Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Molly Harper: Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men

First off, there is a first book to this series which is Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs. You may want to read the first book before this one, as it sets the scene for everything that has happened, how Jane became a vampire and the overall dynamic between Jane and her family is set within the first book. With that said, if you read below, there may be a few spoilers.

It's the wedding of the century, or at least it would be considered if you were Jolene and Zeb. They have decided to have a night wedding to accommodate their vampire brides maids and grooms men, though I am sure that Jane, Gabriel and Dick were wishing that they didn't. You think that a Titanic theme wedding Jolene and Zeb could have predicted that things would go wrong (Yes I did say Titanic Themed). While Jane is forced to help keep the loving couple together there are forces that even Jane does not want to mess with....Mama Ginger, who is frantically trying to end the wedding. Trying to balance wedding plans, Mama Ginger, and figuring out what dating the undead is all about you think that would be enough in Jane's life. But there is something strange about her Gramma's new fiance, something that Jane's family is probably not ready for. Oh and she is attempting to accomplish all of this while wearing the worlds Ugliest wedding dress, Jane hopes things don't get any worse but in Jane's life you really never know.

I think the best way to describe this book and series is Cute. This is pure paranormal romance. While in the first book there was some semblance of mystery in the second book, there is really nothing of the sort. Jane is trying to figure out her life still and what has taken center stage is her relationship with Gabriel. The book also focuses on the plans for the wedding of Zeb and Jolene, and all the crazy stunts Mama Ginger does through in her attempt to get Zeb and Jane together and cause overall mayhem from the Jolene as possible.

Although this is not my typical read in the paranormal genre and I know in the first I would use this book as an escape, the lack of mystery you think would have turned me off of the book completely, but for some reason I continued to read and found myself invested in the characters. I think it was just "time" for me to read a book like this and that is why I enjoyed it normally than I think I would. I enjoy the craziness associated with Jane's family and everything that Mama Ginger attempted to thrown the wedding off (I personally think I would have killed her if I was Jolene but her antics did leave me laughing so who could ask for more).

You get to see Jane and Gabriel's relationship develop the Love word is exchanged, but I really didn't get the love feel from their relationship, seemed forced if you ask me. Jane also has quite a bit of interaction with her family, which i find really interesting, in the overall family dynamic of it and how Jane has also been able to create her own undead family. I think the best part of Harper's writing style is the humour she uses though out the book. I find her pretty Witty, and funny throughout and the situations Jane seems to get into are pretty funny. I am also left wondering how she came up with all the antics that Mama Ginger did to cancel the wedding, made me think maybe she had some sort of personal experience on this part.

I did have a few issues with the book. The amount of times Jane used Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin to help her figure out what type of woman she wanted to be, became a little much. I understand that Jane Loves Jane Austin and all of her works, but I think using her books to help you in reality all the time is a little much. I also disliked that she let Gabriel get away from having a secret involving some woman named Jeanine. I think I disliked it even more as we do not find out what this secret is at all is this book. I kept wondering where Jane's backbone had gone to. And I believe that I stated above that the lack of mystery within the book, was disappointing as there was some in the first book, and I was hoping that Harper would have continued on with that type of story line.

If you are a fan of paranormal romance books, you will like this series. If you do not like paranormal romance, I suggest not reading past the first book, as this book lacks the mystery of the first.


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dakota Banks: Sacrifice

Okay, first off this a the Second Book in a series so you will Need to read the first book Dark Time, in order to truly understand what is going on in this series and understand who Maliha was and now is. Also there will be some spoilers below for the first book, so if you are interested in reading this series you Do Not want to read below.

Alright, now that the warning has been taken care of (read more at your own risk for spoilers) Dakota Banks is back with another intense novel, about one women's desire to make amends for the deaths she has caused in her extended ageless life on Earth, and her hope to eventually rid the world of demons who are forever meddling in the human world.

A cover up is happening in Africa. Villages are being burned to the ground, where none of the villagers are surviving. This mystery intrigues Maliha and may possible give her a chance to balance out her scales. However, Maliha has entered into a dangerous game, where there is a powerful company and possible ageless connection which puts everyone that Maliha cares about in Danger. Maliha will discover that her scales work both ways, if she is the cause of innocence's death. And through all the chaos happening, Maliha is on her search for more pieces to the puzzle that will help her eradicate the Demons once and for all. But if she thought this action would go unnoticed, she has a Roman Warrior Ageless to deal with at each turn, trying to prevent her from succeeding. Maliha is not sure if these two challenges will be the death of her, and Maliha knows that Rasishu is watching her every move and waiting for Maliha to come back to him dead or alive, the choice is hers.

