Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

Review
4 Stars
Thoughts: Deep As The Dead
Deep as the Dead (The Mindhunters Book 9) - Kylie Brant

Deep As The Dead
by Kylie Brant
Book 9 of Mindhunters


First of all, warning for some gruesome murders.  But this is par for Kylie Brant anyway, as her Mindhunters series has always leaned more towards the dark and gritty.  You don't actually see the murder happen, but the victims' bodies DO get described in a bit of detail.

Secondly, I would love to believe that the reason why I enjoyed this book slightly more so than I did the previous two Mindhunters installments, was because Kylie Brant read my reviews and tweaked the few things I'd mentioned as little quibbles from said previous two installments.  One book I mentioned had excellent chemistry between the main couple, but an extremely scattered outline and a chaotic second half; the other book had a well written progression and murder investigation, but the couple held little chemistry.

Deep As The Dead brings the best of both worlds that I've always recalled loving about the Mindhunters series together; and that makes me intensely happy.

Nonetheless, I've yet to be completely disappointed in any of the works I've read by Brant, so really, she's just good at what she does in this genre--telling an exciting romantic suspense, with just the right amount of everything I've always enjoyed in this series.


The Story:
A serial killer at large has been absent for about three years, but recently makes his reappearance with a few brutal killings within a short period of time.  He leaves a calling card--the victims' mouths are sewn together, hiding within the body of a dead dragonfly and second, unique insect within a small glassine bag.  The dragonfly represents the serial killer, the other insect hints at the victims' sins.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Ethan Manning has been assigned to the newly formed task force to capture this serial killer, dubbed by the media as The Tailor because of his sewing his victims' mouths shut.  The Tailor has eluded law enforcement across Canada for years, several investigators and task forces having been unsuccessful at apprehending him; and Ethan has no qualms about asking for whatever resources he can get in order to bring this monster to justice.  What he hadn't expected was to see Alexa Hayden again, so many years after the two of them parted under tragic circumstances.

Alexa is a consultant with Raiker Forensics, specializing in forensic entomology, which proves useful in figuring out what the serial killer's obsession with insects could lead to.  She's the one who makes the connection between the meaning behind the dragonfly and the second bug, and begins formulating a profile, figuring out what this killer is after, and who the next victim could possibly be.  By chance, The Tailor notices Alexa, learns of her specialty, somehow feels with her some sort of kinship.  And eventually, she has become his next obsession.


My Thoughts:
Of course, a romantic suspense is never short on psychotic serial killers who sight in on our main heroine because of some sort of trait she exhibits.  I'm not entirely sure that I've actually seen this particular device employed in any of the Kylie Brant Mindhunters books, except maybe two.  But this is a device we see in a lot of romantic suspense, nonetheless.  I suspect it's a means of making our main heroine "a special someone" in the story, without really hammering in the fact that she's "a special someone."

While I've never been entirely too thrilled about the main heroine being "special," in such a way, I think that this characteristic actually plays to Alexa's benefit.  Because, despite what Ethan thinks, I think she kind of knows that she's good at getting people to open up to her and let down their guards; and I think she knows that if she uses the right amount of charm, she could get any witness or interviewee to talk freely and comfortably.

And, of course, it's her being "a special someone" that will get our elusive serial killer to finally break his patterns and screw up enough to get caught... obviously.

Anyway...

Deep As The Dead encompasses one of the devices I love most about crime thrillers--a feeling of police procedural and togetherness on the force, where all of our players work together to find the killer and bring him to justice.  It's always intriguing to me, watching our main task force working together in this way, and also kind of bonding over their shared need to stop a monstrous killer.  There were amusing little asides and quips among the task force members, and great interactions.

The investigation was interesting enough to keep me hooked.  The little insights about the use of the insects was interesting.  Now, the whole thing about the killer seeing himself as "doing God's work," is probably an overused trope in crime thrillers, as it's a pretty common one employed.  Of course, it's often commonly used if only because it credible.

The romance between Alexa and Ethan was mature and sweet, tinged with the underlying pain of their history.  To be honest, there were all sorts of signs that an angsty love story was probably going to play out, but I'm actually kind of happy that the two were able to compartmentalize, set aside their feelings about the past, and work with each other.  Even when a few tidbits about their history surfaced, it didn't stop them from being professional; it didn't keep them from being mature about their situation.  It didn't keep the two of them from caring about each other as colleagues, or on a personal level.

It was a subtle, yet wonderfully handled second-chance romance; and the way it played out made me think that their parting really wasn't as angry as they had made it out to be, even if the circumstances were still heartbreaking.

Deep As The Dead is an excellently enjoyable new installment to the Mindhunters series.  And even while there are rather noticeable flaws in editing--typos, missing pronouns, missing words here and there, missing verbs--I found myself just moving on and disregarding those errors.  It's a little jarring at times, truth be told, to see an editing error, because I find myself backtracking at points to try to figure out what the sentence was trying to convey.  But it wasn't bad enough to make me truly upset with the book or it's unpolished publication.

This was a good romantic suspense.  And I look forward to Kylie Brant's next installation... or, in fact, her next book release, which I suspect isn't related to the Mindhunters series.


***

 

Halloween Bingo


This book could also count for:

  • Murder Most Foul
  • Serial Killer
  • Terrifying Women

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/thoughts-deep-as-dead.html
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Update #8 -- Two Books Left to Read
 
Halloween Bingo 2017



I was hoping I'd have all but one of my Bingo books read by now, but I got distracted.  As it stands, I'm still working on the last two books for this card, which, to be honest, is much better progress than I'd made last year.  I do believe that it took me right up to the very last day of October to finish my last Bingo book the previous year.

I think it might have to do with the fact that I had more audio books this year, even though I had more short stories last year.

And maybe... I might have also overwhelmed myself with another ongoing challenge at this time the previous year, and was a bit adamant about reading a few library books I didn't want to put off until later.  And also, some of the books I'd chosen might not have been novella or short story length, but it wasn't like they were brick-sized tomes either since at least two that I can think of were barely 250 pages long.

And, this year, my main focus was Halloween Bingo for these past two months, and the truth is, I think all was quite excellently planned!

There are a few of my squares that I'd been contemplating swapping out books for, but wasn't sure if I really wanted to do so.  I DID, however, shuffle some of my book selections around, but all the squares I'm shuffling have been read for, so it doesn't really change my card any, really.

I flipped Every Secret Thing into the 'Amateur Sleuth' square, and went ahead and placed Just Past Midnight into the 'Murder Most Foul' square.  I feel like this flip-flop fits a little bit better, since I can't determine whether or not the characters in Just Past Midnight count as law enforcement or not: one MC is a lawyer, and the other MC is a psychologist, who does freelance work with law enforcement as a forensic expert.

So... using Every Secret Thing for 'Amateur Sleuth' instead, I now have an investigative reporter as my MC, who spends the entire book investigating the deaths of different people who have a connection to something that happened two generations ago.  And Just Past Midnight has murders, so it fits 'Murder Most Foul.'  The proper edits have been written into my review of Every Secret Thing.

I also went ahead and flipped the book I'd chosen for 'Romantic Suspense' with the book I just finished reading for the Creepy Raven Free Space.  Hit and Run really did NOT strike me as having much romance in it, though it was there in the background, and so I couldn't justify (to myself), using it for this square, even if there's suspense and murders and mystery.  In contrast, Deep As The Dead is definitely a Romantic Suspense book.

Will I shuffle more books around?  I don't know.  Again... I might get lazy.

However, with this shuffling, and this finishing of all but two books, as well as the most recent square calls, I now have 6 BINGOs!!

The card looks a little messy with all the orange lines running through all the Penni's faces, but there are three going vertical, one horizontal, and the big 'X' going through the Free Space.  I decided not to put orange rectangles around the Bingo lines because that had started to look even messier!

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 



Called Square:  Green Square Border
Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni
Called and Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box
Bingos:  Multiple Red Eyes Penni in Green Boxes with Orange Lines Through the Faces

See also the table below for some spreadsheet goodness.

Reviews pending:  Just Past Midnight, Protecting His Witch, Hit and Run, Jaxson, The Dead Travel Fast, Deep As The Dead

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Other Links:


Progress:  22 squares called || 23 books read || 21 squares completed || 6 BINGOs
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
9/17 - Modern Masters of Horror
9/27 - Terror in a Small Town
10/5 - 80's Horror
10/9 - Chilling Children
10/21 - Demons

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2017
Report Your Bingos!

