Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Monday, August 31, 2015

Total Brain Candy (Just When I Needed It!)

Be forewarned...if you are looking for deep, meaningful reading, The Bourbon Kings is not the book for you. But if you are interested in good escapist fiction that sucks you into the lives of privileged, spoiled rich people, you're going to be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.

First, let's be clear: There is nothing paranormal about The Bourbon Kings, unlike Ward's uber-successful Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This first book in the series instead relies on a deeply dysfunctional family whose ancestors began the Bradford Bourbon Company; a family that features one daughter and three brothers with deep-seeded scars at the hands of their strict, unfeeling father and emotionally distant mother. The main character is Lane, third son, who has had nothing to do with his family for over two years; he's left the old Kentucky home of Easterly and lives in New York, playing poker and avoiding life. But with a phone call that the woman he feels is his true mother is dying, Lane takes a flight back and ends up staring down his demons:  his father, the family business, the woman he loves, and a wife who somehow is still living with the family despite the estrangement between them.

The points of view shift around a bit in this novel, with Lane and Lizzie (the woman he loved and lost), taking the most pages as family secrets, lies, and outright cruelty take center stage. But there are also chapters from Edward, the oldest brother, now physically incapacitated and well on his way to being a full-on alcoholic; Gin, the youngest sister whose libido attacks first and asks questions later; and Sutton, the daughter of the rival bourbon company. I found myself fully engaged each time the point of view moved, ready to find out what atrocity was looming and whose life was about to implode next.

Sure, the storyline is overly dramatic but there's some base satisfaction to be had in knowing that the rich have problems, too, and Ward deals them out in spades. As Lane tries desperately to win Lizzie back, other ugly truths begin to rear their heads, and he realizes the family's problems go way deeper than his being married to a someone he hates. There are several mysteries thrown in, and some flashbacks give insight into what put the dys- into dysfunctional. Life is complicated and overwrought and yet you cannot look away.

There are a few negative points, including the way Ward "borrows" things like the Kentucky Derby and renames them...Yes, I'm aware she probably needed to do so to avoid getting in trouble, but it's still annoying. There are also some misunderstandings that are silly, and everything is over the top. But it's that very thing, the over the top bit, that pulls you in and keeps you turning those pages to learn more.

I admit I'm hooked. It's the whole Dynasty vibe, and it's got me loving the fun. Don't pick it apart; just give it a go for what it is and enjoy the ride.

Blogger isn't letting me upload the I'll give you a link instead.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pros and Cons

I finished this book last night and admittedly spent too much time afterwards trying to decide how I was going to review it. I've finally decided that the best way to do this is a Pros/Cons list because I'm about equally divided in my thoughts right now.

Pro:  Strong start. I roared right through the first 75 pages or so, needing to know what the big secrets were and how Nina fit into it. GREAT beginning.

Con:  And then...and then...the dragging bit happened. Nina, our heroine, must try to rescue her sister, Melanie, from the clutches of the Church, which runs everything in the demonically possessed world. And we hear about this...and hear about this...and hear about this...

Pro:  Nina is determined to do the right thing, no matter the cost. And sometimes the right thing involves doing some really bad stuff, but you know she's only thinking of what's right.

Con:  Nina's not very likable, unfortunately. She is abrasive and single-minded, even while she is determined and focused. 

Pro:  The whole Church twist is great. It's almost a throwback to the Inquisition, and it's truly scary to think that this could happen (minus the demons). Everyone is taken in, and everyone believes, or is forced to believe. Nina is part of the whole until she realizes what's really going on, and then it's almost too late.

Con:  I really hate Devi.  I know I'm not supposed to like her at this point, but I really hate her which makes me not want to read further. In fact, I'm not a big fan of any of the gang with which Nina aligns.

Pro:  I like the Finn twist. Unique and unexpected. I'd like to see how this ends up.

Con:  The whole exorcist thing.  Where does it come from? Without being too spoiler-y, I will say that I understand that it's the focal point of Nina's story, but I don't get where it came from (though I suppose I'll learn this later on).  I just felt like some parts of it were way too conveniently accepted by Nina, a girl who normally rejects everything.

Pro:  It's a great premise and may yet be really interesting.

Con:  Too many people I just do not care about. I doubt I'll read the next one, which is a shame, as I normally love Rachel Vincent. the math.  I'm giving 3 solid stars for good idea but a sort of messy climax with people I didn't care for. You may come away with more excitement than I did, but I'm just not that enthusiastic.


Saturday, August 01, 2015

Fly Me to the Morgue

Love this series and love Eddie G.! In book 6 of the Rat Pack Mysteries, Fly Me to the Morgue, Eddie's newest life-threatening problem comes when he accompanies Bing Crosby to look at a possible race horse the celeb may want to buy. Having impressed Bing with his horse knowledge a year earlier, Big Jerry is asked along for the ride, but naturally it's far from a regular visit to look at a horse. Instead, the trio meet with the body of the guy selling the horse, and while that's not their fault, one thing leads to another. Once again, members of the Rat Pack and their friends become involved, along with the Mob and other unsavory characters.

This mystery, like the others, isn't particularly deep but it is so engaging, and so page-turning, that I thoroughly enjoyed myself and raced right through it. All our favorites are back, including Eddie, Jerry, Danny, as well as Frank, Dino, and various other celebrities. Randisi continues to weave Eddie seamlessly into the Vegas of the 60s, and I continue to love these books. This one is just as good as the others, and the addition of Bing to the storyline is just icing on the cake. Why aren't you reading these books? They're too much fun!