Monday, November 28, 2016

Noah Hawley: Before the Fall

Noah Hawley explores the many aspects of what happens when tragedy strikes:

Eleven people board a plane, one of them is a painter, Scott, who has had a rough past and the other 10 are from a privileged background and Scott knows that he is lucky to be on this plane. Sixteen minutes after the flight takes off, it crashes into the Ocean and everyone dies except for Scott and a young boy. Scott is being hailed as a hero, but there are some who do not believe his story and have questions they want answered, especially why was he on that plan as he clearly did not belong there. Here is the story of Scott and the other passengers Before the Fall as we explore what caused the plane to crash.

Normally when I find an author that is transferring from the small or big screen to writing a fiction novel, their books have fallen flat. I find that you can tell they are used to writing something for a visual audience not one where the audience sees with their mind not their eyes. However, I do not think that this is the case with Hawley. I found that this book was well written and descriptive. I think that this had to do with the main character (I say main character as we have the most POV from Scott) being an artist by trade and Hawley uses this to his advantage when we are inside Scott's head. The book becomes more dimensional in it's world building and what is occurring because of Scott.

I enjoyed how Hawley went back and forth between the past and present but it was kind of  morbid and sad in a way as you get to know some of the other characters in the book, whether you like them or dislike them, but you know that these are going to be their final moments, especially that of the children (though we do not get their perspective). This was extremely well done, very interesting, and I personally have not read a book that took in to account the perspectives of those who have died before.

It was nice to really have a hero in this book who was just a regular guy who thrown into these specific set of circumstances he is able to save his life and that on a little boy. I think that Scott portrayed a very realistic sense of the people who are every day hero, in which they do not think of themselves as such and that people just want to be part of their limelight (even if they do not want it) plus

I enjoyed the main antagonist in this book Bill Cunningham who was so concerned in finding out the "truth" and pointing out the flaw of our hero that he goes out of his way to break the law. Cunningham also reminded me of Trump in a way as he would make a mountain out of a mole hill especially in regards to Scott going in to hiding and not wanting the media attention on him.

Overall, was an interesting read, but was not quite the thriller I was expecting, more a mystery and exploration in to human behaviour, which it what I really enjoyed. I did find it slow at times but I think Hawley did this on purpose because there were so many people to explore and not all of them can live an interesting life, have sort of scandal or skeleton in their closet (there are just normal people out there too). I would read another book by Hawley and I'm excited to see what he comes up with next.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

J.F. Lewis: Staked

In the first of a series, J. F. Lewis shows the reader just how wrong the vampire making process can go:

Eric wakes up covered in blood, which normally would not be that bad of a thing being a vampire, but it is never a good thing when you don't remember whose blood is all over you, who you have killed and most of all being outside this close to sunrise (unless you have a death wish). These are just a few of Eric's overall issues. Add in that his girlfriend desperately wants him to turn her into a vampire and a religious based lycanthrope group wants to kill him, it's no wonder that Eric is "slightly" insane. Now he just has to survive long enough to figure all these aspects out. They never said being a vampire would be easy and it sure beats the alternative of being dead.

The cover of the book does not do this book justice, and does not portray this book accurately as I think the book is way better than the cover dictates. However, this book was published in 2008 so that probably had something to do with it as it was covers like this one that sold back then. Really other than the main character owning a stripper joint (good place to get money and blood) the cover has nothing to do with the darker, funny and action orientated story that is on the inside. I'm not kidding this book seemed like such a contradiction to the cover that I was surprised with the book inside (but in my opinion it was a good surprise). Also the main character in this book is male, so I find it weird that it is possible Tabitha is the main focus the cover.

Have you ever wondered what would happen to someone who was going through becoming a vampire only to be thought dead and embalmed part way through? I know I never ever thought of it, but Lewis did and lets just say what comes out isn't entirely whole and pretty quirky too. This is Eric's creation story, and i think this is one of my main reason why I liked him and this book as he is very different. You can really see that the embalming has had an affect on him, not so much physically but mentally for sure; in fact he is kind of insane at times (most times really), lacks any type of for thought and judgement and his memory is horrible though I guess his blackout moments do not help. Eric is loyal to a fault (well except when it comes to the women he is dating, but to his friends, children and those he has made into vampires, he is very loyal to them even when he shouldn't be).

There were times when I liked Tabitha but I found more often than not she acted like a spoiled brat. Maybe this was Lewis' intention to really show the age difference between Eric and Tabitha as well as Marilyn and Tabitha but she was just whiny to me. I personally would have chose to have Greta more as the feature female in this story over Tabitha but you can tell that Lewis has big plans for her and really Greta seems a little bit crazy in her own right so I can understand Lewis not wanting two insane people for the leads.

This book did have some flaws in the mystery aspect falls flat and the conclusion that takes Eric and his team/friends, forever to come to is really obvious (I mean really really obvious). So this was a bit of a let down for me in this book. Mystery was for sure not the high point of this book, where Lewis excelled though was in his creation of Eric.  

For me there was too much sex in the book, but that is just personal preference, as the scenes were not that long, just a few too many of them for my taste. Additionally, i did become annoyed with all the times that both Eric and Tabitha thought about sex or how hot some guy or girl was, but once again this is just personal preference.

Although the mystery was lacking in this book, I was really intrigued with Eric as a character and the overall plot layout of the book that I ended up enjoying this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book and learning more about Eric.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jeff Abbott: The Last Minute

It has been awhile since I read the first book in this series, Adrenaline, and while I really enjoyed that book and would recommend it to readers, I do not think you need to read that book in order to enjoy The Last Minute. Abbott takes the time (but it never felt out of place) to cover all the important elements from the first book in the second so you do not feel lost at any time.

Jeff Abbott is back with another high adrenaline read in the Sam Capra series; who will show just how far a father will go to get their child back:

Sam Capra has only one reason to live and that is to rescue his son from the secret society, Nine Suns, that has kidnapped him. However, Nine Sons knows what an asset it is to have Sam on their "side" and are going to take full advantage of it. They have plans for Sam, one of which is to complete an impossible assassination, but if Sam wants to see his son again and make sure that no harm comes to him then he is going to have to play along and get a new set of rules to live by. Nothing is ever simple in Sam's world and everything is going to become a whole lot more complicated.

Damn Straight Sam do everything and anything to get your kid back even if it means breaking some of your own hard and fast rules. I really appreciated Sam's drive throughout this whole book and the desperation that Abbott put Sam under. Getting Daniel back it the core to all the events that unfold within this book and Abbott never lets Sam forget that. From the taunting phone calls, or the tasks that he is asked to perform (killing someone else child) Same is ever reminded that he is a father. I do not think that I have read a book before where the main character is this desperate but also still trying to be the man that he is and the struggle it takes for him to compromise everything for his child, just wow.

Personally, I could read a whole book or multiple books of Milia's adventures. I wish that her back story was a stand alone book but I'm sure that Abbott could still do one of her adventures, targets and tasks before she met Sam. I don't think it would really be a true Sam Capra book without Milia as she really did help get Sam to where he is. I just hope there is more Milia to come in the next Capra adventures.

Loved the action and that Abbott is not afraid to have Sam get hurt, he is not invincible. Though at some points you do question this as Sam really seems to be only fueled by adrenaline and only goes so far. I also do not really know anything about Parkour (other than the odd YouTube video), and Abbott has Capra use this skill quite a bit, so I'm not sure about the believably factor for what Sam is doing. But hey it sure is a fun ride throughout the book. I think my favourite bad guys in this book were the sisters as they were twisted, smart and ruthless I wish that there was more parts with them facing off against Sam.

Great followup book in this series. It was able to grab a hold of me right from the beginning and never let me go. I wish I hadn't waited so long to get to this one, but there are so many books and only so many hours in the day. I know I'm not going to wait nearly as long to get my hands on the next. Keep the Sam Capra series coming Abbott, I know I will be reading them.

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Friday, October 14, 2016

Anne Bishop: Marked in Flesh

You will need to read the first three books in this series to understand what is occurring in this book. While there are times when Bishop does take the time to recap some of the past events these do not make up for actually reading the previous books; Written in Red, Murder of Crows and Visions in Silver.

Anne Bishop is back with the latest book in her Other series and this time the humans may have pushed the Other too far that only one species could be left standing:

The Others have allied themselves with the sweet bloods (cassandra sangue) and this has change the dynamics between the Others and Humans especially in Lakeside Courtyard, who are discovering that Humans may have some uses when they are friends. The Humans First and Last group wants to see the other eliminated and will take drastic steps in order to make that happen even if it means attacking other humans. The Others are pushed to make a choice, that not everyone is going to like and not everyone is going to survive, but there are some other factors at play too, hidden deep in the forests who are now taking note of the Human problem.