September Group Read | Discussion Thread -- The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
October Group Read | Discussion Thread -- Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Bingo Square
Called (date)
Title
Author
Read (Date)
How it Fits
             
Magical realism
11-Oct
Gaiman, Neil
26-Sep
tagged 'magical realism' on GR
Classic noir
7-Oct
Hammett, Dashiel
17-Sep
hard-boiled, classic noir mystery & group read
Ghost
1-Sep
Roberts, Nora
14-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride
 
Supernatural
 
Arnett, Mindee
7-Sep
supernatural school for magic creatures
Diverse voices
21-Sep
Lin, Jeannie
27-Sep
author is Chinese
             
Cozy mystery
3-Sep
Peters, Elizabeth
7-Sep
tagged 'cozy mystery' on GR
Witches
13-Sep
Protecting His Witch
Forward, Zoe
6-Oct
female MC is a witch
Vampires
15-Oct
The Dead Travel Fast
Raybourn, Deanna
15-Oct
Transylvania and vampires
Country house mystery
17-Oct
Ayatsuji, Yukito
17-Oct
closed circle of suspects
Haunted houses
23-Sep
Roberts, Nora
25-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride haunts mansion
             
Aliens
29-Sep
Castle, Jayne
3-Sep
dust bunnies!!
Genre: horror
7-Sep
Poe, Edgar Allan
13-Oct
tagged 'horror' on GR:
classic horror by EAP
Free Space
N/A
Hit and Run
Brennan, Allison
9-Oct
murder mystery w/ suspense
 
Monsters
 
Tyler, Paige
14-Oct
female MC is an animal shifter
In the dark, dark woods
5-Sep
Holt, Victoria
17-Sep
woods are significant
             
Amateur sleuth
19-Oct
Cole, Emma
16-Sep
female MC is a reporter
Werewolves
15-Sep
Jaxson
Woods, Alisa
10-Oct
book about wolf shifters
 
Gothic
3-Oct
Nine Coaches Waiting
Stewart, Mary
 
tagged 'gothic' on GR
Romantic suspense
13-Oct
Deep As The Dead
Brant, Kylie
20-Oct
romance + suspense + serial killer + murder mystery
Darkest London
1-Oct
Quick, Amanda
12-Sep
setting = Victorian London
             
Murder most foul
11-Sep
Just Past Midnight
Stevens, Amanda
5-Oct
there is a murder and a mystery
Serial/spree killer
25-Sep
Novak, Brenda
20-Sep
summary mentions serial killer
 
Classic horror
 
The Turn of the Screw
James, Henry
 
classic horror
Terrifying women
19-Sep
Roberts, Nora
4-Oct
ghostly Harper Bride; haunting; written by a woman
Locked room mystery
9-Sep
Shimada, Soji
10-Sep
death/murder in a locked room

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Tentative Bingo Hopefuls:


Magical Realism:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Classic Noir:  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Cozy Mystery:  The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Witches:  Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward
Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Country House Mystery:  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Aliens:  Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
Genre: Horror:  The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Free Space:  Deep As The Dead by Kylie Brant
Monsters:  Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
Werewolves:  Jaxson by Alisa Woods
Gothic:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
Darkest London:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
Classic Horror:  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Terrifying Women:  Red Lily Nora Roberts
Locked Room Mystery:  The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/halloween-bingo-2017-update-8-two-books.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Thoughts: The Decagon House Murders
The Decagon House Murders - Yukito Ayatsuji, Ho-Ling Wong, Soji Shimada

The Decagon House Murders
by Yukito Ayatsuji

 

 

Students from a university mystery club decide to visit an island which was the site of a grisly multiple murder the year before.  Predictably, they get picked off one by one by an unseen murderer.  Is there a madman on the loose?  What connection is there to the earlier murders?  The answer is a bombshell revelation which few readers will see coming.



First of all, I don't claim to be an expert on the Golden Age of murder mysteries, nor have I religiously read works by the well-known writers of mystery either.  In fact, I just last year read my first Agatha Christie book.

So, my thoughts are simply that.

To be honest, it was hard not to make references to Dame Agatha's And Then There Were None while reading this book, considering the setting and the circumstances.  The only difference was a different kind of emotional impact that I felt throughout both books.

And Then There Were None gave a strangely cozy feel, with an urgent, "Who's Next?" factor. The players were all strangers, but the dramatics where high and I couldn't help but feel anxious to know who would die next, and how.  There were scenes that kind of startled me.

With The Decagon House Murders, the narrative was extremely methodical, almost to a point of detachment.  The players were all friends from a Mystery Club at university--they all knew each other and hung out together.  There should have been a certain amount of high emotion attached to this premise as well, and for a moment at the beginning, there was.  But it was brief, and then the rest of the story panned out in a very "game play" type of way.  It was like our characters were acting like they were just indulging in a game of Clue, and aside from some of the over-the-top hysterics that one or two of the characters displayed, the truth is, this book was very textbook, very apathetic.

I won't deny that The Decagon House Murders had an extremely cleverly outlined progression for each of the murders, and for our amateur sleuths in their attempts to analyze the killings and the circumstances.  I loved how the titular decagon house that our players were staying in played a crucial part in the murder mystery itself.  This made the book easy to fall into, and while the beginning was pretty slow to build up, I DID finally come to a point (probably the second or third day on the island), where I couldn't make myself put the book down.

While I found myself more anxious to find out who would be killed next in And Then There Where None, I found myself more inclined towards wanting to know how the murders were committed, and who the ultimate Murderer was.  I found myself trying to analyze the events, much like the amateur sleuths on the island were trying to do, and even almost bought into one or two of the theories being thrown out there.  And it was also hard not to wonder if a similar conclusion to Dame Agatha's masterpiece would reveal itself as well.

I'll admit, the whole thing with the seven plates--each proclaiming "The First Victim," "The Second Victim," "The Third Victim," "The Fourth Victim," "The Last Victim," "The Detective," and "The Murderer"--was a nice touch to create a sense of panic in our players.

did, however, question the intentional use of only the Mystery Club members' nicknames throughout the book, and found that I'm not sure how I felt about how this part played into the story's closed circle murders.  It's an interesting twist when you realize that not once does the book mention the real names of anyone on the island, even though the fact the characters introduced on the mainland had mentioned once or twice about the nicknames.

Speaking of which, the tangential investigation on the mainland by related players was also a welcome side dish.

In the end, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book.  The conclusion was definitely NOT what I expected, while at the same time, it fell together quite well.  And even after that ending... I still found myself a bit confused, because the very last scene was pretty open-ended.

You know, it's hard to write a review piece for a book about such an intricately thought out murder mystery without giving anything away.  And so, with hopes that I didn't include anything I shouldn't have, I might just leave my thoughts at that.

This book was a nice tribute to Dame Agatha's And Then There Were None, though her book was only referenced once in this book itself.  But being that our players were all Mystery Club members, all sporting nicknames of famous master murder mystery writers (such as Ellery Queen, Edgar Allan Poe, and even Dame Agatha herself), I didn't find it strange for references to popular murder mystery devices to be brought up.  I thought it was a nice touch, as well, for our players to examine the murders with a mind to compare them to similar popular mystery fiction devices.


***

 

Halloween Bingo 2017

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/thoughts-decagon-house-murders.html
Review
4 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Her Fierce Warrior
Her Fierce Warrior (X-Ops) - Paige Tyler

Her Fierce Warrior
by Paige Tyler
Book 4 of X-Ops

 

 

Minka isn't sure she should trust the sexy Special Forces soldier who found her.  Subjected to horrors, on the run from scientists set on locking her in a cage, Minka is terrified of the monster she's becoming... and somehow, Angelo is the only one who can calm the beast inside her and make her feel safe.

But can she trust the way he makes her feel when she's not even sure she can trust herself?



Aside from the main couple, and certain events, I can't say that this installment book of the X-Ops series is any more different than the previous installments.  Well, except for the second book which involved a serial killer instead of government conspiracies and shifter/hybrid experimentation, and lots of covert ops attacks and lots of explosions.

Because, to be totally honest, Her Fierce Warrior was not much different than the previous book, Her Wild Hero, (or even the first book, Her Perfect Mate), as we continue to follow the vein of the aforementioned government conspiracies, shifter/hybrid experimentation, and covert ops missions, and lots of explosions.

But I DID enjoy Her Fierce Warrior a little bit better if only because Minka and Angelo make a sweet couple, and their dialogue isn't quite as mushy and cheesy as the dialogue between Declan and Kendra had been.  And I also enjoyed Minka's revelations as she learned more about what happened to her, as well as how best to control the beast within her.  I liked the little sessions (what few brief ones we saw) between her, Layla, Ivy, and Tanner.  I liked that Ivy and Layla were able to embrace her as a sister--since she had been experimented on using Ivy's DNA, and I liked that Tanner, another human-turned-hybrid, was able to teach her how to take control of her beast rages and anger.

The "slow" romantic development between Angelo and Minka felt a bit awkward and deliberate, considering the fact that you know they're going to end up having sex at some point.  The fact that Angelo kept putting it off to be honorable or something like that felt a bit fake, but his efforts are appreciated, I suppose.

There's not a whole lot else to say about this book.

And to be honest, while I really DID enjoy reading Her Fierce Warrior, and found it easy to hook into, I would like to have a different kind of story line next book.  We don't have to completely abolish the whole government conspiracy and shifter/hybrid experimentation angle... but something with a different formula might be more to my liking.

But we'll see what the next book brings.


***

 

Halloween Bingo 2017

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/brief-thoughts-her-fierce-warrior.html
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Update #7 -- The Penni Frame is Filling In!
 
Halloween Bingo 2017



I've got 18 books read and 15 squares actually completed (called and read), and TWO BINGOS!  Of course, I could have had two Bingos a long time ago if I had just made myself read for the 'Genre: Horror' square--every square on my card in the second column from the left has been called, and I had read for all the squares but 'Genre: Horror'.

I just put it off for the longest time.

I had originally intended to listen to Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, a short story collection, narrated by Gaiman, himself.  But then I decided that I wasn't really wanting to sit through 10 hours of horror short stories.  So then I thought about maybe just listening to a handful of the short stories and calling it good... but that didn't quite appeal to me either.

So then I thought of the Edgar Allan Poe collection I have, a large tome I picked up at a library sale months ago called The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe.  For some reason, this appealed to me more, and so I went through the book and decided that I would choose one or two short stories to read for this square.  My final decision ended up being The Murders in the Rue Morgue... just because it sounds like my kind of book even though it's horror--it's also a murder mystery, and apparently claimed as the first detective story... ever?

As a short read, it didn't take long to fill that last square in the column... although, as I said in my review of the short story, it didn't really exhibit a whole lot of horror-like quality, but it is tagged as 'horror' on Goodreads.  I might read another short story by Poe to make up for it.

Anyway, I also made a choice on the last two squares I had yet to choose a book for: 'Classic Horror' and the 'Creepy Raven Free Space.'  I will be reading The Turn of the Screw by Henry James for the 'Classic Horror' square, and Deep As The Dead, Kylie Brant's newest Mindhunters series installation, for the Free Space.

Six more squares to finish reading for, and I will Blackout my card!  I hadn't really been planning for a Blackout this year with the book selections I made and my recent mood, but I guess I underestimated myself a bit.  A Blackout is going to happen!

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 


Called Square:  Green Square Border
Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni
Called and Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box
Bingos:  Multiple Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box in an Orange Box

See also the table below for some spreadsheet goodness.

Reviews pending:  Just Past Midnight, Protecting His Witch, Hit and Run, Jaxson

 

Squares/Books/Called Dates/Other Links:


Progress:  18 squares called || 19 books read || 17 squares completed || 2 BINGOs
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
9/17 - Modern Masters of Horror
9/27 - Terror in a Small Town
10/5 - 80's Horror
10/9 - Chilling Children

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2017
Report Your Bingos!

September Group Read | Discussion Thread -- The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
October Group Read | Discussion Thread -- Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Bingo Square
Called (date)
Title
Author
Read (Date)
How it Fits
             
Magical realism
11-Oct
Gaiman, Neil
26-Sep
tagged 'magical realism' on GR
Classic noir
7-Oct
Hammett, Dashiel
17-Sep
hard-boiled, classic noir mystery & group read
Ghost
1-Sep
Roberts, Nora
14-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride
 
Supernatural
 
Arnett, Mindee
7-Sep
supernatural school for magic creatures
Diverse voices
21-Sep
Lin, Jeannie
27-Sep
author is Chinese
             
Cozy mystery
3-Sep
Peters, Elizabeth
7-Sep
tagged 'cozy mystery' on GR
Witches
13-Sep
Protecting His Witch
Forward, Zoe
6-Oct
female MC is a witch
 
Vampires
 
The Dead Travel Fast
Raybourn, Deanna
 
Transylvania and vampires
 
Country house mystery
 
The Decagon House Murders
Ayatsuji, Yukito
 
closed circle of suspects
Haunted houses
23-Sep
Roberts, Nora
25-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride haunts mansion
             
Aliens
29-Sep
Castle, Jayne
3-Sep
dust bunnies!!
Genre: horror
7-Sep
Poe, Edgar Allan
13-Oct
tagged 'horror' on GR:
classic horror by EAP
 
Free Space
N/A
Deep As The Dead
Brant, Kylie
 
murder; serial killer; small town; written by a woman
 
Monsters
 
Her Fierce Warrior
Tyler, Paige
 
female MC is an animal shifter
In the dark, dark woods
5-Sep
Holt, Victoria
17-Sep
woods are significant
             
 
Amateur sleuth
 
Just Past Midnight
Stevens, Amanda
5-Oct
female MC is a psychologist
Werewolves
15-Sep
Jaxson
Woods, Alisa
10-Oct
book about wolf shifters
 
Gothic
3-Oct
Nine Coaches Waiting
Stewart, Mary
 
tagged 'gothic' on GR
Romantic suspense
13-Oct
Hit and Run
Brennan, Allison
9-Oct
romance + suspense + mystery present
Darkest London
1-Oct
Quick, Amanda
12-Sep
setting = Victorian London
             
Murder most foul
11-Sep
Cole, Emma
16-Sep
there is a murder and a mystery
Serial/spree killer
25-Sep
Novak, Brenda
20-Sep
summary mentions serial killer
 
Classic horror
 
The Turn of the Screw
James, Henry
 
classic horror
Terrifying women
19-Sep
Roberts, Nora
4-Oct
ghostly Harper Bride; haunting; written by a woman
Locked room mystery
9-Sep
Shimada, Soji
10-Sep
death/murder in a locked room

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Tentative Bingo Hopefuls:


Magical Realism:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Classic Noir:  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Cozy Mystery:  The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Witches:  Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward
Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Country House Mystery:  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Aliens:  Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
Genre: Horror:  The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe
Free Space:  Deep As The Dead by Kylie Brant
Monsters:  Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
Werewolves:  Jaxson by Alisa Woods
Gothic:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
Darkest London:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
Classic Horror:  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Terrifying Women:  Red Lily Nora Roberts
Locked Room Mystery:  The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/halloween-bingo-2017-update-7-penni.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Brief Rambles: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Murders in the Rue Morgue, The: The Dupin Tales - Edgar Allan Poe

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

by Edgar Allan Poe
C. Auguste Dupin, #1 (short story)

 

 

**I read this short story as part of a collection, The Essential Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, that I picked up at a library sale months ago.  I'm kind of glad that I remembered I had it, because I couldn't quite figure out what to read for the 'Genre: Horror' square--although, I'm not entirely sure The Murders in the Rue Morgue seems very horror-like, even though it is tagged as such on Goodreads.

 

I might read another couple Poe short stories from this volume to make up for it if this particular one doesn't really ring as horror.

 

 

As for the story...


I'm going to be honest, I totally didn't see that one coming.

I have to admit, this is my first actual reading of a story by Poe, though I have read some of his poems.  Being that poems aren't really my thing, I'm ashamed to say that I never truly comprehended his work and kind of wrote him off as over-hyped, classical, high school required reading.

Truthfully, I found The Murders of the Rue Morgue extremely engaging.  The beginning was a bit slow to build up, but once Dupin began his deductions and analysis of the murders, I couldn't stop reading.  It was easy to follow where his deductions were heading, and when it "dinged" in my head, at the same time as it did for the unnamed narrator, I was, at first a bit taken aback... and then I didn't know what to think.

To be honest, the conclusion that Dupin comes to, as well as the final reveal, kind of requires quite a bit of suspension of disbelief.  It was a little over the top.

This short detective story was quite the experience and a nice read for Halloween Bingo.  I'd admit though, even though this book is tagged as horror, I don't know if it really feels like horror--though the murders were pretty gruesome.  There was quite a bit of detail and I might of made a face at the description of Madame L'Espanaye's... mutilated body.

On a side note, Dupin kind of reminds me of Sherlock Holmes (what little I've read of the famous detective), both in demeanor and arrogance.


***

 

Halloween Bingo 2017


This book would also count for:

  • Locked Room Mystery
  • Murder Most Foul
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Classic Horror

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/brief-ramble-murders-in-rue-morgue.html
Review
4 Stars
Series Review: In the Garden
Blue Dahlia (In The Garden #1) - Nora Roberts Black Rose - Nora Roberts Red Lily - Nora Roberts

In the Garden
by Nora Roberts
Book #1: Blue Dahlia | Rating:  4.0 Stars
Book #2: Black Rose | Rating:  4.0 Stars
Book #3: Red Lily | Rating:  3.5 Stars

Average Series Rating:  3.83 Stars


If I had to choose a favorite Nora Roberts book, based on all the books I've read of hers so far, I think I would choose the second book in this trilogy.  Truly, Rosalind Harper stands out as an amazing heroine, both wise, strong, and flawed in her own ways.

In comparison to the very first Nora Roberts book I read for Halloween Bingo of last year (2016), this is definitely a step up; though I know these were written before The Dark Witch trilogy.  They've both got the same kind of set up for the romance, and a lovely, supernatural premise, but I feel this In the Garden trilogy is superior to the latter series, with an interesting mystery to boot.  The writing is wonderful, and the characters are real, even in spite of the sometimes awkward dialogue, and the "made to be perfect" personalities they seem to present.

I especially love the friendships and the bonds that form throughout this series, especially between the women--you don't get to see those too often in any kind of media, literature or not, so I'm extra appreciative of it.

 

 

And yeah... this review took me way too long to get posted.  It's actually been written for a week now, but my motivation had been zero in the blogging front...  Hopefully that changes in the coming weeks.

 

 


 

A Harper has always lived at Harper House, the centuries-old mansion just outside of Memphis.  And for as long as anyone alive remembers, the ghostly Harper Bride has walked the halls, singing lullabies at night…

Trying to escape the ghosts of the past, young widow Stella Rothchild, along with her two energetic little boys, has moved back to her roots in southern Tennessee—and into her new life at Harper House and the In the Garden nursery.  She isn’t intimidated by the house—nor by its mistress, local legend Roz Harper.  Despite a reputation for being difficult, Roz has been nothing but kind to Stella, offering her a comfortable new place to live and a challenging new job as manager of the flourishing nursery.

As Stella settles comfortably into her new life, she finds a nurturing friendship with Roz and with expectant mother Hayley.  And she discovers a fierce attraction to ruggedly handsome landscaper Logan Kitridge.  He’s difficult but honest, brash but considerate—and undeniably sexy.  And for a sensible woman like Stella, he may be just what she needs…



I'm sure if I'd read Blue Dahlia during a specific time of day, like maybe late at night in a quite house, I might have felt a chill from the ghostly happenings.  But I didn't really feel a chill, and the main focus of this book isn't even really on the mentioned "Harper Bride" who haunts Harper House.

