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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Friday, August 23, 2019

Don Winslow: The Power of the Dog

First I want to thank Char's Horror Corner for reading, reviewing and then recommending this book to me. 

Don Winslow shows the readers what the war on drugs really looks like:

Alright normally I would write the premise of the book here but this book is fairly complex and truly the  war on drugs is what this book is about, when, where and why it started are all covered in this book but it is so much more than that. You as the reader get to know each side of that story and the characters that go along with it. I do not think any premise I write would do this book justice or show the complexity that this book has, so I'm just going to use the premise that Winslow (I'll assume) approved to be used for the book:
"Art Keller is an obsessive DEA agent. The Barrera brothers are heirs to a drug empire. Nora Hayden is a jaded teenager who becomes a high-class hooker. Father Parada is a powerful and incorruptible Catholic priest. Callan is an Irish kid from Hell’s kitchen who grows up to be a merciless hit man. And they are all trapped in the world of the Mexican drug Federación. From the streets of New York City to Mexico City and Tijuana to the jungles of Central America, this is the war on drugs like you’ve never seen it."


Wow, it has been awhile since I have read a book like this and awhile since a book blew me away like this one. From start to finish I was hooked on reading and though there are times where I felt the need to look away I did not, I needed to know what was going to happen next. This book is BRUTAL and I mean that as a very high compliment. Winslow is not afraid to tell it how it was (is?) or sugar coat any of the facts or what it was like in Mexico and USA at the time this book takes place. You need to prepare yourself before you read this book. There are going to be actions, scenes and outcomes that are brutal, disgusting and crazy but it speaks to Winslow not wanting to gloss what happen, these were people's lives back then and it was (and still is) a deadly game.


You can tell that Winslow did his research and knows his stuff around the drug trades, DEA, corruption, money laundering and the brutality that the Cartels and the Mob use to get the job done. I will be the first to admit that I did not know much about the war on drugs between Mexico and USA until I watched Mexico Narcos on Netflixs (which I watched before this book and really this book blows that show away, which is saying something as that show was amazing too). You can also see the similarities between the two as several things happen in Winslow's book that are also featured some what on the show. Now don't go saying that Winslow copied Narcos Mexico, the book was released in 2005 way before the show, what Winslow uses to frame the scope and plot of the book are the actual events that are presented in the show and not the show itself, so yeah once again Winslow did his research.

I liked the multiple points of views, from the DEA agent Art Keller to The Barrera brothers to the Mob in NYC to everything in-between, you really get an idea of the scope of the drug and police operations (and at times lack there of) that were occurring out of Mexico and the United States. Winslow tries to cover all of that in this book and I will say he succeeded. Due to the ground that Winslow covers in the book, it should not come as a shock that there are multiple points of view and this was really the only way to truly tell this story. And this book is not just one story but multiple ones that intersect more than once over the time span of the book.

This series lived up to the recommendation and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series. I look forward to see where the story goes from here, I'm totally hooked.

Enjoy!!!
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Friday, August 16, 2019

Keri Arthur: Cursed


This is the second book in Keri Arthur's Earth and Air series, Unlit is the first book but there is no connection to the first books in the series. I enjoyed the first, so if you can pick it up too.


Keri Arthur enters back into the world of Earth and Air but something is draining the Earth of it's magic:

Whomever draws the sword from the Glass Throne is destined to be the next ruler and bring peace and prosperity to Cannamore. For thousands of years that individual was the first born son but Princess Nyx Bel-Hannon is not male and not the first born but she and not her brother was able to draw the sword. As this defies tradition and her father's plans Nyx is forced into silence and her powers muted. But darkness is starting to flow across the land, The Earth is losing her power, her voice and those in power continue to ignore it. As punishment for a crime Nyx is sent to the front lines to battle of the battlefield in the hope that she will be killed but Nyx has extremely different plans. To free herself from the bonds that tie her and to take her rightful spot on the throne and to save the land that she loves.


Although this was the second book in this series, you really could lead it as a stand alone. I actually do not know where in the timeframe this book takes place after the first, maybe thousands of years later or maybe just a distant land. We are really given no frame point, which I am kind of disappointed in as I enjoyed the first book. There are some similar themes between the two book such as being an outcast, never truly fitting in, hiding/concealing true power, fears of discovery, flaunting authority etc. Additionally, the creatures are similar to the first one, bug like creatures that live within the Earth and want to rule all. As it was similar to the first I felt like I knew what was going to happen as after reading this book it does not feel completely unique as I found the first.

Nyx is a great lead character, and hardly the princess that anyone expects her to be (really they think she is a trollop who will sleep with anyone). Nxy was never the daughter that her father wanted and with her mother dead, he takes full advantage of his power over her. The hatred that Nyx has to her father and brother is really what she uses to survive as long as she did and her thirst for revenge. She does not trust anyone, other than herself, and she can come across as spoiled at times in her comments as she thinks she knows best but she is really just trying to protect herself. What I liked about Nyx was her resilience to be true to herself when she could, as well as, never forgetting what has happened to her and powering through it all to learn new skills and help others. 


As this was a Keri Arthur book I knew that there was going to be some type of romance in the novel, however, I was pretty surprised how the romance is downplayed, really  more flirting and sexual tension for the most part. This probably has much to do with Nyx's past and what she was forced to do as her father could control her. However, there is quite a bit of talk /innuendos about man parts and sex.


This was a good read and an interesting different, but yet the same, take on the world that Arthur has created (still wishing there was more connection to the first). Nyx was the standout for me in this book, kind of like Neve in the first book in the series. I look forward to picking up the third book in the series.



Enjoy!!!
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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Wendy Walker: The Night Before

In her new book Wendy Walker takes a look at what happens when meeting someone online for a date goes terribly wrong:
Laura Lochner has never had any luck with men or love, starting from when she was a child. She remembers her childhood as always being second to her older sister Rosie and that her parents loved Rosie more than her but it never stopped Laura from looking for love. This trend has followed her into adult life, always falling too hard, too fast for the wrong man. Laura has decided to change her approach and be a different Laura after another heartbreak. She decides to go on a blind online date with Jonathan Fields. The problem is Laura doesn't come home that night. Her sister Rosie fears the worst, there are some violent events in Laura's past that have never been explained and Rosie worries that this might be another one. Where is Laura and who is this Jonathan Fields, Rosie is determined to find out what happened The Night Before.
I am a Big Fan of Walker, I loved her first two books, especially her debut All is not Forgotten, but for me this book is the weakest of the three. This is not to say that I did not enjoy this book in the end, I just enjoyed the previous two more. I found this book hard to really become engaged with the characters and story until over half the book was done as there were times it failed to hold my attention. And I will admit that I almost didn't finish reading it but I knew there had to be something big in the end, and there was, I personally was able to see it coming, but the twist was there. I just felt like Walker has a lot more to give and there was something lacking or even cliché about this book.

For some reason I could not become invested in either Laura or Rosie. Yes, I felt sorry for Laura at times, but at the same time I found that she acted more like a teenager than an adult. I also found her thought process became too repetitive throughout the book, about not trusting her emotions or instincts, when those things had saved her time and time again. She was trying to be a completely different person in a moment when she knew that she shouldn't. Rosie I just felt came off as a whiny character, and I do not think that her perspective in the book really brought anything out in the story, other than it is her, her husband Joe and their long time friend Gabe who are actively looking for Laura. I'm not sure who Walker could have used instead for the present point of view but I just wasn't feeling Rosie

The one thing that I love about Walker is how she has decided to tell her stories. I love the back and fourth between the past and present and how the past slowly catches up to the present timeline. I find that this adds to the overall suspenseful feeling that you are supposed to feel while you are reading her books as you greatly anticipate what it going to happen next, what will Walker reveal.


While not my favourite book that Walker has written, it was able to grab me more in the latter half of the book. I know that this will not stop me from reading her novels and I anxiously await the next book that she releases. Pick up this book if you like more of a psychological suspense or domestic suspense read.
Enjoy!!!
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Thursday, August 1, 2019

Holly Black: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Holly Black takes readers to Coldtown, where Vampires rule, human are there for their blood but hoping to make the eternal turn:


It was supposed to be just another summer party, that was until a window was left open by mistake. Tana awakes in the bathtub, and thinks it must have been some party. As she leaves the bathroom, things do not make much sense, where is everyone? When she enters the living room, she sees the horrors that unfolded in the night. All her friends are drained of blood, there is chaos everywhere. As Tana struggles to come to terms with what has happened she hears cries for help from the bedroom. Her ex-boyfriend is there tied to the bed, bitten and the soon to be snack for the vampire chained in there. Tana has a decision to make, does she flee and try to find help but risk Adian dying or help those in the room. Tana chooses to stay and help which changes her life is forever.


