Hot Off The Press [21]: September 27, 2016

New Releases for September 27, 2016

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I have this annoying habit of preordering books that I’m looking forward to reading then, going to the bookstore on release day to pick up a copy. This week, I made sure I didn’t have any of these on my preorder list to avoid my husband’s knee-jerk conniption fit when he sees two copies of the same book. Lol.

I’m sure Leigh Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom is on everybody’s haul this week, as well, Like A River. I’m looking forward to reading those, too along with Rosamund Hodge’s Bright Smoke, Cold Fire.

What are you most excited to read this week?

 

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 193

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Dark Storm by Christine Feehan | Pines by Blake Crouch | The Last Town by Blake Crouch | Broken Prince by Erin Watt | Paper Princess by Erin Watt | Kids of Appetite by David Arnold | The Reader by Tracy Chee | The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron


Hello.

I’ve been suffering from a bout of the worst flu I’ve ever gotten in my entire life, y’all. It’s been exactly 7 days. My hearing is very poor due to both my ears being infected. I’m on antibiotics at the moment which seems to be helping because my ears aren’t as disgusting as they were a couple of days or so ago. But it still hard to hear anyone so I’ve pretty much been reading everybody’s lips when they’re talking to me. I’ve missed at least 3.5 days of work because of this illness which sucks because our year end is coming up.

As for the blog, there wasn’t much I could do; I couldn’t compose a single sentence to save my life. Lol. My brain’s been fermenting on flu meds so I wasn’t going to push my luck.  I did try to do a bit of commenting yesterday but I’m still days behind.  The good news is, I was able to read some when my head was not spinning or my ears weren’t aching. So there’s that at least.

I didn’t want to go to the bookstore this past weekend on account of there are a few books coming out tomorrow that I’m looking forward to picking up but my husband wanted to cheer me up so we went yesterday. Ear ache or not, I wasn’t going to say no. Lol. I found out that the Dollar Store sells books and wanted to see what kind of selection they have. I picked up three (two Blake Crouch and one Christine Feehan all for $3 each).

R  E  A  D

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others

Those damn Audible sales always get me! I downloaded Easy Charm by Kristen Proby not knowing it’s #2 in a series but after listening to it, I was sunk. They’re enjoyable enough and easy to read but I find that most of the conflict in the books are just too manufactured and sometimes annoyingly unnecessary. She does sex scenes really well, but man, it got repetitive after a while. I didn’t like book #3 because I felt like nothing ever happened. It was the most boring romance/erotica novel I’ve ever read, to be honest.

I also downloaded My Life As A White Trash Zombie which is pretty cool take on zombies. Basically, these zombies have the ability to regenerate and be fresh as long as you keep feeding them brains. They only get rabid when they haven’t been fed for days. I enjoyed this one. But I’m not ready to commit to the series just yet.

Nutshell and The Couple Next Door were good! Review scheduled for this week.

I finally threw in the towel. I could not go on living without DNF’ing a book. It’s impossible and a waste of my precious reading time. So last week, I decided that I could no longer continue with The Swan Riders. The gist of my problem is my general apathy with the story. I didn’t care one way or another what happens to the characters or where the plot was going. It was also very bland so I think I’ve wasted enough of  my time trying to finish.

And finally, I re-read Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire because I wanted to know what it was that made me love it the first time.  Good Lord. What in the hell was I thinking? Travis and Abby took codependent relationship to a whole another level of cray.  Oh, well. No taking back the 5 stars I gave it many moons ago! Lol.

How was your week?

Happy reading!

[674]: More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

19542841 More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Soho Teen | June 2nd, 2015
Source: Bought
Young Adult | LGBTQIA
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again–but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.

Why does happiness have to be so hard?


Oh, but this book hurts. It hurts in the most profound, most beautiful way. The growing pains of being a teen is hard enough. Even more so when you put a troubled, abusive father into the mix and the constant fear of hostility and violence that comes from being gay in today’s society.  Aaron Soto just couldn’t catch a break. He went from one upheaval to the next further leaving the readers breathless merely from imagining the kind of struggles this boy went through. But even though the reader is put through the wringer that was this book, More Happy Than Not is a gorgeous, remarkable novel that offers an insight to the fragility of one’s mind. Memories created cannot be manipulated no matter how much we’d like to forget about the bad stuff. But above all, it’s also about finding the best in the worst situations and forging on even if taking a step forward feels like you’re dragging the whole world behind you.

As in the case of many LGBTQIA YA books we’ve read, this book tackles self-acceptance. Something that unfortunately does not only affect the lives of many gay and lesbian teens but most of the teens in general. Heck, even I, a forty-year-old woman still struggle with this. At the beginning of the novel, we see Aaron as a mostly laid back teen who only cared about being a good son and a good boyfriend. But his seemingly ordinary life will change as soon as he meets Thomas.

This book also has a bit of Science Fiction mixed in (if you can believe it). On the surface, the technology is based on the idea that memories can be suppressed by going through a memory-bending procedure. And as Aaron goes through his heartbreak, he will consider going through with it if only to help him deal with the pain. As always, messing with the natural order of things is never a good thing. There are consequences – both good and bad. But in Aaron’s case, it’s probably the worst case scenario he’s been warned about.

More Happy Than Not teaches us to appreciate the hardships life throws our way. Because only then can we truly value the small bits of happiness that come from living. At the same time, this book makes me want to live in fear and denial that other kids can’t be this cruel to other kids. It’s a reality check I never want to deal with.

 

Hot Off The Press [20]: This Week Will Break You

img_2306 When I was starting out as a blogger, I used to do a regular post about the books that are coming out on any given week. Then it came sporadically because I got lazy. Well, here we are; here I am, floundering, because I’ve been uninspired lately (hence, the less than regular post as of late).

In an effort to jump-start my stalled blogging schedule, I decided to look back to my old posts and look for inspiration. I stumbled upon this feature. It’s probably not going to help my ongoing struggle with curbing book purchases but at this point, I’ll try anything.

I’m somewhat surprised with the number of books coming out today. And though, I know this list is probably not as comprehensive, I hope there’s one or two that will catch your eye. I think I’m going to pick up David Arnold’s latest for myself even though I haven’t read Mosquitoland. Anyway, let me know what piqued your interest, and happy reading!


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On the Night Table [41]:

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena | Swan Riders by Erin Bow | Nutshell by Ian McEwan


Hello.

I hope y’all had a great weekend. Mine was a little less than inspiring – practically not worth mentioning. I have been so lazy on the blogging front lately! I’d blame it on the weather but that would be a lie. Lol. The good news is I managed to stave off going to the bookstore this past weekend so I saved a few bucks. I also managed to read a couple of books – one was a massive 480-pager (The Rook) and a slight but impactful read from Adam Silvera. Both were brilliant in their own right.

This week’s reading choices features a couple that I’ve been trying (but failing) to read for weeks now:

Nutshell by Ian McEwan is a small book (page-wise) but because the writing is  distractingly gorgeous, I’m going at a snail’s pace. I hope to finish it this week, though. This book is a retelling of Hamlet but is no way affiliated with the Hogarth Shakespeare endeavor. This is very interesting, actually. The story is told through eyes of a fetus in vitro about how its mother and her lover planned to murder her husband. I’m not far into it, but the view from where I sit is brilliant so far.

The Swan Riders by Erin Bow. I have high hopes for this installment. I was infinitely disappointed with Scorpion Rules so I hope this book will be its redemption. I haven’t even cracked it open. According to Goodreads, I put this on my currently-reading shelf on August 6th. It’s been over a month. I want to cry.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. By the time you’re reading this post, I’ve most likely finished reading this book. The Couple Next Door is so addictive, you guys. As I’m writing this, I’m filled with the need to get back to this messed up story. I’m more than halfway and loving it so much.

R E A D this Week

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What are you reading this week?

Have you read any of the books I mentioned?

[673]: Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

18350798 Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
Series: Menagerie, #1
MIRA | September 29th, 2015
Source: Bought
Adult Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger’s Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she’s forced to “perform” in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other “attractions”—mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies—are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she’ll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.


