Monday, March 28, 2016

Michael Kortya: Last Words

Michael Koryta takes the readers to small town where the person who called the private investigator is the prime suspect in a murder:

Mark Novak is still trying to recover from his wife's murder but he knows that he has to continue his work with Innocence, Inc. in order to use their resources to find the murderer. Novak is sent to Garrison Southern Indiana, where a small town with a large underground cave that hides many secrets of this small town. Ridley Barnes is the main suspect in a murder of a teenage girls whose body was found in Trapdoor as Ridley was the only one who could have made it to where her body was discovered. The problem is that Ridley cannot remember what happened that day and the police could never he did it, but the thought that he could have has haunted Ridley from that day. He decided to call Innocence, Inc. to help prove if he is guilty or not. But this small towns has more secrets than Trapdoor can hold and Novak is about to discover that people will go to any lengths to make sure they stay hidden.

This is the second novel that I have read by Kortya and when I compared it to the other novel by him that I have read, Those Who Wish Me Dead, this book really falls short. I found that this book lacked the suspense and thrills of that novel especially when this book is being hailed as a thriller novel. I will say there are moments when Novak or Ridley was in the cave (Trapdoor) that will get some hairs standing up on your body especially if you are claustrophobic. I'm not claustrophobic but the way in which Kortya described these scenes as I said were spine tingling and made me feel uncomfortable. I think the overall mystery that Kortya presents in this book is really interesting especially when you have Ridley (the prime suspect in the murder) as the one who contact Innocence, Inc. in order to prove/disprove that he is the murderer. I just did not like the way in which Novak went about getting his information.

I was not the biggest fan of the main character but I actually don't think that you are supposed to be and he's not the cool anti-hero either. He does not put private investigator in a good light. He is impulsive, uncaring, unsophisticated and often does not think his actions through to the point where everyone thinks he is crazy. He does not seem concerned about following the evidence or helping out (which he actually makes clear several times in the book). His only concern is going after those who he perceives have done him wrong since entering the small town. However, you do feel sorry for him as he continues to replay the last words that he said to his wife but that is about it, he is pretty damaged by the time that he gets to Garrison. He does grow as a character somewhat from the beginning of the book to the end, but it is a rocky road of growth, but i'm actually okay about not liking him I actually think it made the story more interesting.

I felt like this book was a little too long and just dragged on  to the point where I had to keep checking how close I was to the end and that is never a good thing when reading a book unless you are doing with anticipation about what is going to happen next, for me it was more like "Are we there yet?". I think part of the problem is that Kortya was trying to do too much in this book, putting too many twists and turns where there did not need to be.

While I did not enjoy this book as much as Those Who Wish Me Dead, I still think that Kortya is an awesome author and one that I am going to enjoy. There is a followup book hinted at at the end of this book, but right now I'm unsure if I will pick it up.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Gillian Zane: Run

In her debut novel, Gillian Zane takes the readers to New Orleans when the zombie plague hits the city:

Lex has always been a prepper ever since Katrina happened and so many people (including her family) were caught unprepared. However, the zombie plague was the last thing that she thought that she would have to be prepared for and she never thought that she would be stuck at work when it happened. Lex knows that she needs to get home in order to survive this, what she never expected was the hunk, Blake Miller, she meets on the way. Blake is a former military and knows his way around a crisis (and the bedroom) and the two decide to team up in order in order to try to survive this new world, but at least they know that they have chemistry in the bedroom.

This is not my typical read, it is really far from what I typically read (well minus the zombie part) but in my head I thought how many sex scenes can you have in a book that is this short and in a zombie apocalypse? The answer is a lot and more than you think would be practical in this type of situation. For me there were way too many sex scenes in this book for my liking. I actually could have been okay with the first one as who knows how long you're going to live and survive in this new, changing and extremely dangerous world. However, the ones that follow it  just seemed that Zane put them in to have them, I guess I should have realized this was going to happen based upon the cover and I will say that Zane is not hiding what this book is; Sex and Zombies (no that does not mean Sex with Zombies). However, I appreciated that Zane did not have her two main characters fall in love at first sight, Lust, hell ya but love no way. Way more realistic than love would have been.

While the sex scenes do take up the majority of this book, I think that Zane could have something here that a lot of people could enjoy if the sex was toned down a bit. I liked the zombie action scenes, though there were too few of them and I think we just have the standard zombies in this book.

I liked Lex as a character, I mean how can you not like her as she is a prepper, but I felt that the farther along in the book you get Blake takes away her spark as a character. Her life become not about surviving and killing zombies but pleasing Blake, I feel like Lex lost her purpose in the group.

There was a great cliffhanger at the end, I'd probably consider reading the next book based upon how this one ended as some things are bound to change, at least I think they would. I might have to look at some of the reviews of it before I decide. Overall, I wish there was more zombie killing than sex scenes, but like I said above Zane is not trying to hide what this book is, so i really cannot fault her (too much) for the amount of sex in the book.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Marieke Nijkamp: This is Where it Ends

In her debut novel Marieke Nijkamp takes the reader inside a school shooting from four different perspectives:

At 10am the principle of Opportunity High finishes her welcome speech to the students as the students go to leave the auditorium they discover that all the doors are locked and then the shooting starts. At first it seems like there is no rhyme or reason to who is shot but then they become more cold more calculated. As more students realize what is happening they have to decide what to do so they are not the next target, they all want to survive but in this unpredictable situations not everyone will.

This book tackles a new and ever increasing phenomenon in our society of school shootings. As with all school shootings (I would think) everyone is caught completely off guard about what is actually happening in there school. I also think that the reactions that the students and teachers go through (those we have a point of view from and those we don't) react in accurate ways. You will always have those who try to help and save others, often with dire consequences. You could tell that Nijkamp thought about and possible researched the most effective way for a school shooting as Tyler's plan within this book is quite smart and would ensure mass casualties.

I liked that Nijkamp decided to have twitter used in the novel but I actually think that it was under used by the author. Teenagers these days are on any app that you can think and probably some that we don't even know about. I think that is if you are going to have passages or conversations through twitter in the book you should also include other apps as well like Whatsapp, Snapchat or KIK (all of which I believe are very popular with teenagers today). Also strictly using twitter and what appears to be a blog also date this book as these are not the most popular mediums any more for the teenage age group. This is probably the downside of having these types of excerpts in your novel it becomes old very quickly. I did like that for those who were posting on twitter, the Media immediately caught on and started to contact them through there.

At the beginning I thought there were going to be too many points of view in this book and I did get confused between Asha and Slyv at the beginning but I actually think that having multiple POV was a strong point of this book as each person was in a different place and reacted differently to the situation. However, I strongly feel that there was one point of view that was missing and that was one from Tyler. I felt like Tyler was never fully explored as a character in this book and I think this could have been rectified if Nijkamp would have had some of the chapters or parts from his point of view. We only really get second hand information about his life and lifestyle from his sister and ex-girlfriend. This second hand information only really touches on what possessed Tyler to make the step of taking his hatred out on his fellow student and teachers. I just felt like there was more to the story there than what was revealed.

This was overall an interesting read for me, however, I think this book could have been excellent if Nijkamp would have taken the time to possible research what was popular with teenagers and added in additional social media aspects. Additionally, I think that Tyler needed to have a point of view of his own in order to really show the pain, suffering and wrongs he felt against him to take this type of action. Still it is not bad for a debut novel.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Keri Arthur: City of Light

In a new series Keri Arthur takes the readers where human and shifters went to war and changed the whole world:

During the war, the Humans knew that they were no match for the shifters' strength and power, so they decided to try and even the field by creating the Déchet, part human part animal part something else. The human mixed DNA from multiple creatures to create the déchet and each one was different depending on what purpose they were to serve in the war. Nevertheless, the Humans still lost the war and as punishment the Shifters killed all the déchet, except for one. Tig survived the slaughter and has lived alone and in hiding ever since. Tig is about to be pulled into a war she knows nothing about when she risks her own life to save a child from a group of vampires. Tig is now out in the open, trying to hide what she is but she not only has the vampires on the tail but also a strange new form of Wraith that is out during the day, abducting children and if it one thing that will pull Tig from her isolation it is saving children.

This is the second book that I have read by Arthur. The only other book that I have read by Arthur was Full Moon Rising and there was a reason I did not decide to continue on in that series; too much romance and too many sex scenes, which is not really my thing. Although there are some sex scenes within this novel (I knew it would be too much to ask for none) I found that they were not too long (aka easy to skip over) and only one you needed really needed to read due to the information that was obtained from that scene. There is also very little romance within the book, it is hinted at, so I think there is some to come in the future in this series. This was a vast improvement from Full Moon Rising (in my opinion) that I ended up really enjoying City of Light.

I enjoyed the world building, it was not too complex yet Arthur was still make it feel like a completely different Earth. This Earth had a very dark/grey feel to it as the lights are needed to keep the vampires away and of course there is a class system. What I found interesting about the class system that is was based on the level you lived on and basically the closer to the lights the higher in class you were and hence safer. The concept of a Rift was new to me as well, though i'm still not quite sure what a rift was, seems to be part dark magic but also can transport you to a different place. I'm hoping the concept of a rift is explained further in the series as it seems to be a favourite tool of the wraiths. I'm also not sure about what happened to all the Humans after the war. Tig never seems to interact with them and though they are made mention of as surviving after the shifters won, they seem to be lacking in the story (unless Arthur considers witches humans then disregard this note...).

I liked Tig as a character (one of my favourites in a long time) and while she may have been created as a seduction weapon, I liked that Arthur did not have this as her only skill that she solely relied. Tig proved herself in more than one situation that she has a military mind, can use multiple types of weapons and can fight with the best of them. Tig has had to adapt to a very unique situation in which she is the last of her kind and has to keep what she is hidden if she interacts with those who live in Central City but she tries to avoid that in all cost. Tig is a very strong character but I found she was not the typical kickass but at times whiny character that is often portrayed in this genre. Tig is just so much more; she is kind, strong, not full of herself at all and just wants to protect those who she views are weaker, especially children and her ghosts.

Arthur was very smart in that the déchet were created and had different DNA (shifter, vampire, human ect) to create her which gives her almost limitless ideas to play with the powers, abilities and feature that Tig could have. I really enjoyed her interaction with the ghosts that she has lived with since the war ended (an ever reminder that she survived when others did not) and how she uses them to protect her home.

It has been awhile since I have read a shifters based book and I really enjoy what Arthur did within the urban fantasy genre. I really really enjoyed Tig as a character and it is her that I liked most about this book. You will notice I didnt really mention anything of the mystery aspect of the book above. This aspect almost felt secondary in the whole book and this book was more about discovering who Tig was as a character in these circumstances. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

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