Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

Booklikes-opoly | And Now the Fourth Roll!
Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

 



For my third roll, I had gotten an 5 and moved from New Orleans Square Station square to Jail Visitor Square.  I choose to read from False Memory by Dean Koontz for my page donations, starting from page 343 and wrapping up at page 557, totally 214 pages read; with this I donate 200 pages to the Jail Library.

 

 

 

 

This book... is still rolling on slowly...

In fact, I was worried that I wouldn't even be able to finish 100 pages before the next day I am allowed to roll.  And then, when I DID finish about 100 pages, I realized that my Sunday was going to be kind of busy and wasn't sure if I'd even have time to sit down, roll, post and update, and choose a new book for the next roll.

With the updated/modified rules taking effect now, I had decided that I would just wait until tomorrow, Monday, 4/24, to roll again.  But, YAY!, I was able to squeeze in some time today!

Here is my fourth roll:

 

 


I rolled a 6, and from the Jail Visitor square, moved to Adventureland 24.

Here is my live game board:

 

 

 

This is a great spot, because I think I might have a few books that will fit.  One in particular that is pretty short, which is perfect, since I rolled a double and will have to roll again.

Here is Roll #4.2:

 

 



I followed up my double roll with yet another and now I'm getting nervous.  With a 12 I will move from Adventureland 24 to Mystery Square 35.  Once again, another ideal roll since I'm all about books with police detective investigations and whatnot.  I should be able to go through my TBR and find something workable.

 


Magnetic Monkey gets too overly excited sometimes, but that's okay.  I'm a bit excited, too!  A mystery is just what I need!  =D

And now, Roll #4.3:  (I couldn't possibly be so unlucky...?)

 


At least Magnetic Monkey has the grace to look a bit abashed for my sake:

 


I should have quite while I was ahead, and:  Hey!!  Now I'm in the same spot, but waving back out to my former spot!

See, I knew I'd end up in Jail at some point in this game.

Anyway...

I guess I'll be here for a while.  I'll need to clarify some things in the Q&A before I move on, but I think the rules had been that I could read books for all the squares I land on, but I don't have to?  And since I'm in Jail now, I also need to serve a sentence of 300 pages.  I suppose this will give me a chance to finish reading False Memory by Dean Koontz, though I only have a little less than 200 pages left of that book... of course, I DID just donate 200 pages to the prison library...

So I could just read 100 pages from my book and use the other 200 pages I donated to spring myself?

Oh, do I need to do all of this in order though?  Read a book for the first square I landed on (Adventureland 24), then the second square (Mystery Square 35), then serve my 300 page sentence?

I think I might just pick one other book for one of the squares I landed on... though... I haven't quite decided yet, so I'll probably post another update with my decisions later.


Current Bank:  $26.00

  • Roll #1 (4/15):  A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn / 345 pages = $3.00
  • Roll #2 (4/17):  The Paris Assignment by Addison Fox / 284 pages = $3.00
  • Roll #3 (4/21):  False Memory by Dean Koontz // Donated 200 pages ($2.00) to the Jail Library

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/booklikes-opoly-and-now-fourth-roll.html
Booklikes-opoly | Onto the Third Roll!
Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

 



For my second roll, I had gotten an 7 and moved from Mystery Square 8 to New Orleans Square Station (14).  It was a hard selection, but I chose to read The Paris Assignment by Addison Fox, which is clocked at 284 pages (Kindle), equaling $3.00.  It took me having to skip over a roll day, despite how short this book is, to finish the book itself.  Busy days and real life and all...

 

 


I'm thinking that I can't really think of what to say about this book, enjoyable as it was.  And I could promise a review forthcoming, but chances are, I think I'm just going to either group the entire four-book House of Steele installments together and give them a brief series review... or something.

It's just that, this book is simply a straight forward romance with a suspense plot included, where a beautiful man and a beautiful woman, with some unique characteristics of the author's choosing (geeky computer skills in this one), are thrown together under circumstances, then fall in lust almost immediately, quickly followed up by deeper feelings.  Meanwhile, stuff happens in the background.

A great, short fluff piece to devour, really, because Addison Fox does present an enjoyable read, even if some of the rapid-fire scenes didn't really make much sense.   And then the obligatory angst... Oh the angst!

Honestly, I read exactly one other book written by her called Baby It's Cold Outside and loved it.  I'm still trying to decide if I'm disappointed that this one wasn't amazing, or a little sheepish that I might have over done my expectations a bit.

Anyway...

Here is my third roll:

 


I rolled a 5, and from New Orleans Square Station (14) moved to the Jail Visitor square.  Yes, we are Just Visiting:  "Donate 100 pages (or $1.00) to the prison library before leaving the space.  Post your donation on the group "Prison library" thread!"

Here is my live game board:

 


Teddy Bear game piece is just a tad bit too big to sit in the visiting aisle, so he's a bit further off in the corner to convey that we are NOT actually IN the jail, but just chatting with anyone who's in there.  "Hello!  I brought honey cakes!  And obviously a book to read."  *waves*

The angle of the board, when I propped it back up, caused a bit of a glare when I took the picture, and I couldn't get it right, so this will have to do.  Once again, Magnetic Monkey is hanging out, but he seems to be a bit happier about my roll than I am.  Obviously I will not be increasing my Bank amount with this roll, though at least I won't be stuck for 300 pages worth of a sentence.

Looks like I might be the first to donate to our jail library!  Use it wisely guys.  =P

With some clarification from Moonlight in the Q&A (Thanks!), I can simply read part of a book to count for this roll.  In fact, I could read anything, it sounds like, as long as I can accumulate at least 100 pages.

So I will be reading from my current book False Memory by Dean Koontz.  It's the one book I DO need to finish this month to fulfill my Reading Assignment challenge, so I'm trying to make progress on it, little-by-little--I've been at this book since the beginning of the month.  While it's slow going, I can't seem to make myself give up on it because I kind of DO want to know how everything wraps up, even as the tediousness to the book's progression is getting frustrating.

I will try to get at least 100 pages read before the next odd day, and update appropriately with my next roll.  If I can, I'll try to read more and maybe donate an extra 100 pages!

 

False Memory by Dean Koontz


Anyway...


Current Bank:  $26.00

  • Roll #1 (4/15):  A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn / 345 pages = $3.00
  • Roll #2 (4/17):  The Paris Assignment by Addison Fox / 284 pages = $3.00

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/booklikes-opoly-onto-third-roll.html
Review
4 Stars
Thoughts: A Perilous Beginning
A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn

A Perilous Beginning
by Deanna Raybourn

Book 2 of Veronica Speedwell

 

 

London, 1887 . . Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime.

From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed....



I'm going to admit, the excitement of this series kind of faded after a while, and that refreshing feel you get from a first book that starts off a series strong might have worn off.  Nonetheless, I still loved reading A Perilous Undertaking a lot, and continue to enjoy the interactions between Veronica and Stoker--these two create a really strong, intimate, yet not quite romantic relationship and partnership that feels, at times, even deeper than a lot of romantic couplings I've read before.

Admittedly, this second book didn't seem to carry the same "flashy new gift" feel you get from discovering a lovely new favorite book--the giddiness I felt for the previous book didn't rear its head.  After finishing the read, I'd say that I like the first book, A Curious Beginning (my review) more.  Although it doesn't escape my notice that the story set-up is much more to the point in this second book; in contrast to A Curious Beginning, this second book doesn't spend endless pages taking you on a side tangent that seems unnecessary in the long run.

I'm not sure how I feel about that, because it has long been one of the complaints I've had about Deanna Raybourn's work since the Lady Julia Grey series--the fact that she spends way too much time building each book's story, world, and introductory.

So I found myself pleasantly surprised at how quickly A Perilous Undertaking hopped right into the murder mystery, bringing Veronica and Stoker into the investigation without dawdling.

Coupled with Raybourn's beautiful writing style, and this book would be darn near perfect for me.


