Friday, December 13, 2019

Ilona Andrews: Magic Triumphs

Alright, this is the 10th and final book in this series, so do not read any further if you are considering starting this series as so many things will be spoiled for you that you will not enjoy the books as much as you could. If you are thinking of starting this series the 1st book is Magic Burns. I highly recommend this series. It was one of my favourite Urban Fantasy reads and one that I have continued to read even when I have stopped others.

Ilona Andrews is back with her Kate Daniels series, and everything is on the line but this time Kate has something even more important to fight for than just herself and Atlanta:

Kate has come a long way from as a solo mercenary taking on all the paranormal problems for the city of Atlanta. She has found not only a home but a family as well but her magic is too strong to not attract those who not only have power but crave it as well. She currently has an uneasy truce with her father Roland (who Kate knows is just looking for the right opportunity), mysterious visions from the Witch Oracle and a strange goo that has been found in a town outside of Atlanta's boarders. Kate knows that it is going to take every magical and paranormal person of Atlanta to fight this new threat and they may not win but she has to try, for everything she hold dear is on the line.

Well it is the end, and as much as I am sad to have it occur (and I would be lying if I didn't say that I wanted it to continue on) I respect the Andrews' decision to end this amazing series. And Wow did it end on a high note but still there were many losses as well. Andrews has always strived for balance between life and death in this series and while you know the main characters are mainly safe there are secondary ones you come to love that may not be.

Kate has changed as her life and situation has changed. She has shed many of the teachings from her previous masters' and teachers and really has evolved into a formidable warrior with a softer side. I loved how this book showed the growth of Kate and Curran's relationship and then add in their child and now we're in a whole new type of story and phase of their life. Life as a parent is never easy and always complicates simple tasks, add in that the child is part shifter, well that just is a whole new can of worms. We do not get to see a lot of the settling in as a family process in this book as there are threats right from the beginning but it is there in the undertones. It was also interesting to see the length that Curran was willing to take to protect Kate and be a part of her life for as long as he could. I don't want to spoil things but it is a pretty drastic measure.

I was not expecting a connection to the off shoot book in this series, Iron and Magic, and since I had not read that book yet (I was going to pick it up after this book to start something new), I feel like that book has been ruined a bit for me as well this book kind of tells you what is going to happen. I'll still read it but I think some of the spark from starting a whole new series there is gone.

We have all followed Kate through many dangers and personal growth throughout this series, that I am really satisfied with this ending of this book and series. I will be sad when I look next year for the next book in this series and there not be one, but what do they say "All good things must come to an end". Also if you can recommend a series that you loved as much as this one, let me know. I need to find a new series to love :)


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Monday, December 2, 2019

Courtney Summers: Sadie

Courtney Summer follows the path of a missing girl and her journey of revenge:

Sadie has had to grow up very early in life from her mother's constant use of alcohol to the never ending men she brought home, Sadie has had to take care of herself and sister for a long time. This was especially true when their mother left them. Sadie dropped out of school and did everything she could to support Mattie and let her have a normal life. But when Mattie is found dead everything in her life crumbles. Sadie is determined to prove who murdered Mattie, in fact she's pretty sure she knows who did it and finding him will be the biggest challenge. West McCray is doing a segment about small town America when he hears about Sadie's story. Something about the story and Sadie herself compels him to not only tell Sadie's story but to find her as well, hopefully before it is too late.

Sadie is one of the BEST books that I have read this year and I didn't even see it coming. It was recommended to me at the library and I thought why not I can give it a try. What occurred was a book that is filled a journey that is like any other that I have ever read that you will not want to put it down. You get sucked right into the story of Sadie and not only her journey for revenge but the hunt for her as well. This book has some content that is hard to read, mainly child abuse/molestation/murder and alcoholism so there could be triggers for some as Summers does not shy away from these harder aspects of Sadie's life and she does not romanticizes them either, if anything she tells them in all their gritty detail.

Honestly, how can you not like Sadie more and more as you read this book. She made every sacrifice she could to help Mattie. As you read farther into the book you become more and more invested in her  and what she is trying to achieve as well as West's attempt to find her. You also get hints of what her life was life before all this happened and you can only use the words strong and resilient to characterizer her.

This book is told from Sadie's point of view and a serialized podcast produced by West, where he is trying to put together what happened to Mattie as well as trying to find Sadie. From the podcast we get additional information and points of view as West interviews people who the girls know and came into contact with. Due to the fact that we get these interviews happened after Sadie left there are time that you as the readers know more about Sadie and where she has been and what has happened to her before those in the podcast do. Usually, I would fault the book for this as you are waiting for characters to catch up to you, but it just works in this story.

The ending will not be for everyone and I applaud Summers for ending it in the way she did and I feel like Summers did this book and topic justice and kept it as real as she possible could. I'm interested in reading another book Summers, and I HIGHLY recommended this book.


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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Cecy Robson: Unearthed

In the first in a new series, Cecy Robson introduces a whole new take on not only the Grim Reaper but the fight between the dark and the light:

The Fae have been hiding among the humans since their own realm was destroyed by Death. Olivia Finn is just another pixie trying to blend in among humans and hide from the Death Hounds who devoured her family and seem to be actively hunting her. She clings to her talisman that keeps her veiled from the hounds until Death finds her and discovers she’s immune to its grip and Olivia's powers finally emerge. Now the Fae believe that Olivia is their savior and the only one who can teach her to use her powers properly is the King of the Dead but her instincts warn her to stay away. Can Olivia masters enough of her powers to not only save herself but other Fae as well. One thing is certain Death is coming.

This is the first book that I have read by Robson as I believe she tends to publish into the paranormal romance genres which is not something I read often but I found the premise here interesting and I do not think there are not enough Death books out there. This book was a lot better than I expected and had me reading expectantly to the end. Robson was able to weave an interesting origin story for Olivia with her coming into her powers and what she is supposed to do with them, aka kick Death’s butt. This book was also darker than I expected for a paranormal romance novel which I am happy for as anything involving Death I think needs to be on the darker sides of things at times.

Robson creates not only some interesting Fae, with some quirky powers at time (I mean Jane the old Druid with her wand comes up with some very interesting ideas of how to solve problems or antagonize people, it is especially fun when she is trying to piss people off). in this book but also the different forms of Death. There is the King of Deaths (aka Ryker), Death for the Fae, Death for the Human and they each seem to have different forms and powers. Also how Deaths are chosen seems to vary as well and the whole concept of Death and what they do with the souls differs too. Death is such an interesting character that I love reading different incarnations of it and seeing different interpretations of the same being. I hope that Robson is able to keep up the creativity in future books. It was also interesting to see the interaction between what one would see as dark and light and life and death especially how it relates to Olivia and Ryker. 

Alright I know that Robson's wheel house is in the romance genre so it was no surprise to me that when we meet the two main characters you know right away there was going to be something between the two of them. I mean it is even the classic or cliché that they do not like each other for so and so reason ort one is scary or mean ect, you get my point. However, I do appreciate that Robson does a good job of not having them instantly fall in love or bed with each other and has this slow burn that the two go about experiencing. So maybe that will be a disappointment to romance fans but I liked it.

This was a great start to a new series, A fun read, with a interesting premise with Death and it was not too too romance for me, so I personally appreciate that. I look forward to continuing on in the series.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Angela Marsons: Dead Memories

You will NEED to read this first NINE (Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Dying Truth & Fatal Promise) books in this series before reading this book or even review as it will spoil some things. Honestly this is one of the best Detective series out there and if you have not picked it up yet you should.

In this installment of the D. I. Kim Stone series, we get to see some of the most traumatic events in Kim's Life recreated:
D.I. Kim Stone has arrested quite a few people in career and many of them believe that she ruined their lives, prevented them from living the life they want, doing the things they wanted to and for that she needs to pay, not pay but suffer too. Kim's traumatic past is about to be laid out for her but she wants to keep her team at arms length as this is personal, her thinking is the less they know the better. Woody knows the most about Kim's past and he wants to make sure that she is okay, so he has assigned Alison Lowe back to the team for some insight not only into the perpetrator but Kim as well. With each new event and victim, Kim cannot help but blame herself for what is happening, and the pool of suspects seems to be getting larger not smaller. The Killer has an endgame and it is all about Kim and how the killer chooses to end it.

Honestly, I cannot believe that we are already on Book 10 in this series and Marsons is still publishing books that are interesting, different and engrossing. As this is book 10 you can think of the number of people that Kim has put away in this series so far and it was trip down memory lane from all the previous books and some of your "favourite", most cunning and violent criminals are back (no not Alex again, Marsons is too clever to recycle that premise). I guess what I really liked about this book is Marsons' acknowledging that even though these people are charged and have a trial gone to prison they could and most of them will eventually get out of prison and still have hatred to the person who put them away.
We do not get to know more about Kim's past as we as the readers have heard of the Kim's past before and the majority of these event that are presented we have read before, maybe there is a bit more detail but we have been aware of them. Where we see growth in this book is her team fully understanding what Kim has gone through to get where she is now, and I think a growing respect and trust between Kim and her team develops.

I enjoyed that Alison Lowe was back and I hope that she stays part of the team as I think she adds a dynamic that was missing before. Manly, Alison questioning Kim a lot and just bringing a whole new perspective to how they treat their case and narrow down who the suspect is. And yes questioning Kim is a good things, I know Bryant does at times but Kim just pushes him off when he say something that she does not agree with. Additionally, Alison is the individual who has a side case running in this book and it showed more of her personality and what she was willing to go through to make sure the right person is arrested. I know I said it before but I hope that Marsons keeps her around.

In a way I feel like this book closed a chapter in Kim's life and story here, the cat is out of the bag so to speak. Everything that Kim has been hiding protecting is out there and in a way she has lost one of her walls. If this were the last book in this series I would be okay with it as I feel like Kim has grown as much as she can and has shared as much as she can. This book also summarized the successes and failures that Kim and her team have had over the 9 previous books and it was a tribute to the good work that everyone on the team had done. I know there is another book after this one and I will be reading it but I do wonder where Marsons will go from here.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stacia Kane: City of Ghosts

You will want to read the first two books, Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, in the series in order to understand the world that Chess lives in as well as Chess as a character.

Stacia Kane is back with the third book in her Downside Ghost series and mangled human corpses are just the beginning of Chess' problems:

Downside is known to be a touch part of the city, but when mangled corpses start to show up, that is something that the Church need to investigate. Chess is signed up to help the Black Squad but in order to do so she has to undergo a binding spell that will kill her if she breaks the terms of the spell. This makes investigating a little bit harder in downside when she cannot tell Bump and Terrible about the information that she needs. Plus Chess has to work with Black Squad Member (Elder's Daughter) Lauren, who is not too friendly with Chess and who thinks having Chess with her is a waste of time. But Chess is determined to do the best job that she can and everything is pointing to the City of Eternity and Chess needs to figure everything out before it is too late.

Sometimes by the third book the author has run out of ideas or is repeating something that has occurred before (think of how many trilogies are out there?). However, this series is amazing, each book is just as good as or better than the one before it. This book is non-stop action and even Chess' drug use takes a back seat to the story that Kane is presenting here. I mean Chess is still pill popping constantly but she does not have a withdrawal scene like she does in the previous book. Honestly, I am so impressed with her ability to hold it together most of the time it is crazy.

We get to see much more of Chess in action with her job than before, with the return of the Black Squad, where Chess tries to play nice but working with people is not really her thing. I don't know if it was the drugs and such that Chess takes but at times I found it hard to follow her thought process of how she gets from point A to point B but she gets there. There was a lot of twists and turns along the way and with the reintroduction to the luminary things go south pretty quick. I was glad that Kane decided to bring the Luminary back as they were an interesting society that was not fully explored in the first book.

And working with Terrible is not going to happen anytime soon as he is not only not talking to her but also ignoring her. It was hard to Chess try to reach out to Terrible and try to explain or say she is sorry and get nothing back, I realized just how invested I am in Chess.

I really enjoy the world that Kane has created and she is not afraid to push the boundaries of the readers imagination. Additionally, she is not afraid to add some darker elements and descriptions into her writing which I really enjoy, I mean why sugar coat things that should not be sugar coated. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Michael Koryta: If She Wakes

Michael Koryta takes readers on a thrill ride where two women are fighting for their lives against an enigmatic killer:

Tara Beckly is a senior in a small town college and she has volunteered to drive a visiting professor to a conference. On the way to taking him there he makes some unusual requests, one which leads to a car accident that has left Tara in a vegetative state called Locked In Syndrome. She is unable to communicate with those around her as hard as she tries, but she does learn that someone powerful wants her dead, who? why? Tara cannot remember how she even came to be in the hospital but she is the key to many things. With the car accident comes Abby Kaplan the insurance investigator hired by the college to protect themselves. Abby has a unique and painful history with cars as she used to be a stunt car driver and was found of pushing vehicles to their limits. What Abby does not know that is she is about to go on the drive for her life, where not only her life hangs in the balance but other too.

This book will grab you from the very first sentence: "Nineteen minutes before her brain and her body parted ways, Tara's Beckly's concern was the cold." I mean you literally want to know what has happened to Tara even though we know nothing about her or where she fits within the story. This sets the tone for the rest of the book of wanting to know more, never wanting to put the book down as it is a thrill ride, one event after another. There are many twists and turns along the way and you do not know what is going to happen next and who is going to survive it all. A unique aspect in this book is the lack of law enforcement through out. I like that Abby and Tara do not have law background and I think due to this the story flows in a much different way than it would if there was a detective at the helm.  However, there are a few short chapters from a government Agent but for the majority of the book she is a secondary character.

The women characters that Koryta presents in this book are all strong in their own ways. Tara with her locked in syndrome and trying desperately to communicate with those around her. Trying everything that she can think of to make them see that she was still there. her thought process to get any part of her body to move, even her eyes to tear are feats of strength and force of will. Tara truly is an amazing character. Abby Kaplan a new insurance investigator who knows all about cars and how to drive them to their limits. Abby is smart, resourceful and has a will to survive that is outstanding.

The chapters from Tara's point of view are slower paced but OMG are they ever truly terrifying. Imagine being able to see, hear, think but no one around you knows that you are aware and then add in them talking about ending your life. I cannot think of something more terrifying.

I'm not sure about all the physic and car abilities that occur in this book but I like to think that Koryta took the time to do some research on Locked In Syndrome then he also too the time to research the vehicles in this book and their capabilities if someone like Abby is behind the wheel.

This was a great book by Koryta and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I look forward to reading another book by him. Just a side note that I enjoyed the nod back to his other book Those Who Wish Me Dead where you first run into the Blackwell family, you don't need to read that book to enjoy this one but you should just read it as it is amazing.

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