Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Maureen Johnson: Truly Devious


In the first of a new series, Maureen Johnson takes readers to an elite school that is shrouded in myth, mystery and murder:

In Vermont there is a school for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists; Ellingham Academy. Not only is the school for the brightest but the grounds and buildings were built in the 1920s by Albert Ellingham who was always found of riddles and games. Shortly after the school is opened Albert is faced with a deadly riddle after his daughter and wife are kidnapped, sadly this is one game that where the crimes will go unsolved and Truly Devious is never found. Enter present day and True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell who is determined to be the first to solve the mystery.But Stevie was not prepared not only for the demands of school but for Truly Devious to make return and soon Stevie as more than one crime to solve.

This is the first book that I have read by Johnson so I was interested in seeing where she tool the premise of the book and how well it would unfold in the YA genre. This book was a joy to read as well as an easy read and hit me at the right time as i was looking for something along these line that was not all doom and gloom. This book really is a light read considering it is center around murders but I think how Johnson decides to tell the story made it feel this way.Johnson decided to give the information about the murder and missing persons case from the 1920, a mixture of events told from that time, interviews as well as the video production that Stevie finds herself a part of.

This book has your typical high school students stereotypes in it but a times takes them to the extreme as this school is supposed to have the best of the best in each subject or career path, so there are times when I found some of the secondary characters a bit annoying. Additionally as this book is based in high school you do have the moodiness of youth that age as well as some teenage drama with the main character, Stevie. I found that at times these events/emotions took away from what should be the primary premise of solving the 1930s murder and then the present day one as well. I think there is a part of Stevie that we as readers will all like and relate to. I mean isn't trying to solve the mystery in each book we read true crime or not part of the joy of reading? I know it is for me, this is why I really liked Stevie as a character Teen Drama and all.

Of course this book ended on a cliffhanger so that means that I am wanting to read the next book in the series, The Vanishing Star which is coming out later this year (2019). Even if there wasn't a big cliffhanger I would continue on just for Stevie.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Deon Meyer: Fever

Deon Meyer takes the reader to South Africa where the majority of the worlds population has been wiped out by a mysterious Fever:

Nico Storm and his father Willem are traveling through South Africa looking for a safe haven. As they pass ravaged town by ravaged town they do not see any hope in sight. Willem has an idea, start their own safe haven in a town that will soon be called Amanzi. They appeal to those who are of good nature and want to better not only themselves but others too. But as with all places that offer safe haven there are those who will prey on them and as towns become bigger and bigger there are always people who will disagree. This is Nico Storm's memoir of survival and the eventual murder of his father.

This was a pretty big change of pace for me, it was not so much action, suspense and darkness but more about a son and father trying to survive in a new world (but less dark and depressing than The Road). There is a mystery here so that really held my attention especially as Meyer mentions it very early in the book, but where Meyer really shines is in his storytelling and character development.

I really loved the multiple points of view as you got more of a perspective for each situations as well as getting to know the back story for many of the people who now lived at Amanzi. This was incorporate through the Amanzi history project which essentially was a recording of the personal experiences of the individual as they came to Amanzi. While the main narrator is Nico Storm (as this is his story to tell) he incorporates the recordings from the history project to both agree and disagree as to what actually happened. Much of the story takes place when Nico is a teenager so this did skew his perspective and as Nico is looking back telling this story it makes sense to add the additional information from mainly adults.

I liked that is was set in South Africa as this a different settling for me and I felt the wildlife and conditions of South Africa just seem more extreme to me than other places in the world. This perspective is probably dues to the fact that I have not had a chance to travel there yet (hopefully one day) but for me the setting was unique.

This book lets you know from the very beginning that Nico's father Willem Storm is going to be murdered and that even we have met the murderer along the way so it was very engaging to try and figure out who it was going to be. You start to weight each conversation that Nico had as well as the information that is shared through the history project. I did not see the twist coming at the end, so Meyer was very nicely able to surprise me which I always appreciate.

This is the first book that I have read by Meyer and I am very interested in checking out his other books. I really enjoyed his storytelling ways and his development of the characters in Amanzi. Highly recommended especially if you like books where society and the human race need to start over again. I honestly wish there was another novel after this one or even a novella to see where some of the main characters are now

Enjoy!!!
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Friday, December 21, 2018

Alison James: The Lying Kind

This book is also known or now known as Lola Is Missing or The Missing Child (I'm not sure why it has three different titles, maybe it depends on where you live). Alison James takes readers to a parent's worst fear when their child disappears in the middle on the night without a trace:

Lola is Missing; she is six years old who is taken from her bedroom. Her mother is distraught and also very convinced that her ex-husband is responsible for abducting Lola away. It does not help that they are not able to find him. Leading the case is Det. Rachel Prince but it is going to make more than her expertise to untangle the web of truths and lies that this family has. Everyone knows that the longer a child is missing the less likely they are to be found alive and as more and more time flies by and more and more lies are told, Rachel is not sure they are going to find Lola in time especially when another little girl is taken.

This was a gripping read that did not rely on a body count in order to make it so as this book is about a missing child. James relayed on the twist, turns and lying that goes on within family dynamics especially that of this broken marriage. Things become very interesting and devious along the way as Jones shows the lengths people will go to in order to protect their secrets as well as trying to find their daughter.

I really liked Det. Rachel Prince, she is smart, tenacious and follows her gut when investigating her cases. She also doesn't pander to politics which is always dangerous and interesting at the same time. I mean people do not always have to like her in order for her to get her job done. She also seems to have her life and career together and is not running from some hidden demon that is going to rear its ugly head at a bad time. Sure she has made some poor choices with men (who hasn't, lol) but they do not affect her work or work ethic. She is not pining away for some guys that she throws the whole case away.

James also does a great job of showing what I believe actual police work is like, not all action but having to hit the paperwork in order to solve the crime. There is quite a bit of this in this book, going back over evidence and information that Rachel or her team has found. There are also a few stake out scenes that show that it is not that glamorous.

Alright this a nick picking thing but it makes me question if James is willing to do research for her books. ACL tears do not repair themselves, you can attempt to strengthen the muscles around the knee to provide stabilization but the ACL will not regenerate. As an individual who has had to have ACL surgery I wish they had the ability to repair themselves. Really this is minor in the scheme of things of your book but just do a quick google search and you’d know this information. Also she wouldn’t be able to walk in high heels after just tearing it without falling on her face every time she took a step especially if it was a full tear there would be nothing preventing the lower part of the leg from flying forward with each step🙄.... Sorry rant over

Alright looking past my rant, lol, this book was interesting and great start to a series, especially with the main character who I thought was really well done. I look forward to continuing on with this series to see what Jones comes up with next.

Enjoy!!!!
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Monday, December 10, 2018

Javan Bonds: Zombie Lake - Still Alive

Javan Bonds takes readers to a pirate ship and zombies, what could go wrong?

The world has gone to Hell and Mo Collins is facing the end of the world on a replica pirate ship. Each night hordes of naked blue zombies flood the city streets Mo and his shipmates Crow just fish and try to survive. When another survive stumble across Mo and Crow's ship Mo has found a new lease on life. As Mom's reality starts to mimic fiction they need a new cast of characters to fill the each role; The Expert, The Tech, The Oracle, The Sacrifice and The Old Friend. Sometimes life bites but right now it's all about the zombies.

Unfortunately this book was a DNF for me, I found I was unable to become interested in the characters or plot and to be honest I read approximately 50% of this book and it was just boring. Nothing really happened, I understand the need to set up the world and characters this is supposed to be zombie and there were very few zombies to be had. It was more about getting the merry band of characters together. I think I would have liked the idea of Bond's zombies if there would have been more interaction with them, as they only come out at night, seem to go blue and are naked, lol.

I also had issue with the amount of slang of one of the characters that it was very hard to understand what he was saying even though the words were written right there and I just became annoyed each time he spoke. Maybe this makes me a prude or something when it comes to the English language, I don't know but I just wish that not every word that came out of this character's mouth was a swear or some type of slang or abbreviation of words.

This book was not for me but I'm definitely in the minority on this one based upon the reviews on Goodreads. Lots of people have enjoyed this book and found it extremely funny (maybe I have a different type of humour, once again I don't know, lol).

Cheers!!!!
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Angela Marsons: Dying Truth

This is the 8th book in the series (wow I cannot believe that there are already that many), especially with this book you will need to read the previous 7 in order to understand the characters and their relationship dynamics. The previous 7 (Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls and Broken Bones) are all extremely well done and will keep you on the edge of your seat and don't blame me if you don't get anything done as you strive to finish Marsons' books:

Angela Marsons is back with another DI Kim Stone novel, where Kim is taken to an elite school where secret societies rule the school:

When teenager Sadie Winter supposedly jumps from the roof of an elite private school, DI Kim Stone is assigned to the case and nothing feels right to her right from the beginning. When another body of a boy turns up dead at the school, Kim is not about to step back and call it a coincidence like the school would like her to. Kim and her team discover what the school is hiding, a dark web with an even darker society where punishments are handed out if you go against your card. With more childrens' lives at risk Kim must consider the unthinkable that one of the kids peers is going on a murder streak all to protect that what the cards hold dear. Once a suit of cards, always a suit of cards.

This is the 8th book in a series and I think that I am reading and reviewing this book says a lot about Marsons as an author. There are so many choices and new authors and series to choose from these days that often people (myself included) start a series but never really stick with it, they can be forgettable. Obviously this is not true of Marsons' DI Kim Stone series, each book has had a unquie story line and while Marsons does have a bit of a formula by now, it is fluid enough that each book is very different, this is especially true in this book Dying Truth.

Is it weird for me to say Marsons got her groove back with this book? I found the previous 2 books not as compelling and interesting as the ones before them and focused a bit too much away from Kim, who is the main reason I read these books. Do not get me wrong they are still good reads just not as amazing or interesting as the ones before them. However, this book was something else, and had me reading well past when I should be. There was one really big change in this book than the previous one and that was that the team were focused on just one case this time, normally there are a few cases going on at once that the team is being forced to handle so it was a change to only see one case in this story line. So maybe Marsons is changing it up a bit.

We all know the characters well enough by now that there is not that much character growth that is occurring there are some opportunities within this book for that to happened, especially with the ending but I appreciate that each character knows who the are and what their role on the team is. There also is more of a team aspect with the group and how they work with each other, which I enjoy reading almost like the fifth member, lol.

I'm always a sucker for small town reads and well why not a school with a secret society. I love all the secrets and how once a member of a card always a member of a card and how this can influence life well after school is over. I also appreciated that Marsons acknowledged that sometimes Kids are bad people too and they are not to be over looked and underestimated by adults, which many of us still do, even with everything that goes on today. The one kid related aspect that I think that Marsons missed in this book is their use of social media. I'm not sure why is aspect was absent from the novel but I think it would have added an additional dynamic to the story and premise.

I think that Marsons took a real chance with this book, and you won't really understand that aspect until you read this book. I have been a big fan of Marsons since she started this series, and I continue to be one now. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

Enjoy!!!!!!
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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Hell Divers III - Deliverance


If you have not read the first two book (Hell Divers & Hell Divers: Ghosts) in the series, stop right now and go order them. They are both fantastic reads that you will not want to put down. This review will contain SPOILERS for both of those books and you really don’t want to do that to yourself, so just stop reading this now and start at the beginning of the series. Trust me you won’t regret it.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith is back with his killer Hell divers series and this time the divers are spending more time on Earth than ever before:

Team Raptor has been left behind on Earth by the Hive but they were able to find a new ship Deliverance to help take them to the last coordinates that Xavier “X” Rodriguez had given and hope that he is still alive after all these years. They are on a rescue mission that has zero chance of being a success but they have to hope for something and to prove to X that he was not left behind by everyone. While on the Hive Captain Jordan is losing control over the ship. The people are angry, supplies are running out and Hell Divers are in short supply. Jordan will do everything in his power to keep the ship in the air even if it means, lying, cheating and murdering to keep it that way. Team Raptor may be in danger from the nightmare creatures that now plague the Earth, but they also need to keep their eyes on the sky for danger comes from familiar places.

Honestly, this is hands down my favourite sci-fi series, granted I do not read a lot of sci-fi but any time I pick up a book in this series I know I am in for a roller coaster ride and I will not want to put the book down. Deliverance deliveries on all the things that I want in this series; Interesting world/characters, fast pace story, action scenes, you never know who is going to make it out alive and just overall awesomeness. 

As stated above, there tends to be some character turn over, also known as Sanasbury has a knack for killing people off, yes that also includes some of the characters you like, so it is always nice to have some fresh blood to the books. I enjoyed that this time we get to meet some new Hell Divers in training and each of their reasons for being their and the choices they have to make. It was also interesting have more of a perspective from Captain Jordan and the choices he makes. Honestly, even though he is made out to be the bad guy, some of the reason he has about not wanting to return to Earth make sense. However, many of his actions are based upon just having the power to do things and jealousy.

I really appreciated that we got some time to see what X had been up to and the progress he made while traveling as this was the bomb shell of the previous book that X was still alive and had survived somehow. X is on his way traveling to the coast but and due to Sansbury writing style  (and the fact that X's part are set in the past) you never know if X is still going to be there  but just the thought of finding out keeps you reading. 
Sansbury Smith really out did himself with the introduction of new creatures that have developed on Earth and how these creature differ from those inland. Makes you wonder what will be out there if one decided to venture further in to the seas, where the water is no longer water but sometime of sludge

Fantastic book and addition to this series and I cannot wait for the forth book, going to be some interesting times and challenges ahead for the Hell Divers and I cannot wait to go along for the ride with them. On to Wolves I go...

Enjoy!!!
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