Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ilona Andrews: Magic Binds

This is the ninth book in the series and in order to enjoy the characters you need the background of the previous eight books to enjoy this one; Magic Bites, Magic Burns, Magic Strikes, Magic Bleeds, Magic Slays, Magic Rises, Magic Breaks and Magic Shifts. (I was reading this series before I started blogging so I do not have reviews for all of the books).

Ilona Andrews is back with the next Kate Daniels book and if you thought you had family problems, Kate and Curran have you beat in spades:

Kate and Curran are taking their relationship to the next level and that means trying to make it on their own outside of the Pack. The have set up their business and are trying to get to the alter but Kate's father, Roland, is up to know good, as usual. He has Kidnapped demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry of all his power. Kate may not like Saiman that much but he is from her City and knows that she has to rescue him. Late needs help, but the only one that could help her is long dead, Kate and Curran's future, and the future of Atlanta looks grim but Kate is never one to let the long odds against her stand in her way.

This is one of my favourite urban fantasy series it is one that I started reading about 10 years ago now (wow just dated myself there) and have continued to read and look forward to the next book each time. While Andrews has a formula that they like to follow there is creativity in the story and the foes that Kate faces in each book that I really appreciate. Additionally, I like the connectivity within this book to past event, adversaries and events this is what truly made it interesting to me (Sorry I do not want to say more as I think it gives part of the plot away). It is also nice to see that nine books later that Andrews has not lost the ability to combine darkness and light, seriousness and humour throughout the books.

It is great to see the progression of Kate and Curran's relationship from the first book till now. i have always appreciated that Andrews took their relationship slowly and did not have them jump in to anything or fall instantly in love. This makes their relationship so much stronger and although Curran still tries to control Kate when he can, Kate very much does not let this happen.

I love that Kate as changed, adapted and grown as a character throughout this series. Andrews has let Kate experience many of the the normal (well as normal as they can be in this series) life events that it makes is easy to relate to her as a character and want to be her as well.

This is the second to last book in the series and to say I am excited for the final book in this series is an understatement. Although I will be sad to see the series end, I appreciate that Andrews has realized that this series cannot go on forever and that her characters have grown so much throughout the series as well. If you have not tried this series yet and love Urban Fantasy you need to pick up the first book now, you will not be disappointed.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Angela Marsons: Broken Bones

This is the seventh book in Angela Marsons' D.I. Kim Stone series and while I think this book could be read as a stand alone, you would be doing yourself and the series a disservice if you did not start at the beginning of the series; Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines and Dead Souls.

It was going to be a busy night for D.I. Kim Stone with the murder of a prostitute and Kim discovering an abandoned baby outside police headquarters. Then three more prostitutes are murdered in quick succession with each death more violent than the last. At the same time multiple women are coming forward claiming that the child is theirs, but things are not adding up as to why the baby was left where it was and something more sinister is afoot. Kim's team is going to be split up and bring the team in contact with some of the worst of the worst of humankind. 

This was an interesting addition to the series and it is nice to see that Marsons has not yet run out of ideas as well as twists and turns. (I did not see the ones that happened at the end which is always a high  point for me). Although the victim choice in this book may be typical of "these' type of mystery books, prostitutes; I like that Marsons added more background to their situations as to why and how the women became part of this type of lifestyle, adding more of a human factor to them instead of just a victim/body. It was also interesting how the baby aspect unfolded when all the pieces were there and it felt like a very real situation that probably happens more than we think.

I never thought that I would say this but there was a little bit too much of the secondary characters within this book that I felt that we didn't get as much face time with Kim. Kim is one of the main reasons that I read this series and while I like Stacey and Dawson as characters, their characters do not hold a light to Kim. I also want to see Kim advance more as a person and professionally. She has had some big strides within these books but I am wanting more from her so she does not begin to seem flat and predictable. Though I will say Kim with the baby and was pretty funny and the lack confidence her team have is also funny.