This book was Awesome and it was what I wanted the third book to be. It really moved the story forward with increased the tension between human and the Others. I really enjoyed how Bishop had events play out and while things at times may have been predictable (in the end) it was still a really interesting ride on how we get there.

I love the way that Simon and Meg's relationship has progressed throughout the books. I think I have applauded Bishop many times for not forcing it and letting it grow as they get to know each other. There are some big steps taken in this book and I think those steps mean so much more as to how Simon and Meg got here.

This book is quite a bit darker than the previous three and it was quite a bit more gory at times than the first 3 as well, which I was shocked that Bishop went that way but happy that she did. A lot of the topics that she brings up in this book I think were better portrayed with the descriptions that she used. This has to do mainly with the introduction of some new Others (/elders), that the Others that we have come to know in the past few books are afraid of (now that is saying something). I personally hope that there are these new Others in the next book as they are probably the main reason why I enjoyed this book so much; Something new and something unknown.

I will say that we are almost getting to the point where there are too many points of view that some of the main characters from the beginning are lacking on time within this book and with the ever expanding territory that Bishop seems to be covering this may not get better. 

I do wonder where Bishop will take the series from here as there were some very finale moments in this book which makes me wonder will there be more and in what way will the story progress. I guess this means that I just want to read the next book even more just to see where Bishop is taking us.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Marcia Clark: The Competition

This book could be read as a stand alone novel as it is not entirely necessary to read the previous three in the series to understand what is occurring in this book or Rachel as a character. Yes, the relationships within the book are established in the previous three books Guilt by Association, Guilt by Degrees and Killer Ambition, however, by not reading them does not hinder this book. That said I would recommend the previous books especially Guilt by Association (which I thought was a fantastic start to this series).

Marcia Clark is back with the newest installment of her Rachel Knight series just in time to let you know that there is no place where you can be safe:

Rachel Knight receives a call that no DA wants, there has been a school shooting and there are major casualties but the killers have been identified and both are dead. As Rachel and Bailey start to interview the witnesses and other student, some things don't add up and they begin to wonder if the killer really are dead. What they don't know is the the competition has begun and there is nothing scarier that killers who want to be the best and beat the score of those who came before them.

I know I criticized the last Rachel Knight book for not having enough time in the courtroom, well this one has even less time. For me this is what stood out for me in Clark's previous books in this series was the integration of the investigation and the courtroom. I miss the courtroom aspects in these books and I think this book could have been something more if Clark had decided to include them. I personally think that there are so many authors out there that write in the mystery/thriller genre that you want to do something different to stand out and this is the courtroom for Clark. She knows how the courtroom works and this is where Rachel really shines. In the investigation part she really is second fiddle to Bailey (which makes sense as she is the detective), however, the point of view of the story is from Rachel so we get a lot of Bailey already thinking and doing something before Rachel even suggests it. This in turn overshadows Rachel and her character, and I will say again she is the main character. I just feel overall the Rachel I loved in the beginning of this series has become lost along the way.

All of that said, this is still a really good and interesting read and I loved the topic and premise that Clark decided to focus on, school shooting and the competition aspect. I think that this is an under used topic in books recently but I think the next school involved aspect will be something to do with the Creepy Clowns (such a weird trend). Clark did a really good job in hiding and changing you idea of who the second shooter is and I will say that she kept me guessing right till the end.

I personally think there is a lack of really great courtroom procedural books out there with a character like Rachel Knight and I hope that Clark in the future has Rachel return to the courtroom. This book is still good without it, but there are so many books out there with a "crime fighting duo" that I wanted more from what I originally liked from this series. I will read the next book in the series just to see where Clark takes it next, guess it really isn't a must read for me know though.

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Saturday, October 8, 2016

Happy 6th Blogoversary To Me

Wow, truly wow. I never thought that I would make it to one blogoversary and now I'm having my sixth. I just want to take this moment to thank all my followers new and old for stopping by and reading my reviews each week. It is nice to know that every once in awhile I help someone find a new author, book or series to try. I also want to thank the authors this year who took the time to complete an interview with me and I hope everyone enjoyed reading their answers.

Winners have been chosen and contacted so please check your email to see if you have one.

Here is to my sixth year and on to the seventh, which i'm sure will have some more great finds and reads.