While the first book in this series seemed to focus on Veronica on a more personal level, it feels like this second book is a simple, typical murder mystery; and somehow Veronica and Stoker get entangled in the entire, convoluted twists.  In fact, I sort of got a "cozy mystery" vibe from it, though I suppose it wouldn't be far-fetched to label this book a 'Cozy.'

We still get to touch upon some of the family secrets surrounding Veronica and how she's been affected since the big reveal in the previous book.  And, just as well, we also get to touch upon some personal history of Stoker's--we even get to meet two more siblings in the Templeton-Vane family.

While the murder mystery seemed quite predictable, I can't say it wasn't outlined well.  The progression was great, and the red herrings were placed appropriately.  Related characters were colorful and intriguing in their own way.  I just also get a bit frustrated with characters who get all "I'm not telling you anything even if it could help an innocent man go free" for whatever strange reasons that I didn't really understand, to be honest.  Moving past that, the overall story was still lovely and I enjoyed following Veronica and Stoker in their investigations.

And, as always, I enjoy the character interactions a lot, especially between Veronica and others.  She's a very likable woman, with all the traits of a strong, independent heroine, which is why I love her so much.  She's also quite indifferent to how others perceive her, and pretty much just does as she pleases.  Her banter with Stoker is probably the best parts of the book.

If there was one thing I'd have to say I had trouble with, it would be that Veronica's character feels a lot more... deliberate in this book than the previous.  It feels like the author has taken many pains to make sure of the emphasis on Veronica's open independence in everything she says or does, from how she lives her life, to her unabashed love of sexual dalliances, to her indifferent, blasé feelings about how people view her.  In agreement with some other reviewers, there may not be much explicit sex in this book, but it certainly is mentioned A LOT, and by Veronica, no less.  I've read hardcore erotica where the characters don't even talk about sex this much.

But it's not just about Veronica's open views about sex that are deliberately emphasized.  It's her entire demeanor from her ideas about the heart, feelings, the way she interacts with other characters.  Even her stubbornness in always being right or always being in charge of everything--as Stoker DOES point out at some point, indirectly.  While I love that she's so confident in herself, and I love that she's not shy about it, I feel like the way it was presented just felt too calculated from the author's side--as if the readers aren't already aware that Veronica is so free with her life and thoughts, and we need to be reminded over and again with every action and dialogue, all of it kind of blatantly aggressively presented.

Veronica may not fit into the setting's time frame, and is probably way too forward thinking for the era she lives in to feel real.  And, truth be told, I love her straight forward, Devil May Care personality, just fine.  But she is sometimes, throughout the book, presented as way too perfect, even in spite of some of the flaws the author gives her.

I'm not sure I know how to describe it properly, honestly; but the "in your face" way that Veronica's attributes are presented... it can get a little eye-roll-inducing at times.

Nonetheless, A Perilous Undertaking is still an exceptionally enjoyable book.  And I loved it!  And I am definitely looking forward to the third book.


***

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #1:
This book is tagged as 'mystery.'

Page Count:  345
Case Award:  +$3.00

Current Bank:  $23.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/thoughts-perilous-undertaking.html
BL-opoly | Second Roll Book: Decision Made!


My second roll for Booklikes-opoly netted the above task square, of which I had some trouble figuring out which book I wanted to read.

But I've decided that we are going to Paris!

It actually sounds a bit more fabulous than it probably is, since we're not REALLY going to Paris.  And also, this book was kind of chosen because I had to rule out other books for one reason or another.  NOT that I'm not interested in The Paris Assignment; I wouldn't have bought it otherwise.  But my other two "first" picks ended up sort of disqualifying for overseas travel for reasons.

Anyway, I always have a bunch of books that I try to find opportunities to start reading, and The Paris Assignment is one of those books.  And what better timing!  Addison Fox is an author I've read before and have enjoyed, so I hope that I will enjoy this book and series as well.

As it is, I'm probably not going to finish this book in time for the next odd day to roll again, so my next dice roll will more than likely take place on Friday, the 21st.

Cheers!

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/bl-opoly-second-roll-book-decision-made_18.html
Booklikes-opoly | Finished First Book, Onto the Second Roll!
Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

 



For my first roll, I had gotten an 8 and landed on Mystery Square 8.  I read the book A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn, which was 345 pages, netting me a $3.00 increase in my bank.

 

 


A Perilous Undertaking proved to be just as fun and great to read as the first book in the series, so it didn't take me long to finish.  Had I not had other obligations, I would have just marathon-ed the entire book in one sitting and had it finished yesterday--I almost did, but realized that if I didn't get some sleep, I would be a very cranky coworker, and no one wants that.

Nonetheless, I finished my book in time for the next odd day to roll!

I will have a review out soon.

Here is my second roll:

 

 


I rolled a 7 and from Mystery Square 8 moved to New Orleans Square Station (14).

Here is my live game board:

 


I realize that Teddy Bear game piece is taking up a lot of room, since he has to hang on the board, and ends up occupying more than one game square.  So we will use his neon Ferris Wheel tummy as the central base, so that he can sort of sit on the proper space.  Meanwhile Magnetic Monkey is guarding the board, and my magnets are multiplying.

Truth:  I wish I could make my board a little bit bigger, but this will have to suffice.

Anyway...

This was a hard one to choose from, because you'd have to figure out from the summary if traveling is involved.  I have a few books that I think would fit this task, and I don't know what I want to read.  Though, on an aside, does flying to Hawaii count?  It doesn't have to be overseas travel to a foreign country only, does it?  'Cause I'm kind of partial to reading something by Jayne Ann Krentz right now.  =P

But honestly, I really don't know which one to choose, no matter that it took a while to figure out which books I could choose from off my TBR.

 

 

Going Rogue by Robin Benway -- In the summary, it states that our characters will fly to Paris from New York.  I have the Kindle edition, listing as 321 pages, which is $3.00 award.  I would probably listen to this as an audio, though since I own the Audible.

The Paris Assignment by Addison Fox -- The book starts in New York and, as the title shows, we will be going to Paris.  I have the Kindle edition, which is 248 pages; $3.00 award.

Running Hot by Jayne Ann Krentz -- The characters start in Oregon, and the characters travel to Hawaii.  I would be borrowing this book from the library in hard cover; the library lists it as 337 pages.  Or I could borrow the e-book via Amazon Kindle, which shows the book as 324 pages.  Either way, it would be $3.00 award.

At the Edge by Laura Griffin -- It looks like the story opens in Seattle, and the summary mentions a crash-landing in the Philippines, so overseas travel is definite.  Amazon lists the Kindle edition at 122 pages, which would be $2.00 cash award.

Decisions, decisions...

Either way, it'll take a little bit longer for me to finish this next book, no matter the length since I'll be busy the next few days.  And also, I want to focus on finishing up one of my Reading Assignment books, False Memory by Dean Koontz, of which I am only about 35% in... and the book is kind of dragging--300 pages down, ~450 more to go.  I feel like this book is a bit endless.


Current Bank:  $23.00

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/booklikes-opoly-finished-first-book.html
Booklikes-opoly | First Roll!
Booklikes-opoly
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform

 

 

I will be tracking all of my progress at the page linked above.

 

With a starting bank of $20.00, I make my first roll.  And I rolled a little early because I got a bit excited, and everyone else is also rolling...

 

 


... but I will not start my first read until the official start of the game.  I just wanted a head start on figuring out what I wanted to read for my first roll/game card.  As you can see above, I rolled an 8, and so ended up on Mystery Square 8.

I'm editing in a "live board game" into this post... because I can:

 


I know it's nothing fancy.  But I'd been trying to figure out how to keep track of where my marker is without having to refer back to my posts or personal notes, and suddenly had an inspirational moment when I looked up from my desk and saw my whiteboard and all the magnets I possess.

As you can see, the Teddy Bear magnet will be my place marker... and sort of resembles a Monopoly marker... maybe.  And because you can't really see it in the picture, Teddy Bear's tummy presents a neon silhouette of the big Ferris wheel at The Island, Pigeon Forge.  Also, I apologize for the glare on the upper left hand corner on my "I'd rather be Reading" magnet badge.


