Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Western Star (Walt Longmire #13) by Craig Johnson

The Western Star (Walt Longmire, #13)The Western Star by Craig Johnson

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Disjointed. Ended with many plotlines left hanging. Included, as a villain, someone who 'obviously' has been around a while in the series but who I had no bloody clue who that individual was. No foggy idea.

Not very transgender friendly. (view spoiler)

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Moribund (Circuit Fae #1) by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

Moribund (Circuit Fae, #1)Moribund by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I'm fairly certain that I was by no means the target audience for this book involving two 16 year olds. I couldn't stand either point of view character. Not only did both of them mentally keep telling themselves to stop being either emo (dark fae) or 'whiny-pants' (summer fae), they super were. They weren't just being tough on themselves. If you made a list of the most angsty teens around, both would be near or at the top.

I understand that they were 16, but there were some much older people around to help them (though they were kind of like Peanuts, the cartoon, parents - there but .... filler-ish (it is true the mom plays an important role, but she still played while being a stock figure - you could have gotten a wax figure of Barbara Bush from a wax museum and not lost anything)). I say this because time after time they not only acted too stupid to live; they compounded the issue over and over again by setting themselves up for stupidity. Like, one example, they figure out the super stupid 'evil dude’s plan and . . . go into a 'let's be patient' stance. Seriously, it doesn't take a genius to know some certain things that might, I say might, help ((view spoiler)) It kind of kills the tension when you know certain simple things could have been done to disrupt the major plans but . . . nothing. (view spoiler)

Again: both are 16. Again: bloody months went by and there were several adults around who could have offered pointers, knew of the issue, were close enough to offer these pointers but did fuck all to keep the two young women from fucking up. Which they did, the young women, constantly. It's like every bloody choice they made was the wrong one. From beginning to end. WTF is up with that?

And that half-time show just pissed me off. The people in the stands (view spoiler).

Judging from the references, and the 'things' in the book, this really did read as if a serious attempt was made to make this 'Buffy the vampire slayer' like. With Summer Fae being Buffy, who has just the one parent (dad's somewhere unspoken in Buffy, almost never around; no mention of him in this book); Fiann, the bitchy head cheerleader in this book, is basically the bitchy mean girl Cordelia. Emo Dark Fae is 'obviously' the brooding Angel character. Scooby gang was basically missing, though (unless Lennon was supposed to be Willow; no one corresponds to Xander, and let's just forget all the rest of the Gang). The librarian who is actually something else . . . yeah, that's here also. The 'evil' principal? Yeah, that's here (and there). The popular girl who suddenly wasn't any more? Yeah, that was in both Buffy and this book (as in Buffy was a popular cheerleader until she wasn't; Summer Fae was in popular group though kinda on the fringes it seems). To a certain extent, I think the book suffers from all the constant Buffy references, because then I play the game I just did in this paragraph, and I see how much is lacking in this book.

hmm. I was thinking one of the reasons I might not be in the target audience is a lot of the pop references either not things I'd recognize, or, if I did recognize them, are fairly recent. But Buffy's old. The film was out in 1992. TV series started in 1997, ended in 2003. A 16 year old would have been alive when the show ended - barely. *shrugs* I went on an odd tangent.

The villains were stupid (I mean that they were by no means on the level of Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes, more on par with Forrest Gump). The 'good guys' allowed their whiny/emo-ness to get in the way of their brains to defeat dimwitted evil dude. (view spoiler)

Man that villain. Shesh. Weakest villain I’ve seen in decades. Mmpsh. Stupid Forrest Gump man-boy villain.

Rating: 2.5

August 9 2018

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Lost for Words by Andrea Bramhall

I received an ARC of this book from Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

This is an odd position to find myself in . . .. I picked up two Ylva ARCs this time around and assumed I’d like/love the Jae one, and ‘enjoy’ the Bramhall one well enough but not love it. Since I tend to love Bramhall’s mysteries more than her other works, not that I’ve read everything by her yet.

As I was reading along my expectations were being mostly meet, an enjoyable enough book but not loveable. An odd thing occurred along the way, though, I began to get quite into the story, unable to stop reading, gobbling it up. There’s a certain amount of humor, but this isn’t a humor book; there’s a certain amount of tears, but it isn’t an angsty book (the tears are for . . . well, they weren’t from laughing too hard); certain amount of annoying ex, but barely – in the end this was a much deeper more enjoyable book than I expected when I started it an saw it was about a spa worker, her fellow spa worker friend, and Sasha’s ‘pothead’ mother.

Bobbi, that friend of Sasha’s, did a certain something behind Sasha’s back (and said it in a way that I knew I’d find irritating if it was repeated too much in the book, and it did seem, in the beginning, like it would be a reoccurring gag – the one friend constantly telling the other ‘I have a confession to make’ whereupon she would spill some horrible thing she just did – but for various reasons, that didn’t become an irritating reoccurring gag, though it did pop up a few more times). That certain something hinted at in prior sentence? Entered Sasha’s script into a film competition (well a script competition) being run by a film company. And Sasha’s script won.

That’s one point of view in the story – Sasha Adams, 45 year old Sasha Adams of many careers, and sometime secret scriptwriter. There are two other important people who ‘enter’ things through Sasha (well others, but two ‘main’ others) – Sasha’s mother (Fleur), and Nips, Sasha’s mother’s cat.

Pothead mother? Well, Fleur, you see, had a cancer scare about 5 years ago, a serious one. And ‘weed’ is one of the things Fleur uses to combat the still occurring pain. Also she wears tie-dye clothing and went to Woodstock.

The other point of view, meet much earlier than I’m letting on, is 50 year old Jac Kensington. Director, producer, and co-owner of the film company based in Manchester (where Sasha also lives and works) that is/was holding the scriptwriting competition.

And, unless I missed something, that’s the point of views in the book – a 45 year old and a 50 year old. Both full-fledged lesbians. Who live and work in Manchester England. I quite like the age of the main characters. *nods*

Right, so – from Jac’s side of things come: Mags & Sophie, the other two co-owners of the film company (which had a name like Keffan Media or something like that), and Vanessa – the ex-girlfriend of Jac’s (the 50 year old Jac’s 25 year old ex-girlfriend who opens the book still Jac’s girlfriend, short lived, though, that state of affairs would last (technically, to be really accurate, at that point Jac was still 49)).

The story, as maybe hinted at already, is about:
1) Sasha having yet another career change, as in becoming a paid scriptwriter;
2) Coming together of Sasha and Jac;
3) The family interactions of: a) Sasha and her mother (and to a certain extent her best friend Bobbi); and b) Jac and her chosen family, best friends Sophie and Mags;
4) Complications of aging;
5) Mean cats;
6) constant mention of both Sophie and Mags having significant others, but never actually seeing these women (like Norm’s wife in Cheers; or Frasier’s brother’s wife on Frasier – heard about, never seen), even when you’d expect them to be there (group party; occasions when people come together to help others – the kind even random strangers would show up to help at – but not the significant others for no given reason) – seriously, is this something of an attempt at a ‘hidden’ humor gag like thing, on par with Norm’s wife, Cliff’s mother, Frasier’s brother’s wife (why the heck am I channeling Cheers right now? Though technically that Frasier thing was only on Frasier)?

That’s a serious thing, by the way, that last point. If there was anything about this book that I found . . . less than excellent/perfect/whatever, it was the missing ‘significant others’ part that built and built and made me annoyed. It’s probably one of those things only I noticed (or not), and only I got annoyed about. But . . . I did notice. *shrugs*

Right, so, another enjoyable book read. Unexpectedly: loved it beyond all expectations (see: overuse of ‘unexpected’), and became teary-eyed beyond any expectations (this is not a book I expected to get teary-eyed about).

Rating: 4.8888

August 7 2018

Monday, August 6, 2018

Paper Love by Jae

Paper LovePaper Love by Jae

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from Ylva Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

While not a favorite book by one of my favorite authors, the book is still quite enjoyable – for many reasons. Possibly largely due to just what it sets out to do: tell a female-female romance set in Germany involving only Germans. It was quite fun to bump into the unknown (to me).

While I did, for the most part, like both of the main characters, neither really ‘clicked’ for me. Unfortunate, but that happens.

The main characters being: Susanne Wolff and Anja Lamm. Susanne is an aging, currently out of work (by her own choice) business consultant. Wolff also has a non-identical twin sister. Lamm is a long time employee of a stationary store, the same store owned by Wolff’s uncle. Both women, if I recall correctly, are somewhere in their thirties (Anja is somewhere around 36 or 38 and Susanne might be slightly older . . . or not, I forget now).

