Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Eva Darrow: The Awesome

In the first in what I believe will be a series, Eva Darrows introduces the reader to the world of Monster Hunting and nothing said you had to be an adult to do it:

Maggie Cunningham has a different type of upbringing than most people in her life, her mother is a Monster Hunter and Maggie is determined to follow in her footsteps. However, Maggie has s slight problem when it comes to the social aspects in life, in which she is an utter disaster in talking to people she does not know and her fashion sense is directed to Monster Hunting. This poses a problem as in order to move up the chain and be able to Hunt Monsters worth more money Maggie needs to lose her virginity as something in virgin blood makes the Vampires go crazy. Maggie needs to battle some ghosts, goblins and other things that go bump in the night as well as find a date but even that may be more than she asked for.

First off I'm not one to comment on a book cover, especially as they seem to change and have multiple version, but when I saw this cover, how can I say no, lol. I can honestly say it was the cover that drew me to this book originally and maybe I should have read the premise a little better before I read this book (reasons below) as it wasn't quite for me, but I was very distracted by the neon awesomeness that was happening in the cover.

I was unsure of this book at first as I found it a bit slow and Maggie was way too obsessed with having sex/losing her virginity so that she can move up in the Monster Hunter business. As this book is touted as a YA book, the thought of Darrow almost promoting having (basically) meaningless sex with a guy you just met just to lose your virginity did not entirely sit well with me. So with those notes I would say that this book is for older young adults, not younger and for me as an adult reading this book there were times when I felt that Maggie was too much of a teenager for me.

There were things I liked about Maggie mainly that her appearance is not what you would think a typical heroine in this genre would look like. I liked that she took the time to point it out and I like that she makes a point to say that she wears crappy clothes and doesn't wear high heels as fighting monsters can be dirty work and really I know very few teenagers who can walk in heels let alone run in them. And then she became too much of a teenager for me, which is fine for a teenager reading this book, not so great for the adult.

The book got better the further that I read in the book and I glad that I stuck with it, as the book became more about monster hunting and that society than Maggie trying to not only find a date but someone to have sex with her. Her relationship with her mother is also an interesting aspect, almost that her mom does not want to grow up as she realizes that her life can be over in an instant with Monster Hunting. I think this is why Maggie and her are so close and have a very (for the most part) open relationship with each other and her mother supports her in her decision making.

Does this book add anything to the YA or urban fantasy genre, no (except for maybe having the main character be more of a true representation physically), but it was still a interesting read at times and did make me laugh out loud a few times, so for me those are both wins. I just found Maggie to be a bit too much of a teenager for me, so at this time I am undecided whether I would continue on in this series.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Helen H. Durrant: Dead Silent

Helen Durrant takes the reader to a smaller detachment where resources are stretched thin but that does mean that criminals out there commit crimes any less:

A college girl goes missing, yet no one seems to notice or find it odd. A body is found in a car crash, but the suspicious thing is that the girl was already dead with a live stock tag stuck in her hear. And a little girl goes missing but her parents are being less than truthful about the circumstances. This is just another day and case load for Detective Inspector Tom Calladine. He is in a race against time (and his department) as he knows there is more at play here than anyone can fathom and it is up to Tom Calladine and his team to figure out before more lives are lost.

For me this book was just okay, edging to towards the feeling of "meh". There were aspects that I liked but for some reason I had a hard time becoming invested in the characters and story. As this is a fairly short book (around 200 pages) it took me a lot longer to read than it should have. I have issue with the cover of this book stating "A Gripping Detective Thriller Full of Suspense" without a reviewer or author backing up this claim. If this is the author's opinion about this book that is fine, but to me I find it a bit misleading, as this book (for me) did not have the thrills or suspense that I would expect in a book that was not only making this claim but in the thriller genre in general.

This is the second book in a series but there is not too much referral back to the first book that you could read them out of order. The only real reference back to the first book is about Calladine discovering that he has a daughter (who is a secondary character in this book) and another secondary character who was injuries in the previous book/cases. Perhaps if I would have read the first book I may have been more invested in the characters that I was but I really just found most of them flat.

I liked that for the first half of the book the police team was forced to spread it's resources thin and had to investigate two cases and Calladine tries to prioritize which case is more important all the while needing result but having a penny pinching management that will not get you any more help. To me this is a very real aspect of police work, so I really appreciated that Durrant highlighted this. However, I found that the child abduction case really fell by the wayside in the book and Durrant attempts to bring the two cases together in a way but never really makes it and to me it seemed forced.

