Friday, May 29, 2020

Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen: You Are Not Alone

Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen show that you are not alone when you're surrounded by "friends":

Shay sees a tragedy happen right in front of her, a woman commits suicide. Shay cannot understand what happened and why this woman would do this. Shay finds herself thinking about it all the time and this leads her to attending the victims funeral. What Shay was not expecting was to meet her friends and for them to want to get to know her. Shay is a bit of a loner and has a hard time making friends, but it seems this tragedy has lead her to a new type of life. However, the friends have a different idea of what they would like to do with Shay's life.

This is the second book that I have read by this duo and I am extremely impressed. Although they are both in the psychological thrill genre, they had a completely different plot and story line compared (The other book I have read by them is Anonymous Girl). They do a have a bit of a formula surrounding the psychological aspects and manipulation of one of the characters, but this is achieved in different ways was still very interesting the second time around. I will also say that I wasn't sure which avenue Hendrick and Pekkanen were going to take at the beginning of the book when Shay first meets the Moore sisters. Honestly in a way Shay would have been an asset to their team, with all her data searching knowledge and abilities, if they did not need her for other reasons.

Shay is a puzzle of a character to me. There were times where I just could not follow her thought process at all, but I guess that is why she was so easy to manipulate throughout the book as all Shay really wants is to be accepted. You realize this through the continued stats that she writes in her notebook about what she is thinking about and more than one are about friends. I can't tell you how many times I wanted to reach through the book and shake her, tell her to think straight and to think her plans out. She truly was a perfect mark for the Moore sisters. She is a likeable character, just a frustrating one.

I liked how Hendricks and Pekkanen took the time to explain how each individual came to be a part of the Moore sisters team and how they would do anything at all to protect each other. It was also interesting to see how far back Moore sisters began their manipulation of everything around them. The whole team is pretty amazing and scary at the same time, when they set their mind to something, well when the Moore sisters set their minds to it, as they manipulate everyone.

There was a little bit of a twist at the end, but it was not Earth shattering or anything like that. I actually wished the book had ended differently, not so clean cut and predictable. 

I really enjoyed this book by Hendricks and Pekkanen and I recommend I would recommend it to people who like psychological thrillers books that are not police or courtroom related. The storyline was interesting and it was interesting to watch all the manipulations play out. I look forward to see what they come up with next.

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Saturday, May 23, 2020

Shruthi Viswanathan: Ink & Arrows

In Shruthi Viswanathan debut novel she shows that people from two different walks of life can fall in love:

Rae is Suveri whish means she is an artist that has the ability to ink magical tattoos. A talent that is looked down upon, yet sought after as well. Bitter about the death of her father she attempts to get revenge but fails, however, she is saved by the Archduke Sebastyen who not only frees her but offers her three wishes in order for her to teach him the Suveri secrets around the magical tattoos. The two are nothing alike yet both are seeking something, one revenge and the other power and maybe something more, maybe love.

Alright, I told myself this year that I would try to read a few books that were outside of my comfort zone and usual genres. I had great success with Katherine Center Things You Save in a Fire (highly recommend) and had high hopes for this book as well but I am sorry to say this is my second DNF this year. I mean I really really tried with this book, I made it to 70% in my kindle but I just couldn't read it anymore. There was just so much lacking in this book and I could only tell my self something would develop later so many times. So lets break this down.

The good is that Viswanathan had an interesting premise that I thought had a lot of promise. The book is described as a Fantasy Romance book but it was Rae's ability as the Suveri that I thought was really interesting. Rae has the ability to create magic tattoos that can give the bearer different strengths and ability. See very interesting. Also the cover of the book is well done, it is what drew me in to read what the premise was about.

Alright, I will admit back when I was just getting into reading I read a lot and I mean a lot of romance books. I used to alternate between a mystery and romance genres, so I get so of what needs to go into a romance book to make it have a somewhat interesting story and that is chemistry between the two main characters. Whether they love or hate each other or a bit of both there has to be something there, some sort of emotion, Rae and Sebastyen have none. Rae states she hates him for what happened to her father, but never really shows that hate (side note, he was not the one to kill her father). She seems to learn that she actually loves him but this is after they are apart for more than a year (and we don't even know what is going on with either of them in that year as Sebastyen is away at war and Rae is just there but has a change of location while he is gone). I just don't understand how those feelings materialized while they were apart . They seem to have conversations off page, as they never really seems to talk when they are together, its more about what they are doing than what they are saying, so I struggle to see how a bond between them is formed. I guess the one emotion I do see is from Sebastyen and that is in the form of obsession more than anything else. But all in all not only is their chemistry flat, them as characters is flat as well.

The world building is not there, I have no idea why the Suveri are looked down at and why the tattoos are frowned upon, but that doesn't stop the warriors/generals from getting them. Sebastyen always seems to be at war, and why they are at War I have no idea why other than his father wishes it. Honestly I know nothing of the world that Viswanathan was trying to create.

Every aspect that I look for in a book whether it be in the genre I read or not, was just not happening in this book which is a shame as the premise was really promising. I cannot even recommend this book to those who like the romance genre, because the romance/chemistry/connection was not there throughout the 70% of the book I read. Oh well hopefully the next book I read off genre will be better.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

John Marrs: The Passengers

John Marrs shows the true danger and fear behind driver-less cars:

Self driving cars have been made standard in the UK, you can no longer drive yourself. These vehicles have been found more safe and reliable than regular vehicles. Everyone has been assured that they are completely safe and even safer when the act of driving is taken out of their hands. But then eight people enter into driver-less cars for possible their last time. Six were chosen, two were random and their vehicles have been hacked. They are now heading to the same destination, where only one individual gets to survive and who gets to decide who survives? The public of course as the whole event is broadcast world wide and everyone's secrets are about to be exposed.

Well what a trip (pun intended), to the not so distant future. This book has you go through so many emotions over the span of a two and a half hour car ride it is insane. I really enjoyed this book, it was fast paced due to the time constraints on the cars, therefore, the plot has to fast as well. This book will have you asking yourself who would you choose to die? Would you play the Hacker's game? It was almost like you were participating in the book. And oh reveal after reveal, twist after twist, its really hard to predict what is going to happen next, which I really enjoyed. I was able to figure some of it out, but not even close to all of it, which makes this book even better in my opinion. 

You don't really get to know any of the characters that well even the main ones, you just get glimpses of who they are, especially the passengers in the cars. This is completely deliberate by Marrs as he wants you/the characters within the book to choose based upon the facts that the Hacker presents. However, when it comes to Libby we get a bit more character development as we not only see her in this snapshot of time but also some of her history with driver-less cars but overall I don't think she is completely fleshed out as a character. There is one character that I absolutely despised was the social media expert, all he cared about was what was on twitter or what hashtag was trending. Honestly, I feel like he is the future of some people where all they care about it the online aspect and not even acknowledging that there are people in real life. His nonchalance when people are killed was just crazy to me, but all he saw was where the next trend was heading. I think this was also a deliberate character creation by Marrs, as a way of saying look where we're heading now.

One thing that puzzled me was why were the six chosen, there were eight people but two were random taxi cabs so those were left up to fate. I mean we all have some sort of skeleton in our closet, maybe not to the extreme of the people shown here, by how and why did he choose them. I mean there are quite a few factors that the Hacker would have had to predict in order to pull all of this off on this specific day. I get that we put lots of things on social media and it is only going to grow but I do not think he could have predicted certain events that swayed people for and against a person in the vehicle. So on that front a few things do not really add up.

Not going to lie, I liked the idea of driver-less cars before I read this book, now they scare the crap out of me. Nope, No Thank You, I will continue to drive myself thanks. See this is how this book has affected me. This is the first book by Marrs that I have read and it will not be the last.

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Friday, May 8, 2020

BR Kingsolver: Night Stalker

This is the second book in the series, so you will want to read the first book Shadow Hunter, its a really good read and highly recommend it, to understand the basic elements and characters of this book.

BR Kingsolver is back with the next installment in her Rosie O'Grady's Paranormal Bar and Grill series and this time is it the Vampires think Erin holds the key to the city:

Erin just wants to attempt to find out what a normal life is like, but it seems like that is going to have to be put on hold, when a new Vampire shows up in town and believes that Erin is the Key to taking the city. Minus the fact that Erin and the vampire have crossed paths before, Erin has to watch her step every bit along the way to hope that the Illuminati do not discover that she is still alive. Erin's going to need all her skills and her friends at O'Grady's in order to come out of this feud alive.

I enjoyed this book but I do not think that it was as good as the first. This book followed a similar format and lacked some of the imagination in the plot that occurred in the first book, the only real difference in this one is that the Vampire politics that were somewhat dealt with in the first book are now front and center here. And as in the first book, people want Erin to help solve their problems, she says No and then she ends up being pulled anyways in one way or another. If you read the first book this will all sound so familiar.

I still like Erin as a character, and we get to see even more of her extremely cool ley line magic and some additional moves that she has. I felt that Erin became a bit too acclimatized to her new friends and city. I miss they mystery that surrounded her and what she can do, she just seems too willing at times to show it off. Her love life is the exception to this acclimatization, the romance that Kingsolver attempted to have within this book is laughable but I feel like it was on purpose as Erin has never had a boyfriend before. If it wasn't on purpose, then yeah I just don't know then.

I really enjoy the world that Kingsolver has built very the past two books, and that it is even expanded upon within this novel. I like that they are separate and try to hide from the humans, but you can tell this is becoming more and more of a struggle for them. Plus I love Grady's, honestly I want to go have a pint of something from there.

Where Kingsolver also excels in the creation of her secondary character. There are so many different types of paranormals within this world as well as a whole bunch of personalities that any of them could be featured in a spin off series. Like one about Sam before he became to owner of O'Grady's for example, that could be Epic.

While I do not think that this book was as good as the first (really the first blew me away as it was so unexpected), I still enjoyed reading this book. I like the characters and world that Kingsolver has created. I'll be picking up the third book in this series.

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Friday, May 1, 2020

Mary Kubica: The Other Mrs.

Mary Kubica is back with another psychological thriller where a move for a fresh start is not what the family gets:

Sadie, her husband Will and their two sons move to a small town island in Maine, where the only way on and off is by ferry. They are moving there as Will's sister committed sucide and they need to take care of their niece who they do not know and they are needing to get away from Will's other Mrs. They think that by leaving Chicago and her behind that they will get the fresh start that their family needs. Then just a few months in living there, there is a murder up the street and everyone is a suspect, especially the new people who just moved into town. Sadie finds herself drawn into the investigation, trying to figure out what happens, but she has this every present feeling that someone is watching her and that she has the most to lose.

I have read quite a few books by Kubica now and I think that this is my favourite book so far and I think this has to do that the plot within this book was much more complex than the other books that I have read by her. I think part of this is that she has changed up the format a bit. All of her previous books that I have read had two time frames that were slowly getting closer and closer together, where this one is all in the same time frame, except for one of the characters is from the past. In this book there is the murder up the street, the death of her husband's sister, inheriting a grieving niece, Sadie and having the feeling that her husband is still cheating on her and well the police suspecting she has something to do with it all. There are a lot of facts to sift through and this is further enhanced with the multiple points of view, which I enjoyed.

There are three main points of view; Sadie, Camille and Mouse, and they all add something different to the story. But at the same time they all present the same thing that they want, love and acceptance. Sadie wants to be loved by her husband, Will, and be the only woman in his life, which she is sure she is not. Camille wants to be loved by Will and be the only woman in his life and will go to great lengths to achieve that (see the similarity there) and Mouse a young girl just wanted to be accepted and loved by her step mother, but that seems impossible. I think my one problem with the multiple points of view was there were times where they gave too much away that I was able to figure out the vast majority of what the big twists were going to be. However, I still enjoyed the intricate ride that Kubica takes you on. Oh and its in a small coastal town where gossip is a job i swear, what more could I ask for.

This was a great book and I highly recommend it if you like the mystery and psychological thriller genres. I was really impressed with the plot that Kubica created and I think her novels are getting better and better. I look forward to see what she comes up with next.

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