Anyway, the book I will be reading is:

 


I'd been planning on reading this book anyway, and have just checked it out from the library, so it's perfect!  It is tagged as 'mystery' on GR.

The Kindle book I'm reading lists 345 pages, so when I finish reading this book, I will be adding $3.00 to my bank, for a total of $23.00.


Current Bank:  $20.00

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/booklikes-opoly-first-roll.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- February 2017

February came and went a lot faster than I had anticipated, though to be fair, the majority of my February was spent battling bronchitis and fatigue, as I've stated in other posts.  If it weren't for audio books, I may not have finished as many books as I did.

And also, I absolutely couldn't help but to read some new releases that I'd been waiting forever to come out--Laura Griffin and Pamela Clare, I'm looking at you!  And, of course, I enjoyed myself.

As far as 2017 being the year of the Laid Back Reading Plans, I think I'm sticking to it pretty well.  I haven't pulled the DNF trigger on any books I probably should have, but I'm also not forcing myself to rush through books just to meet my previously established normal average of 14 books per month.  Unfortunately, at the rate that I'm going (10 books in January, 11 books in February), I won't be meeting my usual yearly reading goal of 150 books either, unless I break out some short stories and novellas... which I probably will end up doing.  Or I could just try to increase my monthly number... or maybe take a week's vacation to do a personal readathon... or something like that.

2017 for my Reading Assignment Challenge has been a bit embarrassing; however, if I were honest with myself, I'm both glad I dropped to two books a month (rather than kept with the four books a month goal I've always signed up for), as well as glad that this is the year of the Laid Back Reading Plans.  Because I've already botched the first two months for Reading Assignment, and frankly, I'm actually quite okay with that.  Normally, I'd be quite upset with myself for not meeting all my goals in a timely manner.

I guess I'm slowly learning to lay off on the anal retentive need to finish every challenge with high scores... or whatever.  Or I just quit caring because I've been so tired.

 

In other news, with Booklikes looking more promising (the page loads have been satisfyingly quick), I may begin to cross-post here once more.  Look forward to a mass onslaught of book reviews to come...

Well... maybe, because I could end up getting lazy, y'know.

 

(FYI, all links in this post will link back to my main blog at Blogspot since I haven't posted reviews here at BL since the beginning of the year.)

 

 

February Reads

 


 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!
 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

February Reading Stats

 

Total works read: 11

  • 7 print/e-book novels
  • 4 audio books


Average rating: 3.5 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  5 books // 4.0 Stars
    • (1) The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart
    • (2) Tempted into Danger by Melissa Cutler
    • (3) Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger
    • (4) At Close Range by Laura Griffin
    • (5) Falling Hard by Pamela Clare
  • Lowest Rated:  Highlander Claimed by Juliette Miller // 2.5 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • Clan McKenzie by Juliette Miller
  • ICE: Black Ops Defenders by Melissa Cutler
  • Sir Arthur's Legacy by Sarah Hegger
  • Heartbreaker Bay by Jill Shalvis
  • Fairy Tales by Eloisa James

 

Series I completed:

  • For Me by Cynthia Eden

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Tracers by Laura Griffin
  • Colorado High Country by Pamela Clare


Favorite reads:  It actually looks like I had a lot of high rated, 4-Star reads, so February wasn't a bust, really.  My favorite reads for February, obviously, included Pamela Clare's newest release Falling Hard--I never get tired of Pamela and her lovely world of good people.  I also enjoyed The Search by Nora Roberts.  Even though other books were 4-Star reads, I don't know if I'd list them as personal favorites.  4.5-Star and higher is where I start my squealy, fangirl mode, honestly.

Disappointing reads:  While Highlander Claimed was the lowest rated book for February, I suppose I wasn't too entirely disappointed with it since I hadn't really gone into it expecting much.  Nonetheless, it wasn't what I was expecting.  But my biggest disappointment would probably be The Switch by Lynsay Sands, if only because I'm a huge fan of the cross-dressing trope, and when the story itself wasn't what I'd been expecting, I might had deflated a bit.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • None

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In March

 

Tentative TBR

 

Other Stuff

Once again, aside from 2017 being the year of the Laid Back Reading Plans, it is also the year that I try to clean up my messes, a.k.a., the year that I try my best to finish all those series I've started and left hanging.  I know that it doesn't help that I managed to start about five more series in February, but I've got a plan, and I really hope my plan pans out for me.  I figure if I hold myself accountable with a reading challenge, I can keep listing all the new series (and old) that need to be finished, and make myself keep up.

Otherwise, I really don't have any other plans for the next couple months, unless I stumble across another mini-challenge that looks tempting.

March will also mark the anniversary of Ani's Book Abyss at Blogspot!  Yay!  And no, I'm not planning anything special.  Maybe just a short "Yay Me!" post to make myself happy.

 

 

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/2017/03/monthly-reading-wrap-up-february-2017.html
Romance Bingo 2017 | Wrap Up

When January came to an end and I wasn't even a good ways into this Bingo card, I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to Blackout.  My personal life kind of got in the way, and while I'm not one to cast blame, being sick for a month and a half--starting with a cold, maybe some sinusitis, and ending in bronchitis--really put a dent in any and all motivation to do anything at all.

Reading became a backseat priority after getting some sleep (or not getting sleep, really).  Blogging was definitely something I wasn't getting into.

Truth be told, I probably could have gotten at least one or two Bingos, but my book selections didn't really take me in that direction.  And also, two or three of the books I read, I didn't really want to stretch too many liberties trying to get them to fit some of the more vague squares such as 'Blown Away' or 'Key to My Heart.'  I'm quite surprised I didn't find a book to fill in 'Insta-love'--well, actually I read several books with insta-love in it, but I had read those books for other squares, and my mindset was quite stubborn against moving them around.

Maybe I could have done some shuffling.

Maybe not.

Still, I had a good amount of fun, started a few new series, and found some great books, even if I also found a lot of cruddy books.

I look forward to the next Reading Bingo, definitely!

Click here for my Romance Bingo 2017 summary page, and to see the original, unmarked card.

 



Books:
Insta-love:
Too Stupid To Live:  Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti
"Headless" Woman:  Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger
Love is Murder:  Die for Me by Cynthia Eden
New Adult:  Overruled by Emma Chase

Young Adult:
Regency Romance:
Eyeshadow and Heaving Bosom:  A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
Virgin & Best First Time:  A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Gothic Romance:  The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart

Blown Away:
Man in a Kilt:  Highlander Claimed by Juliette Miller
Love (Free Space):  The Search by Nora Roberts
Rogue:  A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Historical Romance:

Secret Billionaire:
Twins:  The Switch by Lynsay Sands
Fairy Tale Retelling:
Wedding Bells:
Second Chances:  Fear for Me by Cynthia Eden

Key to My Heart:
Pirates Argh:
Guy/Girl Next Door:  Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis
Interracial Couple:  Tempted into Danger by Melissa Cutler
Urban Fantasy Romance:  Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep


Currently Reading:
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier || Pirates Argh

Reads I Never Got To:
A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare || Historical Romance
That's Amore! anthology || Wedding Bells
By Your Side by Kasie West || Young Adult
Treasures Lost, Treasures Found by Nora Roberts || Key to My Heart


Squares I Never Chose Books For:

  • Insta-love -- I thought at least one of the Rom-Suspense books I read would have insta-love in it, and while they did, I used them for other squares.
  • Regency Romance -- So many Regency romances... didn't choose a one... or just didn't get around to reading for this category.
  • Blown Away -- Had one book, but it might have been stretching it.
  • Secret Billionaire -- Had no idea what to read for this square.
  • Fairy Tale Retelling -- I had decided to read Cybele's Secret for this square until I found out that it's not really a retelling.  Nixed the idea of reading Daughter of the Forest for Bingo since I wouldn't be able to finish it.  At least Cybele's Secret ended up having a pirate (see above), even though I haven't finished reading it yet.


See Also:  My Romance Bingo 2017 Page

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/03/romance-bingo-2017-wrap-up.html
Romance Bingo 2017 | Mid-game Update

As of the first day of February, I finished The Moon-spinners for a total of eight books read for Romance Bingo.  Unfortunately, no BINGO so far.  I had been hoping to read one more Tessa Dare book to fill the Historical Romance square for a BINGO, but for lots of reasons, my reading started to lag behind nearing the end of the month.

I'm working on a series review for Cynthia Eden's For Me trilogy and will have it posted as soon as I finish listening to the last book, Scream for Me.  I'm considering counting this book for Key to My Heart based on our main couple's "I've never felt this way before" monologues along with the whole, "This is the first time I've ever told anyone about my dark, dark past" conversation that just took place mid-book... typical of a lot of Rom-Suspense.

Meanwhile, the review for The Moon-spinners is also forthcoming.  And I'm slowly tumbling through books and hoping that at least one of my Rom-Suspense reads will yield an Insta-love, because those are aplenty in that genre.  =D

 

 

 

(All links lead to my Blogspot reviews, since I haven't posted reviews on BL this year yet.)

Books:
Insta-love:
Too Stupid To Live:  Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti
"Headless" Woman:
Love is Murder:  Die for Me by Cynthia Eden
New Adult:  Overruled by Emma Chase

Young Adult:
Regency Romance:
Eyeshadow and Heaving Bosom:
Virgin & Best First Time:  A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
Gothic Romance:  The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart

Blown Away:
Man in a Kilt:
Love (Free Space):
Rogue:  A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Historical Romance:

Secret Billionaire:
Twins:
Fairy Tale Retelling:
Wedding Bells:
Second Chances:  Fear for Me by Cynthia Eden

Key to My Heart:
Pirates Argh:
Guy/Girl Next Door:
Interracial Couple:
Urban Fantasy Romance:  Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep


Currently Reading:
Scream for Me by Cynthia Eden || Key to My Heart
The Search by Nora Roberts || Love (Free Space)

Planned Next Reads:
A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare || Historical Romance
That's Amore! anthology || Wedding Bells
Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger || "Headless" Woman
A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James || Eyeshadow and Heaving Bosom
Highlander Claimed by Juliette Miller || Man in Kilt
Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis || Guy/Girl Next Door
The Substitute Sister by Lisa Childs || Twins


Squares Still Undecided:

  • Insta-love -- As I mentioned above, I'm hoping that one of the many Rom-Suspense books I read will have insta-love.
  • Young Adult -- I'd like to read Kasie West's newest book, but I'm hesitant to purchase it.  Chances are, I will probably listen to the audio book version of The Distance Between Us, my first of Kasie West favorites.
  • Regency Romance -- Many options, probably another Tessa Dare... or maybe something by Amanda Quick.
  • Blown Away -- No idea what to read for this square.
  • Secret Billionaire -- Probably going to just steal some ideas from someone else's square.
  • Fairy Tale Retelling -- I was going to read Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier.  But at the rate that I'm going, and with the length of this book, I'm not sure I'll be able to finish it and all the other books before the end of this month.  I may just chose another book, like maybe Cybele's Secret also by Juliet Marillier, and also part of my Reading Assignment Challenge this year.
  • Pirates Argh -- Nothing chosen yet.  Will have to steal ideas.
  • Interracial Couple -- I have a Rom-Suspense that has an interracial couple, but I don't know if I want to read that one.  Any ideas?


See Also:  My Romance Bingo 2017 Page

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/02/romance-bingo-2017-mid-game-update.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- January 2017

Oh, January!  You were full of so much promise.  So much promise with much activity and potential.  We started the year off with Romance Bingo 2017.  I had so many books lined up because I'm a sucker for romance.  And even so, we were doing so, so well.  There was even a readathon involved and I believe we made progress.

But then, after being sick a week into the new year, I had to remain sick.  And then that sick decided that, even a week later, as I started getting better, it would recycle itself and start from the beginning.  And be sick again.  Two weeks later, I think my body is trying to recycle the sick one more time.  I feel the sore throat coming on, once again, on the heels of my stuffy nose finally clearing up.

Because that was always how it starts: with a sore throat.  Then before you know it, I'm going through the stages of my typical cold: sneezing, runny nose, cough, stuffy nose, stuffy nose with cough, stuffy nose and inability to breathe... and the entire time I don't really sleep.

So for two weeks, I haven't really slept.  Sure, I might have gotten some shut eye here and there.  But I never actually slept for longer than an hour or two each day...  At least, it seems my body doesn't ever really want to sleep until it's time for me to wake up.  Because that's just life.

Anyway...

Back to the books, no?

Reading for this month could have been better.  I had my plans and I tried to stick to them.  But being sick made me want to do nothing but sleep, really... despite the fact that I didn't really get any sleep.  So instead, of reading when I couldn't sleep, I just stalked around the house feeling miserable.  Because apparently I feel the most miserable when I try to lay down and sleep.  And standing up and moving around actually clears my nasal passage enough for me to breathe.  So maybe I should just learn how to sleep on my feet?

I plan on posting a mid-Romance Bingo update, either today or tomorrow, though, unfortunately, no BINGO was had.  My plans got a little spoiled, but oh well.  Then, to top it off, I couldn't even get around to finishing the second of my Reading Assignment books for January.  THAT seemed to be my biggest blow this month since I'd been able to keep up with my Reading Assignment books since the first time I participated in this challenge two years ago--and at that time, I'd committed to reading four books from my pre-chosen list.  I purposefully lowered my reading level to two books a month from my pre-chosen list because I had a feeling I wouldn't be able to keep up with four.

And yet...

 

On a separate note, I've been absent from Booklikes this entire month, mainly because I've still been hesitant about posting.  Seems that things are going quite well now, so I may consider returning.  For now, I will only randomly cross post some non-review posts and try to start interacting more on BL once again.

 

 

January Reads

 


 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!
 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

January Reading Stats

 

Total works read: 10

  • 5 full length print/digital
  • 1 novella
  • 4 audio books


Average rating: 3.35 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  2 books by Tessa Dare // 4.5 Stars
    • (1) A Week to be Wicked
    • (2) A Night to Surrender
  • Lowest Rated:  Forgotten Sins by Rebecca Zanetti // 2.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • The Legal Briefs by Emma Chase
  • Spindle Cove by Tessa Dare
  • Sin Brothers by Rebecca Zanetti
  • Elemental Assassin by Jennifer Estep

 

Series I completed:

  • None Completed

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis
  • Dead Wrong by Jami Alden
  • For Me trilogy by Cynthia Eden


Favorite reads:  As it stands the best reads this month were Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove books, even the strange little novella.  A Week to be Wicked was extra wonderful and probably my most favorite read this month as it sits at the top of my book rankings so far this year.  Because I loved the couple so much and the witty writing!  And I can't wait to finish the rest of the series!

Truth be told, I haven't finished The Moon-spinners by Mary Stewart yet, but I am enjoying it a lot.  While the book DOES kind of meander into a lot of insignificant tangents, I can't help but love how well the writing presents itself, and how witty the dialogue between characters is.  I already knew that Mary Stewart was great at conveying atmosphere and imagery after reading one other book of hers, even if I hadn't enjoyed it.  So I foresee that I may end up picking up more books by Mary Stewart in the future.

Disappointing reads:  Probably Rebecca Zanetti's Forgotten Sins would take the spot here.  It's not like I had been expecting an ultra-fantastic book or anything, but with all the great reviews, and an interesting premise, I really hadn't expected to be so frustrated with said book as much as I ended up being.  And then, on top of that, to still be slightly interested in continuing the series for the ongoing mysteries in the background just makes me gnash my teeth, because I want to know... but I don't want to put myself through that kind of teeth grinding frustration again.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • No Memes this month

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In February

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

Other Stuff

Okay.  So I listed a whole bunch of books above that I want to read in February.  I'm not sure if I will actually get to all of them... but I'm going to try.  The only thing missing is one more book for my Reading Assignment Challenge.  So throw one more book on the pile.  Hopefully, I'll be back in good health and in a better mood to both read and blog more often.

Because January just sucked (see opening paragraphs).

 

 

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/2017/02/monthly-reading-wrap-up-january-2017.html
Ani's 2017 Reading Challenges



So I pick up reading challenges every year, ever since the first time I discovered Goodreads' book reading challenge.  It's such a simple challenge of just choosing a number goal and reaching it--it gives new readers a chance to push themselves to read more books, and it gives seasoned readers a chance to read EVEN MORE books.

For the past few years, the number of books I've read has steadily increased.  According to my stats:

 

  • In 2012, I made a goal to read 25 books and completed my goal by reading 27.

 

  • In 2013, I started my goal at 50 books and met that goal in June, so then I increased my goal by 25 and met that goal not long after.  I further increased my goal to 100 books and completed the goal at 103 books read!  That's a huge difference from 27 books the previous year, so I got really confident.

 

  • In 2014, I started my goal at 100 books!  By May, I was nearing my goal with 90-ish books, so I increased my goal by increments of ten for the next two months, landing on 120 books... and then I really overshot that goal by reading a grand total of 178 books!

 

  • In 2015, I increased my goal to 150 books... while my total was 177, I'm not sure I really accomplished as much as I should have.

 

  • In 2016... well... I started with a goal of 150 books again.  In October, being so much closer to my goal with somewhere around 130 books read, I increased my goal to 160 books.  As of today, three days from the end of the year, I have finished 155 books...  So I'm not sure if it counts as completing my goal.



For 2017, I'm going to keep a constant.  I will set my number goal at 150 again.  But this time, I will keep it at 150 and not increase or decrease it.  2016 was a fairly good year for reading, but at the same time, it seems as if I had slowed down quite a bit.

For one, I might have bit off more than I could chew.  I cut down on reading challenges, but at the same time, I picked up a fairly difficult to complete reading challenge.  It may or may not have hindered my progress a little bit.  Meanwhile, small challenges that took place within the span of one month, two months, or one whole summer, jumped out at me, and I knew wanted to participate in almost everything.  But with other year-long challenges taking priority, my reading life became more of an obligation than pleasure.

So while I will still participate in some reading challenges in 2017, I think I'm also going to take it easy.  If I don't overburden myself with too many challenges at the beginning of the year, then I'll be free to choose some of the short challenges interspersed throughout the year.

For a full summary of all the challenges I will be participating in, I will keep track of them at my 2017 Reading Challenges page.  The link will remain at the top of my blog.  I will update this post with said link when I actually get a chance to create that page.

Meanwhile, here are the challenges I am already participating in, as well as a forecast of other bookish activities I am looking forward to or may try to participate in:


Goodreads Reading Challenge

My Goal:  150 books
GR shelf:  2017 Reading Challenge

On a side note, I usually participate in the Booklikes Reading Challenge, too, simultaneously.  But to be honest, I'm not sure if that's necessary, as both challenges are the same thing.  And also, with the slowness of Booklikes at intermittent times, I'm not sure if I care enough to update my book stats regularly at Booklikes.


2017 Reading Assignment Challenge

hosted by Because Reading and Fantasy is more fun
My Goal:  Reading Level 2 // 24 books (2 books/month)
GR shelf:  2017 Reading Assignment Challenge
My 2017 Reading Assignment Challenge Summary Page


2017 Mount TBR Challenge

hosted by My Reader's Block
My Goal:  Mount Vancouver -- Read 36 books from your TBR pile/s
GR shelf:  2017 Mt TBR Pile Challenge


Romance Bingo 2017

hosted by Obsidian Blue and Moonlight Reader (also find them at Bookish Pursuits)
GR shelf:  2017 Romance Bingo
My Romance Bingo 2017 Summary Page


***


These are less intensive challenges I have pre-chosen for 2017.  There will probably be more, but for now, this is it.  I'm considering other such challenges as COYER or any other series challenges that may come up.  Obsidian and Moonlight may put out more Bingo cards throughout the year, and sometimes another random reading challenge may strike my fancy.

Mainly, though, I just want to keep it light and fun.  While some challenges in 2016 were fantastic, others started feeling a bit heavy when I couldn't keep up *coughcough*Bookish-Resolutions*coughcough*; though to be fair, maybe I over-estimated my own commitment or determination.

So for 2017, it's just going to be laid back and fun!  That is all!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/anis-2017-reading-challenges.html
My 2016 Year in Books

 

I will also be using this post as one of my Top Ten Tuesday topics!

 

 


Top Ten Tuesday is an original and weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The Top Ten Tuesday for this week is Top Ten Best Books of 2016.  And as a broad subject, we may choose different genres, books read in the year, or books published in 2016... pretty much anything!



A lot of stuff happened this year, and even though I ended up drifting into a reading (and reviewing) slump when November rolled around, and into December, I think I still accomplished a lot of reading, and, in general, accomplished a lot of Bookish Activities.  This year, I participated in fewer Reading Challenges than in the past, but I managed to do quite well in completing them.  Then there was a general effort to try to finish series I've already started, as well as the starting of new series that I totally intend to finish reading in 2017.

I've picked up over 50 new-to-me authors, participated in a few read-a-thons, and then there were the bookish activities taking place on Booklikes, such as Halloween Bingo, which brought me out of my usual reading comfort zone.

Finally, 'Ani's Book Abyss' was reborn at a completely new location.  And I'd like to say that I've put quite a bit of work into this project.  And so far, things seem to be going quite well.  I started creating a lot of organizational spreadsheets to keep track of different aspects of my bookish and blogging life, and according to one particular spreadsheet, I have, at current, posted 400+ reviews!

I will definitely kick back and make a big fuss when I post review #500.  And if I ever make it to 1000 reviews... well, that would be quite interesting as I feel it would probably take another couple years to achieve.  Of course, I still have around 50 reviews I've yet to transfer from Goodreads and Booklikes.

This year was a pretty good year, all in all!

 

 

Reading Stats in 2016


(As of 12/26/2016)
Number of works read:  155
-- Full length print novels:   127
-- Novellas:   10
-- Short stories:   5
-- Anthologies:   4
-- Audio books:   9
Number of pages read:   45,976
Number of 5 Star reads:   2
Number of 4.5 Star reads:   8
Average book rating:   3.41
Number of 2015 Releases read:   12

Number Authors Read in 2016:   90
Number of New to Me Authors Read in 2016:  52
Most Read Authors in 2016:
1.  Deanna Raybourn -- 6 books + 4 novellas
2.  Amanda Quick -- 6 books
3.  Jayne Castle -- 5 books + 1 novella
4.  Jill Shalvis -- 6 books
5.  Maggie Shayne -- 5 books + 1 novella

 

 

Favorite Books Read This Year


(Book titles link to my review if one was written.)

 


This was a given.  I loved this series, and Blue Lily, Lily Blue was my favorite book of 2014.  If The Raven King had been written in 2015, then it would have been my favorite book of 2015.  But the publication date got pushed back a year, so it became my favorite book of 2016.

But all rambling aside (because the above paragraph probably meant nothing, really), The Raven King was a pretty awesome conclusion for one of my most favorite series of current.

 

 


This is a young adult/children's story that hit a lot of chords for me.  I absolutely loved it, and it probably also helped that the full cast audio was amazing!

 

 


I am quite surprised by how much I loved this book considering the mediocre quality of the past two books Kasie published.  In fact, I had this whole pep talk with myself about how Kasie and I would probably be going out separate ways soon if this next book didn't turn out as fabulous as her debut novel did.  I didn't even auto-buy it because I didn't want to waste my money... so I borrowed the book from the library.  And then proceeded to devour the whole thing and have a nice little Book Hangover afterwards.

