Friday, November 26, 2021

Thomas Kies: Random Road

In his debut novel Thomas Kies introduces readers to crime reporter Geneva Chase:

Geneva Chase is a veteran crime reporter who knows how to find answers, cultivate sources while trying to hide her alcoholism so she is not forced to leave another job. Chase catches a break when she lands a homicide of 6 in a wealthy  neighbourhood. The headline is eventually picked up by major news outlets and Chase knows this is her time. Chase want to know everything about these rich and entitled citizens. But the more she digs, the further she puts herself in danger and her inability to get sober threatens to undo everything she has worked so hard for.
This is one of my favourite reads this past year. I really enjoyed the plot and characters that Keis created for this book. This book is very much a character driver more than plot but Keis is able to keep you engaged in the story. He achieves this by having Chase, an investigative reporter, investigate more than one crime. I mean there is the main event with the murder of 6 people, but as Chase is not a police officers so she doesn’t have access to all the crime scene information, she has to use different forms of digging in order to get information. I appreacite Chase's ability to think outside of the box to get the information that she needs, as well as cultivating sources.

Well to say that the main character has flaws is an understatement, as Chase is an alcoholic, hides the fact that she is one, lies about always needing a drink and for the most part she does not apologize about this side of her. She is fine, even happy to see the world through shades of vodka. Maybe disaster may be a better description of her.

I like flawed characters, they seem more like real people than the perfect ones that some authors write. I like Chase’s tenacity in her life and work and you can tell that she has heart as well. I will questions some of her decisions she makes especially with Kevin, the love interest in this book, but I’m sure people would do the exact same thing that Chase and Kevin do in those circumstances. Chase may be flawed but aren’t we all. And as this is very much a character driven book, I appreciate the complexity of Chase’s character and though she is flawed you cannot help but like her.

I will say I was able to figure out the main Murder, but this did not take away from my overall enjoyment of the book as I liked following Chase around while she investigated this and did reports on her other stories.

I look forward to reading another book in this series to see where Kies takes his characters and to see what case catches Chase's eye next.

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Kerri Maniscalco: Kingdom of the Cursed

You will need to read the first book within this series, Kingdom of the Wicked, in order to understand the characters world and characters in this series.  

Kerri Maniscalco shows what happens when a woman makes a deal with the Devil:

Emilia is in big trouble, not only has she made a deal with the Devil (literally) to marry him, she must also navigate the court of the underworld and Hell is nothing like she thought it would be. But she is here to find out and punish who murdered her twin sister and she will stop at nothing to achieve this. Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks the truth about herself, her sister and the path that she is on.

I was really excited to read this book. I thought that Maniscalco had done a great job in the first one in mixing murder and romantic tension throughout. Well I am not sure what I read here but It was not what was expecting at all. There was nothing in this book from the first book that I enjoyed in this book. Honestly, if you want to read about some steamy scenes and about dresses then pick up this book. But if you are like me and enjoyed Emilia trying to figure out who murdered her sister and the witch aspect (spell casting and such) then I am here to tell you that NONE of that is in this book except for in passing thoughts a few times by Emilia.

This book was all about sex, whether thinking about it, or almost getting there or wanting to get there. It was ever present in all of Emilia thoughts throughout the day so much so that the entire “plot” is centered around these facts. It's a whole enemies to lovers thing on steroids throughout the book. I ended up skipping a large portion of the book, as I had been told that the last 20% of the book where it picks up in interest level. Additionally, the book was very predictable, the big reveal can easily be deduced from the very beginning.

The thing is that Maniscalco introduced some interesting secondary characters but does nothing with them other than to give Emilia relationship or sex advice.

While i finished this book, I do not know if I will continue on in this series. Maniscalco seemed to think that by upping the book to a New Adult genre and loading it with romance and sex that we would not realize the lack of plot. So if Maniscalco continues down this path with the next one, I know I won't be reading it.

