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Good Choice Reading Promotions: Cover/Blurb Reveal: SOMETHING DARKER by S.A. Price...

Brooke Banks | 1:47 PM | Please comment!
Good Choice Reading Promotions: Cover/Blurb Reveal: SOMETHING DARKER by S.A. Price...:

I have found and entered to giveaway this intriguing paranormal story about a God, his lost love and a librarian. I can't review it yet because I haven't read it but I encourage everyone to check it out! If you win or read it, let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear about it. So everyone read on, enter and let's all cross our fingers! There's even more to win if you follow the link to Good Choice Reading.
SOMETHING DARKER (book one of the Inferii Dii)

Mmmm, sexy. If only the flame wasn't blocking the way!
SOMETHING DARKER (book one of the Inferii Dii)

The one thing Syrus Alcot, the God of Death Osiris in the Egyptian Pantheon, wants in all the worlds is the woman he loved and lost returned to him. When he gave up his powers, and freedom for a life of service he was promised her return. That was over one thousand years ago. A member of a team of dark gods charged with keeping humanity safe, he leads a loveless existence in New York City, searching for the one thing that could bring his wife back to him, a lapis scarab that was lost to him ages before.

Gwen Stapleton, a mild mannered librarian, is unaware that she holds the key to not only Syrus’ happiness, but her own. Seemingly stuck in a hopeless relationship with a man she doesn’t love, she has no idea that a chance meeting in Alphabet City will start a landslide to her heart’s content. Because Gwen is the keeper of the scarab, and is everything Syrus has ever wanted… and hes not the only one.

An Ancient evil is waking, and its servants will stop at nothing to see it seize its rightful place as the new pantheon of earth. And in order for Syrus and his team to save the world, Gwen is going to have to accept him, and show that love does make all the difference.
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Review: Cover of Snow

Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman

I won this through a Goodreads Giveaway.
As I started reading the first chapter unfold and then finish with such a eerie, disturbing, "oh, fuck" moment that was just perfect, I was hooked.

In the middle I had some solid thoughts about what was going on and what was going to happen. At that point it started feeling a bit slow but it was still good. It was still intriguing.

The ending was...not really satisfying. On one hand, I don't want the "everything was okay and they all lived happily ever after since the villains were vanquished", on the other hand I felt it needed more resolution. It's hard to explain without giving anything away. Hmm....okay, say for instance there's this story, right? The main character is trying to get everyone to see "the light" and get rid of "the darkness". We go along this journey and the story ends with the main character revealing "the light" to everyone and they finally see "the darkness" for what it is. That's great! But what happens after? Do people embrace the light, fight it or flee? Does the darkness end, stay or get away unharmed? What happens?!? The main character's current main focus is done but the story isn't. Since I haven't read, heard or seen anything to suggest a sequel to this book, I feel...blah about the ending. I get not wanting to drag the story out further, leaving some room to maybe continue, letting the reader wonder and that it felt like a good place to end the book. I get it, I just don't particularly like it in this case. Now, if I knew this would be a series instead of a stand alone, I'd be okay with it.

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Review: That Night on Thistle Lane

Brooke Banks | 3:10 PM | | | | | | Please comment!

That Night on Thistle Lane by Carla Neggers    
I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.

It was okay. I can see the appeal but it wasn't really for me. I was fine for an average 3 star rating til the end. Then I just sighed and rolled my eyes as the last reveal. Oh well. I think it's okay for what it is but I'm not a fan. I could have liked it more but it didn't work out that way.

I recommend for romance lovers, for Carla Neggers fans, and for a quick, light, easy breezy read. It references classic old fashioned love stories and is clearly going for that type while being in modern times.

If you're looking for fast pace or steamy scenes, I doubt this work since it's so chaste and sparse. There's two scenes, in the middle and end, that totally maybe two pages. Everything else is looks, thoughts, and a kind of kiss.

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[Review] Saint's Gate: Subpar Villain and Romance Holds Back A Solid Case

Saint’s Gate is the first installment in Carla Neggers’s Sharpe & Donovan series. I won Saint’s Gate as a bundle with the second book, Heron’s Cove, from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

I loved the bits of information about Vikings, painting, and visual vocabulary. It reminded me of Ideas and Values in the Humanities (HUM 250 & 251). I don’t give a fuck about “saints” but I find them interesting historically in a detached way.

The insider’s peek into their nunnery is well done and the nuns aren’t stereotypes. The small town living experience is there in spades and it’s interesting how its subcommunities intertwine.

These lifelike neighborhoods coupled with mood-matching environment descriptions created a moving atmosphere. This along with an interesting buildup whodunit made me continue reading.