The book opens with Susanne dreading a question her mother always asks this time of year: New Year’s resolutions. Because she knows she’ll have to admit to quitting her job (with her resolution being finding a new job). I’m not sure why that is/was a ‘must’ thing for Susanne to admit, but it did push things along. Since that got a completely unexpected response from the mother – who said that it’s great (or something like that) because her Uncle (no not that one, the other one, the one on your father’s side of the family (being the father’s brother)) needs help trying to save his business. Serious and immediate help – as in, the place will probably close within three months without some help, any help (and so it’s great that a highly skilled, clever, etc. etc. business consultant is there available to try to help . . . for free).

Certain problems, though, to how this isn’t really ‘great’ – Susanne has a seriously bad attitude about the whole thing before anything even was learned about the situation (Susanne really didn’t want to have to be forced to go to some middle of nowhere German city to try to help; plus a) Susanne is not at all knowledge about the industry her Uncle’s shop is in (pens/stationary/etc.) and b) does nothing to learn about the industry before arriving in the city).

Right, but let’s move on, mostly because I just shook myself awake to continue typing – not a good position to be in – obviously I’m going to have to wait for night three before I fully polish an actual review (ETA: I said this jokingly, but I fell asleep two paragraphs after this one and then there’s a really long string of ‘2’s that I’m not sure how to interrupt; in other words, we are now in night 3).

Other point of view character is the quite short (it’s important¬) Anja Lamm (Wolf & Lamb, get it get it? (it is, like, one of the first comments that pop up . . . uh, somewhere in the book)). Lamm has spent the last, oh, . . . darn, I can’t remember. Spent the last ‘really long time’ being an employee at Uncle Nobby’s store (I do not recall if that’s actually the guy’s name, but that’s what I read every time his name came up, so that’s the name I stuck on him (which, for all I recall, might actually be his name in the book)). Lamm’s late thirties and really, and I mean really into pens, and stationary, and all that (seriously, she is, to the point she’s super giddy and bouncing around like a ferret on sugar when she learns she gets to go to the Paper . . . um, convention).

As expected, there are other minor characters, though the ‘most important’ other characters are Miri (sp?), Anja’s lesbian friend (which I mention because I forgot to mention that Anja is bisexual); ……… (ETA: and here’s where I fell asleep. Um, let’s try to reconstruct this now?).

I’m not sure why I said it was expected. Mmphs. Stupid need to sleep.

Right, so, there are some good minor/side characters in this book – characters that help push the story along. Including Miri, Lamm’s best friend, and Frenzi (seriously I cannot recall the non-identical sister’s name, but it . . . wasn’t that, I think I started with an F though). Oh, and I suppose I should include Uncle Nobby (may or may not be his name) since that’s the person who owns the store to which Wolff went to try to save, and Lamm works at.

Also important is a small cat. Lovely cat. Lovely interaction with cat. Though there were times I was sad when Wolff kept tossing the cat outside and/or not letting the cat inside (it’s not her cat, but a neighbor’s cat – said neighbor just gave birth and the cat and the child are not getting along).

*looks at notes* Right right, there’s a ton of kissing in this book – either a tease or a warning, depending on if you like or care to not involve yourself with graphic depictions of wet germ filled mouths interacting with each other (‘Scientists at Harvard School of Dental Medicine have discovered more than 615 different types of bacteria that can live in the mouth, tongue and throat making it the dirtiest place in the human body.’ – what, the sister is a dentist, I figured I could pull up a quote from dentists)

*goes back to looking at notes, realizes other tab is still locked in on germs, flees screaming; goes back to notes* In addition to the many sloppy graphic kissing scenes, there are also many scenes of a graphically sexual nature.

Right. So. I enjoyed the book, but I find that it is the second favorite of the new Ylva books I’ve read. I’ve read two new Ylva books.

Rating: 4.37

August 8 2018

Behind the spoiler tag are my notes I wrote three nights ago after I finished the book. (view spoiler)

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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Take a Chance (A Pine Cone Romance #2) by D. Jackson Leigh

Take a ChanceTake a Chance by D. Jackson Leigh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just a quick note: This is the second book in the trilogy. A trilogy set in the same small village in ... why can I never remember if this is in South Carolina or Georgia? *reads book description* Right, Georgia (there were several mentions, in the book, about South Carolina, which is why that state was also lodged in my brain).

