Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Marc Guggenheim: Overwatch

The name Marc Guggenheim is probably known more for his writing for both Marvel and DC comics, but he has made the jump to novel writing with his debut with a young CIA lawyer who doesn't know when to stop asking questions:

Being an attorney for the CIA is a dream job for Alex Garnett and he does not want to do anything to screw it up, but the CIA maybe should have done some additional tests on Alex as he is someone who doesn't mind research and when something piques his interests he doesn't let it go. When a routine litigation case leads to anything but routine, also known as murders, Alex's quests to figure out the truth heightens and he cannot let it go even when told by his superiors. As the body count begins to climb, Alex knows it is only a small amount of time before he joins the dead. He needs to find out all the information he can and expose those responsible or not only will he be dead but the World is going to enter into another war.

For a debut novel Guggenheim did the action adventure/thriller genres justice. This book is a good fast paced read that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. There were times that it was hard to find a spot to stop. I found the plot really interesting as I am always a fan of corruption at the highest points of government and how those people justify their actions. Within Overwatch, these people do not believe that they need someone to oversee their actions, that having an someone watch over the CIA actually just gets in the way of getting everything done. They do what they think is right for the USA and do the jobs they think the government should take, especially the wet work ones. Did Guggenheim do anything different or anything new to the genre, No; but the aspects of a secret society within the federal government and the CIA were interesting and really well done. You never really know how high up the chain the corruption has taken place.

The main character is a lucky SOB. I don't think I have read a book where the main character was this Lucky, but he acknowledges this aspect and really even questions himself how he is still alive. I really enjoyed Alex's mind and his ideas as an attorney instead of a hard trained military type as this added a different flavour to the book, and different thought process. I think the attorney mind that Alex has is what gets him into trouble as he is always questioning things and really not wanting to let things go as well as see connections that others would have not. To say that Alex is tenacious is an understatement; he is persistent to the point of annoying someone and is not afraid to put his job on the line if it means getting the result he wants.

Although this is the first full length novel by Guggenheim, you can tell by the plot and story that Guggenheim has been writing in some form for a long time. He knows the ways to get a reader interested and keep them that way throughout the book. A very successful debut by Guggenheim and I would read another book by him.


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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jennifer Estep: Tangled Threads

This is the fourth book in Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series and while Estept does take time each book to slightly recap what has happened before, in order to truly appreciate this  book and series you need to read the first three books Spider's Bite, Web of Lies and Venom.

Gin Blanco is back in Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, and this time Gin is not the only assassin in town:

Gin tried to retire from assassin wet work, but there just seem to be too many people that need to be killed these days. Now Gin is setting her own targets, which means anyone who works for Mab Monroe better watch their back, the Spider is back and making no secret about it. Gin has a need for revenge for what Mab did to her family and with her sister Bria alive and back in town, Gin has more to fight for than ever. But taking about Mab was never going to be easy, she has power, money and influences and she has used them all to hire one of the most dangerous assassins, with a 100% success rate, LaFleur. It's a show down of assassin vs assassin and no one knows who is going to win this epic fight.

I love this series and I love Gin. Gin is really one of my favorite female heroines out there. I really enjoy that in each book Gin grows a little bit, whether it is her powers or her relationships (and this book it is a big amount of both). I like that Estep is not afraid to have Gin change and develop into a new person the more life challenges throw at her. I think this is the first book where we get to see Gin scared. She really does not know if she is going to come out the winner in this fight. I'm also impressed with the amount of damage that Estep allows Gin to take on, both mentally and physically. I think there will come a time when JoJo will not be able to heal Gin fully and it will be interesting to see how Gin copes with an injury or weakness.

I really liked the assassin vs assassin aspect in this book and I think one of the best sub-plots so far with this series. The action scenes and the fact that Gin doesn't know if she is going to survive, really added to the suspense aspect of this book. LaFleur's electricity element and overall sadism would be a hard match for anyone even Mab. I realize that the assassin story has now been done, but it would be interesting to know who else is out there who could not only be a threat to Gin but maybe allies as well.

The one criticism I have for Estep is that we are now on to the fourth book within this series and I do not think that someone is going to be picking up this series without reading the first three. Therefore, I do not think that she needs to recap what has happened in previous books. It seemed like every chapter was reiterating information that the reader already knew either about Gin's past or what happened in previous books. It got to the point where all the retelling of information just felt like filler in the book. I hope this has stopped in future books in this series, as it got kind of annoying by the end of the book. Even though I have not read the books back to back I still remember what has happened previously.

I'm glad that Estep added some new challenges in this novel for Gin to overcome, I also really love Gin, I cannot find many faults in her. I am actually really excited about getting my hands on the 5th book in this series as it looks like that is when Gin will finally take on Mad Monroe, and that has been 4 books in the making. Oh the anticipation :)

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Stephan Talty: Hangman

Although this is the second book by Talty to feature Abbbie Kearney, I think that this book could be read as a stand-alone novel. The one thing that the reader may not get is as much of an attachment to Abbie as there is quite a bit of character development and background given about Abbie in the first book which you miss out in this book. The first book Black Irish was really interesting and delved into the history of Buffalo quite a bit and secret societies there, so I recommend it for those reasons. However, there is very little within this book that relates back to the first book so if you are unable to find Black Irish no worries, I think that you will still be able to enjoy The Hangman.

Serial Killer Marcus Flynn, also known as Hangman, preyed upon the teenage daughters of the wealthy families of Buffalo, until he was backed into a corner one night he shot himself in the head. Somehow Flynn survived the gunshot wound and was sentenced to life in prison. He was always asked what happened to the last girl, whose body was never found, but Flynn had no recollection of his actions. Years later, a correctional officer has one last chance to make Flynn tell the secret of the girl when he is transporting him to another prison. The transfer goes wrong and there is a dead correctional officer and the Hangman is on the loose. A man hunt starts statewide but homicide officer Abbie Kearney knows it is only a matter of time before he makes it back to his old stomping ground of North Buffalo. She is tasked with to getting to know Hangman and what his next move will be as she may be their best chance at recapturing him.

This was a good follow up to the first novel and really cemented my enjoyment of Tatly's writing style and the creation of his plots. You never really know what is going to come next or who your killer is going to be. The evidence did at times seem to come a little bit too easily for Abbie but I like the way that she follows every lead that she can find even if it is the wrong one. I found that Hangman was a very interesting serial killer, especially the fact that he attempted to kill himself at the beginning of the book (which I do not see as typical for serial killers, most want to bask in the "glory" they had created) and you have to wonder how that injury affects his killing plan and abilities to kill. It was interesting to have chapters from Hangman's POV in which he talks about the stalking of his victims and the intelligence he uses to get access to them.

I felt like the POV fo Abbie was a little disjointed at times and I wish that the reader got to be more inside her head. There were times when you knew Abbie's thoughts and times when you did not. It was just a bit confusing as Talty was dictating which thoughts the reader could know and some that we could not as well as when she followed this lead and not others. As I said it was a little confusing and I just hope in the future Talty is more consistent in his novels.

I really like Abbie as a character, and we get to see a different side of her in this book. She is normally play by the rules of the law kind of girl (she does not want to be like her father), but in this book she puts it all aside just to find Hangman. It was an interesting shift in morals with the use of the Network in Buffalo (an underground group that an get anything done, but there is always a cost, and normally that cost is not always a legal one) and it makes you wonder what the cost will be in the long run. Within this novel we get to see more of Abbie's tenacity but compared to the first book there is not that much character development about her.

Talty is able to weave a very interesting read, although I missed the history aspect about Buffalo that was so prominent in the first book, however, I liked the addition of the Network (probably my favorite addition to Abbie's world), where if you needed something done off the books you know who to call. This was a really good follow up novel to the first one and I look forward to seeing what type of serial killer that Talty can come up with next and where it will take Abbie and just how far she is willing to go to catch a killer.


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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Susan Ee: World After

This is the second book in Susan Ee's End of Days series, and you have to read the first book before you even consider picking up this book, as I think you would be very lost without reading it. That aside Angelfall blew me away, it was so much more than I expected, and I highly recommend it.

Penryn has been the protector of her family long before the war against the Angel began, she has always been responsible for her mother and sister, Paige. Penryn feels like she has failed both of them as she was unable to protect Paige and she is on the hunt to find her when she disappears. Her search takes her to a new medical prison where the Angels are turning humans into something out of this world. Penryn knows she needs to escape before she is chosen for those medical experiments and to protect her mother and find Paige. Penryn will do anything to escape even if it means returning to the aerie.  

