Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Tamsyn Muir: Gideon The Ninth

In the first of a series, Tamsyn Muir takes readers on an incredible necromancer journey:

Gideon has had a enough living under the thumb of those who have made it clear that they do not want her there, for all her years of her life. Her most recent plan to escape the Ninth will work this time. That is until Reverend Daughter, Harrowhark, makes her an offer that she cannot refuse. Be her sword in the coming trials that the King has sent for them and Harrow will set Gideon free. Gideon has only wanted to be free, so she agrees. Gideon and Harrow do not know what trials await them, but they will be deaths, betrayals, treason and lust. All of which will change them both forever.

Alright, if you decide to read this book, just realize for a good part of it you are not really going to understand what is going on. This is mainly to do with the fact that the book is only told from Gideon's point of view and well she doesn't know what is going on, so neither will you. Gideon is very much just what seeing is in front of her and not so much about figuring things out, so that complicates understanding things.

There were several times when reading this book where a I debated putting it down as I was confused and well didn't know what the Hell was going on or what the book was about for most of the book. But it was Gideon as a character that kept me reading on in this book. Gideon is crass, full of brass and well could kick your ass, lol. Gideon is no afraid to speak her mind, even when she is told to take a vow of silence, she talks and curses like a sailor but underneath all of that she has a soft spot for those who appear to be weaker or taken advantage of by other people and for Harrow even though she hates her. Gideon will have you laughing out loud with some of her word choices for things and her constant talk about well "titties".

I think being in the mind of Harrow in this book would have helped me with the overall understanding of the world and the plot as a whole. Harrow is very much a necromancer, and one of the most powerful ones on the mysterious island. She has the mind that is forever trying to figure things out and will stop at nothing to achieve the answer. She also is very much a loner so that means she does not share everything or much with Gideon, hence why the reader feels like they are in the dark throughout the book.

This book is dark, full of death, I mean it is based upon necromancy so I was glad that I got what I expected in that aspect. I also do not read that many necromancer based novels so the overall concept was refreshing for me. It was interesting to see that the necromancers had different abilities when it comes to necromancer. For example Harrow can create a new skeleton or part of a skeleton out of a single finger bone, while one of the other characters was able to follow the spirits of those who have passed. I never thought about having different necromancer powers so Muir's creativity in this aspect was amazing.

Muir is able to bring the story around in the end that I now know (pretty sure) what was occurring and I am glad that I stuck it out through till the end as the last quarter of the book are really amazing. I guess my words of advice if you are going to read this book are, study the character names beforehand as there are quite a few and each belong to a certain house and this matters, If you are lost and not sure what is going on, don't worry it will all come to a head and finally just enjoy Gideon as a character, she is an amazing one. I'm excited for the next book in the series.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Katherine Center: What You Wish For

Katherine Center takes reader to school where she shows what happens when the staff unite against a new principle:

Samantha Casey loves her job as a school librarian and is trying to live her life to the fullest, but this was not always the case. She left her last school as she realized that she had fallen for another teacher and a relationship with him was never going to happen. Instead she left and went to find herself. Sam is about to get some exciting but frightening new, Duncan Carpenter (the guy from previous school) was just hired as the new principle as her school. Sam is very nervous but excited as well, he will be a perfect addition there. But the Duncan that walks in is not the man she remembers, he is strict, brings a gun to the first teachers meeting, and is all about sterile walls. Sam doesn't know what happened to him but is determine to help him remember the man and teacher he used to be.

This is the second book that I have read by Center and while I appreciate the story that Center tells here, I did not feel like I was as engaged with the overall plot and characters as I was with her other book Things You Save in a Fire. I thought the plot was just not very interesting, people trying to save the way of life as a small school, from someone who wants to make changes for security reasons, it's a little lacking on substance if I'm being honest. Granted I do not read in this genre very often so maybe that has something to do with my opinion about this book.