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Monday, November 15, 2021

T.J. Newman: Falling

In her debut novel, T.J. Newman, a pilot is forced to make the hardest decision, his passengers or his family:

Bill is called in on his day off to pilot a flight to New York City. 143 passengers don't realize that their lives are in Bill's hands more than normally. Bill's family has been kidnapped and he has been given a choice, Crash the plane or watch your family die. Only one choice can be made, will Bill choose his family or the 143 souls plus crew on his airplane.

Well if you want to add additional thrills while reading this book, start reading it on a plane like I did. Nothing will have you checking out the other passengers and flight attendants like this book, especially that opening scene, it had me looking over my shoulder and down the aisle constantly. If I could have seen into the cockpit I would have been checking it out as well.

Overall, I did enjoy this book and I think that it was well written. There are several twists within this book and some extremely tense moments, but that said I feel like you know how the book is going to end, it had to come to a happy ending as many authors shy away from the tragic ones, so this in itself took away the suspense of the book for me.

I personally preferred the airline aspect within this book. I think that is where Newman shines with the knowledge of how things are done, and how much of your life is in the hands of the pilot and flight attendants. I appreciated how they interacted with each other and the passengers as well. It was interesting to read how the flight attendance peg people right as they come on the flight as to whether they will be useful or not in a emergency situation.

I found for the most part that the characters in this book are underdeveloped and underwhelming. I think my favourite character is Jo, one of the flight attendants. But other than that, I just felt like the characters were very much on the surface level, and maybe Newman had a few too many of them to try to balance them all and create more in depth characters.

For a debut novel, Newman did a good job in creating and overall plot and story for this book, even though the suspense was lacking, I was still drawn into the overall story. I look forward to reading what Newman releases next.

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Friday, November 5, 2021

Shannon Mayer: Priceless

In the first in a series, Shannon Mayer shows the length one woman will go to, to find a missing child:

Rylee is a Tracker, she has set up her own PI business that specializes in finding lost or stolen children. All she needs is there name and she can get a lock on them, whether they are alive, dead or on the other side of the veil. The only child she has never been able to find was her own sister, which is how she got placed on an FBI watch list and giver her her own personal FBI stalker. On Rylee's latest salvage, everything seems to be going wrong, and Rylee is targeted by more than one creature or group. Rylee knows it is going to take everything she has to bring this child home.
Wow, this book really surprised me, in a great way, and I do not know why I have not heard of this series before. I picked up my copy of this book from a little free library. I have been struggling to find a series to replace Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, and I think I may have found it with this series. This book was dark, witty and just kept you on the edge of your seat the entire book, even when Mayer was developing the backstory of  Rylee.

Rylee is my type of character for Urban Fantasy books, she is already great with all assortment of weapons and can fight dirty when she need to. Plus you cannot help but love the profession she has chosen as a tracker of children who have been taken on either this side or the other side of the Veil. She just wants to bring them home whether it is dead or alive and this is helped with her ability to feel where the children are, as well as their feelings, she is also immune to most magic, vampire bites and werewolf bites as well. I feel like there is even more to Rylee that we have yet to discover.

Loved that there are different creatures in this book, ones you don't normally see in Urban Fantasy books, like Harpies, Unicorns (yep they kick some ass in this book), a different version of vampires/werewolves and some other creatures along the way. I appreciate that Mayer decided not to go to the traditional account with the creature and I liked that she had our side and the other side of the Veil. This just adds a whole new world element to the book and lets Mayer's imagination go even further.
I could have done with the insta-attraction aspect that was presented in the book as I was reading it, but the more that I have had a chance to think about this book, Rylee and O'Shea have known each other for years, have been enemies (yes that troupe) so having the attraction between them really wasn't that instant of an aspect when you look at the relationship as a whole. I'm just glad that Rylee and O'Shea have some sort of history with each other to establish the attraction to each other, even if it feel like a troupe.
I'm glad that is this an already established series, as there are quite a few books for me to pick up and hopefully enjoy. I hope that Mayer stays with the grittiness and darkness that is presented in this book. Can't wait to read the next one.

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