Saturday, October 30, 2021

Dayrnda Jones: A Good Day for Chardonnay

This is the second book in Jones' Sunshine series,, and you will want to read the first book in the series A Bad Day for Sunshine, as there is a case that goes across both books as well as establishes the relationship between the characters.

In the second book in this series, Jones shows that no day is easy for Sheriff Vicrim and that Chardonnay should never be to far away:

Ever since moving back home and becoming the Sheriff of the the town, all she wants is one day to be easy going and end with a date with a fun guy, or The guy that she has been pining for since she was a teenager. Instead she finds herself dealing with a bar fight that has gone seriously wrong, her daughter deciding to hunt serial killers, a racoon and receiving new information about her abduction that occurred when she was younger. To top all of that off, her first case as a detective, that of a missing kid, has come back into the spotlight and Sunshine is determined to have a different outcome this time. Sunshine is due for a day off and some wine.

I really enjoyed this book and I personally found this book more funny that the first one as this one had me laughing out loud at times, especially involving the racoon and again when Sunshine and Quincy try some new um things. I think that Jones has found a good way to mix the seriousness of the investigations that Sunshine is undertaking with humour to lighten things up. The mystery in the book is pretty straight forward, I still found that I was interested in the story and I appreciate that Jones had three separate mysteries in the book to keep it interesting. I like that for the most part

I think one of the reason that I enjoyed this book more than the first book as I found that there was less Auri parts which I appreciated. And really other than Auri constantly sneaking out she seemed a bit more mature in this book, which would also make sense from the events from the first book. I also like how Cruz and Auri's relationship is developing and the best way I can describe it is cute and intense at the same time.

I am really enjoying this series as it is a lighter read than what I normally read and I appreciate the characters that Jones has created in this book as well as the easy ability she has to combine humour and mysteries. I look forward to reading the next book in the series when it comes out.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Namina Forna: The Gilded Ones

Namina Forna debut novel shows the ends people will go to to ensure that they are in power:
Deka has always been different from the other girls and women in her village. Her mother was an outsider and Deka has always felt like one as well, as there are very few people who would be her friend because her skin was darker than theirs. Deka knew that this would all change after the ceremony when she turns 16, she knows that her blood will run red. But when there ceremony comes, the village is attacked by the monsters from the South, and while they are there Deka learns her fate....Her blood runs Gold. She is sentenced to a fate that is worse then death. But one day a strange woman comes to collect her, sent on behalf of the emperor and she is given a choice stay in the village and endure her fate every day, or come with this woman and become something more. All the gold blood girls are being gathered, to learn to fight, to give their lives to protect those whose blood runs red. Deka decides to leave her home, to try to be something more, to protect others and she will discover that there are many mysteries not only within the city but within Deka herself.

Honestly, I was shocked when I found out that it was Forna's debut novel. It is not often that you get a debut novel that is not only well written but the author had the ability to create, describe and portray a different world as well as memorable and interesting main character. Also, while this book may be portrayed as a YA novel, I would say it is on the darker side of YA with the murders, death and the matter in which the occur is not for the faint of heart. The Gilded Ones are essential told that their place in life is to die, so you can imagine how much it occurs within the book. Deka, herself, dies many times especially at the beginning in some horrific and I mean horrific ways, that even though they are not explained in detail you cannot but help but cringe. So this one is not for the faint of heart and probably not for a younger YA audience either. Plus, to top it all off, there is some political intrigue thrown in there that I enjoyed as well. See al this in a debut novel, how could you not pick this book up.

Deka is an admirable character, first she just wants to do what is right by her father and will do anything to achieve that, even if it means dying 1000 deaths for him. Then she is willing to do anything for her sisters and is also willing to die 1000 deaths for them as well. She puts everyone above herself and you cannot help but love her as a character. The supporting cast is also great, the main sisters whom she fights with, they all bring something different to their team and support each other in different ways. I can honestly say I do not remember much about Deka's love interest in this book (see I cannot even remember his name right now), he just seemed so secondary to Deka and i wasnt really a fan of the first kind of hate to insta-love troupe. I do understand why Forna put it in the book, it just wasn't for me. That it just may have skimmed over those parts a bit. I will say I am thankful that Forna did not have the dreaded love triangle that is so often in YA novels

While the plot was interesting as a whole, I did find a few things predictable and was able to figure out the major plots twist fairly early on in the book, so i was waiting for the Deka and the other girls to figure out what was really going on. I wish that this main twist/aspect was a bit better hidden, but over all it did not take away my enjoyment of the book.

