Ani's Book Abyss

Ani's Book Abyss

I like to read. A lot.

Review
3 Stars
Thoughts: Backwoods
Backwoods - Jill Sorenson

Backwoods

by Jill Sorenson

Book 4 of Aftershock

 

 

The more you trust, the more you risk…

When plans for a wilderness retreat with her teenage daughter Brooke go awry, Abby Hammond reluctantly pairs up with Brooke's stepbrother and his dad, Nathan Strom, for the week-long trek.  The only thing Abby has in common with the bad-boy former pro athlete is that their exes cheated with each other.  That…and a visceral attraction that's growing more complicated with every step through the picturesque woods.

Nathan's wild-card reputation lost him his career and his family.  After years of regret, he's ready to fight for what truly matters—and that includes Abby's hard-won trust.  When Brooke goes missing, Nathan knows he's her best and only hope of rescue.  But the deeper into the rugged mountains they go, the more dangerous the territory will prove—for their safety and for their hearts.



I've been enjoying Jill Sorenson's Aftershock series for the past three books, and while they aren't necessarily my favorite reads, they are exciting and attention-hooking, to the point that the books become un-put-down-able.  Sorenson always jumps right into the action, with an earthquake burying San Diego in the first book, a plane crash and a loose killer in the second, and a kidnapping of the main characters into the harsh California badlands in the third.

Backwoods felt kind of tame and mellow in comparison.  Though to be fair, we DO get a glimpse of what's to come when Abby keeps dropping news article mentions about missing young girls and a dead body or two in the area she and her daughter and company will be hiking around.

And to be totally honest, I get that you shouldn't wrap yourself in a bubble just because some bad things happen in life, but shouldn't we also be a bit more cautious if young girls keep going missing in the same area within a certain time frame.  I'm no advocate of coincidences, honestly, and so that just screams SERIAL KILLER RAPIST to me.  But then again, I've maybe read one two many crime thrillers, and grew up with a very paranoid mother who makes sure to lock the doors all the time and calls you regularly when you're out with friends just to make sure you're not lying in a ditch somewhere.

Anyway, logic aside, that was only one of the reasons I didn't find Backwoods as enjoyable as the other three Aftershock books.  To be totally honest, our entire crew of characters is just a walking TSTL team waiting to happen, and that's only because they are letting a socially and sexually unaware eighteen year old girl lead them.  I'm not saying that eighteen year old girls aren't capable of leading a group into the wilderness for a nice few days of hiking--obviously Brooke knows what she's doing and can organize a mean hiking expedition with the best of them.

But when she stopped to talk to two strangers, completely ignorant of the leering looks one of them was giving her, and then proceeded to tell said strangers where she and crew were heading... Well, girl you might as well just throw yourself into their arms and ask to be kidnapped if you're going to outline your entire trip, including bathroom breaks to people you don't know.

Once again...  A lot of young women have gone missing in this area.  If Abby weren't so paranoid, and if Nathan hadn't cut Brooke's conversation off, I'm not sure Brooke would have made it very far in her hiking endeavors.

Anyway...

The book actually starts off pretty slow with a lot of family drama that seriously feels like a dysfunctional family soap.  Nathan's wife Lydia cheated on him with Abby's husband; Abby walked in on her husband Ray going at it with Lydia.  Now their two respective kids seem to be fighting an intense case of teenage hormones for each other... and then Abby and Nathan end up getting it on.  Later on, we even find out that Ray cheated on Lydia and another divorce is in the works.

Meanwhile, our group spends their time trying to keep the peace while hiking around in the wilderness--a trip that is supposed to take at least three days with no contact with the outside world.  Meanwhile, a lot of young women have gone missing from this location... Have I already mentioned that?

And Brooke is all, "Stop being so paranoid, Mom.  Nothing is going to happen."

Famous last words.

Backwoods had a promising premise.  I just wish I could scrounge up enough care for the characters to like this book more.  The rest of the book really was pretty exciting and intense.  And as per Jill Sorenson standards, the story was fast-paced; I rolled through it pretty quickly.

The characters, mainly, were the most frustrating and I had trouble relating with them.  In fact, I don't even think I was able to like any of the characters, which, while isn't a first for me, is not exactly a very common thing.  Sometimes, there's at least one or two characters I can find some like for.  Unfortunately, Backwoods is not one of those books.

So... probably if not for the fact that the book was written well and the story was not bad, I probably would have given this book a much lower rating.  Call me biased--I DO like Jill Sorenson and her books, and the Aftershock series is an overall enjoyable one.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #7:
This book takes place in California.

Page Count:  378
Cash Award:  $3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $39.00

See Also:  Freebie Roll Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/thoughts-backwoods.html
Bout of Books 19: Day One Update
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team

 



Today's reading status:  4% of Before the Storm...

Day one has been slow to start, but I'm hoping that things will pick up soon.  I've been distracted with other things, but I just need to focus a little bit and I'll be fine.  I've got some free days coming up, so with the right snacks and cozy nook to camp in, I should be back on track soon!

 

 

Update for Day One, Monday 5/8/2017

 

  • Today's Reading Stats
    • # Books Finished:  0
    • # Pages Read:  13

 

  • Running Totals
    • # Books Finished:  0
    • # Pages Read:  13

 

 

Books I'm Currently Reading

 

Before the Storm by Leslie Tentler | 37 of 336 pages read

 

 

Read-a-thon Hopefuls

 

 

Previous Update Posts and Other Links

 

Bout of Books 19 Participation Announcement
Bout of Books 19 Starter Post


***

I'm going to try to have as much fun as I can.  If anyone else is interested in joining the read-a-thon, the badge at the top of this post will take you to the Bout of Books official website.  The link under the picture takes you directly to the sign-up post. Let's all have some fun for this week of a read-a-thon!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/bout-of-books-19-day-one-update.html
Bout of Books 19 - Starter Post
Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team

 



In a few hours, we will be starting the week long Bout of Books 19 read-a-thon.  Like previous thons, I will only be reading and will not be participating in any of the challenges or anything hosted via Bout of Books.

Once again, with Booklikes-opoly ongoing, my reading list will be dependent upon what I end up rolling.  Meanwhile, there are still those Read-a-thon Hopefuls that I would love to read given excess time.

Hopefully, with a vacation week, I can read more than I planned to read, but chances are, I'm only going to partially finish my Read-a-thon Hopefuls.

Happy reading to everyone!  And let's all have a great reading week!

 

 

Main Goals

 

My Bout of Books Read-a-thon Goals will be based upon the rolls I make in the Booklikes-opoly game.  I'm hoping that with enough time, I can manage to read as many books as I'm allowed to roll during the week, which means 4 books.  Then I'm adding another 2 books just for a challenge. 

