Friday, November 2, 2018

Halloween Bingo 2018 | More Book Ramblings at End Game

And the game is now at it's end note, as October came to it's close.  This post was meant to go up a couple days earlier, but that didn't happen as I never finished all the books I had intended to read for Halloween Bingo.  I tried holing myself up away from the internet for the last few days of the month, hoping to achieve a Black-out success, but alas!  That was not to be!

Nonetheless, this post is satisfyingly much meatier than my mid-game ramblings, which makes me extremely happy.  It simply means that I've made much more and better progress on my Halloween Bingo card, and all is well in the world again.  At least in my world.

Once again, the books listed are all in order of when I read them, and I may or may not have already reviewed some of these.  Either way, you're getting a bit of a ramble about each, because I sometimes get carried away.

Meanwhile, I might also include a wrap-up pretty soon--it's on my list of blog posts to write, for a well-rounded closure to the 2018 Halloween Bingo game.

Happy Belated Halloween everyone!

The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett
Discworld #1 / Rincewind #1
Rating:  3.0 Stars

I honestly am not sure how to review this book.

It's... an interesting concept.  And extremely creative.

But so much happens, and so many characters are introduced to you, and so many of the world's... originalities are thrown at you so suddenly that... well... it's just a little hard to digest.  Some of the humor I got, and some of it, not so much.

I will continue the rest of the series if only because I've been told that it gets better.

On a strange aside, I totally couldn't picture Twoflower, and finally had to do a Google search of him.  Ah... standard stereotype of a tourist.  I see.

I DID like the Luggage and wished there were more scenes with it.

Also read for the Discworld group read.

Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb
Elizabeth MacPherson #1
Rating:  2.5 Stars

Thoughts: Sick of Shadows

In my review, I already mention that this book is kind of mediocre, even if written well, with some interesting potential.  Okay, I may not have mentioned the interesting potential, but I feel that it's there.  Other reviewers have noted that the series gets better after this first book.  So I'm holding out hope.

Honestly, I chose to read Sick of Shadows based on accessibility, because I had been more interested in the Ballad series; however, the first book If I Ever Return, Pretty Peggy-O was not available at my library, and I wasn't really wanting to purchase anything new if I could help it.  So we get Sick of Shadows, which wasn't terrible, but could have been better.

Other possible squares include:  Genre: Suspense; Country House Mystery; Terror in a Small Town; Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

As per usual, Amanda Quick's writing is excellent and enjoyable.  The characters are all great and lovely, and the romance is fun and steamy, as needed.  The mystery wasn't so much a mystery, if only because you don't get to do much detecting with the characters.  But watching them do their detecting, looking for a serial killer, was fun.  I loved the heroine, Amity, and totally approve her carrying around a tessen for safety reasons--every woman should have a steel fan, honed into a weapon, disguised as an ornamental trinket, for use in tight situations.

This is your usual Amanda Quick work--always enjoyable.

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

Rating:  4.0 Stars

Thoughts: The Big Over Easy

I wish I had jumped into this book first when I picked it up for Halloween Bingo a month ago.  But no, I wanted to finish Nora Roberts' Circle trilogy due to availability.

The Big Over Easy was wonderfully addictive to read, despite the slow-paced telling, with very cleverly inserted fairy tale, mythological, and nursery rhyme references to create the world with.  My review linked above might ramble a bit about how much I liked this book!

Other possible squares include: A Grimm Tale; Murder Most Foul

Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller #1
Rating: 4.0 Stars

Thoughts: Front Page Fatality

As I state in my review linked above, this is a very strong start to a gritty and exciting cozy mystery.  I had also made the very quick decision to include a couple other Nichelle Clarke books in Halloween Bingo as well!

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

Rating: 2.5 Stars

My streak of Halloween Bingo books had been going so well for October...  It's just disappointing that it didn't keep up.  Secret Admirer could have been so much better than it turned out to be, but I think the biggest factors playing against it were that it's a book that Cynthia Eden has already written before, with the same premise and a lot of the same story outline, and it was a bit too rushed for my liking.

I have more details in my overlong review linked below.  I hadn't planned on a review, but I got to writing, with only one paragraph in mind, and the next thing I know, it's about five paragraphs long, so I just decided to turn it into a full blown review and call it good.

Thoughts: Secret Admirer

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

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2
Rating: 4.0 Stars

Ahh...  Good ol' Jayne Ann Krentz.  You just never go wrong with this lovely author.  And despite the fact that I couldn't really recall what went down in the previous book of this series, a slight nudge with a brief recounting DID kind of jog my memory about some of the first book.  Mind you, not that I really recall a whole lot about it anyway.

But still...

I found Promise Not to Tell quite refreshing in terms of the romance, even if some character dynamics seem a little "been there, done that."  The suspense portion was intriguing enough, but the real gem of this book is the relationship and partnership between Virginia and Cabot.  And as JAK is wont to do, some of the side characters are also pretty excellent as well.

