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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 2017-10-24 17:13
Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens
Never Let You Go - Chevy Stevens

Eleven years ago, Lindsey Nash escaped into the night with her young daughter and left an abusive relationship. Her ex-husband was sent to jail and she started over with a new life. Now, Lindsey is older and wiser, with a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her ex-husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she’s cut all ties. But she gets the sense that someone is watching her. Her new boyfriend is threatened. Her home is invaded, and her daughter is shadowed. Lindsey is convinced it’s her ex-husband, even though he claims he’s a different person. But can he really change? Is the one who wants her dead closer to home than she thought?

Chevy Stevens targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more in a novel that explores the darkest heart of love and obsession.

 
**********


Reading this book made me wonder if I have read too many thrillers lately or if this book was too easy to figure out. I guess a bit of both, to be honest. I'm not saying that I did not enjoy the book, however, when everything in a thriller points to one thing (or in this case to one person being behind something, that's when I often grew suspicious.

Never Let You Go is a thriller that is not groundbreaking or even really thrilling, to be honest. It does have an interesting story and the main characters, Lindsey and her daughter Sophie, are easy to like. But, what the story really lacks is some great twist. There is just no shocking twist to the story. I was suspicions towards one character that turned out to be good, but looking back I see that he was just a red herring. But, the ending was just not surprising enough to raise my pulse. It was so ... logical. Even the reason for everything was something that was easy to figure out.

The book's strength lies in that both Lindsey and Sophie were so likable. Especially, Sophie. I fully understood her wanting her father to have repented. To be a good man, despite everything pointing to the contrary. I do admit that I was at first not really appreciating Lindsey. I do have a very black and white view of abuse and don't see why anyone would stay in such a relationship. However, love and fear can make people do all sorts of crazy things.

Never Let You Go may not have been so thrilling for me, but I enjoyed reading the book. While the twist may have lacked the shocking punches I was after did the characters impress me. This was the first book I have read by Chevy Stevens and I wouldn't mind reading more books from her.

 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!
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review 2017-10-10 21:18
Light-hearted and amusing
Accidental Man Whore - Katherine Stevens

About a quarter of the way through this one, I wasn't sure how well I'd end up liking it. I have to say that Ben certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the gardening shed and his gullibility caused more than one eye roll for this reader, but he still manages to come across as quite the endearing character. He does, after all, fall into the escort business while trying to help his dad.
Miryam is everything Ben isn't - put together with her life planned out, or so she thought. These two have little in common, but somehow, they just work, often in spite of their differences. They're thrown together by a crazy series of circumstances and family events that keep the story moving and the chuckles rolling.
The secondary characters are at times even more amusing than our couple. I absolutely loved Ben's cantankerous dad and Miryam's Bubbie.
In the end, I found Accidental Man Whore to be witty and fun, making for an enjoyable lighthearted read.

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review 2017-10-04 15:03
All or Nothing (Together #3) by Felice Stevens
All or Nothing - Felice Stevens
All or Nothing is the third book in the Together series, and we focus on Gideon's business partner, Rico. Now, Rico is a hard person to pin down, but Adam keeps on trying. For reasons of his own, Rico doesn't get involved with anyone. He scratches an itch occasionally, but that's it. The reasons for that become clear, and you will sympathise with him as he continues to hide part of who he is. Adam is out, both at home and at work, and although he had some rocky moments, it's all good now. Adam and Rico get together for a night, but can it ever be more?

Where to start? I love Felice Stevens' books, they are all heartfelt, with an amazing storyline that pulls you in and refuses to let go until you've finished the story. This isn't a book with a good guy and a bad guy. This is a book where you are rooting for both of them, where you understand the issues, and your heart breaks for both of them whilst you continue to cheer them on and hope for the best. Gideon and Jonah's story also continues, and I'm pleased to report that all is good for them.

Adam and Rico are a couple of guys that will keep your interest. The 'bedroom' scenes are hot, but it is more than that. It is the connection they have, how they are there for each other when others might not bother, and how they just don't give up. All or Nothing will pull on your heartstrings as you desperately turn the pages to find out what happens next.

There were no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading flow, and the pacing was smooth. This is a long book, but it never drags. With characters old and new, and an intriguing story, I have no hesitation in highly recommending this book and series.
 
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2017/10/blog-tour-review-all-or-nothing.html
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review 2017-10-02 23:29
Pine Lake by Amanda Stevens
Pine Lake (Harlequin Intrigue) - Amanda Stevens

Terrific book! The plot layers peel away very well, and the dialogue is excellent and as realistic as possible given the limitations of the format. And this is important, as this a very dialogue-heavy book. 

 

Here's  the blurb:

 

The murder of security expert Jack King’s girlfriend has haunted him for fifteen years. Returning to Pine Lake, Texas, where the townsfolk still consider him suspect, might not be the smartest move, but a killer seems to be holding up a mirror to his past. The same witness to this new murder was also present the night Jack’s girlfriend dieds…but both times, she was sound asleep…

Sleepwalking has gotten Olive Belmont into some sticky situations. Being the witness to both murders may have put her on the killer’s list. Even so, she doesn’t think the killer is Jack and is willing to help him. But will putting his past to rest ease her mind or leave her with even greater nightmares?

 

The descriptive passages are spare, yet work well in setting the unsettling mood. Everyone has secrets, and Jack and Olive can only trust each other as everyone else has a skeleton in the closet.

 

Highly recommended.

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