Saturday, December 29, 2018
Detective Elouise Norton - Book 2
The first of my Christmas presents didn't let me down. I'm here to tell you that Elouise Norton, LAPD detective, is a breath of fresh air in police procedural/crime fiction.
Lou is smart, funny, sexy, intense as well as being a perfectly flawed individual. Yes, sometimes her personal experiences and biases colour how she views a case and how she interacts with her co-workers, but she's so very real! She has none of those endearing quirky flaws that many crime fiction leads have either.
Lou's current case begins with a house fire and three dead bodies and of course, there's far more than meets the eye. As Lou and her partner, Colin, pursue the case, she also has to deal with her once-estranged but now back home husband, Greg. And the remnants of the death by murder of her older sister years before (we saw the solving of that case play out in the previous book).
The twisty trail of the case kept me hooked through the book and while I had suspicions that changed as I went along, the culmination of everything was still pretty much of a surprise. Not so surprising was the plot of Lou's marriage trials and tribulations, however there were a few bits that I wasn't expecting. I do hope that in the next book we see more of Lou's friends, Lena and Sayeeta. They're great characters and I love their interactions with Lou. Girl power! :)
I only have one complaint and I don't even know that it's valid, me being a white woman and all, but there MUST be some other way to describe POC skin than to liken it to some coffee or chocolate drink. (And in a book/series with a majority of POC characters, there is a lot of skin described!)
So my second foray into Lou Norton's world was a resounding success. I loved it and have added Book 3 to my wishlist.
Friday, December 28, 2018
Another story perfect for the holidays. The tale of Penny Havers was a fun read and altogether too short. And for once, an f/f romance that isn't filled with drama and angst over being lesbian!
Two thumbs up.
Monday, December 17, 2018
Claus - Book One
So this was a freebie that I grabbed because the blurb sounded intriguing. I don't normally enjoy YA focused books and tend to avoid them for the most part, but something about this blurb grabbed me.
Boy, was I ever pleasantly surprised!
It grabbed me from the get-go. A very interesting premise, a different - very different - take on the myths and legends of Saint Nick and Santa and his elves and the reindeer. The way the author weaves the stories we know into this new and different narrative was delightful! I have to admit that I think the story might owe bits to the Santa Clause series of movies as well as some of the old animated Christmas specials we watched as kids, including 'Santa Claus is Comin' to Town' from Rankin/Bass Productions. But it's all woven together with such fun and delight that you recognise the similarities and go, cool!
Don't get me wrong, there are some dark moments here, and some not very nice actions, and that's good, because I wasn't looking for saccharine sweet.
The only thing that really bothered me was near the end when the villain of the piece, Jack (it's always Jack, isn't it?) gets all 1970s pop culture icon crazy person. See, the story takes place in 1899 and while the elves can do alot of magical stuff, I don't think they managed time travel, so where that personality came from, I don't know. It just felt a bit out of place.
Anyway, I couldn't put it down and the fact that it had lots of short chapters only helped the 'just one more chapter' road I was on. :) Fun read! And fascinating take on some of our best-loved tales. I think I'm going to have to read the others in the series. :)
Friday, December 14, 2018
I would call this a longish short story. It was also a little frantic and frenetic, I thought. Written in the first person, I honestly never got a feel for Pete, the main character. And consequently I never got a feel for his partner, Carver. Pete is a Treasury department agent and Carver is an artist.
There was a lot of banter between the two, but I wasn't overly fond of it. Some of it sounded a little mean-spirited and too snarky. And I wasn't sure exactly why Pete had fallen for Carver and vice versa, aside from the physical attraction - which was mightily indulged in throughout the story.
So I was disappointed, because I like Mary Calmes' work. And it illustrates why I tend to shy away from works of this length.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Spindle Cove - Book 1.5
Another charming holiday read that was also a lot of fun. Set during the Napoleonic wars, the story takes place in the space of one evening into the next dawn and is a delightful romantic and sexy tale.
Novella in length, you don't get much time to get to know the characters and grow to like them, but the author does a lovely job of bringing them to life. I liked the both of them and honestly, wished we could follow them after the end of the tale.
You don't need to know anything about the Spindle Cove series really, to enjoy this, so if you're in the mood for some festive sexy times, love and smidge of danger, head towards this one.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Blackshear Family - Book 0.5
The first of my Christmas reads and it was charming. I found myself smiling much of the way through the story, even when I wanted to pinch the hero, the so very bound-by-duty Andrew Blackshear, who is the eldest of the family and so very, very, very proper. *LOL*
Our heroine, Lucy Sharp was born to get under Andrew's skin and drive him to total distraction. And that's exactly what she does with her impulsive and adventurous ways. Propriety? Not something she adheres to for the most part. Brought up by an unconventional widower after the way-too-early death of her mother.
It was cute, it was heart-warming, it was filled with love and surprises. I'm not fond of the cover (it's just too modern-looking for me), but the novella is a very pleasing read for the holiday season. Check it out!
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Chief Inspector Armand Gamache - Book Fourteen
My birthday present to me. It's so very rare for me to pay $15 for an ebook, but this is one of my very favourite of favourite authors and it was my birthday the week it came out, so... I gave myself a gift!
It was like coming home.
I came to a realisation about myself and the Gamache books when I was about halfway through this one. They are perfect for people watchers. Perfect for people who love to watch TV shows like Survivor and Big Brother because they want to see how the people will react and what they will become in different situations. There is a lot of people watching in these books, and speculating and looking for the 'why' of things. I love it!
All of our friends are back in Three Pines, but this time the focus is more on the Sureté side of the family than the civilians. There are parallel storylines here - the case of the will, the murder of one of the heirs in said will, and the fallout from the previous book with the drugs Armand was forced to let slip through his hands in order to catch the bigger fish.
I wish I was better at writing these things so that I could explain why they're so good, but suffice it to say that Armand Gamache, is a wonderfully flawed hero and the family that he makes around him is also filled with real people who are alternately flawed and heroic in their times.
I don't know that I'm completely thrilled with the way this book ended. Oh, don't get me wrong, the ending was perfect and filled with surprises and sadness and feel good moments, but I'm going to be really annoyed if Jean-Guy's fate is permanent! (Although the whole theme of the student taking the place of the mentor by his actions was pretty cool.)
So, I am thinking positively that there are more Gamache tales to come and that we will be returning to Three Pines in the future. :)
London Celebrities - Book Three
Another fun romance from Lucy Parker that's filled with great dialogue and banter. Lucy has become one of my favourite romance authors with her London Celebrities series. I love the settings of the theatre world in London as well as the actors, directors, and performers who populate her world.
This time around the setting vehicle is a show that is very Cirque de Soleil-esque and our main characters are the circus artist, Trix, who is suddenly thrust into a starring role in the show and Leo, the uber-talented make-up artist. We know Trix from the previous book, as she is that book's heroine's best friend.
Trix and Leo felt to me a bit edgier than previous couples in the series, their dialogue more sharp and defensive much of the time. But it worked because Trix has a past relationship that has left her unsure of herself and very defensive in her dealings with other people. And trusting other people. Been there and done that, so I recognised it right off and felt it was well done. This, of course, made this book a little less light-hearted than the two previous.
The romance worked for me as well - important in a romance novel, yes? *LOL* But it worked and I enjoyed going along for the trip. :) *two thumbs up*
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Half Moon Bay - Book Two
Rhys never lets me down. Whether it's some adventurous urban fantasy, rockstar dramas or, like this one, a romantic mystery I always enjoy my Rhys reads. :)
Book two in the Half Moon Bay series focuses on the twin brother of one of the MCs of the first book. In the first book he was not the most sympathetic of characters, but as we delve into his life in this book, we come to understand his whys and wherefores.
While the main characters of West and Angel might be somewhat typical, the rich full-of-himself guy and the hard-working, blue-collar, doing-his-best guy, Rhys infuses them with quirks and humanity and courage and flaws and makes them come alive on the page.
Yeah, there's a mystery involved, but it really takes a somewhat backseat to the relationship between West and Angel. A relationship I became invested in and with characters I came to care for very much. Main and secondary! (I really want to know more about West's friend/bodyguard.)
So another great read from a fave author.