This was a great follow up to the first novel and I am glad that Ee decided to have this book start right where the first book left off. However, the first novel set my expectations really high that it does not surprise me that I likes the first book more. I do not know many series where the second book out shines the first. This is not to say that the second book is far off from the first, I still read it as fast as I possible could and did not want to put it down, I even did I only have 100 pages left it's 12 am it's not too late to finish right? I think where Ee really succeeds within the book is her story telling as she has an amazing ability to draw the reader into her story and characters.

I found that Ee lost quite a bit of the darkness that I enjoyed in the first book and it was even better that the darkness in her writing was unexpected, so I am unsure as to why it was not there in this second book (maybe she is saving it for the third?). There was also less fight scenes and actions within this book which I missed also. There were also some point in the book that were very deja vu as there seemed to be scenes very similar to the first book, so this was a little bit confusing to me. I mean a new book should have new ideas, new events and new scenarios and while there were not a lot of these, there was enough for me to notice.

I find that Penryn is a good balance of wanting to act like a teenager but knowing that she is the one responsible for her mother and sister and she puts this role above all else, therefore, I do not find her to be the annoying teenager I have read in other YA or New Adult books. It is interesting being in Penryn thought process and knowing what is at stake at each moment and the risks that she has to take not only for her to survive but her family and Rafe as well. Penryn is just a great character and at times I question her decision and judgements, she is just a teenager who has been put in an impossible situation.

The interaction with sword now knows as Pooky Bear (lol love the name and the outfit that Penryn decides to give it and her logic behind it is really smart), was interesting addition to the storyline. I like knowing where the main characters have come from what is their past, so having Penryn experience through the memories of the sword was an amazing idea and gives a very interesting point of view. This made me not miss Rafe in the present as the reader is still receiving glimpses of him, of what he was like before and all the battles that he has fought and the warrior friends that he has lost along the way.

This is a fantastic New Adult series, that I think that everyone who likes UF/PN or post apocalyptic genres should give a try, especially Angelfall as I think you will be hooked from then on. I cannot wait for the next book in this series and I hope that Ee has found the darkness from the first book. 

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Maegan Beaumont: Sacrificial Muse

You NEED to read the first book within this series, Carved in Darkness, before picking up Sacrificial Muse. It is not only an excellent thriller, if you do not read it you will be missing as to who Sabrina is and how she became the woman she is today. So pick up Carved in Darkness or read my review of that book before venturing below :)

Maegan Beaumont is back with another Sabrina Vaughn Thriller, where even though the monster from her past is gone, it does not mean that the killings stop:

She is his Muse, everything he has done has been for her. He knows that she is the one and she will be impressed with all the sacrifices he has made for her. San Francisco Detective Sabrina Vaughn has become a household name across the nation and this means she receives all types of mail from the crazies to the thankful one. But each day she has received 9 blood red roses and she cannot help think of who is sending them to her. Then she receives a letter in with the Latin word Mox, which means soon. The next day a Berkeley student's mutilated body is found and Sabrina receives only eight roses that day. Sabrina is about to learn that she has become the infatuation of another individual who will do anything to get her attention and anything to be with her and with the body count rising he can be sure to get her attention, really quick.

Beaumont's debut novel Carved in Darkness is one of the best debut novels I have ever read in the thriller genre. So you can say that my expectations were set very high for her sophomore follow up novel. Personally, I do not think that this novel was as good as her debut. This is not to say I did not enjoy the novel it was still very entertaining and well written but there was an aspect missing from the first novel and that was more of the personal involvement of Sabrina. Yes, since the first novel all the crazies have come out of the wood work and want to get to know her and in this case an individual is killing to be with her, but in the first novel it was so much more personal as there was more history.

I felt that Beaumont lost  quite of bit of the darkness in her writing when compared to the first and if this series is to continue I hope that she brings it back. Taking a reader to those dark places is why most of us read these types of books and I feel that by taking this aspect away it just didn't work as well as the first novel did.

