Thoughts on Books (#16): Northern Encounter / Edgar Allan Poe: The Complete Short Stories / A Discovery of Witches


Northern Encounter
Northern Encounter by Jennifer LaBrecque
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I needed an uplifting change of pace from my usual dark suspense/thriller reads, and NORTHERN ENCOUNTER fit the bill perfectly. A romance set in Alaska is the perfect escape. I’ll probably never get there, so reading about it is the next best thing.

Clint is a Native Alaskan and wilderness guide who’s hired by Tessa, a videographer from Arizona. She’s come to the town of Good Riddance to film the magnificent landscape for her latest project. They feel an attraction to each other, though both have reasons for not wanting a relationship. The characters were strong, and their conflicts were realistic. Of course, I absolutely loved the small town Alaska setting. The secondary characters were likable and interesting too. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series!


The Complete Short Stories
The Complete Short Stories by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A motley collection of short stories from Poe (the complete collection!) – horror, suspense, comedy, detective, general life observations, even science fiction. At times the stories are too wordy, but Poe always entertains with his grand imagination. I greatly enjoyed Bob Thomley’s narration of the audiobook. ♥


A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy, #1)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m finishing up this chunkster book today. I liked it, though maybe not as much as I thought I would. The world building was quite interesting, and I was impressed with the scientific and historical research. I’m very curious about the magical book Diana found, and why the various creatures want it.

On the flip side, the many descriptions of things — rowing, horseback riding, food, wine, hunting, etc — slowed the pace down. I liked witchy Diana, but never warmed up to Matthew. Does he get more likable in future books??

A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES has been sitting on my TBR shelf for 8 years (!!!), so I’m glad I finally read it. Will definitely continue the series at some point.


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BRIDES FOR BROTHERS by Debbie Macomber

bridesforbrothers
Series: Midnight Sons, #1
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: October 1995
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★


Hard Luck, Alaska — a Town that Needs Women!

Location: 50 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Population: 150 (mostly men) — but growing! Because the O’Halloran brothers, who run a bush-plane charter service called Midnight Sons, are heading a campaign to bring women to Hard Luck!

Sawyer O’Halloran — He’s the middle brother. Pilot and part owner of Midnight Sons. And, if the truth be told, he’s not entirely in favor of this scheme. But he considers himself immune to the charms of any woman — he’s adamantly against marriage and he’s not too sure about love!

Abbey Sutherland — Single mother of two adorable kids. Veteran of one bad marriage. Wants a new beginning — not a new romance. She responds to the Midnight Sons ad and is delighted to accept their offer. But there’s a complication — or two. She hasn’t told the O’Hallorans she’s arriving with children!


The beginning of the Midnight Sons series set in Alaska, 1995. BRIDES FOR BROTHERS is a sweet romance with a cast of good, down-to-earth people. The O’Halloran brothers who own a plane-charter business in Hard Luck, Alaska hatch a plan to attract women to their remote town. It’s all very innocent and on the up & up. I did have to giggle at the men’s reaction to having fresh womenfolk in their midst. Was it 1895 or 1995? The first to accept their offer is Abbey Sutherland who’s hired to set up a library in Hard Luck. Sawyer O’Halloran takes a liking to her, but of course, there are complications. Overall, just a nice romance to give you a warm, cozy feeling. Looking forward to the next book.

THE QUALITY OF SILENCE by Rosamund Lupton

QualityOfSilence
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Release Date: February 16, 2016
Source: Crown’s Blogging for Books
Rating: ★★★


The gripping, moving story of a mother and daughter’s quest to uncover a dark secret in the Alaskan wilderness, from the New York Times bestselling author of Sister and Afterwards.

Thrillingly suspenseful and atmospheric, The Quality of Silence is the story of Yasmin, a beautiful astrophysicist, and her precocious deaf daughter, Ruby, who arrive in a remote part of Alaska to be told that Ruby’s father, Matt, has been the victim of a catastrophic accident. Unable to accept his death as truth, Yasmin and Ruby set out into the hostile winter of the Alaskan tundra in search of answers. But as a storm closes in, Yasmin realizes that a very human danger may be keeping pace with them. And with no one else on the road to help, they must keep moving, alone and terrified, through an endless Alaskan night.


I’m not quite sure what to make of this book. There were parts I absolutely loved and parts that just didn’t work. The premise of THE QUALITY OF SILENCE is hard to believe, but the wild Alaskan setting is amazing.

Matt is a wildlife photographer currently filming in northern-most Alaska. There’s some kind of trouble between him and his wife, Yasmin. She and their 10-year old daughter, Ruby, fly from their home in the UK to Fairbanks to confront Matt, only to be told that he’s been killed in a terrible accident. Yasmin doesn’t believe that he’s dead, so she decides to drive with Ruby across Alaska, over snowy, icy mountains, practically to the Arctic Ocean, to find him.

Now, I did enjoy their frantic journey north toward Deadhorse very much. It was scary and suspenseful. The descriptions of Alaska were breathtaking, “thousands of miles of snow and hardly any people.” Each time a landmark was mentioned, I had to Google it. It’s dark all the time and there’s a blizzard bearing down on them. Gave me chills!

The writing didn’t flow particularly well, mainly due to the many abrupt perspective changes. First to third person, character to character. Flashbacks to the present. Ruby’s part was always in first person, and she was my favorite character by far. It was interesting to learn the challenges she faced as a deaf person in a hearing world, and somehow even getting her mother to understand where’s she’s coming from (with help from Alaska).

Overall, I’m glad I read this book. The twist at the end was disturbing and eyeopening too. It concerns me that something like that could happen, or perhaps already has.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Crown Publishing Group’s Blogging for Books Program in exchange for an honest review.