Friday, August 29, 2014

James Rollins & Grant Blackwood :The Kill Switch

James Rollins & Grant Blackwood bring a new side of the Sigma with the use of a Man and his Dog:

Captain Tucker Wayne and his military dog Kane are about to be handed the mission of their lives. After completing a freelance mission in Russia, Tucker is contacted by Sigma force to help with a delicate situation; extract a pharmaceutical genius from Russian soil before his discovery can be turned into a weapon by the Russian government. Seemed simple enough, but there are more players involved that Tucker thought that are on the hunt the doctor as well. Tucker and Kane don't quite know what they are up against yet, but they will soon learn that the fate of the world is going to be in their hands/paws.

I have not read a Sigma force book, which is one of Rollins' series, but this did not hinder me in the book as there is very limited interaction with someone who I believe is in the other books. There is also limited information about how Tucker and Kane worked for Sigma in the past but this did not limit my understanding of the book and really is just a moot point. The only real association with Sigma in this book is that they ask for Tucker and Kane to take on an assignment, there are no reinforcements coming to help them in Russia. I also really like that this took place in Russia, I just like that it is a change from the Middle East which have dominated Action Adventure novels in the most recent years.

I absolutely loved the interaction between Tucker and Kane; this is where Rollins and Blackwood excelled in the book. You can tell that they put in the research to understand what Tucker and Kane's capabilities could be, and I was shocked to learn the amount of commands and actions that Kane could understand and complete. Kane is a real asset to Tucker and the mission or job that he decides to accept. You can tell that Tucker really cares for Kane and his story about his other dog Abel at the beginning of the story broke my heart (yep I'm a sucker for animals). I also like that Rollins and Blackwood took the time to have some scenes from Kane's point of view and how he reacts to the commands that Tucker gives him and how his overall instinct sometimes wants to override that command. It was very interesting to see how a working dog would interpret commands in these types of situations.

Overall, I felt that the book was long winded, and not in a good way, as you knew they were going to win in the end and I felt that Rollins and Blackwood were really stretching it out for some reason. There were quite a few points where they could have chosen to end the book and I would have been a satisfied reader, but nope here they go again another battle. Some of the events near the end were not needed in my opinion.

I really enjoyed this book and felt that Rollins and Blackwood did a good job of balancing the action and the bond between Tucker and Kane. For me the interaction between the two was the best part of this book as the action at times was pretty farfetched but this is not surprising, it is after all what I would call an Action Adventure novel. I think that this may be a new series, if so I would read the next book and I look forward to learning more about Tucker and see what type of adventure him and Kane get up to.


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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Suzanne McLeod: The Sweet Scent of Blood

In the first book in her series Suzanne McLeod introduces the readers to Genny who has the ability to find magic and dismantle it but unable to create it herself:

Genny Taylor works for a witch company, which is great as it means that the Vampires leave her alone, but that is all about to change. A famous calender vampire model is accused of killing his human girlfriend it seems that everyone is out for blood on this one and they all seem to want Genny's. After an old debt is called in Genny is forced to try and insert herself into the investigation to determine if there was more to the killing than just a draining of blood. Many are convinced that there was magic involved and this could send out a war between the witches and the vampires. Genny is in the middle of it all, trying to stay alive, trying to keep her past hidden and most of all trying to protect the people that she cares about, and lets just say she's not going to succeed on all fronts something has to give.

This book was just okay for me, there were some things that I could not get past and at times I found the book too slow for me and at times the story was convoluted. It seems to go this way then that way and then some how we ended up over here, I just couldn't figure out where McLeod was trying to take things. I didn't understand what the old debt that Declan had over Genny, it seemed to me that she had helped him out more than him helping her. I don't know maybe I missed something as I was reading. Overall, think she had too many ideas that she tried to test out in this book. An additional part of the confusion was due to the amount of characters that McLeod decided to introduce and they all have their part to play so you need to keep straight who is who as you try to figure out who is Genny's ally and who is not. For awhile I thought The Earl and the French Vampire were the same, just so you know they are not lol.

I liked the main character Genny as her background, heritage and powers were very interesting and it makes me want to learn more. Genny's mother was Fae and her father was Human but he was a vampire when she was born. This makes me think that somehow during the process of his change into a Vampire he was able to sire a child. Though this aspect is never fully explained, it makes sense with the apparent blood lust that Genny has at certain points in the book as well as the very cool magic spell that she has had attached to her body. I have yet to read a book where a Fae could not use magic but could dismantle magic, so I like that McLeod was able to put a new take on magic. I hope we get to read more about how unique that Genny is and more about the Prince who is hunting her.

Genny is pretty guy crazy in this book and I believe that this is mainly linked to the uniqueness of her blood. It did get annoying at times that everyone seemed to want her both men and women and for me this just took away from the already convoluted plot.

