ARC (AUDIO) REVIEW: Secondhand Smoke – by M. Louis

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Title: Secondhand Smoke
(Jake Brand, PI #2)
Author: M. Louis

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
First published: October 15th 2015
Publisher: Palasides Publishing
Finished reading: November 24th 2016
Pages: 322
Rating 3,5qqq

*** A copy of this audiobook was kindly provided to me by Mindbuck Media Book Publicity in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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It’s just about time I finally had my very first audiobook experience! I’ve tried my hands at audiobooks in the past, but could never actually get into the voices that narrated the stories. When Mindbuck Media Book Publicity offered me a copy of Secondhand Smoke in exchange for a review, I thought it would be the perfect excuse to give audiobooks another chance. This book by M. Louis is actually the second book of a PI series, but can also be read as a stand-alone without missing out on too many details. The story itself is action-packed, full of plot twists and the characters are without doubt interesting. I have to admit it took a little while to adjust to the whole idea of listening instead of reading the story myself, but I ended up enjoying the whole experience a lot better than I thought I would. Secondhand Smoke has a fast pace and is mainly focused on the action, making it almost sound as if you were listening to the script of an action movie. Sure, it could have done without the romance and wasn’t sure about the ending, but overall it is without doubt a very entertaining story. It also worked perfectly as an audiobook and I was able to multitask while listening to it. I’m not sure I will switch to audiobooks any time soon, but one or two every once in a while have become way more tempting. And I can definitely recommend Secondhand Smoke to any detective/thriller fan.

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When a beautiful woman shows up at PI Jake Brand’s office pleading him to find her missing boyfriend, he would have never guessed the mess he would soon find himself in along with a few select persons close to him. Jake and his best friend and assistant Sara discover the couple is connected to a shady hacker, a corrupt copy and a few other potentially dangerous people. And as they try to find out what is really going on, it turns out they might actually already know too much… And their lives are in danger.

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If you are looking for a fast-paced and action-packed detective thriller that reads/sounds like a proper action movie, Secondhand Smoke is definitely a great choice. The story is mainly focused on the actions instead of the characters and it shows in the many many action scenes. The character development isn’t that extensive, but they are easy to connect to in general. The ending was a bit corny, but I liked the title reference and overall I had a great time listening to this story. Recommended!

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WWW Wednesdays #113 – November 30th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently trying to finish Another Day Gone by Eliza Graham before the end of today, although I’m not sure if I will actually be able to since it’s still early days when it comes to my progress. I guess part of the problem is that I’m not sure if I’m actually in the mood for historical fiction right now… That and my Crooked Kingdom book hangover.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first reread Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo in anticipation of the second book in this duology. I loved it just as much the second time around! This one is without doubt my all time favorite Bardugo and among my favorite YA fantasy books as well.
* I then finished reading While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft, which turned out to be a good enough read. I admit it wasn’t as good as I was expecting and part of the plot and plot twists were either farfetched or even a bit predictable. The ending was a surprise, although I’m not sure I actually liked it. Also, the characters were not exactly likeable.
* Next up is my very first audiobook experience with Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis. I’ve tried my hands at audiobooks in the past, but could never actually get into the voices that told the stories. I was offered a copy of this one, and I ended up enjoying the whole experience a lot better than I thought I would. The story is full of action and plot twists, and the characters are without doubt interesting. Could have done without the romance and wasn’t sure about the ending, but overall it is without doubt a very entertaining story. It also worked perfectly as an audiobook and I was able to multitask while listening to it. I’m not sure I will switch to audiobooks any time soon, but one or two every once in a while have become way more tempting.
* Next up was one of the Goodreads Choice Awards finalists: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison. And boy I definitely got more than what I had expected! This book is mentioned in the horror genre for a good reason, because this is without doubt one sick and messed up story. I will never look at my butterfly tattoo in the same way again… The story is well written, although the beginning and ending are a lot stronger than the middle part. In fact, the pace slowed down considerably and it took me longer than imagined to finish it. I’m not sure all of it is believable (for example: why don’t those girls ever fight back??!!), but it is without doubt one hell of a horror story. And it definitely isn’t one for the weakhearted…
* I also read His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James, which turned out to be another interesting psychological thriller with an interesting twist. The character development is probably the most interesting part of this story, as we see how both the kidnapper and her ‘son’ evolve over time and deal with their lives. The story switches between past and present and touches some very sensitive topics; you’ve been warned.
* And the last book I finished since last week is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. I’m not sure if it was just because my expectations were set too high, but while I thoroughly enjoyed reading this sequel I don’t think it’s actually as good as the first book. Sure, I loved the characters and the twists and I no doubt have a small book hangover after finishing it. But it missed the spark of Six Of Crows. That doesn’t take away I’m sad to say goodbye to these characters…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I  want to try and read my very first Reading Alley ARC next: Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne. I also have another Netgalley ARC pending (sooo close to the 80% now!) The Killing Game by J.S. Carol. I’ve heard great things about it, so I’m looking forward to finally picking it up. I also want to finally dive into This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. I have loved everything written by this woman so far this year, so I honestly don’t understand what’s taking me so long. Lastly, my newest TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott.

WWW Wednesdays #112 – November 23rd

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently almost finished rereading Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, and of course I’m loving this story as much as I did the first time around. As soon as I do end the final page, I’m picking up the sequel Crooked Kingdom! I’m also reading the Netgalley ARC While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft, although I’m only a few pages into that one so far. And I’m quite far into my very first audiobook experience with Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis. I have to admit it takes some time getting used to the whole audiobook thing, but this action-packed story does make it a lot easier for me to enjoy the process.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished reading Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi, which I had picked up on a whim after being in the mood for a fantasy read. (The fact that it’s a Goodreads Choice Nominee is a bonus of course). I loved the worldbuilding and the prose is great, but I wasn’t too convinced by the characters or the ending. It’s a middle grade read though, and I have a feeling the target group will probably love this story.
* I then finished reading The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt, which turned out to be quite a refreshing new detective series in the way that the detective the series is named after doesn’t play that big of a role nor does she have a messed up private life. It’s also quite a fast-paced read, although I have to admit the sheer amount of characters that is introduced can get quite confusing at times. I had a hard time identifying where each character stood in the story, and it made it more difficult to actually just enjoy the story. I also had problems with the credibility?
* Afterwards I decided to read When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, and it turns out it is nominated for Best Memoir for a good reason. This memoir is powerful, raw, emotional and simply heartbreaking… The story of a young neurosurgeon who lost the battle against cancer, a man who tried to write down the story of his life during a race against the clock. The rush especially shows in the last part he wrote himself, but that only makes this memoir more authentic. The final part written by his wife was especially moving.
* Afterwards I decided to continue with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It’s a truly interesting historical fiction novel set in both Africa and the US and follows different generations of two initial characters. The story was a bit confusing in the beginning, mostly due to the sheer amount of characters that are introduced over time. The pace was a tad slow at times as well, but overall Homegoing is without doubt a very powerful and well researched historical fiction novel.
* The last book I read is A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which was my last TBR jar pick. And boy do I regret not having picked this one up earlier! This originally Swedish book was in one word BRILLIANT. I fell in love with the prose and main character from the very first page and it’s been a while since a book has been able to make me laugh and cry at the same time. Ove has managed to win over my heart, grumpiness and all, and he is hands down one of my new favorite characters. Fredrik Backman is able to combine heartbreaking and sensitive topics with a humor that is right up my alley; I can’t wait to read more of his work soon. (By the way, am I the only one who thinks Ove sounds a bit like the old grumpy man in the movie Up?)

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m still trying to read more Goodreads Choice Awards nominees, so I have The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner and Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly on my list. I also want to try and read my very first Reading Alley ARC: Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne. Lastly, I have a new TBR jar pick: Little Women by Louise May Alcott. I have to admit I have never read this classic before nor am I that excited about it, but hopefully I will turn out to be wrong about this one. At least it’s a great excuse to squeeze in another classic before the end of this year. 😉

WWW Wednesdays #111 – November 16th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading two of the Goodreads Choice Awards finalists: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. I’m not that far into the stories yet, but both look quite promising. I’ve also started my very first audiobook Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis (narrated by Colin Iago McCarthy), which was sent to me by Mindbuck Media Book Publicity in exchange for an honest review. It still takes time to get used to the whole audiobook idea, but there are definitely advantages to it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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*The first book I have managed to finish is Before You Leap by Keith Houghton, which turned out to be a really interesting psychological thriller. The prose was great and even though the story was a bit confusing in the beginning, I ended up really enjoying this read. I’m not too sure about the ending though.
* I then read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, and boy, she has done it again. Those who know me are already aware of my not-so-good relation with the romance genre, but this one is an exception to the rule. This title just became the second 5 star CoHo book on my list. Why is it so brilliant? With a well written story, intriguing plot, strong characters and a very important theme, there isn’t much that can go wrong.
* The last book I finished this week is The Power by Naomi Alderman, a title I requested based on Claire‘s review and turned out to be just as good as she had promised me. It’s without doubt a very powerful read indeed and one that will stay with me for a while. Read this one if you have the chance!

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I should really pick up another pending Netgalley ARC; most likely The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt. I also want to read both When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo since they are finalists in the Goodreads Choice Awards. I might read my latest TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman first though.