Sunday, October 21, 2018

Rambling Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

by April Genevieve Tucholke
Book 1 of Between

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.0 Stars

Side Note on 10/21/18:  This review has probably gone through a couple edits, and at least one rewrite.  I've had it sleeping in my blog's 'Draft' category forever, waiting for me to approve of it's final draft and publication-worthy status.  I'm not sure that I got rid of all the meandering rambles, but it still conveys how I felt about this book at the time I'd read it, however many years prior.

You stop fearing the devil when you’re holding his hand…

Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along.  River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past?  Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight.  And that’s just how River likes it.

My mood usually determines how harshly I rate a book.  Disappointment always plays a big factor... and also, a 2 Star rating on Goodreads is equal to an "It Was Okay," which is what I'm wavering on since it seems like such a low rating, and I didn't want to give it such a low rating because the prose is certainly quite beautiful.  My own personal "It Was Okay" rating is usually a 3 Star rating, but I have to adjust for Goodreads.  Because I most certainly did not like this book, but by all rights, it's not a bad book either.

I have to give props to Between for the beautiful imagery and, once again, the beautiful writing.  I thought the mood was set-up wonderfully, the writing was smooth, and everything just seemed to keep falling into place.  I’m not extremely familiar with Gothic literature (as this particular book is categorized), and to be totally honest, I know I’m not the best reviewer in the world.  I’ve always been a bookworm, always loved to read, but my opinions are sometimes moot depending on my knowledge of the subject matter (as well as my knowledge of life experience in general).  I like what I like, I enjoy what I enjoy… and sometimes, certain types of books, certain types of stories, certain types of characters, just don’t hold my interest.

That being said, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a conflicting book for me to review.  The first few chapters were excellent and I had this feel of “I know I’m going to love this book!”  But as the story progressed, I found myself less and less interested in the goings-on of Between, of Violet and her brother, of the mysterious River West who strolled into town with that strange, charming aura, of the enigmatic Sunshine whom I just didn’t quite understand.  And the more I read, the less I really cared about what was happening to the characters, between the characters, or even around the characters.

The blurb of the book was fairly straightforward: Violet White and her brother live a rather quiet life in a quiet town; ”nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town” (is what the actual blurb says), until River West comes into their lives one day.  With him, comes a series of events that would change Violet’s life.  And then there’s an ominous hinting at a deeper horror that may be River and how he’s planned out his presence with Violet.

(I thought that maybe he was the “Devil” or something supernatural like that since this is a paranormal romance after all -- which, honestly, is probably where I went wrong since paranormal romances and I have proven that we often times don’t get along… with sparsely few exceptions.)

I wasn’t all too excited about the blurb. I’m not even half sure why I suddenly got so excited by the book, wanting to read it so badly that I put it on my “I MUST GET THIS AS SOON AS I CAN GET MY HANDS ON IT” list.  I was just drawn to it without even realizing why (which is kind of creepy considering the parallel of watching Violet being drawn to River in such an unreasonably obsessed, fashion).

Anyway, back to the book itself.

Let’s just start off with this: “It’s not you, it’s me.”  Because “nothing much exciting rolls” through this book at all.

I’m going to chance a guess that this is one of those books that just didn’t keep my attention, because I JUST wasn’t interested enough in what was going on.  The reason why I’m conflicted about this book is because, on some strange level, I enjoyed it despite… well, NOT being very entertained by it.  I might have done a bit of over-analyzing--I certainly made a lot of marks and notes during the reading of Between and not much of it ended up being positive notes.  I might have been expecting something else; I went into it expecting horror or twisty events.  I was ready for some spine-tingling action, some strange twists and crazy surprises…

But nothing really jumped out at me as totally mind-blowing.  Except maybe some of the ending when a bunch of family secrets got revealed.  But by that time in the book, I was already so indifferent that it didn’t really HIT me with the impact I think it should have hit me with.

By all rights, this wasn’t a bad book.  It’s got some incredible ideas and it really achieves a good success of tugging at your imaginative strings.  I credit the writing for that because it set the mood pretty well.  Between could be a good book--if you can find the appeal to appreciate it or even be interested in it.  I DO give it props for finally picking up the action and pulling me in by the end of the book (but I stress, by then, I was too far indifferent to appreciate the shift in pacing).