On a side note, we absolutely need more men like Cabot Sutter in our lives, both fictional and real.

Other possible squares include:  New Release; Romantic Suspense; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

Rating: 4.5 Stars

This book was fantastic and so much fun!  Two words:  Aeslin mice!

See my review for an official squee:  Thoughts: Discount Armageddon

Buried Leads by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller #2
Rating: 3.0 Stars

Thoughts: Buried Leads

Not as satisfying as the first book in the series, but still an enjoyable, fast-paced read with everything I liked about the first book still intact.  Review linked above.

Endless Night by Agatha Christie
audio book narrated by Hugh Fraser
Rating: 3.5 Stars

As already stated in my sort of, kind of, Not Really a Review of Endless Night, that ending had me flabbergasted.  I honestly don't know what to think and had definitely not expected this book to turn out the way it did... whether for good or bad... well, I still haven't decided.

Since the audio book cover has an illustration of a raven, I will be using this book for the 13 square.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Ghost Horse was okay, in the way that a book lets you pass the time without really doing much for you.  The plot points are very overly cliched and the characters were hard to relate with, if only because they were also so cliched that it hurt.  The book picked up more towards the end, so that made up for some of it, but definitely not something I would recommend unless you're really that into Harlequin's Eclipse line of Gothic Romances.

Truth is, this book could have used more meat and less cliche... and maybe if the heroine wasn't so obsessed with the love interest before she ascertained his guilt in the disappearance of her best friend...  It was a little hard for me to understand how she could be so attracted to the man who was both broody, rude, and caveman, especially when she thought he'd had a hand in her best friend's sudden disappearance.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

It took a while to warm up to our protagonist, Karen, and for the book to pick up, but when it did, boy did it just hook you in.  I think I might have also been as riveted to the Ismene story as Karen and Peggy were.

And speaking of Peggy--she was so, undeniably awesome!  I loved Peggy so much!  I think she was the character who made this book so awesome!

The ending also got a little creepy there, and I ended up having to turn on a light while I was reading it in bed. O.O

Rating: 4.0 Stars

Thoughts: Desperate Girls

This was a great first book to a new Laura Griffin romantic suspense series, with a brief guest appearance by a character from her Tracers series.  I'm looking forward to the next book already!

Other possible squares include:  Genre: Suspense; Romantic Suspense; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

Rating: 4.0 Stars

Daughter of the Midway was a very wonderfully atmospheric, bittersweet tale.  I loved the brief glimpses into the mermaid lore of this world included, but it also left me wishing there were more to the story.  You kind of had an idea what would end up happening at the end, but that still doesn't keep you from feeling a little pang of sadness at it either.

I'm not really into short stories, because I often feel like they could be fleshed out more, and this is also the case with Daughter of the Midway; even so, I did really like this one, in my own way.

Other possible squares include:  Southern Gothic; Supernatural; Cryptozoologist; Fear the Drowning Deep; Terrifying Women

Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
A Noodle Shop Myster #1
Rating: 3.5 Stars

More Rambling Than Review: Death by Dumpling

I really did enjoy this book and plan on continuing the series.  As I state in my review linked above, this book gave me nostalgic feels--they were very good nostalgic feels.  So that's already a point in that sector.  I will update with a link to my review of this book when it goes up.

Other possible squares:  New Release; Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul

Rating: 3.0 Stars

Quick Thoughts: Spinning Silver

This one wasn't as great as Novik's previous retelling, Uprooted.  It's a little disappointing, but it wasn't like the book wasn't entirely enjoyable.  I DID end up getting drawn into it at the beginning, even if the end kind of fizzled after too many POVs started surfacing.  There came a point where I wished the story would just get on with it.  Nonetheless, there's a quick review at the link above.

Other possible squares include: New Release; Spellbound; Relics and Curiosities (?); Supernatural; Terrifying Women

Small Town Spin by LynDee Walker
A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller #3
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Brief Thoughts: Small Town Spin

Still a great, strong series with a great, strong main character!  This was probably the meatiest of the series' books so far.  On the other hand, it also boasts a very evident love triangle that is driving me crazy.

My review will probably go up soon, and will be linked above.

Rating: 2.5 Stars

I think I must be missing something.

The first couple chapters were pretty intriguing, but after that, the book pretty quickly became a massive info dump of outlined tangential story lines that were pretty boring, finally leading up to the titular Haunted Hotel parts.  It got exciting for a little bit, but then the ending felt a bit anti-climatic, and I'm not sure I understand what actually happened, even if I DO kind of see what happened.

If that makes any sense.

I guess... there wasn't as much about the Haunted Hotel as I'd been expecting?  I suppose this one just wasn't for me.

On a separate note, I didn't actually finish this book until after the Halloween Bingo game timeline was past... like about four hours past.  But because of that, I'm going to include it as a completed square... even though I'd already stopped counting Bingos about three books ago.

I didn't finish this book for the last square, but it shall be listed just because.  I'll probably have the book done within the next few days though if it's as enjoyable as the first one.

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