Sunday, April 29, 2012

Blood Rose Books Interview

Hi Everyone
Want to know more about Blood Rose Books, check out the interview I did over at Curiosity Quills

I've never been asked to do an interview before, so I was very excited when Curiosity Quills asked me. Check out my interview and all the great books that Curiosity Quills is featuring.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

E. E. Knight: Way of the Wolf

In the first book in a series E.E. Knight follows the life of David Valentine who wants to make a difference in a world that has fallen into chaos.

The year is 2065 and a lot has changed from our time. David Valentine did not know what the world was like before the Kurian order. He only knew what his father and mother told him. But they are no longer able to share what they experienced as they have been killed by the New Order that has made its way to Earth. Valentine has always know since that day he has wanted to make a difference and has done everything in his power to prepare for when the Wolves (a group of freedom fighters) comes looking for recruits to sign up. But there is more to Wolves than just fighting together again the Reapers, they are special and only a few are chosen to fight the battles that only the Wolves can fight and their mission is to win back Earth.

This book ventures into a mixture of science fiction/fantasy/dystopia/horror genres, however, this book did not start off with a good impression for me. I had a hard time really understanding what was going on in the prologue of the novel. If you can make it past the prologue to first few chapters it explain what has occurred though I did find myself getting a bit lost in the explanation. I actually wish that Knight would not have had the prologue and just started the book with the first chapter as I found the prologue confusing.

I struggled through reading this book. I was interested in Valentine's journey however, I felt that the book was very slow. The book does jump through the years in a way that I have not read before; each chapter essentially is a different episode in Valentine's life. There is a short blurb before each chapter that explains the important aspects of what has happened to the world and Valentine in the time shifts. I think this is what mainly hindered the story for this is supposed to be about Valentine journey but it was fragmented with each chapter. I think that Knight might have felt forced to do this as he tries to achieve too many things in this novel and maybe this is caused by mixing too many genres together, that it became too convoluted (at least it was for me).

Knight does a good job of world building (minus the first chapter) the changes in the landscape, people, world were really well done. You can feel the pain, hurt and fear of the people who are trying to make a living in the free land, but they are constantly on guard for the next attack. The Reapers and other creatures in the novel are very creepy and have some interesting powers, I wish there was more interaction with the Reapers to make it more of horror feel, which is what I think Knight was going for. I also liked Valentine as a character but felt like I missed out with his character with the fragmentation of his life as I was not really able to fully see how he developed into the person that he is.

The main flaw for this book for me is that I could not connect to the story as much as I would have liked. I do not read too many just sci-fi/fantasy based novels, therefore, I think that someone who typically reads this type of book may enjoy it as it has the journey aspect of the main character that many fantasy have. I would read another book by Knight as I think he excels in the right places of world building and scary creature, but I do not think that I would read one that is in genre, maybe one where Knight does not try to do too much. This book was just not for me.


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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog News & Reviews Coming Shortly....

I have some exciting Blog news. Blood Rose Books will be featured for an interview on Curiosity Quills Press this Sunday April 29, 2012. I was very excited and speachless when they approached me to do an interview of all things about Me. I will say that it is interesting being on the other side of the questions. So if you want to find more about Blood Rose Books and Me, please check out Curiosity Quills Press this weekend and please let me know if you were able to stop by and what you think of some of my answers.

Sorry Everyone that it has been a bit since I have last posted a review, I have had some big life events that have happened all at once.  First, we just moved into our new house, which was very exciting and well we still have lots of unpacking todo and we decided (more like it just happened but I like to think that we made some sort of well thought out and planned decision) what better way to celebrate a new house than to go down to the Humane Society and adopt a puppy. So finding time to read has been a little bit of a challenge, but do not worry there are going to be some reviews very shortly. With that said check out my new puppy.

Her name is Luca, she is 8 weeks old and is a mixed breed. We know she has some Australian Cattle Dog in her because we met her mom who was also at the Humane Society (and i have looked she has been adpoted too), but we also think she has some Shepard as well as some Rotti in her, but who know. It was just good to adopt, even though she is a handful at time. But do not worry she has not gotten into any books....yet.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Amanda Stevens: The Kingdom

This is the second book in Amanda Stevens' The Graveyard Queen series. You will want to read the first book in this series The Restorer, before the Kingdom as Stevens references back to events and characters in the first book, it also set the stage for the set of rules that Amelia has when she is confronted by ghosts.