I think there are better books out there that have the thrills, suspense and mystery that fans of the thriller genre would like. I think that Durrant had some great ideas here that I think executed a different way could have been very successful and I did like her portrayal of the police way of life. I was just never able to become invested in the characters or story which I think every reader needs at least one of those to enjoy what they are reading.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Jesse Petersen: Married with Zombies

In a debut novel and first in a series, Jesse Petersen seems to know the best thing to fix any relationship problem....A Zombie Apocalypse:

Sarah and David have become a typical couple, they fell in love, got married and now they are struggling to keep the spark that was their marriage alive. They each blame the other one for their situation but they are trying couples counselling to try to make it work. On their trip to see the counsellor they notice that things are a little off in Downtown Seattle. The usual traffic jam is non-existent and the all known security officer seems to be missing from his post. None of these things would have set off red flags for either Sarah or David but when your counsellor is chewing on the patients that were supposed to be before you, it is time to face the facts quickly. Sarah and David may still need to work on their marriage and issues, but there is nothing like killing zombies to get some of that anger out. They may be at odds about what to do next, but they know they have a better chance of survival if they stick together. But how long can it last with the zombie apocalypse happening right on their door step, and no one would really question if you decided to kill your spouse.

The best way I can describe this book is a good easy fast cute read (can you describe a zombie book as cute when the zombies are brain eating monsters?). Any ways, you get the funniness that is Sarah and David’s relationship and the guts of killing zombies but this book never really makes it into the horror or extremely violent categories in my opinion. There were times that I laughed out loud as they tried to determine what to do next and often they were at odds with each other, all the while killing some zombies in their wake.

Who knew a zombie plague could help save a marriage and I don't mean kill your spouse kind of save. The two main characters are fun and funny as they were trying to save their marriage pre-zombie plague and not are kind of stuck with each other post zombie plague and they still have quite a few issues to work out. But really what better way to get some anger out than taking out a zombie or two or three. I liked that Petersen kept Sarah and David's relationship very true even after the zombies started appearing, I mean it is not like they are going to change overnight.

You do not really get to know each main characters individually as Sarah and David are always together and really the story is premised about them being together. I would be surprised if Petersen decided to ever have them apart as their relationship and banter is such a key aspect of this story. This does not mean you do not get to know the personalities of the character, but you really do find out more about what caused their marriage to fail. It is more about how they interact with each other and what is going on in the world around them, than getting to know them on an individual basis.

Overall, this is a fun read, that I was able to get into and I think that this was due to Petersen being able to find a balance between the cuteness, comedy and zombie violence in this book/premise, which I think will help this book appeal to more people. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Angela Marsons: Evil Games

While I do not think that it is completely necessary to read the first book in this series to understand the relationships and who Kim is in order to enjoy this book. I think you would be doing yourself a disservice of not reading Silent Scream as it was an awesome debut novel and I highly recommend it.

There are a series of murders and events happening that do not seem to be connected, yet D.I. Kim Stone has a feeling that there is more to these murders than meets the eye. Convicts who were doing well on their programs are all of a sudden taking part in revenge killings, but nothing seems to link them. Kim doesn't know it yet but she is up against a sociopath who likes to know the weaknesses of everyone who comes into contact with her and she is determined to make Kim on of her victims. As Kim struggles with trying to put the cases together, she realizes that her own past is about to be brought to the forefront and she just might not be able to handle the consequences. A cat and mouse game of the minds is about to occur and it is winner takes all.

When you read not only an amazing debut but one that is going to be part of a new series, you often wonder if the author can follow up with another great read and Marsons does it in spades. Often I find that once authors have a formula that works they tend to stick to it, this is not true to with Marsons. In Evil Games, Marsons creates a whole new set of cases and adversaries for Stone and her team to be up against. It was also interesting that Marsons decided to put Kim up against as Sociopath instead of a Psychopath (thank you for doing something different) which adds whole new elements to the story and Kim as a character but also Marsons' ability to create an interesting plot.

Kim is a fantastic character, yes she is damaged, she really does not hide it (but hides the context of it really well), but I really appreciated that Marsons forced Kim to, start to overcome the damage parts of her that her past has caused. This shows to me that Marsons is going to let Kim grow and change as a character over time, which I think is needed in every series.

In this book you know in one case that Kim and her team are working who the bad guy (or gal in this case) is, however, unlike other novels that have done this, Kim is aware of who the criminal is as well but she is struggling to put everything together. I liked that I was not waiting for the main character to catch up with the information that you, as the reader, already know. While reading it and Kim's struggles you feel more part of the investigation and the frustration that Kim has than just waiting for her to play catch up. I loved the interlude of word play between Alex and Kim as each tries to dismantle the other mentally. This book has the true cat and mouse game between the two of them and you never really know which one is the cat and which is the mouse.