Unfortunately, I had trouble becoming invested in the book when I had absolutely no idea what was really going on.  I found myself constantly trying to figure out the point of all the events happening.  Was everything going to at least hint at tying up in the end?  Is there even an actual story being told aside from the “I’m in love with the mysterious, lying, psychopathic, morally insane River West”?  Was anything going to happen at all?

By 25% I was wondering when the story would start picking up.  By 50% I was wondering if I had missed something important somewhere.  By 75%, I finally stopped caring and just finished the book.  Events would take place, but then they would just fizzle into nothing significant, like it was just a passing anecdote in Violet White’s mundane life.

And the characters… I find it hard to really enjoy a book fully if I don’t really care about the characters.  They were strangers to me and I didn’t really care about them.  By the end of the book, I understood them better, but I still didn’t really care about them.  I couldn’t find a reason to really care what happened to them.  And it bugged me since, this is fact, I actually appreciate that these weren’t your substandard YA characters.

I loved Violet’s voice and her personality teetered on “damsel in distress” meets “old fashioned spinster with an attitude,” with a pinch of “entitled, rich brat” all rolled into one.  Sure, she had that annoying “stuck in the past, oft times holier than thou” personality.  But she seemed like she was just a typical girl who grew up in a big house, with a family of “used to be” wealthy and had no knowledge of much going on outside of her monotonous life.  It was great that she wasn’t a standard congenial, cynical, butt-kicking, heart of gold type.  She was just an ordinary girl, albeit, a snobbish, pretentious ordinary girl.

The rest of the characters also didn’t fit the same standard YA character role calls.  It wasn’t like River was a broody, handsome badass (since he was proven to be an insane, lying inconsiderate bastard early on in the book).  Sunshine wasn’t the supportive, loving best friend… I’m not sure WHAT Sunshine's role was supposed to be, really, and we’ll leave it at that.

Luke was a conundrum on his own because I don’t think I ever really understood the point behind his dual personality.  Starting off as the jackass brother and then ending off as an actually okay guy really got my brows furrowing since I never really got the reasoning behind his “outward” personality versus the person he truly is.  So he confused me enough that I lost interest in him before he became the type of character I’d actually like.

And despite all of my appreciation for how well the characters were created… I still had trouble really caring about them.  It just wasn’t there--that connection.  In a sense, they’re not the typical YA characters, but in another sense, they seem too unnatural and too fake to be relatable.  Old fashioned, traditional, rich, wealthy Blue Bloods indeed… even IF they don’t really have their wealth anymore.  Just the whole spiel by Violet about how they didn’t have money, but she was never going to actually get a job since she’s supposed to be living on old money inheritance… well, that kind of riled me a bit--it's possible I had rolled my eyes.  The constant mentions of art and old literature and a lot of pop culture (maybe) references that I just shrugged at cause I didn’t get them… Violet’s “painful” memory of wishing she’d been home-schooled, like her father, rather than having to attend public school with everyone else.

Yes, Violet, you guys are kind of snobby.

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea just wasn’t for me.  The pacing of the story progression was too slow for my liking, the characters were ones I had trouble connecting with, there wasn’t much going on in the story that I could fathom, and finally… in all honesty, I’m not a big fan of paranormal romances anyway.  It’s one of those genre combinations that have always slipped under my radar since the concept doesn’t mesh well with me.

Violet’s obsession with River (which I’m not entirely certain wasn’t a hundred percent all her own feelings alone since she fell in love with him the moment she saw him -- HELLO! instalove!) was to the point of unhealthy, and her inability to push him away even when she knew that there was something wrong with him kind of irked me.  I mean, who admits to herself that the guy is a liar, dangerous, AND that she’s not sure she actually loves him that much, but still goes and falls asleep in his arms in his bed?  Who finds out about all the horrid things that a guy has done and STILL kisses him and lets him touch her so intimately?  And doesn’t kick him out immediately?

Anyway, I had a lot of notes and comments going on with this book, but there came a point where I finally just decided to stop analyzing and just finish reading the book without thinking about it too much.  I realize that this review may sound slightly bipolar, but that’s because I’ve got a multitude of conflicting thoughts on Between that I can’t seem to pen properly.

