Monday, May 11, 2015

Anne Bishop: Vision in Silver

In order to enjoy and understand this book you are going to need to read the previous two books Written in Red (which is a fantastic debut novel) and Murder of Crows. These books really set the stage for Vision in Silver and I cannot fathom how you could understand the story, characters and world without reading the first two.

Anne Bishop is back with the third book in her Others series and if the Others thought that the human were cruel before, they are going to see a whole new side of them:

After the Others freed the cassandra sangue from one compound they did not realize what type of consequences there would be for the other compounds around the country as the controllers attempt to dump their “stock”. They also did not realize how hard of a time the cassandra sangue would have with adapting to the outside world and there have been many deaths along the way. If this was not enough to concern the Others there are shadows of war creeping in from across the Atlantik where the Humans First and Last movement is gaining more momentum. They are a group that will stop at nothing to ensure their own gain and to have more followers. Everyone is playing a deadly game one that the Others knows how it will end, but everything has complications especially when they look at their newly formed Human pack.

I really enjoy this series, but there has yet to be a book that beats the first one. I did not find that I was engaged in this book or on the edge of my seat as much as I was in the first book and even the second to some extent. I think that this was mainly due to the fact that this book felt more like a filler book as nothing really seems to happen throughout most of the novel (till near the end) and this book just seems to be setting things up for bigger things to come (ie the new village).

There were a lot more point of views in this book as we interact with some of the characters from in the village but also the Inuit and some of the cassandra sangue girls that were rescued from compound. I liked the Bishop took the time to explore the some of the problems that the girls are having with being in the outside world, even Jane who was born there and the adjustment that need to be made. I think that the cassandra sangue will be an even more powerful source once they are able to learn to control their powers (which I am alos glad that Bishop touched on this topic as well). Your heart does break a little when you read them struggling to adapt to this strange world, and how it is too much for some of them

There was also more of Meg's Human pack in this book as they try to help her with her visions as well as the integration into regular life. It is very interesting the see the story arc that Bishop has taken in regards to humans and the Others as from the first book you never would have thought that the Others would be able to accept any human among them. I like that Bishop has allowed even the most stubborn of characters to learn and grow, and it seems that the human on the outside are the one that have forgotten and have not learned a thing.

I found that the relationship between Meg and Simon took a backseat in this book, as there is less interaction between them. I like that Bishop is taking her time to develop this relationship and I am interested in seeing where she is going to go with it, but if you are reading this book for just Simon and Meg's relationship you will probably be disappointed.

I have found that both the second and third book in this series has yet to live up to the first and I am hopeful that Bishop will be able to achieve this in the fourth book. This is a series that has grabbed a hold of me and I don't want to let go. I am looking forward to the next book in the series and I hope it comes out soon :)

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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Michael Connelly: The Brass Verdict

This is the second book in Michael Connelly's Mickey  Haller series, so you will need to read the first book The Lincoln Lawyer before this one (not only because it is a good read) but the first book really sets up who Mickey is and how he works.

Mickey Haller has been out of the courtroom and just when he is looking to get back into the courtroom when the ultimate prize falls into his lap. He inherits a law firm from a friend who was just murdered. Mickey may not feel great about his friend's murder but he receives the grand prize of  the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. As Haller dives into the case he discovers that his friend's murderer may have his eyes on him next and it all centers around Walter Elliott. Mickey is also going to encounter a rough detective named Harry Bosch who is determined to prove that all lawyers are hiding something and lawyers are good for one thing, Bait, but Bosch cannot guarantee that Mickey will come out alive.

I always forget how much I love lawyer books (that are well done) especially when the main character come alive in the courtroom. This book is a good mix of mystery and suspense as Mickey finds out pretty soon that he may be on someone's hit list, so this does lead to some tense moments. The mystery is also well thought out and while I did not think that this book was as good or shocking as the Lincoln Lawyer, but it was still a good read.

Mickey is just getting back on his feet after his last case almost killed him (literally) and he is looking to make a fresh start at his practice and his life. What I really like about Mickey is he leaves no stone unturned, he tries to find out every aspect of the case even it may hinder him in the end. He also comes alive as a character in the courtroom which is what you want in a lawyer based novel and personally my favourite parts in these types of books.

I read some of Connelly's Bosch series many years ago way before Lincon Lawyer and I always enjoyed them, so I found it interesting that Connelly decided to bring the two together in this novel. Maybe it was to help Micky's series along as Bosch has a loyal fan base, but if you were to pick this book up just because of Bosch I think that you will be disappointed. Bosch is very much a secondary character in this novel and none of the book is told form his point of view. You only get Micky's impression and interactions with him and a pretty big bomb drop at the end that I did not see coming.

This book was a good follow up to the first novel, though I did find it interesting that Connelly decided to introduce Bosch. I also think that Connelly used a lot of his shock power in the first book and had this one follow a similar format as the first book, so I was not that surprised in the end as I was in the first book in this series.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Amber Lynn Natusch: Unseen

There is a first book in this series, Unborn, that you will want to read before this book as it is the start of Khara's mystery into who she is as well as builds the relationships that she has in the second book.

Welcome to the underworld, where Hades rules and Khara feels more at home than she does during her time above. Khara has returned to the land of the dead to seek answers as to what she is and who her mother is as well. The underworld is a place of secrets and it takes more than a few questions to pry the truth from those who reside there living or dead. Khara journey started out just for her but her outcome is going to affect everything above and below.

I really really dislike it when I am unable to finish a book and I really do try to finish reading every book that I start reading even when I want to throw it against the wall in frustration. However, there are times when I just cannot do it and unfortunately Unseen has fallen on to my DNF shelf. I made it more than halfway though the book, I think I only have maybe 80 pages left but I kept thinking that I could be spending my time reading something I enjoy. 

The first book in this series was not my favorite but the book ended with a cliffhanger that had me wanting to come back, plus I knew this book was going to be set in the underworld which were the parts I enjoyed in the first book so I thought that Natusch would build upon this positive of the first book. However Natusch never really built the underworld, I never got a sense of what the underworld looked liked according to Natusch or even how it felt there other than Khara feeling at home.

This book had a lot less action/fighting in this book and I felt like the book/plot just went in circles as I was reading it. The plot was mainly executed by Khara running around the underworld looking for answers, never really finding them, then people telling her she should be looking for answers and then she starts out again to search for answers and then people telling her should be looking for answers and then she starts out again to search for answers (I am well aware that I repeated myself there, just trying to make my point).

Natusch has some interesting ideas and I think if the premise was executed in a different way this book would be a winner, but the lack of anything happening in this book and lack of world building (I mean there are so many options and ideas that you could have to create a vivid image of the underworld) that I just could not finish this book and will not continue on in this series.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Allison Brennan: Love Me to Death

Allison Brennan introduces a reader to a serial killer who will stop at nothing in order to make the perfect woman:

Lucy Kincaid is a survivor, she has been tested to the extreme and has survived. This has shaped her into the person that she has become and aspiring FBI agent and volunteer to help located, lure and arrest sex offenders online, but her life is about to turn deadly once again. Lucy discovers that she has been used as a pawn in a vigilante group who act out their own justice on sex offenders but their actions make Lucy look like the killer. This should not be Lucy's only worry, in the shadows she is being watched, she has caught the attention of the wrong man and he will stop at nothing the make Lucy his.

I read a previous series by Brennan quite a few years ago and I remember liking them, so I decided to give another of her series a try.I think that this book had great potential as the premise had some very interesting aspects and I was curious to see how Brennan would bring it all together and while I think she was able to the mystery aspect was too rushed. I found that there was too much of relationshipness in this book and not enough trying to solve the mystery or even being aware of the new danger that surrounds Lucy. Everything in this book was secondary to Lucy and Sean's relationship which was another one where they basically just jump into romance (not my favourite type). This focus on the relationship hindered the entire story and many aspects of the premise that I thought would be interesting.

I feel like I missed part of Lucy's story that everyone keeps referring back to her kidnapping, rape and almost murder but you as the reader don't know the full story. There was a full investigation that has happened before this book that I did not know anything about. I feel like there was another book that I should have read before this one, I think it might be in one of Brennan's other series. For a standalone read (or beginning of a new series) there was a lot of reference to another book and events that the reader knows nothing about.

From what I learned about Lucy in this book I really liked her as a main character. She has not let the events that happened in her past control her, yes they have changed her, but she is a fighter and knows what it takes to survive, especially when she is tested. It was interesting how she wanted to become an FBI agent but also spent her free time trying to catch online predators (think of to catch a predator minus the TV part of it). This was an interesting aspect to the book with perpetrators being murdered, but once again when this part of the mystery works out, you realize that this too relates to a previous book that Brannan has written (I think).

The serial killer in this book is very sadistic and want to control every woman out there. He thinks that they need to be molded into the perfect woman and are only there to serve men. If they disappoint him too much or if they do not learn his rules he will kill them. There is also some mention that he may sell some of his "perfect" women off but this is not fully stated, explained or explored. He does torture the women in the book, and these scenes were fairly sadistic and deeming to the women in this story.

Brennan had some ideas here that had great potential to make this book into a true mystery and thriller, but these aspects were greatly overshadowed by Brennan's need to have the relationship between Lucy and Sean front and center. I think I remember now this is why I stopped reading her books. Additionally, I think that Brennan referenced too much back to books of hers that I had not read, something I do not expect when starting a new series. Oh well at least I gave her a try again, but I don't think I'll read another of her books, they are not for me.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Ilona Andrews: Magic Breaks

Althought at the beginning of this book there is a brief synopsis presented that outlines what has happened before in the previous 6 books, you should read those before reading this one. They are not only great reads but a few pages never makes up for 6 books worth of character development, world building and relationships.

Ilona Andrews is back with her Kate Daniels series, and in this book what Kate feared most is about to happen:

Kate has always been taught to hide what and who she is from the world, but she knows that that is no longer possible, especially when Hugh d’Ambray strolls into a meeting of all the powers of Atlanta and tells Kate she either comes with him or else. Kate is always one to sacrifice herself for those she loves or those who are weaker that her, but Hugh's ultimatum is one that she cannot pursue, instead it becomes a game of Cat and Mouse where Kate attempts to beat Hugh at his own game. However, some things cannot be put off forever, and if Roland knows of Kate's existence it is only a matter of time before he comes for her and Kate knows that this is a battle that she cannot win.

Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniel series is the only series that I have continued to read since I started in with the paranormal/UF genres, I'm going to say over 10 years ago now. It may have something to do that they only release one book a year or two years so I still get that little thrill of excitement when the paperback finds it way to my door (I'm was kind of upset that they decided to start releasing in hardcover first and paperback almost a year later, but I understand they are popular and need to make money too, just means I have to wait that much longer). I think that Andrews' has created an interesting and ever changing world, with the shifts between technology and magic, a cast of characters and relationships that have grown shaped and changed throughout the books and for the most part the better.

It is amazing to see the type of character that Kate has grown into and how much she has changed from the first book, not only in character and personality but also her powers and the relationships that she has formed. The Kate that is in this book will still put herself before others but she has additional people and responsibilities that she needs to factor in as well, that everything is not as black and white as she would like it to be. This also showed how much Kate is willing to do to survive and the will to live that she has is incredible. I also think that Kate and Curran's relationship has never been better in this book and i'm happy they got past some of the issues in the previous two books.

If you know anything about Kate Daniels series and Andrews, I knew that this book was going to tackle Roland and I'm going to say I'm a was a little disappointed about what happened. I was expecting an epic battle with fire works and all i really got was a match lit that kind of fizzled out. I'm really not sure where Andrews is going to go from here. This does not mean in any way that I would not continue on in the series, just wanting to know where Andrews take it next would keep me reading.

I personally dread the day when there are no more Kate Daniels book, I don't know what I would have to look forward to year after year. I guess rereading the series over and over again (well except for Magic Slays, was not the biggest fan of that book). This is my favourite UF series and I think that Andrews did a great job with this book even though I questions some of the choices that they made and I am curious to see where she takes the next book with the big changes that happen in this book.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sara Blaedel: The Forgotten Girls

Sara Blaedel takes the readers to the country side of Denmark where the past is about to define the present:

In a Denmark forest, a ranger discovers the fresh corpse of a woman, with very distinctive scarring on her face, that it should be easy to identify her, but no one has reported her missing. Louise Rick is the new head of the Missing Persons department and something about this case does not sit right with her. Even when her bosses tell her to drop the case she is unable to. When a women sees a media release and is able to ID the woman as Lisemette, Louise finds out that she was one of the forgotten girls. A girl that was left at a mental institution many years ago, but the more disturbing is that Lisemette had a twin and both were issued death certificates 30 years ago. This case has now become one where Louise has to sift through the past to find out what happened to Lisemette and her twin in the hopes that she can find her alive. But strange things are happening in the forest and Louise needs to put the pieces together before more people are killed.

This was an interesting read but I had to put it down part way through reading it as I was reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn at the same time and the writing and parts of the story were similar, that at times I would get them confused. This, to me, is actually a big nod to Blaedel as I thought her writing style was very good and as I said similar to Flynn's however, that is where the similarities end between the two authors. Blaedel focuses much more on the mystery of these forgotten girls and while our main character Louise has many flaws and a past she would like to forget, her aspects and issues were never at the forefront of the novel as they are in Flynn's novel.

The mystery in this novel was interesting as Louise tries to connect the past to the present of events that occurred and that someone who was thought to be long dead was actually alive. I do not think that I have read a mystery that had this aspect before so I really enjoyed that twist. I appreciated that Louise did not just happen to come across information in her case, there was nothing about luck book, it was Louise putting in the hard work of following up any lead that she can think of and going from interview to interview and the information that each contained. To me this is a more of how a real life case would be investigated as evidence did not just come out of thin air and you are left wondering how the detective came across the information. I also liked that this was a true mystery book, it did not rely on the flash of gun fights or gory descriptions of scenes to entertain the reader, but it was just as dark and had some disturbing aspects of other books that I had read. Blaedel just relied more on the investigation and mystery than other books and her style of writing really helped her to achieve this

I felt like I never really got to know Louise in this novel as there were so many personal and personality issues that were never fully explained. I found out after I read this novel that it is actually the seventh book in the series so this is not surprising (it did not say it was the 7th book on Netgalley). Blaedel kept referring to aspects of Louise's past but you never really get the whole story (though there is a big cliff hanger at the end that deals with some of her personal aspects). I will say that what I read of Louise's character in this book I really liked, she is a thorough investigator and tries to keep her work life balance with her son. I also did not get the best impression with her best friend Camilla but I think that this also had to do with coming in at the seventh book.

I really enjoyed the mystery that Blaedel presented and executed in this book. I think that she stuck true to what a missing person/homicide investigation would look like. While I did not feel a great connection Louise I think that if I started at the beginning of the series I would have enjoyed this book even more. This book could be read as a stand alone if you are okay with less character development and I think I might even start at the beginning of this series if they have been translated in to English.

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