I decided not to include the bonus 2 books in my goal, because there will be a lot of activity outside of my reading life that I must participate in.  So I'm just going to stick with 4 books.

Main Goal:  Read 6 books  Read 4 books
Bonus Goal:  Read for at least 4 to 8 hours daily, or on average

 

 

Books I'm Currently Reading

 

 

 

Read-a-thon Hopefuls

 

 

 

Previous Update Posts and Other Links

 

Bout of Books 19 Participation Announcement


***

I'm going to try to have as much fun as I can.  If anyone else is interested in joining the read-a-thon, the badge at the top of this post will take you to the Bout of Books official website.  The link under the picture takes you directly to the sign-up post. Let's all have some fun for this week of a read-a-thon!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/bout-of-books-19-starter-post.html
Review
4 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Running Hot
Running Hot - Jayne Ann Krentz

Running Hot

by Jayne Ann Krentz

Book 5 of Arcane Society

 

 

Ex-cop Luther Malone, lifelong member of the secretive paranormal organization known as the Arcane Society, is waiting to meet Grace Renquist.  Hired as an aura-reading consultant in the quest for a murder suspect, she’s got zero field experience.  She’s from tiny Eclipse Bay, Oregon.  She’s a librarian, for heaven’s sake.

As for Grace, she’s not expecting much either from Malone, who walks with a cane and isn’t so good with a gun.  Nice résumé for a bodyguard...

But even before they reach their hotel in Maui—where they’ll be posing as honeymooners—Grace and Luther feel the electric charge between them.  Problem is, they need to remain vigilant day and night, because it soon becomes clear there’s more going on here.  Rogue sensitives—operatives for the underground group Nightshade—are pouring into the luxury resort like there’s a convention.  Grace recognizes those dark spikes in their auras.  She saw the same pattern in someone else in another life—a life she hasn’t revealed to Luther or anyone else.  And she understands how dangerous these people can be . . . especially with those para-hunters at their sides.

While the pair’s employers at Jones & Jones scramble to get them backup, Luther and Grace have to think on their feet.  The criminals in their midst aren’t just high-level sensitives: They’ve enhanced their talents with a potent—and unpredictable—drug.  And as Grace knows all too well, if you don’t control your powers, your powers will control you...



I always find it extremely hard not to enjoy a book written by Jayne Ann Krentz, and while I've read more books written in her other persona, Amanda Quick, I've found that her contemporary Rom-Suspense novels are so much more enjoyable.  Probably because, even while the formulas for the romances in her historical fiction are always the same, the ones in her contemporary settings do not seem that way--or I just don't notice if they ARE the same formula.

Either way, I immensely enjoyed Running Hot and absolutely adored our main couple and their developing romance.

Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't flaws in this book, starting with the insta-lust and how quickly our main couple end up having steamy sex, and onward to the slightly confusing set-up of their respective psychic aura talents and how those talents are used.  Then there was also that little snag of how the book felt like two stories mashed into one, starting with an undercover operation, and then moving into a "Don't let the crazy psychic Siren murder you" side tangent.

I like undercover operations as a base board for jumping into a romance--here there be loads of potential for sexual tension and the like.  But unfortunately, there was sexual tension brought upon from the "lust at first sight" rather than being situational...  A little disappointing, but I'll swing with it.

Meanwhile, we've still got that ongoing conflict in the background involving the rogue psychic organization called Nightshade and their obsession with the founder's formula.

If you didn't understand any of the stuff I've just thrown out there, it's probably for the best, and you probably should rewind and start reading the series from the first book.

Anyway...  There's not much else I can come up with to say about this book.  It's extremely enjoyable for the moment, and I love learning more about the Arcane Society and the world it encompasses as each book goes by; I love reading about all the psychic talents we've yet to touch upon.

And even though the main, background conflict of the overall series doesn't seem all that interesting to me, it DOES have its uses as the connecting factor from one book to another, bringing our characters together, and referencing previous books and characters.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #6:
Author JAK was born pre-1955.

Page Count:  352
Cash Award:  $3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $36.00

See Also:  Freebie Roll Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/brief-thoughts-running-hot.html
Review
5 Stars
A Squee-ing Ramble: The Duchess War
The Duchess War - Courtney Milan

The Duchess War

by Courtney Milan

Book 1 of Brothers Sinister

 

 

Sometimes love is an accident.

This time, it’s a strategy.

Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way.  After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly--so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past.  Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don't get trampled.  So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention.

But that is precisely what she gets.

Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled.  When Minnie figures out what he's up to, he realizes there is more to than her spectacles and her quiet ways.  And he's determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his.  But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match...



Let me tell everyone about the many ways in which I absolutely loved this book!  And also, we will even disregard all the little quibbles I felt about this book, because in light of how much I absolutely loved The Duchess War and all of the characters presented in it, flaws mean nothing.

And then let me follow up with a few quotes to underscore the many reasons why I loved this book!

As a fair warning:  This post is not really a review.  This post is really a big squee, once again, highlighting all the reasons why I loved this book... interspersed with some passages and quotes from the book I found extremely lovely!

My love for this book probably started with this particular passage:

He tried to be honest with himself.  He had to be, as so few others were.  His friend, Sebastian, could charm the bloomers off even the most upright dragons of the ton--and had, on occasion.  His brother had a razor-sharp wit on the one hand, and a way of making others comfortable on the other.  Oliver could make ladies laugh.

For himself...  He could rarely think of how to respond when immersed in that heady back-and-forth.  Sometimes he thought of clever things to say... hours later.  Usually, he committed the worst sin possible:  He said what he was really thinking.  That was why he came out with gems like, I like your tits.  Not one of this finest moments, that.


And then, soon after, as I continued reading this book, and began getting to know the characters, I found myself falling for everything about this book.

Then little gems like this would appear:

"This is true," Sebastian said.  "The Countess of Cambury is like a deep, dark hole--secrets go in, but none of them ever come out."

"Sebastian," Violet replied, calmly looping the yarn about one of her needles, "it is neither proper nor respectful to let a woman know that you think of her as nothing more than a hole."


I snorted quite loudly at this one and drew attention.  XD

"Now what will we do for women?"

"Really," Roberts said a little more forcefully.  "I know I've not yet said my wedding vows, but I must insist that..."

But they weren't paying him any attention.  "I know just the thing," Oliver said, brightening.  "Mary Wollstonecraft.  I have a copy of A Vindication of the Rights of Women in my room--I'll be sure to bring that."