Still, this book was extremely enjoyable, if only because I loved all the character interactions.  Nora Roberts undoubtedly has a way with her writing, with her characters, and with the atmosphere of her books, that makes it feel so down-to-earth, even when her characters are too pitch perfect to be true, and we're settled in a supernatural ghost story.

There's no argument from me that the characters are all readily likable and good, and whom all have their unique personalities, even when they don't stray far from the standard romance novel characterizations.  But I won't deny that I DID enjoy all the interaction between each and every character present.  I loved the sisterly affection between Roz, Stella, and Hayley.  I loved the mother-son bonding between Stella and her two boys, Gavin and Luke.  I loved the strange hero worship between the boys and Roz's housekeeper/cook David, as well as between the boys and our main hero, Logan.

The romance felt a little awkward, to be honest, and Logan was the usual pushy alpha hero who makes a point to prove that he knows exactly what his heroine wants with her life.  I'm not fond of the pushiness, and could have done without, but since Stella was rolling with it, I suppose there was little I could complain about--after all, she tried to put up her fights and her resistance, but apparently Logan is too irresistible for that... *cue melodramatic eye roll and sigh*

At least we can give him props for bonding with the kids.

I love the southern setting, and all the descriptions of the garden nursery, the landscaping projects, the plants that are being grown and sold through In the Garden nursery.

Really, there wasn't a whole lot to complain about with this book.  I might have wanted more about the ghostly hauntings and happenings.  I might have liked a little less pushy alpha male.

But otherwise, I liked the book overall; and I especially loved the scenes where our main characters are all crowded in the mansion's library doing historical research on the house's resident Harper Bride ghost, whilst nibbling on cheeses, crackers, various other snack foods, and enjoying glasses of bubbly wine!  It makes me want to curl up with the next book and join them in that setting, with my own cheeses and crackers and various snack foods and bubbly wine.

 


 

A Harper has always lived at Harper House, the centuries--old mansion just outside of Memphis.  And for as long as anyone alive remembers, the ghostly Harper Bride has walked the halls, singing lullabies at night...

At forty-seven, Rosalind Harper is a woman whose experiences have made her strong enough to bend without breaking--and weather any storm.  A widow with three grown sons, she survived a disastrous second marriage and built her In The Garden nursery from the ground up.  Through the years, In The Garden has become more than just a thriving business--it is a symbol of hope and independence to Roz, and to the two women she shares it with.  Newlywed Stella and new mother Hayley are the sisters of her heart, and together the three of them are the future of In The Garden.

But now the future is under attack, and Roz knows they can't fight this battle alone.  Hired to investigate Roz's Harper ancestors, Dr. Mitchell Carnegie finds himself just as intrigued with Roz herself.  And as they begin to unravel the puzzle of the Harper Bride's identity, Roz is shocked to find herself falling for the fascinating genealogist.  Now it is a desperate race to discover the truth before the unpredictable apparition lashes out at the one woman who can help her rest in peace...



I think that I liked this second In the Garden book more than the first... except I couldn't quite pinpoint why.  It could be that Rosalind Harper is such an intriguing, kick-butt main heroine.  It could be that Dr. Mitchell Carnegie is such a perfect, yet perfectly flawed beta hero.  It could just be that I had already fallen for the setting and the characters of this series and am simply basking in the continuation of light, docile ghostly mystery.

It could be the setting, it could be the writing...  It could be a whole number of things, really!  It could just be that Nora Roberts just has a way with her characters, her writing, and her story.

I don't really know.

But the story line in this second book is not entirely different from the first, with similar elements pertaining to the Harper Bride's hauntings, as well as her tantrums, and our characters' need to investigate her identity as well as what might have happened to her.  Obviously, the readers already know who the Harper Bride is, since each book gives a prologue that takes place in a time three generations previous to the series' time frame.  But we still never really find out what happened to cause the Harper Bride to become so furious, so sad, so vengeful, and make her linger for over a century in Harper House.

Black Rose is simply a continuation of this ghostly mystery--very light-hearted, with a few phantasmic happenings that don't really amount to much of scary or eerie.  I admit, while this book is about a ghostly haunting, it doesn't in the least give me goosebumps.

What makes these books so enjoyable, I believe, really has to do with the characters and how readily likable they are, despite being a set of perfect, good people.  Still, I enjoy the interactions, and the little nuances in each and every individual character that DOES make them differ from one another.  I enjoy the descriptions of the gardens, of Rosalind's business, of the Harper House mansion...

What else is there to say about Black Rose, except that it's a very enjoyable read, probably one of my more favorite Nora Roberts reads so far, even despite not really being able to give much else in terms of thoughts on this book.

While I have a few quibbles about the first book, Blue Dahlia, and while I'm sure I had a few regarding Black Rose while I was reading it... the truth is, I can't seem to readily conjure up anything I disliked, or would have liked to change.  I can't really think of a whole lot at all to complain about.

This was an excellent reading experience!

 


 

A Harper has always lived at Harper House, the centuries-old mansion just outside of Memphis.  And for as long as anyone alive remembers, the ghostly Harper Bride has walked the halls, singing lullabies at night...

Hayley Phillips came to Memphis hoping for a new start, for herself and her unborn child.  She wasn't looking for a handout from her distant cousin Roz, just a job at her thriving In the Garden nursery.  What she found was a home surrounded by beauty and the best friends she's ever had--including Roz's son Harper.  To Hayley's delight, her new daughter Lily has really taken to him.  To Hayley's chagrin, she has begun to dream about Harper--as much more than a friend...

If Hayley gives in to her desire, she's afraid the foundation she's built with Harper will come tumbling down.  Especially since she's begun to suspect that her feelings are no longer completely her own.  Flashes of the past and erratic behavior make Hayley believe that the Harper Bride has found a way inside of her mind and body.  It's time to put the Bride to rest once and for all, so Hayley can know her own heart again--and whether she's willing to risk it...



No doubt, this is probably the weaker of the three In the Garden books, if only because, as main characters, Harper and Hayley both fade in comparison to Roz and Mitch, or even Stella and Logan.  Upfront, I'm going to be honest and say that it will be hard for me NOT to compare and contrast each couple, as well as each book, within this trilogy.  After all, the three books are connected, and I'm going to make references.

Mainly, Harper and Hayley were great characters in the previous two books.  I liked Harper's science-geek behavior when it came to his grafting house, and the business with In the Garden.  He's also a great son to Roz, protective; although, he DID start getting on my nerves in the second book when he went behind his mother's back to interrogate and make assumptions about her new love life--that was uncalled for.

Hayley was always the fun, free-spirited, random trivia geek; I loved her drive and determination to prove herself, and her weird way of spouting little known facts at all the strangest times.  I loved how she was the driving force behind both Stella's and Roz's rekindled love lives, supporting them and pushing them to take that leap.

What I DIDN'T like was the personality I got when Hayley ended up front and center, if only because I never expected her to be the cynical, naive romance heroine I love to hate.  She knows she pretty, but she keeps doubting her own allure towards Harper.  She's always encouraged Roz and Stella to have fun, have sex, be free... but she turns around and slut-shames herself, which got super annoying.  She spends a lot of this book trying to convince everyone, mainly herself, that just because she had sex and got pregnant doesn't mean that she's "that kind of girl"--the kind who would just jump into bed with anyone.

The thing is:  NO ONE had made any of that kind of comment or critique about her.  It was all Hayley, being self-conscious about being the "wrong sort of girl" or whatever she called herself.  In turn, twice over, both Stella and Roz had to berate her for even thinking that of herself, and I appreciate that the two of them were so straight and blunt with Hayley.

Harper... he was never really present in the first book, and he came off annoyingly caveman-ish in the second book.  I hate to admit that he doesn't change all that much in this third book, and his "You'll do as I say because you're my woman" behavior started rankling... a lot.  I'm not even sure Logan's broody, irrational, rude, alpha male attitude was this bad in the first book.

But outside of all of this, to be honest, Hayley and Harper have a pretty sweet romance.  I certainly DO love the relationship interactions between Hayley and Lily, Harper and Lily, and the three of them together, in general.

In fact, all the kids were great, and I'm actually quite surprised that Stella's boys took to Lily so well, especially at their age, when playing with girls was usually not cool.  But hey, Lily held onto her toy truck and toddled her way out to play with the boys and hold her own, so that's kind of cool.

The concluding story in the Harper Bride haunting, I will admit, was the creepier of the three books.  The scene in which our ghost shows up on Hayley's terrace doorway holding a rope and a scythe in her hands, with an insane smile and crazy eyes, while outside is all lightning and wind and rain... is quite vivid in my mind.  It wasn't scary, per se, but I had a hard time sleeping without seeing that image in my mind after reading the scene.

The ending was sad, that's for sure; but the truth is, you kind of saw it coming.  I DID like this new twist where the Harper Bride begins to possess Hayley in her attempts to tell her side of the story.  And again, while it's an ugly, disturbing story, with a depressing end for the Amelia Conner, pre-haunting... well, we all kind of had an idea what had happened to her that turned her into the lingering, vengeful Harper Bride, right?


All-in-all, Red Lily made for a well-rounded wrap up for In the Garden.  I wish the main characters weren't as frustrating, but I'm also wondering if that hadn't been deliberate on the author's part.  I wouldn't put it past her, since, despite my annoyance with Hayley and Harper, I can't help but see how real the characters are portrayed, and how some of Hayley's thoughts and doubts about herself might have had something to do with the ghostly possession.