I liked Sam as a character with all her heart that goes towards the school, the children and the Library there, but there were times when she felt very naive as well, not quite the woman that you expect her to be but getting there as there is some growth that occurs in the book. I think this book is not only about her growth but Duncan's as well. Duncan is very different from Sam, he's all hard edges, no shades of grey and wants to keep everyone safe. His reasons for this are very understandable and I am shocked that it takes Sam so long to figure it out, you think she would have thought to see why there was such a change in him sooner.

Their relationship growth is very cute and I like the set up the other ladies in the book did. They realized that they really were good for each other that the other person could bring something else out of the other. I just feel like you knew where their relationship was going and how it was going to end that it just seemed more typical to. It was kind of like hurry up and get there as we all know what is going to happen, I guess in a way i was missing some suspense from within the usual genres I read.

I do like Center's writing style and her ability to tell a story. If I do read in the romance, chick lit, contemporary genres, she will be the author I go to now. Although, I did not enjoy this book as much as her other one that I have read, it was a nice break to read something not so dark and serious. I think fans or frequent readers of these genres would enjoy this book also if you like the Hallmark Movie Channel.

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Jim Butcher: Storm Front

One of the first Urban Fantasy series out there Jim Butcher shows readers what Wizards are really capable of:

Harry Dresden is the best at what he does, well he is the only Wizard that advertises his services for hire as a Wizard. Harry is very good at all things that are paranormal and tends to have a knack for finding things. But to say people often go looking for a Wizard is an understatement. Where he makes most of his money is consulting with the Chicago Police department when they have a murder that does not make any sense. When Harry is called to a double, what is believed to be murder scene, he has no idea how it was done, but Harry has to stop whom ever did it. It will take a Wizard to catch a Wizard and Harry must use everything at his disposal not only to find the Wizard but stay alive as well.

I cannot even remember how long I have had this book on my shelf, it has been many many years, I don't think 20 (the book was released in 2000) but I want to say at least 10 years likely more and I have to say that this book, in many ways, shows it's age. I think that 20 years ago this book would have been amazing and at the forefront of the urban fantasy genre but reading it now I don’t know, it had a hard time holding my attention, and there were many dated facts throughout that it just felt stale. However, there were points within the book that I could not fault Butcher's imagination with how Harry creates potions or some of the Demons that attack / darker elements.

Harry is pretty fantastic character with his whit standing out most to me. He very much has an underdog type of vibe to him which you do not see in many main character, secondary characters sure, but not so much the main characters. Plus I like that Butcher did not have Harry be this all powerful Wizard that can do anything with magic and spells. There are limits to his powers, and he requires items to help focus them at times. I did like that he had Harry carry a staff, very Lord of the Rings of him.

I enjoyed that wizards affect electronic modern items. For example Harry is forced to have cold showers as the water tank requires electricity to turn on and he has to live by candle light as light bulbs and him do not mix. I do want to see what it would be like for him to pass endless people with smart phones, he’d be responsible for a surge in iPhone sales lol.

Although I found this book dated when reading it now, I know I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I would have read it when it was first released. I think that I will continue reading this book just for Harry, he is the kind of character that draws you into the story even when the plot is not as interesting as you would like it to be.


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Saturday, November 7, 2020

Holly Jackson: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder


In her debut novel Holly Jackson introduces Pippa Fitz-Amobi who has chosen the strangest graduation project; Finding a murderer:

Everyone in town knows that five years ago Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh. There was never any question that he committed the murder, no one even spoke in his defense. However, Sal cannot speak for himself anymore as when the police were closing in on him he committed suicide. Pippa (Pip) Fitz-Amobi, remembers Sal a different way and knows that he was not capable of committing murder. Under the guise of a school project Pippa is determined to prove that Sal was innocent. What Pip discovers is a town full of secrets many of which they want to keep hidden

This is Jackson's debut novel and from the writing style and plot layout I feel like you can tell that it is her debut. I liked that the book is told from Pip's point of view and it does not vary from this throughout I think there were just a few aspects that set this book back for me from being the top read from the past few years.

