Tardy TBR Challenge Review: Stitches in Time by Barbara Michaels

Format: mass market
Pub Date: 1995 (this edition, 1999)
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (Harper Collins)
FTC: Purchased used so long ago I can't remember where
Length: 387 pages

This month's TBR Challenge theme was Old School (at least 10 years old), and I had actually read a book in preparation for it. Alas, the reality of having two active boys at home interfered once again and the post never got written. No posts have been written all summer, which is a personal worst for me. But at least I'm still reading. The slump hasn't crept back.

Barbara Michaels holds a special place in my heart. Her books, along with Piers Anthony, were some of the first adult titles I read as a young teen. They were shelved in mystery, but they are actually pretty close to romantic suspense. Some are out and out gothic with all of the creepy little atmospheric touches. She was also Elizabeth Peters, one of my favorite authors of all time, but I have not read a Michaels book in at least 20 years, so revisiting her style under this pseudonym was fun.


Hump Day Classic Movie: The Kid (1921)

Hard to believe considering how much of a movie buff I am, but until recently? I hadn't seen a Charlie Chaplin movie. Weird, I know.

The Kid is considered one of his best movies, and it's easy to see why. Despite the lack of dialogue and the weird, double speed that sometimes occurs in silent films, this movie is hilarious, sweet, heartbreaking, and never dull.

I was also struck by how earthy the movie was. There's unwed motherhood, drinking, violence... Something that in today's Puritanical movie ratings would earn this film at least a PG rating. If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend it.


Tardy TBR Challenge Review: Power Play by Sophia Henry

Format: ebook (read as a print ARC)
Pub Date: February 16, 2016
Publisher: Flirt (Random House)
Length: 236 pages
POV: 1st, past
FTC: print ARC received for free from the publisher during RT16
TW: rape, suicide

Yes, it's me, the tardy TBR person. I always seem to lose track of which Wednesday posts are supposed to be up by, and then life just seems to mess with me. Anyway, this month's theme is something different, and since I DON'T read NA, this one definitely qualifies.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but...there's not enough hockey in this book.

People who know me would be laughing at what I just wrote because I'm not a sports person at all. AT. ALL. I don't even watch the Superbowl, which is the one event even non-sports people watch. I watch my kids in their soccer games and that is it. But since this book has "A Pilots Hockey Novel" on it and features a hockey player as the hero, well...it kinda needed more hockey

This ebook-only story is category length, so I'm assuming it's supposed to be light on details, but even so...you'd think it would be centered around hockey. Not so. It's centered around a family grocery business which recently expanded to include a gift shop.  The narrator is our heroine, Gaby Bertucci, whose family has run the business in Detroit for generations, and she has a major crush on minor league hockey player Landon Taylor.  She flirts with him whenever he visits the store, but nothing happens until her father collapses of a heart attack while Landon is there. His quick thinking and calm presence force their interactions beyond the generic pleasantries they normally exchange and open the door for more.


Quickie Review: Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep

Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: May 2016
Publisher: Kensington
Length: 308 pages

As the conclusion of the Black Blade trilogy, this book did its job, wrapping up various threads in a neat and tidy way. For me, it was almost TOO tidy.  Warning: there be (minor) spoilers ahead.

Overall, I think the first person, past POV works to the series' advantage, but in this book? I think it really hurt being able to connect deeply with the action. Lila is pretty inured to violence and death, but there's A LOT of death in this book. A lot of gruesome stuff. And she just doesn't spend a lot of time or emotion on it. It might be consistent with her character, but I think it hurts the overall impact of the story to have her not really be affected by some of the things that happen, and because we experience the story through her, we don't really get a lot of time with the other characters' reactions, either.

I really enjoyed the monsters in this book...probably more than in the other books. They had a more central role, and made it feel much more like an Urban Fantasy novel this time around. There's plenty of action and drama to make up for the lack of romance, though, and this is probably the most action-packed of the three books.

My only disappointments were that this does not stand alone (at all!) and that it skirts any really deep emotion. I wanted a bit more angst, which this book just didn't deliver.

My Grade: B-
The Blurb:

As a thief, I’m good at three things: hiding in the shadows, getting in and out unseen, and uncovering secrets. I put these skills to work for the Sinclair Family, one of the magical mobs that run the tourist town of Cloudburst Falls.
Everyone knows Victor Draconi wants to take over all the other Families—and kill every last Sinclair. What they don’t know is that I’m on to him, and no way will I let the man who murdered my mom get away with hurting all the other people I care about. Especially when I’ve got places to break into, stuff to steal, and Devon Sinclair fighting right by my side…