Sunday, October 29, 2023

N.J. Mackay: The Quiet Dead

In the start of a new series N.J. MacKay, when a man confessed to a murder turns out to be innocent:

Hayley DaSilva walks in on a scene that no one should, the murder of her mother, brother, her brother's friend and her youngest brother missing and who was never found. He farther admits to the murder and is convicted and sentenced to life in prison. 15 years later, when a new development is being put in, small bones are dug up from the ground. They belong to Ethan DaSilva, he has finally been found. Hayley now lives in America in a new life, one where no ones knows that her family has been murdered. When she receives the phone call that Ethan has been found, she goes back to England and is forced to face the truth about what happens. DI. Sebastian Locke is assigned to the case and right away, he can tell that the case was not handled well and they were too quick to convict a man and the really murderer is out there. But 15 years has past, can DI Locke finally get justice for the DeSilva family?

I liked that Mackay does not do flashbacks other that what the characters remember, which is not much due to drugs and alcohol consumed at the time. I think that this made it harder to put the evidence together, for both the reader and the investigators in the book, as people are being asked to remember things from 15 years ago. There is never really a clear suspect within the book as the investigators continue their investigation, I enjoyed this, as it kept me on my toes in trying to figure out what happened back then and who has gotten away with murder. I will say I did not have it all figured out, which does not happen very often.

There are dual POV in this book, one of our investigator DI. Sebastian Locke and the only survivor of her family Hayley DeSilva and I did not mind this, but at the same time, I found that Hayley's POV were repetitive at times. She was not able to add much to the investigation, so I found some of her chapters felt slightly like filler chapters. They do make you care for Hayley as a character as you feel really sorry for her for what she has suffered, but that is not the point of the book, the point of the book is to solve what is now a cold case.

You have to admire DI Locke in the book, he is determined and wants everything done right, no matter where the truth may take him. I also like that Mackay took time to make Locke seem like a real person with having some of his family life shown in the book. 

This was a good book and a good start to a series, I really enjoyed the cold case aspect and to me it seemed the investigation was on point. I hope that Sebastian and Lucy work together again, I think they had a good dynamic with each other. I would check out another book in this series.


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Monday, October 23, 2023

Shannon Mayer: Taken by Fate

In the first book in a new series, Shannon Mayer shows what happens when the Veil Falls:

When the Veil fell, humans soon realized that they were no longer at the top of the food chain. The Veil that used to protect them from Werewolves, Vampires, Angels, Demons and the Fae, they are now able to cross over whenever they want. When the humans lost the war, they had to agree to send humans to be sold as slaves a few times a year. Sienna has been running and she knows how not to be caught by the slave runner, until she needs to be. She needs to be sold to the werewolves so that she can find her little adopted brother Jordan and bring him home. But Sienna get bought by a Vampire night for the Harvest Games, one that becomes deadly to survive unless she can find a Vampire to help her, lust after her to survive. But there are political moves going on in the background and death may be immanent. 

This is the first book that I have read by Mayer, and with the cliffhanger that this book has, I know that I will be reading the next book in the series. I found that this book had me hooked from the beginning and i was not expecting that. I really like Sienna as a character from the very beginning she was strong and kind, even to those that she just met and she didn’t take and shit from anyone. I basically got sucked into her story, I would say that the general idea of the Harvest games is very much The Selection but with more deadly consequences and the women are not vying for one guy, but any vampire they can.

While this book is about the human women finding a vampire to eventually take care of them in the Harvest games, I found that this was more of a side story overall, yes it affected some of the scenes and plot of the book but there was so much more going on that I did not mind this aspect (one I think I would normally not enjoy) especially when things get deadly. I was really surprised the amount of the story that was political and almost had a spy aspect to it, from both Sienna and the General's avenues. I was also happy that Mayer decided to have dual POV for this book, as it really rounded out the story.

The world building here is simple and not overly explained or complicated. I do have a few questions about why the veil fell, seems like the vampires do not know either and why when the Werewolves, Vampires, demons, Angles and Fae got together to defeat the humans, it now seems that they are enemies? None of this is really explained, but I found that this does not take away from the overall story and I think will be explained further on.

There is some romance/lusting in the book, but it is a slower burn, which was okay with.

