Saturday, June 30, 2012

Julie Kenner: Turned

This is the third book in Julie Kenner's The Blood Lily Chronicles and the conclusion of the trilogy. As with any trilogy you will need the read the first two books in the series Tainted and Torn in order to understand what is happening in Turned.

Lily can no longer be a spy for the light, every demon knows who she is and what is hanging around her neck, the Oris Clef, which gives her the ability to control all of them. However, there are some very powerful demons that will do anything to get Oris Clef, even just chopping off Lily's head to take it. As Lily and Deacon battle the demons who want to kill Lily, they are also on the search for the third key which has the ability to close the portal between earth and the demon world for good.

This book takes place right after the second book ends, there is no gap in time and really time is something that Lily does not have, therefore you really do need to read the two previous books for this series. It is not a stand alone read.

This is my least favorite book in the series, (minus the fact that this is the last book in the series as I have enjoyed it so far), I felt that this book lacked the plot and mystery of the first two books. The way that the plot flowed in this book did not work for me.The book was on a constant rotating theme of try to find the third key but where to look for the third key, maybe here, no here, well maybe there isn't a  third key, oh lets go fight some demons. Additionally the villains in this book were not as scary as they were in the first two and there was no surprise aspect in the book, therefore, there was not very much suspense or mystery in the book, as this is the final book in the series I felt that the reader knew what was going to happen.

The saving point of this book is the characters. I have liked the characters throughout all three books especially Lily as she struggles with who she has become, the demon powers that she has obtained (but even those were down played in this book) as well as the decision that must make. She knows that she wants to save the world, but an eternity of torture is one that will put anyone off from making that decision. I think that Lily's hesitation to make this decision is very real, and her hope and belief that there is a third key that will lock and close the gate is a natural progression. I like that Lily has to fight her demon side and the struggle she has with having the Oris Clef around her neck which is forever taunting her to rule and there are times that Lily really considers it, she believes that she will be able to control the demons and save the world that way.

Although this was not the best book in the series, and I think the weakest of the three, I still really enjoyed this series and the first two books make up for this one not being as good as I wanted it to be. This is the only series that I have read by Kenner but based upon this one I would read her other series as well.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

George R. R. Martin: A Game of Thrones

In the first book of the series for A Song of Fire and Ice, George R. R. Martin sets the stage for the series and shows that no one is safe when people are thirsty for power.

In long ago forgotten time, there is trouble brewing throughout the land. The cold seems to be returning to the land and as strange events are happening throughout the Kingdom and only those who remember the last time the cold was present recognize the signs. But as the cold return so does the heat of those in pursuit of the crown, from those within the castle to those across the sea, all want one thing the power. At the center of both conflicts is the Starks of Winterfell, who believe in loyalty, honour and protecting ones family, but often one is in conflict with the other. Each Stark must choose their own path as they attempt to navigate each conflict but there are people who do not want to see the Stark succeed and there is death and treachery around every corner. The Starks must tread carefully.

Most people who have read my reviews realize that the Fantasy genre is not my favourite to read, but every once in awhile I like to delve into it in search of something great. Now I will admit that I decided to read this book because HBO made it into a TV series, however, I have had the book on my TBR shelf for about 2 years now, I just could never bring myself to pick it up, even after my brother read it and told me it should be a must read (but in my defense he is a big fan of the fantasy genre). Now with all that said, this book was Fan-Freaking-Tastic. I absolutely loved it, from start to finish it kept me entertained and even sitting on the edge of my seat. Martin knows how to write.

I think the reason that I liked this book so much was that it was not a book that had allowed the fantasy aspect to be the main aspect of the book. While reading it the book followed more of a medieval format than one that I would expect in a fantasy one. This was due to the fact of all the political intrigue that was happening throughout the book. I was actually shocked that this is thought to be an epic fantasy series, when I cannot find that much fantasy within this book, however, I have not read the next books in the series so the fantasy aspect may pick up.

I know I have criticized other novels where there is a  different chapters for each character, however, Martin was able to make it work to his advantage as the reader was able to get different points of view of what was happening inside and outside the realm. Additionally, the chapters were not short, and the characters were not similar, therefore, the reader was able to get to know each individual quite well and there was a character really for everyone to like, hate and relate to. I think this is part of the reason that this book and series is so successful. For me it was hard to choose a favorite character, but I was very entertained by Arya and her antics and I liked the juxtaposition of her sister Sansa who is very much her opposite (though there were many times I wanted to Throttle Sansa as well). Martin definitely tried to give you both sides of the coin for each of his characters. The one character that I felt was lacking or I wish we could have seen more of is the Queen or the Villain in this book. I have not read farther into the series other than this book so possible Daenerys is supposed to be the enemy but I viewed the Queen as a far more sinister individual than Daenerys. I think some of my confusion is that of all the character who get their own chapters I feel like I got to know Dany the least, and that her story really was a world apart from the others as she is really more of a side character in the first book, but I think that Martin was setting the stage for books to come (big emphasis on the I think part, but it seems logical to me).

This book is so much more than a fantasy novel (as stated above, there was not a high element of fantasy in this particular book, the other books may be different, but the only real fantasy aspect are a few things that happen to Bran, the novel takes place in a different world and the hint of the creatures to the north). This book is about power and the political power and military force that is needed to take and keep the power that one has. It is about hedging your bets and double crossing your allies in order to get the best out come for you and your family. I absolutely loved all the twist, turns, double crosses that you really do not know who is your friend or foe. I think that Martin was able to keep the suspense of the book up in a very subtle way that the reader finds themselves wanting to read more and more.

My one criticism about the book is there some predictable foreshadowing and moments in the book, there are events that you know are going to happen later even once you have read the first 100-200 pages. However, I think that it is impossible for a book to keep it's plot and where things are gong completely a secret or else the reader would probably not know what is going on, it just seemed in this book that there was predictable foreshadowing for major events.

I think that fantasy lovers may be a little disappointed with the first book, for well, the lack of fantasy aspects, but for an individual who does not read fantasy that much and maybe has an aversion to the genre will be pleasantly surprised by this book. I am very excited to get the next book int he series as I need to know what is going to happen next. I also hope (now that I can watch it) that the TV series did this book some form of Justice.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Friday, June 15, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Stacia Kane Unholy Ghosts

Hi Everyone,

I know that giveaways have been limited to my Blogoversary so far on my blog, however, I have come into possession of an extra copy of Stacia Kane's debut novel Unholy ghosts so I decided to have an early giveaway this year. I just finished reading this book (see review) and I really enjoyed it. I think that those who like the paranormal genre will enjoy it but I also think that it will be a good book to start with for those looking to get into the paranormal genre.
Good luck to everyone who enters.

Giveaway Rules
1. You must fill out the form below in order to enter the giveaway
2. This giveaway is open to Canada and the USA Only
3. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with a valid mailing address
4. You must enter on or before 12-Jun-22
5. Book is being supplied by Me :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stacia Kane: Unholy Ghosts

In Stacia Kane's debut novel the world has been turned upside down, the churches that we know have all gotten it wrong and the Church of Truth now rules the world, and it is their job to protect the people from the ghosts who try to steal the souls of the living.

Chess does not remember what it was like before the Church of Truth was in power, all she knows is when the spirit uprising began, her parents were killed in the war. Chess was passed from foster home to foster home, but when it was discovered that she was a witch she was given over to the Church of Truth to begin her training. Chess has become on of the Debunkers, she goes into people's home who say they are being haunted by ghosts and either proves they are telling the truth or lying and it is a big fine to lie to the Church. However, Chess has a side of life that the Church knows nothing about, Chess is addicted to drugs and has some interactions with some very dangerous people and one of them has called her in to collect the debt that she owes him. But he is willing to forgive her debt if she will do one job from him, but this one job is just more than making it easier for him to get drug into the City, the whole city is about to be in Danger as the Ghosts are looking to be free once again.

This novel is one of the best debuts I have ever read. Kane knows how to draw the reader in and keep them their throughout the read. I had this one sitting on my TBR shelf for a very long time, and I regret not picking it up sooner (though I am kind of happy about it as now i do not have to wait for the next book to come out in order to read it). If you have this book on your TBR shelf move it to the top of your list.
This book had a good balance of paranormal and mystery. I think those looking to get into the paranormal genre will have a good start here as the paranormal aspects are not extreme or completely in your face throughout the book. The only paranormal aspects within this book are witches and ghosts (spirits), however, this does not mean that Kane did not create something unique. I think that the world that Kane built with the Church of Truth as the over riding power was really interesting (something medieval in a modern time).

One of my favourite things that an author can do is not being afraid of allowing their main characters to be flawed and in this case in more than one way. I personally enjoy flawed characters and Chess's addition to drugs is what drives her and shapes her personality as she is always looking for and working for getting her next fix in an attempt to forget her past. You get little tidbits about what happened to Chess when she was growing up, but it is enough to understand why she chooses drugs to block out the memories. It was interesting for all the power that Chess had in combating ghost that she did not have the power to resist the temptation of addiction and the power was not transferable in protecting herself outside of banishing ghosts.

I could have done without the romance/sex triangle in the book, however, that said the sex scene was not that long and drawn out and I was able to skim over it pretty quickly. I also really like Terrible, well minus his name, but I liked him as character. I like that Kane was not afraid to give Terrible layers and make him more than just the enforcer for a drug lord, there was more to him than that. for example he likes to read and enjoys history. I think Terrible is a very interesting character (though I did find his speech habits a little hard to read at times) and I look forward to learning more about him. I also wish that there was a bit more suspense in the book, I was never "sitting on the edge of my seat" as I was reading the book and I think that if you are going to have a book about ghosts there needs to be a horror or a "boo" aspect to it.

This is one of the best debuts that I have read and you need to take this book off your TBR shelf and give it a read, I do not think that you will be disappointed. Additionally, I think those who are looking to get into the paranormal genre but do not quite know if it is for them, will find this novel a good transition novel into the genre. I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book I think that Kane has the start of a killer series.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Harvey Black & Jonathan Levine: Kidd Black "The Beginning"

In their debut novel Harvey Black & Jonathan Levine show how it is the Ghosts who are really protecting the United States and the world from terrorist attacks.

Kidd Black had a choice 18 years ago, he could serve his country or he could go about a regular life. The only thing Kidd has ever wanted to do was serve his country, this is when Kidd starts on a path of becoming a ghost. Kidd is believed dead by everyone he has known and loved and this has allowed him to work throughout the world, however, there has always been one terrorist who has eluded him Dalakos. Kidd makes it his own mission to have everything to do with the Dalakos, but Kidd does not just know about Dalakos, he is very aware of Kidd and his next terrorist acts going to have everything to do with Kidd and the people he left behind 18 years ago and it is up to Kidd to save them and the world.

I wanted this book to be great. It starts off awesome and the introduction to Kidd Black was really well done and I started out thinking that book is going to be a great adventure. However, I felt that after the first opening scenes that the book fell a little bit flat. Yes, there was some action, but after the clinic scene, they were just too unrealistic and short to fully entertain me. Additionally, there were a few points in the beginning of the book, where you know that Kidd has had a relationship with the individual he is interacting with, but it is not really fully explained. A simple "worked with him before" or we went to college together would have enough, but when there was not anything there, I felt that this book was not "the beginning" but a second book.

I felt that Black & Levine had too many point of views throughout the book. The book jumps from Kidd, to Sabrina Rose to Devon to Bryan to Ike to Dakotas to Amanda to The President to Monique and those are the only ones off the top of my head and the main characters in the book. There are many secondary or even fringe based characters that seemed to get a chapter to themselves, granted the chapters were short, but still I do not think we needed the point of view of all these characters. If the chapters would have been longer so you could get to know each character that Black & Levine want to write a chapter for, then you would get to know all the characters better and not just scratching the surface of each. On a different note, if I had to read the black man with the blue eyes one more time.....they really over used this line, especially in the beginning of the book.

I think that Kidd is a fairly complex character, with complex relationships, that he actually not allowed to have as ghost operative, but this book opens him up to all the relationships that he had to let go of in order to serve his country. I think that the book format hindered the reader from really getting to know Kidd, as you get to know bits and pieces of each of the characters in the book, instead of just one or two.

I enjoyed that Black & Levine allowed Kidd and other characters to be emotionally hurt, however, I found that there was really no physical danger to the any of the characters in the book (well other than the villains). I enjoy books more when there is that sense of danger and that at any turn one of the main characters may be hurt or killed, this book has none of that. I do not think that in any of the fights in the book that the main characters get anything more than a few bumps and bruises.

I would say that this book is okay, it was able to keep me mostly entertained, but I just wanted this book to be so much more and be able to keep up with its great beginning. I think that Black & Levine have potential as writers and  I would read the next book in this series, to see how they further develop Kidd as a character. Therefore, (and you might have guessed this) I hope that the next book focuses more on Kidd, but if the book follows a similar format to this one, I probably wouldn't read anything after that.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: