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12-in-2012 AAR Reading Challenge
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Calendar Challenge

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March By the Light of the Silvery Moon Tricia Goyer
April The Call of Bravery Janice Kay Johnson
May
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

This was an impulse buy for me. Here's the blurb from Amazon:


Quote:

No emotional connection means zero risk of being hurt. DEA agent Conall MacLachlan has learned that the hard way. And it's been the key to his survival. So why is his latest assignment getting to him? Could be that he's back in the town he rejected years ago. But he suspects the real reason is Lia Woods.

He's instantly and powerfully attracted to Lia—something that's never happened to him. And running a surveillance operation from her house has them too close—he can't catch his breath. Between her and her foster kids, Conall feels the domestic ties tighten…yet it's not so bad. He just needs to be brave enough to take what Lia offers


I struggled with this a bit. It was one of those tales where a battered adult meets up with battered kids and everyone heals each other in a few weeks. Of course I love the sweetness of it but my stupid understanding of reality kept me skeptical and unwilling to accept the fairy tale. Sad

I also didn't much like the whole immigration issue that was part of the whole thing, especially Lia's story. It's a complicated debate and most romances simply present one side. There really are two.
maggie b
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Calendar Challenge

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March By the Light of the Silvery Moon Tricia Goyer
April The Call of Bravery Janice Kay Johnson
May A Great Catch Lorna Selstad
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

Emily is clumsy, stubborn and opinionated. Carter is handsome, rich, and -as captain of a baseball team - extremely athletic. When the two run into each at the start of summer on Lake Manawa sparks fly. But Emily doesn't want sparks - she wants the right to vote. Devoted to the suffrage cause, she spends lots of her time writing articles for the local newspaper, planning meetings and putting together events that further the movement. Carter just wants time with a girl he finds interesting and a summer that lets him showcase his skills as a ball player.

Set in the early 1900's this novel covers the ups and downs of the movement to get women the right to vote and the early years of baseball. Both should have been really interesting topics but the author used way too much timr on the suffrage movement - not it's history but why it was right. Since I don't think there are too many people out there questioning the legitimacy of this particular issue, I found that a waste of page space. I also couldn't warm up to Emily - no matter how nice Carter was she was prickly and defensive. It was interesting to hear about the Bloomer girl teams, Carter was lovely and fun to be with but the heroine and her cause detracted from what could have been a fun summer novel.

maggie b.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Calendar Challenge

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March By the Light of the Silvery Moon Tricia Goyer
April The Call of Bravery Janice Kay Johnson
May A Great Catch Lorna Selstad
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August Pirate of My Heart Jamie Carie
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November
December

OMG. Imagine every trite romance cliche from the 80's put together and you would come up with this novel.

Lady Kendra Townsend is a beloved daddy's girl. She and he are just the best of friends. But daddy's wicked twin has gotten into trouble and daddy paupers himself to help him. Then daddy dies in a carriage accident. Kendra is grief stricken but worse is yet to come. Uncle Andrew tries to marry her off to an old, lecherous Lord. Never! Daddy promised Kendra she would marry for love or not at all. Kendra refuses the marriage and her uncle sends her to live in America with her mother's relatives as punishment.

On board ship, Kendra a lady travelling with no escort of any kind and no maid, finds herself falling in love with the Captain -Dorian Colburn, a wealthy American who owns a plantation home. But upon landing, Dorian is met by Angeline, a girl he had rejected in Europe. Angeline is determined to have Dorian at any cost. More struggles await Kendra when she discovers her Aunt and Uncle are destitute because of her uncle's gambling. Her uncle plots to marry her off for a dowry she doesn't know she has. Dorien rescues her and marries her. Then she overhears a snippet of conversation and convinced he doesn't love her, returns to England and Uncle Andrew. There he tries to kill her as she uncovers his crazy plot. Dorian rescues her again, by killing her Uncle. They live stupidly ever after.

I can't get over the sheer number of mistakes made in this novel. Two Americans kill a peer of the realm and its just "Oh gosh, he hurt you? Good thing you killed him!!" A woman travelling alone on a ship full of men in 1797? A lady without a maid of any kind - who helped her into her fancy dresses? More importantly, why was a 19 year old completely unaware of her dowry? If her mother was the one responsible for making sure the property came with no entailment why was it not simply owned by Kendra?

Will not be reading this author again. Ever.

maggie b.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March By the Light of the Silvery Moon Tricia Goyer
April The Call of Bravery Janice Kay Johnson
May A Great Catch Lorna Selstad
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August Pirate of My Heart Jamie Carie
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November Until There Was You Kristan Higgins
December

This book was going to be THE highlight of this challenge for me but it really fizzled. Posey is the darling of her family and friends. She is also a bit of a screw up who can't seem to make a relationship work. She has been in love with Liam forever, so when he heads back to town her girl parts go all a twitter.

I have tried to think of what I want to say about this novel and basically I want to say - it didn't work for me. That's it. I found Posey man desperate. It wasn't that she longed for a man in her life - it was that she thought so little of herself that she let men use her. Her relationships with Dante and Liam both highlighted this.

Liam was a tad insane as well. Fortunately, he just hovered at the border. He had some terrific scenes with his daughter but the over protectiveness was nowhere near funny. I have teens and am an overprotective parent. I still manage not to spy on them. I also didn't buy the scene he walked in on with Tanner and Nicole. Nicole was waaayyy to smart to bungle like that.

When the author wasn't trying to be witty and hip, she had some wonderful sweet scenes. But most of the book was made up of the other stuff.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge: NEW AUTHORS!
Love is a Battlefield by Tamara Morgan:
Really liked the hero and heroine in this author’s debut book, even when I wanted to smack their heads together for not talking to each other. This book has a lot of humor, though some of the pranks come off as rather childish. The heroine’s bff was an annoying, selfish jerk and I couldn’t understand why the heroine stayed friends with her. Despite often being exasperated by the characters, I enjoyed their courtship and the way they finally get their HEA. And I’m looking forward to the sequel.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

January Local Custom Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
February Rainshadow Road Lisa Kleypas
March By the Light of the Silvery Moon Tricia Goyer
April The Call of Bravery Janice Kay Johnson
May A Great Catch Lorna Selstad
June The Lady of Bolton Hill Elizabeth Camden
July the Last Wolf Margaret Mayhew
August Pirate of My Heart Jamie Carie
September Bette Lyn Cote
October In Close Brenda Novak
November Until There Was You Kristan Higgins
December Smitten Anthology - Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diana Hunt and Denise Hunter

Natalie, Shelby, Julia and Reese are anxious to bring their dying lumber mill town back to life. With the help of country music legend Sawyer Smitten, they just might be able to pull it off. The girls plan on turning the town into a romance destination - Be Smitten in Smitten - and while they work and build, they find love with the men who have been there for them all along.

I liked that the book dealt with some tough issues - illegitimate children, divorce, abortions - but the romances just weren't there for me.

On the really bright side, I finished my first challenge.

Woo hoo!

maggie b.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dime A Dozen Challenge

Contemporary Always the Designer, Never the Bride Sandra D. Bricker, His Duty to Protect Lindsay McKennna
Fantasy
Futuristic Under the Never Sky Veronica Rossi
Gothic
Historical Promise Me This Cathy Gohlke, I'll Be Seeing You Margaret Mayhew
InspirationalSomething beyond the Sky Siri Mitchell
Paranormal
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense
Time Travel
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult Switched Amand Hocking, Abandon Meg Cabot

McKenna is one of those authors others love that you don't. This is my second book by her. I liked the first one better. Heroine Rachel is an Apache pilot. Extremely proud of her own skills, and even prouder of the long history her family has in the military she is dismayed to find out her helo was destroyed in a Taliban attack and that her only chance to keep flying is under Captain Ty Hamilton. Ty is a chauvinist who tried to destroy her career before it ever got started Has he changed since flight school.

I could not like Rachel, who seemed to feel she was royalty because her family had a long history of service. That's great but it sure doesn't make you royalty! Ty was ok. The plot followed a similar pattern to the last one of hers I read - male chavenist meets military babe, they get stranded in enemy terrirtory together, he learns how fantastic she is, they marry. That particular fantasy just doesn't work for me.

maggie b.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1805
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For my A Dime a Dozen Challenge, I've just finished up Kristan Higgins' Too Good to Be True. It could legitimately be placed in the contemporary or romantic comedy category, so I'll decide that later.

It was a solid "B" read. There were times when I couldn't believe people would put up with the crap their family members or friends dished out in this book, but I saw it slightly "screwball" in nature, where reality is definitely skewed. I also had a hard time swallowing the hero's indignation late in the book. He wasn't exactly the soul of honesty and moral righteousness. He was clearly the deus ex machina that made the heroine wrap her familial infractions up and progress to the next level.

I'm giving you none of the plot, I see. But, this is Kristan Higgins. It's all about family, a slighty wacky heroine, a pet, a skewed hero and a tear or two. You get it. Wash, rinse, repeat.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 27, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dime A Dozen Challenge

Contemporary Always the Designer, Never the Bride Sandra D. Bricker, His Duty to Protect Lindsay McKennna
Fantasy
Futuristic Under the Never Sky Veronica Rossi
Gothic The Haunting of Maddy Clare Simone St. James
Historical Promise Me This Cathy Gohlke, I'll Be Seeing You Margaret Mayhew
InspirationalSomething beyond the Sky Siri Mitchell
Paranormal
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense
Time Travel
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult Switched Amand Hocking, Abandon Meg Cabot

At last, an A read! Laughing Sarah accepts a job from Alistair, who is rich but very clearly eccentric and a bit mad - he hunts ghosts. She's desperate, he's kind - its a match made in heaven. Or elsewhere. For Sarah finds out that this ghost is quite actually real. And very dangerous. When Mathew, Alistair's assistant joins them on the hunt, she discovers danger of a whole other kind.

My only sorrow is that Ms. St. James next book is not about them but a new set of people. This book was worthy of a series, it is that good. I would strongly recommend to fans of Susanna Kearsley or Mary Stewart.

Only one day left of vacay, sob. I've gotten so much reading done.

maggie b.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dime A Dozen Challenge

Contemporary Always the Designer, Never the Bride Sandra D. Bricker, His Duty to Protect Lindsay McKennna
Fantasy
Futuristic Under the Never Sky Veronica Rossi
Gothic The Haunting of Maddy Clare Simone St. James
Historical Promise Me This Cathy Gohlke, I'll Be Seeing You Margaret Mayhew
InspirationalSomething beyond the Sky Siri Mitchell The Messenger Siri Mitchell
Paranormal
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense
Time Travel
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult Switched Amand Hocking, Abandon Meg Cabot

Hannah is a Quaker, a believer in peace and simplicity. But when her brother joins the rebel cause and is captured and imprisoned she must care for him. Jeremiah Jones is a tavern owner, a patriot, godless - and a spy. He and the lovely Hannah form an odd but successful partnership. Can it turn into something more?

This was a good read, even with some real improbabilities to make the end an HEA.

maggie b.
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library addict



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Posts: 1470

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Counterclockwise Challenge: Marie Ferrarella
Husbands and Other Strangers:
Marie Ferrarella is a hit-or-miss author for me. This book is a combination on both. The plot is very implausible. The heroine bumps her head in a diving accident and forgets only her husband of 18 months. Even though she has a cut on her forehead which requires stitches, none of her co-workers know about the accident or that she has partial amnesia. Which would be okay, except she’s a former Olympic swimmer turned on-air sportscaster and somehow I think the make-up lady would have noticed. The hero occasionally yet repeatedly questions if she’s faking the whole thing throughout the book. I got his sense of yearning during his internal monologues, but all they seem to do is snipe at one another when they talk. It seemed they were each distant and sometimes mean only for the sake of the plot. Once she regains her memory, some things are explained which make their relationship dynamic work better. While their behavior exasperated me at times, I did like both characters and was rooting for their HEA.

Cavanaugh’s Bodyguard: The Cavanaugh Justice series is one the author has extended several times. I’m fine with the fact there was an “unknown” Cavanaugh brother who was switched at birth 50 years ago. But seeing as he was raised in a loving home with other siblings the idea that he now wants to change his last name and expects his seven children (all in their 20s and 30s) to do so as well boggles my mind Rolling Eyes That subplot kept throwing me out of the story. The h/h in this particular book are police detectives who are also partners. Their journey from friends to lovers is enjoyable. The serial killings they are investigating serve as a backdrop, but the investigation never feels very suspenseful. There’s a great deal of time spent setting up an adversarial relationship between the heroine and their boss which then never really goes anywhere.

Because a Husband is Forever: This book starts off well enough, but I struggled to get through it as the plot is ridiculous. The heroine hosts a local talk show and the hero is an ex-cop turned bodyguard who is a guest on her show. Her producer decides to have the hero be the heroine’s bodyguard for two weeks as part of a sweeps stunt, and the hero’s partner agrees to the scheme as the studio offers to pay double their usual fee and underwrite the cost of a commercial for their firm. The heroine is constantly jumping to conclusions. And despite agreeing to the scheme, continually tries to get away. As a result she comes off as very ditzy. The hero takes taciturn to a whole new level. He’s been put through the wringer by his ex-wife, but rather than becoming bitter and believing all women are evil, he believes he’s not good enough for the heroine. In some ways this is refreshing, but it made for such a shallow conflict.

Diamonds and Deceptions In the first few pages of this book we learn the hero witnessed his parents being murdered when he was ten years old and that his wife committed suicide. Therefore, he believes he doesn’t deserve to be happy. And he spends much of the novel being a gloomy gus as well as figuring he deserves a special place in hell for deceiving the heroine. The heroine is naïve and has led a very sheltered life. She‘s a daydreamer who tends to romanticize everything. But thankfully she knows it. The book is part of the multi-author Parks Empire series, so a lot of page time is dedicated to the over-arcing mystery, which is convoluted to say the least. The ending is rushed with both the hero and heroine trying to out-apologize the other, but overall it’s a sweet romance.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The Counterclockwise Challenge (Marie Ferrarella): 4 down 8 to go…
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Maggie AAR
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Posts: 2470

PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dime A Dozen Challenge

Contemporary Always the Designer, Never the Bride Sandra D. Bricker, His Duty to Protect Lindsay McKennna
Fantasy
Futuristic Under the Never Sky Veronica Rossi Daybreak Ellen Connor
Gothic The Haunting of Maddy Clare Simone St. James
Historical Promise Me This Cathy Gohlke, I'll Be Seeing You Margaret Mayhew
InspirationalSomething beyond the Sky Siri Mitchell The Messenger Siri Mitchell
Paranormal
Romantic Comedy
Romantic Suspense
Time Travel
Urban Fantasy
Young Adult Switched Amand Hocking, Abandon Meg Cabot

The Calender Challenge 12 down, O to go
The Dime a Dozen Challenge 11 down, 1 to go
New Release Calendar Challenge 4 down, 8 to go

Tru and Penny were raised by Mason and Jenna during the start of the Change. Then he left. She grew up and she left. Now on a lonely stretch of road they have found each other once more. As they battle the evil that is O'Malley and try to help create a new and better future, can they also learn to love and trust each other once more?

This had a slow start for me as Tru was all about sex and Pen was all about being a hero. About a hundred pages in the book settled into a plot and became enjoyable.

maggie b.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The High Noon Challenge: NEW AUTHORS!
Hard Target by Barbara Phinney:
The heroine is a military security guard at the Canadian Embassy in Bolivia. The hero is her old instructor, whom she’d been reprimanded for fraternization with three years earlier. They meet again when he is sent to supervise her investigation into an explosion at the embassy. The mystery aspects of the story were interesting, even though the villain was obvious from the first appearance. I’m not very familiar with the Canadian military, but I would hope their punish-only-the-female attitude was creative license and not the way they would truly handle such an incident. The hero feels the rules don’t apply to him, odd since he’s the one who literally wrote them. The heroine is a bit too perfect and the hero often TSTL. Sadly, the romance between the two falls flat. And the ending was too overdone. This was a Kindle book and the formatting left a lot to be desired. There are no section breaks which made it harder to keep track of the timeline and the POV changed every few paragraphs.

A Dime a Dozen Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The Duodenary Category Romance Challenge: 12 down 0 to go…
The New Release Calendar Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The Clock Challenge: 4 down 8 to go…
The High Noon Challenge: 5 down 7 to go…
The Counterclockwise Challenge (Marie Ferrarella): 4 down 8 to go…
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karat



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Posts: 356

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge
Day 7.)
A book with the word “Seventh”, “Seven”, “Swan”, “Swans”, “Swim” or “Swimming” in the title
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

From Amazon:
Quote:
For nineteen-year-old Harriet Morton, life in 1912 Cambridge is as dry and dull as a biscuit. Her stuffy father and her opressive aunt Louisa allow her only one outlet: ballet. When a Russian ballet master comes to class searching for dancers to fill the corps of his ballet company before their South American tour, Harriet's world changes. Defying her father's wishes and narrowly escaping the clutches of the man who wishes to marry her, Harriet sneaks off to join the ballet on their journey to the Amazon. There, in the wild, lush jungle, they perform Swan Lake in grand opera houses for the wealthy and culture-deprived rubber barons, and Harriet meets Rom Verney, the handsome and mysterious British exile who owns the most ornate opera house. Utterly enchanted by both the exotic surroundings and by Rom's affections, Harriet is swept away by her new life, completely unaware that her father and would-be fiancé have begun to track her down. . . .


This was my first Eva Ibbotson's book, and I loved it!
First of all, the unusual setting - the Amazon at the beginning of the 20th century - was a very refreshing change from the more traditional historical books. And Eva Ibbotson does a masterful job in describing this interesting setting: I could feel as if I was walking the streets of Manaus (the city in the Amazon) together with Harriet, the heroine.
Second, the author's writing is outstanding! The way she constructs the story and also how she brings us insights about the different characters reminded me of some of my favorite authors, such as Kathleen Gilles Siedel, Carla Kelly, Sherry Thomas and Georgette Heyer.
Third, I learned a lot with the book: about academic progression at Cambridge, about the glory of the rubber cycle in the Amazon a 100 years ago, and about ballet, all without feeling that these topics were being hammered to death. On the contrary: the book raised my curiosity about the topics to the point where I turned to the internet afterwards to learn more.
And fourth, of course, it was a great love story: the romance between Harriet and Rom feels right from the beginning, and they were both great characters. And their ending together has exactly the right amount of "emotional pay-off", in my opinion.
Lovely book, really! Now to my last book in this challenge!
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dime a Dozen Challenge

Gothic Sea of Secrets Amanda DeWees

This gothic had some good things to recommend it and some problems.
The good - it had a genuine gothic feel, an interesting mystery and some fascinating characters.

The bad - the plot hinged on three points which I found unbelievable. Since they all are revealed at the end I won't discuss them here.

Overall, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to gothic fans.

Dime a Dozen Challenge, 12 down, 0 to go
Calendar Challenge 12 down, 0 to go
New Release Calendar Challenge 4 down, 8 to go

maggie b.
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