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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Monday, December 15, 2014

Veronica Roth: Divergent

Veronica Roth's debut novel shows what one girl is willing to go through when she discovers her true self:

In the dystopia world of Chicago the city has been divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). When an individual turns 16 they enter into the tests to determine which faction they will spend the rest of their life in. Today is Beatrice Prior's selection day she has lived in Abnegation her whole life and she is about to do something that no one saw coming, not even herself, she is going to leave her faction, her family to join the dauntless the complete opposite of her faction. Tris is about to test every limit she has but she also never felt more herself or at home. Tris knows that she must keep her Divergence a secret but as unrest grows in the factions, Tris will have to risk her own life to save those she cares about.

This book really surprised me, I thought it would be okay, another author trying to clasp onto the people drawn to books like the Hunger Games series but the book would not quite get there. However, I actually found myself drawn to Tris' personality and I found the story well thought, with an interesting world (nothing ground breaking and similar in ways to the Hunger games but interesting), characters and plot. I'm always happy when a book can surprise me into liking it so I give Roth big props for that. I was also shocked at some of the darker topics that Roth decided to focus on throughout the novel. She was not afraid to touch or have full scenes that dealt some harder subjects like child abuse, bullying, and even torture, that many YA authors shy away from.

Once again I was surprised that I liked Tris as a character. Normally I find YA characters too teeny for my taste, but Tris was the right mix of strength and naivety. Though she may never have had a real relationship and just looking at Four may make her feel like she had butterflies inside, I found that she actually handled their relationship quite maturely compared to other main female protagonists in this genre. I think I am going to like watching Tris grow as a character and the more that she is able to discover about herself and her abilities as Divergent (though I do question how this designation will help her outside of the test simulations, but I guess that is for the other books to show).

I think that one of my favorite parts within this book is that the characters do not have any actual powers or special abilities, though some people are more prone to be part of different factions than others, this is not seen as a hindrance or ability, just who they are. While Tris is Divergent, this really only means that she has a mind that is more capable of assessing a situation to find the best solution and often thinking outside the box to achieve this solution. I think if you really think about it, Roth has made the greatest ability in her book is a person who can think for themself, adapt to changing situation and be loyal to those they care about. I don't think there is a better suited role model for young adult girls out there.

To sum everything up as an adult reading this book I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the concept and the characters. Were there times when I rolled my eyes about a choice or two that Tris made, sure, she is after all a teenager. However, I was really impressed with choices that Roth made throughout the book not only to the plot, but also the character building of Tris. I know I am going to read the other books in this series, I hope that Roth can keep it up.


On a side note I watched the movie (well most of it) and I personally found it lack luster. It did not capture half of what the book was able to portray. I found there were too many changes, the characters in the movie fell flat and the plot did not flow as well as in the book. I know they are making the other books into movies as well, but compared to the hunger games movies, I think you can pass on the Divergent ones.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Marcia Clark: Killer Ambition

Normally I would say that you need to read the previous books in this series in order to understand what is occurring in this book but I found that Clark did not relate back to the first two that often. That said, I really enjoyed the first to books, so if you like mysteries with a strong female character and a hint of romance check out Guilt by Association and Guilt by Degree.

Hollywood is a place that when you live in California you cannot really ignore it. It begins with a billionaire Hollywood director's daughter going missing and a ransom note which promises her safe return, but this perpetrator has no intention of returning her alive. There are enemies all over Hollywood as it is a cut throat business and past wrongs are sure to be held against you at some point. It is up to Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller to weed through all that would mean harm and those who would actually do it. But if it is one thing most of Hollywood would agree on is that Greed is a very powerful entity.

I really really loved the first two novels in this series, and I was excited to see the next adventure that DA Rachel Knight would be on, especially how the second novel ended. However, I was really disappointed in this book, with the way the second book ended with basically a hit-woman getting away and taunting Knight about a personal demon, you think that there would be some relation back to these facts. About half way through the book there was only 1 reference back to it and it was less than a page and it was basically just having Garden help them out with the computer stuff. I was so disappointed that this was not the main focus of the book. This led the book to be tedious to me and took me a lot (and I mean a lot) longer to read that I ever like.

I also felt that there was no character development in this book. It is about the case that Knight and Baily end up working and that is about it. No big stride as a character, very little interaction with Garden, so no strides in their relationship that they are trying to rebuild. This book just fell flat with character development

So those are the things that I did not like in the book and really that is a big chunk of the book, I will however, say this; Once Clark get Rachel to enters into the courtroom world this is where she shines. Clark knows what she is talking about, has had some of her own tough cases to deal with, and all of this comes out in writing these scenes. I am enthralled when Knight enters the courtroom, I cannot get enough, I want to see what the defense is going to throw her way and how she is going to handle this. I think that Clark needs to have the majority of the book in the courtroom and a little less investigation work. It was for the courtroom scenes that I knew were eventually coming that kept m reading this book.

I'm not sure what Clark was thinking when she wrote this novel, it was an okay mystery and I do like following Knight and Baily as they work through a case, but we are three books into this series now and as a reader I want my characters to grow and there is none of this here. I also was very disappointed in the lack of connection to the second novel. I will continue on in this series as I like Rachel and I want the issue with Lilah to play out, but as a fan of the precious two novels, this book really let me down.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Samantha Shannon: The Bone Season

In her debut novel, Samantha Shannon takes her readers to a world where being different doesn't only make you stand out, it is also your death sentence:

In 2059 several major cities in the UK are controlled by a group called Scion whose task is to find, incarcerate and kill the clairvoyant who inhabit the city. Paige is a special kind of clairvoyant she is a dreamwalker and it is this ability that has made her a valuable commodity of the criminal underworld. Paige works within a group of crime syndicate called the Seven Seals, which has the best of the best of clairvoyants. On a random search Paige is taken by Scion and she learns that everything about Scion was a lie. There is a secret prison where all clairvoyants are taken, they have a choice, adapt, perform or die. Paige will stop at nothing to achieve her freedom and warn her friends of Scion and Rephaite that control them. The Rephaite main concern is power and control and Paige is about to disrupt everything that they represent.

I liked and disliked this book at the same time. I love when an author is able to create an idea, creature or world that is different or unique and Shannon succeeded on many of these aspects within this book. She created a new world, creature/beings in the Rephaite and I especially liked the different forms and hierarchy of the voyants was really interesting (and it further plays into the Seven Seals). We don't get to learn too much about each clairvoyant's type of power and there are some mysteries about Paige's power but hers really grows within the book. 

The beginning of the book started off really strong. I felt drawn into Paige's world, her abilities and her need to impress her syndicate boss but still hold a connection to her Dad who has no idea she is clairvoyant. Shannon used a tried and true concept of persecuting those who are different from you, even more powerful to the point where they should be feared and persecuted, even killed out right. This is a strong plot line that has occurred many times throughout history and is also the basis of many novels and TV show, but I found that Shannon was also able to put a twist on it with the Bone Harvest aspect.

Shannon put way too much information into this book and there where way too many different types of clairvoyant people to keep it straight all the time and while do praise creativity there needs to be a limit sometimes so the aspect still feels special. There are parts of the book that felt really really slow and other than the beginning of the book things just seemed to trudge on, with nothing really interesting happening. The fight Paige shows she has in order to survive, while present throughout the book, seems to feel more flat the farther into the book that the reader gets. Time also seemed to be an interesting factor in the book, I'm still not sure how much time passed in the book as it was never really defined, just seemed toflow from event to event.

I liked Paige as a character and loved her never swaying sense of loyalty that she has for the people she cares about. She puts them before herself and I cannot find fault with that. I'm unsure how I feel about Paige and Warden's relationship. I know I wished that Shannon had taken the approach of a trainer and trainee or teacher and student instead of adding the romance possibility to their relationship. I found it entirely unnecessary and lets face it felt forced and it seemed like maybe Shannon felt she HAD to have some romance in the book which is fine, but at least make it believable. The reason why i'm unsure about it is that I personal like Warden as a character. His mysteriousness and wanting to do the right thing even if it mean forfeiting his own life.

It not often that I like and dislike a book at the same time. I think that Shannon had some interesting ideas and great characters, but I think Shannon was over ambitious with this novel. She tired to put too much information in this book (outside of world building) and expected the reader to still be intrigued with the story, which to be frank, suffered because of this. I would read the next book in the series just to see where Shannon takes this story and world and I how the over use of ground work she set in this first novel goes to great use in the second.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Andrew Gross: No Way Back

Andrew Gross takes the readers into a world where one decision not only alters a woman's life forever but puts everyone around her in danger:

Wendy meets a stranger at a bar and normally she would not even entertain talking to him, but she feels like her husband and her are drawing apart and her friend is not showing up so she can vent has placed her in a new situation. The conversation eventually lead to her going up to his hotel room but things don't go quite as planned, Wendy ends up witnessing a murder and now is on the run for her life. Those hunting her are not your typical bad guys, actually they are on the completely other side of the law. She is on the run from Homeland security agent who is looking to shut Wendy up permanently and frame her for murder while he is at it. Wendy has not only put herself in danger but everyone she turns to as well. The only way to get out of this is to figure out why they wanted the man from the bar dead, but time is ticking and there is more than one player who wants to see Wendy disappear permanently.

Okay, this book was never able to completely draw me in. I know that this book was supposed to be suspenseful and the beginning of the book certainly would fit this description. Gross does a great job of pulling the reader in the first few chapters of Wendy being on the run but then it slows down quite a bit. It is almost like Gross put all the action and suspense in the first part of the book and then did not have enough for the second half of it. I found myself waning in reading this book and it personal felt like it took forever for Wendy to put the pieces in place that we as the reader are aware of from the two side by side stories that Gross has for part of the novel. 

Overall I enjoyed the mystery aspect in the book and the connection that Gross was able to create to the first scene in the book where 5 Americans are gunned down by a strong Cartel in Mexico and how everything stems from that. As I said before I felt like it took Wendy too long to make the connection. If we did not have Lauritzia's point of view the was Wendy acted would have been okay, but since we do it seems to take forever to bring the two women together, which you know is what Gross is going to do.

I'm not sure how to describe Wendy as a character. Gross basically describes her as an urban mom, who used to be an ex-cop but has had some marriage problems which basically lead her into the mess she finds herself in. I think my main problem with the description is the ex-cop part. Other than identifying herself as one in the beginning of the book, there is no other reference to her being an ex-cop (other than her retelling the story over and over again) and her actions are really basic that I think really anyone would think of. I think that an ex-cop would have better ideas, and more experience of where they would look for information and how to go to ground and what to expect in an investigation of this type. Wendy uses her cell phone, relies on friends which puts them in danger and went to places where I thought the Homeland guys would be for sure.

This is the first book that I have read by Gross, and I did like the story overall and the interconnection of the two stories. I have read some other reviews about this book from readers who have read other Gross novels and many of them stated this was one of his weaker books. That has me impressed and makes me want to find some other titles by this author.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Amber Lynn Natusch: Unborn

In the start of a new series Amber Lynn Natusch takes the reader from the Underworld to the surface and back again, as one woman searches to discover who she is and discovering her place in both:

Khara has spent most of her life, centuries in fact discovering everything about the Underworld and while that place may hold nothing but death, despair and torture to some, Khara sees it as home. It is where she has felt love, has felt safe and has a father there. However, there were dark moments as well, of loneliness, torture, pain but still it is her home. When Khara is ripped unexpectedly from the Underworld and taken to the above ground town of Detroit, Khara does not know what to expect. She has never spent time above ground in a city with other people, so she is unsure how to behave or act. Everything is different here and as much Khara tries to stay out of the way and not attract any attention the opposite is true. When she discovers she has a large family of half-brothers above ground she is over joyed, but she is leery as it was a dark force that brought her to the surface and she does not want to put her new found family in danger. But if it is one thing that Khara learned growing up in the underworld there is danger around every corner, you can trust no one and you really just have to rely on yourself to survive.

I think that Natusch came up with a really interesting concept for not only her world building but the overall premise of the story is was unique. However, I wish that the premise in general was executed better. I wish there were more books that featured the underground, as I enjoyed when Khara was talking about her time in the underground and how she was happy there and how her brothers could not understand how it could be her home. The book just mainly seemed to flow badly. It felt like it was all over the place at times and that nothing seemed to happen. This is basically how the book played out: They try to figure out what Khara's is/what her ability will be, they go to club, maybe go hunting for some soul suckers maybe not, one of the brothers or Oz hooks up with a girl, Oz is a douche to everyone and repeat. This seemed to be the main aspects that continued over and over again throughout the book.

I did like Khara as a character, she had some redeem qualities, but for all her fighting that she claimed to have to put into to survive and live in the underworld, we never actually get to see those skills in the real world. She is unable to fight, with her fists or with weapons, she claims her skill is the ability to be invisible but she is the most visible person in the group. I appreciate that Khara does not back down from danger or a challenge but for the most part she was a hindrance to her brother in more way than one.

I really really disliked the relationship between Khara and Oz. Oz is more than your typical bad boy and you know from when you first meet that Natusch is going to attempt to bring them together. Oz is too full of himself, too unwilling to let people in, too much of an ass really, I mean Natusch attempts to give him some good guy moments, but never succeeds at getting there he always just seems to turn into an ass part of the way through. The thing I don't get about Oz is that all of them hate him but yet they let him live with them, hang out with them, he gets way too many chances and most of the brothers just seem to think that eventually he will change.

The ending was interesting and really not what I expected so Natusch get extra points from me for that, but I just wish overall that the premise had been executed better. Due to the fact the ending was really well done, I would seriously consider reading the next book in this series to see if Natusch is able to achieve something more, but I honestly can’t recommend this book for someone to read as I just found too many flaws within it.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anne Bishop: Murder of Crows

You NEED to read the first book in this series, Written in Red, in order to not only understand the relationships and world that Bishop has created, but the first book is fantastic, so you should just go and pick it up, as in right now :)

Anne Bishop is back with the second book in her Others series, where tensions between the human and the Others are at an all-time high:

It starts with a video game that allows the humans to kill crows at will, to myths about how to capture and kill some of the Others, to the eventual murder of Others. These murders are helped with the creation of two new drugs that affect Humans and Others in very different ways. This is just another step causing Human and Others communication to break down and the all-out exile of humans from certain lands. Even the Courtyard has come under attack and as Meg gets the urge to cut and speak prophecies more frequently everyone knows there is danger in the air. As murder and mayhem are occurring all around the courtyard, it is up to the Others' and the few trusted human that work there to work together to not only stop the direct threat on them, but also the creation of these two new drugs before the world enters into an all-out war.

Murder of Crows is an excellent follow up book to the first novel Written in Red. This novel essential picks up a few weeks after the first book finished as Meg is out of the hospital and back at work. However, everyone is treating her with kid gloves as she is still seen as not 100% well from her close to death experience. I liked that Bishop chose to not have too much time pass between books as so much of the story is centered around Meg's relationship with Simon and the other Others that to have too much time pass would mean that we as the reader would miss too much of this relationship development.

If you did not like the first book (which really I don't understand how that could happen, but to each their own) with its lack of action you will probably not like this one as well as there is even less. This book is much more political based that the first book as the tension between Humans and The Others is fast moving towards out of control, which leave the Courtyard in a unique position not only because of Meg but also the other Human employees they have and their developing relationship with the police. I liked that the "trusted" humans in the book were given not only a more active role in this book, but were also trusted enough to actually help the Others out. I will say that there were meetings upon meetings in this book (maybe even meetings about meetings) and I think that took away at times the overall sense of urgency and suspense as it never seemed like there was going to be a time for action, until the very end. However, to me this was just a minor point in the whole scheme of the world, characters and plot.

I cannot put my finger on it as to why I am so drawn to this series as I normally like more mystery and action within the books I read, but there is just something about Meg and the world that Bishop has created that draws me in. I think there is no question that Bishop took the time and efforts to not only create a world that is very believable but also to create interesting main and secondary characters. Additionally, I was surprised that Bishop decided to add a darker elements to the story, mainly how the new drugs were being created. I thought this brought more depth to the plot and a sense of urgency of what is to come. I was also surprised that Bishop decided to take on a major antagonist within this book and it makes me wonder what is to come in the next book, and where she is going to take the overall plot/story.

I honestly think this series will appeal to all readers in the UF and Paranormal genres, as there is really something for everyone in this series, especially with the introduction of dark elements in this book. The third book in this series comes out in early 2015 and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Bishop's Other series has become a must read for me, as her character driven plot, world and story keep drawing me further and further in. I cannot wait to continue on in this series, I truly hope that Bishop can continue to impress me with this series, as I have no problem coming back for more and more.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

F. G. Cottam: The Lazarus Prophecy

F.G. Cottam combines past, present, serial killer and religion that takes the reader to one of the darkest points in London's history and to a very famous unsolved case:

Jane Sullivan is the lead Detective assigned to a serial killer case that is going to take her into a completely different realm of belief and theology. This Killer in London that has a flair that is very familiar and reminds the people of London of a murderer that should be long dead, Jack the Ripper. But this serial killer is not content to kill prostitutes and switches their MO to women who think they are safe. Sullivan is convinced that this is just a copycat, a Fan of the Ripper, but a secret sect of the Catholic religion knows better. They have faced this type of evil before and they know what they have to do to stop it, even if it mean sacrifices another individual's soul to the devil himself.

This the first book that I have read by Cottam and I do not think it will be the last. Cottam had a really interesting concept I really enjoyed the mixture of the Catholic faith and a serial killer investigation. Often times there is a fine line between preaching the religion that you believe in and using the religion to tell an aspect in the story and I think that Cottam does a good job of keeping it to the latter. It was also interesting how Cottam was able to show that one suggestion, no matter how crazy and with no evidence to support it, can spark a revolution and revolutionary thoughts in people that most would consider of sound thinking, but that is what fear does to people.

Where Cottom really excels in this book is his description writing, the words he chooses really transports the reader to the location of the character, his visual writing is excellent. This is also seen in the description of the murders and the crime scenes. Cottam tells you just enough but lets you imagination fill in the rest as to what the scene looks like and what has occurred

There are quite a few POVs within this book and they tend to go back and forth between London where the murders are occurring and Christian sect mountain home and I think that character development suffered because of this. Jane is a good character, though the more I look back on this book we as a reader never get to know her that well even though she is one of the main characters. She is a strong lead detective who knows how to "play the game" in order get the job done. Jane does not shy away from any suggestion or crazy idea as that could be the break in the case. There is even a physic element within the novel that I think that Cottan introduces well and it plays really well into the overall plot of the novel. As for the rest of the characters in the novel I think they fall on the same way as Jane, never fully developed, which is a shame as the rest of the book is really well written and developed.

My main criticism with this novel is the ending was really anti-climactic and I wish Cottam could have found a different way and/or a more exciting way to end this novel. I mean this is what we are waiting for, everything builds up to this moment and to be let down is never a good thing. I mean the ending was clever, but not even close to what I was expecting.

I enjoyed the mystery that Cottam was able to put forward and I would have rated it higher if the ending had not been so lack luster. However, Cottan a great way of mixing a serial killer, religion and historical aspects together that I would pick up another book by him.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Kass Morgan: The 100

Kass Morgan takes the readers to the future, where humans have been forced to live in space for hundreds of years due to nuclear winter, but unforeseen events are going to lead to an early return Earth:

100 teens have been chosen for the ultimate test of life or death, whether the Earth is safe for human life. They were going to be killed when they turn 18, so this gives them at least an opportunity to try and live. The Colony is failing and it is in these teen's hands to prove that Earth is livable and if not, this may be the end of the human race. But there are some elements of human nature that never go away and the possible radiation on Earth should be the least of everyone's worries.

If you watched the TV show and are planning on reading this book to get more than what the TV show portrayed to the view, you are going to be pretty shocked. This book is very very different from the CW TV show. There are some of the same names and the overall concept of sending the 100 is the same but that is where the similarities basically end. The reason for going to Earth is somewhat the same but how that situation occurred is very different, both of Clark's parents are dead and they show more of the Class system that had been developed on the colony in space. There are also many additional character within the novel that never made it onto the TV show, even one that seems to have a lot of POV time in the book Glass, who escapes being sent back to Earth and is the main POV on the Colony.

There are way too many point of views in this novel especially as it is a short novel, you never really get an attachment to any of the characters. You also only get small snippets of what is occurring and it felt at times that you were left to fill in the cracks and draw your own conclusions about what was happening. For me my attachment to Clark is based upon liking her in the TV show. I also like Octavia in the the TV show, but the Octavia in the novel is extremely different character, I do not think they share any of the same traits and I do not like her character in the book.

This book is teenage drama set in a post apocalyptic world, that's right a cool premise of living in space and then returning to Earth and the main aspect that Morgan decides to focus on is "will Luke forgive me for what I have done" or "should I forgive Wells for what he did, but I really did like kissing Bellamy, I think."  I cannot fault this book for taking a more YA approach than an adult approach as this book is for a YA audience, I just think that Morgan could have decided to focus on something else (maybe taken a bit more time to do some world building and actually describe The Colony and Earth state better).

The book just seems to end, with a lot of missing pieces are left open, I understand that Morgan probably wanted to leave a cliff hanger at the end, but it seemed to me that this is the moment we had been building to in the novel and then just to have it end was not a very satisfying ending for me. I am not sure why Morgan decided to end the book when she did, it felt like the plot was finally going to be something more.

This is another YA book that I think is best left for the young adult crowd. This book was very much a teenage drama throughout and that seemed to be the main focus that Morgan wanted to take. While I enjoyed the TV show, this book is vastly different, really only the character names are the same. So if you are a young adult looking for a YA read, this is for you, if you are an adult and have enjoyed books such  as the Hunger Games, Angelfall ect then I think this book is not for you.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Richelle Mead: Gameboard of the Gods

Richelle Mead starts a new series where the world no longer believes in God(s) but Gods now have something to say about this lack of belief:

In a futuristic world where religion almost destroyed humanity, people now live in a very limited religious upbringing, where people pray to their country and not to some higher being. Justin March was a researcher for RUNA (Republic of United North America) and certain events have lead him to believe in the existence of Gods and the supernatural, so when he finds himself in exile he is not really surprised. He is about to get the biggest surprise of his life when RUNA comes calling for him to investigate mysterious murders that have been occurring throughout the country. They want him to prove that the supernatural is not involved, but the more that Justin uncovers the more convinced that not only is the supernatural involved, that they are gearing up for a major even that will knock everything that RUNA has tried to implement to its feet.

This book had everything going for it. It had an interesting premise and I thought the use of Gods and Goddesses and the "cults" that follow them was done in a unique way. I liked that Mead chose to create a whole new world where the belief was cater to there being no Gods, people were more about respecting and worshipping their country than anything else. As with any change there are always a few that choose to believe in something they are unable to see or quantify but their acts were closely monitored by RUNA and if the following got too big they were no longer allowed to practice. At times it seemed to have a parallel to what has happened in our past of people trying to force one way of thinking on others. As I stated above Mead has an interesting world and concept here.

The characters that Mead chose to feature also had interesting beginning that you wanted to know more about them. I personally was interested in the super soldier Mae and the powers she has been able to obtain as being part of RUNA military. She is so cool and calm under pressure it is downright scary. Justin is her complete opposite so at time their interactions were heated as neither can understand the motivation of the other. However overall other than an interesting beginning I felt that Mead stalled on giving more depth to her character. Maybe Mead did not want to reveal too much in the first book of the series, but I felt like I needed more from both of them. I did think it was interesting how Justin received his Ravens, and honestly the Raven's in his head were one of my favorite parts of the book as they were sarcastic and ever critical of his every move.

As I said before, this book had everything going for it and I should have been on the edge of my seat the whole time, not wanting to put this book down, however it was the complete opposite. This book slow, tedious and at times I was bored. It took me a lot longer to read than I thought it would. There was mystery, a bit action but all of this was extremely spread out and not well thought out where it was places. It seemed like Justin was forever just droning on about something and Mae just sitting there trying to keep her cards close to her chest. These were their endless conversations between them when they are supposed to be investigating murders but really not doing anything about that aspect or at least the reader is never aware of what they are doing as Mead never takes sufficient time to explain the investigation. Everything seems to hang on Leo figuring out how the surveillance cameras were manipulated, but Leo is never a major part of the story. There are also jumps in time where the reader does not know what has occurred in their investigation but all of sudden it is one week left before the next murder is to take place. Well what were they doing for the other three weeks before?

I am on the fence about this book. I found the world building and characters interesting for the most part but I think that Mead had a poor execution of the plot as a whole. There were too many gaps in time, not enough explanation or time spent on the investigation and a lack of entertaining things happening that would keep the reader engaged. I really think that Mead could have had something with the ideas that are expressed within this book, I just wonder if she can do better further in the series and I question whether I want to find out or not.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Emily Goodwin: Stay

Emily Goodwin introduces us to Adeline Miller, who is about to learn that good deeds do indeed get punished:

Addie was home from her first year of college studying to be a nurse, when her and some friends from home decide to attend a parade. Addie never knew that this would lead her to the most terrible events of her life. Witnessing a horrific event, Addie does the right thing and intervenes, but this leads her to being kidnapped, drugged and beaten. Addie has just become the newest victim of the sex slave industry. As a sex slave she is forced to perform terrible acts but she strives to never give up hope to stay true to who she is and never stopping to look for a way to escape.

If you base this book by the cover you will realize that this is not my usual read and review but I was seeing so much of this book I decided to look at the premise, which did end up intriguing me enough that I decided to pick this book up. This book has mainly been portrayed as either Erotic or Dark Romance, but for me neither of these genres fit this book. I would classify this book as a contemporary thriller. I do not think that it is Erotica (and I make this statement as a person who does not read this genre) but there is a lack of description in the sex/rape scenes (yes there is one major rape scene that occurs but other than that it is more implied what Addie and the other girls are doing) and I believe that description of sex is something I would expect in a Erotica novel. I also would not consider it Dark Romance, as yes there is a romance aspect to the book and overall the book is dark themed, but the aspect about the book that stood out the most to me was Addie's struggle for survival.

This is the first book that I have read by Goodwin and I know that it will not be the last. Goodwin's story and writing style was able to capture me and draw me in right from the beginning, so much so that I did not want to put this book down. Addie's struggle for survival is an emotional roller coaster ride that you will find yourself not wanting to stop reading. Goodwin is descriptive in some aspect and not in others. As stated above there is one rape scene that is elaborated on and two attempted rape scenes, but other than that it is more implied what happens to not only Addie but the other girls as well. There are also some physical abuse scenes that are more descriptive but quite a bit of that abuse occurs when Addie is not around and we as the reader only see the injuries to the body afterwards or hear the sounds of it occurring.

This book is all about Addie and her struggle (sorry about mentioning that more than once, but it really is the main aspect in the book). I think there are so many qualities that Addie is portrayed with that I think that anyone would find it hard to find fault with her character and not cheer for her. The atrocities that she is forced to go through all the while attempting to stay true to herself is amazing. Her strength is amazing and even when she loses hope you can tell that she is still going to fight.

I read in a few reviews that Goodwin did a good job in portraying Human Trafficking and for the most part I disagree with these reviews. For the most part I think that most of the other reviewers do not know what Human Trafficking is. There is actually only a very small portion of the book that delves into Human Trafficking. I would say that this book is more about Addie being forced into sex slavery than anything else as Addie does not leave the USA in this book or even the state that she is from and from some of the descriptions it appears to me that she is even near where she grew up. Human Trafficking involves the illegal movement of a person, normally between countries, but it can be within one country, where they are forced into slave labour. So to me there was a very tiny tiny aspect of Human Trafficking within this book and that part was done okay. However, the sex slavery aspect I thought was done really well and I greatly appreciated that Goodwin did not attempt to romanticize this aspect at all. I thought that it was interesting the different relationships that the girls had with Zane and their different views they had with their situation. Some of them suffer full Stockholm syndrome and are willing to do anything for them. This psychological aspect was done very well.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book (and who doesn't like surprises), as I was not really sure what kind of book this was going to turn out to be. I know that this will not be the last book that I read by Goodwin and I am excited to discover the other novels she has out there.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

James Dashner: The Maze Runner

James Dashner takes the reader to a mysterious place where problem solving is the main asset that anyone there could have:
Once a month a new boy is send up into the area of the the maze with no memory of where they came from or who they are. They all realize that the have the same purpose to survive and solve the maze. They know that they need to get out of there and return to where ever they came from. Thomas is the newest "greenie" to enter into this unknown place, but Thomas is different, he questions everything and feels the need to know everything. Thomas is about to change everything which is a good thing as an event is going to trigger the ending of those in the maze and the need to solve it just became more of a life and death situation.

I will admit it that the only reason I pick this book up was that it had been made into a movie. I remember picking up this book once in the half price bin and putting it back down as it was a YA novel. Since then I have read quite a few YA novels that I have really enjoyed so I thought why not give this one a try too. However, for me this book was a disappointment and did not live up to the hype of the books or the movie trailer promises.

I found the premise really interesting and you have to try to think what type of game these boys have been forced to play over the two years that they have been there for and this is a game that plays for keeps. A maze that appears unsolvable, as you have maze runners who investigate and map it each day to look for a way out or a pattern, but nothing seems to be working. Very cool idea and you have to think why are they there, who put them there and there must be a way out. I can get behind a premise like that, but you need more than just an interesting premise to make a book succeed. The book needs to have interesting characters, and scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I personally was not get behind really any of the characters and I found the book predictable, which did not leave me wanting to read more. I always felt like I was a few steps ahead of the characters and waiting for them to catch up.

I was not a fan of being in Thomas' head for the most part of the book as I could not get behind him as a character. I found his thought process hard to follow at times and I understand that he does not have any memory of before but his thoughts were staggered and then there was times the reader was not allowed to know what he was thinking and then other times you are. I think it has to be either one way or the other either we are inside his head or not. The book is only told from his point of view and I wish that Dashner would have spread it around a bit. I think my favourite character was Minho and it would have been interesting to know what he was going through since he had been at the camp since the beginning and had been a maze runner for a very long time. I feel like he was a character I could have gotten behind had I had the chance to get to know him better.

Didn't like that Dashner tried to introduce new slang or words to mean common things. The boys seem to have knowledge of the English language but for some reason he decided to try to name something different or just used words to avoid swears, for example "shuck-face" or "klunk". Hate to let Dashner know but YA use swear words, and they all know what you are trying to say even though those words are not written there. All these changes really just made the dialogue sound off in my head as I was trying to read it.

I think the best part of this book was Dashner's world building. He does a fantastic job of describing the maze and the world that the boys live in. You can say that Dashner has an imagination for this aspect of the book and he does it really well. However, this description process does not actually extend to the characters or the actions that they take, these aspects were very one dimensional.

This is not the best YA novel that I have read. I think that there are some better ones out there. I found this book predictable  and I figured out what they needed to do next to solve the maze it seemed like chapters before the protagonists did (though I will say that I did enjoy the ending and cliff hanger of the book). This book is probably better suited for the YA that it was written for as i think adults would find it lack luster compared to other YA novels that they have read.

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