This book was an okay start to a series but it didn't Wow me like I wanted it to. I think if you like the main character you will like this book and want to continue on as the overall plot never really seems to come through, as there are so many subplots and too many characters to get to know in one book. I think I will read the next book in the series as I do find everything about Genny interesting but I'm not rushing out to buy it.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Taylor Stevens: The Innocent

You need to read the first book in this series The Informationist as it sets up who Michael is and her past, which is basically what caused her to be the character that she is. I also really enjoyed this book (one of the best debuts I have ever read), and I think a must read for those who are looking for an intriguing thriller.

Eight years ago a man walked 5 year old Hannah out of her regular life an into that of cult known as The Chosen. The Chosen believe that any act is okay as long as that act is done with love. This means that child abuse and exploitation are regular norms within The Chosen. Hannah's mother has been searching for her ever sense and has finally found her. They decide to hire Michael Munroe to get her back. Michael knows that this is likely a suicide mission, but one of the people that is asking for her help is her long time and Chosen survivor/escapee Logan. After Africa Michael's mental state is questionable, however, she will do everything in her power to rescue Hannah, even it means infiltrating The Chosen. But this is Michael's work and those who do harm according to her moral compass are not going to make it out alive.

One of the things that I liked the most about Stevens second novel is that it has similar elements to the first novel the Informationist but it is an entirely different story, with different challenges and enemies. This book did not have as many action scenes as the first book did, it does pick up during the latter part of the book, but the first part, is mainly setting up for infiltration of the cult. You still get to see how deadly Michael can be, with and without weapons and she takes down more that her share of people, some planned some not, but I think in this book you get to see how stealthy Michael can be outside of the wilds of Africa. Michael has skills no matter where in the world her work seems to take her.

Michael is an amazing character, and the development of her is just awesome. We get to see flickers of previous kills that Michael has made through her dreams as each kill seems to be haunting her one at a time (and lets just say that you do not want to be sleeping next to her while she has one of these dreams). It was interesting that Stevens decided to show the metal decline that Michael has gone through since Africa. Michael in the first book is portrayed mainly as a ruthless and deadly character who can accomplish the impossible tasks. It was nice to see Taylor introduce some vulnerability into her character and that things do eventually catch up to everyone. Michael is deadly but caring at the same time as her moral compass is slightly different from the average person.

I hate how Michael treats Bradford, she always seemed to be preying on his emotions for her and you really question if she can have any type of relationship where she does not manipulate the other person. I understand her doing this with other people in her life, but with Bradford it just felt wrong. Maybe she was testing him to see if he would stay, but you cannot help but feel badly for Bradford throughout the book. I also really liked Bradford as a character that made me dislike her actions more. Bradford is a great complement to Michael as he is steady, has is own war wounds and past and he never asks Michael for more that she can give. He also does not expect her to change who she is, he has seen her wounds, her kills and skills and yet he still sticks by her, that is my kind of Man. I personally would like to know about Bradford's past to add some more depth to his character.

The Innocent is a very interesting, fast paced that will keep you on the edge of your seat and  will draw the reader in from beginning to end. The story is made even more unique when the reader learns about Steven's own past of growing up in a religious cult, so I think it is safe to say that she knows what she is talking about in that aspect. I think that Stevens' Michael Munroe series is a must read for those who want thrills, adventure and not your run of the mill story. I cannot wait to read the next in the series.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Kevin Hearne: Hexed

This is the second book in Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid and you will probably want to read the first book Hounded as this is where the reader gets introduced to Atticus, his druid ways and the Gods that like to pop in and out of his life. Personally, I thought it was an awesome novel and a must read for those who enjoy Urban Fantasy and Paranormal genres.

Kevin Hearne is back with the second book in his Iron Druid series and if Atticus thought that killing Aenghus Og was going to give him some peace, he has another thing coming:

Atticus is the last of the Druids, but that will change if he ever is able to find time to train his new apprentice, but it seems that he is still going to have to deal with the fallout of killing a powerful Celtic God. Now everyone wants a piece of Atticus, whether it is for Atticus to help them take out Thor (who it seems everyone hates), additional angel demons that got away from the battle with Aenghus Og, a new power struggle with the Gods now that Aenghus Og is gone or witches that are trying to move in on his territory and prove that they are even more powerful than him. Atticus is going to have a busy time on his hands and it is going to force him to ally with people he never thought he would, as who can really trust witches or anyone else for that matter. Atticus is going to have his work cut out for him and not everyone is going to survive.

