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review 2017-11-05 20:00
Mirror Image
Mirror Image - Sandra Brown

I received a free copy of this book via First Reads giveaways on GR, Thank You.

It took a long time for me to finish this book, for as it turned out, reading a full length book in German is not as easy as it seems. But, I still think my dictionary and I managed to read it to the end and understand what was actually going on!

I thought the middle part could have been cut without actually changing the story. It was a bit more romance than I normally read, but it was OK. It won't be on my top lists, but it was a nice read all the same.

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text 2017-10-27 05:53
Halloween Bingo 2017 | More Book Ramblings at End Game
Just Past Midnight - Amanda Stevens
Protecting His Witch (a Keepers of the Veil novel) (Entangled Covet) - Zoe Forward
Hit and Run - Laura Griffin,Allison Brennan
Jaxson (River Pack Wolves 1) - New Adult Paranormal Romance - Alisa Woods
The Dead Travel Fast - Deanna Raybourn,Charlotte Parry
Nine Coaches Waiting (Rediscovered Classics) - Sandra Brown,Mary Stewart
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James,Richard Armitage,Emma Thompson

 


 



My blogging motivation is still on the fritz, so I decided to make a 'To-Do' list and give myself assignments as to what kinds of posts I will be publishing for the rest of October.

And so to placate myself, I made another compilation of Halloween Bingo books for "short" rambling reviews.  In kind, I also sat down and appointed specific books that would be allowed its own individual review... for reasons only I would understand... or maybe even not.

The majority of my ramblings have more to do with why said books would or would not fit the squares I had chosen them for, as well as what I might do to shuffle books and squares around.  And yes, I DO get long-winded.

 

 

Rating:  3.0 Stars


I had originally planned on a full review for this book.  But due to reasons, that didn't happen.  Instead, all I have to say is that this is definitely NOT one of Amanda Steven's better works.  Of course, Just Past Midnight was written years prior to her more well-known Graveyard Queen series (which I love), and so I suspect her writing has matured over the years.

Just Past Midnight is a decent, mediocre, and enjoyable murder mystery with all the standard romantic suspense tropes.  The insta-lust and insta-love was a bit eye-rolling, and the whole "most beautiful woman in the room" thing was also a bit exasperating.  But overall, this is a book that one can find entertainment in for a nice rainy afternoon... or night, if you want to creep yourself out, since there were some scenes that might do it.

I originally chose to read this book for the 'Amateur Sleuth' square because the main heroine is a psychologist, though she DOES do forensic work for law enforcement, so I don't know how that would work towards the square.  The main hero, though, is a defense lawyer... so, not quite law enforcement?

Of course, after some flipping and flopping, back and forth, I finally decided just to switch a few books around that fit certain squares a bit better.  Since this book DOES, indeed, have murders, it would fit the 'Murder Most Foul' square, regardless--in fact, several of the books I've read would fit this square, which, to be honest, is pretty much a free space for me anyway...

This book could also count for:

  • Romantic Suspense
  • Serial/Spree Killer
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

Rating:  3.5 Stars


Okay, so the truth is, aside from the title and the fact that the main female character is called a witch, I'm not entirely sure that Kat, or the other seven sisters, are actually witches in the traditional sense.  At least based on the powers and the in-book legends, the seven sisters are more descendants of Goddesses or something like that; but they are referred to as witches throughout the book because they have supernatural abilities.  So I may or may not switch this one out for Jaxson, which really does have a more traditional type of witch, with a coven and spells and curses and all that, then maybe read something else for the 'Werewolves' square.  Maybe.

As for this book, it was actually much more enjoyable than I'd expected it to be, with a great premise and outline.  The progression was smooth and the book was easy to read.

Unfortunately, characters feel a bit stock-standard, and the execution of the story itself could use a little work; some of the scenes and twists and reveals feel a bit too deliberate, as if they were written in for the sake of forwarding the story.  While they make sense, they also feel awkwardly inserted.  Some of the characters and their histories could have been fleshed out a bit more.

And also, maybe we could have done without such a heavy focus on the sex and romance--our main couple couldn't spend more than a couple paragraphs in each other's presence without getting hot and heavy, and I swear, our hero was sporting a hard-on the entire book.  Then again, I'm sure that might have also been deliberate--for reasons.

This book could also count for:

  • Romantic Suspense
  • Supernatural
  • Terrifying Women

 


 


This book was entirely forgettable.  And since I've been in a non-blogging mood, I honestly couldn't think of what to say about it.  And days later, after finishing it, I still couldn't find anything to say about it.

I hadn't entirely enjoyed the first book in this series, but at least it held promise.  And this second book wasn't entirely terrible either, because I DID enjoy the reading of it.  But I'll be damned if I can think of anything that stands out about Hit and Run.

