Thursday, March 21, 2019

Walter Mosley: Down the River Unto the Sea

Walter Mosley takes readers on a journey where a former police officer turned PI is not only investigating a case to save a man's life but also looking to redeem the life he lost:

When Joe King Oliver is sent to arrest a car thief he never thought that it would land him in prison and then solitary confinement on Rikers Island. He knew he had been set up but he could never prove it. Over a decade later King is now a private investigator running his own agency with the help of his teenage daughter who acts as his assistant. When he receives a letter in the mail from the woman that admits she framed him and was paid to do so by a cop, King has no choice now that to take on his own case to try to stop the corruption that is running within the NYPD. The thing about corruption is it tends to run deep and King's case is not the only one out there.

This is the first book that I have read by Mosley and honestly I had never heard of him before this book, which I now think is crazy as he has written over 43 books and quite a few of them are mystery based. I guess I should now just count myself lucky to have discovered him and have 42 more books to look forward to.

There are many aspects that I enjoyed about this book. Mosley has a way of writing that just draws you into King's life and story. Mosley does not sugar coat anything and there are times where King goes down a dark path pursuing information or protecting himself or those he loves.. This book also has a police procedural feel to it as King used to be a police officer so he knows how to work a case and try to uncover evidence/clues to lead him to the next step. One thing you can say about King is that he is fairly methodical in his work process and he tries to see things from many angles. 

King is a great character to who a main flaw, his love of women and that is what lead him to be incarcerated at Rikers Island. He seems to have put all women behind him but he does comment more than once about a lovely lady that he encounters or sees. King is now also suffering from PTSD so there are times when this interrupts his thought process but this just makes him feel more like a real person. King still bleeds blue even though he knows he was betrayed by them, but the still has friends inside the force that will help him. One thing is true King is a force to be reckoned with.

Another character I really liked was Mel. I would like to see more from him if this book were to become a series or really just a book about Mel as he was such an interesting character; criminal, sociopath but also lives by a certain code, I mean I feel like that book could just write itself, lol.

I guess my one negative in this book was that I was able to figure one of the big twists pretty early on, I personally felt it was a bit obvious but maybe that was just me.

This book was nominated by the MWA for the best book award 2019, so if you're into reading books from those type of shortlists make sure to pick this up. And if you're not into reading from awards lists, still pick this book up it is a great mystery crime read. I know I'm going to be on the hunt for more of Mosley's novels.

Enjoy!!!
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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Orbs II Stranded

You will want to read the first book in the series Orbs in order to understand the Aliens and world that this series is based upon.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith is back with the second book in his Orb series, where water is becoming more and more scarce:

The Alien invasion has wiped out most of the life on Earth by sucking the water not just out of the ground but also out of every living thing they can find. The Oceans are slowly being drained and the survivors within the biosphere make a horrific discovery human farms where the Aliens appear to be slowly draining the life of humans that have been captured. When one of their own is captured by the Aliens, they enter into an all out mission to find him and bring him home, but nothing prepares them what has been happening outside of the biosphere.

I liked this better than the first not sure why but I was really drawn into the story and characters in this book when compared to the first. Maybe it is due to the fact that these are the people who survived the first wave and we get to know a few of the survivors better. Sansbury Smith pull no punches on descriptions of deaths (they are pretty gruesome as the Aliens want the water from any lifeforms' body) and who is alive at the end of the book, lets just say they all do not make it out in the end. Sansbury Smith knows how to keep this series both frightening, disturbing and entertaining all at the same time.

Really like the development of Alexia the AI in the biosphere as a character in this book. She changes and almost develops feelings which I find very interesting due to the fact that she is AI as well as her attachment to the humans who she watches over. Another character that was better fleshed out in this book was Sergeant Overton. He really shows a different side of himself I found in this book, as he is very much lets take the fight to them as so what if we die trying while in the first book it was more about trying to survive. But the one thing that you respect the most about Sergeant Overton is that his is completely loyal to his men and is not willing to ask them to do anything that he is not willing to do himself.

As us one of my favourite authors out there right now Sansbury Smith is one of my go to authors. I know I will be continuing on with this series to see where he takes it.

Enjoy!!!
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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Robert Bryndza: The Girl in the Ice

In the first of a series Robert Bryndza takes the reader on a true game of cat and mouse:

The body of a young beautiful and rich socialite is found beneath the ice in South London. Detective Erika Foster is called back from leave to lead the case. The victim appears to have lived the perfect life and had nonenemies or obstacles that would have lead her to this death. Erika soon find a connection to other murders of prostitutes that were found with similar injuries and cause of death. But as Erika gets closer to discovering the killer the killer is stalking Erika and closing in on her with each minute. Who is going to survive in this deadly game?

This was a good read but not great one. I found that I was not sitting on the edge of my seat while I was reading it and I found a few aspects within the book predictable and nothing new for this genre if that makes sense. I'm all for crazy family dynamics and the secrets the rich try to keep from everyone else as well as the power/influence they have and this book shows all these aspects again and again (but this also not something new in this genre)

Erika is a great main character and the main reason I kept reading this book even when I was not enthralled with it. I particularly liked that she never gave up on the case even when she is forced to. She is a strong woman despite the trauma in her recent past, she does seem to still know her weaknesses, but one flaw she does seem to have is she is not aleays a team player however there are reason for this. I say all this but I feel like this was the second book in a series or we missed out on some vital parts about what makes Erika, Erika. I know we get her backstory of what she went through but that did not really seem like enough. I wish that this was the second book in the series and there was a first book that created and expanded on the backstory that was presented here.

Was not able to figure everything out in relation to the plot and murders as Bryndza did a good job in leaving red herrings along the way so i did flip flop over who was responsible. I always fun when you as the reader have to decide along with the main detective which are the truths and which are the lie associated with Andrea's death.

I do not comment on the covers of book often but this one is simply awesome, totally captured my attention and made me want to pick up this book and read it. I do question this touting itself as a serial killer novel as the focus is mainly on Andrea's murder and the connection to historical deaths so if ou are expecting crime scene after crime scene then that is not going to happen here. However, there is a cat and mouse game that is entered into and that aspect was interesting.

Although I only thought this book was okay I do look forward to reading further in this series. I think Bryndza shows great potential as a storyteller and I really liked Erika as a main character.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Mercedes Lackey: Elite

You will want to read the first book in this series Hunter, not only does it set up the world building and character but is an excellent read.

Mercedes Lackey is back with Joy and the city of Apex Central and Joy is about to discover the conspiracy of a Lifetime:

Joy has made it to the status of Elite hunter, but with this new status comes new responsibilities and additional targets on her back. She has been given a covert mission, to patrol the sewers of Apex Central to determine how the monsters are breaking through the barriers. Monsters are one thing but when she fines the corpse of a Psimon with no apparent cause of death. After reporting the incident she comes under greater scrutiny of PsiCorp's, which she does not want and they do not appear to want her help in solving the case. When Joy discovers another body she knows something more sinister is going on, but does it have something to do with PsiCorp, the folk mages or something else entirely, Joy knows she needs to find out before those she cares about are put in danger as well.

Elite is a really great follow up to the first book in the series and I think it was just as good as the first which often doesn’t not happen especially in the YA genre for me.When I was reading this book the third book in the series had yet to be released so I found that that this was one of those rare books where you don't want to put it down as you are enthralled with the story but at the same time you want to put it down so that it extends the time that you get to read the book. For me there are very few series where I have felt this, so I guess you could say I loved this book and series so far.

I liked getting to know more about Psimons are such an intriguing concept in this book so I was really glad that there was more explanation on the way that they work and what they have to offer, as well as they very secretive ways that just makes them more and more interesting. One aspect that is lacking information is "Joy's" folk mage that continues to appear. This is one of the most underutilized concepts in the book as well as not explained at all. These folk mages seem to be a big player in everything that is happening outside of Apex Central and the reason they have hunters but there is still so much of these characters and their world the is not explained.

Still love Joy as a character, she is one of the few female teenage characters that I have read that is not boy obsessed and realizes the importance of doing her job first. Yes, she has the whole relationship thing with Josh however, it takes a backseat to her job of protecting the city. Joy is also very much a team player, she knows when to take orders and when to be the leader, this to me just shows the overall strength of Joy as a character (and a positive one at that, she doesn't pretend to know it all). Also love her "Hounds" though there seems to be getting a few too many, if I can say that, so there are times when I get them messed up a bit about who can do what etc.

Honestly, when I get my hands on the next book in this series it is going to be me stopping everything I am doing and cracking it open (and I will say that nothing did stop me as I have now read the third book in this series as well).

Enjoy!!!
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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Steven Hamitlon: The Second Life of Nick Mason

Steven Hamilton introduces readers to Nick Mason who is about to start the second chapter of his life, just not quite the second chapter he was hoping for;

Nick Mason has spent the past 5 years in prison when an offer comes that he cannot refuse, he can get out 20 years early. For Nick this means h can once again be part of his daughter's life, he can try to be a new man on the outside. Nick doesn't fully understand the terms of his release until the first call comes in, he has to follow the orders, there is no yes or no answer he must do what he is told. He is now being controlled by  Darius Cole who is a criminal mastermind and rules his organization from his prison cell. Nick is forced to commit even more serious crimes than the one that he was originally put away for, but he cannot renege on agreement. He wants to go straight but in order to do so he has to risk everything and become ruthless in the process.

I really enjoyed this book it was fast paced and gritty with interesting main character. What stands out in this book is that Hamilton did not shy away from the grit that needed to be in this book to make this book not only believable but also unputdownable. This is fully a character driven book, yes there is some mystery as to why Nick is being asked to complete these tasks and who is this Darius Cole guy (he is explained in the book) but it more about Nick readjusting to being outside, trying to stay there and adapting to his new life and the tasks he is asked to complete. Now with many books where the main character is released from prison there are some cliche found here but even though they are cliche I think they hold a ring of real world truth, like the wife divorcing him and wanting to remarry or regretting the choices he made that landed him in prison. Sure similar books have this too but I think this just adds to the realism of the book.

Mason is an interesting anti-hero. He is willing do to anything to protect those he loves (he's loyal to a fault) and that includes murder, yep you read that right straight out murder, but he tries to keep to a certain type of rules and code to. Obviously this code/rules is hard to stick to when someone other than himself is giving the orders. The one thing that I did not get out of Nick’s personality was he goes from thief/robber to cold blooded murderer. Maybe Cole saw something in Nick that we as the reader are not aware of but it just doesn’t fit his previous profile. However, it is intriguing to see how much Nick does change from the beginning to the end of the book and it was quite a ride.

I’m extremely happy this did not have a cookie cutter ending where everything works out, if it did not only would I have liked the book less but in the scheme of the plot it would not have made sense to be tied up nicely in the end. I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this series.

Great start to a series. Nick is an awesome character who really is the main focus of this book and Hamilton does him justice in his development and story. I will unqestionalby be picking up the second book in this series.

Enjoy!!!!
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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Amanda Stevens: The Visitor

This is the fourth book in the series so you will want to read the first three (The Restorer, The Kingdom and The Prophet) in order to understand Amelia her powers and rules as well as how her relationship with Devlin developed. Plus The Restorer is a great read and interesting story and I highly recommend it.

Amelia Gray is known as The Graveyard Queen for a reason; she is a professional graveyard restorer, restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries and cemeteries is where she feels most at home. When legend of the Krill cemetery enters into Amelia's life she knows that she needs to solve the endless amount of puzzles that it holds as it is unlike any cemetery she has ever been in before. However, unravelling the secrets that this cemetery holds will come at a terrible price and hit closer to home than Amelia ever thought possible.

I will be the first to admit that it has been many years since I have read the first three books in this series but other than a few relationship events with Devlin, that I could not quite remember, I did not find that I was lost in the content of the story as Stevens did a good job of reintroducing information and Amelia, her ability, the rules and the ghosts without feeling that she was rehashing the previous three books.

I have not read a ghost based story in some time and I was re-enthralled with this series, I really enjoyed this book. It had twists, turns, ghost, suspense and mystery all thrown into it and fit did not need a recent body count to achieve this (though not for lack of trying at times this book is more centered on the mass sucided that ocurred decades ago. With this there were some fairly dark elements that are slightly glazed over at times, that you may blink and miss them, but I appreciated that they were there. I think that Stevens did an amazing job with showing that it is not just the ghosts and demons that cause all the pain and suffering but there is a human element to it all as well. I also was not able to figure everything it with all the twists and red herrings that Stevens has throughout the plot so when I am unable to figure everything out I always enjoy the book more.

The previous two books have hinted that Amelia has more power that she knows, but this book really sets that in to motion. Amelia finally feels ready to accept these gifts and additional powers even if it means giving up the rules that she has lived with her whole life. I cannot wait to see what additional "powers" that Amelia has. Devlin and Amelia's relationship struggles quite a bit in this one and I will say that this is something that all readers of this series knew was going to happen eventually as they has such different points of view. I'm glad that Stevens decided to address it sooner rather than later in the series.

Although it has been a few years I really am looking forward to continuing on with the next book in this series to see where Stevens takes it. Stevens has re-hooked me into this series.

Enjoy!!!!

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

B.A. Paris: Bring Me Back

B.A. Paris takes the reader to the on a journey where one man must decide between his first love and his new love:

Finn and Layla were young (though she was quite a  few years younger than him) and in love but on a drive home from a vacation they stop at a rest stop to use the washroom and when Finn comes out Layla is no where to be found. There is no sign of a struggle, no sign of where she could have gone, she has disappeared forever. Ten years later Finn is no engaged to Layla's sister Ellen who were drawn together over their grief of Layla's disappearance. Finn knows it must seem strange to people that he would be with his previous girlfriends sister but Finn also still feels close to Layla when he is with Ellen. Everything changes with one phone call where a person says they have seen Layla. So begins the strange events that start happening, finding Russian dolls every where and emails from a mysterious account that claims to be Layla. Finn doesn't know what to do or what to believe, could his long lost love really be back? What about Ellen the? Or is someone just playing an awful trick on him? Finn needs to figure everything out quick before he loses everything.

This is the third book that I have read by Paris and in my opinion it is the weakest of the three books. This is not to say I did not enjoy this book but I found that it was fairly slow, took me a bit to get into the overall plot and lacked the suspense of the previous two books. This book is mainly becomes a love triangle with the main character Finn and two sisters both of whom he loves but in different ways and at different times in his life. It comes to the point where he is forced to choose between them. So basically a love triangle with deadly consequences and so twist and turns along the way (thought I did figure out what was going to happen) but a love triangle nonetheless.

This does have classic Paris format where she goes between past and present which allows us to see the differences not only between Finn's relationship with Layla and Ellen  but also how different the two women are. We also get points of view from both Layla and Finn in the past and the course of events that takes Finn to his current predicament. 

It is hard to like Finn as how terrible he is towards many people in his current life especially his current fiance but I honestly don't think you are supposed to like him. Actually it is hard to like really any of the three main characters for many of the choices they have made and the actions they have taken against each other in both the past and present. It was really hard to choose someone to cheer for, I mean there are many times you feel sorry for Ellen but at the same time you want her to grow a backbone and take it Finn for the things that he does.

I know my review does not sound glowing but I did enjoy this book, it was one big soap opera and overall it is good read once you get into the story. But Paris has come out with yet has been as good as Behind Closed Doors, however, I will continue to read Paris' books as I do find myself enjoying them.

Enjoy!!!
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Friday, January 25, 2019

Ezekiel Boone: Zero Day

This is the third book in a trilogy so you are going to want to pick up those up first (The Hatching and Skitter) before you read this book and you'll probably not want to read this review either as there will be spoilers.

Ezekiel Boone is back with the conclusion of his Trilogy and its an all out battle of Humans vs Spiders:

The world is on the brink of total destruction, human are no longer the Apex predators on Earth, Spiders have invaded almost every part of the world now. The American government has started to take drastic measures in order to try to ensure Humanity's survival, but it all may just lead to them destroying themselves. There is a next step in the Spiders; plan, the release of the Queens, but the Queens may also hold the secret to saving them all. With everything on the brink of total collapse a few brave women and men attempt the impossible trying to save the human race from not only spiders but from other humans as well.

Personally I think that this book is the weakest of the three, which is really disappointing as I have enjoyed the previous two books. This is not to say that I did not enjoy reading this book I just felt like this story wrapped up too neatly. Sure there are some battles between the Humans and the Spiders, but we never really get to see the true power of any of the Queens. The Queens never get released to make their own havoc on the Human race. There was so much potential there and different directions that I wish Boone would have taken. Boone could have thrown a twist there in the end. Part way through the book you realize how well (and basically easy) this is going to work out that it becomes less suspenseful. I wish that Boone would have been a little more free with some of his characters to add to the suspense of who is going to get out alive. I was really missing the thrills and chills that the first two books in this series had.

This books had a lot less fewer points of view in the book the pets have mainly been condensed down to only a handful of people now. However, Boone does a good job of showing where these people are by the end of the book, even if it really no different than where they were the last book. One of my favourite additions to this book when it comes to perspectives is the Spiders. The Spider Queens knew what was occurring around them, some sort of their overall plan that they could share with each and their ability to learn as well. Often times we as humans think we are the apex predators, well these spiders show that that is not always true. This is why I wish the Queens really would have been unleashed

This book also explored some interesting political perspectives, initiatives and attempted overthrow of the government. It also showed how things can become divided very easily within the government as well especially on the military sides of things.

I really wanted to enjoy this book for the ending of a horror trilogy there was more that I wanted from this. I wanted more action, more uncertainty about the outcome to keep me guessing till the end. All that said I would read other books by Boone as well as series as the first two books here really do make your spine crawl.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Maureen Johnson: Truly Devious


In the first of a new series, Maureen Johnson takes readers to an elite school that is shrouded in myth, mystery and murder:

In Vermont there is a school for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists; Ellingham Academy. Not only is the school for the brightest but the grounds and buildings were built in the 1920s by Albert Ellingham who was always found of riddles and games. Shortly after the school is opened Albert is faced with a deadly riddle after his daughter and wife are kidnapped, sadly this is one game that where the crimes will go unsolved and Truly Devious is never found. Enter present day and True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell who is determined to be the first to solve the mystery.But Stevie was not prepared not only for the demands of school but for Truly Devious to make return and soon Stevie as more than one crime to solve.

This is the first book that I have read by Johnson so I was interested in seeing where she tool the premise of the book and how well it would unfold in the YA genre. This book was a joy to read as well as an easy read and hit me at the right time as i was looking for something along these line that was not all doom and gloom. This book really is a light read considering it is center around murders but I think how Johnson decides to tell the story made it feel this way.Johnson decided to give the information about the murder and missing persons case from the 1920, a mixture of events told from that time, interviews as well as the video production that Stevie finds herself a part of.

This book has your typical high school students stereotypes in it but a times takes them to the extreme as this school is supposed to have the best of the best in each subject or career path, so there are times when I found some of the secondary characters a bit annoying. Additionally as this book is based in high school you do have the moodiness of youth that age as well as some teenage drama with the main character, Stevie. I found that at times these events/emotions took away from what should be the primary premise of solving the 1930s murder and then the present day one as well. I think there is a part of Stevie that we as readers will all like and relate to. I mean isn't trying to solve the mystery in each book we read true crime or not part of the joy of reading? I know it is for me, this is why I really liked Stevie as a character Teen Drama and all.

Of course this book ended on a cliffhanger so that means that I am wanting to read the next book in the series, The Vanishing Star which is coming out later this year (2019). Even if there wasn't a big cliffhanger I would continue on just for Stevie.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Deon Meyer: Fever

Deon Meyer takes the reader to South Africa where the majority of the worlds population has been wiped out by a mysterious Fever:

Nico Storm and his father Willem are traveling through South Africa looking for a safe haven. As they pass ravaged town by ravaged town they do not see any hope in sight. Willem has an idea, start their own safe haven in a town that will soon be called Amanzi. They appeal to those who are of good nature and want to better not only themselves but others too. But as with all places that offer safe haven there are those who will prey on them and as towns become bigger and bigger there are always people who will disagree. This is Nico Storm's memoir of survival and the eventual murder of his father.

This was a pretty big change of pace for me, it was not so much action, suspense and darkness but more about a son and father trying to survive in a new world (but less dark and depressing than The Road). There is a mystery here so that really held my attention especially as Meyer mentions it very early in the book, but where Meyer really shines is in his storytelling and character development.

I really loved the multiple points of view as you got more of a perspective for each situations as well as getting to know the back story for many of the people who now lived at Amanzi. This was incorporate through the Amanzi history project which essentially was a recording of the personal experiences of the individual as they came to Amanzi. While the main narrator is Nico Storm (as this is his story to tell) he incorporates the recordings from the history project to both agree and disagree as to what actually happened. Much of the story takes place when Nico is a teenager so this did skew his perspective and as Nico is looking back telling this story it makes sense to add the additional information from mainly adults.

I liked that is was set in South Africa as this a different settling for me and I felt the wildlife and conditions of South Africa just seem more extreme to me than other places in the world. This perspective is probably dues to the fact that I have not had a chance to travel there yet (hopefully one day) but for me the setting was unique.

This book lets you know from the very beginning that Nico's father Willem Storm is going to be murdered and that even we have met the murderer along the way so it was very engaging to try and figure out who it was going to be. You start to weight each conversation that Nico had as well as the information that is shared through the history project. I did not see the twist coming at the end, so Meyer was very nicely able to surprise me which I always appreciate.

This is the first book that I have read by Meyer and I am very interested in checking out his other books. I really enjoyed his storytelling ways and his development of the characters in Amanzi. Highly recommended especially if you like books where society and the human race need to start over again. I honestly wish there was another novel after this one or even a novella to see where some of the main characters are now

Enjoy!!!
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