This was a good read, what would have made this an exceptional read is not having the main female character fall for the crazy vampire (and I mean legit crazy, was tortured to be crazy and now has very few sane moments). I get that this romantic connection or fascination that Tana feels towards Gabriel fuels many of the decisions that Tana makes and even to some extent Gabriel too but urggghhh I just don't get it. I get that Black was trying to un-pretty the vampire genre a bit when this book was written, but she still had this dysfunctional relationship in here book but all the vampires are still beautiful. While the setting of a Coldtown is nothing fancy sound more like a slum at points, the Vampires themselves are still beautiful. Other than that I really enjoyed this book.


In this world when you are bitten by a Vampire you have 87 days to not drink human blood. If you make it that long you don't turn you go back to human (I believe, not sure if you are forever changed but the hunger will have passed). The catch is the longer you stay "cold" the more you thirst for blood and basically become crazy with the need of it, so I'm guess not a lot make it that far. Hence the need for the creation of Coldtowns. A place where people can go after they are bitten so that they do not harm anyone else. Problem is once you enter a Coldtown it's almost impossible to get out, for a human.


Black’s concepts of coldtowns was interesting with the perceived safety and regulations they present to the human populations. The have created a reserve type system but with way more regulations and lacking of some modern conveniences and foods. It was also interesting that some of the towns were just created while the human population was still living there so you have people that will never be able to escape. Black also did a great job at highlighting the use of social media and how this affects not only how people think but act as well, and the misrepresentation that is often presented in this medium, not everything is rainbows and gum drops which many of our characters quickly learn. Additionally, some of the vampires have used social media in order to not only promote themselves, but entice humans to come join them in Coldtowns where they do need a constant supply of blood. I think that this quite smart of them, using social media to create a fascination with them and to keep the blood supply up, even though the older Vampires did not see it this way.


Tana is a character you can really feel for and get behind (you know minus the whole falling for the crazy vampire thing, but she is a teenager, so I guess that is excepted). She is loyal, take charge, brave and will do what is best for others before herself. She is always on the lookout for her younger sister and wants to make sure that she is protected and she makes quite a few of her decisions, especially in the beginning of the book, with this in mind.


I'm not sure if this book will pan out to be a series or not but I think there are some elements here that could be further explored and I would pick up the book if there was a second. That said the book did come to a conclusion and overall I did enjoy the book especially Black's writing style.


Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Kelley Armstrong: City of the Lost

In the first book in a new series Kelley Armstrong takes readers to Rockton Yukon where a town full of secrets has a murderer among them:

Casey Duncan is homicide detective that who holds a secret, she committed murder when she was in college. The man she murdered was the grandson of a mobsters and she knew that one day it would catch up to her. So started the self destructive tendency of her life of playing Russian roulette of what she had done. And it does catch up to her and almost kills her, but her friend Diana has a plan. Diana is on the run from her abusive ex-husband who has been stalking her; A town names Rockton. You must apply to live there and if you are accepted you must leave all your old life behind you. Casey isn't the best candidate, they do not take murderers, but she is something the town needs, a homicide detective.

I have always liked Armstrong as an author, though I will admit it has been a few years since I have read any of her series but I am so happy to find this series as this book was amazing in my opinion. I love a small town as they always seem to have some mysterious secrets well in Rockton everyone has secrets so I knew i was going to like this book. People leave their old life and ways behind them when they come to Rockton so it is a secret as to why each person is there  and their reason can vary so much that no two people are alike or have the same backstory. Some are white collar criminals, some are fleeing stalker or abusive husbands, some are fleeing the law but are actually innocent. Rockton is supposed to provide them with a fresh start. It’s like Armstrong personally asked me what I would like to see for a setting of a book and totally delivering on it. I could not have done it better myself (you know if was actually an author who was on the NY times best seller list lol).

I found the plot intricate, compelling and sophisticated all at once as Casey wades through the information she receives and having to do detective and forensic work the old fashion way. I think that is what really stands out in the book, there are no labs to run tests on samples found it is good old fashioned detective work of putting the pieces together so they are able to track down their killer. This helps set this book apart from others written these days taking detective work back to its roots but in a modern way as well. Let’s say there is no DNA or forensic evidence coming that is going to change everything or put the pieces together. This back to basics approach that Armstrong decided to take was really refreshing.

As this town is small 200 people you are introduced to the murderer along the way it is up to the reader to figure out who. I will say I was able to figure it out. I wasn’t always 100% confident in what I was thinking as Armstrong does a good job of making a lot of people suspects but in the end I was right. There were also some secondary story line twists that I did not see coming at all and Armstrong does a good job of intertwining these events  into the main plot line and mystery. Yes, there is some romance aspect that is put in to the book that did take a bit away from the overall plot but at the same time I can see why it happened, I mean it is a town of 200 and women are in the minority so it was bound to happen.

I really enjoyed Casey as a character, her morals and self destructiveness were are interesting combination as well as her continuing to pursue becoming a police officer. I like that Armstrong did take time to flesh out her back story as who Casey is now is very much dependent on her past, and her reasons for coming to Rockton. Through Casey we are able to get to know some of the other people in the town and due to the fact that she is a homicide detective we get to know why some people are there and it shapes her opinion of them and the council.

This is an awesome start to a new series. It had everything I wanted and then some for a mystery/thriller read. Armstrong knows how to set the stage and keep the story not only flowing but interesting as well. I know I’m invested in Rockton now and cannot wait to read the next book.

Enjoy!!!!
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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Hell Divers Wolves

This is the Fourth book in this series, so you will want to read the first three (Hell Divers, Ghosts, Deliverance) in order to understand this world and well not have some major spoilers from this book. Also this series is amazing, one of my favourites that I have been reading the past few years, so yeah you should just go pick it up. Also don’t keep reading as major major spoilers if you haven’t read the previous 3.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith returns to the original premise of the series of trying to find a place for humans to survive on the desolate Earth:

The Sea Wolf helmed by X and Magnolia set out for their search of the mysterious and deadly Cazadores and their metal island. The ocean is a vast place but X has been there before traveling across what was once the United States, he has the time, patience, and skill to match anything that the ocean can throw at him, or does he. Brutal storms, sea monsters, and the cannibalistic Cazadores may be the least of their worries as the discover what really caused the wars and left mankind struggling for survival in the air. One thing is for sure if X can find those in the air a new home he will, no matter what the cost.

Ah how I love this series, it is amazing and I will not stop singing praises for it. This book had action, twist turns,  suspense, character development and in true Sansbury Smith fashion you never know who is going to make it out in the end. I liked that Sansbury Smith decided to change things up a bit as the mainland was getting so boring (not really but I liked the new direction) and what better way than to have the Hell Divers end up on the Ocean. Sansbury Smith is known for his imaginative creatures on land, so just think what he can come up with in the Ocean, now think scarier and bigger and you're almost there. I also think many of the readers of this series have questioned, how did we as a species get here, why did the world go to hell and why did people flee to the skies. Well four books in and it was nice to get some answers that were more indepth than the little that the AI Timothy could provide. 

This book has a lot of focus on X as he is now. In the previous book we got to see how X changed and became the man he is so it was nice to have this new X be more of a focus in this book. X is the ultimate survivor and fighter and though he may not see his life in the sky anymore as he has spent too many years away plus he prefers his dog Miles to people, he still has those he cares about in the sky that he wants to protect. We also have more focus on Mags in this book and I am happy that she has come more to the forefront as a character.

We are first introduced to the Cazadores in the previous book and X’s previous encounters with them as well as the shock that some humans have been able to survive on Earth. If it's one thing I have noticed in all of the Sansbury Smith books I have read, there are some truths woven in to the story of apocalyptic adventure, so you know that he has well thought out and researched a possibility of the Cazadores and their survival.

One of the most interesting post-apocalyptic series out there and one of my favourite series in general. As long as Sansbury Smith keeps writing this series I will read it. Now on to book 5, Captives.

Enjoy!!!!
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