Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Maegan Beaumont: Carved in Darkness

In her debit novel Maegan Beaumont introduces the reader to the darkness and how the darkness shapes who we are.

Melissa Walker was kidnapped 15 years ago when she was 17 years old. For 83 days she was tortured, raped and left in total darkness in order for her kidnapper to play his sick game. One day he goes too far and leave her dead in a deserted church yard, but unknown to her kidnapper against all odds she has survived. She has spent her life changing from Melissa who she perceives as weak to Sabrina Vaughn a strong hard as nail homicide inspector. With a new name and face Sabrina believes that she has put the past behind her but when she notices someone from the small town she grew up in, the one that she was taken from, she knows that the past is catching up to her, but this time she is more prepared, she knows that she can survive the darkness, but that is not the only game that the killer knows how to play.

First off, don't start reading this book at night; it starts out with the victim being total darkness and being hunted in a game by the killer as he rapes and tortures her (and yes she does go into detail) so you will be checking your doors and windows to make sure you are secure in your house (but are you really?) and two you'll be in for a long night as you are not going to want to put this book down, as the story unravels you will find yourself drawn more and more into the story.

This book is a Fantastic/Awesome Thriller that had me on the edge of me seat the entire time, that had me hard pressed to put the book down. It is a complete adrenaline ride from start to finish. There just never seems to be a great place to stop reading. Beaumont's writing is Dark, Scary, Gritty, Chilling and Gruesome which is everything I want in a serial killer thriller book. Beaumont does not hold back when she writes and is not afraid to take the story and her characters to their limit and she does it in a style where you feel like you are in the room with the characters and feeling their experiences which gets the heart going.

I like Melissa/Sabrina as a character, you can really see the contrast of before and after and how being in the darkness and under going the torment changed and shaped her into an entirely different person. However, you can tell that there is really part of Sabrina that wishes that she could go back and be Melissa again, especially the emotional part, to be able to feel vulnerable and love around the people that she cares about. I think that Beaumont did a good job of portraying Sabrina's PTSD and that even fifteen years later she still has the panic attacks especially around October first. I also enjoyed that Beaumont took the time to show some scenes from the killer's point of view and his obession with finding another Melissa and that is what keeps him going.

I was shocked to learn that this was Beaumont's debut novel and overall, there is nothing too original within the overall premise of the story, but Beaumont wrote this novel like she had been doing it for years. Not introducing anything new has worked to Beaumont’s advantage as she has written a better thriller novel than some of the big names out there. I cannot believe that this is her debut novel. I appreciated too that the ending may not be what people think it will be and it was nice to keep guessing till the end

This is one of the best debut thriller novels that I have ever read (I do not think I have been this excited about a debut thriller novel since Shadow Man by Cody McFadyen). Beaumont is not afraid to go into the dark parts of the human mind and put them on paper and I thank her for that. I cannot wait to read another book by Beaumont. If you are looking for a fantastic thriller make sure to pick up a copy of Beaumont’s book on May 8, 2013, you will not be disappointed and remember to keep the lights in when you read it.


Note: There are some violent and graphic scenes of torture that occur and are described within this book
If You Like This,
Check These Out Too:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kat Richardson: Greywalker

In the first novel in her Greywalker series, Kat Richardson explores the world of the Grey, where everything that goes bump in the night and more reside.

Harper Blaine is a private investigator and that role may sound sexier than it is, Harper knows that the main part of her job is a lot o research and paper shuffling but she loves her job. Every once in awhile though her job will take her into the world to arrest or track down a bad guy. This is how Harper ended up in the hospital and some broken bones and bruised skin is not all that happened to her, she actually died for two minutes and that death has caused her to come back as a Greywalker. Able to cross over into the grey and with this new curse (as Harper sees it), she feels she is no longer in control of some of the aspects in her life as she is unwilling to give herself over to the Grey. As Harper struggles to come to terms with being a Greywalker, she finds that she is being drawn into the Grey world, whether she likes it or not and she is going to have to concur her fear soon if she has any hope of surviving. 

I have such mixed feelings about this book. I really loved the premise and idea around the Grey (I mean something new in the paranormal genre is awesome), I also really like Harper as a main character and her struggles to comprehend a world and new abilities (or curse) that she never would have dreamed of; however, I found this book painfully slow and forcing myself to read it (it basically became a chore).