Of course, that doesn't excuse Harper's neanderthal-like behavior.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/series-review-in-garden.html
Looks like it's time for winter!

 

... Or well, at least the cold season...

 

 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | 10/9/2017
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!

 



I had a feeling this meme would come out again at some point.

I've been in a mood lately--a mood where I just don't really want to do anything.  An unmotivated mood?  Something like that.  There's been a lot on my mind lately, and the only things that are even remotely relaxing to me are either playing a mindless farming game, or reading.  Well, I've also been doing some blog housekeeping--updating review links, challenge pages, and such.

I've finished reading at least two or three books and haven't reviewed them.  That's not a whole lot of reviews that I'm behind by, but it still feels like I'm behind.  Because I'm about to finish one more book, and will probably end up putting off the review for a while.

I've got one series review for Nora Roberts' In the Garden trilogy that I just need to finalize and post.

And while I had planned to update my Halloween Bingo progress once a week... I kind of didn't feel like it this past Friday.  So I'm just going to wait to do a more updated update this coming Friday.  But it's not like a whole lot changed since my most recent update announcing my first Bingo.  So not much has been missed.

I've been spending random moments scrolling the Booklikes dashboard just to see how everyone else is doing, liking a few posts here and there, but that's about it.

I don't think I'd call this a slump, per se... just a mood.  I'll get over it soon.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping to at least get the review for In the Garden trilogy posted.  And hopefully a review for Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens, and for Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward, written and posted.

 

 

What I Read Last Week

 

 

 

What I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

What I'm Planning to Read Next

 

 

 

Other Plans and On the Blog

 

My reading plans for this week (and maybe even the next week), are fairly tentative.  For sure I'd like to finish Hit and Run and The Decagon House Murders so that I can move onto Jaxson, get it read for the 'Werewolves' square--and to also knock off another book from my pre-owned TBR.  I've decided that I will read The Turn of the Screw for the 'Classic Horror' square... and at the same time, I'm contemplating swapping out Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors for a different book for my 'Genre: Horror' square.

I have a Poe collection that I found at a library sale, and am contemplating finding a short story from that collection.  I'm just not feeling anything lengthy for Horror.  Then again, Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of short stories... maybe I'll just listen to one of them and count it--then maybe come back to the rest of the short stories at another time.

It looks like the October Group read is leaning more towards Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu, a short classic vampire novella.  As I'm not keen on vampires, I don't know if I will join.  Though some reviews are mentioning that it's akin to Dracula, and that if you liked Dracula you would like Carmilla as well.  Still... I'm not exactly a big vampire fan...

The only reasons I'm reading The Dead Travel Fast is because I like Deanna Raybourn... and I'm listening to it as an audio book, narrated by Charlotte Parry.

As I've been in a mood (see intro), I'm not sure what I'm planning on doing for the blog these coming weeks.  I'm going to try to keep up with my reviews and Halloween Bingo updates.  I'm also needing to continue with my general blog housekeeping--some pages need updating, especially the challenge pages and my review list index.

Meanwhile, however, I think I'm just going to take it easy until I can climb myself out of this mood.


Happy reading everyone!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/its-monday-what-are-you-reading-1092017.html
Review
4 Stars
Thoughts: The Lotus Palace
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin

The Lotus Palace
by Jeannie Lin
Book 1 of The Pingkang Li Mysteries

 

 

It is a time of celebration in the Pingkang Li, where imperial scholars and bureaucrats mingle with beautiful courtesans.  At the center is the Lotus Palace, home of the most exquisite courtesans in China...

Maidservant Yue-ying is not one of those beauties.  Street-smart and practical, she's content to live in the shadow of her infamous mistress—until she meets the aristocratic playboy Bai Huang.

Bai Huang lives in a privileged world Yue-ying can barely imagine, yet alone share, but as they are thrown together in an attempt to solve a deadly mystery, they both start to dream of a different life.  Yet Bai Huang's position means that all she could ever be to him is his concubine—will she sacrifice her pride to follow her heart?



The first time I read a Jeannie Lin book, it brought back memories of when I used to watch historical Chinese television series all the time.  While I still watch the occasional Chinese historical, I don't marathon them like I used to.  Reading The Lotus Palace, I find that that feeling is still there--of course, the television series are a bit more chaste, while this book has a few steamy sex scenes, but that's still the feel.

And of course, because of this, it might make me a bit biased towards this book, with it's historical Tang Dynasty setting, the beautiful descriptions of clothing, the streets, the vendors, the residences... and a lovely sweet romance that makes your heart ache.  Because these are those same elements (once again, minus the sex) that had made my love for Chinese historical, Chinese wuxia series grow with every viewing.

The Lotus Palace may be a mystery, but it is definitely first, and foremost, a romance.  And with that in mind, it's easy to appreciate the silly interactions between Yue-ying and Bai Huang as the two of them amateurishly investigate the death of a famous courtesan.  I'm not entirely certain I would actually describe their interactions, or even their entire relationship as sweet, really.  Between Yue-ying and Bai Huang, their love story hinges more on the young, first love variety, where everything is over-dramatic and angst-ridden and almost dream-like.

I'm not even entirely sure I cared much for their romance, really.  They certainly made a cute pair of friends, that's for sure.  But Bai Huang came off a bit too naive and idealistic for my liking.

And this is where I find I really liked the characters--yeah, I know I contradict myself.

Neither Bai Huang nor Yue-ying are your typical romance novel hero or heroine.  Bai Huang is a flamboyant, flirtatious scholar, who spends his days and nights making light of everything.  Yue-ying is a hardened girl, a maidservant who used to slave away in a low-end brothel as a prostitute, simply trying to survive each day of her life, trapped in a world where she has no freedoms or choices as a woman.  By fortune, she is taken in by the most famous courtesan of the Pingkang Li, Mingyu, and now works as her maidservant, never having to service men with her body as long as she stays with Mingyu.

It's a typical Cinderella romance between our couple where, of all the beautifully adorned and decorated women in the Pingkang Li, Bai Huang happens to notice the quiet maidservant, who all but tries to make herself blend into the wall at all times, whose face is marred by a red birthmark cover one cheek from eye to chin, and becomes intrigued enough by her to pursue her.

The Lotus Palace isn't an entirely memorable experience.  The romance has it's moments, of course, where it strays from the typical tropes.  For instance, I like that Yue-ying doesn't fall for Bai Huang immediately, and reacts in the appropriate fashion, slapping him when he tries to kiss her.  I like that Bai Huang's charms don't really work on Yue-ying, and in fact only serve to make her more annoyed with him.  I like that Yue-ying is always trying to be practical about whatever chemistry is brewing between herself and Bai Huang--tell him that he needs to back off, that they are from different worlds, that his interest in her can only cause trouble for the both of them.

But I also like that Bai Huang is so persistent, knowing that this is a girl he needs to work for in order to court; that she obviously won't just melt in his arms just because he's good-looking, or powerful, or pushes her for more.  However, on the other hand, I also love how flawed he is, and it takes him nearly half the book to realize how naive he is about real life, and it takes Yue-ying's harsh words to make him start looking at things in a more practical sense.

I like that the first sex scene wasn't mind-blowing, and in fact, even touches upon the hardships of Yue-ying's past, which is what makes that first sex with Bai Huang kind of depressing.  I like how it takes the two of them some time to work up to a more intimate relationship, and even after sleeping together, they still have to work on their relationship--sex doesn't fix everything, obviously.

What I wish could have been touched upon more, however, was the base mystery that brings our couple together as an investigative team.  It wasn't like the mystery was forgotten, because it was very much in the foreground of the book, brought up again and again as Yue-ying and Bai Huang continue to search for answers.  But for some strange reason, when thinking about my reading experience, I have to admit, I'm not entirely sure I recall a whole lot about the murder mystery that was really all that intriguing.

It was a fairly standard murder mystery; I had my thoughts on the events that took place surrounding both murders.  But that's about it.

Anyway...

I enjoyed The Lotus Palace a lot.  In fact, I practically devoured it, because it was so beautifully written and easy to follow.  Of course, as I'd already admitted, I have my biases.


***

Halloween Bingo


This book could also count for:

  • Murder Most Foul:  A murder takes place, and out main characters are out to solve it!
  • Amateur Sleuth:  Yue-ying is a maidservant, and Bai Huang is a scholar.
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Terrifying Women

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/thoughts-lotus-palace.html
2017 Reading Assignment Challenge -- Third Quarterly Report Card
hosted by
Michelle and Berls @ Because Reading
 

 



First of all, I had intended to post this a couple days ago, but never really got around to it.  In fact, I've been in a crappy mood lately, and on top of that, I got hit by that nasty respiratory something-or-other and am probably tossing my lungs across the room every time I cough.  Sleep has been my best bud, and I'm glad that I can at least take something that knocks me out long enough to get some rest.

So I've been in no mood to post anything, and really just want to snatch a few moments of reading here and there without thinking much of anything else.  Now that I think I'm beating this nasty virus, I'll probably be de-lurking on Booklikes and start getting some reviews finalized and published.

Onto the Reading Assignment update!


July ramblings:  July probably wasn't as great a month as June, but I still feel like I've made progress.  According to the rules of Reading Assignment, even if we couldn't finish a book, it will still count towards our challenge.  I DNF'd my first book in 2017 with The Law of Attraction, but I gave it a good 26% before finally throwing in the towel.  In summary, July was a great month for reading, though not so great for Reading Assignment books--one book wasn't entirely enjoyable, and the other book was just not a winner.

August ramblings:  August felt like a slower month in terms of reading, but it really wasn't.  I just didn't read everything I had intended to read.  Nonetheless, I finished my two Reading Assignment books, and that's really all that matters.  Well, a lot more things matter, but in terms of #2017HW, that's all that matters.

September ramblings:  September was a good month, and I DID finish a lot of books I set out to finish, even if not all of them.  At first I'd intended to read Hit and Run, but then I changed my mind, because I'm allowed to do so.  I still finished the two books I needed for #2017HW, so I'm happy!

 

 

Third Quarter:
My Grade:  I Made an A!

 

Third Quarterly Report Card link upBecause Reading

 

  • In July:


See Also:  BLopoly Roll #25 / Free Friday #5

 

 

  • In August:

 

 

  • In September:


See Also:  Halloween Bingo 2017

 

 

A Summary

 

The third quarter went very well.  After the snafu that was the first quarter, it looks like I've picked up my rhythm again, being able to finish all necessary books for both the second quarter and the third quarter.  Of course, during the first quarter, all sorts of crap happened that made it hard for me to find any reading time... or even the mood to read at all.

Hopefully my reading mood keeps up and we finish out the rest of the year well!

 

 

A Forecast

 

So here are the last set of books for the last quarter of the year.  Whatever order they will be read... I don't know.  Okay, so I at least know that Hit and Run and Just Past Midnight will be read in October, since I have committed them to Halloween Bingo.

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/2017-reading-assignment-challenge-third.html
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Update #6 -- ANI'S FIRST BINGO!!!
 
Halloween Bingo 2017



As promised, a quick update to announce my very first BINGO!

Darkest London came out as the first square called in October, thus netting me a nice Bingo, right down that last column, as I've illustrated with a medium-sized orange rectangle.  I hadn't really expected a Bingo yet, and whilst scrolling through the BL feed, the first square called I had seen was for 'Gothic.'  I was going to comment that, "Well, no Bingo yet," when I noted that OB mentioned it was a mistake.  Further scrolling showed that the call for October first, was, indeed something else--Darkest London.

BINGO!

Ah... how things work in life is kind of interesting.  Definitely a great way to start the month!  =D

Ahem... now I need about three more squares to be called for my next Bingo, kthx.  =P

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 



Called Square:  Green Square Border
Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni
Called and Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box

See also the table below for some spreadsheet goodness.

Reviews pending:  Blue Dahlia; Black Rose; The Lotus Palace



Squares/Books/Called Dates/Other Links:


Progress:  14 squares called || 13 books read || 9 squares completed || 1 BINGO
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
9/17 - Modern Masters of Horror
9/27 - Terror in a Small Town

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2017

September Group Read | Discussion Thread
October Group Read (link coming soon)

Bingo Square
Called (date)
Title
Author
Read (Date)
How it Fits
             
 
Magical realism
 
Gaiman, Neil
26-Sep
tagged 'magical realism' on GR
 
Classic noir
 
Hammett, Dashiel
17-Sep
hard-boiled, classic noir mystery & group read
Ghost
1-Sep
Blue Dahlia
Roberts, Nora
14-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride
 
Supernatural
 
Arnett, Mindee
7-Sep
supernatural school for magic creatures
Diverse voices
21-Sep
The Lotus Palace
Lin, Jeannie
27-Sep
author is Chinese
             
Cozy mystery
3-Sep
Peters, Elizabeth
7-Sep
tagged 'cozy mystery' on GR
 
Witches
13-Sep
Protecting His Witch
Forward, Zoe
 
female MC is a witch
 
Vampires
 
The Dead Travel Fast
Raybourn, Deanna
 
Transylvania and vampires
 
Country house mystery
 
The Decagon House Murders
Ayatsuji, Yukito
 
closed circle of suspects
Haunted houses
23-Sep
Black Rose
Roberts, Nora
25-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride haunts mansion
             
Aliens
29-Sep
Castle, Jayne
3-Sep
dust bunnies!!
 
Genre: horror
7-Sep
Smoke and Mirrors
Gaiman, Neil
 
tagged 'horror' on GR
 
Free Space
N/A
       
 
Monsters
 
Her Fierce Warrior
Tyler, Paige
 
female MC is an animal shifter
In the dark, dark woods
5-Sep
Holt, Victoria
17-Sep
woods are significant
             
 
Amateur sleuth
 
Just Past Midnight
Stevens, Amanda
 
female MC is a psychologist
 
Werewolves
15-Sep
Jaxson
Woods, Alisa
 
book about wolf shifters
 
Gothic
 
Nine Coaches Waiting
Stewart, Mary
 
tagged 'gothic' on GR
 
Romantic suspense
 
Hit and Run
Brennan, Allison
 
romance + suspense + mystery present
Darkest London
1-Oct
Quick, Amanda
12-Sep
setting = Victorian London
             
Murder most foul
11-Sep
Cole, Emma
16-Sep
there is a murder and a mystery
Serial/spree killer
25-Sep
Novak, Brenda
20-Sep
summary mentions serial killer
 
Classic horror
       
October Classic horror group read
 
Terrifying women
19-Sep
Red Lily
Roberts, Nora
 
ghostly Harper Bride; haunting; written by a woman
Locked room mystery
9-Sep
Shimada, Soji
10-Sep
death/murder in a locked room

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Tentative Bingo Hopefuls:


Magical Realism:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Classic Noir:  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Cozy Mystery:  The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Witches:  Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward
Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Country House Mystery:  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Aliens:  Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
Genre: Horror:  Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Free Space:
Monsters:  Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
Werewolves:
Gothic:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
Darkest London:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
Classic Horror:
Terrifying Women:  Red Lily Nora Roberts
Locked Room Mystery:  The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/halloween-bingo-2017-update-6-anis.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- September 2017

I totally forgot to start compiling my monthly wrap up until about two hours before midnight, right before October... which really isn't a big deal, I know.  But I'm usually so anal about these things that I've usually got my wrap ups ready to post, with a few last minute edits, at least three or four days in advance.  I have this thing about pre-drafting a lot of my posts.

Anyway, life has been kind of hectic, both in my reading life and real life.

Having a few fun past times have been kind of nice to take my mind off of things, though:  Halloween Bingo, some random television music programs I watch passively, and some sort of farming game where you grow stuff and sell stuff and buy stuff and grow more stuff to sell and make money to buy stuff...

Yeah...  The game wastes a lot of time.  That's why I'm glad I got into audio books, though, admittedly, I haven't listened to an audio book for the past two weeks.

Anyway, September was a good reading month, I'd say.  I didn't read all the books I wanted to read, but I made some really good progress for Halloween Bingo.  I read some books I hadn't planned on previously, but sometimes these subtle changes in reading mood aren't so bad.  See my most recent update to see the almost finished Red Eyes Penni Bingo card frame!

 

 

September Reads

 

 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

September Reading Stats

 

Total works read: 14

  • 10 print/e-book novels
  • 3 audio books
  • 1 novella


Average rating: 3.46 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  6 books // 4.0 Stars
    • (1) Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
    • (2) The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada
    • (3) Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
    • (4) Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley
    • (5) Black Rose by Nora Roberts
    • (6) The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin
  • Lowest Rated:  The Thin Man // 2.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • Vicky Bliss by Elizabeth Peters
  • In the Garden by Nora Roberts
  • Kate Murray by Susanna Kearsley
  • The Pingkang Li Mysteries by Jeannie Lin

 

Series I completed:

  • The Arkwell Academy by Mindee Arnett
  • Arcane Society by Jayne Ann Krentz / Amanda Quick

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Harmony by Jayne Castle

 


Favorite reads:  I'd say I had a pretty good run of books this month, judging by how many four star reads I ended up with.  Of all of those, I'd have to say that my most favorites so far for Halloween Bingo are the two In the Garden books I've read--currently I'm finishing up the last of the trilogy, Red Lily and enjoying it as well.  A close second would be The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, though The Lotus Palace doesn't fall short either.

Every Secret Thing is a special mention--it's not a favorite this month, but it is written beautifully, and gives an old-timey nostalgia type of feeling that I really appreciated.

Disappointing reads:  I don't know why I'm disappointed in Brenda Novak's Dear Maggie, but the truth is that I had been expecting more than what I actually got out of it.  And that's really all.  I would say that The Thin Man is a disappointing read as well... but I really didn't know what to expect going into it--at least now I know that these books are probably not for me.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • Did Not Meme This Month!

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In October

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

Other Stuff

Before the month of September I had had a tentative list of books to read for Halloween Bingo; but just as we all know, reading moods dictate what actually ends up happening in real time, and so a few of my books got swapped around.  I more or less stayed on track with my chosen books, so I'm quite satisfied.  Of course, as I know that history will repeat itself, more than likely, a few more book choices will probably be given a swap for the rest of the game as well.  And then there are the two squares I haven't quite chosen a book for yet.

For the month of October, I predict that I will probably just end up reading more for Halloween Bingo, and possibly one or two books that are non-Halloween Bingo; unlike September where all the books I read (except for one novella) were Halloween Bingo books.

Already, I'm trying to figure out how to fit Kylie Brant's newest book release, Deep As The Dead into Halloween Bingo--a new installment of her Mindhunter series, I had briefly considered plugging it into the 'Murder Most Foul' square, and swapping out Every Secret Thing and moving it somewhere else.  This decisions is still in the air.  The Girl Who Knew Too Much is also a book I may include into Halloween Bingo, though I have a feeling it'll probably end up as my 'Creepy Raven Free Space' read.

