Friday, December 13, 2019

Ilona Andrews: Magic Triumphs



Alright, this is the 10th and final book in this series, so do not read any further if you are considering starting this series as so many things will be spoiled for you that you will not enjoy the books as much as you could. If you are thinking of starting this series the 1st book is Magic Burns. I highly recommend this series. It was one of my favourite Urban Fantasy reads and one that I have continued to read even when I have stopped others.

Ilona Andrews is back with her Kate Daniels series, and everything is on the line but this time Kate has something even more important to fight for than just herself and Atlanta:

Kate has come a long way from as a solo mercenary taking on all the paranormal problems for the city of Atlanta. She has found not only a home but a family as well but her magic is too strong to not attract those who not only have power but crave it as well. She currently has an uneasy truce with her father Roland (who Kate knows is just looking for the right opportunity), mysterious visions from the Witch Oracle and a strange goo that has been found in a town outside of Atlanta's boarders. Kate knows that it is going to take every magical and paranormal person of Atlanta to fight this new threat and they may not win but she has to try, for everything she hold dear is on the line.

Well it is the end, and as much as I am sad to have it occur (and I would be lying if I didn't say that I wanted it to continue on) I respect the Andrews' decision to end this amazing series. And Wow did it end on a high note but still there were many losses as well. Andrews has always strived for balance between life and death in this series and while you know the main characters are mainly safe there are secondary ones you come to love that may not be.

Kate has changed as her life and situation has changed. She has shed many of the teachings from her previous masters' and teachers and really has evolved into a formidable warrior with a softer side. I loved how this book showed the growth of Kate and Curran's relationship and then add in their child and now we're in a whole new type of story and phase of their life. Life as a parent is never easy and always complicates simple tasks, add in that the child is part shifter, well that just is a whole new can of worms. We do not get to see a lot of the settling in as a family process in this book as there are threats right from the beginning but it is there in the undertones. It was also interesting to see the length that Curran was willing to take to protect Kate and be a part of her life for as long as he could. I don't want to spoil things but it is a pretty drastic measure.

I was not expecting a connection to the off shoot book in this series, Iron and Magic, and since I had not read that book yet (I was going to pick it up after this book to start something new), I feel like that book has been ruined a bit for me as well this book kind of tells you what is going to happen. I'll still read it but I think some of the spark from starting a whole new series there is gone.

We have all followed Kate through many dangers and personal growth throughout this series, that I am really satisfied with this ending of this book and series. I will be sad when I look next year for the next book in this series and there not be one, but what do they say "All good things must come to an end". Also if you can recommend a series that you loved as much as this one, let me know. I need to find a new series to love :)

Enjoy!!!

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Monday, December 2, 2019

Courtney Summers: Sadie

Courtney Summer follows the path of a missing girl and her journey of revenge:

Sadie has had to grow up very early in life from her mother's constant use of alcohol to the never ending men she brought home, Sadie has had to take care of herself and sister for a long time. This was especially true when their mother left them. Sadie dropped out of school and did everything she could to support Mattie and let her have a normal life. But when Mattie is found dead everything in her life crumbles. Sadie is determined to prove who murdered Mattie, in fact she's pretty sure she knows who did it and finding him will be the biggest challenge. West McCray is doing a segment about small town America when he hears about Sadie's story. Something about the story and Sadie herself compels him to not only tell Sadie's story but to find her as well, hopefully before it is too late.

Sadie is one of the BEST books that I have read this year and I didn't even see it coming. It was recommended to me at the library and I thought why not I can give it a try. What occurred was a book that is filled a journey that is like any other that I have ever read that you will not want to put it down. You get sucked right into the story of Sadie and not only her journey for revenge but the hunt for her as well. This book has some content that is hard to read, mainly child abuse/molestation/murder and alcoholism so there could be triggers for some as Summers does not shy away from these harder aspects of Sadie's life and she does not romanticizes them either, if anything she tells them in all their gritty detail.

Honestly, how can you not like Sadie more and more as you read this book. She made every sacrifice she could to help Mattie. As you read farther into the book you become more and more invested in her  and what she is trying to achieve as well as West's attempt to find her. You also get hints of what her life was life before all this happened and you can only use the words strong and resilient to characterizer her.

This book is told from Sadie's point of view and a serialized podcast produced by West, where he is trying to put together what happened to Mattie as well as trying to find Sadie. From the podcast we get additional information and points of view as West interviews people who the girls know and came into contact with. Due to the fact that we get these interviews happened after Sadie left there are time that you as the readers know more about Sadie and where she has been and what has happened to her before those in the podcast do. Usually, I would fault the book for this as you are waiting for characters to catch up to you, but it just works in this story.