Right, so - the first book involved someone from 'out of town', a 'yankee' at that, who was brought to the small town through inheritance. An aunt she didn't really know left the woman, River, her belongings, which included an art galley, a car, and a . . . I think a house though I do not recall now. River, being all femme like and stuff, 'fell for' Clay upon first sight; Clay, 'all butch like' (or was she sporty? eh, all three books made a point of pointing these specific things out so I include them in the reviews) also was 'struck' upon seeing River, hurdles had to be overcome . . . . etc. etc.

Second book, this book here, included a book involving a 'person of color', though, despite seeing this character in two other books (book 1 and 3), this is the first time I learned of this specific issue. I'm either not very observant, or it wasn't an issue that was brought up, much, in the other two books (and here, while it was brought up several times, it was somewhat lightly brought up). I forget if Jaime is also described as a 'yankee', though Dani certainly is (Dani being the 'outsider' in book 3). Regardless, Jaime is 'different' in being an outsider, and 'from the projects', oh and having, as the book notes 'caramel skin'. But let's get into book 2 later.

Third book also includes an outsider mixing it up with an insider - Dani the zoo vet from Baltimore. Who, like in book 2, also hooks up with a police officer. Or, in other words, both of the books involves a police officer hooking up with an animal doctor. Difference being which individual is the 'outsider' and which is the 'insider'.

Right, that's kind of boring and I already did that three book description thingie elsewhere, so back to book 2.

Book 2 stars Trip, the money conscious animal doctor (well she did seem constantly aware of money, how much certain things pull in money wise, etc. etc.), who, 'despite' that money comment, is from an 'ultra rich' local family and living in a massive mansion like place. Before I move onto the second main character, I'd like to note: there were many comments about Trip and her mother, all made in passing, all vague, all seeming to indicate that they do not have a great relationship but . . . the Beaumont family, Trip being in that family, is the 'top tier' family in the small town and I've read enough books involving such descriptions so . . . where was the 'forced' interactions with the mother? Or was she dead? I became confused somewhere along the line if the mother was dead (just like Trip became confused, every once in a while, as to whether she had living siblings (she does, though, apparently, she has nothing to do with them, preferring to see her friends Clay and Grace as her family; along with the people who live/work on her estate).

mmphs. That paragraph got away from me. So let's retry that, eh?

Trip is the ultra-player in the group of three Pine Cove friends. The kind who has no problem sleeping with her vet practice clients . . . and . . . um . . stuff, you know, she's a 'real player'. As cliche as it might be, there was someone who 'stole her heart' long ago which 'turned' Trip in this player direction (though she had that reputation way back then as well). She's from a rich family, is an animal doctor, played college basketball, and . . . hmms.

Jaime is the other main character. The story starts with her already living and working inside Pine Cove, as the newest police officer. She's a military veteran with PTSD issues. She comes with a trained drug dog, though the dog has a gas problem (is important issue). Something like, hmm, 15 years ago, Jaime left the projects and went to college - played basketball there. Became best friends with a fellow teammate, only to catch that teammate doing something horrifying and betraying, and responding by fleeing into the military. One thing lead to another and Jaime is where she is now - a police officer in the same town as that former college friend/teammate who betrayed her.

To a certain extent this specific book might be best read third instead of second, and definitely not as a stand-alone. Not as a stand-alone - there are many plot lines mentioned, shown, and very much not followed in this book that would be frustrating for anyone trying to read this book without knowledge of how those plot lines were resolved - those plot lines that intersected with the Grace & Dani storyline, and the plot lines involving River & Clay. Entire scenes are recreated in this book that occurred in the other two books, mostly from new viewpoints, but there are scenes that just can't be included because they weren't seen from either Jaime or Trip's point of view. Though I had expected the epilogue to fill in some of the blanks, maybe not all of them, but enough to give a satisfying enough 'closure' to those plotlines followed in the other books (obviously enough some things couldn't be mentioned, shown, etc., but we are talking about three books set at the same time, following connected people, so no matter how the three books ended, they would cause issues - either because they revealed too much about the other books/plot lines, or not enough).

I liked the depth found in this book, and I liked what was revealed. Especially as neither of the two leads were characters I was especially interested in when they appeared in the other books (one of the reasons it took me a while to read this one). Though I liked them well-enough in this book here. Mostly better than expected.

Rating: 4.15

August 4 2018

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