"Excellent," Sebastian said, rubbing his hands together.  "And there's this letter I received by this curious woman from the United States--one Antoinette Brown.  She wrote the most extraordinary things about evolution and women's rights.  I'll bring that."

"I have a pamphlet by Emily Davies."

Robert's lips twisted upward despite himself.

"I was thinking I could bring a copy of Thomas Payne," Oliver said, "But that would make our numbers uneven."

"Violet," Sebastian said, with a wave of his hand.  "She can be surprisingly handy in an argument."

"Ah, I suppose she'll do in a pinch."  Oliver stood, and set his hand on Robert's shoulder.  "Let nobody say that the Brothers Sinister have no idea how to be depraved."

"There shall be brandy!"  Sebastian stood.  "And we shall even drink it, although Robert will stop after two glasses because he always does."

"There will be food!"  Oliver declaimed, mirroring Sebastian's stance.  "And we shan't drink that, because then we would choke."


I can't express how much I love Robert's friends as well as his relationship with them.  The character interactions in his book are divine!  The dialogue is witty and wonderfully timed.  The banter is excellent, the character growth is superb!  And I'm running out of positive adjectives to help make this review anymore meaningless than it really is right now... O.o

I loved how Minnie and Robert battled each other verbally with their wits.  I loved how Minnie was depicted in such a positive, confident light in spite of her situation.  She's the strong, independent, intelligent female heroine I absolutely love to follow, with a sense of imperfection, just enough to make you love her and want to follow her plight and feel for her and with her.

But what came as more of a surprise to me was how much I loved Robert for his non-standard character as a duke.  He was never arrogant, and had a great sense of loyalty for those he cared about.  But what stood out the most for me in Robert was his strong sense of humility, rarely seen in these types of characters--and Minnie describes it quite well at the beginning of the book, likening him to someone who knows how much power he holds, but feeling embarrassed to be the one in a position of status and power over others.

When Minnie first describes this, I didn't really understand what she meant.  However, the more you get to know Robert as the story progresses, you start to understand him.  And I slowly fell for the self-aware, humble duke presented in this book.  The fact that he doesn't apologize for his origins, but uses his power to try to help make the world a better place...  He's an idealistic prince sitting in his ivory tower, and even with his built-in humility, I love that he still finds more to learn about from Minnie.

And vice versa, I love that Minnie finds her own self-revelations through him.

As I'm writing these words, comes to mind another idealistic prince sitting in his ivory tower, who is humble in his own way, but not too prideful to use what his birthright has given him for the sake of others, especially his friends.  Another fictional character I found myself falling irresistibly in love with, for another book that I loved so much I couldn't figure out how to review properly without the obligatory fangirl squeals.

There are so many reasons for me to love this book.  The story line itself wasn't really all that unique in itself, but the parallels that present themselves between Minnie and Robert are outlined very well.  The conflicts might have been a bit over-dramatic, but everything falls together in the end and wrap up in a well-rounded way.

Finally, I love all the positive relationships presented in this book.  Robert and his friends; Minnie and Lydia.  Oliver Marshall, who has every right to despise and hate Robert and the entire duke's family for what befell his mother (detailed in the prequel novella)--his relationship as Robert's half-brother was much sunnier than I'd expected, and I really love that.

I also loved that Lydia's reasons for being angry at Minnie had nothing to do with lies or betrayals or station, but that she felt more upset that Minnie didn't trust her enough to confide in her--it does sometimes come as a shock to a best friend when you find out that said best friends knows all of your own deepest secrets, but she never trusted you enough to tell you hers.  And I'm glad that the two loved each other enough to get past that, though, of course.

Finally, while it DID get slightly frustrating to watch Robert and Minnie dance around their feelings, both sexual and emotional, for so long, it was a rather refreshing to watch them work out their problems in a logical fashion like mature adults.

Or sort of, but you can't deny that Robert's the more endearing for everything he does and says in his clueless fashion.

"Oh," he said quietly.  He seemed to take a few moments to absorb that before he opened the primer again.  "A is for 'All the ways I love you.'  There are more than twenty-six, but as this is the alphabet we have, I'm going to have to restrict myself.  At least for now."

[...]

"B is for 'But I am going to make mistakes.'  Something I am sure does not come as a surprise to you.  "C is for Confession.  I don't know how to do this.  I don't know how to be a husband.  I don't know how to be a father. All I learned from my father is how not to do it--and that is rarely any guide.  But...  D is for Determination...  E is for Eternity, because that's how long it will take before I give up again.  F--that's for Forgiveness, because I think I'll need a great deal of that, before I start to get things right."

"G is for... G is for... G is for 'Good heaves, I should have written these down.'  I've forgotten."

He frowned in perplexity.  "Really.  I have no idea what comes next.  I puzzled them all out in my head, and they were going to be utterly brilliant, and when I was finished, you were going to leap in my arms and everything would be better."


Truthfully, I'm more surprised at how much I loved this book considering just how mediocre I had found the prequel novella The Governess Affair.  Currently, I'm crossing my fingers in hopes that this wasn't just a fluke and that the following books in this series will be just as enjoyable.

 


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #5:
This book opens up in 1863.

Page Count: 271
Cash Award: +$3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $33.00

See Also:  Fifth Roll Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/a-squee-ing-ramble-duchess-war.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Thoughts: The Sugar Queen
The Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

The Sugar Queen

by Sarah Addison Allen

 

 

In this irresistible novel, Sarah Addison Allen, author of the New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet.  For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night….  Until she finds her closet harboring Della Lee Baker, a local waitress who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother.  With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey’s narrow existence quickly expands.  She even bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who is hounded by books that inexplicably appear when she needs them—and who has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.  Soon Josey is living in a world where the color red has startling powers, and passion can make eggs fry in their cartons.  And that’s just for starters.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.



Written as magically as the first book I read by Sarah Addison Allen, I love how smoothly and naturally she weaves the supernatural into everyday events of her books.  Of course, The Sugar Queen wasn't as outstanding as The Girl Who Chased the Moon, even if it was just as fluffy.  I can't say for sure what, but there were just a few things about The Sugar Queen that didn't quite work out for me.

Certainly, the author's penchant for strangely quirky descriptions are ever present:

 

Summer was tedious with the light dresses she pretended to be comfortable in while secretly sure she looked like a loaf of white bread wearing a belt.

 

***
If she could eat the cold air, she would.  She thought cold snaps were like cookies, like gingersnaps.  In her mind they were made with white chocolate chunks and had a cool, brittle vanilla frosting.  They melted like snow in her mouth, turning creamy and warm.


