Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Audrey J. Cole: The Final Hunt

Audrey J. Cole shows the length one woman will go to, to make sure her Serial Killer husband is dead:

Cameron's husband John disappeared and died on a hunting trip, he was mauled by bears. Cameron wanting to feel closer to her husband decides to go up to his cabin, his favourite place. When Cameron is looking through some of his things, she discovers that he is the infamous Serial Killer, The Teacher Killer and immediately calls the police. Now that the ID of The Teacher Killer has been uncovered, everyone starts to question how much Cameron knew of her husband's activities. Cameron is now thinking that there is a possibility her husband is alive, with all his survival training and wanting to escape from his murders. Cameron is now on the hunt to make sure that her husband is truly dead.

This was a rough one to rate for me as I enjoyed 3/4 of the story and then the book lost me in the 1/4. I would have rated this book higher if some of the actions taken by the main character did not require me to go into a fantasy world to believe them, in short form Cameron should be dead. There is no doubt in my mind the events in the latter half of this book would occur in real life, then she would be dead. I'm okay when authors ask me to bend things a bit when it comes to books that are not fantasy, think of all the action adventure books where the lead character gets the shit kicked out of them but still has the ability to fight, the difference is that these people have a certain skill set that I can kind of believe it. Cameron has zero survival skills other than she can read a topical map and is a good shot. She had just learned to drive a snow mobile the previous day, has a book about wolves and that is about it. There is no way she would have survived.

I enjoyed the premise of this book, the idea that Cameron's serial killer husband could still be alive as he had the skill set to pull something like this off, awesome idea. I also believe she had no idea what her husband was up to as we have seen time and time again in real life the ability of serial killers to have families who know nothing of their darker side. I can also see the media hanging her out to dry convinced she must have known and help, that makes a better story right. So everything was there to make this a great easy read book but that last 1/4 just bugs me.

I never really felt like I knew Cameron as a character and she has very little skills in when it comes to investigative work, she really just goes through her husband's things and thinks about conversations from the past but I still enjoyed the story that Cole set out to portray here. The Detective (who's name escapes me and as I try to write this and after checking countless reviews no one mentions him, guess not a memorable character) POV seems unfished at the end of the book. Like he did all this extra work and investigation for nothing. It feels like Cole wasted him as a character.

I would try another book by Cole as I liked the premise of the book and for the most part how it was a well played out as novel, nothing really investigative or groundbreaking but it was able to keep me entertained and overall just an easy read. It was just the latter part of the book where Cole lost me and really took me out of enjoying the book as a whole. 

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Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Hannah Whitten: For the Wolf

Hannah Whitten show the lengths people will go to protect the world:

First daughter to rule, second sister is for The Wolf. The wolf has been sent three second sisters before and Red will now be the fourth. There was a time when Res thought that she would run but one night Red was able to bring the forest alive and since then has been resigned to go. Her older sister Neve is the next in line to be Queen, but she does not want Red to go and offers to help her escape. When Red says no, she cannot understand why. Now that Red has gone she will do whatever she can to get her back. Red herself is confused once she enters the forest, nothing is what it seems in the tales that she has been told and she can only hope that she is strong enough to satisfy the forest and the wolf as an ancient evil is attempting to escape their underground prison.

I’m unsure if this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, there are many imageries used in the book that makes me think that it is, but it is very different from the tale we know, so maybe retelling is not the correct word. Well whether it is a retelling or not, I really enjoyed this book. Now this is not a book that you pick up read a few pages and then put it back down again. There is too much information and world building that unless I had a good chunk of time to dedicate to this book (like a flight) I did not pick it up. But when I had the time I was drawn in to the world and characters that I did not want to put it down.

This had such an imaginative feel to it with the trees being what is keeping the world safe from the bad things down below. I like the idea of trees being the anchors/locks of the world as I just picture their roots growing deep and how that would help keep things in. There is also a religious aspect throughout the book as the people worship the trees and they are an essential part of the religion and stories that people tell. It was also interesting that the Wilderwood had a mind of it's own and carnivores at times wanting/needing blood and I am not sure I fully understand this concept yet.

Personally, I preferred Red's point of view over Neve's. I found that Neve's POV to be too depressing at times and her naivety of what was happening around her to be frustrating. Red's POV was richer and  preferred her as a character as well with her need to help and protect what is there. While Neve was unswaying in her path to get Red back, she seemed to be doing most of it for selfish reasons of needing her sister and not accepting her sister's choice to leave.

