Review of Bellamy and the Brute by Alicia Michaels

Synopsis (from Amazon):

A fresh twist on a classic story, Bellamy and the Brute proves true love really is blind.

When Bellamy McGuire is offered a summer job babysitting for the wealthy Baldwin family, she’s reluctant to accept. After all, everyone in town knows about the mysterious happenings at the mansion on the hill―including the sudden disappearance of the Baldwin’s eldest son, Tate. The former football star and golden boy of Wellhollow Springs became a hermit at the age of sixteen, and no one has seen or heard from him since. Rumors abound as to why, with whisperings about a strange illness―one that causes deformity and turned him into a real-life monster. Bellamy wants to dismiss these rumors as gossip, but when she’s told that if she takes the job, she must promise to never, ever visit the third floor of the mansion, she begins to wonder if there really is some dark truth hidden there.

Tate’s condition may not be the only secret being kept at Baldwin House. There are gaps in the family’s financial history that don’t add up, and surprising connections with unscrupulous characters. At night there are strange noises, unexplained cold drafts, and the electricity cuts out. And then there are the rose petals on the staircase. The rose petals that no one but Bellamy seems to be able to see. The rose petals that form a trail leading right up to the 3 rd floor, past the portrait of a handsome young man, and down a dark hallway where she promised she would never, ever go…

As Bellamy works to unravel the mysteries of Baldwin House and uncover the truth about Tate, she realizes that she is in way over her head… in more ways than one. Can her bravery and determination help to right the wrongs of the past and free the young man whose story has captured her heart?

Review:
This story felt like it went on forever, and I never wanted to set it down. There are twists and turns everywhere, both supernatural and common teenage problems to see and deal with, and all of it very relatable. Bellamy’s father is known for being crazy, and people worry or laugh suggesting she’ll be the same, so already, Bellamy has to deal with being ostracized and belittled, even if just for being smart at times.

With supernatural uncertainties, Tate and Bellamy find themselves having to figure out a mystery, while also learning about each other and how to associate with someone physically disabled. All in all, I thought the situations, and their reactions to them, were very realistic, and the story was gripping and quite wonderful. I certainly recommend, especially to those who enjoy Beauty and the Beast.

Star Rating: 

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Review of Miramont’s Ghost by Elizabeth Hall

Miramont’s Ghost
By Elizabeth Hall

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Gothic Mystery
Number of Pages: 334

Date Started: February 19, 2017
Date Finished: March 1, 2017

Synopsis: (From Amazon)miramonts-ghost
Miramont Castle, built in 1897 and mysteriously abandoned three years later, is home to many secrets. Only one person knows the truth: Adrienne Beauvier, granddaughter of the Comte de Challembelles and cousin to the man who built the castle.

Clairvoyant from the time she could talk, Adrienne’s visions show her the secrets of those around her. When her visions begin to reveal dark mysteries of her own aristocratic French family, Adrienne is confronted by her formidable Aunt Marie, who is determined to keep the young woman silent at any cost. Marie wrenches Adrienne from her home in France and takes her to America, to Miramont Castle, where she keeps the girl isolated and imprisoned. Surrounded by eerie premonitions, Adrienne is locked in a life-or-death struggle to learn the truth and escape her torment.

Reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, this hauntingly atmospheric tale is inspired by historical research into the real-life Miramont Castle in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

Review:
The characterization in this novel could not have been any better. The depth of which the characters felt, and their motivations were astounding. While some characters seem completely “bad” and unsympathetic, it’s explained why that might be so.

However, once all the pieces have been set in play, about 35% of the novel is about the continual torrent of bad things that happen to our main protagonist. With a title like Miramont’s Ghost no one expects everything to be happy and cheerful, but the end offered no resolution for the heroine, instead letting the characters who dished up the torture get away with all they had done. This is a story where the bad guys win. Surprising enough, that isn’t where the story ends, and we’re left thinking that Adrienne deserved so much better.

elizabeth-hallAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
Elizabeth Hall spent most of her life in the mountains of Colorado. She has worked as a teacher and communications consultant, including hosting, writing, and producing the radio show Heart of the West (KRZA, Alamosa) and producing an oral history compilation for the Great Sand Dunes National Park. She now lives in the Pacific NW.

Review of Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris

Dead Ever After
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 13
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 24, 2016dead-ever-after
Date Finished: January 25, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)
When a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, Sookie will learn that what passes for the truth is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

Review:
Insert random series of events that rip Eric and Sookie apart. Oh, look, suddenly all the humans care about Sookie and she’s considered human again. While I did enjoy seeing Amelia and the household full of people, I would have liked it better if that was the main plot and shoving Eric on a bus wasn’t the second major decision of the novel.