If it was one thing I had to pinpoint about The Sugar Queen that I didn't care for, it would be that I had a hard time relating with the characters, and found myself a bit frustrated with their interactions, dynamics, as well as the dysfunctional family relations presented.  This is a bit frustrating since both Chloe and Josey, aside from both their worlds hinging so significantly on love and romance, are actually pretty interesting heroines on paper--in action, however, they got pretty sigh-inducing, because I'm not entirely sure I know what each of their stories was supposed to encompass.

Although I DO love Chloe's strange magical ability--though I'm not sure if we could call it an ability since she doesn't consciously make it happen.

 

Whether she liked it or not, books always appeared when she needed them.


Along the lines of the characters being hard to relate with, I'm also a bit conflicted about how I like the two love stories that unfolded in this book.  To call them romances seem a bit far-fetched: one felt too insta for my liking, and the other felt unresolved.

And, unfortunately, while Josey and Chloe could have been interesting, our two main male characters were simply flat and... well, uninteresting.  I'm not entirely sure they contributed much to the story, and I found it hard to like either of them.  Jake was instantly minus fifty points because he cheated on Chloe; though I'll give him props for coming clean with her even though it took three months.  Adam was just plain boring.  And his whole spiel about how Jake shouldn't have even said anything to Chloe about cheating on her was a bit disagreeable.

And then this brings me to something I felt a bit unhappy about.  Chloe's break-up with Jake had to do with two things:  Jake cheated on her, then he refused to tell her who the other woman was, which further angered her, sending her into a more chaotic spiral just to figure out this nagging piece of information she was being denied.  But this isn't why I was unhappy with the situation, the characters, the book itself.

I'm unhappy because I'm not sure what kind of message was being presented.  Basically, aside from Josey and Jake, it seemed, almost everyone around Chloe were making little comments about how Jake needed to give Chloe space and that eventually she would come back to him... as if the two simply had a disagreement and Chloe was just overreacting.  The blasé way in which Jake's father, and even Adam, were acting about what Jake did made it seem like it wasn't a big deal.

But Jake cheated.  And telling him that he needs to just NOT do anything, give Chloe some space, and wait for her to come back to him, because apparently everyone thinks that Chloe has nowhere else to go and no one else to go to... it made me a bit upset, truth be told.

Even the books were getting on my nerves, because things titles like Finding Forgiveness, A Girl's Guide to Keeping Her Guy, and Old Love New Direction kept popping up around Chloe--as if it were her duty to fix her relationship with Jake.  Then the book Madam Bovary even popped up when she was about to head out to meet with another man.  The entire situation just seemed so one-sided, and again, I'm not sure what kind of message this particular love story was trying to present.

Boy cheats on girl.  Girl has to fix relationship?

Anyway, enough about that rambling.  In the end, The Sugar Queen had been entertaining enough to keep me reading, even if I was a bit frustrated by most of it.  The entire Della Lee part of the story started becoming pretty predictable quite early one, though I'm going to admit, she might have been one of my favorite characters next to Helena.  I felt a big giggly whenever Helena referred to Josey and her mother as "Oldgret" and "Oldsey."  I found that cute in a quirky way.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/thoughts-sugar-queen.html
Short Review: Island Peril
Island Peril - Jill Sorenson

Island Peril

by Jill Sorenson

Aftershock #3.5 (novella)

 

 

It started as a girls' outing to California's beautiful Channel Islands State Park.  When Ella Hammond embarks on a kayaking trip with sexy adventure guide Paul Dawson, sparks fly—but so does gunfire from a boat of drug smugglers.

Now Ella and Paul are on the run, soaked and stranded in a rocky hideout.  Ella feels like she'll never be warm again.  Until Paul shares his body heat—igniting a fire between them that's nearly too hot to handle!



Island Peril was a fast-paced, yet fluffy short novella.  Truth be told, there really isn't much to this particular story aside from an insta-lust romance, a lot of talk about geophysics, a random side plot with drug smugglers... and that's about it.

Ella and Paul are practically the only two people in this entire book, with Ella's sister Abby, and Abby's daughter Brooke, making a brief appearance--I understand that Abby will be front and center in the fourth Aftershock book, Backwoods.

We don't even really see the drug smugglers, though the couple gets chased by them.

The descriptions of the island were nice...

There really wasn't much story to this novella, really.  And Ella and Paul's short romance feels like a mere teaser, though I'm not sure we'll get to see much of them in Backwoods.

Overall, an okay way to pass an hour or so of time, but not a novella I'd go back to anytime, as it seemed kind of pointless, outside of introducing Abby and Brooke, as well as telling a fluffy romance.

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/short-review-island-peril.html
Review
4 Stars
Thoughts: Badlands
Badlands (Hqn) - Jill Sorenson

Badlands

by Jill Sorenson

Book 3 of Aftershock



I think I enjoyed Badlands a lot more than I'd expected to (more on that later).  The entire book is so intense and fast-paced, and it is entirely possible that it is my favorite of the Aftershock books so far... though Freefall was also one I loved, so I really can't decide.

And the characters were so great!  I especially love the fact that we're building onto Owen's character from previous books, as well as the relationship between Penny and Owen from a known history between them.


The Story:
After the events of the San Diego earthquake (Aftershock), Owen Jackson and Penny Sandoval still remain friends, their relationship growing stronger and their feelings deeper as the years go by.  But Owen holds himself back, feeling the differences of their social standings.  In order to get his life moving forward, he agrees to take a position on Jorge Sandoval's personal security team with the condition that he distance himself from Penny.  In return, the politician has offered him a letter of recommendation to help further his career, helping him find a spot with the Los Angeles Fire Department.

But everything changes when Penny is targeted by kidnappers who want to ransom her for money as well as force her father to drop out of the running as a presidential candidate.  In the chaos, however, the kidnappers end up grabbing Penny's young son, Cruz, as well as Owen.  They take the three hostages into the California badlands as part of their ransom plans, but what they hadn't counted on was Penny's escape as well as Owen's determination to keep Penny and Cruz safe.

Whether held captive, or trekking through the unforgiving heat of the desert, Owen vows to guard Penny and her son with his life; even if the person he's fighting against is his own brother.


My Thoughts:
I wasn't sure if I was going to like Badlands since I had a hard time relating to Penny in the first Aftershock book.  She had come off as spoiled, entitled, and prejudiced.  But I suppose that with the San Diego earthquake being years behind us, and Penny being allowed time to grow up, she has come out of the entire ordeal a much more mature person.

Raising a son and gaining acceptance from her super conservative father for getting pregnant out of wedlock has added to Penny's character growth since we last saw her two books prior.  Also, according to the vaguely mentioned timeline, a few years have passed since the San Diego earthquake that brought Penny and Owen into each others' lives.

