Review: Under the Lights by Shannon Stacey

Format: Mass market paperback
Pub Date: June 2015
Publisher: Jove/Penguin Random House
Length: 278 pages
POV: 3rd
FTC: Received at an RT Convention

First, let me say that I've been a fan of Shannon Stacy for awhile. At least back to her first title with Carina way back when. 6 years ago? more? I can't remember. Second, I'm not a sports fan. At. All. I'm not bragging about it, just making it clear that I'm reading this book as a non-sports person, so any errors or inside jokes are completely lost on me.

As for Under the Lights? Well...it's short. Almost category length, or at least it felt that way. Which, of course, limits what you're going to see on-page. We get a lot of time in the hero's head. A lot of introspection. We get less time with the heroine, and I'm not really sure if she ever felt fully fleshed out. She's divorced, was cheated on, and now works as a cop in the small town she grew up in. But I never really felt like we got inside her head.

There are a whole host of secondary characters here, some we get significant time with and some we really don't. I know there is sequel bait sprinkled everywhere, but many of the secondary characters were just...boring. I wasn't interested in learning their stories.

Also, to whoever decided that fund-raiser is hyphenated: NO. STOP IT ALREADY. I know Merriam has it hyphenated, but out in the real world, that compound word has no hyphen. NONE. I can't express how much that bugged me. And since the book's premise is based on a fundraiser, it was EVERYWHERE. /end shouting.

Overall, this was a sweet story about a quirky, run down small town, that is quick to read. It's not going to move you greatly, but it might entertain you for a couple of hours.  I've read far better, more emotional books by this author.

My Grade: C+

The Blurb:
They were the golden boys of fall: Stewart Mills High School’s legendary championship winning football team. Fourteen years later, they’re back to relive their glory, save the team—and find themselves again…

Chase Sanders’s life has taken a lot of crazy turns lately. But returning to his hometown to help his old coach keep his high school football team afloat might be the craziest thing to happen to him yet. That is, until he starts falling for the last person he should—Coach’s gorgeous daughter…

Kelly McDonnell learned the hard way that cocky, charming men are nothing but trouble, so she knows Chase is bad news. Still, she can’t resist his smile—or the rest of him. But when his loyalty to her father conflicts with their growing attraction, any hope for a relationship might be blocked before it can even begin… 


Review: City of Light (an Outcast Novel) by Keri Arthur

Format: mass market paperback
Pub Date: January 2016
Publisher: Signet
Length: 368 pages
FTC: Received for free from RT16, presumably from the author or publisher
POV: 1st, past

To my knowledge, this is my first novel by Keri Arthur. I'm not a huge Urban Fantasy reader, and those that I do read are usually UF with strong romantic elements. This is not that type of book.

As my limited experience with UF has shown me, first books are often the worst in a series, simply because SO MUCH TIME is spent on world building. It's just the nature of the beast that the story will drag a bit. Added to that, I'm sure I'm missing some of the shortcuts I'm supposed to get because I don't read a lot of the genre...there were times I was flat-out-lost in the details of who was supposed to do what. It's a lot to remember. Overall, though, this was different, compelling, and emotional enough to keep me reading.


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.