I've read Balogh's novels before and thoroughly enjoyed them. This one was not up to her usual level. The characters were rather commonplace, the writ...moreI've read Balogh's novels before and thoroughly enjoyed them. This one was not up to her usual level. The characters were rather commonplace, the writing was lackluster, and the plot went nowhere. There wasn't much passion, either between the characters or by the author for her story. I don't know why Balogh phoned this one in, but it doesn't make me scramble to read the other books in the series.(less)
This was a First Reads win, and I'm giving an unbiased review in appreciation of the opportunity to read the novel pre-publication. I have...more3 1/2 stars:
This was a First Reads win, and I'm giving an unbiased review in appreciation of the opportunity to read the novel pre-publication. I have met the author, but do not know her personally.
Ten years ago Savannah Wilde left her home in the small town of Midnight, Alabama to attend college in Nashville. Now Assistant District Attorney, a gang-related threat on her life has forced her to take an extended vacation for her own safety. Savannah decides to take advantage of the time off and wrap up some loose ends with her past, namely packing up her family home and putting it on the market. It’s something she and her sisters haven’t had the heart to face since the death of their beloved grandfather, who raised them after their parents’ murder-suicide 18 years ago. It’s also something that Savannah, in particular, has avoided, because the town’s new police chief is also the boy who broke her heart so thoroughly a decade ago that she hasn't been able to date anyone seriously since.
But coming home is more dangerous than Savannah could have ever imagined. Not only is her heart once again in jeopardy, something more sinister is going on as well. Decapitated animals on her porch; an unexplained fire in the guesthouse; someone is obviously trying to send Savannah a deadly message. Is it the gang from Nashville, or could it have something to do with the questions she’s been asking about her parents’ deaths?
Midnight Secrets is one of those romance novels that cannot be judged by its cheesy beefcake cover. The plot is part romance, part mystery, and part suspense/thriller, all deftly woven together into a novel that is difficult to put down once you’ve started reading it. The ending sets up two potential sequels (Savannah’s sister’s stories) well, and I’m looking forward to reading them. (less)
This historical novel brings ancient Nubia to life as one girl struggles to understand her destiny. Kandake, fourteen, is the youngest child of King A...moreThis historical novel brings ancient Nubia to life as one girl struggles to understand her destiny. Kandake, fourteen, is the youngest child of King Amani, ruler of Nubia. Her desire is to protect the land she loves as a warrior, but the decision is not in her hands. When Great Mother announces Kandake as the heir to the throne she sadly accepts the inevitable, striving to understand Great Mother's reasoning. Meanwhile bandits have been raiding Nubia's trading caravans and Egypt, Nubia's ally and neighbor, is asking for assistance to protect its borders from the Assyrians. When Kandake's brother Alara fails to return from a hunting expedition, King Amari makes a difficult decision: Nubia must use her resources to defend her border. Alara's rescue must take second place. Unwilling to accept this decision Kandake and her friends sneak away to find Alara. As their journey progresses Kandake must use a ruler's wisdom as well as a warrior's skill to rescue her brother and prevent a war.
This skillfully crafted novel weaves cultural details into a remarkable, well-structured plot featuring a strong African heroine. The characters, including Nubia herself, are fully developed. Their motivations, inspirations, and the growing maturity of these teens are believable. Detailed without being tedious, the writing carries readers rapidly through the text to the conclusion. Though the key plot element is wrapped up, and the manuscript could easily stand alone, readers will eagerly hope for a sequel to resolve the larger political issues facing Nubia and its future Queen.(less)
This is a difficult book to describe. It's a paranormal romance, but it's also chicklit, humor, and very South...moreMore like 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 stars really...
This is a difficult book to describe. It's a paranormal romance, but it's also chicklit, humor, and very Southern. The hero/love interest, Ansgar, really doesn't crank my tractor (too florid of speech and that stick up his ass is a big turn off), but I loved the heroine, Evie Douglass. Her transformation from shy Southern miss who wouldn't say "boo" to a goose to sassy Miss Thang was fantastic. And secondary characters such as Muddy, Nicole (& her dog, Frodo), and Beck were well developed and equally delightful. The peppering of colloquial Southernisms throughout the novel had me rolling - and mentally storing them for future use. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and will add this author to my standing reading list. (less)
I'll come back and add a longer review later, but for now I'll just say that this book was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Put it on your to-read list no...moreI'll come back and add a longer review later, but for now I'll just say that this book was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Put it on your to-read list now. You won't regret it.
After The Event, the ghosts began to appear. There didn't seem to be any true pattern: some appeared doing things they did daily; others appeared to reenact their death. Whatever the case, everyone could see them. Veronica and her mother say one in particular each and every day - Veronica's father. But one morning a new ghost appeared. A teenage boy appeared in the bathroom while Veronica was getting ready for school. Not only that, he seemed to make eye contact. Not the arranged way that Veronica and her mother stood in a certain place to fool themselves that her father made eye contact as he reenacted the same breakfast scene each morning, but real, true eye contact. Then he was gone. Thankfully, since Veronica was naked and dripping from the shower. His appearance, though, sparked something in Veronica. An interest. Who was he? Why were more ghosts appearing? Why did they appear in the first place? And as she and her friend come closer to some answers - though not the ones they are looking for - they uncover a serial killer on their block. One who has already chosen his next target.
This novel broke my heart even as it captured all of my attention. I couldn't put it down and I couldn't stop reading. The concept was fascinating (even though some questions were never answered), and there were so many plot threads woven together that I can't even begin to go into them here with any coherency. But it worked. My GOD it worked. I'm still in awe and I'm writing this review two months later. Read this one. You REALLY won't regret it.(less)
Audrey Whitticomb’s mom is a superhero. No, really. Every night she goes out and fights crime in the Minneapolis, Minnesota tri-cities area. Audrey wo...moreAudrey Whitticomb’s mom is a superhero. No, really. Every night she goes out and fights crime in the Minneapolis, Minnesota tri-cities area. Audrey worries about her, but hey, that’s what she was born to do. Then one day Audrey finds out her mom isn’t really out fighting muggers, bank robbers, and would-be killers. Nope. She’s fighting something worse - demons. They’re stealing, draining, and killing teenage girls, looking for the blood of the chosen one to help them cross over into our world. And if that happens, one superhero won’t be enough to stop the carnage that follows.
This novel was not what I expected. I skimmed the description, thought “superhero, cool,” and started reading. What I found was a paranormal coming of age novel. Though the demon hunting and the mystery of the disappearing girls is a prominent storyline, just as important are the personal revelations. Audrey’s mother has kept her in the dark about so many things, and in the course of this tale the teenager discovers family secrets, the existence of demons and demon fighters, a community/tribe, and a better sense of who she is. The ending wraps up most of the questions, but leaves just enough to tempt the reader with the prospect of future titles in the series. (less)
This is a lackluster addition to the burgeoning teen dystopian fiction genre. Though the plot shows promise and the pacing is relatively tight, the wr...moreThis is a lackluster addition to the burgeoning teen dystopian fiction genre. Though the plot shows promise and the pacing is relatively tight, the writing is very uneven. Additionally, some of the scenes simply don't make sense given the situations and character development. Overt product placement meant to show the downfall of corporations/the meaninglessness of money just comes across as preachy and disrupts the flow of the novel further. Overall however, the novel has some original concepts and is readable. Hopefully the author will continue to develop her writing style as the trilogy progresses. (less)