To be honest, I really love the person Penny is in this book, and I really love how she loves and accepts Owen with all her heart.  Owen has certainly been through a lot of tough times, from a rough childhood with an abusive father and elder brother, to a hardening new outlook in life when he ended up in prison.  I love that Owen doesn't give himself any excuses for the decisions he made before he ended up in prison, and he also doesn't give himself any excuses for the decisions he made while in prison.

He's accepted that that has been his life up to that point, and is making steps to turn his life around and make everything work out somehow.  His ambitions are admirable, and his humble personality is kind of sweet as well.

Both characters are great together; both developing as the story progresses into even better people.

Because despite the fact that I love the person Penny is in the beginning of the book, I love that she recognizes and admits how readily she allowed her father to control her life simply because he not only didn't toss her and her son out, but also gave them everything they needed to live a comfortable life.  I love that she also doesn't give herself any excuses when it was time to stand up to her father.

Setting character dynamics aside--and there are a lot of character dynamics in this book--I very much enjoyed the entire suspenseful progression, following Owen, Penny, and Cruz as they make their way through the Badlands.  This story just keeps moving forward without a chance to stop for breath, and when all is said and done, we just kind of drift to an end in a well-outlined way.

If there is one thing I would point out, it would be the logic hole in the kidnappers hauling Owen along for the ride in the scheme.  Though I suppose, in a way, Owen's brother had been expecting him to turn around and help them with the kidnapping and ransom?  I suppose I would have been a little less forgiving if that reason hadn't been presented, since it seems highly foolish to kidnap the targeted rich girl and her bodyguard as well.

Anyway...

I loved this book, nonetheless, and I'm glad that I finally had a chance to get to it.  And in spite of how much I really disliked some of the characters, it occurs to me that they didn't take away from my enjoyment of Badlands, and in fact, kind of enhanced my satisfaction.

Jill Sorenson writes in a way that is real and down-to-earth, gritty and intense, and just keeps you hooked from the beginning until the end, with characters that are not the usual, larger-than-life romance novel types.

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/thoughts-badlands.html
Review
3 Stars
Very Short Review: Scenes of Peril (novella)
Passion and Peril: Scenes of PassionScenes of Peril - Suzanne Brockmann, Jill Sorenson

Scenes of Peril
by Jill Sorenson

Aftershock #2.5 (novella)

**Also part of the Passion and Peril anthology

 

 

The snowstorm forecast says it's a big one, but wildlife photographer Paige Dawson is prepared.  Until a terrible car accident brings a sexy stranger to her remote mountain cabin and the bad weather strands them together . . . for days.  The heat between them is like nothing she's ever known — incendiary, undeniable. And just as she begins to hope for something real with Colin Reid, after the snow melts, he remembers what caused his accident . . . and it may be too late for them both.



I only read the novella, Scenes of Peril by Jill Sorenson from this anthology, which also includes a novella by Suzanne Brockmann.  I may or may not return and read Scenes of Passion at some point, once I figure out whether the novella is part of a series or not.

Anyway...

I was looking forward to Scenes of Peril, both because I like Jill Sorenson's work, and also because I love the "Snowed In" plot device.  They're always so much fun depending on the circumstances--for added romantic tension, for a murder mystery, etc....

Scenes of Peril was a fast-paced and exciting book, and I've always appreciated Sorenson's attention to detail to the grittier, more down-to-earth aspects of her books.  And while Scenes of Peril was enjoyable in its own right, I felt like a lot of the book felt a little forced.  Overlooking the insta-love situation, since this is a romance novella, first and foremost, I also found the activities between Colin and Paige during their, what seemed like one single day of entrapment by snow in her cabin kind of awkward.  The whole photo shoot as a means to display sexual objectifying of a human being was an interesting thought... but it actually felt kind of tacky in its execution.

And the conflict felt like it involved a lot more angst than it really merited.  The reason for their argument at the end felt a bit overdone.  And I don't know how I feel about the ending suspenseful twist.

Nonetheless, for anyone looking for a quick, easy, and entertaining novella to pass a couple hours, Scenes of Peril isn't a bad choice.  I will admit that I was hoping for more of a "Snowed In" experience than just a day of bad weather...

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/very-short-review-scenes-of-peril.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Brief Thoughts: Don't Look Away
Don't Look Away - Leslie A. Smith

Don't Look Away

by Leslie A. Kelly

Book 1 of Veronica Sloan

 

 

CAN A MURDER VICTIM'S OWN MEMORIES BE USED TO SOLVE A CRIME?

Detective Veronica Sloan isn't shocked by much.  Having lived through the worst terrorist attacks in history — which destroyed much of Washington, D.C. — she's immune to even the most vicious brutality.  But even she is stunned by the discovery of a murder in the basement of the under-reconstruction White House.

Sloan and FBI Agent Jeremy Sykes have been assigned to investigate the homicide because the victim was a participant in a top-secret experiment.  Veronica has been training for just this kind of case, waiting to use her special skills, anxious to learn if a recording device implanted in a victim's head can help solve their murder … before the killer strikes again.



Barring all the typos I stumbled across, and the slow start, this book got interesting as it progressed.  Being a more futuristic type of book, even if it's set only a few years in the future, it was kind of hard to pick up on all the new lingo and all the "history" of the present timeline.

Veronica was not an easy character to relate to, and sometimes came off extremely judgmental; but then she'd correct herself by revisiting earlier snap judgments she makes about people, and properly accept that she was wrong.  I don't know what to think about her.

And then we even have a sort of love triangle--I don't like love triangles.  And in this case, I think it would have been handled well if there had been better chemistry between the respective points involved.  At least Veronica points out the obvious, resenting the fact that they are in the middle of a murder investigation, a rather cruel and gruesome one at that, and the two men around her are too busy posturing and trying to pee their territory around her.

Anyway, I wasn't really all that impressed by the O.E.P. technology that was presented in this book.  The hype and the curiosity that came about made me think that there was a lot more to the optical tech than we actually ended up finding.  In the end, it was all just a fancy, more glamorized kind of body cam that really only snaps non-motion pictures once every second.

While that DOES make for a nice way to watch a crime happening from a victim's perspective, as we can see, there are loopholes and workarounds.  If the perpetrator knows that the O.E.P. technology exists and has been implanted in the victim, said perpetrator can take many precautions to ensure that he or she can still get away with the crime.  Simply remove the head and hide it, or bash in the skull and completely ruin the optical chip, or just wear a mask or find some way to blind the victim.

Truthfully, I was actually expecting something a bit more advanced and... well, fancier.

Time to adjust my mindset, I suppose.