 

 

2017 Wrap-Ups 

 

Past Monthly Reading Wrap Ups
See Also: 2015 Reading Wrap-Up posts (scroll to bottom of page)

(updated as year progresses by month)
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/10/monthly-reading-wrap-up-september-2017.html
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Update #5 -- Mid Game!
 
Halloween Bingo 2017



I think I made pretty good progress this week, finishing three Bingo books, and filling in one column and one row.  My Red Eyes Penni frame around the Bingo Card is filling in, with three squares left, one of which I'm working on right now, and the other two will be forthcoming... hopefully.

No Bingo in sight yet, though I was never really aiming for an early Bingo anyway.  Still, all I need is to wait for the next square to be called and see if it will be the one I need.

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 


Called Square:  Green Square Border
Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni
Called and Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box

See also the table below for some spreadsheet goodness.

Reviews pending:  Blue Dahlia; Black Rose; The Lotus Palace


Squares/Books/Called Dates/Other Links:


Progress:  13 squares called || 13 books read || 9 squares completed || 0 BINGOs
(on my card only)

Squares called that I do not have:
9/17 - Modern Masters of Horror
9/27 - Terror in a Small Town

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2017

September Group Read | Discussion Thread
October Group Read (link coming soon)

Bingo Square
Called (date)
Title
Author
Read (Date)
How it Fits
             
 
Magical realism
 
Gaiman, Neil
26-Sep
tagged 'magical realism' on GR
 
Classic noir
 
Hammett, Dashiel
17-Sep
hard-boiled, classic noir mystery & group read
Ghost
1-Sep
Blue Dahlia
Roberts, Nora
14-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride
 
Supernatural
 
Arnett, Mindee
7-Sep
supernatural school for magic creatures
Diverse voices
21-Sep
The Lotus Palace
Lin, Jeannie
27-Sep
author is Chinese
             
Cozy mystery
3-Sep
Peters, Elizabeth
7-Sep
tagged 'cozy mystery' on GR
 
Witches
13-Sep
Protecting His Witch
Forward, Zoe
 
female MC is a witch
 
Vampires
 
The Dead Travel Fast
Raybourn, Deanna
 
Transylvania and vampires
 
Country house mystery
 
The Decagon House Murders
Ayatsuji, Yukito
 
closed circle of suspects
Haunted houses
23-Sep
Black Rose
Roberts, Nora
25-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride haunts mansion
             
Aliens
29-Sep
Castle, Jayne
3-Sep
dust bunnies!!
 
Genre: horror
7-Sep
Smoke and Mirrors
Gaiman, Neil
 
tagged 'horror' on GR
 
Free Space
N/A
       
 
Monsters
 
Her Fierce Warrior
Tyler, Paige
 
female MC is an animal shifter
In the dark, dark woods
5-Sep
Holt, Victoria
17-Sep
woods are significant
             
 
Amateur sleuth
 
Just Past Midnight
Stevens, Amanda
 
female MC is a psychologist
 
Werewolves
15-Sep
Jaxson
Woods, Alisa
 
book about wolf shifters
 
Gothic
 
Nine Coaches Waiting
Stewart, Mary
 
tagged 'gothic' on GR
 
Romantic suspense
 
Hit and Run
Brennan, Allison
 
romance + suspense + mystery present
 
Darkest London
 
Quick, Amanda
12-Sep
setting = Victorian London
             
Murder most foul
11-Sep
Cole, Emma
16-Sep
there is a murder and a mystery
Serial/spree killer
25-Sep
Novak, Brenda
20-Sep
summary mentions serial killer
 
Classic horror
       
October Classic horror group read
 
Terrifying women
19-Sep
Red Lily
Roberts, Nora
 
ghostly Harper Bride; haunting; written by a woman
Locked room mystery
9-Sep
Shimada, Soji
10-Sep
death/murder in a locked room

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Tentative Bingo Hopefuls:


Magical Realism:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Classic Noir:  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Cozy Mystery:  The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Witches:  Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward
Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Country House Mystery:  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Aliens:  Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
Genre: Horror:  Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Free Space:
Monsters:  Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
Werewolves:
Gothic:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
Darkest London:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
Classic Horror:
Terrifying Women:  Red Lily Nora Roberts
Locked Room Mystery:  The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/halloween-bingo-2017-update-5-mid-game.html
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Short Book Rambles at Mid-game
Garden of Lies - Amanda Quick Every Secret Thing - Susanna Kearsley, Emma Cole, Katherine Kellgren On the Night of the Seventh Moon - Victoria Holt The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel - Neil Gaiman

 


 


It's closing in on the end of September and our Bingo game is at it's midmark!

For the sake of my own sanity, I've come to a compromise with myself.  I would like to write a review for every book I read for bingo... but we know that sometimes that just doesn't happen.  So I've settled for a short compilation of all the books I didn't get around to formatting a review for.

Instead, you get some random ramblings... which, if we know me by now, always end up becoming short reviews anyway.  But I had this vision of wanting to throw a few books together in one post, make it Halloween Bingo specific, had it all formatted and ready to fill in my opinions for each book I come across that I don't know how to review... and I'm not changing my mind.

Here it is!

 

Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick
audio book narrated by Louisa Jane Underwood
Rating:  3.5 Stars


I love Amanda Quick books, if only because they follow a specific formula, so you always know what you're going to get out of them.  Garden of Lies is the usual Amanda Quick historical mystery and romance, with great characters and fast-paced progression.  And I never have any idea how to review these books, because they are simply just as enjoyable as the last Amanda Quick book I read: witty, fun, entertaining... standard.

It's always a good bet I will enjoy them; though also a greater bet that the story line is the same as others by this author.  Garden of Lies was no different:  Feisty, non-standard, too-modern-for-her-own-good heroine; broody, intensely passionate alpha with some tragic history.  They meet for reasons, they fall in lust at first sight, they fight the lust whilst working together to uncover a mystery, sex happens, feelings happen, cue some kind of last minute danger scene... Happily Ever After™.

Though the overall details of the mystery weren't the usual, the main culprits were fairly predictable, as were a lot of events.  There might have been entirely too much going on in this book... but that's about it.

 Louisa Jane Underwood is a lovely narrator and gave the "reading" experience a nice boost!

I read this book for Halloween Bingo 2017, for the 'Darkest London' square, since the story is set in Victorian London.

This book could also count for:

  • Murder most foul
  • Amateur Sleuth
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

audio book narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Rating:  4.0 Stars


This is one of the books that, after beginning, I started having doubts whether or not it would fit the Halloween Bingo square I chose it for.  While there are several deaths, as well as the MC wandering around trying to investigate the chaos that suddenly befalls her life, Every Secret Thing ended up reading more like an espionage thriller than a murder mystery.  I could classify it as suspense, I suppose, and the entire ordeal DOES start with the mention of an old murder, one still deserving justice.

Every Secret Thing wasn't what I'd been expecting when I started listening to the audio, if only because maybe I'd been expecting something a bit darker, or grittier.  Instead, this book gave me an almost old-timey type of story, as we follow Kate Murray's investigations, while simultaneously following some snippets of the now deceased Andrew Deacon's espionage lifestyle.  It was... charming... the entire experience.  At first it felt a bit dragged out, but once you get into the rhythm of it, the flashbacks to Andrew Deacon's story lines aren't so strange, and in fact, kind of intriguing.

I can't say that I one hundred percent enjoyed this book, and the truth is, while I loved Katherine Kellgren's narration, I'm almost wondering if this story wouldn't have been better experienced as a print book.

One thing is for certain though:  Every Secret Thing is beautifully atmospheric, and I loved the descriptions of many of Kate's scenic travels, even as we were constantly moving forward at a rather fast paced stride.  There's an obligatory bittersweet ending when you come to the end of Andrew Deacon's tale, and even though we kind of already know how his life ended up playing out, it still plucks at the heart.

So the truth is, this was more a book about learning Andrew Deacon's story rather than following Kate Murray's investigations.

I may or may not swap this book out for another better suited book for the 'Murder Most Foul' square.  For now, this is just a tentative completion.  I'm seriously contemplating moving this book to either of the following squares:

 


This book could also count for:  Terrifying Women

 


 

Rating:  2.5 Stars


This is my first foray into Victoria Holt, and keeping in mind a few cautions from fellow readers, I read this book with a bit of trepidation.  Certainly, the story and the characters--especially our main heroine--is as I'd been warned.  But even as I became frustrated with the insta-love, the over-dramatics of our heroine, and the fact that none of the characters are very likable, On the Night of the Seventh Moon ended up being somehow addictively engrossing.  Even the frustratingly over-dramatic romance didn't put me off too badly.

For one reason or another, I just couldn't make myself put the book down.  It's got a nice mysterious twist to it that makes you want to keep reading to find out what's going on, even while the story was fairly predictable.  What happened to Helena?  Was it really just a dream, induced by drugs?  Was it real?  If it were real, then why all the theatrics by her cousins?  Why did Maximilian never come back for her?  And what of the baby?

It's hard to say what truly kept me hooked on this book--certainly it wasn't the characters, whom I disliked for many reasons, especially Frau Graben's blasé attitude towards the disgusting behavior exhibited by all the nobility.  She talks about how it's their given right, when either a count or a duke ravishes a girl and then tosses her aside; that the attempted murder or even the deaths were simply a matter of "state affair"; the deceptions of mock marriages, the lies, the betrayals--all simply part of their country's culture...