Scarlet's part, Hit, written by Allison Brennan, was once again the better of the two parts, with a well outlined plot, likable characters, and an intriguing premise.  But all I can recall from this half of the book is that Scarlet came across a lot more reckless than I remember thinking she was from the first book, Crash and Burn.  I DID like the developing relationship between Scarlet and Detective Alex Bishop though, but it felt pretty backseat.

Meanwhile, Krista's part, Run, by Laura Griffin, while written well and had some amusing interaction between Krista and others at the beginning, felt like it was deteriorating in character development towards the end.  Even the murder investigation felt a little deflated.  And R.J. Flynn, Krista's P.I. rival and love interest just comes off as a Grade A jackass--in short, I don't like him, and I don't like that Krista finds him irresistible... just because.  He treats her really crappy and I don't see why she finds him irresistible, aside from him being the main, hottie, love interest.

Because of the almost lack of romance in this book, there's a slight possibility I might swap it out for a different book to fill the square I finally made the decision just to swap it out for a book that has more balanced focus on the romance, the suspense, and the murder investigations:  Deep As The Dead by Kylie Brant.  But being that both Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin are known romantic suspense authors, I'd been inclined to just leave it be.  There was romance, as much as I didn't care for either couples...

Anyway, this book will just go in the 'Creepy Raven Free Space.'  Even though the romance was a bit lacking, there was murder and there was suspense.

Though, for a while, I had contemplated swapping out for Amanda Quick's newest historical romantic suspense that I have on hold via e-book library.  If I get to checking it out before the end of October, maybe it could stand in for this square.  I mean, I'll read that book, either way.

Well, look at that... I DID find something to say after all!

This book could also count towards:

  • Murder Most Foul
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

Rating:  4.0 Stars


Since wolf shifters also count for this square, I went ahead and read Jaxson, the first book in a trilogy about three brothers, all three of them wolf shifters.  I'm considering moving Jaxson onto the 'Witches' square, since the heroine in this book fits as a traditional witch better than the book I originally chose for that square.  I could then read the second River Pack Wolves book for this square... but I'm still deciding what I want to do, and chances are, I'm just going to let it go.

Jaxson is probably one of those guilty pleasure romance reads that is enjoyable for all the right and wrong reasons.  This book has it's fair share of cliches and tropes and logic holes.  This book could also use some editing work.  But the characters are lovely, the romance was just the right amount of angsty and sweet, the setting was a promising urban fantasy set-up... and most importantly, I was entertained and I liked it.

I will be reading the rest of the trilogy, because I can't help myself.

This book could also count for:

  • Romantic Suspense
  • Supernatural
  • Witches
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
audio book narrated by Charlotte Parry
Rating:  3.5 Stars


I'm conflicted, much like I was when I read my very first Deanna Raybourn book, Silent in the Grave.  I'm conflicted because Deanna Raybourn's ability to create vivid imagery and atmospheric narrative is just so excellent.  But at the same time, she tends to spend a lot of time either building the story, or dragging out certain events in the story.

So I don't know how I feel about this book, exactly, because aside from the few scenes that felt dragged, I had a hard time really liking any of the characters, even Theodora.  The romance was just hard to stomach considering the Count acts like an asshole most of the book, and Theodora kind of lets him get away with acting like an asshole and she is still attracted to him.

And the mystery... was actually quite predictable and I had it figured out, even if there was a bit of a twist in the end that I didn't see coming.  But that's just me.

My thoughts aren't complete, and I don't really think they will be complete.

On an aside, I listened to the audio book version of this book, narrated by Charlotte Parry, which was absolutely excellent!

And, at the risk of spoiling the book, the vampire aspect isn't exactly what I had been expecting, with the conclusion a bit open-ended.  It's a little hard to determine what Raybourn was going for with this book, though I don't know that I really want to try too hard to figure it out.

This book could also count towards:

  • Gothic
  • Supernatural
  • Werewolves (?) -- There are mentions of certain characters "going wolf" and disappearing into the mountains.  This is very brief.
  • Terrifying Women

 


 


This book gets an extra star just for the writing and atmosphere, because it's beautifully done.  I might even reserve half a star for the MC, Linda Martin, but really, there were a few things about her that frustrated me.  Nonetheless, there were also some things about her I approved of.

The romance was also fairly insta, and the chemistry between Linda and Raoul wasn't exactly what I would call existent.  I had a hard time seeing that they were in love, but their few scenes together were pretty sweet.

The best character in the book was probably nine-year-old Phillipe de Valmy.  Everyone else, I didn't really care for.

It was hard to get into the book in the beginning, but when the first signs of danger started showing (which DID take some time for the story to come around to), the rest of the book was quite engaging.  But before that, I wasn't entirely sure where this book was trying to go.

These are just a few scattered thoughts, and that's pretty much it.

This book could also count towards:

  • Gothic
  • Supernatural
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
audio book narrated by Emma Thompson
(with Richard Armitage - introduction)
Rating:  2.5 Stars


I had to go back and re-listen to this book from the beginning after I realized I had no idea what was going on after finishing the first or second chapter--I don't quite remember.  Whether this was because of my own wandering mind because of having a lot to think about on a personal level lately... or just the book's inability to keep my attention, I couldn't really say.

I am in agreement with many other reviews that this book is extraordinarily verbose.  There's a lot of repetition about specific points in the book: whether or not Mrs. Grose knows what's going on with the children, whether or not Mrs. Grose sees the specters, whether or not the children see the ghosts, why Miles was expelled from school, the fact that the children are amazingly beautiful.  These particular subjects kept being brought up over and over again.  And I even recall some point in the book where at least half an hour to an hour (audio book) is spent on: "Do they see them?"  "They do see?"  "Why do they deny it?" "Do they really see?"  "Do they know?"  And so on, and so forth about the children.

And there's a lot of circular conversations between the governess and Mrs. Grose about how the children behave and what Mrs. Grose knows and why Mrs. Grose has never done or said anything, and so on and so forth.

And even in the end, all I know is that a governess was hired for little girl Flora.  There are ghosts in this home.  Miles was expelled from school for whatever reason.  And ghosts keep appearing and are evil and the children need saving, but the children won't admit to seeing the ghosts.  And Mrs. Grose talks in circles.

This book could also count towards:

  • Genre: Horror
  • Ghosts
  • Haunted Houses
  • Gothic
  • Supernatural

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/halloween-bingo-2017-more-book.html
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review 2017-10-25 04:14
Finished: Nine Coaches Waiting
Nine Coaches Waiting (Rediscovered Classics) - Sandra Brown,Mary Stewart

Second to last book read for Halloween Bingo!  One more book to go.

 

I'll have a review out for this book at some point....  But right now, all I can think to say is that, while the beginning was hard to get into, the book picked up with signs of danger started surfacing.  I wasn't entirely in like with many of the characters, and the best character in the whole book was probably nine-year-old Phillipe de Valmy.

 

The writing was also excellently atmospheric.

 

 

 

 

The Turn of the Screw - Henry James,Richard Armitage,Emma Thompson Last book to finish will be The Turn of the Screw, which shouldn't take long.  I'm listening to the audio narrated by Emma Thompson, and am actually already halfway through it.

 

 

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review 2017-10-24 00:00
Seeing Red
Seeing Red - Sandra Brown I really liked this. It definitely made me want to read more from this author. The mystery is good. It twists around but doesn't get too crazy. The leads are easy to like. It's sexy but not all about the sex.
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review 2017-09-18 16:24
Nine Coaches Waiting / Mary Stewart
Nine Coaches Waiting (Rediscovered Classics) - Sandra Brown,Mary Stewart

Read to fill the “Romantic Suspense” square of my 2017 Halloween Bingo card.

This Bingo was a great excuse to revisit an old favourite, which only been slight worn by the passage of time. It is very much a gothic romance, with the heroine having the usual attributes—she is an orphan, she needs to pay her way in the world, and she is hired by a French family to school a young nobleman in English. The young Comte is nine years old and it takes a bit for Linda Martin to make friends with him and get him acting like a real small boy, but they manage to make the connection just before sinister things begin to happen. Has Linda been chosen because she is an orphan with no real connections in France? Will she be the scapegoat when young Philippe is killed?

Add the complication that Linda has fallen in love with Raoul, her employer’s son, who manages another large family estate. Raoul is as sophisticated as Linda is naïve, which causes much of the romantic tension, as the reader wonders whether he is serious or just playing with Linda. Stewart actually uses Cinderella imagery to reassure the reader—there is an Easter ball, of course, for which Linda sews her own dress and during which she dances with Raoul and they agree to become engaged. She has promised to visit her charge, Philippe, in “the dead of night” so he can feel included in the event, so she & Raoul take a “midnight feast” pilfered from the buffet table up to the little boy’s room. On her way up to the nursey, Linda’s shoe comes undone and she almost loses it, completing the Cinderella reference.

Nor is that the only literary reference. The book’s title comes from the poem The Revenger’s Tragedy, a tale of lust and ambition suited to the story line of Nine Coaches Waiting. Each of the chapters is referred to as a coach and Linda takes some kind of conveyance (train, car, plane) in each. The poem also includes a tempter’s list of pleasures: coaches, the palace, banquets, etc., all of which decadent indulgences may lure our heroine to overlook the attempts on her student’s life.

One of the joys of the book for me was the description of the French countryside and communities. These descriptive interludes extend the tension of both the mystery & the romance and give the reader some time to assimilate the clues and try to see the road ahead. It also gave me breathing room to assess the very whirlwind nature of the romance, something that I would usually find unrealistic & therefore off-putting (and which I never noticed as a teenager reading this novel).


I am delighted to report that I enjoyed this novel almost as much forty years later as I did when I first read it.

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