The ending will not be for everyone and I applaud Summers for ending it in the way she did and I feel like Summers did this book and topic justice and kept it as real as she possible could. I'm interested in reading another book Summers, and I HIGHLY recommended this book.

Enjoy!!!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Cecy Robson: Unearthed



In the first in a new series, Cecy Robson introduces a whole new take on not only the Grim Reaper but the fight between the dark and the light:

The Fae have been hiding among the humans since their own realm was destroyed by Death. Olivia Finn is just another pixie trying to blend in among humans and hide from the Death Hounds who devoured her family and seem to be actively hunting her. She clings to her talisman that keeps her veiled from the hounds until Death finds her and discovers she’s immune to its grip and Olivia's powers finally emerge. Now the Fae believe that Olivia is their savior and the only one who can teach her to use her powers properly is the King of the Dead but her instincts warn her to stay away. Can Olivia masters enough of her powers to not only save herself but other Fae as well. One thing is certain Death is coming.

This is the first book that I have read by Robson as I believe she tends to publish into the paranormal romance genres which is not something I read often but I found the premise here interesting and I do not think there are not enough Death books out there. This book was a lot better than I expected and had me reading expectantly to the end. Robson was able to weave an interesting origin story for Olivia with her coming into her powers and what she is supposed to do with them, aka kick Death’s butt. This book was also darker than I expected for a paranormal romance novel which I am happy for as anything involving Death I think needs to be on the darker sides of things at times.

Robson creates not only some interesting Fae, with some quirky powers at time (I mean Jane the old Druid with her wand comes up with some very interesting ideas of how to solve problems or antagonize people, it is especially fun when she is trying to piss people off). in this book but also the different forms of Death. There is the King of Deaths (aka Ryker), Death for the Fae, Death for the Human and they each seem to have different forms and powers. Also how Deaths are chosen seems to vary as well and the whole concept of Death and what they do with the souls differs too. Death is such an interesting character that I love reading different incarnations of it and seeing different interpretations of the same being. I hope that Robson is able to keep up the creativity in future books. It was also interesting to see the interaction between what one would see as dark and light and life and death especially how it relates to Olivia and Ryker. 

Alright I know that Robson's wheel house is in the romance genre so it was no surprise to me that when we meet the two main characters you know right away there was going to be something between the two of them. I mean it is even the classic or cliché that they do not like each other for so and so reason ort one is scary or mean ect, you get my point. However, I do appreciate that Robson does a good job of not having them instantly fall in love or bed with each other and has this slow burn that the two go about experiencing. So maybe that will be a disappointment to romance fans but I liked it.


This was a great start to a new series, A fun read, with a interesting premise with Death and it was not too too romance for me, so I personally appreciate that. I look forward to continuing on in the series.

Enjoy!!!
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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Angela Marsons: Dead Memories

You will NEED to read this first NINE (Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones, Dying Truth & Fatal Promise) books in this series before reading this book or even review as it will spoil some things. Honestly this is one of the best Detective series out there and if you have not picked it up yet you should.


In this installment of the D. I. Kim Stone series, we get to see some of the most traumatic events in Kim's Life recreated:
D.I. Kim Stone has arrested quite a few people in career and many of them believe that she ruined their lives, prevented them from living the life they want, doing the things they wanted to and for that she needs to pay, not pay but suffer too. Kim's traumatic past is about to be laid out for her but she wants to keep her team at arms length as this is personal, her thinking is the less they know the better. Woody knows the most about Kim's past and he wants to make sure that she is okay, so he has assigned Alison Lowe back to the team for some insight not only into the perpetrator but Kim as well. With each new event and victim, Kim cannot help but blame herself for what is happening, and the pool of suspects seems to be getting larger not smaller. The Killer has an endgame and it is all about Kim and how the killer chooses to end it.


Honestly, I cannot believe that we are already on Book 10 in this series and Marsons is still publishing books that are interesting, different and engrossing. As this is book 10 you can think of the number of people that Kim has put away in this series so far and it was trip down memory lane from all the previous books and some of your "favourite", most cunning and violent criminals are back (no not Alex again, Marsons is too clever to recycle that premise). I guess what I really liked about this book is Marsons' acknowledging that even though these people are charged and have a trial gone to prison they could and most of them will eventually get out of prison and still have hatred to the person who put them away.
We do not get to know more about Kim's past as we as the readers have heard of the Kim's past before and the majority of these event that are presented we have read before, maybe there is a bit more detail but we have been aware of them. Where we see growth in this book is her team fully understanding what Kim has gone through to get where she is now, and I think a growing respect and trust between Kim and her team develops.