Well played, West.  Well played.  I will be purchasing your next book due out within the next couple months.  Now I'm conflicted about whether or not to buy this book and add it to my collection.

P.S. I Like You is a 2016 publication.

 

 


Truth be told, while Raybourn has an excellent writing style that is both beautiful and atmospheric, I had found it hard to really love her Julia Grey series like many others have.  I have a big problem with unbalanced romances and irrationally unreasonable heroes who only know how to be pissed of for 99% of the book.  In fact, I didn't even like the hero of Julia Grey until he started to sort of develop a sense of humor in the last book of the series.  On the other hand, I loved the heroine of Julia Grey, the titular character herself, though I wished that she hadn't been so obsessed with her love interest.

So I wasn't entirely ecstatic to start reading A Curious Beginning.  But, boy am I every so glad I DID decide to read it, because it was AMAZING!  I absolutely loved Veronica Speedwell.  And while I didn't love her companion, Stoker, he was so much more tolerable than the hero in the other Raybourn series, and so much more readily lovable.  I also loved that this book didn't really settle into a quick romance, but presented a sweet, intimate friendship between Veronica and Stoker.

I am totally looking forward to the next book, to be published in January of 2017!  One more month!!!

 

 


While the concluding book to The Dregs duology wasn't as wonderful as the first one, it still presented us with a great story, great characters, and great writing.  There were a few snafus in the story line, and the ending was a little conflicting.  But nonetheless, I absolutely loved this book to pieces, but probably not as much as I loved all of our characters.

Crooked Kingdom is a 2016 publication.

 

 


Sherry Thomas has a knack for writing and characters, even if her story lines tend toward the chaotic and confusing.  I can understand why a lot of people did not care for The Elemental Trilogy as a young adult fantasy--the world was always vague and the magic system a bit sketchy.  Even by the last book, the world was still kind of vague, and our main villain remained a simple dark enigma that needed to be destroyed, with little insight into his evilness.

But I cannot deny that I absolutely loved the characters of Titus, Iolanthe, Kashkari, and pretty much everyone else.  Their growth and development was great, and their interactions were wonderful.  Emotional scenes packed so much FEELS that I was extremely overwhelmed by the abundance of FEELS.  Again, if it is one thing I can say about Sherry Thomas:  She definitely does excellent characters, defines memorable character interactions.

 

 


To be honest, The Forbidden Wish actually felt a little unbalanced at times, written in first person POV from our Jinn's side of things.  I would have loved to see more from Aladdin or the princess or even some of the princess's handmaidens.  But in the end, The Forbidden Wish was an amazing retelling of Aladdin, bringing to the forefront an abundance, not only of a girl-power and strong characters, but making an epic love story not at all a mushy, fluffy event.

Instead, even while The Forbidden Wish was based entirely upon a love story, it turned out to be so, so much more!

The Forbidden Wish is a 2016 publication.

 

 


I don't understand how I loved this book at all.  If ever there were a book that lacked the most basic of story book traits (i.e. a main conflict, a structured outline... an actual story!), it would be Written in Red.  Written in Red is the story of how a girl runs away from captivation and joins a community of shape-shifting, man-eating creatures called 'The Others', and ends up sorting their mail for a living.  Meanwhile, things happen and somehow, even though these scary creatures don't like humans, they end up loving our heroine... for no apparent reason other than she's really good at sorting their mail.

Yeah.  I absolutely DID just write that last sentence.  This book was all sorts of strange.

But at the same time, I found I couldn't stop reading this book, nor could I stop enjoying it.  And somehow, I ended up finding the book strangely endearing.  For no reason I can comprehend.

 

 


I look forward to each new Cindy Gerard book ever since becoming a big fan of hers.  I should probably go back and read all of her backlist.  The Way Home was a pleasantly surprising read, both quietly emotional, and wonderfully thought-provoking.  While expecting a full-out romantic suspense from her, you instead end up with a contemporary that has a side serving of romantic suspense.  I'd almost categorize this book as a sweet and subtle melodrama just based on the romantic angst that hits you where it hurts the most, in all the best ways possible.

I loved this book.  I loved the story.  I may not have been in love with any of the characters.  But in the end, this was a wonderfully written book.

 

Special mention to Cindy Gerard's 2016 release, Taking Fire, as it was also lovely and sweet amidst the excitement of the suspense.  As a second chance romance, this book also managed to hit a lot of the right chords with me, even as there were a few things that might not have sat well for me.

Taking Fire lost to The Way Home if only because of the distinctive, disjointed story line that cuts off the main story and then enfolds a sort of short sequel into the concluding chapters.  But otherwise, both parts of the book were very well done.

 

 

 


Two words:  Mind Blown.

I can see how Dame Agatha is such a celebrated mystery writer.

 

 

-- Honorable Mentions --

 

Baby It's Cold Outside by Addison Fox

 


The above ten books are honorable mentions, because while they weren't my top favorites, I still feel like they deserve a mention, as they were very enjoyable books that I, indeed, loved a lot.  New to me authors were a pleasant new surprising love for me in Shirley Jackson, Sarah Addison Allen, Addison Fox, Amanda Quick, Jeannie Lin, and Yangsze Choo.  Pamela Clare and Jill Shalvis are always delights!

Jeannie Lin brought back nostalgic thoughts of my childhood, growing up and watching wuxia series.  Amanda Quick is a great new introduction into the Historical Romance/Historical Mystery... even if all of her books are exactly the same.  Addison Fox is a new author for me to keep an eye out for; and Sarah Addison Allen has some of the most interesting, strangely enticing imagery and descriptions.

 

 

-- Series Mentions --

 

Brown and de Luca by Maggie Shayne


This series was so awesome, probably because the main heroine, Rachel de Luca, is so crazily awesome in her straight-forward, no holding back, bitchy sort of way.  It also helps that her dog, Myrtle, is the most adorable fictional blind bulldog to grace any literary page I've read.  Mason isn't bad either, although I must admit that he was better in the first two books, then kind of starts becoming a bit too standard.  The kids are great too--Rachel's twin nieces, and Mason's two nephews.

I read this entire series within a month, and not-so-patiently look forward to the next book.

 

 

His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers


I don't think I will ever stop asking myself how I managed to NOT finish reading all the books in this series after I read Grave Mercy two years previously.  This series is wonderfully built with great characters, an extensive world that expands upon an interesting time in history, and actually made me care about the political aspects of a story.

On top of that, this series is three different books with three different characters, all boasting three very different kinds of story lines.  And what have I always been saying about His Fair Assassin?  NUN ASSASSINS!!  That's what.

Now there are two more installments planned.  I must get my hands on them... in 2018 and 2019.  >.<

 

 

Harmony (a.k.a. Ghost Hunter) by Jayne Castle


I want to say that I love these series because of the serviceable writing that is both smooth and witty, with the ability to draw you right into the story, making you forget that you had already read this story a book ago in the same series.  It's partially true.

But really, I think I might love this series because of the Dust Bunnies.

Nonetheless, I am definitely going to finish the series--there are a total of thirteen books to get through total.  That means I've got nine left unless our lovely author decides to add more books.

 

 

Arcane Society by Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick


Jayne Ann Krentz writes as two other authors:  Jayne Castle, mentioned above as author of the futuristic Harmony series, and Amanda Quick, the historical author counterpart.  Books written by Jayne Ann Krentz are set in the contemporary times.

But it doesn't escape my notice that even with a few subtle difference, every single one of JAK's books are exactly the same formula for each of the three time-settings.  But that doesn't seem to keep me from being drawn to them--all books by JAK are certainly made of addiction and everything un-put-down-able.

I will continue to read Arcane Society and am intrigued that it is starting to interweave with Harmony.

 

 

Heather Wells by Meg Cabot


I didn't really like the first book in this series, but I'm glad I persevered and somehow made myself read the second book.  The second book was much more enjoyable, and then the third, fourth, and last books were even better than the previous.  Unlike many others, I actually enjoyed the last two books much more than the original three.

Heather Wells is definitely a very good example of why I like to give authors and series second chances.  You never know if you'll end up loving said authors or series despite the crappy introductions.

 

 

Lucy Valentine by Heather Webber


Lucy Valentine is a cozy mystery that is quite enjoyable and I look forward to finishing the rest of the series.  The characters are lovely and the mysteries well-outlined.

There are three more books and one short story to finish.

 

 

Currently Reading

 

At Last (Lucky Harbor #5) by Jill Shalvis

 

 

2017 Bookish Forecast


My main plan for the year of 2017 is trying to finish up a lot of the book series I still have not finished reading.  Many of them came to an end in 2015 and 2016, and that tells me that it's time to put away.  Many others have just been sitting on my TBR for too long.  Others still are just long, ongoing series I'd really like to catch up with so I don't feel guilty that all the book installments are just sitting around, waiting to be read.

Of course, it probably doesn't help that I'm also notoriously bad about starting new series before finishing others.  I mean, just via my 2017 Reading Assignment Challenge, I will be starting eight new series... even if one will be completed as it is just a duology.  And then, with the Romance Bingo 2017, I will be starting at least, maybe, four or six others depending on what I choose to read for the Bingo game.

Two Guys Detective Agency by Stephanie Bond / Two Guys Detetive Agency series
The Magicians' Guild by Trudi Canavan / Black Magician trilogy
Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep / Elemental Assassin series
Sweet Bea by Sarah Hegger / Arthur's Legacy series
Once a Thief by Kay Hooper / Quinn/Thief duology
Bringing Down Sam by Leslie Kelly / Temptation in the City series
Thicker Than Water by Maggie Shayne / Mordecai Young trilogy
The Law of Attraction by N.M. Silber / Lawyers in Love series
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier / Sevenwaters series
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare / Spindle Cove series
Second Chance Summer by Jill Shalvis / Cedar Ridge series
Sweet Little Lies by Jill Shalvis / Heartbreaker Bay series
Overruled by Emma Chase / The Legal Briefs series

I know also, however, that I also will be finishing a few series, so hopefully that makes up for something.

The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett / The Arkwell Academy trilogy
Almost Dead by Lisa Jackson / San Francisco duology
Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier / Wildwood duology

Or at least I'll be trying to catch up with or finish certain series.

Lucky Harbor by Jill Shalvis
Harmony by Jayne Castle
Arcane Society by Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz
Aftershock by Jill Sorenson
Nikki Heat by Richard Castle
Steele Street by Tara Janzen
X-Ops by Paige Tyler
Splintered by A.G. Howard
The Others by Anne Bishop

Anyway... looks like I've got a big year ahead of me.  And if the above listed books aren't enough, there are a few 2017 releases I am impatiently looking forward to reading.

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn (#2 of Veronica Speedwell)
By Your Side by Kasie West
At Close Range by Laura Griffin (#11 of Tracers)
Wait for Dark by Kay Hooper (#17 of Bishop/SCU series)
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Lucky in Love by Kasie West
The Gatlin School For Vigilantes by Marissa Meyer (#1 of The Gatlin Trilogy)

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/my-2016-year-in-books.html
Happy Holidays!

First of all, Merry Christmas to everyone, and hope you have a great holiday season!

 

I have been absent on BL for some time, but mainly because I've been in a reading and reviewing slump.  December seems like it has been an all time low for me, reading-wise, and real life has been a bit chaotic as well, thus contributing to this slump.  I'm still lurking in the background, reading posts, liking posts, the likes, but not really posting anything.

 

As many others are doing, I will probably not be posting here at BL regularly.  Whenever I DID have a review or a post to publish, BL still seemed to be loading sporadically for me.  Things seem to be fine now, but it is definitely getting frustrating.  I had tried to write this post twice this morning, and had trouble loading the page in order to write this post.

 

Anyway, I WILL continue to lurk on BL, if only because I know many have not given up on it yet, but I will be mainly posting at my own blog and at GR.  I will try to post non-bookish posts here at BL if I can, but otherwise, my activity will be somewhat quiet.

 

Thank you to everyone for being such a great group and community all this time!

 

You may find me at:

Bloglovin'

Goodreads

Ani's Book Abyss @ Blogspot

 

 

Review
2.5 Stars
Short Review: Confessions
Confessions (Harlequin IntrigueThe Battling McGuire) - Cynthia Eden

Confessions

by Cynthia Eden
Book 1 of The Battling McGuire Boys

 

Desperate to prove she’s being framed for murder, Scarlett Stone entrusts her reputation—and her life—to the man who once broke her heart.  Grant McGuire, a sexy former army ranger turned detective, has never been the same since military action.  But behind his cold demeanor, he still burns for Scarlett.

Taking her case is an easy but dangerous decision for Grant.  Together they must race against the clock to find the real killer, who now wants them both dead. More dangerous, however, is their sudden, reignited passion.  Grant will do anything for a second chance with Scarlett…while she’ll do everything to keep the secret she never wants him to know...



The disappointment I feel for reading this book probably comes from the fact that I have a feeling this isn't Cynthia Eden's best work.  In fact, I have already read four other books that were much better written, with better characters, and that were also much more memorable than Confessions turned out to be.

Don't get me wrong:  Confessions had a great concept to work with... I suppose if a great concept is the same as many other a great concepts in Romantic Suspense-landia...  A large group of brothers, all ex-military, all buff and hunky, all over-protective of their own, all with their own dark secrets, and you've got the McGuire brothers.  As well as many other groups of fictional siblings ever introduced in Category Romance or Romantic Suspense.

Confessions probably would have been a great piece of fluff, enjoyable and guilty pleasure for me, if I had actually enjoyed it.  But instead of turning off my mind and just enjoying the read, I found myself nitpicking so many things about it that I couldn't quite justify giving it a higher than 'meh' rating.

Really, the characters were terribly cliched and the plot a bit predictable.  In fact, even the writing felt amateur and I found myself wondering if this was actually written by Cynthia Eden, and if so, why the style felt so juvenile.  The romance was just hard to get behind because our main hero felt kind of stalker-ish and creepy, while the heroine was so stock standard damsel-in-distress that it managed to make my teeth hurt.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book up to a point and may read the rest of the series if only because I DO own the next two books.  The rest of the series and some of the side characters kind of appeal to me and my curiosity is slightly piqued.  So I'm hoping that the writing style will be more in line with what I know of Cynthia Eden, and the story lines less carbon copy.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/short-review-confessions.html
Review
2 Stars
Thoughts: Whirlpool
Whirlpool - Elizabeth Lowell

Whirlpool
by Elizabeth Lowell


My TBR List -- November Winner!
See Other My TBR List Reviews @ Because Reading

 

 

As a child, Laurel Swann barely knew her father.  Always an enigma, intriguing and inscrutable, he was an elusive shadow flitting in and out of her life.   Even now, years later, he remains a stranger to her.  Still, when a mysterious parcel arrives containing a priceless Fabergé egg, Laurel is certain it came from him.  But she doesn't realize that her father's gift has brought death and terror into her world...

Against her will, Laurel is being dragged down into a swirling vortex of betrayal and violence.   And there's nowhere to turn for help--except to Cruz Rowan, an ex-FBI agent and her father's sworn enemy.  A strong, secretive, and dangerous man, Cruz has his own agenda and is spinning his own webs.

And he is her last and only hope...



First of all, I read this book as part of the My TBR List monthly voting meme (see links above).  But I couldn't finish it in time for so many reasons--one of those reasons being that I just couldn't really get into the book.

Elizabeth Lowell is an author I have read before--there were a few of her books I enjoyed.  Her Romantic Suspenses are exciting and constantly forward-moving, which helps to keep the reader in the game even if said reader has no idea exactly what's going on.  Because Elizabeth Lowell DOES also have the tendency to scatter the focus of her books.  Sometimes there are so many story tangents and characters that you have a hard time figuring out what the story is actually about.

When it comes to Whirlpool, I was actually quite satisfied with the story progression, story outline, and the story concept, in general.  The execution wasn't terrible.  I knew where the book was taking me, and I knew what the main conflict was.  In contrast, it was actually the characters that made the book unbearable for me.  Because when you insert two alpha-jackass heroes and one doormat heroine... it really makes for some rage reading.

I have so many issues with our main couple, and the heroine's father.

Laurel really is a bonafide Category Romance heroine.  To be honest, I didn't have as big a problem with her as I had with how she handles the situation between her father and her lover.  Both men are nothing but jackasses to her.  But she lets them use her, and then lets them turn around and continue shoving her around.  They keep talking (and monologue-ing) about how much they care about her and how they have her best interests at heart; but they act like they don't care one way or another if she gets hurt in the process.

Despite what Cruz kept saying about Laurel--that she's the innocent who got dragged into the mess her father created; that her father is just using her; that he never really wanted to hurt her--he still went and did those exact same things.  And it doesn't help that Laurel doesn't even blame him or get angry or upset.  She just allows him do whatever he wants.  Then she wants to go and blame herself if two testosterone-fueled men end up killing each other.

And it's the same way with her father, too.  Although, to be honest, I dislike her father much more than any other character in this book.  Because with as much experience in the dark, twisted world of government politics, and private mercenary dangers as Jamie Swann has, I refuse to believe that he DIDN'T know the kind of danger he was putting his daughter into the moment he sent the stolen Fabergé to her address.  From that moment forward, he already put a target on her back, and it matters not a whit that he figured he'd just disappear and Laurel could go on with her life.

I'm not entirely sure whether to blame the character himself, or poor planning on the author's part.  Because Laurel's father--who keeps claiming over and over again that if Laurel just stays out of the entire business then she'll be safe--keeps making other stupid decisions and saying other stupid things that lead killers and assassins right to Laurel's door.  I have a hard time believing that someone as highly trained and experienced as him wouldn't have figured that out.

I'm just a common layperson reading a book, and I figured it out.

If he had intended to keep his daughter safe, he should have never contacted her in the first place or done anything to draw her attention to the bad guys... (a relative term considering the fact that I'm not even sure that old man Swann was a good guy himself).

And then the things he says to Laurel when he finds out that she's working with Cruz... highly crass and inappropriate.  He does not get to say things like that to his own daughter, especially since he spends a lot of time trying to convince her that he's got her best interests at heart... when obvious actions seem to say otherwise.  Also, I figure he kind of forfeited his right to be judgmental about his own daughter when he wasn't exactly a pillar of fucking morality himself.  And when he's the one who brought all this trouble down into her life in the first place.

Jackass AND stupid.

But anyway...

Romance-wise, the feelings and love development was way too insta and way too abrupt.  I have a hard time accepting stories wherein a strange man breaks into the heroine's home, but the heroine still manages to immediately feel the stirrings of attraction, and immediately decides that she trusts him not to do bad things to her.  The continued antagonistic development of Laurel and Cruz's relationship was also hard to accept because of everything going on between them.  And especially when Cruz continually broods over the fact that Laurel is protective over her father.

I mean, what did Cruz expect?  That Laurel, who has always loved her father despite how he's treated her her entire life, would suddenly turn around and go, "Oh.  Okay.  I'll help you track down my father, capture and arrest him, or possibly get him killed!"


Anyway, basically this book was just chock full of romantic clichés and frustrating people.

At least the suspense part of the story wasn't too bad, even if the random forays into our villain's heads was a little disturbing.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/thoughts-whirlpool.html
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- November 2016

I'm just going to say that November was a bad month for reading.  Between the holidays, my own wandering attention span, and The Crystal Cave, I think I got into a pretty bad slump.  I have a lot of books planned for reading (some that I had hoped to read in November, but never got to), that I'm going to try to rollover into December.  And maybe my slump will lift a little bit.

And to clarify:  The Crystal Cave wasn't a bad book to read.  I just had trouble getting into it.  And being that it was a pretty chunky book, it DID end up taking a lot of time out of my reading.  Following, I ended up with another book that was also hard to get into before I started reading Mortal Heart which took me all of two days to finish once started (which kind of makes me wish I would have read it first).

Another problem might be my new addiction to a game called Cross Stitch World, which is kind of like a 'Color-by-numbers' type of game that makes me want to go out and buy some cross stitch kits to play with.  I used to cross stitch all the time when I was in high school and created some neat things around the house--patterned cross stitch.  Then I tried counted cross stitch and finally got bored enough that I gave up--a pillow case never got finished.

 

 

Month Reads

 

 

 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 
None this month, but a few books came close.

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

 

Month Reading Stats

 

Total works read:  9

  • 9 full length novels || 2 audio books


Average rating:  3.22 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers // 4.0 Stars each
    • (1) Grave Mercy
    • (2) Dark Triumph
    • (3) Mortal Heart
  • Lowest Rated:  Whirlpool by Elizabeth Lowell // 2.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • Arthurian Saga (Merlin Trilogy) by Mary Stewart
  • Hostage Negotiation Team by Julie Coulter Bellon

Series I completed:

  • The Cousins O'Dwyer by Nora Roberts

Series I have made progress on:

  • Lucy Valentine by Heather Webber
  • His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers
  • Dead Wrong by Jami Alden



Favorite reads:  Again, the month of November was a pretty bad month for me for reading... and blogging.  Reading slumps happen, and I know I also get some pretty bad blogging slumps as well.  Because sometimes, I guess you just need some time away, even from something you really love to do.

For the month of November, there were really only three books that I really loved, and those were the three His Fair Assassin books by Robin LaFevers.  I loved Grave Mercy a lot when I first read it nearly two years previous, and it still comes as a surprise to me why I never read the other two books before this year.  Nonetheless, they were all excellent and had me sitting in a Book Hangover afterwards for each.


Disappointing reads:  It wasn't like I had a lot of books I was disappointed in, as they were fairly mediocre.  If I had to choose one, I'd probably say that Beg for Mercy by Jami Alden was probably one of my big disappointments; I had been expecting something more likable since I've read Jami Alden before and enjoyed her.  And also, I'd been looking forward to it since I hadn't touched as many Romantic Suspenses during the September/October Halloween Bingo duration and was starting to go into withdrawal.

Anyway, even though Whirlpool was the lowest rated book I read in November, it wasn't like I really expect amazingly excellent work from Elizabeth Lowell, so I honestly wasn't too disappointed in the way it came out.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

 

Other Posts

 

 

Coming Up In Month

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

Other Stuff

December is typically the worst reading month for me, if we look at my past reading patterns throughout each year.  I'm making no definite goals for this month, if November is any indication of how my reading and blogging activities are going to be for the last month of this year.  In fact, I've already dropped a few blog posts I'd been planning on putting out for December.  If I'm already in a slump, the last thing I want is to give myself too many blogging obligations--it'll only prove to make me frustrated if I can't finish my 'Blogging To Do' list.

What I DO hope to be able to accomplish this month though, is to at least put together a 'Year-in-Review' for the books I've read throughout 2016, as well as a blog package post of short, bite-sized reviews for books I never got around to actually reviewing.  Since I'm planning on cutting down the number of Reading Challenges for 2017 (more than I've already cut down my reading challenge participation in 2016), there will likely be only one post for, specifically, the 2017 Reading Assignment Challenge plans--a challenge wherein I usually go for the most challenging level, but of which I will be dropping my level of challenge for next year.

Reading-wise, I think I'm really only concerned with my last four Reading Assignment books... but otherwise, I'm not going to make myself read anything that I'm just not getting into.  Maybe this will be a great start to learning how to use that DNF Trigger for my own sake.

 

 

2016 Wrap-Ups 

 

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

Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- January 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- February 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- March 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- April 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- May 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- June 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- July 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- August 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- September 2016
Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- October 2016

 

 

currently reading

Progress: 217/556minutes
Progress: 292/751pages