Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Kelley Armstrong: Watcher in the Woods

This is the fourth book in Kelley Armstrong's Rockton series, so to completely appreciate, the characters, plot and the town of Rockton, you need to read the previous three books: City of the Lost, A Darkness Absolute and This Fallen Prey. 

Kelley Armstrong is back with another Rockton book and this time is seems like Rockton's secret may be out:

The town of Rockton is supposed to be a secret, but there are things that need to be done to protect the residence. This means Casey approaching her own estranged sister to help one of their residences that was injured badly in a gun fight, but bringing her there has to be a secret, as that is how Rockton survives. However, word seems to have gotten out about Rockton, when a US Marshal shows up demanding one of the residences. Casey and Dalton have to figure out no only who he is after, stop him from taking them but how the Hell did he find out where Rockton was located. Nothing is ever boring in a town full of not only victims but criminals too, many of whom will stop at nothing to make sure the US Marshal isn't after them.

I always have high hopes for this series and have enjoyed every book so far, but I will say that this is my least favourite book in the series. I found that the beginning was very exciting with the Marshal sniffing around town, and trying to figure out who he is there to take back south, but then the middle really slowed things down and then bang the ending was faced paced again. I guess for me I think that the middle just felt like a lot of filler and no substance. I wish a certain event had not taken place so quickly and there was more of a cat and mouse game to be played. When I have read other books in this series, I never wanted to put the book down. It was always I'll just read one more chapter one more page to see what happened next, where this book I was okay with putting it down.

I really liked the Marshal aspect within this book, I think it was really clever and why wouldn't some of the residence within Rockton have people coming to look for them. Some of them have committed horrible crimes. It was really interesting to see how the residence of Rockton reacted to the knowledge that there was a Marshal hunting one of them down. I know there are the main players within Rockton that we have readers have gotten to know from the previous book but you really don't know everyone, so it was nice to see some new residences show their faces. 

I will say that the addition of April, Casey's estranged sister, to the town and story was just brilliant by Armstrong. I'm so happy that she found a way to bring her to Rockton and to have her and Casey interact with each other, and man is there some comic relief in there. It also shines more of light on how Casey was brought up which does round her out more as a character.

So we're four books in and this is my least favourite of the bunch, however, does that mean this is a bad book? No, I just don't think it lived up to the previous three. I still love this series and characters and totally recommend this series to people, all the time. So I'm totally looking forward to book number 5.

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Deborah Wilde: Blood & Ash

In the first in a new series, Deborah Wilde introduces readers to Ashire Cohen, Human, Private Investigator and all around bad-ass:

Ashire Cohen has made a name for herself as a human private investigator in Vancouver and with the skill she has acquired over the years, she should be able to find a missing teenager. What she was not planning on was the mother lying to Ash about her abilities and ending up getting hit in the head, which revealed and disfigured a tattoo that she had on her head. A tattoo that Ash knew nothing about. The tattoo was preventing Ash's true powers from surfacing and she seems to be the only one who is able to see a deadly ghostly creature. So not only does she have to contend with new magic powers, a weird ghostly creature and there are a string of missing magical inclined teenagers that appear to be connected; All of Ash's skills, new and old, are going to be put to the test.

Ever since Ilona Andrews ended her Kate Daniels series I have been looking for a replacement series that had similar elements to it, and I think that Wilde succeeded on several fronts within this book; with her characters, magic and fast paced plot, even without the world possibly coming to the end. The investigation that Ash is hired to do is at the forefront of the novel, but there is also a personal mystery that she has that seems to be intertwined so it was a bit more complex than I was expecting. There were also some darker elements and scenes within the book that I was not expecting but was glad that Wilde added them in.

My absolute favourite part in this book is Ash, she is crude, crass and kicks ass with or without having powers. I like that she has been trying to make a name for herself as a private investigator, even though the top jobs tend to go to someone who has magic. This makes her not only smart but resourceful too. She also has some flaws, not really good at relationships, and well has a poor relationship with her parents. Ash is also extremely loyal to the clients that she has in this book and will stop at nothing in order to solve where the missing teenager has gone.

It was interesting to have the powers that people now have be linked to the Jewish religion, and I'm pretty sure I understand how magic came about in the world, and how/why certain people received magic and other do not but I will say I may need a refresher in the next book. I like that the magic one gets is linked to childhood, for example if they feel invisible, if your magic kicks in you'll probably end up with the ability to become invisible. This means the magic is not only linked to genetics but also nature as well.Makes you wonder what some people were experiencing within this book to achieve their powers.

You know from he beginning of the book and the first interaction between Ash and Liam that there was going to be something there in the future. I just wish it would have been in a future book, farther down the line, let their nemesis thing they have going on play out a bit more. I mean they have some great banter between the two of them. I like that they are in different positions within society and how they both use that to their advantages and use it against each other as well. So basically the romance moved a little bit too fast for me.

This is the first book that I have read by Wilde and I enjoyed the characters, world and plot that she introduces within this book. I look forward to picking up the next book in the series.

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Monday, August 3, 2020

Alex Michaelides: The Silent Patient

In his debut novel Alex Michaelides introduces readers to a woman who refuses to talk about the death of her husband:

Alicia and her husband Gabriel seem to have the prefect life, perfect marriage. She is a famous painter and he is a famous photographer. But their perfect life is about to be shattered when on evening Gabriel returns home late and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, After that moment Alicia has not said a word. Alicia's refusal to talk or give some sort of explanation as to what happened has put the whole night into mystery and even brings up the question as to whether she actually killed her husband. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist who has waited a long time to get to treat Alicia, and when a position within the hospital she is staying at opens, he jumps at the chance. Theo believes that he can be the one to make her speak, to find out what really happened that night, but the search for the truth may very well consume him.

This book received a lot of praise last year and even won a 2019 Goodreads award plus it was hyped as a thriller novel so I knew I would be reading it. Not going to lie I am in the minority with my review, I just found the whole book rather dull. I will admit that I did not guess the twist in the end (which is always high praise from me) but I was pretty bored along the way. I just kept waiting for some type of progress to be made but it basically just happens with a sudden burst in the end. I don't think that you can tell that this is a debut novel with the writing, writing style and format, I think what is lacking, in my opinion, is the ability to create suspense and thrills using techniques to flesh out the atmosphere.

I think there is supposed to be suspense built in, as we help Theo try to uncover if Alicia did actually kill her husband and if she did why but I just never found it there. It has a cat and mouse feel of it as Theo chases the answers that Alicia refuses to give, but it is much more of a mental cat and mouse game. I think the psychology aspect and this mental game that Michaelides uses and develops throughout the book was really well done and interesting, I just did not think that it was enough. Honestly, I think the most suspense that occurs is when Theo is convinced that his wife is cheating on him and decides to follow her one night.

And I have to ask Why that ending? It was a very interesting as it still leaves room for lots of assumptions to come, maybe that was the point, but I think after investing so much time into the book and the overall slowness of it that the audience deserved something more.

This is the first book that I have read by Michaelides and there were some aspects within the book and Michaelides' writing style that I liked, it just lacked the overall feel of suspense and thrills that I was looking for. However, I would try another book by Michaeldes.

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