I think that Richardson just took things too slowly with all aspects of the plot. The novel starts off with a bang with the assault on Harper, but then the book drastically slows down after that. Part of this was to be expected while Harper tries to figure out what is wrong with her, and how much the assault really affected and changed her, but it just seemed like it was a never-ending process. I am not saying that Harper should just accept things right away, actually opposite to that, but I think that Richardson needed to pair the slow process of Harper developing her "powers", with more action and fast moving pace within in her two ongoing investigations. Needless to say, everything was just overall slow and I felt more often than not that I just wanted to stop reading this book and move onto something better (but I did stick it out, just took awhile to read). If you need a book to grab your attention right away then I do not think this is a book for you. While the first few pages are action packed as Harper attempts to get away from her attacker, the next 150 pages are fairly slow and at times it was a struggle for me to pick the book up to read it. Within the last 50 pages the book does attempt to redeem itself but in 350 page book only the last 50 are fast moving, I do not think it will hold too many readers' attention.

I was super excited to read about the Grey, a different world that exist inside our own, where all the things of the paranormal reside and that some are able to cross over into our world and some are not. When Richardson would describe the grey I was actually able to picture it on more of a grey scale look to it and you were able to feel that it was a darker place for darker being. It was the Grey and the Greywalker aspect that originally attracted me to this book. I think as the series progresses more and Harper becomes more comfortable with what she is there will be more and more interaction with the Grey and what that world is like. I think Richardson did a good job of keeping the reader interested in this aspect but just showing a peek into that world.

I really liked Harper as a character, I think that the reader gets a real sense of her struggle, her fear of the Grey and everything that it stands for, but at the same time willing to risk her life to help others out; now that is the stuff of a true heroine.

I was excited that Richardson wanted to introduce something new into the paranormal genre but overall this book fell below my expectations. It has an interesting idea but I felt like I just kept waiting for something interesting to happen with the characters, the plot, the Grey anything really and with all this waiting reading this book became more of a chore. I really don't know if I will pick up the next book in the series, this book had such promise, right now i'm just disappointed that Richardson could not follow through.


Instead Of This,
Check Out These Books:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Jess Haines: Hunted by the Others

In her debut novel Jess Haines introduces readers to Private Investigator who lives in a world with vampires and werewolves but she is very afraid of, but sometimes you have to face your fears in order to pay the bills.

Shiarra Waynest works as a private detective for the her own company H&W Investigations and so far she has been able to stay away from the work that would have been provided by the paranormal community because although they have been accepted by society (well minus the White Hats) Shiarra is terrified of the paranormal especially their ability to look human most of the time. However, Shiarra was unaware that the business was failing and her best friend and business partner had been footing the bill for the extra expenses for awhile now. When Shiarra is approached by a high-level mage to recover an ancient artifact that is owned by one of the cities most well known vampires Alec Royce, she tries to put all her fears behind her in order to help out the business, which is easier said than done. Shiarra finds herself as the middle point for the war between different paranormal groups as well as the White Hats she does not know what to do. The White Hats and all the paranormal groups are all trying to get a hold of the same artifact in order to increase their power, and will stop at nothing to get it. Shiarra realizes that she was right to fear the paranormal and the unknown world around her.

Overall I found this book was just okay. I think that it would be a good book for someone to start out with if they wanted to try out the paranormal genre. There are some very similar ideas within this book and Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series and I would classify this book as Anita Blake light, as I found it lacked the dark and gritty aspects of the earlier Anita Blake series. Therefore, I would classify this book as Urban Fantasy Light.

I found the main character Shairra a little bit too whinny for my taste, this is not to say that I did not like that she was afraid of the Others, I think that was interesting and different, what I did not like was the constant whinnying ("Why do I have to do this?", "Why do I have to do that?"), just not how I wanted to the main character to be like. I would have been okay if she was just afraid but this went beyond that. Shairra was the one that took the job for the Others (by one of the top Mages in the Circle nonetheless) and when everything blows up and you are fighting for your own and your friend's lives, there is no doubt that a little complaining would have been okay, but it was a constant aspect with her. She should have been doing something about it, trying to figure a way out of the mess. I think that Shairra was the weakest aspect in this book for me. This is not to say I wanted her to be the Kickass, know it all heroine that are very popular these day, just a touch more confident and less whiny would have been nice, like when she had the belt on (I really like the hunter behind the belt). However, I will say that Shairra was able to eventually muster up the courage to do something but I wonder if it was her acting or the belt ( I loved the belt, I think I just really want one for myself)

Additionally, I could have done without the Werewolf - Vampire - Human love triangle that seems to be appearing, and left me wondering have I read this before, oh wait I have, in Hamilton’s series. There was just a lack of overall originality within this series and when a subject like the paranormal genre becomes over saturated your need to do something different in order to stand out, and I felt like Haines was not able to achieve this.  I think my favorite part of the book was the vampire hunter belt, which was really the only new aspect in the book. The belt was very cool, and interesting and I look forward knowing more about the hunter who owned it previously. However, when my favorite part of a book is a belt/weapon it says something about the rest of the novel, I don’t know if the belt is enough to bring me back.

I think that those who are looking to get into the paranormal genre may want to start here, however, for me who has been reading in this genre for years now there was nothing really new within this novel that makes me want to stand up and shout out about it. It is a pretty light easy read, that I may visit again when I need a break from something that is dark and gritty but even then I'm not sure if I will remember to pick up the next book in this series.

Instead Of This,
Check Out These Books

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Linwood Barclay: Fear the Worst

Linwood Barclay is an author known for his thrillers, and here Barclay delivers the mystery of a missing girl who no one seems to be able to explain why she is gone.

Tim is just an average guy, he sells Hondas during the day and takes care of his teenage daughter Sydney at night and he kind of gets along with his ex-wife’s boyfriend and his son Evan (even though he does not like the idea of Sydney and Evan living under the same roof). Things are peaceful and getting back to normal after the divorce. Then one day Sydney vanishes into thin air, there is nothing to say that she was abducted or just decided to run away, the trail is cold. Tim refuses to believe that Sydney would just disappear and spends most of his days and nights searching for his daughter, unaware that there is something more going on in his town, events and practices that people will kill to make sure they never comes to light.

I had really high expectations for this author, and maybe it is part of the hype that has surrounded him or even on the cover where it stated that Barclay was Canada’s best thriller author but I personally think that Barclay did not deliver as well as I wanted him to. The book is well written and has a good flow, despite the fact that I found there were points within the book that were slow. Approximately the first half of this book is very slow and it took about 250 pages for things to get interesting and have the plot begin to move along and the last 100 pages get really really interesting as everything comes to light. However, due to the fact that it took 250 pages to get me invested in this book I could see some readers putting the book down.

I will say that Barclay knows how to do mystery, I am not too sure about the thriller part (I never felt like I was on the edge of my seat while reading this book), but mystery is where Barclay excelled in this book. I was really intrigued about why Sydney was missing and whether it was on her own accord or if she was abducted. I think that Barclay does a good job of keeping the reader guessing as to what clue will be uncovered next in Tim's search for Sydney. However, a few of the clues or leads that were a bit predictable or went in the direction I thought they would and you have to wait for Tim to catch up. Nonetheless, Barclay did a good job of having Tim discover false or misleading information that kept Tim and reader guessing. Additionally, as you continue to read you realize that there is more than one mystery that is unfolding with the information that Tim is able to obtain and you have no idea how everything is going to intersect till the end.

Tim overall was an interesting character. You can feel his struggle to keep going on his search for Sydney even when there are no clues for him to follow. The constant midnight drives just searching for her, but knowing that he has to get up to work the next day to keep paying the bills so that Sydney will have a home to come back to. I think the best way to describe Tim is a dog with a bone; you just cannot take that type of drive away from a person who is willing to keep searching no matter what. Tim also develops new characteristics throughout the book and does things that he would question in any other circumstance, but this is about finding his daughter and he will do anything to achieve that. I think how Tim develops and changes throughout the book were realistic and part of his own personal survival instinct.

I thought this book was going to be a thriller, but I found for the most part it lacked the thrills I wanted. However, Barclay knows how to write a mystery novel, so I am not quite ready to write this book off yet. I think I will check out another Barclay book to see if it has more of the thriller feel to it. Let me know if there are any that you would recommend.

If You Like This,
Check These Out Too: