't go bareback after something like this! It enrages me to no end how actions like these are described here, and without even a hint of doubt, of danger, of fear afterwards. Wihtout even thinking twice about it. You say you were careful, and I have no reason to trust you other than I want to, so let's do it. What the hell?! Nail -> coffin for the story.

The other problem I had was the dialogue. I love the accent, even though I don't understand everything when it's spoken. But it sounds beautiful to me, and I like to read it, too. Nevertheless, the sentences should make some lick of sense in relation to each other. But half of the time I felt like people just threw words and phrases at each other without listening, without any kind of logic to it. I was more confused and skipped huge parts of it in the end. Especially this whole drama with the two ex-lovers. And babys, and families, and death, and moving, and murder and the mob and god knows what. Usually, I love Mercy Celestes own brand of crazy in her stories and the history of her MCs, but this time I was just annoyed. I didn't feel a thing for these guys even though their stories should have broken my heart. Not cool.

I'm very disappointed, the sex-thing pissed me off something fierce and I was generally hoping for a lot more when I picked this up. Just no.

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review 2015-10-04 00:00
The Current Between Us
The Current Between Us - Kindle Alexander

I'm not even sure how to rate this. I'll settle for 2 stars rounded up - mostly because it was my fault. I shouldn't have picked it up to begin with.

The first time I read something by this author I was so irritated, I ranted a lot about the story after finishing it. I have no excuse for reading this despite my reluctance, other than I really liked the blurb and I wanted to give this a try. I shouldn't have. Because the writing and I didn't get along any better than the first time around.

It's not bad. I just can't get over all this INSTA everywhere! And the repetitions of awful declarations of love I wouldn't believe after twenty years of marriage, much less after such a short period of time! The MCs meet each other, fall in lust, fall in "love", and break up in record speed. If you like stories like that, go for it, but for me it was so unbelievably frustrating. I struggled way too much with even finishing it.

It didn't help that I liked Trent and his family. Because I despised Gage. To me, he was selfish, righteous and ignorant. When something you do threatens the alleged love of your life and his kids, you don't do it! You don't try to justify it first, there shouldn't be a thought about how to still make it work so you can retire with a bang! It felt so wrong to me, I got angrier the more I read about Greg and his musings. The solution for the mystery/suspense part was creative, I'll give you that. I just felt like I could drive through it with an eighteen-wheeler or three. Not believable, not plausible and sure as heck not satisfying to me.

Like I said, this author obviously doesn't work for me and I should have known better. No rating, and no recommendation, because clearly I absolutley didn't like it and I'm sorry to say that I can't really see why somebody else would. But to each his own, I guess.

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review 2015-09-27 00:00
Laurel Heights
Laurel Heights - Lisa Worrall

3 stars

Well, this was... different?

I'm really not sure what happened. I was looking forward to this one. Cops undercover, a romance and a mystery? I'm usually a goner! Here? Not so much.

Firstly, there were some things I liked. The writing was solid, the characters were "good" enemies and their feelings for each other changed quite nicely. Or more precisely, they gradually got their heads out of their asses. It's not easy to write a double-in-the-closet. You're bound to run into some repetitive issues, thoughts and problems and in general it was well done here. Bonus for the steam, that was really well written.

But quite some things didn't sit well with me. Let's start with the crime aspect. I've been in love with crime ans suspense for a long time. From Agatha Christie to Lee Child, from Kathy Reichs to Josh Lanyon, I tried it and loved a lot of myteries. And I'm aware of the fact that all these authors (except for Reichs maybe) are far away from being crime fighting experts, so I don't really expect to read perfectly realistic books regarding procedure, rules and training. But, and it's a big but for me, it has to be at least kind of believable. That didn't really happen here for me. Two cops - who hate each other, at least officially - are send undercover almost completely unprepared? Yeah, no. That just didn't fly with me. Also, it's fine that they have to keep their cover. So some PDA and play acting has to be done. But, come on! They are expected to play their part in a group orgy/partner swapping situation, even though both are firmly in the closet, therefore straight in public? Show me a straight cop who could pull that off convincingly! You can't play straight and you can't play gay for a little bit, then wash your hands off it and go back to "normal" just like that! And every supervisor knows it.

But okay, I tried to keep an open mind. It's just fiction, after all. Right? So I kept reading. And it wasn't really a bad read. Just... strange. Where was the investigating? The search for evidence? The dialogue with other members of the community? Most of it just happened, because everyone was basically over each other all the time. Also, what was up with their houses? Why did they even have them? It's not like anybody respected your closed doors. At all. Just no. And while the mystery itself was good - because it kept me guessing who the bad guy was until the end - I also felt somewhat cheated. Because it wasn't as if I had a chance of finding out who he was before he was revealed. The only way of guessing was the slow process of elimination. Not because of actual evidence, but because all but two men were mentioned by name in a way that made it impossible for them to be the villain. And the epiliogue threw me completely. That cliffhanger was just not cool. I was hurting enough for Todd before! Now this? I'm not even sure I want to read the second book.

Another thing were the "gatherings". I really don't have a problem with orgies, partner swapping or menage in my books. Sure, it's not my favorite thing to read about, but it also doesn't turn me off too much. If it were just the "gatherings" where people swapped partners, or came on to each other. But it wasn't! Everyone ate somebody else's face at some point! I even lost track who was with whom at one point, because I couldn't keep up with which one of the guys was "swapping" at the moment and who actually wanted to sleep with his own partner for a change. And everybody got irritated with Will when he finally set some boundaries? What?! I was cheering him on something fierce!

Talking about boundaries: I'm all for relationship development while working a case. Living and working together so closely is predestined for it. But it just didn't sit well with me how much relationship and sex was going on while they didn't get any kind of work done - except for calling their respective partners for research results. It got really bad when I read a passage about Todd that just about broke my heart, and was thrown into a hot sex scene between the MCs right after. It made me feel so queasy and I was actually tempted to skim it, because I was so uncomfortable. Which is NOT a good thing for romantic suspense. I was so not happy with this one.

One other thing that bugged me were the nicknames! After the first two or three, I was still somewhat grinning. But after a while it didn't just get old, it annoyed me. Especially because both did it, at least once every ten pages. Creative in the beginning, way too much in the end.

So, all in all, it was an okay read. I love the combination of romance and mystery, but the execution here just wasn't really for me. I can see why others loved it so much, I guess I just want different things when it comes to romantic suspense novels.

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