Amelia Grey had a new commission to restore a cemetery in Asher Falls, where the only access to this sleepy and appearing to be uninhabited town is a ferry ride. Amelia won't really admit it but she is running, running away from Charleston and what happened between her and Devlin and his ghosts. She really needs to get herself re-grounded in her work and the rules that her father but as Amelia steps off the ferry the area seems to speak to her and she knows that she was brought to this town for another reason. However, there are several towns people who have made it clear that they do not want Amelia there to do her work in the cemetery and Amelia feels an evil settle over the town which is directed towards her.

I loved the first book, the Restorer, I think it was one of the best debuts that I have ever read, so I had very high hopes for the second book. I liked this book, however, I do not think that it was as good as the first novel. Stevens has a fantastic ability to write in a hauntingly beautiful way that is all encompassing that you fall into the pages that you are reading, however, I believe that this book had a less interesting and engaging plot when compared to the first. I think that the plot in this book lacked the mystery of the first. The part of the plot I did like was learning more about Amelia's past, but I do not think that this aspect was enough to sustain the whole book, I felt like there was very little development of the subplots within the town. Amelia could have questioned more or attempted to find out more about what was really going on in the town than simply just settling for people not answering her questions. I think that Stevens could have done so much more with the town and its creepy residences and feelings that Amelia was having.

I did like Stevens' descriptive development of the creepy town of Asher Falls as you feel like you are there with Amelia and that the eyes that are watching her are really watching you. Be prepared to feel the little hairs on the back of your neck stand up while reading this book and you will start questioning whether that shadow is really a shadow. I also liked that Stevens continued (though it was less in this book) with the interesting facts about graveyards and what the symbols, structure within the cemetery represent, I think this is what sets Stevens apart from many authors is her attention to detail, but not so much detail that the story begins to slow or become uninteresting.

I was not a big fan of Thane, I felt that the romance/sexual tension between them was forced (which i know had some outside help) and really most of all (and this is big for me to say this as normally I'm one that wants a little bit less of the romance) that I missed Devlin in this novel. I like that he tested Amelia boundaries and had more edge to him, and the mystery of their relationship of what could happen between because of the ghosts that haunt him. I really hope that Stevens brings Devlin back in the next book. I felt like this was just a filler book as Stevens may not have known at the time was writing this book how to further or discontinue Amelia's and Devlin's relationship

I was disappointed in this book, however, this does not mean that I did not enjoy it. I think that my expectations were so high because of the book, I cannot fault Stevens for not living up to my personal hype. I did enjoy the book overall and Stevens writing ability is some of the best out there, so there is no question I will read the next book.


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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Jeff Abbott: Adrenaline

This is the first book that I have read by Jeff Abbott and he explores how far a man will go to get his family back when they have been kidnapped by a terrorist.

It started out as a normal day for Sam Capra, he kissed his pregnant wife goodbye before he leaves to give a presentation to the Company (aka CIA) but he receives a disturbing phone call before he can even start. His wife, Lucy is in trouble and needs to see Sam NOW! As Sam races after Lucy his life is turned upside down when the building he is working in explodes and Sam sees Lucy being taken away by a Scared Man. Sam and Lucy are branded a traitors and while Sam is in the hold of the company who try to break him to admit he and Lucy are a traitors, all he can think of is finding Lucy and the bundle, and this is what drives him to keep going to survive. He is willing to do anything, kill anyone and work for anyone if it mean getting his family back and away from the Scared Man and what ever this man stand for.

This book was great, and the title really fits the name, as Sam Capra is living off non stop Adrenaline through the entire book. It had some great interesting and unexpected twists and turns as Sam fight through everything to find his wife and "the bundle". At the core basis of this book, it is really about Love and Sam willing to do anything to find his family and this includes "taking care" of the people who are trying to get in his way. Abbott really has a bit of everything in this book, but he does not overwhelm himself which is hard to achieve. This book has some great mysteries and surprises throughout that it really keeps you guessing.

I liked Sam as a character, he questions himself when he has to do something bad, and he wonders how his wife and child would see him as if they knew the terrible things that he had done to find him. Sam is an interesting character as he has had field experience but then became an intelligence analyst when he was no longer needed in the field. I think the addition of the analyst role, allows Sam to see things differently and pay more attention to small details and makes him a more well rounded character instead of just a shooting machine. I liked the introduction of Sam using his parkour (the building jumping people, for a video reference watch the first scene in Casino Royale or check out youtube) training through out the novel. It was interesting to see how this training shaped his thought process in difficult situations.

I really like Milia as a character, she is mysterious, deadly and has no problem with hurting those that she deems has done something wrong and she has learned in her past not to trust the justice system. Though her own thoughts of justice, are what hinder in times when she needs to be focusing more on the mission at hand.

I think that Abbott did a good job in his creation of Simon's organization and character. Simon is a true form of evil human, someone who is charismatic enough to get people to follow what he wants done, and if that is not enough he has other ways of persuasion in order to brain wash those he has either taken in or kidnapped. You never really know what Simon's true plan, motivation or what he will do next, which makes him very unpredictable.

The on aspect I question within the books is realism in of some of the action scenes. This may be due to my lack of knowledge of what is achievable in parkour, though watching some of the videos on youtube, there seems to be some crazy things that can be achieved, I just do not know enough about it to determine if what Sam was doing was even plausible. Something that also hindered the realism of the actions scenes if often Sam finds himself bringing only his fists to a gun fight. This is not to say that Sam does not get hurt, actually Abbott does a good job of allowing his character to get hurt both mentally and physically (on that note look up water boarding), but Sam seems to get out of gun fights relatively unscathed and seems to be able to incapacitate or kill others, while all this shooting is going on.

From start to finish you will not want to put this book down. You will get attached to Sam Capra as you will feel his need to find his wife and child and his willingness to do anything to achieve this. I am looking forward to my next Abbott read. If you are looking for an action adventure thriller novel that has more substance to it than just nonstop action, then this book is for you.

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Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sean Black: Lock Down

In his debut novel, Sean Black looks to what extend a man will go to discover the truth, even it cost him everything.

Christmas eve in New York and still the city is not sleeping and that includes the protesters outside one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the United States and it is Ryan Lock's job to keep the CEO of the company safe. When an assassination goes wrong, and there are innocent bodies littering the street Lock believes this was something more than an assassination attempt. With conflict from both sides, the protesters and the company, Lock forges his own path to find out what is really going on and seek justice for those who were killed that day, he discovers that there are going to be many more dead once the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve.

I actually thought there was going to be more action in this book based upon the way it started out, which did have me hooked from the start. I like that Black did not overdue the action scenes and he did not make them too unrealistic like many authors in this genre do. I like that this allowed Black to focus more on the plot and not concern himself with making sure that there was nonstop action. There was action where there needed to be and investigative work where there needed to be in order to make the plot and story flow better. I really enjoyed the plot, it had some interesting twist and turns, but there were times that it was predictable and you feel like you are waiting for the main character to get to the conclusion that you have made. 

I think the experimental drug angle was very interesting and having the big corporation vs. the animal activist was very true to real life. I like that Black showed that there is more than one type of activist groups out there, one that believes in peaceful protest and the other that likes to take more direct action. Additionally, i liked how Black showed that there was some similarities between the activist groups and the corporation, manly there are people that will do anything to get what they want. I also liked Black's use and manipulation of the press and the realization that the press have sources every where and I think that it was smart of Black to utilize this resource.

Ryan Lock is body guard but not one of those steroid junkies who are just there to get their picture in the paper or walk to red carpet (his words), he is the real deal. Lock is a good mixture of the boy scout who likes to break the rules, but there were times where I found Lock a little too perfect, he did not have enough grit for me. He was too smooth and seemed to have an answer for everything and was never really challenged by his any of his own moral decisions that he makes. That said I wouldn't mind having Lock be my body guard. I also wish that Black would have expanded more on Lock's past and what he did for the military police, and I hope that this will be discussed in future books.

I really enjoyed Black's writing style and I think that the plot he created was entertaining and smart even though, there were aspect that were a bit predictable. This did detract a little bit from my overall enjoyment of the book, however, I am looking forward to reading the next novel in the Ryan Lock series as i feel like Black has a lot more to tell and explore.


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