Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (5)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware (1)
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (2)
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico (1)
- New York (5)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (2)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia (1)
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (2)
- Canada (2)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Monday, December 01, 2014

Right-Up-My-Alley Premise Doesn't Live Up to Promise

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Alice Hyatt believed she had a happy, stable marriage.  Then, her accountant husband disappeared with a pretty co-worker and the $200 million he stole from his company's clients.  Even though Alice was as shocked by his actions as everyone else, the police never quite believed her.  Her reputation shot, Alice fled New York City, nursing her broken heart at her family's summer cottage in the Berkshires.  Seven years later, she's still in Massachusetts, where she's finally managed to rebuild her life.  Her newly-launched landscape design company is gaining favor among the area's wealthy, securing her reputation as a tough, but successful businesswoman.  Sure, people still whisper about her husband, but Alice has managed to put the scandal behind her.  Mostly.  

When Alice receives an offer from the wealthiest man in town to design the extensive gardens which will surround his new mansion, she can hardly believe her luck.  Although Alice doesn't agree with hydro-fracking, the controversial practice through which Graham McKenzie has amassed his fortune, she can't help imagining all the things she could do with the exorbitant amount he's proposing to pay her.  After striking a deal that includes McKenzie donating a large sum to the town's historical society, Alice takes the job.  Although not everyone is happy about her decision, she's thrilled, especially with the friendship she's developing with her new boss.  Maybe McKenzie isn't the greedy blowhard everyone thinks he is.

Just when everything seems to be going right for Alice, her big paycheck bounces.  Then, her employer collapses.  He's dead.  And not of natural causes.  Plenty of people had reason to want McKenzie in the grave—including Alice.  With the suspicions of her past hanging over her head, she finds herself Public Enemy Number One.  The only way to clear her name?  Sniff out Graham McKenzie's murderer.  Before she ends up behind bars for a crime she didn't commit.

I always like a good scorned-woman-returns-home-to-find-herself-again story.  And with a murder mystery thrown into the mix?  How could I resist?  Bleeding Heart by Liza Gyllenhaal, sounded like the kind of novel I would totally eat up.  I would have, too, if it weren't for a few things, namely:  (1) a clumsy, plodding storyline; (2) a cast of unlikable characters; and (3) a mystery that starts too late and finishes too early.  A more suspenseful, streamlined plot would have done wonders for this novel.  As is, I found it dull, tedious and just not all that enjoyable.  Bummer, since Bleeding Heart had definite potential.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, sexual content, and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Bleeding Heart from the generous folks at Penguin.  Thank you!

Second Demon-Catcher Novel Not For Me, But Maybe For You? (With a Giveaway)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers for The Halcyon Bird, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, The Demon Catchers of Milan.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

American teenager Mia Dellatorri has lived in Milan long enough to learn Italian, prefer her Nonna's homemade cuisine to anything else, and to feel almost more at home at her uncle's than with her immediate family in upstate New York.  And yet, the Della Torre's still won't let her out on the streets without at least one blood relative to protect her.  Inside the well-guarded home, Mia's safe from the vicious, ancient demon who desires to possess her.  Outside, she's vulnerable.  Too vulnerable.  The monster doesn't leave living victims, as Mia knows all too well.

When Mia meets Bernardo—the most beautiful man she's ever seen—she's ready to throw caution to the wind.  Anything to feel his strong arms around her one more time.  She knows that being with Bernardo means exposing him to the danger she faces every day.  If only she could tell him the truth about her family's demon-catching enterprise!  She hates deceiving her kindhearted boyfriend, but she has little choice.  The only way to keep him—and herself—safe is to get rid of her demon once and for all.  Challenging him means risking her life.  It's a chance Mia's willing to take if it means defending the lives of those she loves.  Even if the one person she can't save is herself.

It's no secret that I wasn't all that impressed with The Demon Catchers of Milan, the first book in Kat Beyer's urban fantasy series.  The novel sagged under too much detail and too little plot.  The Halcyon Bird, the second Mia Dellatorri book, picks up a bit, but still drags.  Again, Mia has no real story goal, which makes the novel feel episodic and aimless.  This, along with a confusing magical world, underdeveloped characters, and tell-don't-show prose made this a tedious, unsatisfying read for me.  It's more exciting than the first book, true, but not enough to entice me to stick with this series.  Bummer.

(Readalikes:  The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer; similar in subject to The Mortal Instruments series [City of Bones; City of Ashes; City of Glass; City of Fallen Angels; City of Lost Souls; City of Heavenly Fire] by Cassandra Clare)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs) and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Halcyon Bird from the generous folks at Egmont as part of the book's blog tour.


Even though I wasn't wild about The Halcyon Bird, it might be right up your reading alley.  What better way to give it a shot than to win a free copy of the book?  The good people at Egmont are generally offering one to one lucky Bloggin' 'bout Books reader.  If you'd like the chance to win, all you have to do is fill out the handy-dandy Rafflecopter thing-y below.  Please note that you must have a U.S. or Canadian mailing address to be eligible for the giveaway.  Contest ends on December 13.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Homecoming by Kate Morton


The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive