Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chloe Niell: Some Girls Bite

In the first novel in a Vampire series, Neill shows that turning a person into a Vampire unwilling, may just have dire consequences for the master:

Merit was just a regular college student, when one day she was attacked by a Vampire while walking the campus grounds. She would have died if the Master Vampire of Cadogan House had not made the difficult decision so save her and it is one that he is going to regret. When Merit awakes and discovers what she has becomes, she is furious that the choice was taken away from her, and is determined to fight her new "master" every step of the way. But all this in fighting needs to be put on hold, as more girls are turning up dead around the city, threatening to collapse the peace that is already hanging by a thread. Merit's first task as a vampire, try and find who tried to kill her and prevent all out chaos from occurring, nothing too much for a Newbie Vampire.

I'm not going to lie I was completely surprised I liked this book, I was actually more prepared to not like this book. I thought it was going to just be a paranormal romance book and be typical one at that. I was surprised to find that not only did I enjoy the book it was not completely like what I expected it to be. I expected there to be the instant attraction and yes this does occur but what normally occurs after that did not (also known as Merit and Ethan hooking up) I was shocked that this did not occur. I think that Neill did a good job of keeping the attraction down and showing more about the Vampire politics within the book and having Ethan and Merit avoid each other.

I will say that the mystery aspect within this book is very light and is a secondary premise. It takes a back seat to Merit attempting to come to the realization as what it is like to be a vampire and to be changed without a choice. That is the main intersection between the two premises as Merit was meant to be killed, instead she became a vampire and eventually she is on the hunt to find out who did this to her (eventually is the key word in that sentence as her search does not begin till the latter half of the book).

I am interested in the vampire politics that Niell lays the groundwork for within this novel. I believe that this was one of the main aspects that I enjoyed about this book, the inter-workings of the Vampire society especially when they are revealed to the humans. Additionally, the interesting aspects of the different houses within Chicago and how some chose to drink human bloods and others did not.

Overall, I did like Merit as a character and look forward to seeing her and her powers grow. I did find her a bit whiny at times, and unable to accept certain aspects that are certain in this world. I was very impressed that her character is committed to resisting her attraction to Ethan and going to great lengths to keep their relationship nothing but professional. This was the aspect that made me like Merit the most as a character.

This book was a complete surprise to me, and it was nice to be surprised and to have my expectations shattered, as this book was not the typical paranormal romance I thought it was going to be. So kudos goes to Neill for that surprise. I actually liked this book so much that I went and got the second book on my ereader the same day I finished reading this one so that I could Merits story


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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chris Little: The Darkness of Shadows

In her debut novel Christ Little takes the reader to the dark places of the human mind, where people will do anything to obtain power.

Natalie (Nat) had a childhood that would define the words cruel and unusual punishment. Her parents were never nurturing, there were things more important to them than that mainly achieving prestige and power no matter the cost or how sadistic the methods. Nat was able to escape but she knew it would only be a matter of time before her father found her again, but this time Nat is more prepared for him, knows what she has to do in order to attempt to live a normal live; Kill him before he can hurt her or those she loves.

I did not actually think that this novel was going to go to towards the paranormal genre, I actually thought it was going to be more mystery/thriller based upon the premise. I thought that her Dad was just going to be a sadistic monster (which he is) but have this whole idea made up in his head, at the very most have a cult aspect to it. I was not expecting witches, werewolves and elves (just to name a few creatures in this novel).

This novel starts out very dark and this theme continues throughout especially when Nat is remembers what happened to her as a child. She bares those scars both on the inside and outside and this causes her to have a lack of trust with people, and she does not like to be touched. However, I did find that Little came in and out of the darkness that I think she wanted to portray throughout the entire book, but, the dark aspects that Little did portray were very interesting as as the story continues they are the basis of everything that has happened to Nat.

I was not a fan of Nat and Val's friendship, it seemed to me like they were too quickly to accuse the other of something or always became defensive over information that they were uncovering. Their friendship seemed to be hanging by a thread constantly. For me their friendship was more closely related to a couples relationship than a friendship and I think that there were mixed signals throughout the book that implied that it was going in that direction. However, I'm not sure if this is just do to the Protector power that Val felt over Nat, that concept is not really fully explained within the book.

This book is a short read, only 187 pages on my Nook but Little was able to create a full story, and I believe this may even become a series, as I think there is quite a lot that Little still needs to develop, especially the world that she is trying to portray. We as reader only get a small piece of it in this book, and I found that this is where Little's novel was lacking the most. I understand that Nat and Val are new to the whole paranormal aspect in their world and life but other than some information from Nigel you really don't get the sense of what is going on in that world. There are hints here and there, but I just hope that if Little does intend to make these characters into series, that she takes some time to develop the world more, we need to know where everything stands.

It was an interesting debut novel, but you can tell it is a debut. Little has something here and I think with time and a little bit more development she will have a must read series. There are just a few things that I think need to be ironed out first.I would recommend this book to people who like the paranormal genre especially the dark side of things, and are willing to give new and developing authors a try.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Marcia Clark: Guilt by Degrees

If you missed the first book in this series Guilt by Association, that is okay as it is not really necessary to read it first as I think that Clark did a really good job of either referring back as to how characters knew each other if she needed to, so this could be read as a stand alone if you cannot find the first book. However, I really enjoyed the first novel (and Clark's debut into fiction writing), so I would recommend that you read just for a good read.

Rachel Knight hates incompetence, especially in the court room and that is how she found herself taking on a case that would not normally transferred up to special prosecution, but Rachel always wants to see justice done right no matter what, but this case is going to be far from the easy road.  Not only does this case raise a lot of political issue within the prosecution's office it also raises questions about the man who is be accused of murder. Something does not sit right with Rachel and now she and Baily on track to prove who the real murderer is. But this case is more connected to Rachel than she will ever realize, it is just the beginning of someone who is hunting her and they will stop at nothing to destroy everything Rachel loves and will finish it by ending her life.

I really enjoyed Guilt by Association and I was really hoping that Clark could pull me as she did in the first novel and I'm not going to lie, but I think that this was an amazing follow up to the first book. I actually think that I like this book better than the first one, and I think that this is because we know our characters and how they work that I already feel more vested in them. Also I found the mystery part of the story, both the murder and who is stalking Rachel. I found that they were more complex with unexpected twists and an ending that I did not expect.

I really enjoy the relationship between Rachel and Bailey both when they are working together and when they are not. They have true friendship and balance each other out really well. They are not the same person and they make up for what the other individual lacks. Their relationship also provides some of the comic relief in the novel as well.

I like Rachel even more now, her thought process and how she goes into a case and investigation, are really well done. I admire her dedication to justice, right and wrong making sure that every avenue is investigated in a case. Though she does not know the first thing about relationships and there were times where I wanted to shoot her for how she handled things with Graden. As we do live in a digital world, I mean who hasn't Googled someone who they are going on a date with or are just starting a relationship with. It is so much harder to hide your skeletons now, that it really does not surprise me that he looked into her. He even owned up to it too. However, I do like what that situation forced Rachel to do and have a more open relationship with everyone and stop having the secrets.

This book is not going to end the way you think it will and I applaud Clark for not taking the easy way out. I am looking forward to reading Clark's next novel with Rachel and I cannot wait to see how the end of this book affects the storyline on the next.

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rebekah Turner: Chaos Born

In her debut novel Rebekah Turner takes the reader to a world hidden of the Weald which exists within our own but this is a place where technology does not work and magic thrives:

 Lora Blackgoat is a smuggler and mercenary who is not afraid to take her use her rolls lethally (she is now begrudgingly called the Chopper). After a job that did not go as well as planned and did not pay as well as she needed it to, Lora is lying low and trying to avoid the bookies and creditors she owes money too, but Lora can only stay out of the bars for so long before the thirst hits her. When Lora is approached by an old childhood friend approaches Lora to use her skills and contacts to find out who the Butcher of Applecross is, Lora jumps at the chance to redeem her some what tattered reputation. The farther Lora digs into the murders, the more she realizes that there is dark magic surrounding each death and the deaths are about to get very personal. Lora is going to have to use every trick in her belt to try and defeat this evil but there is going to be causalities on the way and a big truth is going to be revealed which will change everything.

I have mixed feelings about this book. There were aspects that I really liked/enjoyed and there were aspects that I felt were under explored or explained where I felt the story was hampered by it. This book is more for those who like the Fantasy genre that is based around an Elizabethan time period. Although our part of the world in is in the 21st century in Lora's world it feels behind in the times, as there is no technology that works there and with the Order and the The guild, there is a lot of secret society feels to the world.

I really really liked that Lora was not your typical heroine (which means I liked her as a character). Yes she is brass as hell and her mouth gets he into trouble more often than not, but it is her physical disabilities as well as a gambling and alcoholic issues that truly make her different. Lara always had her whits about her even in her vulnerable moments and she did not let anything slow her down. I found it very interesting her ability to use human technology in the Weald and magic in the Outlands, very cool and very useful to say the least. I am really interested in her past and what happened to her mother, father ect. I'm still not 100% sure what it mean to be a ****** (sorry don't want to give it away, if you have read the book you'll know what goes there), so I hope that is explained more in the next novel. The one thing that I was not a fan of was Lora being attracted to every guy in her life. There was too much oh he's good looking or oh I'll sleep with him even though I know he's not good for me, but maybe secretly loves me and might be good for me...What??? And this was more than one guy I'm talking about. This kind of sub plot is not something I enjoy in books. I understand that romance or love interest are common place in many books and there are times when they enhance the overall plot, I just did not think this occurred here.

I found that there were a few things that were glazed over and not fully explained throughout the book and while Lora's past is a secret and we are discovering it with her, there are aspects within the world building that just are not fully explained. There are so many different types of creatures, areas, societies ect that I found it a little overwhelming and trying to figure out where everyone belonged in this world. There was also the underlying (and not so underlying) racism towards some of the characters in the book that were not fully explained. I just think the world building could have been better and I think that Turner tried to put a little too much in the first novel.

I think people who are into the paranormal, urban fantasy and fantasy genre(s) will enjoy Turner's novel, however, I do not think that if you are looking to try these genres that you should pick up this book. There is too much going on in this world, and with different types of creatures, I could see some people being overwhelmed by it (I mean there were times I was and I read in these genres on a regular basis). I would read the next novel in this series to see what additional trouble that Lora gets into but also to see if Turner does more world building, but I think it is mainly Lora that will keep me coming back for more.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Cassandra Clare: City of Bones

In her debut novel Cassandra Clare she introduces readers to a hidden world that regular knows nothing about, but it is the people in this world that keeps everyone safe:

When Clary Fray heads out to club she just expected it to be a another regular night of dancing, she never expected to witness a murder, let alone a murder that no one else could see and with a body that seems to disappear into thin air. Clary is about to enter the world of the shadowhunters where nothing is as it seems especially humans that she used to know and trust. When her mother is attacked and taken away, Clary will do anything to find her and get it back even if it means joining the shadowhunters in their strange world and the Demons are about to find out that it is dangerous to mess with a mundane and her family.

Unfortunately, for me, this book did not live up to the hype that seems to surround it. I found that not only was this book was very predictable and at times boring but very childish as well (I know I know it is a YA book, but I found it was even below that at times). I think within the first chapters I was able to predict the Clary-Valentine connection to everyone and everything. I do think that book got better at the 3/4 mark but I can understand why people choose not to make it that far, as the book began okay but from the beginning to the 3/4 mark it was fairly boring and slow. Also there is a slight twist in the end, but this does not make up for the rest of the book.

I know there are many adults out there that read YA books on a regular basis (and I will say I am not one of them) but overall I think this book would appeal more to young adults than adults. I have read a few YA novels now and this one is by far the one that I think is for just the YA and not adult readers. There is really nothing of substance here that I think would attract an adult reader.

Please save me from the teenage love triangle...really...really....I wanted to strangle all three of the characters involved. Jace, who is supposedly this great ladies man, doesn't know how to handle Clary, who instantly doesn't fall for him (or at least makes a show of not falling for him). And all his sexual innuendos made you think he was playing on a completely different field from the other two, but really he was just another silly boy. Simon also made me mad. Why would he think a friend would instantly want to go out with you just because you say you have feelings for them. You cannot expect that type of thing, and trying to make Clary jealous by dating Isabelle, really, that is the best idea you could come up with. Save me from silly teenage drama, I understand that some of this may be what occurs with teens but I never thought it would be this bad. I felt that the teenage drama over shadowed the whole plot of the story, you know saving Clary's mother and protecting the mundane.  

This book and series are more for teens than adults as the relationship and character are very teen like (even Jace who tries to put on the air of being older and wiser), which is what they should be for a YA book. Even the overall theme when compared to other YA novels I have read is less dark and more straightforward. I do not think I will continue on in this series, it was not for me.

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