I enjoyed that Alison Lowe was back and I hope that she stays part of the team as I think she adds a dynamic that was missing before. Manly, Alison questioning Kim a lot and just bringing a whole new perspective to how they treat their case and narrow down who the suspect is. And yes questioning Kim is a good things, I know Bryant does at times but Kim just pushes him off when he say something that she does not agree with. Additionally, Alison is the individual who has a side case running in this book and it showed more of her personality and what she was willing to go through to make sure the right person is arrested. I know I said it before but I hope that Marsons keeps her around.


In a way I feel like this book closed a chapter in Kim's life and story here, the cat is out of the bag so to speak. Everything that Kim has been hiding protecting is out there and in a way she has lost one of her walls. If this were the last book in this series I would be okay with it as I feel like Kim has grown as much as she can and has shared as much as she can. This book also summarized the successes and failures that Kim and her team have had over the 9 previous books and it was a tribute to the good work that everyone on the team had done. I know there is another book after this one and I will be reading it but I do wonder where Marsons will go from here.


Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Stacia Kane: City of Ghosts

You will want to read the first two books, Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, in the series in order to understand the world that Chess lives in as well as Chess as a character.

Stacia Kane is back with the third book in her Downside Ghost series and mangled human corpses are just the beginning of Chess' problems:

Downside is known to be a touch part of the city, but when mangled corpses start to show up, that is something that the Church need to investigate. Chess is signed up to help the Black Squad but in order to do so she has to undergo a binding spell that will kill her if she breaks the terms of the spell. This makes investigating a little bit harder in downside when she cannot tell Bump and Terrible about the information that she needs. Plus Chess has to work with Black Squad Member (Elder's Daughter) Lauren, who is not too friendly with Chess and who thinks having Chess with her is a waste of time. But Chess is determined to do the best job that she can and everything is pointing to the City of Eternity and Chess needs to figure everything out before it is too late.

Sometimes by the third book the author has run out of ideas or is repeating something that has occurred before (think of how many trilogies are out there?). However, this series is amazing, each book is just as good as or better than the one before it. This book is non-stop action and even Chess' drug use takes a back seat to the story that Kane is presenting here. I mean Chess is still pill popping constantly but she does not have a withdrawal scene like she does in the previous book. Honestly, I am so impressed with her ability to hold it together most of the time it is crazy.

We get to see much more of Chess in action with her job than before, with the return of the Black Squad, where Chess tries to play nice but working with people is not really her thing. I don't know if it was the drugs and such that Chess takes but at times I found it hard to follow her thought process of how she gets from point A to point B but she gets there. There was a lot of twists and turns along the way and with the reintroduction to the luminary things go south pretty quick. I was glad that Kane decided to bring the Luminary back as they were an interesting society that was not fully explored in the first book.

And working with Terrible is not going to happen anytime soon as he is not only not talking to her but also ignoring her. It was hard to Chess try to reach out to Terrible and try to explain or say she is sorry and get nothing back, I realized just how invested I am in Chess.

I really enjoy the world that Kane has created and she is not afraid to push the boundaries of the readers imagination. Additionally, she is not afraid to add some darker elements and descriptions into her writing which I really enjoy, I mean why sugar coat things that should not be sugar coated. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, October 28, 2019

Michael Koryta: If She Wakes


Michael Koryta takes readers on a thrill ride where two women are fighting for their lives against an enigmatic killer:


Tara Beckly is a senior in a small town college and she has volunteered to drive a visiting professor to a conference. On the way to taking him there he makes some unusual requests, one which leads to a car accident that has left Tara in a vegetative state called Locked In Syndrome. She is unable to communicate with those around her as hard as she tries, but she does learn that someone powerful wants her dead, who? why? Tara cannot remember how she even came to be in the hospital but she is the key to many things. With the car accident comes Abby Kaplan the insurance investigator hired by the college to protect themselves. Abby has a unique and painful history with cars as she used to be a stunt car driver and was found of pushing vehicles to their limits. What Abby does not know that is she is about to go on the drive for her life, where not only her life hangs in the balance but other too.

This book will grab you from the very first sentence: "Nineteen minutes before her brain and her body parted ways, Tara's Beckly's concern was the cold." I mean you literally want to know what has happened to Tara even though we know nothing about her or where she fits within the story. This sets the tone for the rest of the book of wanting to know more, never wanting to put the book down as it is a thrill ride, one event after another. There are many twists and turns along the way and you do not know what is going to happen next and who is going to survive it all. A unique aspect in this book is the lack of law enforcement through out. I like that Abby and Tara do not have law background and I think due to this the story flows in a much different way than it would if there was a detective at the helm.  However, there are a few short chapters from a government Agent but for the majority of the book she is a secondary character.


The women characters that Koryta presents in this book are all strong in their own ways. Tara with her locked in syndrome and trying desperately to communicate with those around her. Trying everything that she can think of to make them see that she was still there. her thought process to get any part of her body to move, even her eyes to tear are feats of strength and force of will. Tara truly is an amazing character. Abby Kaplan a new insurance investigator who knows all about cars and how to drive them to their limits. Abby is smart, resourceful and has a will to survive that is outstanding.


The chapters from Tara's point of view are slower paced but OMG are they ever truly terrifying. Imagine being able to see, hear, think but no one around you knows that you are aware and then add in them talking about ending your life. I cannot think of something more terrifying.


I'm not sure about all the physic and car abilities that occur in this book but I like to think that Koryta took the time to do some research on Locked In Syndrome then he also too the time to research the vehicles in this book and their capabilities if someone like Abby is behind the wheel.


This was a great book by Koryta and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I look forward to reading another book by him. Just a side note that I enjoyed the nod back to his other book Those Who Wish Me Dead where you first run into the Blackwell family, you don't need to read that book to enjoy this one but you should just read it as it is amazing.


Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

C. J. Archer: The Last Necromancer



C.J. Archer starts a new series off with a girl in hiding for her special ability to raise the dead:


Fleet Foot Charlie has been living on the streets since her father threw her out 5 years ago, but tonight she was not a fleet footed as she should have been. In a cell with men who have horrible ideas on their mind, one man ends up dead and that is when her true abilities come to life and allow her to escape. But those in the cell with her do not remain silent, and soon there are people desperate to find her to help with their own agendas. Charlie doesn't know who to trust and how long she can keep pretending she's not the necromancer they seek and with Queen and Country at stake she will have to decide who she can trust.


This was a good read. It had some interesting aspects in it especially the further you get into the story I just think there was a bit too much time spent on attempting to figure out Charlie's secret, that she was not a boy but a girl. This aspects takes about half the book to be found out and it took away from the actual plot of someone wanting Charlie to help raise an undead army to attack the Queen. This leads to the incorporation of a classis horror story and I think that Archer did a good job at melding the two books together and having the events/ideas unfold in an interesting way. Book was darker than I expected it to be, which was a nice surprise. I mean I feel like a book like this should be darker with having an individual who can raise the dead.


I wish that we had more than Charlie's point of view. I liked Charlie as a character but I felt that this story was not as well rounded as it could have been if there had been another point of view. I think that Archer should have had some points of view from Fitzroy as he is also the main male lead in the book. He was also an interesting character, as he was raised from birth to be the leader of the Ministry of Curiosities. We do not get a true sense of Fitzroy in this book, but I will say he seems to have some abilities that are not entirely human so I look forward to discovering who/what he really is.


I appreciated that while there is what a school girl crush that Charlie has on Fitzroy, Archer does not really peruse this aspect in this book. I feel like a romance between the two would muddle the plot, and you do get more of an older brother feel from the male character to Charlie.


I'm interested in seeing where Archer takes this series and if she chooses to connect her stories with other classic novels. I also hope we get more exploration in to Charlies' abilities and have her use them more often (I guess I'm being morbid as this means people have to die for this to happen) but the true extent of her abilities goes unexplored in this book. So I will be looking to read the next book in this series.


Enjoy!!!

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Monday, October 14, 2019

Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus

Erin Morgenstern takes readers on a decades long battle between two magicians:

The Night Circus just appears one night without warning and it is the most interesting place you will ever be. All are drawn towards it and no one will experience it the same, or each time they visit. But the circus is more than just a place to entertain, it is also the battle ground for two Magicians; One born with the magic, another who learned it. They are pitted against each other in a game fought by two long time rivals, who are the only ones who know the rules and will determine when there is a winner.

Alright, maybe I'm in the minority on this one but I just wanted the book to get on with it, get to the point, get to the battle that seemed to be promised in the premise of this book. I was like the two main characters, I had so many more questions than answers even as you read farther into the book. What are the rules, how do you decide the winner, what is the overall point of the circus. I understand these questions do get answered, it just painful at times getting there. Plus this all out battle that I thought was going to happen in some form, well I hate to spoil it for you, but there never really is a battle in the common use of that word. This battle is more of whits, imagination, moves and power (but not like chess, as this is stated several times throughout the book).

I felt like I never got to really know any of the characters, I think this had partly to do to the multiple points of view but also the writing style (characterizations are sideline for descriptive words). None of the characters exuded any emotions even at traumatic events. They were all written in a way that made them fall flat, as if they were all emotionless creatures. This caused me as a reader to no really care about any of the characters, sure there were some that were interesting but I never really felt engaged with them. Further, I never really understood the relationship that came of Marco and Celia, in my opinion it kind of came out of left field. I get that they had respect for each other as opponents but I just never felt the passion that they supposedly had for each other.

What this book has going for it is that it is beautifully written. The words flow together amazingly and Morgenstern description of the atmosphere or location of where the characters are you truly feel transported there. Honestly, if this book would not have been as well written as it was, I would have put it down part way through (well that and trying to figure the hell out what was going on...it was so frustrating at times). Additionally, I cannot fault Morgenstern with the creativeness that she display in both the idea of the plot and of the Night Circus itself as well as what the magicians are able to achieve. The Night Circus is a place that I would love to visit and I feel that I have through the many scenes the Morgenstern had take place there.

This book is a bit of a puzzle for me, while it was beautifully written I struggled to connect with the characters and plot. Maybe if Morgenstern can find a way to make her characters more engaging for the reader and the plot slightly less slow she would have a winner in my books. I think I would try a book by her again just for her ability to put words together.

Cheers!!!

Not sure I have anything similar to this that I could recommend, so I you have something you think I should try instead of this or like this, let me know.



Monday, October 7, 2019

Kelley Armstrong: A Darkness Absolute

This is the second book in Armstrong's Rockton series and while this book could be read as a stand alone novel, if you are okay with not knowing the entire backstory of Casey and how she became a resident at Rockton, but I HIGHLEY recommend the first book, City of the Lost, as it is a great read especially if you like the small town mystery/thrillers like I do.


Kelley Armstrong takes readers back to Rockton where a woman thought to be long dead is very much alive:


Casey And Will are hot on the trail of a runner from Rockton. He got cabin fever and decided to get out of there by going full force into the wilderness without proper supplies, when a blizzards hits out of nowhere. They are forced to weather the storm in a nearby cave and that is when they make a disturbing discovery. Nicole Chavez has been missing from Rockton for over a year and she was assumed dead but the truth was much worse. She has been held captive and only given enough just to survive by some unknown man. As Casey and Dalton look for clues as to who was capable of this, was it a Rockton residence or one of the unknown people of the forest, they discover the bodies of two other Rockton women who were presumed missing. There has been a serial killer lurking around Rockton taking advantage of the forest and those who venture one. Now it's up to Casey to find them before the next woman goes missing and it might just be Casey.


Wow this is an amazing follow up to the first book in the series and while it may have to contend with similar elements as the first, the story is completely different. There is much more focus on the mountains and cave systems that are accessible to those who live in Rockton as well as those who live in the forest. There are quite a few spelunking (never thought I would get to use that word in a review) scene that if you have a fear of claustrophobia your hands may sweat. Heck I don't have a fear of small spaces and Armstrong's writing made me uncomfortable. Armstrong also does a good job at keeping the suspect list long, which really is not hard considering the residence of Rockton all have secrets and some are more disturbing than other. I was able to figure it out, but that does not mean that Armstrong did not have me questioning myself more than once. There is also the outside meddling of the council who are able to really oversee and affect some decision that are made in Rockton as well as who they let in and their meddling is ever present in this book.



What I really like about this series and setting is that although this book is set in modern times they are forced back many decades within regards to forensic evidence. There isn't any fancy lab in Rockton and even if there was there would probably be no way to power it. There is no outside lab that they can send evidence too, what Casey and the other officers have to rely on in their own interpretation of the evidence when trying to solve the mysteries. It takes it back to good old detective work and I really love that.


Interesting to see the development of the relationship between Casey and Dalton and how this dynamic also affects some aspects of their work one. Especially with Dalton as he can be very domineering and Casey basically telling him that he has to be able to separate the two in order for their relationship to survive. And well Dolton get Casey a puppy so he gets points in my book.