Freaks of A Different Breed

I was, for the most part, obstinately set against reading this book when it first came out. Circus freaks never did hold any appeal. But if anyone has told me these freaks aren’t your run-of-the-mill freaks, then things would’ve turned out differently. I’ve been trying to come up with the proper word to describe the kind of circus Rachel Vincent came up with here but I’m failing miserably. There’s no bearded lady or a two-headed, conjoined twins. What you’ve got is every single monster that ever walked the pages of an Urban Fantasy novel. Don’t let Rachel Vincent hear that, though because she’d vehemently deny it. Let’s do a quick run down: minotaur, empaths, sirens, fae, werewolves, trolls, shape-shifters, and a being whose killing abilities are powered by revenge. I’m sure there’s more I’ve missed but you get the picture.

Delilah Marlow did not expect to find herself inside a cage after she witnessed a werewolf pup being tortured for the crowd’s benefit. Her rage was so complete that all she could think about was inflicting the same pain to the pup’s torturer. To everyone’s shock, her appearance quickly changed into a monstrous being with claws; black veins, and hair with a life of its own. When she woke up from her trance, the handler was reduced to a bloody, mindless mess. Unable to explain what she was (other than she’s not human) to the police, she was sold to the Menagerie.

Supernatural Beings Are Not Welcomed Here

In this world inhabited by humans and supernatural beings alike, the former are superior of the two. They suppressed the Cryptids’ freedom and treated them like the subspecies that they think they are. Reading about their oppression was difficult to take at times. Kids were separated from their parents; they were hunted, drugged on a daily basis, then caged like animals. They went through unthinkable abuse and all because of an incident that happened in the 80s. It’s called The Reaping. When human children were swapped with cryptids. Ever since then, they’ve been stripped of any rights.

So you can just imagine Delilah’s life after they determined that she’s not human after all. In Menagerie, she’ll have a first-hand account to the extent of maltreatment her kind goes through in the hands of the handlers: malnutrition, sexual and physical abuse in the general sense.  But the mental and emotional toll on the cryptids scar deeper above all the other abuse. Imagine a father feeling helpless for his teen daughter. She’s made to dress skimpily day in and day out. And if she doesn’t perform, she’s tortured with a cattle prod. He sees it happen every day but he can’t help her because, he, himself is caged. He hears every whimper and sees every burn marks on her body. But there’s very little he could do but to encourage her not to give up hope – and this from a distance. Theirs is just one example of the struggle I went through while reading this book.

Uprising

But all hope is not lost. You can say that the appearance of Delilah was determined by fate. She is the one that will help this caravan of freaks to gain their freedom – at least, you would hope. But of course,  freedom has a price. And Delilah must first gain their trust. With Gallagher’s help, she hopes to offer them a chance at a life free from oppression.

Menagerie was so different from anything I’ve ever read before. It is as lovely as it is grotesque; tender as it is painful. This book tested my angst threshold and at times, I pushed myself to the limit. But oh, it’s a beautiful discovery and I loved every minute of it – even the painful ones. Delilah is a character who fought tooth and nails not to lose herself despite the cost. For the most part, I admired her. But man, there were times when I wanted her to submit just so she can save herself from the torture.

Hoarders, Books Edition: Episode 192

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Menagerie by Rachel Vincent | Monsters: A Love Story | The Wine of Solitude by Irène Némirovsky | A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess | The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson | The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis


Hi-ya.

Did you have a great week? I had a very long one for some reason and considering it was only a four-day week, I swear, I didn’t think it was going to end. The kids officially went back to school. We have a grade 10 and a grade 4 in our midst. I can’t believe how fast they’re growing. *sniffs*

On Friday night, I attended a book club meeting with fellow Winnipeg book bloggers. It was our first get-together so we picked our initial book (This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab). It’s great to talk to other people about the same obsession we all have in common so I was excited to be a part of this book club. And of course, because the meeting was held at a bookstore, I couldn’t resist picking up a few.

If you’ll remember from my last Hoarders post, I mentioned downloading a copy of Menagerie by Rachel Vincent. Well, I ended up loving it so much that I had to get a physical copy. I was also coerced into getting a copy of The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I remember why I was so against this book and it had to do with the supposed love triangle I’ve been reading from the reviews. They insisted that it wasn’t much of a love triangle, anyway so I might love it too so I decided to check it out. Crossing my fingers that I’ll enjoy this.

Read this week:

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Cooper by Juliana Stone was a fast read – enjoyable but not remarkable. I’ve reviewed Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts last week and hope to write one for Menagerie soon. This book was so good, guys. If you haven’t read it, you should pick up a copy for yourself. It reminds me of The Others by Anne Bishop if the Human First League won. It was difficult to read at times but all in all, it was fantastic.

I hope you’ll have a great week ahead.

Happy reading!

 

[673]: Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts

chasing-fire Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
Brilliance Audio | April 12th, 2011
Source: Audible
Adult Fiction | Suspense
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.

But there’s also little else as thrilling – at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive fire-fighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend in the field. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home – even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering in the air.

Fortunately, this year’s rookie crop is among the strongest ever – and Gulliver Curry’s one of the best. He’s also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kid’s arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas “Iron Man” Tripp, yet he’s instantly more fascinated by his hero’s daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn’t hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn’t make a good case to be an exception to the rule.

Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year’s tragedy. Rowan knows she can’t complicate things with Gull – any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn’t find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.


Nora Roberts, much like Sandra Brown, has made quite a name for herself in the Romantic Suspense genre. And while I haven’t been able to make great strides with her books, I’m slowly picking them up as I go along. Chasing Fire has always been on my periphery ever since I picked up the hardback in 2011. I just haven’t had the chance to read it because, YA. Thanks to an Audible sale, Chasing Fire is finally off my TBR.

Slow Burn

Truth be told, I almost quit on this book. The plot wasn’t revealed until about a quarter of the way in. And in this genre, the apt pacing could be the difference between a DNF and a great read. But I persevered. Because even though the story’s development came to a slow fruition,  there was a lot of interesting things within its pages – para jumpers, for one. But these particular jumpers are trained to fight fire in the wilds. They are the ones that stood between a couple of acres of burnt forest and a wide-spread inferno that incinerates an entire town. Their job is exciting and dangerous which more than made up for the sluggish plot. Even though this is only my second Nora Roberts novel (not including JD Robb’s) I already have an idea as to her style of writing.  She’s a meticulous story teller so her books tend to be longer and slower than I prefer.

The Short of It All

Rowan Tripp is a senior fire fighter who has seen the best and worst of being a Zulie. This season, however, will prove to be  the most deadly. Aside from the fires bent on killing everything and everyone in its way, someone is on a killing tear. From sniper fire to equipment sabotage, Rowan refuse to acknowledge the inevitable reality that the person responsible could be one of the team members. With the help of a cocky, handsome rookie, Rowan, and her team is on the clock. Find the killer before they kill all of them.

Into the Fire

Nora Roberts knows how to give life to a genuinely strong female character. I can surmise that even if I’d only read three of her books so far.The job of a wildfire firefighter calls for agility, endurance, and intelligence. Depending on the magnitude of the fire, they could go days without any proper meal, sleep, or rest. And because she’s a senior firefighter, she leads the team every time they jump. She kept her head in the game without fail; she knows where to cut off the fire to give them a fighting chance.

Fire, Caught

Rowan, though, is emotionally stunted. She’s got trust and abandonment issues. Despite the close and ideal relationship she has with her father, she’s never really gotten over the fact that her mom abandoned them. Consequently, she kept everyone at a distance. But when Gulliver Curry arrived, he worked on breaking down her walls (as cliched as that may sound) so she can live for the moment. They have a realistic chemistry; not at all an exaggerated attraction, but they simply are.

Mystery/Suspense Fizzled

Because the novel had a languid pace, the mystery and suspense suffered a bit. She worked hard to conceal the identity of the suspect/killer to no avail. I suspected who it was as soon as they were introduced – and I’m not even a seasoned reader of the genre! Gull and Rowan never got close to naming a suspect which is a little out of the ordinary in romantic suspense. Usually, the main characters have some involvement in solving the crime, but here, they were merely participants. They speculated and did a half-ass job of investigating but they didn’t come to a conclusion. In the end, it came as a surprise to them as well.

I learned so much about para jumping and firefighting while reading this book. My admiration for firefighters doubled. To risk their lives every time they’re called on duty goes beyond a paycheque. It’s a dedication to the people and the land they’re trying to protect. Nora Roberts dove into this enterprise with gusto; she didn’t miss a thing. Regardless of how ineffectual the suspense was in this book, readers will still be able to appreciate the lessons it imparts, the characters worth knowing, and the romance that’s distinctively Nora Roberts.

 

 

 

 

[672]: Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

25733990 Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Series: Themis Files, #1
Del Ray | April 26th, 2016
Source: Bought
Science Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


A girl named Rose is riding her new bike near her home in Deadwood, South Dakota, when she falls through the earth. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole, its walls glowing with intricate carvings. But the firemen who come to save her peer down upon something even stranger: a little girl in the palm of a giant metal hand.

Seventeen years later, the mystery of the bizarre artifact remains unsolved—its origins, architects, and purpose unknown. Its carbon dating defies belief; military reports are redacted; theories are floated, then rejected.

But some can never stop searching for answers.

Rose Franklin is now a highly trained physicist leading a top secret team to crack the hand’s code. And along with her colleagues, she is being interviewed by a nameless interrogator whose power and purview are as enigmatic as the provenance of the relic. What’s clear is that Rose and her compatriots are on the edge of unraveling history’s most perplexing discovery—and figuring out what it portends for humanity. But once the pieces of the puzzle are in place, will the result prove to be an instrument of lasting peace or a weapon of mass destruction?


A Disembodied Hand

The novel starts off with an 11-year-old Rose taking her brand new bike for a test run but soon found herself exploring on foot off the beaten path. Then she fell in a hole to a giant metal hand thousands of years old where her father and the firemen found her. The story speeds up 17 years later when Rose grew up to be a physicist at the University of Chicago. As if the fate of hand (pun intended) was playing a cosmic joke, she’s then tasked to head up the group that will uncover all its secrets.

Parts of a Whole

Narrated in forms of interviews, Sleeping Giants tells the story about the discovery of a robot created for reasons yet to be determined. Rose Franklin believes it to be of alien origin because it’s constructed from a rare metal that can’t be found on Earth in abundance.  She knew other parts of the giant robot’s body were buried somewhere. But finding the pieces isn’t going to be a walk in the park. They’d have to extend their search outside the United States which means they’d have to conduct their searches covertly and without triggering a war against other nations.

How Do You Work This Thing?

Once assembled, mobilizing it wasn’t easy either as it takes a lot of skills and the correct anatomy. Its legs can only be moved if the person in control can somehow break their kneecaps so they’re facing backward. The language barrier was also a problem. They needed someone with enough intelligence to decipher the codes. Then the helmets. The helmets are made specifically for people with the right genetics code so operating the thing is not as easy as training someone.

Weapon of Mass Destruction

The robot absorbs energy and vaporizes everything around it once engaged. It’s technologically advanced, years and years far ahead. Man’s infinite curiosity for the unknown will prove to be disastrous in this instance. Our uncanny ability to use, abuse, and misuse new technology has been predominantly on the side of catastrophe. So of course, they’d bungled this one, too.

There was a lot of ethical dilemmas that Neuvel tackled here. The unknown interviewer, who also happens to be the master puppeteer of this endeavor holds great power and influence which he exerted in every way possible. In a way, he reminded me of Nick Fury (sorry, been watching way too many Avengers movies lately). Anyway, Nick Fury straddles the line of good and evil. But he’s the perfect example of someone who’s a true believer in the adage, “the end justifies the means”. He will do everything in his power to preserve any weaponry discovered under SHIELDS – even manipulation. So Neuvel presents an interesting conundrum for the readers. In one way, such a technical and weaponry advancement could bring about stability. Its presence alone is a threat in itself that nations would think twice about antagonizing another. On the other hand, such unstudied, volatile power could potentially be catastrophic if misused.

The Short Of It All

I used to have this thing against Sci-Fi. Lately, though, I’ve been finding myself drawn to this genre for some odd reason. I suppose it helps that Sleeping Giants was far from dry, and the ingenious narrative sped up the story considerably. It’s Science-heavy at times but it doesn’t bog the readers down with textbook jargon. The characters are not lacking in personality even though we don’t get to see them outside of the roles that they play – which to me, was brilliant.

Learning about the giant was a curious thing. Neuvel’s writing has the uncanny ability to convinced his readers that they’ve got a vested interest in learning everything they could about the giant – its origin, mechanics, and its abilities. I was enthralled. I got excited every time a new found knowledge came about.

Sleeping Giants opens up the Themis Files series brilliantly. It’s a Sci-Fi for the masses; addictive and entertaining. Neuvel simplified a lot of the Science related aspect of the novel which aided to the smooth as silk reading experience. And with an ending like that, you know I’ll be out there picking up the installment on release day.

 

 

 

 

[671]: Sting by Sandra Brown

sting Sting by Sandra Brown
Grand Central Publishing | August 16th, 2016
Adult Fiction | Romantic Suspense
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars


When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn’t belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

As Shaw and his partner take aim, Jordie is certain her time has come. But Shaw has other plans and abducts Jordie, hoping to get his hands on the $30 million her brother has stolen and, presumably, hidden. However, Shaw is not the only one looking for the fortune. Her brother’s ruthless boss and the FBI are after it as well. Now on the run from the feds and a notorious criminal, Jordie and Shaw must rely on their wits-and each other-to stay alive.

Miles away from civilization and surrounded by swampland, the two play each other against their common enemies. Jordie’s only chance of survival is to outwit Shaw, but it soon becomes clear to Shaw that Jordie isn’t entirely trustworthy, either. Was she in on her brother’s scam, or is she an innocent pawn in a deadly vendetta? And just how valuable is her life to Shaw, her remorseless and manipulative captor? Burning for answers-and for each other-this unlikely pair ultimately make a desperate move that could be their last.


If you don’t know it by now, Sandra Brown is an author on my short list whose work I try not to miss. I’ve been obsessed with her novels for as long as I can remember. Every single one more addictive than the last. It really is unfortunate that she only writes one book per year. Because I always dread that moment when there are no pages left to read and knowing that the wait for the next book will take another year.  She’s written more books than I can count but I’ll go ahead and proclaim Sting to be her best one yet. Sandra Brown may be a favourite author of mine, but I rarely give her books a perfect five. So this is a big deal.

A Theme That Never Gets Old

Sandra Brown has always been my go-to for Romantic Suspense novels. I’ve read quite a few from different authors but I always go back to her books. She does this genre really well. But – and I mentioned this in my short review of Sting on Goodreads – her books are habit forming. As I’m writing this review, I’m in the midst of reading Smoke Screen. As much as I hate to say it, her books are deterrent to reading schedules.  More than anything, I think it’s her ability to write stories that are nowhere near an echo of what she’s written in the past. She somehow manages to stay within the times but oddly still not losing the old fashioned Southern charm of her arches and characters. But whatever the story is about,

She has the ability to write stories that get better every time even though the foundations are similar. She somehow manages to stay within the times but oddly still not losing the old fashion Southern charm of the characters and setting. But whatever the story is about, the defining theme of her books is how well she meshes the perfect mix of conspiracy, politics, social injustices, and sex. 

 The Set Up

As readers, we all know that the opening of a novel makes or breaks a book. In as little as ten pages, we can sort of gauge whether or not the book will sustain us right through the bitter end. Well, this woman is very proficient at casting her line and dangling her proverbial lure until I’m nothing but a gaping fish anticipating the inevitable.

The likes of Jordie Bennet has no business being in a dive bar. She screams of class that the incongruity of her sitting at there was not missed by Shaw Kinnard. Don’t let the synopsis fool you. Though it implied about a cheesy, “their eyes met and the Earth shook” kind of meeting, it was nowhere that corny. In as much as Jordie’s appearance at that bar was all kinds of wrong, Shaw Kinnard fit the place to a T. Later, we’ll find out that he’s a hired assassin on the hunt for Jordie’s brother who stole 30 million dollars from a known criminal.

The Romance and the Suspense

I’ll never get enough of a romance between an assassin and his target. Sting features one that was addicting as it was frustrating. As the story slowly unfolds, you can’t help but feel that there was more to Shaw than just a man who can kill anyone for money, let alone, a woman with whom he was undeniably attracted to.

At least, you would hope.

Her books are also the kind that doesn’t feature just one mystery. More often, it’s convoluted; like layers of phyllo dough held together by a sweet, sticky, juicy twist. And boy, was it ever tasty. The beauty of her plot twist is that they’re rarely predictable. She always manages to surprise me at ever turn.

In Retrospect

Sandra Brown delivers another fast-paced page-turner that caters to her loyal fans. It’s what we’ve come to expect and what we’ve loved about her novels. With alternating action and romance at every page, this book gives new meaning to heart-pounding.