I love Sabrina. She is one of the best heroines out there and the complex way that Beaumont has put her together is second to none. Sabrina is damages unsure of how she is going to keep herself from going crazy and trying to keep up pretenses of a normal family life and knows that she is not succeeding in any venture but she keeps on going keeps on doing the only things she feels normal doing and that is working homicide and purring away bad guys. It was also interesting having her tormentor still part of the novel, that Sabrina will always have him as part of her, and this makes since as he has essentially defined her life and will continue to do so. It is also interesting to see how all of Sabrina's relationship with the people in her life are changing and evolving, but for the better is really the question. Sabrina really struggles in this book to be "normal" how people want her to be now that the past is over with, but how can you really be normal when so much has happened. And do not worry fans of Michael (I know I am one) he shows up in the book :)

Although I did not think that this book was not as good as the first, it was still a really interesting, intense and great read. I think that Beaumont is making a name for herself and a must read thriller author. Her writing, ideas and plots are more interesting than some of the big names out there that have been writing for years. I say keep them coming Beaumont as I know I will be reading them.

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Anne Bishop: Written in Red

Anne Bishop is known for her Black Jewels series (which I have not read and in her new series there are the Others and the Humans and lets just say one sees the other as meat:

Meg Corbyn is a blood profit, she can see the future or answer questions of the future, by cutting her skin. The longer the length of the cut the more she is able to see. Due to the fact that knowing the future is a benefit, Meg's ability is a precious gift that is worth a lot of money to the people who own her, her controller. But Meg always thought there was more to life and when she saw a chance to escape she took it. She now is in a world she has never known, as she has been in a pampered prison her entire life, and she finds herself outside of one of the terra indigene (The Others) territories. What better place to hide than a place where no human laws apply. Meg has a long road ahead of her and trying to make a life for herself all the while trying hide what she is as well as from the controller, but nothing is ever easy in the terra indigene world especially when humans start to invade their territory.

Absolutely Loved This Book. This is the second book this year that has been on my TBR list for a wahile and I wished I would have picked it up sooner. This is the first book I have read by Bishop and it blew me away. This book is well written, with unique ideas, great and interesting characters, and after the preface of the book, you will be drawn in. I wouldn't be surprised if you read it in one sitting. I know I wanted to, but alas real life caught up with me.

I appreciated that Bishop decided to have a preface in the book that contained an explanation about how the world within this book was different from ours. It made it easy to fall right into the book and not have to have a learning curve as to the world this book is set in. I loved that the terra indigene see there human form as not their true for, that their animal self is their true self. It shows the adaptation that they have gone through in order to survive.

I really appreciated bishop's originality within this book. Although there are shifters and a version of vampires (which have very cool powers and a different way to draw blood out of humans, creepy and awesome all at the same time) with this book they are so much more within the terra indigene. There are Elementals, as well as ponies who can do some damage. It was also interesting the choice of shifters that Bishop chose to use within the book, while the wolf is very common  throughout the UF/PN genres and even a few bears, I do not think that I have read a book with Hawks or Crows being an animal of choice to shift into. It was also interesting to see the personality of the animals come out in their human forms, like how all the crows like things that are shiny or would be used to build a nest. I wonder what other creatures Bishop has in store for her readers in the future books and I personally cannot wait to find out.

I found Meg to be a very interesting character, and really you can tell how lost she feels throughout the book. She has never lived her life for herself and is just trying to discover how to do so in both the human and terra indigene worlds. She is brave as it took a lot for her to run away from her captive situation into a world that she only really knows about through pictures. Her power is both scary and amazing at the same time and I think there are hints within the book that portray what will become of her power in the future. While some may find Meg as very Mary-Sue, I find her more of an adaptive individual who it trying to figure out how to survive, does she do this with kindness, yes, but who better than be kind to than the terra indigene as they can kick some human butt and human rules do not apply in their territories. Is she afraid of them, yes, but wouldn't you be when they consider you meat. I think there is more to Meg's character than the Mary-Sue that many people have called her and I think more people will discover it in future books in this series

I know this book has been criticized for not having any action or fight scenes in it until the end if the book and normally I would agree with them but the story of Meg and her trying to make is in the world in general is what drew me into this book. There are a few scuffles in the book but it is not until the end that the big action scene is going to happen. This book is mainly about Meg trying to find herself and place within this world that is foreign to her, so if you are looking for a lot or constant fight scenes this book will not be for you, but if you can invest in Meg's story you will really enjoy this book.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the paranormal or urban fantasy genres and really in my personal opinion it is a must read. I'm so happy the next book in this series is already out so I can get my hands on it. So if this one is on your TBR shelf go over to it and pick it up. This is one that needs to be read (I mean right now).

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