logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Barbara-Michaels
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-14 07:30
Sons of the Wolf
Sons of the Wolf - Barbara Michaels

Pure gothic suspense.

 

Two young heiresses sent to live in a mansion out on the moors of Yorkshire, completely removed from any society, with a mysterious guardian they've never met:  check.

Old abandoned half-ruined monastery:  check.

2 misunderstood sons, one dark and brooding, one sensitive and artistic:  check

Rampant superstition about mythical creatures:  check

One supposedly untameable black stallion: check

Big hounds roaming the moors:  check

Gypsies:  check

 

Sons of the Wolf has it all in spades.  Unfortunately, I didn't really connect with any of the characters enough to make the fantastically insane and relatively dark plot work.  I didn't hate it, but I wasn't at all invested in it, making a lot of small things I probably wouldn't notice if I were neck deep in the story stand out and irk me.

 

I didn't hate it; if someone were in the mood for a gothic story, it might provide a fun afternoon.  But it wasn't one of Michaels best.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-23 04:39
House of Many Shadows
House of Many Shadows - Barbara Michaels

I loved this book. I wish I had read it sooner. I've had it on my shelf for a long time. It has the elements I love the most in a mystery. A crime or tragic event that happened in the past and people in the present trying to figure it out.

 

A young woman, Meg, was in an accident and sustained a head injury. She begins to see and hear hallucinations and the doctor recommended she take some time off and rest. He is sure the hallucinations will go away with time. Her cousin Sophia who is well off sets her up in one of her properties in the country for 6 months so she can rest. It is an old Gothic Victorian house full of antique furniture. Sophia gives meg the task of making an itemized list of the furniture in the attic and deciding which to furnish the rooms with and the caretaker for the house would move things and help with repairs as needed. Sophia said she wants to donate the house for a historical museum and expects Meg to help for payment for her stay. When Meg arrives she is surprised to learn that the caretaker is her cousin Sophia´s stepson who used to tease her and play evil pranks on her when she was younger. Later, when Meg sees one of the hallucinations she is shocked when he reveals that it wasn't just her. He saw it too.

 

 

This makes my 4th Bingo. Both sides of the X, 4 corners and the 4th row across.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-07 20:43
Shedding some light . . . .
The Walker in Shadows - Barbara Michaels

This was at least my third or fourth read of this book.  I initially read it when the Berkley mass market paperback edition came out in 1992; that's the edition I bought new and still have.  I read it again during the summer of 2016, shortly before Halloween Bingo and our buddy read of Michaels's Ammie, Come Home.  And I've just read it again, along with Be Buried in the Rain.

 

This is my first review, however.

 

Pat Robbins has been widowed for a year.  She and her college-age son Mark -- I believe he's 19 -- live in a huge old antebellum mansion in western Maryland.  The style is American Gothic, not the Greek Revival pictured on the above cover.  So the house is spookier looking, less like Tara.

 

 

Pat is a nurse for what I'm guessing is a doctor or doctors in private practice.  Therefore she probably makes(or made, in the early 90s) decent money but not oodles.  I'm not sure exactly what her husband Jerry did for a living before he died.  Regardless how much Jerry fell in love with the house, an edifice like that requires . . . oodles . . . of money to restore, renovate, upgrade, and maintain.  Not to mention taxes and utilities.  It sits on a two-acre lot.  Did I mention taxes?

 

Mark attends the local community college in part for the cost savings and in part to stay with his mom while she's grieving the loss of her husband and his father.  Mark does not have a job.

 

After years, maybe decades, of sitting empty, the house next door to Pat's has been sold and Josef Friedrichs moves in with his teenaged daughter Kathy.  I'm not sure exactly how old Kathy is -- maybe 16? -- but she is blonde and pretty and attends a private girls' school to which Josef drives her every day.  Josef is obsessively protective of Kathy, so when she and Mark strike up a romance, Josef is bitter and nasty to both Pat and Mark, but especially to Mark.  And his nastiness to Pat is about Mark.

 

Given what's revealed about Josef's prior marriage, I didn't understand his vicious antipathy toward his daughter's new boyfriend.

 

Anyway, the house is purchased, contractors come in to repair and redecorate, and Josef and Kathy move in.

 

This house is a mirror image twin of Pat's house.  No explanation is offered as to why a single father with one daughter needs a three-story American Gothic mansion on two over-grown, untended acres, especially since said single father is decidedly anti-social.  It's not like he's going to be entertaining or anything.

 

Within a few days of their moving in, weird things start happening.  Creepy lights, attacks on both Kathy and Josef, and so on.  Pat intervenes, and thus a relationship of sorts is established between the two families.  The weird things get weirder and more dangerous, Mark and Kathy join forces to figure out what it is, and then everyone lives happily ever after.

 

Unlike the problems I had with the house in Ammie, Come Home, the twin mansions in The Walker in Shadows worked well with the story.  There were no structural issues; other than the idea of two people rattling around in a house with five or six or eight bedrooms, the house part worked okay.

 

The historical research Mark and Kathy did to "solve" the mystery also worked well and made sense, with a somewhat surprising twist.  The resolution to the supernatural aspect seemed a little too contrived and easy, but it wasn't totally out of the blue.  I would personally have preferred a little more tension in the climactic confrontation but oh well.

 

Mark and Kathy's insta-love didn't pose a problem.  They're both young and eager and their relationship is more catalyst than main plot, so good looking young man falls head over heels (almost literally) for pretty new neighbor and that's okay.

 

What didn't work for me at all was the romance between Pat and Josef.  Pat is still grieving.  Josef is still angry.  That they fall in love and start calling each other "dear" and "darling" was just syrupy to me.  I realized that Michaels seems to have this problem in a lot of her books -- the romances are often just not believable.  It's as though they're thrown in because someone told her "we're going to publish it as romantic suspense, so make sure you have some romance."

 

There were major romance problems in Ammie, Come Home as explored in our buddy read analyses, and also in House of Many Shadows as well as Wait for What Will Come and Patriot's Dream.  Michaels did better with the romances in both Be Buried in the Rain and Houses of Stone, but I'm not really sure why or how.

 

Could the romance threads in these novels have been improved?  I think so, but I wasn't her editor!  I guess my only comment at this point would be, don't count on a great romance woven through these books; just take them as they are.

 

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-10-03 17:15
Halloween Bingo -- Gothic --read and called -- STILL NO BINGO
Patriot's Dream - Barbara Michaels

 

 

 

Read on 21 September 2017.

 

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/1601157/halloween-bingo-gothic-more-like-patriot-s-snooze

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-30 21:53
Greygallows by Barbara Michael
Greygallows - Barbara Michaels

This was really disappointing, actually. It had an interesting premise, but never really took off. The main character, Lucy, was so passive that she made me want to spit nails. The villain was cartoonish. The hero was passably attractive, but nothing special.

 

The suspense aspect of the book just fell flat for me. It took forever for things to get going, followed by an abrupt and convenient ending. If I were required to describe this book in one word, that word would be "meh."

 

It's not a bad book. It's just not a good book either. At least I can use it for Halloween bingo.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?