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REVIEW:  Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by JB Lynn

REVIEW: Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman by JB...

Dear Ms. Lynn,

The first book in this series, “Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman,” was a pleasant surprise for me. It’s totally unlike what I normally read and in fact contains some elements I would have sworn would keep me from enjoying it but … enjoy it I did. I knew this sequel was due to be released in October which excited me but also somewhat alarmed me. Sure, I wanted to keep reading further in the life of Maggie, “God,” “Doomsday,” Patrick and all the other crazies of the first book but I also wondered if the second book might come off as a rush job. Let’s just say I finished the last page with mixed feelings.

Further-ConfessionsMaggie’s niece Katie, injured in the car crash that killed her parents and has left Maggie with the ability to understand what Katie’s pet lizard “God” is saying, is still in the super expensive rehab facility. The bills of said facility are what originally caused Maggie to take a mobster up on an contract offer to kill his son-in-law (who put the mobster’s grandson in the same facility). Now the mobster is offering Maggie another job with the proviso that if must be done at an upcoming wedding and she can double the price if the death is public. He tells her it’s not only killing the drug dealer but also making a point. Maggie wavers for a number of reasons before discovering something about the intended hit that changes not only her mind but that of “God” as well. Maggie can only listen to so much gripping about her morals and ethics from a 6 inch lizard no matter if the money could help Katie.

The hit is not the only thing complicating Maggie’s life. Her creepy boss is getting creepier and her work friend with quasi-psychic abilities keeps warning Maggie about bizarre things without also being able to actually interpret and explain the warnings. Maggie’s best friend is turning into a Bridezilla and has picked out a truly hideous salmon colored bridesmaid dress for Maggie to wear. An old high school acquaintance suddenly shows up and has insinuated himself between Maggie and her friend which ticks Maggie off since she is supposed to be Alice’s best friend. Maggie’s getting strange vibes from a guy her three aunts want to become Maggie’s boyfriend. The aunts are acting a little strange themselves and now Maggie’s getting threatening phone calls that might be related to her father who is in the State Penn. Worst of all, Maggie might be without any backup other than “God” during the hit and his snarky comments, spoken in an “Alan Rickman” sounding voice, will only help Maggie so much.

I finished the story still engaged with the characters and the outcomes of the many events going on. And there are many, many events going on. At times I felt Maggie was zinging around like a pinball during an attempt to break a record and get a high score. The book is packed with action, there are seemingly a dozen different threads all being woven together and I felt mentally exhausted trying to keep it all straight. I can’t even imagine how you managed.

Maggie still has her standards – she’s a hitwoman but not an amoral one. As she recounts – perhaps in an effort to assuage her own guilt and keep readers rooting for her – for the first two hits, she was actually acting in self defense. During this one, there’s another very important reason this person needs to be dead. But did Maggie actually carry out the hit? The mobster thinks she has and it looks like she’ll get the money but “God” only knows. After all, he has been watching a lot of crime shows on TV.

This story seems to focus more on Maggie’s personal life instead of her hitwoman activities. Her life is even more complicated than in book one and not all of it is pretty. You’ve elaborated a bit on some of the dark secrets in her past and the twisted family relationships of her present. By the time book two closed, it was beginning to feel like one of those interstate multi-car crashes in thick fog. After the 20th car hits, it all starts to blur, you get numb and unable to process anything further. I’m not sure how many books you plan to write in this series and thus how much needs to be crammed into each one but it was hard for me to keep it all straight enough to care about.

Still, the characters aren’t static – by which I mean that they might be doing other things in the second book but they’ve also evolved personally from book one. Maggie might even finally be moving forward and letting go of past hurts that have held her back. The “in charge” personality you’ve given her is grounded in something from her childhood – which makes sense – but perhaps she’ll relax a touch in the future (and allow me to as well).

“Further Confessions of a Slightly Neurotic Hitwoman” definitely shows your unique voice but I didn’t feel it had as much of the humor that I liked in the first book. It ends with even more characters to juggle and issues to gum up the works. A few questions have been answered but even more exist for the next sequel. By the end, I felt exhausted from the frantic pace. I will certainly plan on keeping up with Maggie and Co, though. C+

~Jayne

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REVIEW: Lust in the Library by Amelia Fayer

REVIEW: Lust in the Library by Amelia Fayer

Dear Ms. Fayer:

I am not certain what the intended audience for this two story collection is. I doubt that it is romance readers as there is no romance.  I don’t know that it is for erotica readers because there is nothing in it that involves character development or discovery through the sexual acts.  My categorization would be boring stroke fiction.

Lust in the Library - Amelia Fayer“Necking in Nonfiction” features a pairing between Sara and William Hammond, a visiting scholar from Oxford.

The initial scene has Sara being told to pursue Hammond by her co worker and Hammond internally agonizing how Sara never gives him the time of day. The next scene has Sara hunting Hammond down in the stacks and in the very next moment, without any transition, William is laying a big wet one on her and then the two are going at it with Sara’s hand down his pants and William disrobing her. When Sara uses her nails to clutch William closer, he replies “So you want to play that way.” Right, because using your nails is always a sign of (well, nothing in this case as William simply kisses her and moves the sex scene along in a fairly normal way). Just in case you were wondering, though, Sara acknowledges that the heavy petting in the stacks is “unlibrarian.” You hear that librarians, there are things out there that are unlibrarian and these included everything in the second scene of “Necking in Nonfiction.” Check it out if your library handbook doesn’t have these regulations.

When William asks her out, Sara decides that she doesn’t go out with sexy Englishmen who have been loitering around the library, waiting for the opportunity to get to know her better. Perhaps that was unlibrarian too. In order to convince her, William does the lizard lick, as I like to call it, where he licks her between her fingers. This melts her knees and off they go to do more unlibrarian things in the library. Sara won’t go out to dinner, but she’ll screw him in the library! And when I say she won’t go out to dinner, I mean Sara is really adamant about not leaving the library with William. Maybe Sara is a secret agoraphobic? Maybe if she leaves the library, she loses her life source and the farther away she gets, the weaker she becomes until she turns into a ravening wraith that haunts little kids on the street. WHO KNOWS. But dinner is just not part of the ticket for Sara.

Honestly, though, I’m not sure why she is even a librarian because she says the most stupid things ever like “I do lie him, but if he likes me why has he been, repeatedly, trying to get me naked?” Not to mention those two dinner invitations. What could those possibly mean? My lord, it is so baffling and confusing.

But thankfully William is there to try to get her naked again. Behind the circulation desk. More sexual exploits take place even though Sara believes that William cannot possibly like her. That is the entire plot arc. That Sara’s repeated sexual encounters with William means that he does not like her. And she never leaves the library. Are there librarian vampires fed only by the dust of old books?

“Fornicating in Fiction” tells the sexual hijinks of Veronica and Andrew. The two had a something and then Andrew hooked up with Veronica’s roommate. Veronica appears to be a work study student but she has an office in the library with a window. Everyone, which is comprised of Sara and Andrew, just don’t understand why Veronica is upset with Andrew. “He could not understand why Veronica was being quite so stupid. He was here, not with Angelica, so couldn’t she deduce that he was more interested in her?” Those shitty emotional women, taking every hookup serious. He’s done hooking up with the roommate and he’s back to wanting Veronica. Dear Veronica, get with the program and stop being such an uptight wench. And it was Veronica’s fault anyway. “Besides none of this would have happened if Veronica hadn’t blown him off.” This allowed Andrew to be alone and vulnerable to Ange’s wiles. “Veronica had picked just the right time to show up and behave in typical girl fashion and totally lose her shit.”

Andrew manages to corner Veronica and kiss her but she pushes him away, the stupid git. Thus Andrew is left having to jack off in the stacks looking at La Grade Odalisque. He imagines Veronica the way he liked her “sweet, a little bit shy, and sexy as hell.” And quiet because Andrew was fed up with the angry talking Veronica. “This Veronica, though, would be quiet for now, since Andrew having gotten enough angry talk out of the real one.” (I typed this in exactly so its not only awkward in its syntax but also misogynistic. Totally bonus).

Veronica and Andrew finally make out, resolve a misunderstanding, and live happily ever after. The end.

As with all terribly written books, the best thing about this collection is that it is short, under 100 pages. Huzzah for something. F

Best regards,

Jane

PS I guess I exaggerated a little bit about Sara. She actually leaves the library for breakfast. I guess some libraries are open 24 hours. Like a Dennys.

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