This is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it for people who love fantasy books, great world building and strong female lead. Or if you just need a major boost to your feeling of Girl Power right now, then pick this book up. I know I will be grabbing the next book in the series when it comes out next year.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Riley Sager: Survive the night

Riley Sager shows the length that one woman will go to, to survive one more night:

Charlie is no stranger to death, her parents died when she was really young and she did not know how to cope properly with it then and she still does not know how when her best friend is found murdered and murdered by a serial killer. All Charlie knows is that she has to get away, even if that means leaving her incredible boyfriend and accept a ride from a complete stranger just to get her home, away from everything that reminds her of Maddie. Charlie also has a secret that she does not share with many people, there are times when Maddie enters into the movie world in her mind and things are not what they seem, this is how she deals with reality and the stressful moments of this world, it has always served Charlie well until the night Maddie was murdered and she saw the killer but a movie was playing. Now on the ride back home strange things are happening and she does not know if it is all in her mind, her only objective now is to survive this night.
This is the third book that I have read by Sager and I really like the Noir feel of this book. I think what helps the feeling as it takes place at night, in a car, on a long stretch of road and has movie references throughout, many of which are Noirs themselves.
I enjoyed that Charlie just was not a reliable character the movies in her mind was such and interesting twist in the book and I wish that it was really only told from her POV. I think introducing the other character POV took away from some of the suspense in the book as it gave away too many details that Charlie would not have known. I really just wanted Charlie and her movies in her minds and be with her when she is trying to figure out what just happened.

I did not see that final twist coming and I think that Sager did a great job throughout making the reader think they have it figured out then do a complete 180. I personally love books like this as they keep me engaged in the story as I try to figure out what was happening.

I think this book is unique and quite different from the other books I have read by Sager and I can see why some Sager fans were not a fan of it. I personally liked the uniqueness of it and anyone saying they say the full ending coming is lying. I'm not sure why Sager decided to have the book based in the 90s instead of present day, I feel like the book could have worked just as well in present time as it did in the 90s. And being in the 90s did not really add anything to the story, so once again confused by the choice there as majority of the movies that Charlie reference in the story are a lot older than that, so its not like it was a 90s movie throwback.

Another good book by Sager and I think the more he has developed as an author his books have gotten better and better. I look forward to reading another book by him.

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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Rebecca Roanhorse: Trail of Lightning

In the first of a new series, Rebecca Roanhorse show that the world will always need a monster hunter:

Most of the world has drowned, but a few places have survived and one is the Dinetah (formerly the Navajo reservation) when the gods helped the clan build giant walls to protect them. But this sudden apocalyptic event has given rise not only to Gods and heroes but monsters as well. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinetah monster hunter who has clan powers that make her a supernaturally gifted killer. Maggie answers the call when no one else will when there are monsters and Maggie is about to discover an entirely new Monster, one that she has never seen before. One that is going to make her confront what has happened to her in the past if she wants to survive and protect those still living in the Dinetah. But there are those who do not want her to succeed and will stop at nothing in order to prevent her from finding out the truth.

This was a random grab of a book for me, I am not sure why I picked this book up, but I am so happy I did. This is the first book that I have read by Roanhorse and what a read it was. It starts off really fast and quiet dark (almost to the horror sides of things) and the darkness is something that is a common occurrence throughout the book. Because the book starts off really fast is does slow down a bit around the 25% mark with the introduction of Coyote to things and well let just say he likes to talk a lot, but once Coyote leaves and Maggie has a new mission things really get rolling again.

 Maggie is a very interesting character, and well she has to be as a Monster hunter. When you hear her origin story presented in the book you cannot help but like her more, and care for her more as a character. Her Clan powers are a bit hard to describe, but they are a heightened ability to fight and over all awareness of her surroundings when she needs them to be. She can also sense the monsters that are threatening the people, especially it seems children. As much as Maggie does not want to think herself as a hero, she is one, even though sometimes heroes have to bring the bodies back in a body bag. She is selfless and willing puts herself in danger to help those she perceives as weaker or needing help. Even when payment for her services is offered she does not take advantage of people. 