I love this series. It's dark, gritty and with a take no prisoners attitude, with No Apology in sight for the storyline being this way. This fast pacing novel has lots of action throughout which will have you reading this book in one sitting. Definitely a book that I did not want to put down.

I know I have been saying how much I have been disliking the kick-ass heroine attitude lately, but the reason I think that I have been disliking them so much is that a lot of them complain nonstop (you have to know the few books/heroines like that) and they are so wrapped up in their men troubles that their character and the storyline suffers. I liked the direction that Banks has moved the book along, even though Maliha may have taken a step back in character development by some readers standards, I look at it as Maliha knowing what is needs to be done in order to get the job done. If she has to go back and become the Black Ghost in order to save her friends and the people in the world I say the more power to her. It is not like she is some frivolous girl who is trying to defeat the dark, she has been part of the dark and knows the best way to destroy them (isn't there a saying about knowing your enemy like a brother....).

I like that the book was not about her Maliha relationship with Jake. Some people who are a fan of more paranormal romance may have wanted more in this aspect. But I like how Maliha put the job, saving lives before the Guy (a refreshing change within the paranormal genre as a whole). The book has minimal interaction with Jake and I think she will have to address their relationship at a later date especially with the introduction of Lucious, but the reason I love Bank's first and second novel, is the romance is always in the background.

This one of my must read paranormal series, I really want to find out more and what will happen when her scales are finally balanced out. Banks novels keep you entertained, are action packed and, have that dark edge that I love. Banks, does not promise that everyone and everything will come out with a happy ending in the end, which is fantastic (in my opinion, i'm not a fan of the whole cookie cutter aspect) as it keeps the reader guessing and waiting to see what will happen in the end and who will be left standing.


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Monday, April 18, 2011

Robert Jackson Bennett:The Company Man

Robert Jackson Bennett, takes us to a 1920s world, where the one company controls everything, and the thoughts of a workers turn unionization to help protect their rights but this company will to anything to make sure this does not happen.

It is nearing the end of 1919, the world is controlled by the ever present McNaughton company. McNaughton is responsible for every big and desirable invention that has happened in the last 25 or more years, but at what cost? They have created the beautiful city of Evesden, but lurking beneath the streets is something dark and sinister as a trolley cart pulls into a station with 11butchered union men on board. The people are crying out for justice, that McNaughton is the cause but the police are powerless to persecute a company that has become a world super power. One man is assigned to the job of hunting down the union leaders and seeing them brought before the McNaughton company, but Cyril Hayes is not known for being a team player or caring which tactics get the job done. He has worked for McNaughton for years because they have helped fuel his addictions, but the mystery behind the McNaughton's inventions, the unions and deaths, is the most powerful addiction that Hayes has.

I actually did not realize that this book had a steam punk and sci-fi feel to it as nothing is mentioned about it in the premise of the book. I thought it was a mystery/thriller book that was based in the 1920s, people wanting to unionize and the companies doing what they could to prevent it. This is not to say that the sci-fi aspect is in your face all the time, it is more subtle and not a constant aspect other than Hayes abilities. This book is really about the Company vs. the Unions, and the battles that ensued as each side tries to promote their beliefs and survive.True the main character Hayes has the ability to mimic people and read people minds and emotions if he is in contact with them for long enough but I did not think Bennett would take the sci-fi aspect as far as he did.  I really liked Hayes "powers" within this book, at first I was not sure if he did have powers, I thought he was the master of manipulation and a chameleon which would have been powers in their own right, but add in alight mind reading ability and Hayes becomes a very qualified investigator and interrogator.

Bennett does a great job of building and describing this 1920s world, it was described in such a way that I would picture the city in only blue, white, gray and black shades a very bleak and powerful picture. The people and the world are desperate. There a huge discrepancy between the rich and the poor and the McNaughton company who monopolize it all. The city, the people and the world, are all controlled by the McNaughton corporation in some sense, everyone relies on their inventions, discoveries and wealth, that  people believe that they are unable to live without McNaughton. From the overall desperation of the people living in the Shanty area of town, to Hayes addictions to get some peace to Sam attempting to prove her worth and Garvey attempting to find some justice in the world. The book does have an overall depressing feeling about it, but there is hope in what the main characters investigation will present, one that is hopefully a better future. Bennett`s talent lies in his ability to create a world that you truly believe it was real and that his novel was the way things actually did happen in the past.

This book is full on conspiracy and the main characters do not know who they can trust, even each other. Garvey is a police officer whole is loyal to policing and believes not only the city as it once was, but in right and wrong. He is stressed and over whelmed by the amount of death that has occurred within his city (I believe the total stated is well over 400) but he feels helpless to prevent the act as well as solve the multiple homicides that reach his desk. He is searching for a way to make the city what it once was, could the answer lay within the unions, company or with Hayes in his backward (and often illegal way) of doing things. Then there is Sam, the one who is there to control Hayes, but no one can really do that. Sam is powerless most of the time as Hayes is just content to let Sam do all the research while he gallivants around town following the hunches that he gets. I actually questioned the introduction of Sam as a character, her main purpose is to do research however, I feel that this research could have been achieved by have Garvey completing more police work and becoming more of a main character. Perhaps Bennett did not wish to make the book into a police investigation one.

Hayes is the anti hero in this book. He is working for the McNaughton company, and he only does it because it helps him focus and keep the voices out of his head. He also has a major drinking and drug problem, he likes to chase the dragon throughout the book, thinking that it helps him with the voices and the cases. Hayes appears to be loyal to the company but you are never really sure, one thing you are sure of is that he is loyal to himself, first and always. Hayes knows that the drinking and drugs are slowly killing him, but you can feel his pain and his need to escape reality for just a short time. I like when Bennett divulged a little bit of Hayes past and how he came to be working for McNaughton. I also likes how Hayes need for the hunt into mysteries was also an addiction to him and made me think of police officers that become so obsessed with cases that they are unable to see anything else. This is a characterization that is not explored often enough in crime type novels. I understand that Hayes is not a police officer, but an investigator of sort.

The story leaves a little bit to be desired, it was a little slow at points and I found myself not with the huge need to continue reading the book at that moment, I was able to put it down and return to it at a later date. I think everyone wants to read a book that you cannot just walk away from, and for me this book lacked that aspect. I wish that Bennett would have ventured deeper into the hate that the unions had with the McNaughton company. I found that Bennett restricted Hayes and Sam too much through the McNaughton Corporation (though this may have been deliberate on his part to just show the control of the company, but I found this aspect did hurt the story). I also wonder if Bennett was trying to get his own point of view about technology and global warming across within the book (you will have to read the book to understand what I mean by this point, or maybe you will get an entirely different idea altogether).

All in all, a pretty good read and I think it would be a good book if someone is wanting to try out the steam punk genre or a book that has just a touch of sci-fi in it. I have actually heard that his debut novel Mr. Shivers is fantastic (sorry no review of this book quite yet). I find that Bennett`s eye for detail, world building and Hayes overall "powers" has left me intrigued and asking for more, so I think I will be picking up Mr. Shivers (or his next book) sometime soon.


Sorry I don't have any recommendations if you enjoyed this book or reviews, as I don't have anything quite like it on this site yet. Hopefully I will sometime soon. If you have read this book or Mr. Shivers, please let me know if you have any books you think that readers will also enjoy. Thank You!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Phillip Margolin: Wild Justice

Phillip Margolin, a former criminal justice attorney, brings his readers Wild Justice, where justice is never straight forward in and outside of the courtroom.

A haunting massacre awaits investigators near a cabin in the woods, the "works" of a mad man, a serial killer that has taken meticulous care to make sure that each of the victims suffered. Caught on scene and arrested is a brilliant but violent and drug abusing surgeon Dr. Vincent Cardoni. Cardoni hires the top lawyer in Frank Jaffe and his daughter Amanda who is fresh out of law school. Amanda gets chills every time she encounter Cardoni and she question whether she can do this. Can she defend a man who she believes is a serial killer? Could she really help set a monster free? Amanda's concerns are taken away from her, when Cardoni disappears under strange circumstances, and everything points to Cardoni as being dead. Now four years have passed, and the murders begin again. Has Cardoni returned? If yes how did he survive, and would he be even capable of committing the murders now? So the man hunt starts, all the law enforcement agencies are searching for him and coming up dry. Then the nagging question enters everyone's minds were they wrong was Cardoni is not the killer, and the real murder has been living in their midst the whole time.

This is an great book, a true psychological thriller. This book keeps you guessing to the end, with so many twist and turns you will always be second guessing who you think the killer actually is. You really get no true confirmation about who the murder is till the end of the book. There are so many good candidates for who the murderer is, which makes the book even more chilling, suspenseful and thrilling. I think that it is haunting that the book has so many options of who the killer could be, as there are clues and motives that point to all of them.

Amanda is a pretty well developed character, portrayed a little too girlish for my liking as she immediately falls for an old high school crush.  However, my main problem with Amanda is that she preforms duties way outside of that of a lawyer. I think Margolin was trying to make Amanda a Lawyer and an Investigator all at once. By not focusing on one title Amanda becomes a little bit of an unfocused character and in the end made me think (that in real life) she would not be a very good lawyer. This is an area where Margolin lost his focus a bit, and you think this would have been the strongest and well developed part of the book as Margolin used to be a criminal defense attorny.

You do get into the head of the killer, and just see how methodical the killing was. You get to read tidbits of the of the Killer's journal that give in detail the experiments that are being preformed on the victim. (Note, some of these scenes may be hard for some readers to read they are gory and a little bit graphic so if you have problems reading this type of thing this book is not for you) I believe that the journal entries add to the overall chilling feeling (but in a good way) that you get when you read this book and they add to the suspense and plot, as you really know why the right killer needs to be caught.

This was the first book that I have read by Margolin and it will not be the last especially in the Amanda series. I have bought the second book, Ties that Bind already and I hope to be reading it sometime soon (so many books so little time....)

Wild Justice is everything that a thriller reader could ask for, a suspenseful and skillful plot with chilling scenes. This book will leave you wanting more from Margolin.  Do not start reading this book at night, you will want to finish it, or keep your lights on for the rest of the night while you try to sleep.


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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nalini Singh: Archangel Consort

I'm Sorry to say that I do not have reviews on this website for the first two books. It has been too long since i read the first two book and I do not think that I could do any type of justice in describing the plot, characters and world that Nalini Singh has created. However, if you have not read this series I do recommend it and you can check out what some of my fellow blogger reviews of the book. 
Kristin From My Bookish Ways 
Jane From Dear Author
Okay with that stated (and hopefully read by you), there might be some spoilers from the first two books below, so if you are thinking of reading this series, you may not want to read below.

Elena and Raphael have returned to New York A rogue vampire has attacks an all girls school one where her step sisters go and it appears that one of them was the target. Elena is once again blamed by her father (and herself) for the the attacker on "his" family. But this turns out to be just the first of many brutal, vicious and impossible events happening around the world. No one knows what is causing them, though Elena seems to be a target more than once. Then a soft whisper in Raphael's head, his mother's voice. It appears his mother is awakening from her sleep, she was one of the most powerful Archangels that there has ever been, but she had gone insane before she went to sleep. She even tried to destroy her own son before she hid herself away. With all the death, torture, weird weather and all the Archangel's acting strange, it appears that his mother is waking up and no one knows what her state of mind will be. All they know that they need to find her and kill her if she is still insane, as she almost destroyed the world last time.

I know that I am not normally a fan of paranormal romance but this is one of the series that I make exception for. I have really enjoyed this series, I like that it is quite a bit darker than most paranormal romance books that I read, I also enjoy that there is some murder and mystery and really who wouldn't like to be an Angel Warrior.

I think the part that I liked the best about this book was the forward progression of the relationships within the book. Raphael's and Elena's relationship grows as they actually share stuff about each other, especially their pasts, there relationship evolved from one that was really physically based to one that was more emotional, and more real. Elena also becomes closer to her half sisters and step mother, and they too seem to welcome her into the family (well as long as her father is not around). I look forward to reading in the next book how each of these relationships grows.

Nonetheless, I think I have more negatives than positives for this book. I felt like this book was a filler book or something to that affect (think second Pirates of the Carribean movie, lol). I still love the characters and normally the Plot line, but most of the book just seemed like a precurser to things that never actually happened till the end of the book. I wish that she would have either made the book longer to incorporate something more than just Raphael's mother to awakening, or have taken the plot in a different direction.

I have enjoyed this series, becuase there has always been a mystery that needs to be solved, a killer to find,  plot lines. This book was about the strange occurances that were occuring with Raphael's mother waking and whether or not she will be sane when she wakes up and trying to find her before she wakes up. However, it is not Elena or Raphael that are looking for her, it is Raphael's Seven who are doing the searching (and no the reader does not get to take part or get the point of view from the seven in the search). I was just expecting so much more out of this book. There were just a series of events that lead to the next book, but I felt like nothing was really achieved within this book (other than the advancement of Elena's relationships). Nothing about the council changed, enemies are still enemies and individuals go unpunished. As I stated above it just felt like a filler book to me.

This, for me, is the weakest book of the series so far. I still love the characters and world that Singh has created. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance and even those who just like the paranormal genre. Yes there is romance within this book and series, yes there are sex scenes, however, the book is a lot darker and grittier than many of the paranormal romances out there.


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Monday, April 4, 2011

Layton Green: The Summoner

In his debut indie novel, Layton Green takes the reader to Zimbabwe where the government is corrupt and a new old religion has reemerged on scene with dramatic results and even the corrupt government is wondering how much power this religion will hold..

Dominic Grey, has traveled the world but has never found a place that he truly feels is home, as his childhood was not one he would wish on anyone. He is currently station in Harare Zimbabwe with the American embassy to provide investigative support and security detail for any of the embassy members. His is summoned to an investigation when an United States diplomatic goes missing while attending a African religious ceremony. However, Grey is forbidden to do any investigation outside of the Embassy alone, therefore his is assigned two partners. Nya who is the local government liaison who Grey is not entirely sure he can trust as she seems to be hiding something from him and she does work for a very corrupt government and Victor a cult expert, whom Grey just finds odd, imposing individual but odd. Grey has never been one to play by the rules, so forbidden or not, he search takes him to places through out Zimbabwe, with and without Nya, to discover what happened to the disappearing Untied states diplomatic and what Grey finds is nothing short of disturbing, shocking and impossible.

Green does a good job of describing the different African religions from this area, though I did find myself still a little bit confused around this topic as a whole (but as long as you understand the very basics about what Green wrote you will be fin reading this book). The part when the different religions is also when the books slows down a bit as you and the characters get a quick education and understanding of the different religions. This is some what needed within the book, however, it is slow nonetheless. This is also the readers first introduction to Victor who is a professor of religious studies more specifically a religious phenomenologist with an expertise on cults. Victor is an imposing individual, but you do not really get a sense of his true "power" until later in the book. I enjoyed how Green capitalized on Victor's dark past, to makes him more than just fascinated with the Juju religion.

As I have never been to Africa therefore, I have not been to Zimbabwe, I cannot say how accurate the description of the landscapes, street and people that Green has used. However, I could picture myself there when I was reading the book, and everything that Green introduces about Zimbabwe seemed realistic to me and not improbable. With an intelligent and sometimes witty writing style, that moves smoothly through out the book, Green is definitely able to capture a reader and with a plot that keeps the reader guessing, and full of suspense I don't think that readers today can ask for more.

Grey is a strong character, who have a black past and is always just searching for a place that he can call home. He does not like authority and wants to do anything he can to get the job done, and he is not above saying F*** You to the management if he believes he is doing what is right, especially if it is saving the helpless. I also liked that he had trained in a different form of marshal arts while living in Japan when her was younger. Green does a good job of showing how Grey's past has made him into the Man that he is now. 

Green explores the psychological affects that religions can have/use on their followers, in this case the use of fear.  At times reminded me of the witch hunt where individuals were willing to watch innocent individuals being murdered right before them and praising "God" the whole time. I think that Green explores this unique experience extremely well and it was a new subject for me to read about, which is why I enjoyed it that much more. Green also explores the psychological idea of the Mob mentality, where a Mob acts as one and an individuality is lost. This is where what an individual would see as bad in a normal occurrence, does not have the same thoughts while part of a Mob, they have lost their identity, the Mob is now their identity.

Green keeps you guessing as to who the N'anga is  and who works for him. The N'anga is a very sinister individual,who Green did a great job of keeping the N'anga mysterious and only revealing information about him that the characters in the book are able to find out. This book is all about Suspense and keeping the reader and the characters on their toes. As Zimbabwe is a very corrupt political scene within the novel, Grey and Nya are unsure who they can, even each other comes in to question especially Nya as she works for for people who are not to be trusted. Zimbabwe has been corrupted by money and power, therefore, individuals will do anything to achieve them.

Okay the cover may not be that great (okay it really needs to be improved), but the book speaks for itself once you read it. I look forward to Greens next novel and the exploration of different religions from around the world, and how they have been corrupted into something that may or may not have been intended. Anyone looking for a Psychological Mystery Thriller and a New (and I think upcoming) author then this book is for you.


Note: There are some gruesome aspects within this novel. If you are unable to read about animal sacrifice, torture or a child abuse, (though it is a slight amount of this last topic) then this book is not for you. The events are not overly descriptive in each of these aspects, but I still think that some individuals may have a problem with them.

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