In the end, my conclusion is still the same as what I started off with:

This book wasn’t bad.  I just didn’t like it.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads in August 2013.

Rambling Thoughts: Discount Armageddon

Discount Armageddon

by Seanan McGuire
Book 1 of InCryptid

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.5 Stars

Ghoulies.  Ghosties.  Long-legged beasties.  Things that go bump in the night... and that's just the beginning.  The Price family has spent generations studying the monsters of the world, working to protect them from humanity—and humanity from them.  Enter Verity Price.  Despite being trained from birth as a cryptozoologist, she'd rather dance a tango than tangle with a demon, and is spending a year in Manhattan while she pursues her career in professional ballroom dance.

Sounds pretty simple, right?  It would be, if it weren't for the talking mice, the telepathic mathematicians, the asbestos supermodels, and the trained monster-hunter sent by the Price family's old enemies, the Covenant of St. George.  To complicate matters further, local cryptids are disappearing, strange lizard-men are appearing in the sewers, and someone's spreading rumors about a dragon sleeping underneath the city...

A lifetime of training isn't enough to prepare Verity for what's ahead—especially not for Dominic De Luca, the Covenant's newest operative.  When a Price girl meets a Covenant boy, high stakes, high heels, and a lot of collateral damage are almost guaranteed. 

I haven't been so giddy about a book, or a series, even, in a very long time.  Well... I take that back.  I'm sure I've had this reaction about a lot of other books recently, but Discount Armageddon just hit all the right spots so well that I ended up absolutely loving it!  This book was just so, so much fun to read, and I'm glad I picked it up for this year's Halloween Bingo game!

I'm a little abashed to admit that for a few seconds I vacillated between a 4.0 Star rating and what I eventually ended up giving this book: 4.5 Stars!  I'm not sure what the exact workings are in my mind, but I decided to just go on FEELS, and my FEELS told me that this book was worth ALL THE STARS.

This book isn't perfect, by any means, but it's darn near perfect enough to satisfy all of my particular needs.

I'm actually quite happy about this, to be honest, if only because I've never truly had a great standing with urban fantasies, as much as I would have loved to have a better relationship with them.  I love the concept of urban fantasies, and I've always wanted to find a great book series that would work for me.  I've always wanted to find a great television series in the urban fantasy genre that would work for me.

Obviously, I haven't been really looking in the right places.  As Discount Armageddon would prove, there's an urban fantasy out there for me after all.  Not that I've gone through a whole lot of them, but the ones I have tried to start never really stuck.  Even if I liked the first book, it was never compelling enough for me to continue the series, for one reason or another.  Namely, the romances never sit well with me, and a lot of times the side characters seem like a group of background cardboard cutouts.

The last urban fantasy I tried to start reading had a broody jackass of a male love interest that really didn't do anything for me.  And then I committed the ultimate sin of perusing reviews and summaries of the next few books just to find out that the jackass of a male love interest gets swapped out for a different jackass love interest...  Needless to say, that ruined my expectations and I never went back to that particular series.

But that is neither here, nor there, now.

Discount Armageddon had all the right elements that kept me wanting more, and had me wanting to find the next book and continue into the series--which, at the posting of this review, is exactly what has already happened!

Verity is the typical sassy, sarcastic, kickass female you will see in most urban fantasy stories.  But what I loved about her the most is that she also seems pretty down-to-earth, with the right amount of kickass, the right amount of sarcastic, and the right amount of just simple regular girl-next-door... if girl-next-door is a cryptozoologist who hunts monsters by night, waits tables at a strip club by day, and enters the occasional ballroom dance competitions.

Her random quips and one-liners sometimes got a little much, but were still extremely appreciated.

On top of having a great heroine in Verity, the rest of the characters were all unique and fun and interesting in their own right.  They didn't just hang around in the background, waiting to be part of the story, they were absolutely there as part of the world.  Everyone from Sarah, Verity's adopted cousin who is a Cuckoo; to Candy, the arrogant and grudge-holding Dragon Princess; to Verity's entire family; to even Dominic, the love interest.

Everyone had a colorful background, everyone had a purpose, and everyone is interesting enough on their own that I'd love to read books about all of them.

I can't wait to meet Antimony, Verity's baby sister; the baby sister who spent her childhood terrorizing her elder siblings by setting traps and snares on them for fun.  I'm not as interested in Alex--he didn't have as many fun traits as Antimony was described to have, but we'll see when we get to his books.

Coming back to the love interest, I found I really came to like Dominic.  As Verity had mentioned, he's got a learning curve and is willing to open his mind outside of what he's learned from growing up in the Covenant.  He starts off as kind of a jackass, but that was coming from his lifetime of ignorance.  I like that he's developing, step-by-step, and doesn't just sweep into the book as an asshole out to be an asshole just because he can.  And I like that Verity doesn't immediately start falling for him; that it takes that little bit-by-bit revelation that Dominic can be convinced to be open-minded and start understanding the world without Covenant-colored glasses.

The story itself didn't have a lot of direction in it until a good ways into the books.  Once it did, the action kept going at a fast enough pace to be exciting until the very end.  It's a nice intriguing mystery to go with the book, focusing on the missing female cryptids, and ending on an interesting bang.  I'm extremely looking forward to what the next book brings with the looming threat of the Covenant's possible purging of cryptid's from Manhattan hanging there.

Finally, as I bring this chaotic rambling to a close, I'm just going to say one last thing:

Aeslin mice.  Everyone should have their own colony of them.  Because I haven't been as enamored of a fictional, fantasy creature since Jayne Castle's dust bunnies were a thing.


Halloween Bingo 2018
(any supernatural creature, from Ammit to Ziz)

Other possible squares:  Shifters; Supernatural; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Not Really a Review: Endless Night

Endless Night

by Agatha Christie
audio book narrated by Hugh Fraser

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

When penniless Michael Rogers discovers the beautiful house at Gypsy’s Acre and then meets the heiress Ellie, it seems that all his dreams have come true at once.  But he ignores an old woman’s warning of an ancient curse, and evil begins to stir in paradise.  As Michael soon learns: Gypsy’s Acre is the place where fatal “accidents” happen.

Well... I certainly did not see that ending coming.  Though in hindsight, I am not so surprised, despite the fact that I'm not very well-versed in Agatha Christie novels.  This is only the third of hers I've read, and I'm not quite sure what to make of this one in particular.

Did I like it?  Did I not like it?  I don't know anymore.  That ending more than made up for the drag that was the beginning... and yet, I still haven't quite recovered yet.

Also, when I'd updated about the marriage between Mike and Ellie not ending well... this was NOT what I had been thinking would happen.

I am going to need to mull this one over, but more than likely, I won't come up with anything more to say.

Well played, Dame Agatha.  Well played.

Also, on a side note, Hugh Fraser is a wonderful narrator.  I will definitely be keeping him on my radar.

Halloween Bingo 2018
(any book that relates to bad luck, superstitions, including (but not limited to) black cats, ravens or crows, or the unlucky 13, either in the title, series, book cover or page count)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Thoughts: Secret Admirer

Secret Admirer

by Cynthia Eden

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.0 Stars

For some strange reason, I dropped another book from the 'Romantic Suspense' Halloween Bingo square and replaced it with Secret Admirer.  I don't know why, but I guess I was hoping that I'd find another Cynthia Eden novel I'd come to really like.  I suppose I would be more disappointed if I hadn't then decided to shuffle the initial book I'd considered reading onto a different Bingo square.

But that's a moot point.

I'm actually rambling because I needed a couple paragraphs to start off this post.  Secret Admirer has a summary blurb that is six paragraphs long, and sort of just takes you in circles, repeating itself a couple times.  So I needed a lead-in to basically tell everyone that here is my own half-assed summary of the book.

The Story
Alice May's fiancé, Hugh, died on their wedding day... the same day that she found out he was the infamous Secret Admirer, a serial killer who had murdered five other women, all who looked eerily similar to Alice in appearance.  A year later, Alice has left her home and is trying to start her life over, away from the stigma of having been engaged to a monster.

Along comes Zander Todd, a neighbor in a nearby cabin who has been helping her out whenever something in her home breaks.  What Alice doesn't know is that Zander is an FBI agent, assigned to get close to her and find out what she knows or might know about her deceased fiancé.  Because another murder has recently occurred, in the same fashion as the Secret Admirer killings from a year previous, and the FBI think that Alice might have had more to do with those killings than she'd admitted to.  That maybe she had participated and is picking up where her fiancé left off.

But as Zander and Alice begin to form a closer, more intimate bond, it seems that the real killer has set his sights on Alice now.  And so in order to keep her safe, Zander will have to admit his reasons for getting close to Alice in the first place, no matter that his intentions are no longer just part of his undercover act.

My Thoughts
There were two factors working against this book.

First of all, Cynthia Eden has already written this story once before in Die For Me - A Novel of the Valentine Killer.  Secret Admirer is essentially the same story with a different twist, but a lot of similar scenes.  Even one of the surprise twists in the end was pretty, unapologetically similar.  There were a few differences, such as the killer's media dubbed name, or how our hero and heroine meet.  But some other factors, such as the description of how the 'Secret Admirer' killed his victims, or staged their bodies seemed to echo the 'Valentine Killer.'  I couldn't get past how similar both books were.

Second of all, this book felt rushed.  Even if I had read this one before Die For Me, I probably would have found it mediocre at best because of how abrupt and over-dramatic it was written.  The romance was rushed and the ending resolution was rushed.  The conclusion was pretty predictable and I felt like our killer pretty much walked in with neon signs pointing at him--he was hard to miss.

Simply put, if more thought had been put into this book, like maybe giving us a better look at how our hero and heroine bonded for the past couple months before slinging the "I love you's" around, or even giving me a reason why our heroine, Alice, would so easily trust another man again after what she'd gone through with her fiance, I probably would have been a bit more accepting.  Simply citing that Zander is "just different" doesn't really cut it for me.  In essence, we were told that the two got to know each other over a course of two months, but we don't get to see any of that--only those first chapters where Zander flirts with Alice, promises that he's not out to hurt her, then she just automatically trusts him, and then they jump into bed together.

I wanted more from them than that, honestly.

On a side note, I will openly admit to being a fan of Jayne Ann Krentz and Jill Shalvis, two authors who's books are pretty much the same formulaic romances over and over again.  It sounds like I'm being contradictory, but in the case of JAK or Shalvis, I always come back to their books because they are charming and attractive in spite of their ever recycled material.

It's unfortunate that aside from being an echo of Die For Me, Secret Admirer was also not actually written all that well.  If it had been, I might have just mentioned the similarities briefly, and then moved onto talking about other parts of the book.  I have a pretty high tolerance for things like this.

Die For Me wasn't even really one of my favorite Cynthia Eden novels, truth be told, and I had found the heroine pretty depressing.  So this makes Secret Admirer doubly frustrating, because it just echoes a book I'd already read before, but didn't really care too much for, and doesn't improve on it.  Alice is no different from the heroine of Die For Me, so by default, that makes Die For Me the better novel because it was a bit more fleshed out than Secret Admirer, which is a disappointing, really.  I've been looking for another great Cynthia Eden book ever since her Deadly trio, which I had found very enjoyable and hard to put down--I still haven't found another Cynthia Eden work like that.

Fortunately, this book was extremely bite-sized and it didn't take long to breeze through it.

On a another side note, while writing this review, I had a moment wherein I couldn't remember the heroine's name.  Mere hours after finishing the book, and I could not conjure the heroine's name and had to go look it up.  This is how unforgettable this book is going to be to me...

Halloween Bingo 2018
(any romance which has a significant sub-plot that involves mystery, thriller, or suspense)

Other possible squares:  New Release; Genre: Suspense; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

Thoughts: Front Page Fatality

Front Page Fatality

by LynDee Walker
Book 1 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

On a side note:  I like the newer covers for this series.  It's been noted that LynDee Walker was able to get the rights to all of her books, thus giving her the opportunity to repackage her series.  Each book gets a brand new, grittier looking cover illustration, and the whole series gets a brand new title as well, having previously been known as A Headlines in High Heels Mystery, which I can see why it had been given this series title in the first place, but doesn't really show you that there's so much more to the story than Nichelle's love for fancy heels of all kinds.
A fiery crash kills two young police officers. A horrific accident? Or something more sinister?

