Monday, January 19, 2015

Hailey Edwards: Dog With a Bone

In the first novel in a new series, Hailey Edwards explores just how far people will go to have some part of the Fae:

Thierry is a half blood, half Fae half human and she is really only given two choices become a marshal and enforce the Fae laws or go back to human society. Thierry doesn't really have much of a choice as she is a special type of Fae, where her powers are not completely understood, but she can cause a lot of damage. Fresh out of the academy Thierry is about to get the case of a lifetime and she is going to have to rely on her partner Shaw more than she would like to admit but this case is way bigger than her and Shaw, and Thierry is about to learn that the Human side of her is where the monsters really lie.

When I requested to read this book on Netgalley I did not realize that this book was going to only be 100 pages. Contrary to what some people believe it is actually harder to write a short story than a regular pocket book as there is so much that the author needs to achieve in a lot fewer pages. I will say that Edwards succeed on a few fronts but not all. I think she was able to create a world that I understood (for the most part) in which the humans do not know about the Fae and that some Fae even consider humans food. They have their own form of government and police themselves. Perfect I understand that part of the world, though i'm not sure how the whole half blood thing happened as humans are kind of seen as taboo, but i guess forbidden fruit kind of thing maybe. Edwards also did a good job in introducing and reinventing different types of Fae. I'm not sure 100% what some of them were but quite a few of them sounded really different interesting and cool and there was a whole spectrum of what they look like, I hope that Edwards is able to keep that up in future books.

I think that Edwards had a great idea for a story but was unable to execute it to the fullest extent as the book was short. I felt like everything was rushed and maybe Edwards tried to put too much in the book. I never felt like I got to know the main character Thierry, Shaw and the history that they have together. I know they are paired up because Thierry's magic won't work on him but that is never fully explained. The power that we are able to see Thierry use is bad-ass, but that is also not fully explained or why she is such a rare Fae. I also felt that the mystery aspect was rushed as well, and a little too well laid out for Shaw and Thierry to the point where they seemed to be the only investigators that could get it done and were just too lucky with the information the received.

There were dark aspects of this novel that I was surprised were there as at the beginning of the book I thought it was going to be a paranormal romance with a bit of mystery which is kind of true but the mystery went a lot darker than I thought it would. It seems like every moment that Shaw and Thierry can spare (and there are quite a few considering it is an active investigation) is about their relationship and if they should have one or how Shaw is making Thierry feel weak in the knees. I kind of got sick of this by the end of the book.

I really liked the darker elements that Edwards was able to put into her story, but for me there was a little too much of the romance in the storyline for me, but those who like paranormal romance will probably like it. I think if the book would have been longer the romance aspect would not have been so condensed and I also think she could have developed her characters more. It was good first try, but I think it still needs work and maybe will improve with the next book.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Michael Koryta: Those Who Wish Me Dead

Michael Koryta takes his reader to the vast wilderness of the Montana Mountains where death can come at natures hand at any moment but this time, nature is not the most deadly thing on the mountain:

Jace Wilson is swimming in a quarry when he comes across a dead body where there is no question that the individual has been murdered. While trying to escape the quarry and the body he becomes aware that there are people headed towards him and he witnesses a murder committed by the Blackwell brothers. Jace it put into witness protection, but they need to place him some place special as those who can afford the Blackwell brother's services have fingers in all type of law enforcement. With a new identity Jace is enrolled in a wilderness skill summer program where only the witness protection officer knows he is there. Ethan and Allison Serbin who run the program each summer know why one of the boys is there but have no idea which one he is. Ethan takes the job seriously of protecting the boys, but the Blackwell brothers have no issue with slaughtering people in order to find out where Jace has been hidden. With a trail of bodies behind them they are on their way to Ethan and Allison's ranch and nothing is going to stop them from taking care of Jace or any one else who stands in their way, permanently.

This is the first book that I have read by Kortya, actually I had never even heard of him before this book and I don’t know why. This book was great and a high grade thriller novel with twists and turns that you will not see coming. I know I was surprised more than once throughout Koryta's novel and I did not want to put it down. I like that Koryta has the ability to let his characters questions themselves, get hurt and yes even die off. I always like an author that is able to take risks with his characters and that made me love every minute of this book. Just a great read all around.

The Blackwell brothers are very scary assassins they are the type that you higher when you want something done and have no fear of emotion coming to play into it. That mens everyone is a target for them; men, women, children all are fair game. They are emotionless creatures(?) and the way they would talk in that monotone voice like their victim was not even there just lets you know how serious they are about the wet work that needs to be done and the victim also realizes that there fate has been sealed. The brothers are some of the best killers I think that I have ever read in a book. The way they have their murders planned (or think on the fly), the torture they decide to use, to never being able to look at them both at the same time, they are masters at the art of death. I think the brothers were my favourite part of the book and plot that Koryta wrote.

There are a few main characters in this book therefore, there are multiple points of view throughout the book. The main views are that of Jace Wilson, Ethan and Allison Serbin and later on in the book Hannah Faber. Jace is a 13 year old boy who is trying to be tough but you can tell underneath that he is just a scared boy, but when survival is at hand especially his own survival he tries to think like a man. He does have some 13 year old moments in the book, but he needs to as after all he is just a kid.

Allison Serbin is an one tough lady and the sacrifices that she makes within the book are amazing and I question whether I would be able to be as strong as her. Ethan was an interesting character as he struggled to do what was right not only for Jace but also to protect his wife and often in order to do both they were at odds with each other. He had some hard issues to deal with and you can tell that he is mentally strained by the end of the book by continually trying to do what is right. We don't get to know Hannah too well, but we do get a glimpse to her past and why she is manning the fire station, I think that Hannah is an interesting character but not as developed as the other due to her less page time and really most of her life is based around fire and fighting fire.

This is the first book that I have read by Koryta and I know that it will not be the last. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book and I look forward to discovering his other reads. Really well written, well thought out plot, with twists and turns you will not see coming, as a reader you really cannot ask for more. One of the best thrillers I have read in a long time.

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Amanda Carlson: Red Blooded

As this is the fourth book in Amanda Carlson's Jessica McClain series you are going to want to read the first three books in this series first; Full Blooded, Hot Blooded and Cold Blooded.

Jessica McClain's life is about to go to Hell, literally. Her brother has been kidnapped by the Prince of Hell and has told Jessica that the only way to get him back is to come get him herself. Hell has it's own creatures, rules and landscapes that Jessica is going to have to transverse in order to save her brother and this time she is on her own with who knows when help will come. Jessica may just find out what it is like to live eternally in Hell.

There are times in every series where you start to question if you are going to continue on in them or not. Book two Hot Blooded was my favourite book and the books since then have only been just okay for me. Now we are in the fourth book in the series and I wonder how I got here and how much Jessica changed as a character. I may be the minority here but I preferred the first half of this book when Jessica is travelling through Hell on her own. I find when Rourke is in the picture he is way to over protective and Jessica is basically forced to take a back seat to him. I understand that she is his mate but times it seems like all he sees her as is good for sex. Wen Jessica is by herself or in this case with Lily she is forced to make her own decisions and fight which I found missing in the latter half of the book. Rourke for me takes the spark out of Jessica as a character, one which I really loved in the beginning of this series.
When you have your character enter Hell I guess as an author you get to decide which way you are going to take it; the conventional Hell of dark doom and gloom or do you try to redefine Hell. I'm not a 100% sure which way Carlson was trying to go. The Hell landscape and description she created was creepy but never scary (as in I never want to visit there) but the demons who reside there are forced to glamour themselves to look human, not so scary if you ask me and possible a lack of imagination on that front. What I found interesting about the Hell that Carlson created was the caste system and the business like ventures that the demons enter into, but still not scary. As well as the preferred eating choice of the demons, some piglet type thing be alive when they eat it; still creepy and kind of gross but not scary. I personally want Hell described to me as the most desolate place you could ever go to and have the hair on the back of my neck stand up as the scariness and horror of the place freaks me out. Maybe the UF genre is not the place for this type of Hell, but I think if you are going to bring your characters to Hell maybe you are transporting out of that genres in a way.

One character that I really want to know more about and his transformation is Ray. He seems like a completely different character from the first book in this series in more than one sense. I like the way he has changed and I am interested in knowing more about his power as a reaper.

This is not my favorite book in the series, and like I said above I prefer when Jessica is out of reach of Rourke as I find he hinders Jessica as a character. I know there is another book in this series, and I debate whether I will continue on or not. I've come to the point where I hope that Carlson can recapture what she had in the first and second book, but I'm beginning to have my doubts.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in the New Year Giveaway (INT)

In order to celebrate another successful year of reading and reviewing at Blood Rose Books, I always have a blitz giveaway this time of the year. Here is your chance to win one of the many books that Blood Rose Books has reviewed this past year. What better way to start the new year off than winning a book, sounds like an awesome idea to me. This giveaway will be a Winner's Choice and INT (anywhere that the book depostiory ships), but there is a catch, you need to choose a book that Blood Rose Books has reviewed in 2014.

I am excited to see which book or books get the most hits. I hope everyone had a great 2014 and have an amazing 2015. Good Luck and I look forward to hearing from you all in the New Year!!!
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Monday, December 29, 2014

D. J. Molles: The Remaining

In D. J. Molles' debut novel, he shows that the United States government is prepared for everything, even when the world and human population is coming to an end:

In a bunker under his home, Captian Lee Harder awaits instructions that this was another false alarm and he can return to his normal life in the world above; the word is not coming to an end. Above him on the surface the people of the United States are being plague by a new disease that turns the infected into a zombie like creature. Harder has no new information and time is running out on his last contact with his superiors. His mission it to restore order in the United States. Let people know that the government still exists  as the people who have been able to survive not only have to face off against the zombies but also those people who will take an advantage in this situation. Harder's mission objectives are: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS. TO RESCUE AND REBUILD both of which are easier said than done.