This is an amazing series so far and I am completely hooked. I'm off to buy the next two books in this series. I read the blurb at the back of this book for the next book and it sounds amazing. I cannot get enough.


Enjoy!!!
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Monday, September 30, 2019

Steve Hamilton: Exit Strategy

You will need to read the first book in this series The Second Life of Nick Mason in order to understand how Nick has gotten himself in to the predicament he is in. Also the book is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it if you like Thriller and / or Action Adventure type genres.

Steve Hamilton is back with the second book in his Nick Mason series and Mason is determined to find an Exit Strategy:

Nick Mason has one goal: Taking back control of his life but doing this is much more complicated than it seems and first he has to partake in a new missions. Nick's mission is to take on WITSEC, the top-secret federal witness-protection program that has never been compromised, locate the three men who put his boss, Darius Cole, behind bars for life, and kill them but some of them are more deadly than others. But if Cole were to be free will Mason truly be able to live his own life? Mason will risk everything in order to complete his mission, but he hopes if he can complete it, it will lead him to his bigger goals, safety for his family and his life back.

This book is action packed and once it starts it does not take a break. So buckle down the hatches and get ready to read this in one sitting, as there never seemed to be a "good" time to put it down. I'll admit that Mason does seem to move from one insane situation to the next (talk about action imagination from Hamilton) and when Mason does have a bit of a break in the action he  spends his time trying to figure out how to get out from under Darius Cole's thumb and live his own life. Alright all I can say is, WOW I did not see that coming. There are not that many times when a book just throws a curve way out of left field that I do not have some sort of hint that it is coming. Well Bravo Hamilton you made that happen and it was awesome.

I personally like being in Mason's mind and being part of his thought process so it probably does not come as a surprise that I like Mason, and the assassin (and anti-hero) that he has been forced to become. Mason has become so good at planning the assassinations with his analytical and problem solving mind, planning is just his thing, pulling the trigger is something that you never thought he would do especially with some slightly more innocent lives but Mason does have the ability to kill and try to survive. I think that is what I struggle the most with Mason as a character how he goes from a low level thief to assassin. I don't understand how Darius Cole would be able to see that Mason has it in him. But on the same point Mason is trying to protect his family and would do anything in his power to do that even if it means murder. 

One thing I did not like was how Hamilton handle the relationship with Lauren. I felt like there was this big set up with her in the first book only to be let down that Hamilton really just discards her early in this book. I just feel like having the relationship was for nothing and but getting rid of it so soon in this book added nothing to the plot or story. I mean Mason has already lost his family I think he already understands loss loneliness and lack of normalcy in his life. I don't know Lauren just seemed to ground him a bit more and added a bit more human side of him and I was sad for Hamilton to take that away.


Alright this is the second book that I have read by Hamilton and I enjoyed it from beginning to end, he just has a way of grabbing hold of you and never letting go. Now I need to check out his other books and series and hope the third book in this series gets published.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, September 23, 2019

Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkenan: An Anonymous Girl

Greer and Pekkanen show you what can happen when a test about ethics and morality goes wrong:

Jessica thinks that when she sees an ad on a clients phone looking for women aged 18-32 to be part of a ethics and morality study that it will be easy money, money that she desperately needs. When the questions starts they seem simple enough "Could you tell a lie without feeling guilt?"  but as each question unfolds, Jessica feels like she is truly being tested as the questions are live to her answers. Jessica is being tested. Dr. Shields is looking for the perfect participant for her study. To push the subjects boundaries, see how far Jessica is willing to go for some extra money. And Dr. Shields motive? All in the name of science she assures you...

Alright, this book will having you thinking on more than one level and questions what you would do in each situation, not to mention the whole aspect of morals and ethics we face with each aspect of our lives (the questions of morals and ethics does get a bit tedious at times, and there were points where it kind of felt jammed down my throat, but that just may be how I read and interpreted the book). Lets just say If you like books with manipulation then this book is for you as the farther you get in its about the manipulator manipulating and then the manipulated trying to start her own manipulation (That all make sense?). All that manipulation can make your head spin, but I think that Hendricks and Pekkenan did a good job of not overcomplicating the plot with additional people and kept it mainly between Jessica and Dr. Shields. I think if there was another person that was really focused on it would bee too much. There is a bit of a mystery thrown in to the plot as well, which I appreciated as we needed something else to focus on other than Jessica going through the moral/ethical dilemmas that Dr. Shields puts her through. Plus trying to uncover Dr. Shields motives was interesting.