I do think the blurb’s misleading though, I’d call it a mounting mystery rather than countdown thriller. But that’s only a negative expectation-wise for me. It was enjoyable nonetheless minus the romance and until the climax.
Cover with a woman walking through a gate on an overgrown garden path, Saint's Gate covers the path in capitalized white letters and Carla Neggers in yellow text on top portion
Genre: Romance, Suspense,
Age: Adult
Format: Hardcover, 331 pgs.
Source: Won, Goodreads First Reads
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Series Rating: 2.5 stars
Recommendable? Conditionally
CW: Sex, Violence, Kidnapping, Torture

When Emma Sharpe is summoned to a convent on the Maine coast, it's partly for her art crimes work with the FBI, partly because of her past with the religious order. At issue is a mysterious painting depicting scenes of Irish lore and Viking legends, and her family's connection to the work. But when the nun who contacted her is murdered, it seems legend is becoming deadly reality.

Colin Donovan is one of the FBI's most valuable assets -- a deep-cover agent who prefers to go it alone. He's back home in Maine after wrapping up his latest mission, but his friend Father Bracken presents him with an intrigue of murder, international art heists and a convent's long-held secrets that is too tempting to resist. As the danger spirals ever closer, Colin is certain of only one thing—the very intriguing Emma Sharp is at the center of it all.

A ruthless killer has Emma and Colin in the crosshairs, plunging them into a race against time and drawing them deeper into a twisted legacy of betrayal and deceit.

Adult IconRomance Icon Suspense/Thriller IconInsta-Love IconMixed Bag IconSexy Icon

Pros Cons
Well-researched, interesting topics Forced, disconnected romance
Solid mystery I didn’t figure out early Villain was fine until sudden pathological change (aka bullshit) made them a monster
Decent, likable cast of charactersFailed climax with anticlimactic ending (because of villain)
Couldn’t connect with characters emotionally

Characters start strong and coast along

Emma’s history is different than anything else I’ve read while Colin’s standard FBI hero material. Her specialty meshes with his action-oriented style, creating a perfect crime-fighting duo for this case.

Their team leader, their families, and Father Braken round out the supporting cast. They’re likable with one exception. Boy, did that fucker make it hard to reader xe’s appearances. It’s a good start for a series but you’ll have to wait for character progression.

However, I did have difficulty connecting with them. Our dynamic duo’s most common emotes are staring and deadpan. They’re introspective, communicating only about the case while sizing each other up like spitting cats. I found Father Braken and his whiskey talk more interesting.

I’ve read and watched tons of crime dramas yet these partners didn’t do anything for me. Maybe because they felt like pawns instead of people or maybe there was too much suspicion and emotional isolation. I don’t know. The next book will hopefully expand upon the good beginning and I can groove with them.

The Hot Pocket Romance

I know insta-love is a cornerstone of romantic suspense but this was so horrendous, I don’t even give a fuck about that part. It doesn’t make any sense for these characters. It felt like watching your drunken friend cook after driving them home—without the funny.
Stick figure person with creepy expression making two dolls with distressed faces kiss
Emma was almost a nun and didn’t quit for sex. Yet she goes from “OMG, look at his hips” to saying she’s in love and jumping his bones 100 pages later. Really? Saying she “tripped and fell on” would be more believable.

It’s not like she was dying to lose her virginity and didn't have the opportunity to bone an attractive man before. She’s calculating and removed emotionally, not prone to rash decisions. Yet an empty house is all she needs to become an insta-fuck seductress apparently.

Then there’s Colin. He plainly wanted sex and was checking out Emma from get-go. He flipped from aloof and cold to hot and tempting like he was trying to neg her. Obviously, not surprising he gets his freak on. However, I do have problems believing he'd commit this quickly with all of his trust issues and career. It’s beyond “I don’t get the connection”, their romance flies in the face of their characterization. It felt forced to make it a romantic suspense.

Suddenly: Sadistic Killer! *jazz hands*

I was enjoying the building suspense and mystery until the end. Then the villain got amped up to make it a “thrill ride showdown” because Murderer + Torturer= Monster. But there were no prior signs or reasons for the shift.

It’s easy to see what it was supposed to accomplish but did the opposite. Confusion rather than shock or awe disrupted my focus. It killed progress from other solid pieces of last-minute information making it anti-climactic.

Skipping the transforming bite is a misstep. And falls in line with my other problem with Saint’s Gate, the sudden vaulting characters. Instead of feeling natural, it’s like they’re forced along with a cattle prod.

Imagine people going about their lives then randomly pulling this stunt.


Interesting tidbits and atmosphere but it’s not my kind of romance and even the best part, the case, ends on a sour note.

Recommended for:
fans of Carla Neggers or those not picking about fluff. If you want a mystery or case procedural, I’d recommend previewing it. If your suspension of disbelief is stronger than mine, you’ll hopefully have a better time.

Note: Originally posted on 11/28/2012, updated on 9/19. All ratings, pros, cons, and sections remain the same, it’s (hopefully) better written now and re-formatted to fit my new design.

FYI Update: I’ve read more of Neggers’s work, beyond Heron’s Cove (Sharpe & Donovan #2) and I won’t be reading more. They’ve all been alright but not my thing, especially with the pattern of adult women virgins who of course have first-time idealized sex. However, I’ve been recommended her Death series written as J.D. Ward, so I’ll be trying that soon(ish). We’ll see if mixing up the elements is enough or if Neggers really isn’t the author for me.
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Treason Released Today!

Brooke Banks | 7:32 AM | Please comment!

One trilogy I'm really excited to read is the Grimoire Trilogy by S.M. Boyce. Everything I've read about it interests me from the premise, the setting and the characters. I can't wait to finally get my hands on it to do a review.

The first book, Lichgates has been available and here's the blurb:

The Grimoire turns its own pages and can answer any question asked of it, and Kara Magari is its next target.  

Kara has no idea what she's getting herself into when she stumbles across the old book while hiking a hidden trail. Once she opens it, she's thrown into Ourea: a beautiful world full of terrifying things that want the Grimoire's secrets. Everyone in this new world is trying to find her, and most want to control the new-found power the book bestows upon her. Even if Kara does escape, Ourea will only drag her back. 

Braeden Drakonin grew up in Ourea, and all he’s ever known of life is lying. The Grimoire is his one chance at redemption, and it lands in his lap when Kara Magari comes into his life. He has one question to ask the book—one question that can fix everything in his broken world—and he’s not letting Kara out of his sight until he gets an answer.

There’s no going back now.

Doesn't that sound awesome? 
What question would you ask the Grimoire? I've thought about it a lot and there's so many possibilities - I just can't make up my mind. Do you go the world-saving route or save yourself? Do you puzzle out the meaning of life, the start of the universe or if there's a god(s)? - Hmmm. I think someone's answer would say a lot about them and yes, I'm chicken to answer it. I'd be in the camp to leave the magic the fuck alone and keep it out of people's hands because people suck. There's just too much room for abuse.

Now the second book, Treason is released today. There's a blog tour going on right now for $500 in prizes, including gift cards and copies of the books. For 10 entries into the contest, do a blog post about the release of Treason today, and is only good for today. There's also the handy dandy buttons on my sidebar to attract your attention and spread the word. 

I'm not going to put the blurb for Treason since it has spoilers about Braedon for those of us who haven't read Lichgates yet. Sooo, my plan is to entice you into the first book so you get hooked into Treason. Sneaky, huh? Lichgates is $3 on Amazon if you want to buy or gift it today! 

Good luck to everyone entering the contest, myself included. At this point in time I'm flat broke and couldn't afford books for even a cent. I'm truly thankful for all these wonderful giveaways so I can keep reading. (I'd use the library but I owe money.) I'm grateful for my awesome neighbor who lets me use their wi-fi and to my landlord who's helping us through a tough time. Books are my lifeline, my grounding, my passion and my escape. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have books and thankfully online I've found people just like me, so no matter what I have a safe place.

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A Great Giveaway for 12 Books!

Brooke Banks | 12:21 PM | Please comment!
One of the many reasons I wanted to start a blog for books is the many great giveaways I've found.

Now, I'm late to finding this giveaway and my blog is still a major work in progress. 

On Mostly YA Obsessed, she is celebrating the makeover of her blog by giving away 12 books or for the international folks a gift card worth $25. I've got the handy button on the side to enter but do it quickly! There's only 9 hours left at this point.
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Sharing My Love of YA

Brooke Banks | 2:06 AM | Please comment!

I love the YA genre because it really gets inside teenager's heads to explain, explore and examine what is going on with them. One of my favorite authors ever, Ellen Hopkins captured my love and admiration with her Crank series. I found it on the shelve in the school library in a little rural town where I grew up. I'd never read anything like it. I felt connected, understood and not so alone. That's where my journey began. It continued with Cut by Patrica McCormick, Luna, and Making The Run. I haven't stopped loving the genre, even though I'm no longer a young adult. I think too many adults brush off YA fiction needlessly. There's so much wealth to be found once you acknowledged that teenagers are unique, interesting individuals with their own thoughts and feelings. Reconnect with your younger self and the kids around you today while experiencing well thought out worlds and twisting plots by reading Young Adult Fiction.

If you love YA, check out Beth Revis's post about her giveaway or click on the sidebar picture!

I can't seem to get the graphic to work for the form so here's the direct link:
50 Book Giveaway from Beth Revis - Share Your Love of YA Raflecopter Form

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Brooke Banks | 2:03 AM | Please comment!
My name is Brooke Banks and I review books. I started doing this a couple of months ago on Goodreads and wanted to branch out into my own blog space.

I'm currently trying to get everything set up the way I like it. Just be patient with me here and hopefully I'll have new content up shortly. 
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