What I like about Marsons' writing is that she understands that Kim and her team will never work just one case at a time. There are always new major crimes cases that need to be solved and you have to split your time, energy and team between them. This to me sounds very true for any police team, constantly pulled in more than.

Marsons is fast becoming one of my favourite mystery/thriller authors out there and I hope that she can keep up the awesome ideas and writing. I am looking forward to the third book, Lost Girls, in her D.I. Kim Stone series, is a must pick up and read for me.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Holy Smokes (...Batman...), I cannot believe that it has already been 5 years since I started my own book review blog. Seriously where did the time go?? Well it went to reading some amazing novels (and well some not so great ones too) and meeting the ever growing book blog community. Just want to say thank you to all the awesome, amazing and cool people who I have met through this site and others, who share the love of books and want to share it with the world. I also want to say Thank You to all the authors this year who took the time to participate in my Blogoversary event with an Interview and/or Giveaway.
Here's to another Great Year at Blood Rose Books :)
Oh and speaking of giveaways, today is the last day to enter, so get you name in :)
You can find a link to all the giveaways this year HERE

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

George R. R. Martin: A Feast for Crows

I'm going to go with the majority of the population knows that this book is part of the series and how can you really jump in at book four without reading the first three; Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings and A Storm of Swords.

As the dust settles from the previous battles and everyone looks to see where everything will settle, the crows look to pick amongst the survivors for new allies, alliances and ways to gain control and rule the seven kingdoms. In the wake of the battles, new people will rise, fall, suffer and die, only time will tell who will survive the Feast of Crows.

When I first saw the title is made me think there was going to be even more death as that is what I think is implied but comparatively there are not as many as the other books. I think that Martin knew that he had to give the readers a break from all the heartbreak. It was interesting that Martin decided to start the novel off with brand new characters but I guess if you keep killing characters off (especially those that everyone likes), you need to add some new ones in, which is why you get a few more in this book plus some people who were just a side note in previous books have full chapters dedicated to them.

There seem to be a lot of main characters missing within this book and only a few chapters from some characters I have come to love (I have read the book after this and found out that Martin decided that he needed to divide this book into two books in order to tell the story better, which I will agree with now but at the time I was reading this I was like where did everyone go). For me this novel was all about the women characters. They had the most interesting storylines when compared to the men in this book.

I found I liked Brienne more and more in this book but if I have to read "A highborn maid of three-and-ten, with a fair face and auburn hair" one more time I'm going to start pulling my hair out. I want to go back and count how many times she says this sentence as it became so annoying by the end of the book. However, I am really drawn to Brienne's loyalty and never wavering from the task that she is given even if they seem impossible. She has so much honour that she puts all the other knights to shame but this can also be her downfall as well.

I think one of my favourite things in this books is it shows the power of manipulation that Cersie has over people and the plans that she tries to act out. Cersie knows what her powers she has and these mainly stem from her beauty and her body and while she is rash and quick to anger there is no one in this book that is good of as manipulator as her. Men and women no one is really safe from her manipulations once she starts, she really is not even safe from herself.

There is really only mention of the Dragons in this book we do not have any new information about what is happening across the sea and there is no information about Tyrian as well. Only that people are looking and searching for information of both. I know I was disappointed that Tyrain was not in this book, as I found I missed the humour that he provided but as stated above Martin could not have every character in this book.

Well only one more book to go before I have caught up on this series and can start watching the HBO one as I heard that it is quite good, though mixes some of the books together in the seasons. I'm actually surprised that Martin has yet to release the next book in this series as to how popular it is. I just hope it is before I read the last one so I do not have wait along with the rest. This series continues to intrigue and surprise me and if you are a fan of the surviving women in this series you will enjoy this book too.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Author Interview: Angela Marsons

In the past year I have read some great mystery and thriller novels, however, my Favourite debut author within these genres was Angela Marsons. Her debut novel Silent Scream had the perfect mix of thrills, mystery, great characters as well as what felt like a true to life police procedural (I have also read her second book Evil Games with a review to come but it is great as well). Angela knows how to push the boundaries with the first two novel and each book is not a copy of the other (which we all know can happen in series).

Please Welcome to Blood Rose Books Today:

Angela Marsons

Your first works as an author were self-published, what was the process like from going from a self-published author to signing a four book deal with Bookouture? And speaking with your book deal, I know that it was for 4 D.I. Kim Stone novels but how many books do you imagine the series could go for?
My self-published books were stories that I wrote before I turned to crime, in a fictional sense of course! Both stories burned inside me as I have always been interested in exploring the complexities of relationships.  I didn’t actually try to market the books at all and had maybe a couple of sales each month.  I have been trying for over 20 years to share my work and Bookouture finally gave me a chance to do this.  I was originally signed for four books but am now signed for eight Kim Stone novels.  I have a Kim notebook where I write all my ideas for issues I would like her to explore so there are quite a few ideas to work through yet.

Your series featuring D.I. Stone is within the mystery/thriller genre which is a hard genre to get a following in as there are many well-known and well followed authors within it. How do you think that your novels differ from other authors within this genre?
Oh, good question. I can only really go on what readers have said which is they enjoy the odd splash of humour and the banter between the two main characters.  I think also because I spent many years writing character driven stories it is now second nature to really make the characters as full and realistic as I possibly can, even if they only have a small part.  I still have to know everything about them. 

What do you think are the essentials to make a great crime thriller novel?
I love to read crime too and for me I have to be behind the main character. I don’t necessarily have to like them but I have to understand them.  Another thing I look for is the posing of questions and answers.  One of my favourite books ever is Disclosure by Michael Crichton.  It’s the only book that caused me to call in sick for work as I couldn’t put it down.  After reading it once I had to read it again to understand how he had reeled me in so successfully.  I found that he would only answer one question once he had posed another that I absolutely had to know before putting the book down.

What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
I think I would struggle to write a horror book.  It is the genre that I am least attracted to reading as I can only read about blood and gore for so long before I am totally inured against it so I don’t think I could write a horror novel.

What I appreciate of your novels so far is that there is never just one case there are always more that require the Detective Inspectors attention, and to me this rings really true to an actual police section. What type of research have you done to ensure that the police environment is accurate?
I used to work quite closely with the police in my old job as a Security Manager but I also have the Police procedure book (PACE Regulations) on my shelf to make sure I get the offences and wording correct.  Anything I’m not sure of I check on the internet to make sure I’m getting the most current information.  I like to have a couple of cases in the books so that if the reader guesses the culprit of the main case there is still a little bit of mystery.

D.I. Kim Stone has found her refuge in salvaging and rebuilding old motorcycles is it you or someone you know that has the passion for motorcycles and restoration of them?
I used to ride a moped for many years but I don’t think that counts! I just knew that anything Kim did in her spare time would have to involve a puzzle of some kind because her brain never stops working and she finds it hard to switch off.  As soon as I thought about restoring old motorcycles I knew that was the right thing for her character.  I like that she rides brand new powerful motorcycles but likes to restore the classics.

In your novel Evil Games, you really put Kim mentally to the test with her battle against a Sociopath, why did you choose Sociopath over Psychopath? I’m attached to Kim as a reader was it hard to put her through that as her creator?
Blimey, that is a fantastic question.  I chose sociopath for a few reasons.  The first is that the association with the term psychopath tends to be that of a violent killer.  That isn’t the picture I had in my head for Alex.  Sociopaths exist in plain sight and are often charming. They are not necessarily killers but they want what they want and will do anything necessary to get it.  I wanted to pit Kim against someone equally as intelligent as she is and I wanted the battle to be more psychological than physical.  It’s interesting for me as her creator to push her character as far as I think I can go. 

Silent Scream and Evils Games are very dark themed novels what appeals to you about the dark and disturbing aspects of human nature?
I’ve always been interested in psychology and behavior.  As a child I wanted to understand the logic and reasoning behind people’s actions.  As I grew up this only intensified and I turned into a real people watcher.  I am totally fascinated by the workings of the mind and love to explore these subjects.  I think also that as I read factual books I am constantly haunted by the ‘ooh, that would make a great storyline ghost that sits on my shoulder.
Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share? I have to ask can you give us a little tidbit of what is coming up in book number three?
Yes, book three is called Lost Girls and will be available on 6th November.  In this case Kim is working against the clock in an intense kidnap situation where the families of two little girls are set against each other in an auction system for the life of their child.

What is one book on your shelf that you cannot wait to read (can either be a new or old favorite).
There are so many books that I want to read but I’m particularly keen to get started on the Justice series by M A Comley.

I want to thank Angela once again for being part of my Blogoversary.I highly recommend her D.I. Kim Stone series as I do not think you will be disappointed with it, the series has become a must read for me and I am looking forward to the next book Lost Girls.