I really liked that it shifted between the two point of views  Jessica and Dr. Shields and I appreciated that Dr. Shield's chapters were much more clinical in how they were "voiced" as this is who she is as well as her detailing of how Jessica reacted. She was very observant to her behaviour and really took the time to know Jessica, from how she would react to her tells when she was considering what to do. It was always fascinating to see the same event from two different points of view, one that the event was happening to and the other an outsider looking in. Through Dr. Shields you really do see the power that one's mind can have and add a little authority behind it and Wow the things you can make people achieve as well as destroy.

I think my main flaw in the book as I did not feel it was a suspenseful as I wanted it to be and while I was drawn into the story it was not the suspense aspect that kept me reading. This book was much more of  in the domestic genre book category than the thriller/suspenseful one. 

This is the first book that I have read by Hendricks and Pekkenan and I found the story and how they told it different and refreshing. I will be checking out their other works.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Pamela Kopfler: Better Dead

In the first in a new series and debut novel Pamela Kopfler shows what happens when the dead aren't willing to leave you alone:

Holly is toasting to her new found freedom with the sudden death of her husband. She does not want to sound insensitive but Burl checked out of their marriage many years ago (with a red head) and she would have filed for divorce if he was still alive. But Burl did leave a few things behind, massive debt, spending all their money and now his spirit. Burl was refused at the pearly gates as he has unfinished business in this world and it centers around Holly's B&B business Holly Grove. Holly is about to find out that while she may have known some of Burl's secrets at the end, she did not know all and some of his secrets could get her killed as well.

This was better than I expected it to be. I'm not one that reads cozy mysteries that often (okay I cannot remember the last time I read one), but needed a book for a square in Halloween BINGO so that is how I came across this book. I did not know that this was a debut novel till I looked up information about Kopfler. That right there shows that this book was well written, the story was well thought out, flowed well and had some interesting characters from the ghostly to the living. The mystery was fairly straightforward, but I think that Kopfler did a good job at keeping the reader guessing (I was able to figure out the smugglers) but Kopfler used the B&B to her full advantage with the list of suspects. So for an easy, cute and cozy mystery read I was pretty hooked.

Holly is a true southern woman (or what I picture one to be, I personally do not know any) where everything is about family, history and sticking with your roots. This is why she is so attached to Holly Grove and will do anything to keep it. She makes several reference in to the book about the long line of women in her family who have done everything they can to keep Holly Grove. Holly is determined, stubborn, smart and makes a mean mint julep (see end of book for instructions).

While I knew there was going to be some sort of love interest going into this book (no not between Holly and ghost Burl), I appreciate that Kopfler had the attraction there between Holly and Jake but did not over due it. This allowed Kopfler to plays up the history that Holly and Jake have and with a lot of the unanswered questions between them.

One of the best parts in the book was the interaction between Holly and Burl. It was quite entertaining to have Holly hash everything out with a ghost, especially when she is the only one who can see him. This creates an interesting dynamic when Holly is not by herself. And poor Nelda, Burl takes a real liking to haunting her and her response is pretty epic with all the voodoo she can muster.

This is not my typical read, but I did enjoy the characters that Kopfler created and the story overall. While I may have been able to figure out the mystery, Kopfler reminded me that sometimes you just need an easy read to change things up from the dark and gritty stories I prefer and with that i'll be looking for more books by Kopfler.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Victoria Schwab: City of Ghosts

In the first in a new series Victoria Schwab takes the readers past the Veil and into the City of Ghosts:


Cassidy Blake's parents have a different job, they are The Inspectors a ghost-hunting team, who writes books about some of the most haunted places in the World. But Cass is the one that really can see ghosts, in fact her best and only friend is Jacob. He was the one that saved her from a terrible drowning accident and he has been with her since. When The Inspectors head to Edinburgh, which is drenched in history, Cass finds herself surrounded by ghosts and struggling to control entering into the Veil. When Cass meets Lara she realizes there is more to her power than just entering the Veil, she has a purpose. Lara warns Cass that ghosts can be dangerous too and to watch out for the sinister Red Raven who has been haunting the Veil around Edinburgh. She is looking to cross over to the human world at any cost.  


This is the first book that I have read by Schwab and it will not be the last. I really enjoyed the story, having a young but still relatable main character (And I write that as an adult), also she is not yet boy crazy so that really helps as well. The book is not too long and moves at a fairly fast pace, I was wondering where Schwab was going to take the book as I think at the beginning there is no clear direction but overall I'm satisfied with where Schwab took Cassidy and Jacob. Schwab really plays up  how ironic it is that Cassidy's parents are ghost hunters and not being able to see ghosts and Cassidy who has that ability to see them keeps that information from them.

