Jan. 28th, 2017

chez_jae: (Books)
I spent Friday afternoon reading an ebook, Smoke Rising, by Craig Halloran. It's the first installment in the "Supernatural Bounty Hunter" series.

FBI Agent Sidney Shaw is tabbed to work with former Navy SEAL and current prisoner, John Smoke. Smoke was a bounty hunter, and Sid and he are asked to track down a man on the secretive Black Slate most-wanted list. Sidney is designated to be Smoke's handler, keeping an eye on him as much as fulfilling her assignment. It's not going to be easy; Sid plays by the rules, while Smoke is spontaneous and prefers a direct approach.

Despite the odds, they manage to arrest their first target, but when they leave the scene and return an hour later, the other agents have been torn apart, and their target is gone. Now, Sidney is forced to entertain the idea that perhaps their target isn't entirely human.

Hm. The story is told in Sidney's pov, even though Smoke is the titular character, which surprised me. The plot veered off into family troubles for Sid (her sister is an addict), and I saw no real reason for that unless it's setting up another story down the line. Also, Smoke did not come across as a big, bad SEAL or bounty hunter or even an ex-con. He seemed like a happy-go-lucky boy scout, having a great adventure. Weird. What I definitely didn't like was that, when they got the drop on their target again, the man transformed into a werewolf in front of them. Sidney was mesmerized to the point of 'take me now, you great, hairy man-beast!'. Gag me with a silver stake. Seriously?! I guess it's obvious the story was written by a man.

Favorite line: I try, but it never feels like enough.

The story had its moments. The premise was interesting, but it would have benefited from being a longer story than it was. Editing was clean. Eh, average score:

***
chez_jae: (Books)
Today, I finished reading Give Up the Ghost by Juliet Blackwell. It's part of the author's "Haunted Home Renovation" mystery series, and now I'm all caught up with that series. Yay!

Contractor Mel Turner is called to the scene...of a grand old Victorian that was gutted and modernized on the inside. Seems the renovations stirred up some angry spirits, and now the homeowners are unable to sell. They want Mel to restore parts of the home to appease the spirits, in accordance to what a psychic advised. The job isn't Mel's cup of tea, but she's horrified by what was done to the house, and she agrees to take on the project. She arranges to meet with the psychic, only to find the woman dead when she arrives at her apartment. On the scene is the psychic's distraught brother, Landon. Mel can't shake the notion that Chantelle's death is somehow connected to Crosswinds, the old Victorian.

In the meantime, Mel's friend Luz asks her to come scope out a rental house that some of her students were living in until a ghost scared them out of it. As a result, Mel finds herself investigating two separate hauntings in an effort to find some peace for the living. Along the way, she keeps encountering Landon, and Mel finds herself reluctantly attracted to him. Not helping matters is the fact that her boyfriend, Graham, is out of town on business. Mel is confused and guilty by her feelings for Landon, but it may not matter if she can't uncover a killer before she's the next victim.

Fun story, and with quite a lot going on. I appreciated getting to see more of Luz, as well as Tricia, another friend of Mel's. Mel herself is getting more confident in her ability to sense, see, and speak to ghosts. Not sure that I liked the fact that the author seemed to be pushing Graham out of the picture in favor of a new, shiny love interest for Mel.

Favorite lines:
♦ Dog, for his part, looked ready to figure things out. Or maybe he was hoping for a snack, it was hard to tell.

I like Dog's character!
♦ I'd known her for years, and she'd never tried to have me killed before.
♦ It was a phantom food fight and I was on the losing end.

Funniest scene I've read in ages!

Mel's love life is none of my business, so in spite of my misgivings about that particular plot point, this one gets five stars:

*****

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