Sunday, September 30, 2018

Halloween Bingo 2018 | Book Rambles at Mid-game

It's the end of September and our Bingo game is at it's mid-mark!

Like last year, I decided I wanted to single out a few books for individual review, and then decide on a few books for a set of ramblings--not necessarily short.  This is mainly because I feel like it.  Originally, these types of reviews were mainly because I couldn't think of anything to say about certain books, but I always end up with at least a couple paragraphs, so my ramblings are no longer short.  I'm not even going to attempt to call them short, so simply "ramblings" will do.

Unfortunately, my "reading schedule" for this year's Halloween Bingo has been quite pathetic so far as September is concerned--well, pathetic for my usual reading achievements.  But since I wanted to do a mid-game book rambling anyway, well, I decided to steal someone's idea and just list all the books I've read so far as a simple update and mid-game summary!

Hopefully October will pick up a bit more for me so I have a chance at a Blackout.

Here it is!

This will pretty much be in the order of which I've read them.

Rating:  2.5 Stars

I've written a separate review for this book, as well as the rest of the Circle trilogy, if only because that's how my mind works.  But in a few words, this book was simply too similar to the Cousin's O'Dwyer trilogy for me to find it interesting.  While the worlds and the plots are different, the characters are similar and the dialogue is just as unnaturally awkward.

As I state in my review, the entire series had too much going on with it, much like a mish-mash of every possible paranormal or supernatural device you can think of... including a short bout of time travel.

The main hero of this book is a sorcerer, and the main heroine is a witch, so the book fits.

Series Review: Circle Trilogy

Other possible squares include:  Shifters; Relics and Curiosities; Deadlands; Supernatural; Romantic Suspense; Terrifying Women

Rating:  4.0 Stars

I can't remember the last time I read a YA novel I loved, but The Name of the Star was pleasantly surprising!  While there's a lot of banality to Rory's narrative--mainly detailing her everyday at Wexford with her friends--it was still a fun read.  I loved Rory's voice.  I only wish the book could have picked up towards the main conflict a lot more quickly.  Because while the copy-cat Ripper murders were hanging in the background, we never come to Rory's involvement until a good percentage into the book.

I've also written a separate review for this book at the link below.

Thoughts: The Name of the Star

Other possible squares include:  Ghost Stories; Supernatural; Darkest London; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

Rating:  2.0 Stars

I have honestly enjoyed most of the romantic suspense books written by Nora Roberts, so I think that it's her supernatural trilogies that don't work for me.  Or maybe I just need to give her In Death series a try since they seem to be more popular with better critiques.

Anyway, Dance of the Gods was just a disaster, as it doesn't really seem to add much to the trilogy and boasts a hero who annoyed the heck out of me.  Larkin acted like such a teenage boy, thinking that his flirting and charm is God's gift to women.  Even Blair's kickass demon slayer character wasn't enough to save this book, if only because she actually fell for Larkin's smarmy flirting.

Stubbornly, however, I trudged on, as I'd been so excited that Nora Roberts had a trilogy that could fit so many squares on my Bingo card.  Larkin, being a shape-shifter of probably any animal you can name--even a dragon!--is obviously a great candidate for the Shifter square.

Again, this book's review is part of a series review with the other two Circle trilogy books.  I pretty much say the same thing there as well.

Series Review: Circle Trilogy

Other possible squares include:  Spellbound; Relics and Curiosities; Deadlands; Supernatural; Romantic Suspense; Terrifying Women

Rating:  2.0 Stars

I've often thought that the longer a book's title, the more likely it is setting itself up for failure; because then you read that subtitle, "History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them," and you have a certain amount of expectation.  Add onto that, marketing this piece as a popular science book and it'd better be able to live up to all that hype.  This book did none of that and probably would have been more successful as a series of blog posts, where most people would not have had as many expectations other than the fact that the anecdotes are just tidbits of knowledge and some interesting stories that the blogger was eager to share.

Again, this is another book I've written a separate review for.  This was also a read for the Flat Book Society.

Some Rambling Thoughts: Get Well Soon

This book was deemed eligible for the Doomsday square by our game hosts, and so by default would also count towards the Creepy Raven Free Space.

Initially, I'd planned to use this book for the free space, but there's always more freedom in leaving that free space open for other books, so I decided to use it for Doomsday instead.

The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
audio book narrated by Barbara Rosenblat
Rating:  2.0 Stars

I honestly almost gave up on this book, but I've been a fan of Susanna Kearsley since the first book I read of hers, The Shadowy Horses, which I've been told isn't her best work.  I then went on to read Every Secret Thing, which she wrote under a pseudonym, for last year's Halloween Bingo and I loved it!  The Splendour Falls, come to find out from critiques and reviews, is also one of Kearsley's more disappointing novels, so I'm not sure why I'd been drawn to it in the first place.

Nonetheless, I persevered, and somehow managed to make it to the end.  Being an audio book probably helped as I spent some time multi-tasking while listening to it.  Barbara Rosenblat is wonderful as a narrator in a couple other books I've listened to, but for some reason, she doesn't seem to make this one work all that well.

I've got a more long-winded review in the works where I, sadly, end up rambling my thoughts away.  I may or may not end up posting it soon, so I'll come back and update this section accordingly, with a link to it.

But the basic gist of this book is pretty much that a lot of nothing happens until about eight hours into the audio book.  Eight hours of book is a lot of time for a lot of nothing to happen.

Other possible squares include:  Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts
Circle trilogy #3 (final)
Rating:  2.5 Stars

This was probably the better of the three books in the Circle trilogy--there's more action, forward progression, more backstory to help us understand the characters better... and Cian is most assuredly the only hero of the three in this series who was really of any interest.  And I'm not saying that just because he's a vampire--I love his inner conflict and struggles, and I loved his sarcasm and blunt attitude.  I also enjoyed how he had the best relationship with the rest of the girls in the book.

Unfortunately, the romance fell a little flat, and there were some other factors in the book that really didn't work for me.  The end was way more abrupt than I would have liked.

Once again, here's a link to the official review:  Series Thoughts: Circle Trilogy

Other possible squares include:  Shifters; Spellbound; Relics and Curiosities; Supernatural; Cryptozoologist; Romantic Suspense; Terrifying Women

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