Though at the very least, the criminal investigation wasn't bad, though I would have liked to see more of it.  While our two main characters spend their time looking at photos from their victims' O.E.P. files, a lot of the actual investigating happens behind the scenes, conducted by Veronica's police detective partner.  And while the main culprit wasn't really predictable, the way some of the events in the story progression occurs was predictable.

Finally, this book kind of ends on a cliff-hanger, which means I need to pick up the second book ASAP.  I don't like cliff-hangers.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #4:
Our MC, Veronica, is a police detective.

Page Count:  323
Cash Award:  +$3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $30.00

See Also: Fourth Roll Activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/brief-thoughts-dont-look-away.html
Review
2.5 Stars
Review: False Memory
False Memory - Dean Koontz

False Memory
by Dean Koontz


I know I've read books before where I wished there were a fast-forward button--where you can still sort of understand what's going on, but reach the ending more quickly, bypassing all those unnecessarily dragged out scenes.  Because there were descriptions so detailed and trivial and meandering that my head started to hurt.

Have you ever spent three or five pages reading about the main character of a book contemplating the dangers of her kitchen knife rack, only to take another three pages of book to realize that she would be the dangerous one if she wielded said knives for violence?  It took that many pages for our main character, Martie, to decide that the knives in the knife rack needed to be disposed of for those reasons.

Maybe it's to emphasize the seriousness of her newly discovered fear of her violent side, but that is still a lot of time to contemplate the knives in a knife rack.  Then there was even an entire chapter dedicated to the contemplation of potentially dangerous items in one of the kitchen drawers.

Meanwhile, Dusty and his brother spent about two pages discussing what the Angel of Death looks like... which I suppose could merit two pages of text... maybe.


I've always enjoyed reading Dean Koontz.  I really have.  He's got some gems out there; some great psychological thrillers that really just hook you in and keep you hooked until the end.  Koontz writes great work, with some super creative plots and thrilling scenarios.  His writing style is consistently familiar (with the exception of one particular book I read recently), though he does often change some parts of his style, ever so subtly, but just enough that it either makes or breaks the book.

For better or worse, I've always found that I either like a Dean Koontz novel, or I don't--there's rarely an in-between.

But an excellent writer he is, which is probably why I keep coming back to him, even if I don't always pick up his books.

False Memory is one book that I didn't really care for.  It had potential, which was what got me excited about it in the first place.  I had come across a summary somewhere that mentioned a character with agoraphobia, and the idea of exploring such a psychological thriller with such a character seemed interesting.  Then I learned that it was actually about a character who was afraid of her own shadow and her own reflection in the mirror--not agoraphobia, but something that I learned was called auto-phobia.

That concept also sounded super interesting.

But the book drags out for a long time with a lot of build up.  Then continues to drag out some more.  I'd say that the first couple chapters weren't bad; and then the last few chapters were the more exciting, even if the conclusion was kind of sticky.


The Story:
None of the summaries from the book sites really tells you much about this book, and my copy only gives taglines that are supposed to draw you in--admittedly, it DID work on me.

Basically, the book opens with Martie Rhodes suffering some strange bout of panic attack, fearing her own shadow, fearing her own reflection in the mirror.  But she sucks it up and heads out to collect her best friend, Susan who has agoraphobia, and needs to be forcefully coaxed out of her home in order to make it to her psychiatrist's appointment.  It's a battle of wills each time she accompanies her friend out the door.

But this time more so as Martie realizes that she's suffering some sort of panic-induced affliction of her own that she can't seem to explain away--while the sight of her own reflection in mirrors frightens her, she is more frightened by the fact that she's seeing sharp objects such as a knife or even the tines of a fork, and thinking about how easy it is to inflict violence or death with these items.  This blood lust is a whole different side of her she's never experienced before and it frightens her that she doesn't know where its coming from.

Meanwhile, Dusty Rhodes spends the morning coaxing his half-brother, Skeet, off a rooftop where the disturbed young man has claimed that he's ready to cross over and meet the Angel of Death.  Checking Skeet into a hospital after this event, Dusty discovers something disturbing about Skeet's demeanor that seems almost fugue-like, after having a strange conversation in which Skeet appears completely detached from his own consciousness.

Concerned that something doesn't seem right, Dusty returns home only to find that Martie is suddenly on a rampage through their house to destroy anything and everything that might be used as a weapon to harm or kill.  Over the course of the day, Martie had somehow come to the conclusion that if she doesn't do as much, she would be a danger to everyone around her, most especially her own loving husband.


My Thoughts:
Obviously, my summary still doesn't do much, but for fear of giving too much away, I realized I had to stop somewhere.  Truth, there's just way too much going on in this book... or rather, way too much going on that doesn't seem to progress the story very far even after the first 200 pages.  Except that, within those first 200 pages, we are already told what the bigger conflict is, in a very disturbing scene involving Susan Jagger and her psychiatrist.

And to be honest, that development wasn't really all too surprising, and was in fact quite predictable.  Koontz is never subtle about his hints.

But anyway, as I stated in the first few paragraphs of this review, before my half-baked summary blurb, there are a lot of drawn out details and descriptions used to show us one particular scene, that, in the long run of the book itself, seems highly unnecessary.

It's Dean Koontz at his wordiest, show-casing how well he can create images with his words.  Don't get me wrong, the descriptions are done well, the scenes are told in painstakingly wonderful detail--maybe a little too deliberately detailed for my liking--and Koontz's typical dry, sarcastic, and quirky personality shows in dialogue and monologue through the characters and their interactions.

Even a little dark humor shows wherein you want to laugh, even though you are aware that it is a highly inappropriate thing to laugh about.  After all, I do not doubt how disturbing things would be for someone to wake up one morning, and suddenly have thoughts of all the ways one could use any object to maim or kill another person, thus rendering said someone scared of almost everything in sight; though most especially rendering said someone scared of her own self and the potential for violence.

 

Washing out the glass, he turned his back to her, and she said, "Hey," sharply, and he faced her while he dried it, so she wouldn't have a chance to sneak up on him and beat him to death with a can of pork and beans.

They were not going to be able to take Valet on his morning constitutional.  Martie refused to stay here alone while Dusty went out with the dog.  And if she accompanied them, she would no doubt be terrified of pushing Dusty in front of a truck and feeding Valet into some gardener's portable woodchipper.

"There's a pretty funny aspect to all this," Dusty said.

"There's nothing funny about it," she grimly disagreed.

"We're both probably right."


Koontz's quirky humor is all over this book, in both of his main characters, and even in some of the side characters.  Which is great, except that, even with all his pains to make his characters seem unique and alive... they come out seeming like super special, super perfect people, who are actually kind of flat.  I mean, I love that Koontz has the penchant to maintain a sense of goodness and justice within his main characters; that you know that his stories will always have a satisfying, well-rounded ending.

But Dusty was super perfect and Martie was super perfect, and even their flaws were insignificant.

And, once again, damn if it didn't feel like this book may have been two or three hundred pages too long because of his drawn out, overly descriptive scenes!

Even nearing the end, it took one of our main characters a good two chapters or so to assess a potentially dangerous situation involving two bad guys, some shooting, and whether or not she should take action and hunt them down before they turned around and hunted her.  It's detailed, I'll give you that.  But it was also frustratingly dragged out until you just wanted to tell her to just let Dusty out of the trunk and regroup--make a decision already!

This book wasn't entirely terrible--it was written well, as Koontz is wont to do.  And once again, the characters aren't bad.  On paper, they're actually kind of interesting.  In action, and spread across 700+ pages of a paperback novel, they got kind of boring pretty quickly.

Mainly, what didn't help was that, less than 30% into the book, I already had a stinking suspicion of what Koontz had in store for us for the rest of the book... and I was right.  Then it was just a matter of getting through the last 500 pages of the book to figure out how everything resolves itself in the end.  I didn't want to stop reading, because there were still some factors that needed answers.  I didn't want to stop reading because I just wanted to see how the situation would play out.  Because, in a way, the story was locked into a possibly impossible resolution for the good guys.

I wanted to see how good would triumph over evil!  Or something like that...

But then, in the end, as I'd already stated, the conclusion was a typical Dean Koontz ending, even if a sticky one that seemed debatable.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly

Roll #3:  (Jail Visitor)
Read 214 pages for Prison Library donation.

Roll #4:  (A third double landed me in Jail.)
Read 194 pages to add onto my 300 page Jail sentence.


No increase in Bank.

See Also:  Fourth Roll Activities

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/review-false-memory.html
Review
5 Stars
Finished with The Duchess War!!
The Duchess War - Courtney Milan

I haven't felt this giddy about a book since A Curious Beginning... which really wasn't that long ago, but I don't get these FEELS all that often.  And then that undeniable need to jump into the rest of the series or another book by this same author is dying to happen!

 

I also wanted to thank Moonlight Reader for recommending Courtney Milan for my BL-opoly task square, and also Obsidian Blue for recommending, specifically, The Duchess War, and the Brothers Sinister series.

 

A full review is now being written, and prepared for posting as I gather my thoughts.

 


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


Roll #5:
This book opens up in 1863.

Page Count: 271
Cash Award: +$3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $33.00

 

 

 

Monthly Reading Wrap Up -- April 2017

In April, my reading slump seems to have finally hopped out the window and I managed to get a lot of books read.  Of course, there are a lot of books that were on my immediate TBR that got shoved aside thanks to the newest reading game!  Booklikes-opoly, with all it's fun and excitement, has managed to side-track some of my TBR.  I don't know how to feel about that, but I'm having fun and reading lots and blogging lots, and honestly, that's all that matters to me.

 


Meanwhile, this was my reading buddy this Saturday, April 29th.  Even though I didn't officially participate in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon, I still spent the morning reading.  It was raining out and so Baby had to come down into the basement for shelter away from the terrible, noisy thunder.  So here he is, all tuckered out, tired from hiding out from the storm.

Anyway... moving right along...

 

 

April Reads

 


 

 

Books Dropped/Put On Hold

 

None this month!  Yay!

 

 

Currently Reading

 

 

April Reading Stats

 

Total works read: 14

  • 7 print/e-book novels
  • 3 audio books
  • 3 novellas
  • 1 short story


Average rating: 3.29 Stars

  • Highest Rated:  Etched in Bone by Anne Bishope // 4.5 Stars
  • Lowest Rated:  Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis // 2.0 Stars


Series I started reading:

  • The House of Steele by Addison Fox
  • Veronica Sloan by Leslie A. Kelly
  • Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan

 

Series I completed:

  • None

 

Series I have made progress on:

  • The Others by Anne Bishop
  • Aftershock by Jill Sorenson
  • Veronica Speedwell by Deanna Raybourn
  • Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis
  • Fairy Tales by Eloisa James

 

 

Favorite reads:  Obviously I'm in love with Anne Bishop's The Others series and immensely enjoyed the last book in the Meg story arc, Etched in Bone.  Arroo!  Then there was also A Perilous Undertaking, Badlands, and my Freefall reread.

Disappointing reads:  My biggest disappointment is probably The Sugar Queen, despite how much I DID enjoy most of the book.  It just wasn't as magical as The Girl Who Chased the Moon had been, so I probably went in with higher expectations than I should have.  The lowest rated book this month, Rescue My Heart, was a big disappointment as well, but after sitting back and thinking about it, to be honest, I never really go into a contemporary romance expecting incredible results.  False Memory was also a bit of a disappointment if only because Dean Koontz is always a personal favorite author, even if I don't always read his books.

But as I state in my review of False Memory (to be posted soon), I either like a Dean Koontz novel, or I don't.  This time, I didn't.

 

 

Reviews & Notable Posts

 

(Note: Some of the links listed do not go to a Booklikes page because they were originally posted to my main book blog site and I never cross-posted to BL.)

 

Reviews Written

 

Memes

  • Did not Meme this month!

 

Other Posts

 

Coming Up In May

 

Tentative TBR

 

 

Other Stuff

I don't even know why I've got a tentative TBR for the month of May.  Most of my reads, aside from the Reading Assignment reads, for the next months until the end of July will totally be decided upon based on Booklikes-opoly.  After all, I'm invested in this game, and I'm invested to win!  =D

Of course, the first three books are books I've already rolled for and will have to read before moving onto my next roll for BL-opoly.  Fortunately, they are all three books I've been meaning to read, and Before the Storm is one of my Reading Assignment books.  The last four books are simply books that have been on my TBR since the beginning of the year and really just need to get read.  Maybe the dice gods will take pity on my and let me roll something that gives me a chance to read these books.

 

 

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/2017/05/monthly-reading-wrap-up-april-2017.html
Review
3.5 Stars
Brief Thoughts: The Governess Affair
The Governess Affair - Courtney Milan

The Governess Affair
by Courtney Milan
Brothers Sinister #0.5 (prequel novella)

 

 

She will not give up…

Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position.  Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke.  But it’s not the duke she fears.  It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont.  The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance.  But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

He cannot give in…

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke.  When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office.  Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones.  But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone.  He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…



This novella would be my first foray into Courtney Milan's work, and I will admit that I'm not disappointed.  While I feel like this novella could have been developed a bit better, it gives a pretty satisfying, even if kind of boring introduction into the world of the Brothers Sinister.  Maybe if this were a full-length novel instead of a short novella, we would have been able to delve a little deeper into each character's backgrounds?

