Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ringing in the New Year Giveaway (INT)

In order to celebrate another successful year of reading and reviewing at Blood Rose Books, I always have a blitz giveaway this time of the year. Here is your chance to win one of the many books that Blood Rose Books has reviewed this past year. What better way to start the new year off than winning a book, sounds like an awesome idea to me. This giveaway will be a Winner's Choice and INT (anywhere that the book depostiory ships), but there is a catch, you need to choose a book that Blood Rose Books has reviewed in 2014.

I am excited to see which book or books get the most hits. I hope everyone had a great 2014 and have an amazing 2015. Good Luck and I look forward to hearing from you all in the New Year!!!
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Monday, December 29, 2014

D. J. Molles: The Remaining

In D. J. Molles' debut novel, he shows that the United States government is prepared for everything, even when the world and human population is coming to an end:

In a bunker under his home, Captian Lee Harder awaits instructions that this was another false alarm and he can return to his normal life in the world above; the word is not coming to an end. Above him on the surface the people of the United States are being plague by a new disease that turns the infected into a zombie like creature. Harder has no new information and time is running out on his last contact with his superiors. His mission it to restore order in the United States. Let people know that the government still exists  as the people who have been able to survive not only have to face off against the zombies but also those people who will take an advantage in this situation. Harder's mission objectives are: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS. TO RESCUE AND REBUILD both of which are easier said than done.

First off I liked the book, it had the right mix of action, world building and character interaction however, I wish that the book was longer, only 201 pages in my Nook, it felt like it was more part one of a book than a book by itself. I do not know if the other books are longer, and I was really enjoying how the story was going that I guess you can say I was disappointed when the book ended, just felt there should have been more to the first book especially as this is a series.

Captain Lee Harder was an interesting but odd at the same time. I mean he has all of this military training and had served in Afghanistan, but yet there were times where he was portrayed as naive in what he should be doing. I understand not knowing the full extent of the outside world as he was put away at the beginning of the threat, he just did not seem to be thinking like a solider all the time. Maybe this can be attributed to shock and that is has finally happened or that the book is very short that Molles was unable to completely flesh Harder out as a character. I hope in the future books Molles is able to better define Harder as a character. We also get very little about the secondary characters as well, so maybe he will grow them too.

Molles introduces an interesting concept of having trained military personal who are sequestered into a bunker beneath their homes when there is a world crisis. Their job is to show that the United States government is still functioning. I think this actually could happen as you think about that USA government will want to be prepared for everything, maybe even zombies, lol, so who am I to say that this is a far fetched concept. even if it is far fetched it is interesting nonetheless. It also made me wonder where all the doom day preppers are in this world, maybe we will still run into them.

I personally liked Molles interpretation of zombies. They do not immediately become the slow moving slobbering zombies that we see in many of the stories, but rather they maintain some of their human brain and motor  skills that they can use to their advantage at the beginning, so you never know what type of zombie that you are going to be facing. They also revert back to a more primitive state where they form groups and there is an Alpha in that group that calls the shots. I find this type of zombie not only interesting but terrifying as well and I look forward to see how Molles develops them further in the series.

I like that Molles showed that it would not take long for people to degrade themselves to ensure their own survival. If you are fans of J. L. Bourne's Day By Day Armageddon series, then I think you will like this book as well. I look forward to seeing what happens next but I do hope that the book is a little longer as it felt like only part of a book.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Anne Frasier: Hush

In her debut novel Anne Frasier takes the readers to Chicago, where a serial killer has re-emerged placing all those with new born sons in a state of panic:

Ivy Dunlop has lived through many individuals' greatest fear but it was not without consequences. She now spends her time researching, testing theories trying to understand and unravel the minds of the most dangerous men but it is not these new skills that are going to be the most helpful on her next case. The Madonna Murderer has returned to the Chicago after 16 year absence, no one know why he stopped killing, but he is back fulfilling his own cause. Ivy knows that she has to help catch this murderer who has caused her nightmares, even if lead detective Max Irving does not think she belongs. Together they set out to understand a twisted mind, but they can never work fast enough and body count keeps going higher and higher.

Not going to lie the first thing that drew me to the book was this cover, amazing job and when I read the premise is sounded interesting and maybe had something a little bit different to it. It is not often when you read about a serial killer that murders both women and their new born sons, however, it is quite often where you have a serial killer that has mother issues and this one is no different from those. Frasier does not add anything knew to the serial killer persona or ideas behind why he decided to murder, so she was not too original, but I do think she created a well crafted killer. I did appreciate that Frasier did have chapters from his point of view which gave insight as to why and who he decided to kill and actually how smart he was. I personally prefer books that have the serial killer point of view, I find that it rounds out the story.

I found book fairly predictable, not in the sense of who the killer actually is but in how the plot and subplots were going to unfold. This hindered the overall suspense that was supposed to be throughout this book, but I never felt like I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to happen next and for me this is key in a thriller novel. There was also times where the detective needed a new skill and wow there you go he has it, for example hypnotization.