This book was good, but I do not think that it was as good as the first book in this series. I found that this book was slower as it took most of the book for Atticus's war with the witches to really come to full speed and just in general there felt like there were less fight scenes within this book. For some reason I just felt like there was a lot of filler within the book that had nothing to do with the story that was portrayed on the premise. Possible Hearne is setting up the background for the next book Hammered which makes sense based on the title and how everyone seems to hate or have issue with Thor. I just wish this would have had less of a presence within this book. We also get to see how fickle Gods are once again, so if you were not a fan of the Gods in the first book then you're not going to like them in this one either. I personally like the darkness that Morrigan represents in Atticus' life and it is funny when she tries to be "kind" to Atticus.

I would like to know more about Atticus' history and some of the wars that he has been apart in and some of the journeys he has taken and really why/how he became a druid himself. And I guess this leads into my next point that I am really interested in learning more about the Druid training. I know in the first book he stated that it was a lot of studying and reading but there has to some more interesting points that Atticus could show Granuaile.

I love love the old Irish widow in this story. She is very entertaining and a subject of comic relief with her antics. I think that every interaction that Atticus has with her is either endearing or down right funny. It is amazing that she is okay with hunting the hell spawn on her front yard (or the British) and doesn't even bat an eye at it. There needs to be more people like her.

Although this book did not meet my expectations set by the first, I would read the next book in this series. This series has so many things going for it that I must continue on and hope that it returns to the greatness of the first novel. I'm actually glad I was late to join the band wagon on this series as I don’t have to wait year after year for the next book, I can just go right ahead and read more of Atticus.

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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Barry Lyga: I Hunt Killers

I Hunt Killers (Jasper Dent, #1)
Barry Lyga introduces a whole new perspective on serial killers; What would you do if you were raised by one?:

Jasper (Jazz) Dent, is a the kind of famous that no one wants to be; He is the son of the most famous serial killer, whose his body count well into the three digit mark. Now the main things that Jazz wants to prove to people that he is not like his dear old Dad, that he is not a killer and will never become one. But some things are easier said that done, especially when bodies appears in a field in Jazz's hometown, everyone is looking at him as the perpetrator. I mean who could blame them with the upbringing that Jazz had, learning the ins and outs of how to kill. Jazz has the many disturbing teaching that he had as child, but he wants to use them for good, to hunt serial killers as he feels he has inside knowledge of how they think. Even though the police do not want his help, Jazz knows there are going to be more bodies and he will do anything to hunt down the killer.

I have been reading serial killer books for a long long time, and it has been a long long time since someone has been able to add something new to this type of series. So right there I knew I was going to like this book as I think all readers crave something new and different as typical can become monotonous. Lyga achieve this with the interesting concept of having his main character being raised by a serial killer, a form of his protege being groomed to be just like his father. Adds a whole new meaning to like father like son.

I know that this book is published as a YA novel, however, I think that it is more of a New Adult or Adult book as there are times when the writing is fairly graphic in the description of both past and present deaths as well as some of the lessons that Jazz's father taught him. There are details about Jazz's past that are downright disturbing and you will know what I mean when you get to the part with Jazz's family pet. Additionally, Lyga does not hold back on the descriptive nature of the present crimes. However, I have read more graphic books with both torture and murder scenes, but those were classified as either Horror or Adult novel, so with this being classified by the publishers as a YA novel I would just say reader beware, you may not want your tween or teen reading this book (maybe read it first before you say yes or no to it).

Jazz is a very interesting character, and I think the Lyga does a really good job in creating him and the affects that his father has had and will continue to have on him. Jazz has some aspects of an anit-hero as he sees all people as potential "Prospects" for killing and knows the ease in which he could achieve each kill but he fights these off as much as he can. It is also these urges that make him unique and able to understand a serial killer's mindset.   There were times where I thought that Jazz was acting very much like the teenager that he is and I did not enjoy those moments, but I understand that he is 17, but I felt myself not liking his character in those moments. He just couldn't seem to focus on what was right in front of him and he gets all defensive about how he doesn't want to kill people and the wining he goes through just got a bit tiring at times (at least this was not too common through out the book) and he had his girlfriend .

The book is told from Jazz's point of view so at times it is very sarcastic, dark, witty and funny. This also leads to one of my favorite feature within the book is being part of Jazz's thought process. It is very fascinating as you the reader become part of Jazz's inner struggle not to be the monster his father was trying to make him into. From the way that Jazz approaches the life to the dead bodies, all of it has been molded by his father. It was interesting "hearing" Jazz's father's voice in his head instructing him what to do, what to look for. You get a sense of all the lessons that Jazz was put through as a child and the horrible things that he was forced to witness and partake in.

This book ended in a way that I did not expect, which is something that I am always looking for in these types of novels. I'm really excited for the next book in this series, I'm already hooked from the first book. if you want a different perspective on serial killers then this book is for you. All I have to say is; Well done Lyga, well done.

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