Thursday, June 15, 2017

Meg Collett: Fear University


In the first in a new series Meg Collett takes the reader to your not so average University:

Ollie is very unique, she has been diagnosed with a disease that prevents her from feeling pain. There are people that would take advantage of such a gift, expecially after Ollie is abandoned by her mother at age 10 and she is passed from foster home to foster home. When she lands on one foster home that has a let's make Ollie scream game, she end up killing a man and is on the run. Ollie thinks that she's the baddest person in town but she is about to get a rude awakening when she comes face to face with what she will learn are aswangs. Man by day creature by night and they are winning the war against the Hunters. Ollie may have been on her own for a long time but she is about to find a purpose in fighting the aswangs that would harm humans and live for the fear they inflict.

Alright that was a roller-coaster ride and this book was not what I was expecting at all. I thought it was going to be a fun little easy with a bit of romance through in to it (honestly I did not have that high of hopes). What I got instead was a fairly dark, action packed read that I did not want to put down (with a little bit of romance and sexual tension thrown in there too), so Bravo Collett for surprising me. That said I did find some aspects of the book predictable but overall it was a good fun read.

Fear University is more like Fear High School, maybe this was due to the fact that the university was so small and  the interaction with the same people all the time, but there was nothing university like in this book to me. The whole clique aspect, with the mean girls and everyone pinning for the same guy, sounds like high school to me. However, this High School aspect is countered with the darkness of the book; From the Lets Make Ollie Scream game to the action/fight scenes these added to a more well rounded read.

I like Ollie as a main character and her haunting past. Though I was able to figure out the "major" twist very early on. The one thing I will point out is that for all her gruff and front she was at times a whiny character especially when she did not get her way. I think this is a maturity factor and as I said above, more like High School than University. Her disease is an interesting aspect for Collett to play with. Even though Ollie is unable to feel pain she is still able to get hurt and hurt badly and that seems to happen quite a bit in this book. I also think that Ollie seems to heal faster than normal, maybe this is a side affect to the disease maybe something else. I like that Luke had the frame of mind to try and teach her understand that not feeling pain could actually be a liability and to try to not get hurt.

I would classify this book as new adult, as the main character is 19 and I think there is way too many thoughts of sex and the one sex scene was highlighted too much for a YA read. There is also how the aswangs saliva affects Luke, basically makes he extremely sexually aggressive and this is also highlighted in the book as well.

This is the first book that I have read by Collett and I think that I am going to enjoy this series. I'm already on the hunt for the next book.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Richard Montanari: Shutter Man

In the ninth book in his Balzano & Byrne series, Richard Montanari introduces the readers to a story that was 30 years in the making:


Billy is a perfectionist when it comes to killing, if only he could remember who he was supposed to kill looked like. Billy carries his targets in photographs in his pocket to make sure he get the right one. Killing is part of Billy's ancestry as part of the  Philadelphia's Farren crime family. Detective Kevin Byrne and assistant district attorney Jessica Balzano are assigned a strange break and enter series all of which seem to be link to the Devil's pocket and Bryne's past. All of this jeopardizes the Farren family and has put Bryne on Billy's hit list.


I was really really excited to read this book, it had such an interesting premise (I mean a hit man not being able to remember face of who he is supposed to kill but can only tell who they are through photos. Just think of how you could take advantage of that) and the beginning was fantastic, engaging, had me hooked and then it fell really flat and slow.


Going in to this book I did not know that it was part of a series when I requested it on Netgalley. It was my fault for not checking, I get that, but I guess I assumed (we all know what happens when you do that) that it would be listed as number 9 in the series. So as you can guess I did not know the players in this game, their history and this is probably part of the problem I had.


There was too much back and forth not only between different characters but also between past a present that I found myself lost some where in the shuffle. I like to think that I read often enough that this is a hard thing to do but I just really struggled with this book. I also really like when back story is explained especially when it relates to the characters and sometimes the crimes, but this one did not feel fluid with me.


I just do not know with this book, I have read some amazing reviews for it that make me think I should go back and give it another try, but I really had a hard time getting in to the story, that makes me think this one was not for me. Maybe if I start at the beginning of this series I would have been able to get in to the story more. Basically do not make the same mistake that I did.


Cheers!!!
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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

S.J. Kincaid: The Diabolic

S.J. Kincaid takes readers to a world where technology is dying and those at the top seek to keep it that way so they can hold on to their power:


Diabolics are created to be ruthless, powerful, and have a killer instinct. They are devoted to a single person and will stop at nothing to protect them. For Nemesis that person is Sidonia who is an heir to the galactic Senate. They grew up together and Nemesis would do anything to keep her safe, even if it means taking her place in the imperial court as a hostage. Nemesis has to navigate the court with all its lies and deceptions, where one wrong move against the Emperor could lead to death. With the Empire beginning to fracture and rebellion on the way, Nemesis has to tread carefully in order to survive.

I really enjoyed this book, and I would have read it in one sitting if I would have been able to, but life gets in the way. I think my favourite part of this was the politics. Kincaid was not afraid to show the darker aspects of it either. The lies, murders, wheeling and dealing that goes on behind everyone's back are at full light here. I mean this in the nicest way but this book was like a space version of Pinocchio, except for the whole not being able to tell a lie aspect, plenty of lies to go around here. Diabolics are not real people, they are created for one purpose only and that is to protect those that they are bonded with and nothing else. However, Nemisis' "owner" sees her as more than that and wants more for her as well, in other words to be become a real girl.

I think the overall concept of the Diabloics was interesting. I mean why wouldn't the people in power want a personal body guard who is bonded to them and will protect them at all costs, no questions asked. Diabolics are not created to think, or have feelings they are created to serve, nothing more than an object and thing something that was owned. You can see that this is how Nemesis "feels" about herself at the beginning of the book and it was interesting to see how Nemesis adapted and grew throughout the book especially when Sidonia is not around to help guide her. Nemesis is a vicious character and will not (and does not) hesistate to kill anyone that threatens her or Sidonia. So you can guess things do get a bit bloody and this book does take some darker turns that I was not expecting.

I appreciated that Kincaid had the romance/relationship as secondary aspect in the book and that there was not a love triangle.There was no need for one in this story and I am really glad that Kincaid decided to not have one. Even the romance/relationship part is fairly stunted as Nemesis does not really understand quite the emotions involved as her love has been dedicated to Sidonia.

This book is a really good stand alone read, but i have just realized that it is going to be part of a series. Not sure where Kincaid is going to go from here, but I am interested in finding out. One to add to your reading list if you're looking for something a little different in the sci-fi YA genre.

Enjoy!!!
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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tania Carver: The Surrogate

Tania Carver introduces the reader to a hunter who goes for the most vulnerable and commits the most unconscionable acts:

Two women are murdered in an apartment; one on the floor, one on the bed, both are positioned spread-eagle and cut open. The one on the bed has her abdomen sliced open and her unborn baby is gone. The media doesn't know it yet but this is the third time that Detective Inspector Philip Brennan has been to a scene like this, two other pregnant women have been murdered and their unborn child taken away. With no new leads psychologist Marina Esposito is brought in to help but this murder is going to hit very close to home with Marina as she is also hiding a secret. As Marina and Phil rush to find the killer, they have to hope that baby is still safe but time is running out and this hunter has a list.

I had a rough time with this book, not in the since that the book was not good, but more to the fact of being a new mom and the scenes with Hester and the baby were just disturbing to me. I cringed on more than one occasion. From her lack of ability to care for a baby to shaking the baby to what her belief of a baby should be like, were just downright disturbing to me. I think that most people will find these scenes disturbing as most people want to protect those that are weaker than them and who are innocent in life. With this in mind I applaud Carver for taking this approach and victim that not every author is willing to go there, and make their audience feel this uncomfortable when reading. That said, I know this book will not be for everyone, it can be graphic and disturbing at times, so reader beware if you decide to pick up this book.

I think the aspect of this book that I liked the most was when you think you have it figured out, Carver surprises you once again, and trust me this is really hard to achieve. This made the suspense aspect all the more real throughout the book and the sense of urgency never really leaves you as you read. I also found that the antagonist was the most interesting character as she was just downright scary. But at the same time you also feel sorry for her, so it was a weird dynamic in the book, but it worked really well.

I really didn't see anything different or new in Marina and Phi's partnership, I found they felt more like background characters than anything else. It is the story and plot that drives this book. I did feel that for more than half the book that there was a book previous to this one as the history between Marina and Phil is touched upon several times. Carver does eventually explain their history, but I think it was a little bit too late in the book. Additionally, when the history was fully explained I found that Marina's judgments against Phil were extreme given the circumstances. I get where her mind went about Phil not being there for her, but I think her actions afterwards were a little much.

I really enjoyed this book and the way that Carver decided to tell it. Honestly, Carver had me fooled more than once (and not to toot my own horn here) but that is hard to do in these types of books. I really enjoyed this book and as this is the first I have read by Carver I look forward to reading more.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Anne Bishop: Etched in Bone

This is the final book in a series, so you will need to read the previous books (Written in Red, Murder of Crows, Vision in Sliver and Marked in Flesh) to understand what is going on in this book. That aside I highly recommend this series and trust me it will be hard to stop after reading the first book.
Anne Bishop is back with her amazing Others series, and this time trouble is brewing close to home:


Something new and frightening has come to Lakeside, they want to remain unseen to observe and not interfere with the goings on there but that is shortly lived. You think the humans would have learned after the elders put a stop to the HLF group but some are slow learners. Meg has asked the cards and the future is grim, and uncertain but no one could predict the actions that humans would take to try to try to change their fortunes.

I believe this is the last book in the series and it was a good read, though the first book Written in Blood  and the previous book in this series Marked in Flesh are still my top two. It is always sad in some ways to see a series you have really enjoyed end, but at the same time I am glad that Bishop decided to end it all the same. It appeared, to me,  in this book that Bishop struggled to have a main villain and conflict for the characters to work through. Do not get me wrong there are still quite a few unanswered question, especially those around the cassandra sangue but I think the storyline in Lakeside is done. Maybe Bishop will just have cameos of the main characters in this series, just so we don't lose touch with them completely.


I think that it was smart to highlight the food shortage that the world is experiencing though I question whether this should one of the main obstacles with in the book. I also found it funny that the majority of Humans do not seem to learn, they should know by now the powers that the Others have yet they continue to not only test them but make the same mistakes. I think this is also a good reason for the story at Lakeside to end as the inability of the humans to learn in these books has become repetitive.
It was interesting adding the elders in this book and I wish we could know not only more about them but what they look like. The secrativness is killing me lol. That said it made each reader use their own imagination to picture what the Elders looked like and how they made themselves invisible. I just hope we haven't seen the last of them.

Meg and Simon are as strong as ever but the stand out character  for me in this book was Chief Burke. Bishop really developed him more as a character in this book and showcased  his power and influence over the humans/police, which is very much needed in Lakeside. I actually think it would be interesting to have a prequel to these books with Burke when he was a younger man in the wild country and what he learned there. I think it would be interesting, entertaining and I think pretty dark as well.
This is a great series and I am looking forward to reading the spin off that is set in this world in 2018.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

B. A. Paris: Behind Closed Doors

B. A. Paris takes a reader to a relationship that appears perfect but appearances are often deceiving:

Jack and Grace are the perfect couple, they do everything together and never want to be apart. He is a successful lawyer and she is an amazing house wife; they are the epitome of what True Love looks like. However there are some strange occurrences that go on in that marriage, like why Grace doesn't answer the phone or why she doesn't have a cell phone or when a lunch out with the girls, Jack decides to tag along. Sometimes the Perfect looking marriage, is the Perfect Lie

"Domestic Suspense" seems to be the genre of 2016/2017 as there are more books coming out with that as either their genre or tagline. I'm not going to lie I have read quite a few of these this past year and some have been successful and other not so much. It has gotten to the point I think where this "new" genre is getting a bit saturated and I'm now looking for something different in this genre and I think Paris delivers on that.

This is a debut novel, yes you read that right. I'm sure you have being hearing about this book as much as I had before I read it and for a debut it is extremely well done. "My perfect husband, My psychopathic husband" This sentence is what had me hooked from the beginning and set the tone for the book perfectly. So I guess you have already deduced that I really enjoyed this book and the format that Paris decided to use. I liked that past and present would get closer and closer to each other as you read further into the book, and you reach events that have just come to pass. However, it is funny though, as the book basically gives away the majority of its secrets right away yet I found that I could not stop reading it. I think this speaks to not only Paris' story telling ability but the way she developed her characters.

I think my favourite characterization in the book was of Millie. I have not read too many books where a main character has downs syndrome and Paris does a perfect job of showing her strengths, weakness as well as her understanding of the world and peoples around her. You can tell that Jack does not understand that mind of someone who has downs syndrome and that they have more knowledge and capacity than most people give them credit for. I think it was an interesting play between Jack and Millie with Grace being stuck in the middle.

When I began this book and you realize the situation that Grace is in, I thought it was to have BDSM with lots of dominating sex and that is how Jack was going to control Grace, so I was getting ready to put the book down, however, I was very wrong. Jack is very much the psychologcal controller and he does have a preverse sense of what turns him on, but there were no sex scenes in this book. I'm glad that Paris took this different approach as I think there are too many books now that head in to the BDSM area. Paris' approach with Jack's controllingness was pure straight out of a battered woman textbook (the psycholigcal part) but his overall goal was very unique and the amount of time he took planning it was a great feat.

I really enjoyed this book on so many fronts, and did not even mind that Paris gave some secrets away at the beginning, I just had to read on. For a debut, this is one of the best I have ever read. I'm still pretty shocked that this is a debut. Therefore, I cannot see what she comes out with next

Enjoy!!!
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