First off I liked the book, it had the right mix of action, world building and character interaction however, I wish that the book was longer, only 201 pages in my Nook, it felt like it was more part one of a book than a book by itself. I do not know if the other books are longer, and I was really enjoying how the story was going that I guess you can say I was disappointed when the book ended, just felt there should have been more to the first book especially as this is a series.

Captain Lee Harder was an interesting but odd at the same time. I mean he has all of this military training and had served in Afghanistan, but yet there were times where he was portrayed as naive in what he should be doing. I understand not knowing the full extent of the outside world as he was put away at the beginning of the threat, he just did not seem to be thinking like a solider all the time. Maybe this can be attributed to shock and that is has finally happened or that the book is very short that Molles was unable to completely flesh Harder out as a character. I hope in the future books Molles is able to better define Harder as a character. We also get very little about the secondary characters as well, so maybe he will grow them too.

Molles introduces an interesting concept of having trained military personal who are sequestered into a bunker beneath their homes when there is a world crisis. Their job is to show that the United States government is still functioning. I think this actually could happen as you think about that USA government will want to be prepared for everything, maybe even zombies, lol, so who am I to say that this is a far fetched concept. even if it is far fetched it is interesting nonetheless. It also made me wonder where all the doom day preppers are in this world, maybe we will still run into them.

I personally liked Molles interpretation of zombies. They do not immediately become the slow moving slobbering zombies that we see in many of the stories, but rather they maintain some of their human brain and motor  skills that they can use to their advantage at the beginning, so you never know what type of zombie that you are going to be facing. They also revert back to a more primitive state where they form groups and there is an Alpha in that group that calls the shots. I find this type of zombie not only interesting but terrifying as well and I look forward to see how Molles develops them further in the series.

I like that Molles showed that it would not take long for people to degrade themselves to ensure their own survival. If you are fans of J. L. Bourne's Day By Day Armageddon series, then I think you will like this book as well. I look forward to seeing what happens next but I do hope that the book is a little longer as it felt like only part of a book.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Anne Frasier: Hush

In her debut novel Anne Frasier takes the readers to Chicago, where a serial killer has re-emerged placing all those with new born sons in a state of panic:

Ivy Dunlop has lived through many individuals' greatest fear but it was not without consequences. She now spends her time researching, testing theories trying to understand and unravel the minds of the most dangerous men but it is not these new skills that are going to be the most helpful on her next case. The Madonna Murderer has returned to the Chicago after 16 year absence, no one know why he stopped killing, but he is back fulfilling his own cause. Ivy knows that she has to help catch this murderer who has caused her nightmares, even if lead detective Max Irving does not think she belongs. Together they set out to understand a twisted mind, but they can never work fast enough and body count keeps going higher and higher.

Not going to lie the first thing that drew me to the book was this cover, amazing job and when I read the premise is sounded interesting and maybe had something a little bit different to it. It is not often when you read about a serial killer that murders both women and their new born sons, however, it is quite often where you have a serial killer that has mother issues and this one is no different from those. Frasier does not add anything knew to the serial killer persona or ideas behind why he decided to murder, so she was not too original, but I do think she created a well crafted killer. I did appreciate that Frasier did have chapters from his point of view which gave insight as to why and who he decided to kill and actually how smart he was. I personally prefer books that have the serial killer point of view, I find that it rounds out the story.

I found book fairly predictable, not in the sense of who the killer actually is but in how the plot and subplots were going to unfold. This hindered the overall suspense that was supposed to be throughout this book, but I never felt like I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next and for me this is key in a thriller novel. There was also times where the detective needed a new skill and wow there you go he has it, for example hypnotization.

Ivy was an interesting character but I never felt that Frasier used her abilities and trauma of the past to the fullest extend. Almost seemed like Frasier was timid to do so and I think this also hindered the suspense that should have been in this book. You really feel for Ivy as she is trying to combat the fear that she has pushed away for years, but you can tell that she is just living as a shell of herself until she start helping the investigation. She is fool hardy at times, but her intention are always good, though this does cause more trouble than I think that she expected.

There were almost too many point of views for this story. Don't get me wrong I like multiple points of view as you can see the plot unfolding from so many different angles, I just don't think that this book was best served having them. I think that Frasier could have dropped Ethan's point of view, as it does not add anything to the story other than trying to humanize Det. Irving. I think the plot could have still played out the same and would have given Frasier more time to develop Ivy and Irving as characters.

This book was okay, I liked the overall concept that Frasier was trying to portray and I like Ivy as a character. I just think that the book was a bit too predictable and lacked the suspensefulness that I was hoping it would have. Okay for a debut novel, but I have read better debuts in the thriller genre. I will say that Frasier had some good ideas here and with time she may be able to get it right.

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