Although Cassidy is 12 years old in this book, I never felt like I was reading about a 12 year old. Yes, she talks about comics with her ghost "sidekick" Jacob but a lot of her thought processes fell more adult. Really I feel like Jacob acts more like a preteen that Cassidy ever does in the book, though I'm just guessing about Jacob's age as we do not know much about him other than his appearance. I hope in the future we get more of Jacob's backstory.

The Veil was an interesting concept in which ghosts, minus Jacob, live in our world but behind the veil that is why regular people are unable to see them. What I thought was a bit weird of the Veil was that it seems that most of the ghosts were from the 1800 other than one child ghost that Cassidy references. Just seemed a bit strange to me. Also I'm not sure hoe her parents have not noticed when Cassidy slips into the Veil only to reappear across town. I mean her parents at times seem a bit absentminded but not that much.


I really enjoyed this book, it was an easy read, simple story (it is a middle grade book) with some darker elements (I mean it deals with ghosts and death so those kind of had to be in there but no so much that it would scare a middle grade reader). It was fun to get to know Cassidy and see her find more purpose with her powers and I feel like the tour da City of Ghosts will be interesting to read about in the future.


Enjoy!!!
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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Stacia Kane: Unholy Magic



You will need to read the first book in this series Unholy Ghosts in order to understand Chess as a character, her relationships as well as the Church's rule in this world or BT (before truth).


Chess Putnam finds herself helping out the Black squad when she is poisoned, almost dies and that doesn't even count the murderous ghost wanting to kill her. Chess' next assignment should be a straightforward debunking of a celebrity's home but Chess' secret life threatens to get in the way. Prostitutes being killed in an extremely gruesome way in Downside and it's hurting more than Bump's profits. Someone is dealing in sex and the supernatural but that is just another day in Downside until murder is thrown in. It's not a turf war, even enemies are willing to work together to find who is responsible and all that responsibility is about to fall on to Chess.


Alright it was quite a few years ago that I read the first book in this series. I do not know why I did not pick up this book sooner. I re-read the review I wrote at the time and it was glowing, so really not sure, so with fresh eyes and opinions I started this series again and extremely happy that I did. This book was awesome. It had everything I wanted in an Urban Fantasy book; dark, gritty, magic, ghosts, a post apocalyptic feel to it and a great female lead who is not your norm. It had me glued to my seat to say the least.


Chess is a mess (sorry for the rhyme but she truly is). She is a drug addict that is mixed up with gangs, pimps and enforcers. She tries to hide all of this from the Church her employer and her "friends" at the church, as all these things will get her fired. On top of that to help pay her debts to Bump (the pimp) she uses her Church trained magic to help out with problems that are occurring in Downside. Chess is really hard on herself and most of this has to do with her childhood or lack there of. We get snippets of what Chess endured as a child and none of it was good until she was shown to have some talent for magic and could study at the Church. The church is her whole life but she risks it every day to keep her past demons at bay with her drug use.


I really appreciate that Kane does not shy away from Chess' drug use; her reasons for taking drugs, how often she gets high, all her money goes to it, her constant thought of how long she has before she comes down and what withdrawal symptoms that Chess experiences. All of these factors are not glossed over or downplayed in this book and I applaud Kane for not romanticizing Chess' drug use. Using the drugs is part of who Chess is in this series and while I hope she gets some help as I have grown attached to her as a character I do not think that she will.


I like that Kane has Chess focus on two different cases at once, as it forces Chess to choose sometimes between her habit and her work and also in both books I have read so far the cases are interesting. The Church case is a debunking one in which a celebrity claims to have a haunted house. While the case may have been a bit more straightforward and I was able to figure most of it out, it was still interesting (debunking in general is really interesting). The extremely interesting case is the one of the dead prostitutes that are occurring in downside, this also brings Lex and Terrible in close proximity of each other which Chess is trying to avoid at all costs. I was not able to figure out what was occurring in this case and lets say that Kane gets pretty creative with ghosts and magic for this one.


Kane has done a great job of re-piquing my interest with this series (like I said it was awhile ago when I read the first) and I find this book not only creative and refreshing as it combines ghosts and magic (I don't read enough ghosts books I think). I'm excited to pick up the next book in this series and one thing about waiting to so long to come back to this series is I don't have to wait :)


Enjoy!!!
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