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is covering the deaths of two young police officers near Richmond, Virginia. On the surface, it looks like a tragic accident. But as she digs deeper into the investigation, Nichelle realizes that all is not as it seems.

Evidence goes missing.

A prosecutor vanishes.

Someone is trying to cover their tracks.

Nichelle is struggling to put the pieces together, until a seductive Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. But each step closer to the truth becomes exponentially more dangerous. And her investigation soon transforms into a murderous game of cat and mouse.

Front Page Fatality is an extremely enjoyable and strong start to the Nichelle Clarke Crime Thrillers, and definitely has a lot of potential to continue on being great if the rest of the books follow along the same vein.

The story is fast-paced and the murder investigation keeps you on your toes.  To be honest, I really didn't know what to think and who I thought would end up the ultimate culprit of the murders, and of the drug evidence disappearing.  I wasn't surprised at the ending, but was kept guessing throughout.  As others have mentioned, this book feels much grittier than your typical cozy mystery, with constant action from the beginning, all the way till the end, and even a darker atmosphere than your typical, humorous cozies.  The characters are all interesting in their own way, and I hope to see more of them in the rest of the series.

I especially loved our heroine, Nichelle Clarke, who isn't the typical badass independent woman, nor is she a giggling, swooning damsel either.  Nichelle is resourceful, smart, and doesn't spend her time pining after the first man who gives her a mega-watt smile.  I also love that she's not out to be TSTL material, even though she DOES manage to get herself into trouble a couple times--at least she openly admits that getting herself killed was never the plan.

She also reacts appropriately when she finds a strange man in her home who shouldn't be there... sort of.  I would have liked a lot less talking and a lot more dialing of 9-1-1, but I'm guessing Nichelle had her reasons; though I don't really approve of her still finding Mr. "Call me Joey" attractive after he'd just broken into her home.  I DO appreciate her then spending the time searching her home and locking all of her doors and windows following that little incident, and keeping vigilant about it even a day or two later.

I also love Nichelle's relationship with Bob, her boss--a pseudo-father-daughter relationship, if you will.  I like how they kind of take care of each other.  I hope to see more of that in upcoming books.

The side characters could have been fleshed out a little more.  Grant Parker felt like he should have been more interesting than he actually comes off.  Nichelle's best friend, Jenna also feels like another tangent waiting to be told.  And then Nichelle's police detective source, Aaron ended up disappearing for a good portion of the book.  So, ultimately, as I'd mentioned already, I DO hope to see more of these people in future books, if only because there is SO much potential going on there.

The only one thing that DID bug me about this book were the constant commentary about Nichelle's co-worker, Shelby--it felt in bad taste, honestly.  What people do in their romantic and/or sex lives is no one else's business, and using that as an attack against Shelby so much was uncalled for and unnecessary.  No matter that Shelby was a big bitch to Nichelle all the time--you can dislike her for her general attitude and rude behavior, but there's no need to stoop to attacking her bedroom habits.

I had figured Nichelle to be above that, considering she'd been able to hold her tongue against Les, the temporary stand-in when her boss, Bob has a heart attack.  Les was a standard asshole who kept the insults coming and I had so, so wanted her to retort back at least once.  But she held her tongue every single time, even after he kept insinuating that she was playing hooky and not taking her job seriously enough.

Nichelle's behavior towards Shelby is a different matter, however, from the fact that Shelby's "sleeping with the boss to advance her career" side-fact had to be brought up at all.  Truthfully, I had been so ready to be happy about Nichelle and Shelby's relationship being one of friendly rivalry of some sort when Nichelle mentions how Shelby is good at what she does, and could even potentially work the police and crime beat if she got the chance.  But then we pull the slut-shaming card and I just felt a bit frustrated.

I appreciate that Nichelle and Charlie, a television news reporter, have the friendly rivalry going on, but Charlie barely makes an appearance in the book.  It would have been nice to see more of this between Nichelle and Shelby, rather than just making Shelby out to be the stereotypical "Mean Girl."

But anyway, this book was overall entirely enjoyable, and I was very satisfied with it.

Halloween Bingo 2018
(a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community)

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

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Halloween Bingo 2018 | Update #4

So I think I've made all of my decisions for my squares now... not that it'll stay that way, because I've already changed my mind twice this weekend about what books I will read for which squares.  Having recently finished reading LynDee Walker's Front Page Fatality (review coming soon), I suddenly found myself determined to finish reading the rest of the books available for this series and wondering how I can incorporate all of them into Bingo.

After deciding which squares will work and thinking that I'd use Walker as my Wild Card Author... I received a ping from an e-mail that a book I had on hold was ready for check-out.  Barbara Michaels' Houses of Stone had been a recommendation I put into the library's e-book system and they decided to add that book to their collection.  I really, really want to read this book after having seen some really good reviews.  So now I had to figure out how to include this book into my Bingo.

THEN, I finally got to reading Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (which I will be finishing pretty soon, probably within the next few hours after posting this update), and so I'm considering continuing that series... but how to incorporate it into Bingo...

I finally decided to make a few compromises and so now we have a more solid plan for the rest of October... sort of.  I figure that as long as I have some sort of list to grab from as I finish each book, I might, just might, be able to Black out my card.  Maybe.  I'm still not entirely sure that I'll be able to Black out, but it's a better possibility than I'd had at the end of September after having only read about six Halloween Bingo books.

Anyway... very, very long story short:

I'm planning on reading, at least, the first three Nichelle Clarke books for Halloween Bingo.  It just so happens that the third book is called Small Town Spin, and what better square than 'Terror in a Small Town.'  The second book, Buried Leads will go into the 'Murder Most Foul' square.

Next, I'm choosing to insert Houses of Stone into the 'Terrifying Women' square.  That seems simple enough.

Finally, I'm totally dropping The Devil in the White City for now.  I'm not sure I can handle such a hefty book at this time, and I'm not really getting into it either.  Why I even chose to read it in the first place, I'm not sure, aside from the fact that it sounded interesting and I still needed a book for 'Creepy Carnivals.'  I'll probably come back to this book another time, because it still sounds quite interesting to me.  Had I had better progress in September for Bingo, I might have just stuck with it.  So instead, for 'Creepy Carnival', I'm going to be reading a short story by Seanan McGuire called Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea, from the Carniepunk anthology.

And now that I've rambled everyone's ears off... well, I guess I'm off to read so I can get caught up!

Updated Marked Card:

Dino Baby!  Rawr!  for Called Squares

Read Squares will simply be a book cover to the left of the square.

Currently Reading:


Squares/Books/Called Dates/Update Post Links:

Progress on my card:  19 squares called || 13 books read || 8 squares completed

Squares called that I do not have:
09/15/18 - Modern Masters of Horror
09/25/18 - Amateur Sleuth
09/29/18 - Supernatural

Halloween Bingo 2018: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Report Your Bingos!

October Group Read | Discussion Thread -- Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Halloween Bingo 2018 | Update #1
It's Monday! Plus a Halloween Bingo Update, Just Because... | 09/17/2018
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Update #2
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Book Rambles at Mid-game
Halloween Bingo 2018 | Update #3

*And also, when I've posted them, the book covers will link to my reviews.

Called:  10/01/18
Called:  09/21/18
Called:  10/09/18
Called: 09/09/18
Read:  10/05/18
Called: 10/05/18
Read:  09/18/18
Called: 09/05/18
Read:  10/11/18
Called: 09/03/18
Called:  09/27/18
Read:  10/13/18
Called: 09/17/18
Read: 09/03/18
Called: 09/01/18
Called: 09/23/18
Called:  09/19/18
Read:  10/01/18
Read:  10/09/18
Read:  10/11/18
Read:  10/06/18
Called:  10/07/18
Read:  09/27/18
Called:  09/13/18
Called:  10/13/18
Read:  09/24/18
Called:  09/11/18
Called:  10/03/18
Read:  09/22/18
Read: 09/06/18
Called: 09/07/18
Halloween Bingo 2018
Ani's Book Abyss

Wild Card Author:

I haven't decided which author to use as my Wild Card yet, but I've been considering using Nora Roberts, as she is a writer of a lot of crime thrillers, romantic suspense, and supernatural, including the Circle trilogy I've chosen for this year's bingo.

Other authors I'm also considering are: Susanna Kearsley, who writes Gothic with a bit of supernatural; Elizabeth Peters, who has a lot of cozy mysteries; or another obvious option, Agatha Christie!