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review 2017-10-23 21:35
Fix, Freeze, Feast!
Fix, Freeze, Feast: The Delicious, Money-Saving Way to Feed Your Family - Kati Neville,Lindsay Tkacsik

I know what I am planning to do on my next day off!!  I'll be headed to the warehouse store to pick up supplies and making myself some meals for busy days.

 

Sweet Asian Chicken.

Tequila-Lime Chicken.

Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry.

Urban Garlic Chicken.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs.

Ginger Beef.

Margarita Pork Chops.

Raging Garlic Port Stir-Fry.

 

Each recipes makes 3-4 frozen meals.  Just remove from the freezer the night before and they are ready to go when you get home from work.

 

Yah, baby!

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review 2017-10-23 12:27
please ma'am, can I have more?
Evernight (Darkest London) - Kristen Callihan

I have to take a break from reading these. I prefer if there's story with romance rather than story in service of romance. I just felt somewhat unsatisfied by the end of the story and wanted more.

 

As usual, this is my opinion, your mileage may vary, everyone experiences stories differently.

 

Will Thorne's sanity is being drained away by the artificial heart in his chest. He goes to Holly Evernight, the person who put it there, who he blames for his difficulties. Now many people want her dead and she's hiding in her house with her experiments.  

 

To me it felt like the author wrote herself into a corner and then had to use a lot of handwavium and deus (or faerie)ex macina to solve the problems.  I was just left wanting more.

 

I would be stretching things a little to call it horror; it's supernatural, romantic suspense, darkest London; ghost; werewolves; monsters; terrifying women.

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review 2017-10-23 08:43
Thoughts: Deep As The Dead
Deep as the Dead (The Mindhunters Book 9) - Kylie Brant

Deep As The Dead
by Kylie Brant
Book 9 of Mindhunters


First of all, warning for some gruesome murders.  But this is par for Kylie Brant anyway, as her Mindhunters series has always leaned more towards the dark and gritty.  You don't actually see the murder happen, but the victims' bodies DO get described in a bit of detail.

Secondly, I would love to believe that the reason why I enjoyed this book slightly more so than I did the previous two Mindhunters installments, was because Kylie Brant read my reviews and tweaked the few things I'd mentioned as little quibbles from said previous two installments.  One book I mentioned had excellent chemistry between the main couple, but an extremely scattered outline and a chaotic second half; the other book had a well written progression and murder investigation, but the couple held little chemistry.

Deep As The Dead brings the best of both worlds that I've always recalled loving about the Mindhunters series together; and that makes me intensely happy.

Nonetheless, I've yet to be completely disappointed in any of the works I've read by Brant, so really, she's just good at what she does in this genre--telling an exciting romantic suspense, with just the right amount of everything I've always enjoyed in this series.


The Story:
A serial killer at large has been absent for about three years, but recently makes his reappearance with a few brutal killings within a short period of time.  He leaves a calling card--the victims' mouths are sewn together, hiding within the body of a dead dragonfly and second, unique insect within a small glassine bag.  The dragonfly represents the serial killer, the other insect hints at the victims' sins.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Ethan Manning has been assigned to the newly formed task force to capture this serial killer, dubbed by the media as The Tailor because of his sewing his victims' mouths shut.  The Tailor has eluded law enforcement across Canada for years, several investigators and task forces having been unsuccessful at apprehending him; and Ethan has no qualms about asking for whatever resources he can get in order to bring this monster to justice.  What he hadn't expected was to see Alexa Hayden again, so many years after the two of them parted under tragic circumstances.

Alexa is a consultant with Raiker Forensics, specializing in forensic entomology, which proves useful in figuring out what the serial killer's obsession with insects could lead to.  She's the one who makes the connection between the meaning behind the dragonfly and the second bug, and begins formulating a profile, figuring out what this killer is after, and who the next victim could possibly be.  By chance, The Tailor notices Alexa, learns of her specialty, somehow feels with her some sort of kinship.  And eventually, she has become his next obsession.


My Thoughts:
Of course, a romantic suspense is never short on psychotic serial killers who sight in on our main heroine because of some sort of trait she exhibits.  I'm not entirely sure that I've actually seen this particular device employed in any of the Kylie Brant Mindhunters books, except maybe two.  But this is a device we see in a lot of romantic suspense, nonetheless.  I suspect it's a means of making our main heroine "a special someone" in the story, without really hammering in the fact that she's "a special someone."

While I've never been entirely too thrilled about the main heroine being "special," in such a way, I think that this characteristic actually plays to Alexa's benefit.  Because, despite what Ethan thinks, I think she kind of knows that she's good at getting people to open up to her and let down their guards; and I think she knows that if she uses the right amount of charm, she could get any witness or interviewee to talk freely and comfortably.

And, of course, it's her being "a special someone" that will get our elusive serial killer to finally break his patterns and screw up enough to get caught... obviously.

Anyway...

Deep As The Dead encompasses one of the devices I love most about crime thrillers--a feeling of police procedural and togetherness on the force, where all of our players work together to find the killer and bring him to justice.  It's always intriguing to me, watching our main task force working together in this way, and also kind of bonding over their shared need to stop a monstrous killer.  There were amusing little asides and quips among the task force members, and great interactions.

The investigation was interesting enough to keep me hooked.  The little insights about the use of the insects was interesting.  Now, the whole thing about the killer seeing himself as "doing God's work," is probably an overused trope in crime thrillers, as it's a pretty common one employed.  Of course, it's often commonly used if only because it credible.

The romance between Alexa and Ethan was mature and sweet, tinged with the underlying pain of their history.  To be honest, there were all sorts of signs that an angsty love story was probably going to play out, but I'm actually kind of happy that the two were able to compartmentalize, set aside their feelings about the past, and work with each other.  Even when a few tidbits about their history surfaced, it didn't stop them from being professional; it didn't keep them from being mature about their situation.  It didn't keep the two of them from caring about each other as colleagues, or on a personal level.

It was a subtle, yet wonderfully handled second-chance romance; and the way it played out made me think that their parting really wasn't as angry as they had made it out to be, even if the circumstances were still heartbreaking.

Deep As The Dead is an excellently enjoyable new installment to the Mindhunters series.  And even while there are rather noticeable flaws in editing--typos, missing pronouns, missing words here and there, missing verbs--I found myself just moving on and disregarding those errors.  It's a little jarring at times, truth be told, to see an editing error, because I find myself backtracking at points to try to figure out what the sentence was trying to convey.  But it wasn't bad enough to make me truly upset with the book or it's unpolished publication.

This was a good romantic suspense.  And I look forward to Kylie Brant's next installation... or, in fact, her next book release, which I suspect isn't related to the Mindhunters series.


***

 

Halloween Bingo


This book could also count for:

  • Murder Most Foul
  • Serial Killer
  • Terrifying Women

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/thoughts-deep-as-dead.html
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text 2017-10-21 15:25
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Update #8 -- Two Books Left to Read
 
Halloween Bingo 2017



I was hoping I'd have all but one of my Bingo books read by now, but I got distracted.  As it stands, I'm still working on the last two books for this card, which, to be honest, is much better progress than I'd made last year.  I do believe that it took me right up to the very last day of October to finish my last Bingo book the previous year.

I think it might have to do with the fact that I had more audio books this year, even though I had more short stories last year.

And maybe... I might have also overwhelmed myself with another ongoing challenge at this time the previous year, and was a bit adamant about reading a few library books I didn't want to put off until later.  And also, some of the books I'd chosen might not have been novella or short story length, but it wasn't like they were brick-sized tomes either since at least two that I can think of were barely 250 pages long.

And, this year, my main focus was Halloween Bingo for these past two months, and the truth is, I think all was quite excellently planned!

There are a few of my squares that I'd been contemplating swapping out books for, but wasn't sure if I really wanted to do so.  I DID, however, shuffle some of my book selections around, but all the squares I'm shuffling have been read for, so it doesn't really change my card any, really.

I flipped Every Secret Thing into the 'Amateur Sleuth' square, and went ahead and placed Just Past Midnight into the 'Murder Most Foul' square.  I feel like this flip-flop fits a little bit better, since I can't determine whether or not the characters in Just Past Midnight count as law enforcement or not: one MC is a lawyer, and the other MC is a psychologist, who does freelance work with law enforcement as a forensic expert.

So... using Every Secret Thing for 'Amateur Sleuth' instead, I now have an investigative reporter as my MC, who spends the entire book investigating the deaths of different people who have a connection to something that happened two generations ago.  And Just Past Midnight has murders, so it fits 'Murder Most Foul.'  The proper edits have been written into my review of Every Secret Thing.

I also went ahead and flipped the book I'd chosen for 'Romantic Suspense' with the book I just finished reading for the Creepy Raven Free Space.  Hit and Run really did NOT strike me as having much romance in it, though it was there in the background, and so I couldn't justify (to myself), using it for this square, even if there's suspense and murders and mystery.  In contrast, Deep As The Dead is definitely a Romantic Suspense book.

Will I shuffle more books around?  I don't know.  Again... I might get lazy.

However, with this shuffling, and this finishing of all but two books, as well as the most recent square calls, I now have 6 BINGOs!!

The card looks a little messy with all the orange lines running through all the Penni's faces, but there are three going vertical, one horizontal, and the big 'X' going through the Free Space.  I decided not to put orange rectangles around the Bingo lines because that had started to look even messier!

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 



Called Square:  Green Square Border
Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni
Called and Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box
Bingos:  Multiple Red Eyes Penni in Green Boxes with Orange Lines Through the Faces

See also the table below for some spreadsheet goodness.

Reviews pending:  Just Past Midnight, Protecting His Witch, Hit and Run, Jaxson, The Dead Travel Fast, Deep As The Dead

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Other Links:


Progress:  22 squares called || 23 books read || 21 squares completed || 6 BINGOs
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
9/17 - Modern Masters of Horror
9/27 - Terror in a Small Town
10/5 - 80's Horror
10/9 - Chilling Children
10/21 - Demons

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2017
Report Your Bingos!

September Group Read | Discussion Thread -- The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
October Group Read | Discussion Thread -- Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Bingo Square
Called (date)
Title
Author
Read (Date)
How it Fits
             
Magical realism
11-Oct
Gaiman, Neil
26-Sep
tagged 'magical realism' on GR
Classic noir
7-Oct
Hammett, Dashiel
17-Sep
hard-boiled, classic noir mystery & group read
Ghost
1-Sep
Roberts, Nora
14-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride
 
Supernatural
 
Arnett, Mindee
7-Sep
supernatural school for magic creatures
Diverse voices
21-Sep
Lin, Jeannie
27-Sep
author is Chinese
             
Cozy mystery
3-Sep
Peters, Elizabeth
7-Sep
tagged 'cozy mystery' on GR
Witches
13-Sep
Protecting His Witch
Forward, Zoe
6-Oct
female MC is a witch
Vampires
15-Oct
The Dead Travel Fast
Raybourn, Deanna
15-Oct
Transylvania and vampires
Country house mystery
17-Oct
Ayatsuji, Yukito
17-Oct
closed circle of suspects
Haunted houses
23-Sep
Roberts, Nora
25-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride haunts mansion
             
Aliens
29-Sep
Castle, Jayne
3-Sep
dust bunnies!!
Genre: horror
7-Sep
Poe, Edgar Allan
13-Oct
tagged 'horror' on GR:
classic horror by EAP
Free Space
N/A
Hit and Run
Brennan, Allison
9-Oct
murder mystery w/ suspense
 
Monsters
 
Tyler, Paige
14-Oct
female MC is an animal shifter
In the dark, dark woods
5-Sep
Holt, Victoria
17-Sep
woods are significant
             
Amateur sleuth
19-Oct
Cole, Emma
16-Sep
female MC is a reporter
Werewolves
15-Sep
Jaxson
Woods, Alisa
10-Oct
book about wolf shifters
 
Gothic
3-Oct
Nine Coaches Waiting
Stewart, Mary
 
tagged 'gothic' on GR
Romantic suspense
13-Oct
Deep As The Dead
Brant, Kylie
20-Oct
romance + suspense + serial killer + murder mystery
Darkest London
1-Oct
Quick, Amanda
12-Sep
setting = Victorian London
             
Murder most foul
11-Sep
Just Past Midnight
Stevens, Amanda
5-Oct
there is a murder and a mystery
Serial/spree killer
25-Sep
Novak, Brenda
20-Sep
summary mentions serial killer
 
Classic horror
 
The Turn of the Screw
James, Henry
 
classic horror
Terrifying women
19-Sep
Roberts, Nora
4-Oct
ghostly Harper Bride; haunting; written by a woman
Locked room mystery
9-Sep
Shimada, Soji
10-Sep
death/murder in a locked room

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Tentative Bingo Hopefuls:


Magical Realism:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Classic Noir:  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Cozy Mystery:  The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Witches:  Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward
Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Country House Mystery:  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Aliens:  Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
Genre: Horror:  The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Free Space:  Deep As The Dead by Kylie Brant
Monsters:  Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
Werewolves:  Jaxson by Alisa Woods
Gothic:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
Darkest London:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
Classic Horror:  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Terrifying Women:  Red Lily Nora Roberts
Locked Room Mystery:  The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/halloween-bingo-2017-update-8-two-books.html
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review 2017-10-21 13:20
Plot Moppet
The Witch and the Werewolf (The Decadent Dames) - Michele Hauf

And while the plot moppet does provide some of the funniest scenes (well he doesn't really have a name and the heroine, Mireo Malory, spends some time suggesting names while our hero, Lars Gunderson, rejects them.This is book 3 in the Decadent Dames collection and while it probably would make more sense of some of the character interactions, it does stand well alone.

 

The plot moppet is pretty superflous with the rest of what's going on in these characters lives.  Lars is ill. It looks like he's going to suffer from the same thing his father did (now I know a lot of doctors who would want to study him extensively! I mean, werewolves are supposed to be healing machines! This sounds like a nasty, short span, werewolf version of MS. Her healing powers can help the symptoms but it's progressing and now that she's found him she doesn't want to let him go that quickly.

 

She wants more life and in order to do so has to eat a Vampire's heart, she wants to find a vampire who deserves death, preferably the one who killed her mother, after all she has more beer to brew!  

 

The degenerative disease sub-plot is interesting and I'd like to see more disability with supernatural. Sneaks off to write some possible plot bunnies in the old plot bunny ranch. I did like how it resolved though and I want to see Lars build Mireo a comparable bathroom to the one she started with.

 

This is a supernatural, romantic suspense, werewolves, witches, vampires, and possibly a few others; I'm using it for Witches.

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