I'm not sure what to think of Kia, as the book is told from Maggie's POV it is hard to fully judge Kia as a character as he is how Maggie perceives him and well he is a flashy guy who is supposed to be a medicine man, but also much more than that too and possible an alcoholic, but that may be a front as well. I hope in the next book that there may be some chapters from Kia's POV to flesh him out more as a character. And as for the love interest part of it I could have done without it but I understand why Roanhorse has it in there.

This is probably the first book that I have read that was based upon Native American myths and culture and I am all for it. We heard about it growing up but nothing really substantial just bits and pieces here and there, hence why i recognized the character Coyote in the book, but I liked that Roanhorse brought so much more that just Coyote into the book. I appreciated that she used the Navajos terminology throughout the book (though I am sure i butchered the pronunciation). This is a culture that I know little about and I enjoyed that Roanhorse had it so intertwined with the world. Though I did find some of the world building lacking at times, I have yet to figure out what caused the big flood, but that is really a side point to everything. You basically know that most of the world is under water and that includes most of the USA as well.

I really enjoyed this book by Roanhorse and I would recommend it to people who are fans or the dystopia/Urban fantasy/Supernatural genre, or looking for something a bit different. I look forward to reading the next book in the series and checking out other books by Roanhorse

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Monday, October 4, 2021

A. J. Tata: Chasing the Lion

A. J. Tata shows readers just how far men will go to revenge the lives of those they have lost:

When Daruish Parizad was a child, he was a survivor of Iran's Islamic Uprising, and he has risen through the ranks and is now seen as the Lion of Tabas, and he has plans for the Americans who caused so much pain and suffering to him and hi family when he was a Boy. But Parizad is a fan of the long game, of intelligence, interweaving nets and planning, his attack on America will be nothing like the world has seen before. Army Lieutenant General Garrett Sinclair and his Joint Special Operations Command team are assigned to stop terrorist threats and it is just one where they find themselves outside of a cave where everyone has died, except one, and all seem to be eerily holding their cellphone. It is up to Sinclair and his team to piece together what has happened, but even as Sinclair is separated from his team, he will do anything he can to protect the people his  family, team and defend his country.

There are many times when you are reading these types of books where you wonder if the author is able to add something new in to the genre, there are only so many international enemies of the USA that the author can pull from or ways that they can attack America. I will say that chemical/disease warfare that Tata uses here is not knew, however, the disease that is in this book, Demon Rain, is extremely scary.

This book starts out pretty faced paced, but around the 20% mark it does slow down and give you background information about Sinclair and Parizad. At the time of reading it I was confused as to what Tata was taking this much time to explain the relationship between Sinclair and Parizad as we had not had a POV yet for Parizad. Now that I have finished reading the book I appreciated that Tata took this time, as it explained Parizad's motivations, as well as his knowledge of Sinclair. It really does set the book up for the Cat and Mouse game that the two have been playing for decades.

Sinclair is the solider that you want defending your Country, not only with his abilities but his moral compass as well. He is loyal to his friends and teammates and is not willing to ask them to do something that he is not willing to do himself. This is not a General who is happy to sit behind a desk, he needs to be in the action. I like that Sinclair is older, he has grown children in their 20s, and I find that this took away from Tata needing to have a romantic troupe in the book, even with his wife dying the previous year. I think that being older gave Sinclair a better mind, and well he could still kick a lot of ass.

Well lets just say this book is downright scary with the idea of Demon Rain, I have no idea if Tata is speaking from personal experience of what he has seen developed in his military career or just a very scary mind. Demon Rain gives the ability of mind control over people using their Smart Phones (which everyone these days has surgically attached to them). It allows them to manipulate what they see on the screen and give them orders as to what to do. So you have a diseases that has the ability to not only control you but it will also kill you in the end. Just scary, and I hope nothing like this is ever developed, but totally a smart concept for the story.

This is the first book that I have read by Tata and it will not be the last. I found the story to be interesting and the two main characters well developed in their Cat and Mouse game. I look forward to checking out his other works.

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