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review 2019-05-26 01:28
4.3 Out Of 5 STARS for Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak
Before We Were Strangers - Brenda Novak

 

๏ ๏ ๏ Highlights ๏ ๏ ๏

 

Murder Mystery
Possible Crime of Passion
Second-Chance Romance
Small-Town Texas
Family Secrets
Sex-Plicit (A Splash)

 

With Audio Performed by Ann Marie Gideon

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏ My Thoughts ๏ ๏ ๏

 

My first Brenda Novak Book and I found myself enmeshed in this story, the plot is almost perfect with only minor imperfections, most of them involving her reasons for leaving the small town after graduation, I just didn't buy that she left everything behind without a backward glance, especially Micah...I mean...she supposedly loved him. But, ignoring that, I found this quite compelling.
____________________________

 

Overall this is an entertaining read with likable main characters and the evil ones...they are truly vile. Unfortunately, once I started writing this and I really started to scrutinize the different plot points, the story didn't always hold up. Which left me downgrading my rating from 4.5 to 4.3.  The narrator was fairly top-notch...still feel that a male narrator for Micah's POV would have been even better.

 

 

๏ ๏ ๏ MY RATING ๏ ๏ ๏

 

4.3STARS - GRADE=A-

 


๏ Breakdown of Ratings ๏

 

Plot⇝ 4.2/5
Narration Performance⇝ 4.5/5
Main Characters⇝ 4.3/5
Secondary Characters⇝ 4.5/5
The Feels⇝ 4.3/5
Pacing⇝ 4.5/5
Addictiveness⇝ 5/5
Theme or Tone⇝ 4.2/5
Flow (Writing Style)⇝ 4.7/5
Backdrop (World Building)⇝ 4.5/5
Originality⇝ 4/5
Ending⇝ 4.5/5
๏ ๏ ๏
Book Cover⇝ Meh...It's okay.
Setting⇝ Texas
Source⇝ Audiobook (Library)
๏ ๏ ๏

 

 

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review 2018-12-11 00:00
Her Darkest Nightmare
Her Darkest Nightmare - Brenda Novak Her Darkest Nightmare - Brenda Novak Please see all of my reviews on my blog at https://www.robinlovesreading.com.

Well, Dr. Evelyn Talbot’s plans for Hanover House has come to fruition. When she approached the powers that be to build a special maximum-security facility in order to do exclusive studies on the psychopath prisoners who were to be transferred there, she met with stiff opposition. Evelyn is a psychiatrist who excels in her knowledge of the insanely criminal minds.

It has been a few months and, for the most part, things are coming along quite nicely. The only hitch in Evelyn’s life at this point is that her budding relationship with Sergeant Amarok has ended rather badly. There didn’t seem to be much hope in the beginning, as he was one of the most vocal opposers. But their break-up was for different reasons.

Until now, the small Alaskan town had been spared of brutal violence. Shockingly, however, a mutilated body is discovered, thus setting everyone on edge. Could one of the prisoners have escaped? Did Evelyn bring this horror to this town? Speaking of horror, Evelyn was running away from it as well as staring it directly in the face. In the prequel of the series, Hanover House, as well as in this book, Evelyn’s incredibly tragic past is recounted. While she was a teen, she was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by her boyfriend for days. This is why Evelyn does what she does. She is determined to figure out why some people behave as they do.

Amarok quickly does whatever he can to protect Evelyn, and his town. The terror that is being confronted is at war with the feelings the two are desperately trying to fight. Is Evelyn still in danger from the man who hurt her twenty years ago, or is there someone in that close community committing these horrific acts?

This story is ripe with drama. There is the new danger facing the town. There is the dangerous element within the walls of the prison, and not necessarily just the prisoners! The all-consuming passion that Evelyn and Amarok are fighting, in large part due to their age difference, is mentioned numerous times...almost to the point of annoyance.

This multi-layered story effectively deals with each issue. For those who enjoy a dark story, no worries there. Each chapter is preceded by a creepy quote from a real-life serial killer, thus setting the tone for the overall story. There is also a significant amount of gruesomeness. If you are a lover of romance, the relationship that evolves between Evelyn and Amarok is handled with patience. Then there is the edge-of-your-seat suspense flowing throughout the pages. I was kept guessing as to who the killer was. Definite shock therapy! Finally, the ending was absolutely bone chilling.

I have the next two books in the series, Hello Again and Face Off, but I need a break from the darkness. I am definitely anxious as to whether or not Evelyn’s darkest fears will be realized.
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review 2018-12-11 00:00
Her Darkest Nightmare
Her Darkest Nightmare - Brenda Novak Her Darkest Nightmare - Brenda Novak Please see all of my reviews on my blog at https://www.robinlovesreading.com.

Well, Dr. Evelyn Talbot’s plans for Hanover House has come to fruition. When she approached the powers that be to build a special maximum-security facility in order to do exclusive studies on the psychopath prisoners who were to be transferred there, she met with stiff opposition. Evelyn is a psychiatrist who excels in her knowledge of the insanely criminal minds.

It has been a few months and, for the most part, things are coming along quite nicely. The only hitch in Evelyn’s life at this point is that her budding relationship with Sergeant Amarok has ended rather badly. There didn’t seem to be much hope in the beginning, as he was one of the most vocal opposers. But their break-up was for different reasons.

Until now, the small Alaskan town had been spared of brutal violence. Shockingly, however, a mutilated body is discovered, thus setting everyone on edge. Could one of the prisoners have escaped? Did Evelyn bring this horror to this town? Speaking of horror, Evelyn was running away from it as well as staring it directly in the face. In the prequel of the series, Hanover House, as well as in this book, Evelyn’s incredibly tragic past is recounted. While she was a teen, she was kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured by her boyfriend for days. This is why Evelyn does what she does. She is determined to figure out why some people behave as they do.

Amarok quickly does whatever he can to protect Evelyn, and his town. The terror that is being confronted is at war with the feelings the two are desperately trying to fight. Is Evelyn still in danger from the man who hurt her twenty years ago, or is there someone in that close community committing these horrific acts?

This story is ripe with drama. There is the new danger facing the town. There is the dangerous element within the walls of the prison, and not necessarily just the prisoners! The all-consuming passion that Evelyn and Amarok are fighting, in large part due to their age difference, is mentioned numerous times...almost to the point of annoyance.

This multi-layered story effectively deals with each issue. For those who enjoy a dark story, no worries there. Each chapter is preceded by a creepy quote from a real-life serial killer, thus setting the tone for the overall story. There is also a significant amount of gruesomeness. If you are a lover of romance, the relationship that evolves between Evelyn and Amarok is handled with patience. Then there is the edge-of-your-seat suspense flowing throughout the pages. I was kept guessing as to who the killer was. Definite shock therapy! Finally, the ending was absolutely bone chilling.

I have the next two books in the series, Hello Again and Face Off, but I need a break from the darkness. I am definitely anxious as to whether or not Evelyn’s darkest fears will be realized.
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review 2018-08-20 17:07
Home to Whiskey Creek (Whiskey Creek #3) by Brenda Novak
Home to Whiskey Creek - Brenda Novak

I previously described this story as "Reddit and 4chan had a baby" and after a few days of DNF'ing this book, I stand by that description. Novak showed she was out of her depth by having her heroine have a back story that included a gang rape. The hero and heroine were not up to the challenge of overcoming this (and other) obstacles; they were far too weak and the heroine needed a lot more therapy while she was back in her hometown. The additional storyline of the hero's best friend being gay and in love with the hero for years was already repetitive by the end of book two, and Baxter forcing a kiss from Noah came across as a sexual assault. I lost all respect for Baxter and the others in the friend gang were not anymore mature or level headed. 

 

I might try Novak's suspense novels because I do (for the most part) really like her writing and voice. I just can't take her shoe-horning serious topics into a light contemporary romance storylines - the two aren't meshing well and it comes off as sloppy or damaging writing.

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text 2018-08-10 12:00
Friday Reads - August 10, 2019
Home to Whiskey Creek - Brenda Novak
Secrets of the Tulip Sisters - Susan Mallery

The kids made it through ju-jitsu (Japanese style) camp with flying colors in addition to their other activities. This weekend is the summer overnight camp "trip" (camp grounds are 10 minutes from my house), which is their first camping trip ever (our Scout pack camps rain or shine). Next week sees more end of the summer activities plus stuff to do to get ready for the new school year. 

 

 I borrowed from the library Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery (women's fiction), which I will start sometime this weekend, along with the Crewel World by Monica Ferris (cozy mystery). I moved Dark Witch by Nora Roberts back to the planning shelf since I will use that book for Halloween Bingo. I DNF'd Home to Whiskey Creek but will do a review because I have some things to say about that crap. 

 

Have a happy and safe weekend!

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