Saturday, August 6, 2022

Jennifer Hillier: Things We do in the Dark

Jennifer Hillier shows that your past can always come back to haunt you:

Paris Peralta wakes up on the bathroom floor, covered with her husband's blood and she is being arrested by police and charged with his murder. The case looks really bad and with her husband's celebrity status she knows that there will be a lot of media coverage, something that Paris wants desperately to avoid. Twenty-five years earlier Ruby Reyes, The Ice Queen, was convicted of murdering on of her lovers with an ice skate. Ruby recognizes Paris, knows her secrets and threatens to expose them all. 

This is the first book that I have read by Hillier and it was a good book, but I will say that my expectations were let down a bit with all the rave reviews I have been seeing. I enjoyed the plot, characters, pacing and LOVED the format that this book is written in (dual timelines) but I found that the book was predictable and I was able to figure out all of the twists, I missed having something shocking come my way.

I really enjoyed Paris as a character and everything that she has gone through to get to this point in her life. The amount she has suffered and dealt with you know that she is a strong individual. It was such a happy point to see her find love with Jimmy and finally have a life that is worth living.

I'm a big fan of duel timelines as I find that you get to know characters better and this case, it is very much before and after some really critical events. I also liked the addition of Drew's perspective that enters later in the story as through him we get some of the investigative information (though I think that this information was wasted a bit) around the Ice Queen and Joey's death. I wish we would have had a final chapter of the podcast that Drew wrote about the Ice Queen, I think it would have been an interesting take and would have brought the book full circle in a way. 

I was pretty shocked at the warnings that were given before this book and with those warnings I thought that the book would be a lot darker than the book was. Yes, the events that are warned about in the book happen, and they are not overly glazed over but they are not given in such a full description that I think that it warrants warnings at the beginning. I have read books that had no warning about any of the subject and they were much more descriptive and darker in nature than this book.

This was a good book, more character driven than plot driven, as I did find it predictable. As this is the first book that I have read by Hillier, I look forward to reading the other books that she has already released.

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Monday, August 1, 2022

Keri Arthur: Blood Kissed

In the first in a series, Keri Arthur shows what can happen in a small town that has secrets:

Lizzie and her familiar Belle just wanted (another) fresh start to open a Cafe that offered readings and great food. They decided to try the Faelan werewolf reservation, but prior to opening their Cafe they did not realize that the whole town Hates witches. Lizzie and Belle get around this by saying they have little power and are hardly witches, but when a lawyer comes into the Cafe wishing for a reading to find her teenage daughter, Lizzie soon finds herself front and center on a vampire hunt, one that seems intent on reeking havoc on the town. It's going to take all the skill that Lizzie to help protect that which she loves as this vampire has deadly intentions and no plans to stop any time soon.

This series by Keri Arthur is next in my search for a urban fantasy series that can match Kate Daniels and this one succeeded in several fronts. I really enjoyed the character, the plot and the setting that Arthur chose, as I am always a sucker for a small town (or werewolf reservation in this case).

I like the bond between the female characters, they are more than Witch and Familiar you can tell that they have a love and respect for each other and Lizzie does not take advantage of her position or power over Belle. Loyalty and trust is key in their relationship as they want to remain under the radar. Most of the funny banter that occurs within the book come from the women secretly talking to each other telepathically. 

Lizzie's form of magic is interesting, and one that does not often take center stage, pschometry, where she can find people or objects and this does come in handy throughout the book. At the same time she does have the ability to create "minor" spells to help defend herself or those around her. I really found the magic part of this book refreshing and not what one would normally read about. I also found it refreshing that Lizzie is not a PI or something of that ilk as that is also something common (over used now) in the urban fantasy series, she just wants to be left alone to run her Cafe with Belle and you cannot fault her for that

I appreciated that Arthur decided not the have the Lizzie fall insta-love with the first hot werewolf that comes here way, sure there is lust there, but nothing that she wants to pursue at this time. I like when the relationship actually develops more than to just fall in love with each other. It actually helps that said werewolf does not like witches.

There are many hints to the past in this book and that Lizzie and Belle are running but not running from Lizzie's family. It is hinted what has occurred with them blaming Lizzie for the deat of her sister as well as a lack of power, but I still don't fully understand what happened to Lizzie's sister. I think there is going to be another book that will address is as the true murdered got away and it would just make sense to address it eventually.

I think the main thing I was missing was an overall lack of suspense and darkness throughout the book. It starts off fairly dark and graphic but then looses that aspect after that. I never felt like Lizzie was truly in danger in the book and seemed to have solution for every problem.

This is a great start to a series and I already feel invested in Lizzie as well as secondary characters. It also had some refreshing aspects that I did not know I wanted until i read them. I look forward to seeing where Arthur takes this series, so I cannot wait to pick up the next book.

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