August 11th, 2018

books

Book Reports (69-74)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [ ] means it's an ARC; DNF means *did not finish*].

DNF (stopped around 20%)
Stillhouse Lake, by Rachel Caine -- even though I didn't finish this, I think it will appeal to those who like psychological suspense; it's definitely filled with tension -- Thomas & Mercer, 7/17

(I really prefer more romance in my romantic suspense novels, and this was pretty much missing that aspect. That said, the writing is solid, and I found the premise intriguing. Also, because I stopped so early in the book, it's possible the romance was still to come (though the ending -- which I always read, of course -- didn't really seem to follow that idea).)

**-
The Color of Love, by Sharon Sala -- recommended for those who like romances along the lines of Sleeping with the Enemy, those who like books with strong settings, and those who like vignette-type stories -- Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2/18

(Ironically, this one was too much of a romance and not enough (not really any) of the suspense. I skimmed to the end, but it's definitely not to my taste. I don't really like the abused-wife trope, and although I *do* like strong setting and vignette tales (ala Fannie Flagg or Maeve Binchy), this one just didn't work for me.)

**
The Dry, by Jane Harper -- recommended for those who like stories set in Australia, those who like small-town settings, and those who like grit and mysteries from childhood -- Flatiron Books, 1/17

(This one was a rec, and I should have known it wouldn't really be to my taste. Many of my friends like more literary books, and this one definitely swings in that direction. I *don't* like literary books, so this just didn't work for me (though the writing is good).)

****
Shift's End, by A.R. Barley -- recommended for those who like male/male romance, those who like firefighter tales, and those who like some suspense/mystery -- Carina Press, 8/18

(I enjoyed this. It's a fun read -- not necessarily fantastic but definitely enjoyable.)

***
Alpha Unit One, New York, by Chris T. Kat -- recommended for those who like shifter tales, those who like law enforcement MCs, and those who like insta-love -- Dreamspinner Press, 7/18

(Hm...the premise to this was intriguing, and I read the entire book (though skimming was involved)...but I was *really* frustrated by the end. I think if I used stars to determine my level of enjoyment, this would get only 2 stars. :( My main complaints: the insta-love (yuck), the majority of the story took place off-screen (it was very confusing; I kept thinking there were chapters missing or something), and a premise (baby shifters) that was fairly original but just didn't deliver. I don't know if I'd pick up another by this author or not.)

****
Stalking Buffalo Bill, by J. Leigh Bailey -- recommended for those who like shifter mysteries (male/male) and those who like unusual settings (Cody, WY) -- Dreamspinner Press, 9/17

(This was another fun (though not awesome, necessarily) read. I liked the characters, I like the unusual shifter (buffalo? :D), and I loved the setting. I thought the romance was sweet and not too ridiculous (though any shifter romance with 'mates' has that insta-love feel, I think). Quick and easy. :) )

It's been kind of a dry spell for amazing books, sigh. I've been resorting to a ton of re-reads, and while that can be fun too, it's also frustrating not to find anything new to really *love*. Here's hoping things will pick up soon!