How did the ending of the book make you feel? I’m glad you asked. I saw from the beginning that Sookie would end with the person she did, but I am more frustrated than anything that, after seeing her run from guy to guy, get swept up in the romance and such, that she decides that she doesn’t want to “go fast” and has to “take it slow” which, from the look of the epilogue, essentially kills all romance whatsoever, really. We heard way too much about “not that anyone asked me to marry them” and “I WANT BABIES” in subtext for the epilogue to be even a touch satisfying.

At least Pam got what she deserved. That’s something.

 

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Deadlocked
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 12
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 352

Date Started: January 23, 2016
Date Finished: January 24, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)deadlocked
Felipe de Castro, the vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), is in town. It’s the worst possible time for a human body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s set out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

Review:
Eric’s becoming more and more engrossed in vampire politics while Sookie tries to hold on. As always, Sookie has more enemies than we are aware, and there is a definite friction between Eric and Sam like there is between Sookie and Jannalynn.

While Sookie is trying to figure out her future she’s also learning more about herself, that she can be devious and ruthless, and that she’s smarter than she’s usually given credit for.

Unfortunately, things are not well in Sookie relationship land, and Sookie refuses to do anything to try to solve it. I get that before Bill she had no relationships, but seriously, between having had a few in the past years of the book series, having female friends to chat with, and being able to buy a Cosmo magazine like any other girl (not to mention the supposed long list of romance novels Sookie has read) one would expect she would have some idea how things were done, and not act like a prepubescent girl.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris

Dead Reckoning
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 11
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 23, 2016
Date Finished: January 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)dead_reckoning_novel_cover
With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover, Eric Northman, and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…

Review:
This novel is starting to get the series back on track, and I love it for that. I love the continued work on relationships between Sookie and others, particularly the development of her friendships with Sam and Pam. I was glad to FINALLY see Bill again, since we heard about him in the last couple of novels but it was more a passing mention. I’m not certain Bill actually loves Sookie or is more infatuated with the idea of her, but we’ll see in the long run.

I love the fae connections in this novel, though I wish we had gotten to see more of them and learn whatever they are up to, which is likely the plot of the next novel.

I was quite disappointed that Sam’s brother’s wedding, which has been mentioned in I believe three books, was completely glossed over and nothing said about it except a few brief mentions that Sookie went with him.

While I think Sookie still has to do quite the bit of introspection to figure out who SHE is and what she feels/thinks/believes, it was nice for her to be there for Tara and to have a really human moment, and it was especially nice to see that some supernaturals can appreciate those basic life moments too.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Dead in the Family
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 10
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 368

Date Started: January 22, 2016
Date Finished: January 23, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)dead-in-the-family
After enduring torture and the loss of loved ones during the brief but deadly Fae War, Sookie Stackhouse is hurt and she’s mad. Just about the only bright spot in her life is the love she thinks she feels for vampire Eric Northman. But he’s under scrutiny by the new vampire king. And as the political implications of the shifters’ coming-out are beginning to be felt, Sookie’s connection to one particular Were draws her into the dangerous debate. Also, though the doors to Faery have been closed, there are still some fae on the human side-and one of them is angry at Sookie…very, very angry…

Review:
In this novel Sookie seems to be drawn into far too many directions. It’s hard to truly get a grasp on anything going on, because there are too many side stories to keep track of.

Eric’s maker had an appearance, and all in all I did find that story interesting, except it seemed far too quick. Usually characters are introduced and have a long lasting effect.

I didn’t think any of the mysteries in this were something that people couldn’t easily deduce from reading previous novels, though the one with the Weres really didn’t matter that much in the overall scheme.

Hopefully the series gets back on track instead of going X-Men and becoming only about the varying human/supernatural relations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for equality, but that’s a very different direction than what the series has been about overall thus far.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.

Review of Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone
Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood 9
By Charlaine Harris

Star Rating: 
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy

Number of Pages: 320

Date Started: January 21, 2016
Date Finished: January 22, 2016

Synopsis: (From Amazon)dead-and-gone-ch
When the weres and shifters finally come out, the residents of Bon Temps, Louisiana, must deal with the violent aftermath. But a far greater danger threatens. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie will find herself an all-too human pawn in their battle…

Review:
Ah, back to the usual swing of a Sookie Stackhouse novel! While not quite back up to par, this novel was far better than the last one, and I hope that the next will bring it back up to the level the previous books were at.

This novel had a mystery within a mystery which was quite stellar. There were some vampire tricks, and a few Were situations. All in all, this was a great story.

This story does a lot behind the scenes, and a lot of time is spent being introduced to concepts just to have them dashed away in very close succession to the reveal. There was a lot of things that didn’t necessarily need to be added, though I believe they will likely be pivotal in the next novel.

charlaineAuthor Biography: (From Amazon)
For information on Charlaine Harris, please view her Amazon author page here.