Ivy was an interesting character but I never felt that Frasier used her abilities and trauma of the past to the fullest extend. Almost seemed like Frasier was timid to do so and I think this also hindered the suspense that should have been in this book. You really feel for Ivy as she is trying to combat the fear that she has pushed away for years, but you can tell that she is just living as a shell of herself until she start helping the investigation. She is fool hardy at times, but her intention are always good, though this does cause more trouble than I think that she expected.

There were almost too many point of views for this story. Don't get me wrong I like multiple points of view as you can see the plot unfolding from so many different angles, I just don't think that this book was best served having them. I think that Frasier could have dropped Ethan's point of view, as it does not add anything to the story other than trying to humanize Det. Irving. I think the plot could have still played out the same and would have given Frasier more time to develop Ivy and Irving as characters.

This book was okay, I liked the overall concept that Frasier was trying to portray and I like Ivy as a character. I just think that the book was a bit too predictable and lacked the suspensefulness that I was hoping it would have. Okay for a debut novel, but I have read better debuts in the thriller genre. I will say that Frasier had some good ideas here and with time she may be able to get it right.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Veronica Roth: Divergent

Veronica Roth's debut novel shows what one girl is willing to go through when she discovers her true self:

In the dystopia world of Chicago the city has been divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). When an individual turns 16 they enter into the tests to determine which faction they will spend the rest of their life in. Today is Beatrice Prior's selection day she has lived in Abnegation her whole life and she is about to do something that no one saw coming, not even herself, she is going to leave her faction, her family to join the dauntless the complete opposite of her faction. Tris is about to test every limit she has but she also never felt more herself or at home. Tris knows that she must keep her Divergence a secret but as unrest grows in the factions, Tris will have to risk her own life to save those she cares about.

This book really surprised me, I thought it would be okay, another author trying to clasp onto the people drawn to books like the Hunger Games series but the book would not quite get there. However, I actually found myself drawn to Tris' personality and I found the story well thought, with an interesting world (nothing ground breaking and similar in ways to the Hunger games but interesting), characters and plot. I'm always happy when a book can surprise me into liking it so I give Roth big props for that. I was also shocked at some of the darker topics that Roth decided to focus on throughout the novel. She was not afraid to touch or have full scenes that dealt some harder subjects like child abuse, bullying, and even torture, that many YA authors shy away from.

Once again I was surprised that I liked Tris as a character. Normally I find YA characters too teeny for my taste, but Tris was the right mix of strength and naivety. Though she may never have had a real relationship and just looking at Four may make her feel like she had butterflies inside, I found that she actually handled their relationship quite maturely compared to other main female protagonists in this genre. I think I am going to like watching Tris grow as a character and the more that she is able to discover about herself and her abilities as Divergent (though I do question how this designation will help her outside of the test simulations, but I guess that is for the other books to show).

I think that one of my favorite parts within this book is that the characters do not have any actual powers or special abilities, though some people are more prone to be part of different factions than others, this is not seen as a hindrance or ability, just who they are. While Tris is Divergent, this really only means that she has a mind that is more capable of assessing a situation to find the best solution and often thinking outside the box to achieve this solution. I think if you really think about it, Roth has made the greatest ability in her book is a person who can think for themself, adapt to changing situation and be loyal to those they care about. I don't think there is a better suited role model for young adult girls out there.

To sum everything up as an adult reading this book I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the concept and the characters. Were there times when I rolled my eyes about a choice or two that Tris made, sure, she is after all a teenager. However, I was really impressed with choices that Roth made throughout the book not only to the plot, but also the character building of Tris. I know I am going to read the other books in this series, I hope that Roth can keep it up.


On a side note I watched the movie (well most of it) and I personally found it lack luster. It did not capture half of what the book was able to portray. I found there were too many changes, the characters in the movie fell flat and the plot did not flow as well as in the book. I know they are making the other books into movies as well, but compared to the hunger games movies, I think you can pass on the Divergent ones.

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Marcia Clark: Killer Ambition

Normally I would say that you need to read the previous books in this series in order to understand what is occurring in this book but I found that Clark did not relate back to the first two that often. That said, I really enjoyed the first to books, so if you like mysteries with a strong female character and a hint of romance check out Guilt by Association and Guilt by Degree.

Hollywood is a place that when you live in California you cannot really ignore it. It begins with a billionaire Hollywood director's daughter going missing and a ransom note which promises her safe return, but this perpetrator has no intention of returning her alive. There are enemies all over Hollywood as it is a cut throat business and past wrongs are sure to be held against you at some point. It is up to Los Angeles Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight and Detective Bailey Keller to weed through all that would mean harm and those who would actually do it. But if it is one thing most of Hollywood would agree on is that Greed is a very powerful entity.

I really really loved the first two novels in this series, and I was excited to see the next adventure that DA Rachel Knight would be on, especially how the second novel ended. However, I was really disappointed in this book, with the way the second book ended with basically a hit-woman getting away and taunting Knight about a personal demon, you think that there would be some relation back to these facts. About half way through the book there was only 1 reference back to it and it was less than a page and it was basically just having Garden help them out with the computer stuff. I was so disappointed that this was not the main focus of the book. This led the book to be tedious to me and took me a lot (and I mean a lot) longer to read that I ever like.

I also felt that there was no character development in this book. It is about the case that Knight and Baily end up working and that is about it. No big stride as a character, very little interaction with Garden, so no strides in their relationship that they are trying to rebuild. This book just fell flat with character development

So those are the things that I did not like in the book and really that is a big chunk of the book, I will however, say this; Once Clark get Rachel to enters into the courtroom world this is where she shines. Clark knows what she is talking about, has had some of her own tough cases to deal with, and all of this comes out in writing these scenes. I am enthralled when Knight enters the courtroom, I cannot get enough, I want to see what the defense is going to throw her way and how she is going to handle this. I think that Clark needs to have the majority of the book in the courtroom and a little less investigation work. It was for the courtroom scenes that I knew were eventually coming that kept m reading this book.

I'm not sure what Clark was thinking when she wrote this novel, it was an okay mystery and I do like following Knight and Baily as they work through a case, but we are three books into this series now and as a reader I want my characters to grow and there is none of this here. I also was very disappointed in the lack of connection to the second novel. I will continue on in this series as I like Rachel and I want the issue with Lilah to play out, but as a fan of the precious two novels, this book really let me down.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Samantha Shannon: The Bone Season

In her debut novel, Samantha Shannon takes her readers to a world where being different doesn't only make you stand out, it is also your death sentence:

In 2059 several major cities in the UK are controlled by a group called Scion whose task is to find, incarcerate and kill the clairvoyant who inhabit the city. Paige is a special kind of clairvoyant she is a dreamwalker and it is this ability that has made her a valuable commodity of the criminal underworld. Paige works within a group of crime syndicate called the Seven Seals, which has the best of the best of clairvoyants. On a random search Paige is taken by Scion and she learns that everything about Scion was a lie. There is a secret prison where all clairvoyants are taken, they have a choice, adapt, perform or die. Paige will stop at nothing to achieve her freedom and warn her friends of Scion and Rephaite that control them. The Rephaite main concern is power and control and Paige is about to disrupt everything that they represent.

I liked and disliked this book at the same time. I love when an author is able to create an idea, creature or world that is different or unique and Shannon succeeded on many of these aspects within this book. She created a new world, creature/beings in the Rephaite and I especially liked the different forms and hierarchy of the voyants was really interesting (and it further plays into the Seven Seals). We don't get to learn too much about each clairvoyant's type of power and there are some mysteries about Paige's power but hers really grows within the book. 

The beginning of the book started off really strong. I felt drawn into Paige's world, her abilities and her need to impress her syndicate boss but still hold a connection to her Dad who has no idea she is clairvoyant. Shannon used a tried and true concept of persecuting those who are different from you, even more powerful to the point where they should be feared and persecuted, even killed out right. This is a strong plot line that has occurred many times throughout history and is also the basis of many novels and TV show, but I found that Shannon was also able to put a twist on it with the Bone Harvest aspect.

Shannon put way too much information into this book and there where way too many different types of clairvoyant people to keep it straight all the time and while do praise creativity there needs to be a limit sometimes so the aspect still feels special. There are parts of the book that felt really really slow and other than the beginning of the book things just seemed to trudge on, with nothing really interesting happening. The fight Paige shows she has in order to survive, while present throughout the book, seems to feel more flat the farther into the book that the reader gets. Time also seemed to be an interesting factor in the book, I'm still not sure how much time passed in the book as it was never really defined, just seemed toflow from event to event.

I liked Paige as a character and loved her never swaying sense of loyalty that she has for the people she cares about. She puts them before herself and I cannot find fault with that. I'm unsure how I feel about Paige and Warden's relationship. I know I wished that Shannon had taken the approach of a trainer and trainee or teacher and student instead of adding the romance possibility to their relationship. I found it entirely unnecessary and lets face it felt forced and it seemed like maybe Shannon felt she HAD to have some romance in the book which is fine, but at least make it believable. The reason why i'm unsure about it is that I personal like Warden as a character. His mysteriousness and wanting to do the right thing even if it mean forfeiting his own life.

It not often that I like and dislike a book at the same time. I think that Shannon had some interesting ideas and great characters, but I think Shannon was over ambitious with this novel. She tired to put too much information in this book (outside of world building) and expected the reader to still be intrigued with the story, which to be frank, suffered because of this. I would read the next book in the series just to see where Shannon takes this story and world and I how the over use of ground work she set in this first novel goes to great use in the second.

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