I always look forward to see what Marsons' can come up with next and each time her creativity surprises me. Seven books in and we have yet to have repeat plot or formula, so as long as Marsons keeps writing I'll keep reading.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Extinction Horizon

Nicholas Sansbury Smith takes the readers on an action filled ride as the follow Team Ghost who about to face their most deadly enemy:

Master Sergeant Reed Beckham is the leader of the Delta Team, codename Ghost. He has lead them through every hell hole on this Earht and has never lost a man, but he is about to face the most deadly threat of all, a variant strain of Ebola. This virus has the ability to turn humans in to monsters and it has the ability to spread just as fast as Ebola does. Team Ghost is assigned to extricate and protect the only scientists that could figure out a way to stop the virus and save the human race. As cities fall around the country and world more pressure is put on team Ghost and Dr. Kate Lovato to live long enough to find a cure.

I'm really happy I found Sansbury last year, he has become one of my go too authors when I am wanting sci-fi. I am also happy that he writes series so I can get my fill on many different fronts within this genre. For this book Soldiers vs mutated humans is almost always a good read in my opinion, can gun power really overwhelm numbers is always the question (Ijust think of the Hordes on TWD).

This book does not have a calm second, you just need to hold on for the ride as this book is action packed and goes from one battle to the next, so to say that it is action packed is un understatement. It is also fairly gruesome and gory in the telling of the story, which I think needs to go hand in hand with zombie novels. I have yet to read a book about a nice zombie or where there is not some blood and guts spilling. Sansbury Smith does not hold back but at the same time you are not going to feel the need to lose your lunch. He has found a good balance there.

Beckham is a great main character he is fearless in danger, knows when his back is against the wall and would not put his men through anything that he would not do himself. In other words the type of leader that you would want to follow. I appreciate that none of the members of team Ghost are safe, even Master Sergeant himself. They get hurt and lets just say not all the team members are going to make it back.
I have started three series by Sansbury Smith now and I revel at his ability to have this many series and not have them the same. I am very excited to continue on with this series, as I really enjoyed this book.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Sarah Pinborough: Behind Her Eyes

Sarah Pinborough novel is all about manipulation in such a strange love triangle:

Louise is a single mom, working as a secretary, and feels like her life is in an extreme slump. Her ex husband has moved on but Louise just cant seem to get her life back on track. When she meets a man in a bar, sparks fly and she feels like she has finally connected with someone. When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she discovers that the man in the bar, is her new boss and he is married. Married to a beautiful and timid Adele. The problem is that Louise has also met Adele before and has befriended her. Now Louise does not know what to do, and whether she should break off her relationship with Adele and quit her job for what has happened to her new boss. While Louise questions her morals Adele is planning and manipulating everyone around her, as no one tries to take her husband away from her.

This is the first book that I have read by Pinborough, and I was really impressed with the characters and story. They way that Pinborough would have to lay out the plans and interacting points between Louise, Adele and David is really well done. This is a "love" triangle book, but it so much more than that as Pinborough plays down the sexual nature of the triangle and plays up more of the relationship between the three. And Oh the manipulation; This book has it in spades on all fronts that you are not sure who is really going to come out as the "winner" at the end or if they are going to fail at life miserably.

It's hard to really like any of the characters, maybe more so that you cheer for them than anything else. Who is the least bad kind of thing on a moral high ground idea runs throughout this book and I find that you cannot really fault any of them for the decisions they make, but that does not mean that you have to like them. I also like that we get glimpses into Adele past and how it has shaped her in to the person that she is in the book.
This book has a slight metaphysical aspect to the book in regards to the dream world and power of dreams which was an interesting touch, and I think enhanced the story over just two women wanting the same man.

Oh that ending, I will say I had figured it mainly out, but Pinborough threw in quite a twist that I did not see coming, so thank you Pinborough for that.This book has set the bar really high for in my opinion when I find the next Pinbrough book to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it especially the farther I got in to the book.


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Monday, December 11, 2017

Elle Casey: Kahayatle

Elle Casey introduces readers to a world where adults have vanished and what happens to the kids and teenagers when left to their own devices:

Bryn Mathis was 16 years old when her father died, however, this is nothing new to the world, as adults have been dying for years now. The youth have been left alone for a while now and Bryn knows that it is time to move on from her family home as she is almost out of food and a gang of kids has started to roam her neighbourhood looking for trouble. Bryn knows that she shouldn't trust anyone but when a strange kid appears next door she realizes how much she has been missing human contact and they decide to set out to look for a new shelter and food hopefully some place safe. But something as happened to some of the youth that have been left behind, they have lost some of their humanity.

This book was a great read, and I was surprised how dark Casey took this book as it is a YA read. I would say that this is more for an older or adult YA book, based upon the content of the book. This said Casey does not go too far in to description or detail about what is happening, which at times can be worse as it leaves it up to your imagination, but there are several scenes and flashbacks in the book that most people would find disturbing. The one thing that is not really explored in the book is why all the adults died or whether once an teen turns 18 will they too pass away. Maybe this is not explained as the main characters a teenager, or maybe Casey will address it is further books in the series, I'm just left scratching my head about it as nothing is explained.

It always seems when the world goes to hell, humanity goes with it as well, so I guess this is almost to be expected in books like this. Casey takes the idea to a whole new level though with having youth be the ones who have lost this humanity in the form that they become cannibals aka canners. We first really learn about it through Peter and his tragic past but our main characters run in to them and the ending is one that will have you searching for the next book in this series.  They are not zombies these people have chosen an "easier" way to survive by entering into cannibalism. The Canners also become more sophisticated in their process by the end of the book,

I liked the three main characters in this book and how they play off each other, there is some intereting and funny banter that occurs. Bryn is the strength, Peter is the brain and Bobo is really the heart (and at time the comedic relief) of the team that they form, oh yes and Buster the dog, who doesn't need a dog at the end of everything. My main complaint with a character was Bobo being from Germany and the accent that was written in to the book. It took a while to get used to the words being written how someone would say then in English if they had a very heavy German accent.

This book was much more than I expected and was not only darker than I expected but also an interesting story. I look forward to picking up the second book in this series.

***Fun fact of the moment this book is currently free on amazon, so I suggest you pick up your copy ASAP***

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

B. A. Paris: The Breakdown

B. A. Paris takes the reader on a roller-coaster ride that starts with a murder and spins further and further out of control:

One night Cass decides to take a shortcut home through the back roads, even though she know she shouldn't. It pitch black out and the rain is pouring down but she wants to get home faster than going around. Cass did not know that this one act would change her life forever. She passes a vehicle on the side of the road with the driver in the front seat, she slows down to see if the woman needs help but they do not exit the car so Cass continues on. Cass finds out the next morning that the woman has been killed and Cass feels nothing but guilt. Then strange things begin to happen to Cass phone calls, misplacing items, seeing thing, and begins forgetting things that she know she should not.When she starts to feel someone watching her she is convinced that it leads back to the night on the road, she feels guilty for not helping and could the killer now be after her?

Paris' debut novel was one of my favourite from the past year so I had really high expectations for her second novel and she really did live it up to them. What I think that I liked the most was that it was completely different from her first book in the story line as well as how the plot is laid out. There is nothing more refreshing where the author strays from their other novel(s) and does something completely different. There is still what I will call Paris' flare but she does not rely on Behind Closed Doors to define this book, this may disappoint some readers if they are looking for something along the lines of Behind Closed Doors part two and I think in the beginning I was but this book was Sold to me by the end.

Cass' deterioration within this book is truly the highlight of it. The details that Paris needed to lay out in this book are very well done and it was really interesting to see her bring everything altogether. From Cass beginning to believe that she is suffering from the same memory loss and early on-set dimension that her mother eventually passed away from to the events that she is so sure that she is experiencing it is really well done. Paris does a good job of showing the paranoia that Cass has around losing her memory and how just forgetting one simple thing can spiral things out of for Cass and makes things even worse in her life and the isolation that it causes not just from her friends and coworkers but also from her husband.

In a way this book was may seem less compelling that Behind Closed Doors as the story is not as dramatic or sinister but this does not mean that it is any way boring. This also does not mean that I did not enjoy the book, actually the opposite of that especially when you really get in to the book, I just think that if people are looking for a Behind Closed doors repeat, this book is not it.

This book is like a slow burn that is completely worth it in the end. Paris knows how to bring suspense to her writing and have reader devour her books. I look forward to the next book by Paris.

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