I get that it's probably part of the culture, which lends some authenticity to a more historical aspect of life... but I don't have to like it.

As I've already said, I didn't find any of the characters likable, except maybe the boy, Fritz.  Or Aunt Matilda--she was amusing, for sure.

It's also kind of irked me that the conclusion wrapped up too easily, in a very tidy, non-confrontational, and unrealistic way.  I like my HEA's, but we should at least follow through the world's logic.  All the concerns and the possible backlash and the possible war scenario that Maxi and Helena worried about if the two of them were to announce their relationship and marriage didn't even surface.  Everything just settled, all was forgiven, Happily Ever After™.

Really, the only amazingly wonderful thing going for this book was the beautiful writing, the imagery, the description, and a lot of the lore and history laid within the book's world.  For this alone, I will definitely give Victoria Holt another read when I get the chance.

(Ahem.  So much for a short ramble, but I'm not changing this, and I regret nothing...)

This book could also count for:

  • Gothic
  • Terrifying Women

 


 

Rating:  3.5 Stars


I felt like Halloween Bingo wouldn't be complete without reading something by Neil Gaiman--last year I read The Graveyard Book and Coraline, both of which were very enjoyable, and one of them ended up being one of my favorites of the year.  Initially, I didn't have a book of his chosen for any of my Bingo squares (Yes, yes, I did; I just forgot I did).  I had originally only chosen a collection of short stories by Neil Gaiman for the 'Genre: Horror' square, which I've been putting off listening to the audio... well, because Horror.

And I was hesitant about starting The Ocean at the End of the Lane... well, because Horror.  But I'm glad I decided to give it a go--if only because you get to revel in Gaiman's wonderful, magical descriptions... and because I found a different book other than Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning for this particular bingo square, because I just wasn't feeling Amy Tan at the moment.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a little difficult for me to get into at first; and it is equally difficult for me to figure out how I feel about it.  Outside of that magical, whimsical feel you get from reading a particularly good child's fantasy/adventure, I really can't pinpoint exactly what to say about it.  I've got a sort of bittersweet, wistful void after completing the book, but to be honest, I'm not entirely sure I know what the book was really about.

Certainly, there were a lot of though provoking lines and dialogue.  In the end, it's one of those books  you found enjoyment in, and it stays with you for some time, even as you can't quite pinpoint why.

This book could also count towards:

  • Genre: Horror -- the book is tagged as 'horror' on GR, and certainly, there were a lot of horror elements involved
  • Modern Masters of Horror -- published in 2013
  • Supernatural -- which goes hand in hand with Magical Realism
  • Chilling Children (?) -- I don't think I saw this tagged as YA or MG, but the main time frame of the book takes place when the protagonist is only seven years old
  • Monsters

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/halloween-bingo-2017-short-book-rambles.html
Halloween Bingo 2017 | Update #4 - Week Three Ramblings!
 
Halloween Bingo 2017



Obviously I'm not trying to rush through this Bingo, as half of the squares on my card that have been called have yet to be read for; but I've read five other books for squares that haven't been called.  So much for my initial plan of just following the called squares and reading for them as a guide.

Now, I'm more interested in finishing my Red Eyes Penni Bingo card frame... Although at least two books won't be read until October, so I may end up having a frame with gaps.  On the other hand, I'm considering switching out the book I chose for Amateur Sleuth--the book I chose is also for another reading challenge, the Reading Assignment Challenge, and I can't read it until next month.  But Amanda Stevens' book, Just Past Midnight seems fitting for a Halloween Bingo read... so if I switch out, I'll just have to find another spot for it, I guess.

The other square is Classic Horror, which I was planning on using the October Group Read to fill.

Meanwhile, I'm working on the Haunted House square right now with Nora Roberts' second In the Garden book, Black Rose.  Then I'm thinking of tackling either Magical Realism or Diverse Voices--haven't quite decided which one yet.

And then, instead of reading Red Lily, Nora Roberts' last In the Garden book for the Creepy Raven Free Space, I've moved it to Terrifying Women--with the broader description of this space that now includes mystery, suspense, and supernatural, instead of horror only, it will fit just nicely.  And it will fulfill my need to close up the Penni frame.

Then I moved Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart to the Gothic square, because it seemed more fitting than the Susanna Kearsely book I'd initially chosen.

Meanwhile, I've picked up two other books I've decided to try for the Magical Realism square--I've suddenly lost interest in Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning, so it looks like that book is either going to sit on my shelves for a while longer, or just be given away, unread.  My other two choices right now, are quite different from one another:  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, or The Dress Shop of Dreams by Mena van Praag.  I felt like trying something a little different instead of just falling back on Sarah Addison Allen as a default magical realism read.

I love how I keep making plans and then totally abolishing them, though, so a lot of what I've been rambling about... probably going to change again next week...  Reading moods, ya know?

 

 

Updated Marked Card:

 



Called Square:  Green Square Border
Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni
Called and Read Square:  Red Eyes Penni in a Green Box

See also the table below for some spreadsheet goodness.

Reviews pending:  Blue DahliaGarden of Lies, On the Night of the Seventh Moon, Every Secret Thing


Squares/Books/Called Dates/Other Links:


Progress:  10 squares called || 10 books read || 5 squares completed || 0 BINGOs

Bingo Calls Thread
The Best and Worst of Halloween Bingo 2017

September Group Read | Discussion Thread
October Group Read (link coming soon)

Bingo Square
Called (date)
Title
Author
Read (Date)
How it Fits
             
 
Magical realism
       
tagged 'magical realism' on GR
 
Classic noir
 
Hammett, Dashiel
17-Sep
hard-boiled, classic noir mystery & group read
Ghost
1-Sep
Blue Dahlia
Roberts, Nora
14-Sep
ghostly Harper Bride
 
Supernatural
 
Arnett, Mindee
7-Sep
supernatural school for magic creatures
 
Diverse voices
21-Sep
The Lotus Palace
Lin, Jeannie
 
author is Chinese
             
Cozy mystery
3-Sep
Peters, Elizabeth
7-Sep
tagged 'cozy mystery' on GR
 
Witches
13-Sep
Protecting His Witch
Forward, Zoe
 
female MC is a witch
 
Vampires
 
The Dead Travel Fast
Raybourn, Deanna
 
Transylvania and vampires
 
Country house mystery
 
The Decagon House Murders
Ayatsuji, Yukito
 
closed circle of suspects
 
Haunted houses
 
Black Rose
Roberts, Nora
 
ghostly Harper Bride haunts mansion
             
 
Aliens
 
Castle, Jayne
3-Sep
dust bunnies!!
 
Genre: horror
7-Sep
Smoke and Mirrors
Gaiman, Neil
 
tagged 'horror' on GR
 
Free Space
N/A
       
 
Monsters
 
Her Fierce Warrior
Tyler, Paige
 
female MC is an animal shifter
In the dark, dark woods
5-Sep
On the Night of the Seventh Moon
Holt, Victoria
17-Sep
woods are significant
             
 
Amateur sleuth
 
Just Past Midnight
Stevens, Amanda
 
female MC is a psychologist
 
Werewolves
15-Sep
Jaxson
Woods, Alisa
 
book about wolf shifters
 
Gothic
 
Nine Coaches Waiting
Stewart, Mary
 
tagged 'gothic' on GR
 
Romantic suspense
 
Hit and Run
Brennan, Allison
 
romance + suspense + mystery present
 
Darkest London
 
Garden of Lies
Quick, Amanda
12-Sep
setting = Victorian London
             
Murder most foul
11-Sep
Every Secret Thing
Cole, Emma
16-Sep
there is a murder and a mystery
 
Serial/spree killer
 
Novak, Brenda
20-Sep
summary mentions serial killer
 
Classic horror
       
October Classic horror group read
 
Terrifying women
19-Sep
Red Lily
Roberts, Nora
 
ghostly Harper Bride; haunting; written by a woman
Locked room mystery
9-Sep
Shimada, Soji
10-Sep
death/murder in a locked room

 

 

Currently Reading:

 

 

 

Tentative Bingo Hopefuls:


Magical Realism:
Classic Noir:  The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
Ghost:  Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts
Supernatural:  The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett
Diverse Voices:  The Lotus Palace by Jeannie Lin

Cozy Mystery:  The Camelot Caper by Elizabeth Peters
Witches:  Protecting His Witch by Zoe Forward
Vampires:  The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
Country House Mystery:  The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji
Haunted House:  Black Rose by Nora Roberts

Aliens:  Canyons of Night by Jayne Castle
Genre: Horror:  Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
Free Space:
Monsters:  Her Fierce Warrior by Paige Tyler
In the Dark, Dark Woods:  On the Night of the Seventh Moon by Victoria Holt

Amateur Sleuth:  Just Past Midnight by Amanda Stevens
Werewolves:
Gothic:  Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
Romantic Suspense:  Hit and Run by Allison Brennan and Laura Griffin
Darkest London:  Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Murder Most Foul:  Every Secret Thing by Emma Cole (a.k.a. Susanna Kearsley)
Serial/Spree Killer:  Dear Maggie by Brenda Novak
Classic Horror:
Terrifying Women:  Red Lily Nora Roberts
Locked Room Mystery:  The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/halloween-bingo-2017-update-4-week.html