I found the whole school aspect of it to be a bit far fetched, that she would get away with the questions she asked, decisions she makes or the acts that she committed to get the answers. I mean one has to come to point where she should have thought, maybe I should go to the police with this new evidence I found (especially a key piece) instead she tries to do it all herself. Jackson basically has the police pictured as a bumbling agency that would not look at things like a teenager does in this day and age and that is why she was able to find this evidence 5 years down the road. I hate to break it to Jackson but most police are pretty familiar with the internet and social media and all that stuff in order to do their job. Additionally, if someone start to threaten you, why would you ignore that fact, especially when they know you are investigating a murder. I mean i can't even understand why an adult might not report something like that let alone a teenager.

I did like Pip as a character, she is smart, tenacious, naive (as she thinks everything will work out and be fine) and I even applaud her for skirting the system on her school project. I see Pip as a Nancy Drew, Veronica Mars type character just lacking the skills that they have. I think Pip would make a fine detective or journalist in time, she just needs to hone the craft of investigative work.

I'm a sucker for a small town setting book. I love that everyone knows each other, their business and lots of time their secrets. Small towns always seem to have a dark side for some reason and it seems like Pip's town is not different. I did find the overall mystery to be interesting and having some unexpected turn of events throughout the plot, which I applaud Jackson for. However, I was able to figure out who the murderer was way before the end of the book, however, there was a secondary twist that I did not see coming at all.

I think people who enjoy YA mysteries will really like this book and it will probably be on the top of their list from the past few years but sadly for me there was just something overall lacking in this book that I cannot put my finger on. Maybe it was the YA aspects of the book that I struggled to relate to, but I am not sure. Overall, I was lacking the feeling of being on the edge of my seat wanting to read more. When I was finished I mainly had a meh feeling about the whole book. I mean I did finish it so it was entertaining, but I'm not sure it is one that would come to forefront of my mind to recommend to people. I did see that there is a sequel to this book, but I am unsure if I will read the next one.


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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Jay Anson: The Amityville Horror

Jay Anson tell the true tale of the 28 days of terror the Lutz family had in the Amityville House:

The year is December 1975 and the Lutz family move into their new home right before Christmas. The home is more than they ever dreamed the could afford and then some, it seems like the perfect place to raise the family. But this house has a torturous past within, just a year earlier Ronald DeFeo murdered his parents, brothers and sisters. All the events that unfold in this book are stated to be true and that there is something demonic in the house that caused the Lutz family to flee after just 28 days, never to return.

This book is probably one of the more popular horror stories out there and I was excited to read this book to see if the Horror aspect was still relevant and achievable in today's day (this book was written in 1977). Now, I do believe in ghosts, but I'm not so sure about the whole haunted house aspect or evil demons or spirits within a house so going into this book I was not sure I could really get behind it, especially as it says that it is a true story. While reading the book I will say that there were times when I found the account just silly and not scary at all, however, I did not realize how much this book would affect my subconscious, to the point where I was having dreams based upon this book. So at some level this book was getting to me and have that horror aspect even though when reading it I did not feel that way. Maybe this is the true test of a horror book when it has you dreaming more about it and the aspects of it each night. Though on the flip side of this, when I was reading the book all I could think about was Ryan Reynolds and his movie version of this book, I mean hello abs...

I liked the narrator does not seem to take sides when telling the story, he seems to be impartial just telling the facts as they were told to him. He does not seem to make judgement on them just these are the events and really leave it up to the reader to make up their minds as to what happened in those 28 days in the Amityville house, as well as to the priest who entered the home as well. I think for me that was the more shocking parts were the accounts that the Priest had, who was so far away from the home when his torments were occurring. Also he is a priest and lying is not something they are really supposed to do. It all does make me wonder where the Lutz family is now and if they are still suffering some aftermaths of living there, as I did read it has been lived in by several families after the Lutz and there has not been any additional sufferings in the house, so maybe it went with the Lutz family, or it was all made up? Who knows, except for the Lutz family really.

I enjoyed this book, as it was not something that I usually read as well as how it seemed to affect me more that I thought it would. There are no real jump scares in the book, but what Anson is able to create is the atmosphere of suspense as what will happen next.


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