I enjoyed this book once I was able to sit down and sink my teeth into it (wolf pun intended) I think that Whitten has created a very interesting high fantasy tale that has danger, drama, betrayal, and romance.  I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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Monday, July 11, 2022

Keri Beevis: The People Next Door

Keri Beevis, questions how well do you really know the new house that you just moved into:

When Ash and Ellie decided to buy a house in the country, they were excited for the life that it was going to provide them. Ellie is especially intrigued by the next door neighbour, Benjamin, who has lived in area all his life in his family home and had redone the house and gardens. Ellie befriends Benjamin and is happy to have a close neighbour in the area when Ash is out of town. When Ellie discovers that her new house has a dark past and the prospect that Ash was keeping secrets from her, the idyllic country side living is starting to lose it's appeal. When strange things begin to happen around the house, from seeing her neighbour's sister around, to her new dog's obsession with the cellar, Ellie paranoia begins to go into over drive and she doesn't know who she can trust. 

This is the first book that I have read by Beevis and she did a great job of keeping the suspense factor fairly high throughout the book. I would say this book is a country mystery with a gothic feel to it. I liked that the house was in the middle of nowhere and that there is only one other neighbor for miles around. This also had a small town feel to it when the characters enter into the town, with everyone knowing every. This book does take quite an abrupt turn about halfway through that I did not see coming, but I think that it was a good choice by Beevis to shake things up a bit. 

This book has a creepy house, ghostly figure and secrets between the couples running through the whole plot and I liked that Beevis took a multi-approach to her story which did not rely on just one thing to set this story apart from other.

I liked Ellie and Ash as main characters, you get more from Ash in the second half of the book, but I feel like I never really got to know them as individuals or as a couple, but you still do end up caring for them. Benjamin is the real interesting character in the book with living next to a house that has such a dark history to it, plus the problems within his own family.

I did the audio version of this book and the narrator, Shakira Shute, was fantastic with her different voices from the character. She was really able to set the tone and mood of the book.

I do feel that the one place that Beevis took away from the suspense is the reader knowing more that the characters. As you read you are now waiting for the character to catch up with your knowledge and the aspect of suspense for these parts is now taken away.

This was a good book that had me entertained till the end but at the same time, I felt that some of the suspense was taken away from the book with the reader knowing what was happening and waiting for other characters to catch up what you already know. I know I will pick up another book by Beevis.

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Monday, July 4, 2022

Laken Cane: Broken Moon

In the first book in a new series, Laken Cane show what happens when a Shifter can't Shift:

Twelve years ago Kaitlyn and her mom were cast out from their pack when Kaitlyn's father tried to gain supporters to overthrow a cruel Alpha. He failed and not only was her murdered in front of them, as extra punishment he made it so that Kaitlyn could not shift ever. Kaitlyn and her mom have made new lives outside of the pack. Kaitlyn lives with the pain everyday of not being able to shift, but she has created a business where she takes care of the Monsters. Normally it is the humans that call on her but this time it s is rival pack. Something is killing the wolves and they need Kaitlyn's help to stop it. Kaitlyn is about to say No, when this Alpha tells her he can free her wolf. Kaitlyn knows it might not be true, but she has to take a chance. Plus Monster hunting and Killing is what she does, and if it is able to kill wolves, it is only a matter of time that it sets it sights on her and her mom.

I have been looking for a new Urban Fantasy series ever since Ilona Andrews ended her Kate Daniels series, and some have been a hit others a miss. I have not read a shifter book in a long time, and I think I stepped away from them as they all started to feel the same, but I am happy to return to a shifter genre with this book.

I appreciate how well Kaitlyn has adapted to being a wolf not only cast out her pack but unable to shift into a wolf. She has adapted very well to new living circumstances over the years as well as her fighting skills as she cannot access her true power. She has developed her own weapons and career hunting things that go bump in the night. All with daily pain of her wold not people able to get out, so ya Kaitlyn would be the definition of a kick-ass female heroine that this genre is famous for, but I really enjoyed her as a character.

This book covers a lot of cases and a lot of ground throughout the book and I appreciate that Cane did this. It showed how hard that Kaitlyn works and how fucked up the paranormal world is in her town. I liked that she works with the police when they have cases they cannot explain and regular people that have problems. This book never seemed to stop jumping from one event to another, yet at the same time did not feel cluttered. I found it had me on the edge of my seat about what was going to happen next. The demon hunting was fun, hunting the mysterious (very obscure) thing that was hunting wolves was fun/neat idea, her side job of helping people with paranormal activities and teaching a douche-bag ex-bf to a women how to treat woman and a dog.

I know being a shifter book, I knew there was going to be some sort of immediate attraction between the FMC and the MMC, but I appreciate that even though the attraction is in there, especially for the wolf part of them, that Cane reframed from having anything really occur. I like when the relationship is more drawn out and has more of a real feel to it. It will be interesting to see where Cane takes the relationship aspects especially when it comes to the pack and Kaitlyn's background.

I think the one thing I want to see in the next book it a bit more grit and darkness. This one does get there more the farther into the book that you get and I hope that Cane takes it even farther.

This is the first book that I have by Cane and I am glad that i picked it up as it was interesting and fast paced. I look Forward to continuing on in this series.

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