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review 2016-12-05 23:44
Short Review: Confessions
Confessions (Harlequin IntrigueThe Battling McGuire) - Cynthia Eden

Confessions

by Cynthia Eden
Book 1 of The Battling McGuire Boys

 

Desperate to prove she’s being framed for murder, Scarlett Stone entrusts her reputation—and her life—to the man who once broke her heart.  Grant McGuire, a sexy former army ranger turned detective, has never been the same since military action.  But behind his cold demeanor, he still burns for Scarlett.

Taking her case is an easy but dangerous decision for Grant.  Together they must race against the clock to find the real killer, who now wants them both dead. More dangerous, however, is their sudden, reignited passion.  Grant will do anything for a second chance with Scarlett…while she’ll do everything to keep the secret she never wants him to know...



The disappointment I feel for reading this book probably comes from the fact that I have a feeling this isn't Cynthia Eden's best work.  In fact, I have already read four other books that were much better written, with better characters, and that were also much more memorable than Confessions turned out to be.

Don't get me wrong:  Confessions had a great concept to work with... I suppose if a great concept is the same as many other a great concepts in Romantic Suspense-landia...  A large group of brothers, all ex-military, all buff and hunky, all over-protective of their own, all with their own dark secrets, and you've got the McGuire brothers.  As well as many other groups of fictional siblings ever introduced in Category Romance or Romantic Suspense.

Confessions probably would have been a great piece of fluff, enjoyable and guilty pleasure for me, if I had actually enjoyed it.  But instead of turning off my mind and just enjoying the read, I found myself nitpicking so many things about it that I couldn't quite justify giving it a higher than 'meh' rating.

Really, the characters were terribly cliched and the plot a bit predictable.  In fact, even the writing felt amateur and I found myself wondering if this was actually written by Cynthia Eden, and if so, why the style felt so juvenile.  The romance was just hard to get behind because our main hero felt kind of stalker-ish and creepy, while the heroine was so stock standard damsel-in-distress that it managed to make my teeth hurt.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book up to a point and may read the rest of the series if only because I DO own the next two books.  The rest of the series and some of the side characters kind of appeal to me and my curiosity is slightly piqued.  So I'm hoping that the writing style will be more in line with what I know of Cynthia Eden, and the story lines less carbon copy.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/short-review-confessions.html
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review 2016-06-25 15:00
Brief Thoughts: Hanover House
Hanover House (The Hanover Chronicles) - Brenda Novak

Hanover House

by Brenda Novak
Prequel novella (#0.5) of The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles

 

 


My TBR List -- June Winner!
See Other My TBR List Reviews @ Because Reading

 

 

Welcome to Hanover House...

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the antisocial mind.  Why do psychopaths act as they do?  How do they come to be?  Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause?  And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her.  So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area.  Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them.  And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through.  He’s even attracted to her.  Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong...



Hanover House is bite-sized--it's a novella after all.  But in some ways, it felt a little bit too bite-sized, if you know what I mean.  Actually, even I don't really know what I mean.  I guess what I'm trying to say is, while the novella was enjoyable, at the same time, the open-ended-ness of it felt a little too open-ended.  I get that it's a prequel, meant to jump start a whole new series with a bit of a bang, but there are ways of NOT making a prequel feel like it's still missing something.

Nonetheless, Hanover House encompasses the suspense and thrill of a typical Brenda Novak novel.  But I have to say, the writing style and pacing felt slightly different from what I remember of Brenda Novak.  I'm tempted to use the word awkward, but at the same time, the events of this novella flew by quite quickly, maybe too quickly for me to be able to really point out what about it didn't really work for me.  The progression just didn't feel as smooth or hooking as what I usually associate with Brenda Novak.

All things considered, Hanover House serves it's purpose as the starting point for Evelyn Talbot's journey into studying the evil of killers as well as trying to evade the monster who's been haunting her life for the past twenty years.  It's got a nice thrill of excitement, but not nearly to the point I'd been expecting.  And unfortunately, you don't really get to see enough of the characters (not even our resident evil killer, Jasper) to really get to know them--and thus, I've yet to really form an opinion of anyone in the book.  Not Evelyn and not Amarok, and especially not any of the side characters who have an air of potential significance, probably in books to come.

And I'm not entirely certain I understand what that ominous letter at the very end symbolized, but I have a feeling it was supposed to be significant somehow.

All in all, Hanover House was entertaining and enjoyable, even if not what I'd been expecting based on the summary and all the positive reviews.

Maybe I'm just too picky?


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge | My TBR List meme
Mount TBR Challenge

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/brief-thoughts-hanover-house.html
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review 2016-06-07 12:10
Brief Thoughts: Death Marked
Death Marked (Death Sworn) - Leah Cypess

Death Marked

by Leah Cypess
Book 2 (final) of Death Sworn

 

 

A young sorceress’s entire life has been shaped to destroy the empire controlling her world. But if everything she knows is a lie, will she even want to fulfill her destiny? The sequel to Death Sworn is just as full of magic and surprising revelations, and will thrill fans of Leigh Bardugo and Robin LaFevers.

At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they'd battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn't want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.

Leah Cypess spins an intricate and beautiful conclusion to Ileni's story. In the end, it may not be the epic decisions that bring down an empire, but the small ones that pierce the heart.



My Thoughts:
I'm going by what I remember after finishing this book.  And to be totally honest, that was already months ago (two months ago?).  And even to present I still don't really have anything to say about this book and so what everyone gets is a summary blurb and a few sentences.

Because I honestly had no idea what was going on in this book at all.  I had thought that Ileni had already made a decision about her actions, but I guess she really hasn't.  So instead of the competent, kickass, yet powerless sorceress with resources and skills, we get a wishy-washy, indecisive, and STILL powerless (and now also weak and whiny) sorceress who has no idea what the heck she's doing.

Four months ago, I somehow managed to finish reading this book.  Four months into the present, I really have no recollection of what actually happened in this book aside from people dying for reasons and Ileni going back and forth about what she's supposed to do and where she stands.

It was kind of frustrating and I'm not entirely sure I know what she accomplished... or even what this book accomplished.

 

 

***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/brief-thoughts-death-marked.html
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review 2016-04-02 04:38
Scattered Thoughts: Silver in the Blood
Silver in the Blood - Jessica Day George

Silver in the Blood

by Jessica Day George

Book 1 of Silver in the Blood

 

 

The second half was significantly more exciting than the first half, but it still didn't really make up for the slow, boring progress of the beginning of the book. And then the ending was also a bit 'meh' for me.

I’m not sure I know how to feel about this book, in general, though. It’s a historical fantasy with paranormal aspects with some gothic themes with references to Dracula... It was a very interesting premise that got me interested despite the fact that it is historical and I rarely pick up books based in historical settings. Nonetheless, between the gorgeous cover and the intriguing setup, I was really hoping that I would love Silver in the Blood.

Unfortunately, the book starts out very slow and we end up spending nearly half the book wandering around locale after locale with riddles and secrets that really just made me more frustrated and annoyed rather than continuously curious. As the reader, it’s pretty obvious what big bad secret is being kept from Dacia and Lou by their entire Florescu family, and I wish we could have gotten straight to the point a bit faster.

While the writing was quite lovely and the descriptions were done well, I’m not as enamoured by the progress of the story telling.

The events taking place after the big Florescu family secret is revealed to the girls (and the reader) are more exciting and actually managed to hook me in. Whereas it took me weeks, nearly a month, to get through the first half of the book, I blew right through the rest of the book without trouble.

Nonetheless, there were still some aspects of the book at the end that I didn’t really care for--open-ended conclusion included. The ending, I felt, was just a little too easy and all the conflicts seemed to resolve themselves without much effort.

I found myself wondering if I rushed through the rest of the book because I just wanted to finish reading it, if it really DID become more enjoyable, or if I just wanted to see how everything turns out. Mainly, I kind of had this strange, twisted need to see the Florescu family get what’s coming to them when they realize that Dacia and Lou aren’t as pliable as they had hoped to the family secret and the family duties.

The only other part of this book I didn’t much care for were the romances, really, but they were pretty back-seated, so I’m not complaining.


Finally, if it WAS one thing I DID love about this book, it was the relationship between Dacia and Lou. I loved how much the cousins loved each other and took care of each other. I loved how they stood up for one another. And I love how they played off of each other’s strengths and each other’s weaknesses. I loved how they just worked so well together like two halves of a whole.

I hope that in succeeding books, this relationship continues to grow stronger, because if it’s one thing YA books need, I really believe it’s positive female relationships. Especially when you’ve got two main characters who are as strong as these girls have become by the end of the book.


I may go on to the next book when it comes out, but I’m in no rush to jump into it. Curiosity of how the rest of the story plays out is what’s keeping me interested right now.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge -- New to me author #9


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/04/scattered-thoughts-silver-in-blood.html
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review 2016-03-03 13:23
Brief Thoughts: A Thousand NIghts
A Thousand Nights - E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights -- E.K. Johnston

*Retelling based on the frame story of One Thousand and One Nights

 

 

Beautifully written retelling of One Thousand and One Nights using the frame story of Scheherazade only. This particular retelling seems to be popular at present... or rather, the Arabian-based tales and retellings seem to be the trend right now (with recent releases including The Wrath and the Dawn, A Whole New World, and The Forbidden Wish). It makes me want to pick up and read the original One Thousand and One Nights just out of principle alone.

Anyway, A Thousand Nights is an enjoyable read, although I'm going to admit that there were a lot of moments I had trouble focusing. The book itself was hard to get into in the first place and started out slow, but the latter half was actually quite entertaining.

Also, does anyone else notice that no one else has a name in this entire book except for, like, maybe three people? It took me until writing this very brief review to realize that. The main character doesn't have a name, her beloved sister doesn't have a name, and neither are names ever mentioned with her family or some of the serving women in Lo-Melkhiin's qasr. An interesting way to present a story, I suppose.

Anyway, lots of thought-inspiring anecdotes and ideals present, and some interesting twists. The magic in the story was a little confusing, but I DID love the characters (even though almost all of them didn't have names). A Thousand Nights is quite enjoyable.

***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge

 

 

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