Instead, this novella simply stood out a little awkwardly as a teaser, especially with the ending chapter wherein we get introduced to the next generation--this I hadn't realized until partway into those last two chapters, since I'm not familiar with Milan's other books, nor did I take any time to really read the summary of following books in this series.

Nonetheless, the way in which the boys we will meet in the novels are introduced really kind of felt forced.

Anyway, I did enjoy The Governess Affair.  It was written well, and the while there were certain, brief moments that felt distasteful, I had no problems with either the story nor the characters.

If I had to choose something I immensely enjoyed about this story, I'd probably say it was the banter between Hugo and Serena.  In contrast, while I can see that the author tried to make out Serena and Frederica's relationship to be that of close, loving sisters, it was actually kind of hard to believe--so I wish they could have had a stronger relationship.

Otherwise, The Governess Affair was a sweet, short story to pass the time.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/brief-thoughts-governess-affair.html
Bout of Books 19
Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.

For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.  - From the Bout of Books team


This will be my third participation in the Bout of Books read-a-thon.  For links to update posts related to other read-a-thons I have participated in, click here.

I love these week long read-a-thons, and even though I haven't always participated, I do try to make time for them.  This time around, I almost forgot about this upcoming Bout of Books due to the busy past couple months I've had.  This would have been a shame since I will actually be taking a week-long vacation from work, coinciding with this read-a-thon week.

I swear, I didn't purposefully plan it that way, and I actually DO have more non-bookish activities planned, including a road trip with the family to visit my cousin at college who will be graduating from Pharmacy school this coming Mother's Day weekend.

In the bookish life, I'm hoping to catch up to everyone else playing Booklikes-opoly.  Having landed first on the Jail Visitor square, then landing in Jail, my Bank is seeing a bit of non-movement.

 

 

Goals

 

My goal is always to read as many books as I can.  This time, I'm going to try to be more ambitious and set a challenging goal.  Basically, I'm hoping to at least read as many books as I'm allowed to roll for BL-opoly during this week.  Being that we are allowed to roll only every other day, that gives you at least four rolls during the week.

Then, I'm going to add two more books... just because.

Main Goal:  Read 6 books
Bonus Goal:  Read for at least 8+ hours daily, or on average

 

 

Read-a-thon Hopefuls

 

I actually have no idea what I will be reading during this week, because I'm kind of basing my reads off of what I end up rolling for Booklikes-opoly.  However, here are a few books I AM hoping to finish outside of the BL game, if I get a chance... and some books that I'm hoping will get read if I happen to land on the right squares.

 


The truth is, these are all books that I've been meaning to read since the beginning of the year, as well as some books that I've been meaning to get to since I started the series two months ago.

I know, there are a lot, and more than likely, I will not get to all of them, and dependent on my BL-opoly rolls, I may not even touch anywhere close to these books.  But definitely, I would like to get Backwoods by Jill Sorenson and Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis read.

 

Links to Update posts

 
(coming soon -- subject to change)

I don't know how often I will update for the Bout of Books week.  I WILL be updating more regularly for BL-opoly though, so I may just cross-link the two and update Bout of Books and BL-opoly at the same time.

We shall see how it all works out.


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I'm going to try to have as much fun as I can.  If anyone else is interested in joining the read-a-thon, the badge at the top of this post will take you to the Bout of Books official website.  The link under the picture takes you directly to the sign-up post. Let's all have some fun for this week of a read-a-thon!

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/read-thon-bout-of-books-19.html
BL-opoly | Fifth Roll and Read-a-thon Day Activities


I'm almost glad I didn't commit to participate in any reading for Dewey's Read-a-thon.  I've been spending more time trying to figure out what I want to read than actually reading.

Anyway, I'm going to try to make this a simple post with no Magnetic Monkey... monkeying around.


I rolled once already as a regular roll after finishing up the last book for my previous turn.  After clarifying, I was told I am allowed three extra rolls on top of this first roll--and with one set of doubles rolled, I basically rolled five times today.


Roll #5:  Landed on Paradise Pier 25 | Read a book set during Victoria's reign (1837 - 1901) or that is tagged steampunk on GR.

I have two books I am interested in reading for this category... but chances are, I will end up reading The Duchess War.  I was wanting to start with The Governess Affair, the prequel novella, but the setting of the novella just barely falls outside the time frame given for Victoria's reign, so I may try to get it read before jumping into The Duchess War.

On the other hand, I am wanting to read The Perfect Poison as well, needing to finish the Arcane Society series, but I still need to read Running Hot first before moving onto this one.

I don't necessarily have to read my books in the order I rolled, right?

 

The Duchess War is 271 pages = $3.00.

The Perfect Poison is 364 pags = $3.00.

 



Following are the 3 extra rolls in celebration of the Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon!

Roll #6.1:  Landed on Main Street Station | Read a book that involves a trip across the United States, or that has a national monument on the cover.

I really don't know what to choose for this game space, so chances are, I'm just going to skip it.  I've got four other books to read after today's rolls anyway.


Roll #6.2:  Landed on Main Street 11 | Read a book that takes place between 1945 and 1965 or that was written by an author who was born before 1955.

In contrast, I will be reading a book for this game space.  Jayne Ann Krentz, if Wiki is to be trusted, was born pre-1955.  This is perfect because, like I've stated, I've been meaning to finish the Arcane Society series.

 

Running Hot is 352 pags = $3.00.

 



Roll #7:  Landed on Cars Land 16 | Read a book set in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California, or where the page count ends in 1, 9, 2, or 6.

Once again, I've landed on a perfect game space!  I will be reading Backwoods by Jill Sorenson, which will effectively help me finish the Aftershock series.  This entire series has been taking place in California, and after a quick skim of the first chapter, this one does as well.

 

Backwoods is 378 pages = $3.00.

 



Roll #8:  Landed on Water Works | Read a book with water on the cover, or where someone turns on the waterworks (i.e., cries) because of an emotional event.

I did a little bit of shuffling, because originally I had thought of Backwoods first when I landed on this square.  As you can see, the cover DOES have water on it, but at the same time, this book also fit for Cars Land 16 due to its setting in California.  So after a quick search through my TBR, I found a book that will help me knock off two other challenges: Reading Assignment, and Mt. TBR.

It's a little hard to see, but there's a beach and waves, erego water.  Yay!

But I have to wait until May to read this to count for Reading Assignment.

 

Before the Storm is 336 pages = $3.00.

 

 

Source: http://anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/bl-opoly-fifth-roll-and-read-thon-day.html