I really enjoyed this book; it was an easy read that I was able to lose myself in. It had both dark and light moments that i think that Mayer blended well. I really like Sienna as a character, she is for sure a highlight of the book for me. I look forward to reading the next book in the series, especially with that cliff hanger.

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Monday, October 16, 2023

Clemence Michallon: The Quiet Tenant

In her debut novel, Clemence Micahllon shows the length a woman will go to, to survive:

Aiden Thomas is seen as a hard-working family man, who is now having to raise his daughter, Cecilia, alone, after his wife passed away from cancer. But Aiden Thomas is not who he seems, every night he visits a woman in the shed, a woman who cannot quite remember what her life was like before, all she knows is that she is alive and if she wants to stay that way she needs to follow the rules. But the rules are about to change, as Aiden's life has changed, her life is about to as well, maybe one that will lead to the opportunity to escape if she can be brave enough, but 5 years of brainwashing, punishment, hurt and fear may have taken that ability away from her, all she really wants to do is make sure that she survives.

Michallon is another debut author that I had the pleasure of reading this year and I think that the first thing that people need to know before reading this book, that is more of a domestic suspense read that a regular serial killer thriller book as most of the main characters are living in a house together, this includes Rachel, the Quiet Tenant. 

I think what this book has in spades is a feeling of suspense, how long will Aiden put up with Rachel, will Rachel find a way out, will Cecilia figure something out or question this women Rachel, and will Emily be able to trust her gut on things. In the same since, since the suspense within the book is drawn out, it can feel slow at times, and not having the plot move forward as fast as one may want it to. It almost become that the chapters featuring Rachel were very the same each time, and i do not know if this was deliberate or not to put emphasis on the life that Rachel has been living in for so long.

You have to admire Rachel for most of the story, even though so of the choices that she makes are frustrating you are somewhat able to understand why she makes them. She has such a high survival instinct that it is insane but at the same time she wants to help Cecilia. Rachel is the one that has survived Aiden and I do not think that this aspect should be overlooked. 

I don’t think that the book needed a POV from Cecilia as I found she didn’t really add much to the story, mainly just talk about Rachel being weird and loving her Dad even though he is strange at times. I think that Emily's POV was interesting, and I do wonder if there was a different twist here or there what would have become of her, I think we all know where Aiden was heading with her but you just don’t know for sure.

I like how there were chapters, even though they were short, where the reader learns how many people that he has killed and how he picked them, lured them and eventually killed them. Some of these "chapters" are longer than other, but they are no more than a page.

This was a good read and overall, I enjoyed the story, plot and how it was presented. I will admit that the book felt slow at times and did not seem to more along, as fast as i would like. For a debut novel I am impressed and i look forward to seeing what Michallon releases next.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2023

N. E. Davenport: The Blood Trials

In her debut novel and the first book in a duology, N. E. Davenport where one woman bent on revenge can change the entire world:

Ikenna's world has been flipped upside-down, her grandfather and only family left has died and she has been wallowing the last few months in school numbing the pain away. Her grandfather was also the only one who knows her secret, her blood gift that has needed to be kept hidden from birth. When one of her grandfather's best friends tells Ikenna that her grandfather was actually as, she will do anything to find out who was responsible. Bent on revenge she decides to once again pledge to become a Praetorian Guard, the most brutal trail where only a quarter of those who enter survive. The country of Mareen has been at peace for a long time but there are many forces at play and many who do not want Ikenna to survive the trials.

I personally love reading debut novels, I think that when an author decides to put a book out there, their debut is often one of their best and they bring something new to the genre they have chosen write in. So I was extremely surprised to find out that this was Davenport's debut book, it had many things that I love in the fantasy genre and I am personally shocked that this book has not received more hype, especially when it was released last year

Although this book has been stated by some that this is a YA book I would say it is more New Adult as it was fairly dark and a lot of death that in times is described in detail. There is also a lot more politics that occur in the book as well, especially in the latter half of the book. 

I loved Ikenna as a character, even though there were times when you want to hit her, but she felt very real, with real emotions and reactions to what is occurring around her. She has a secret that she has to hide, even from her friends therefore, she is truly alone once her grandfather is dead. Ikenna has a mouth on her and times her anger gets the best of her, but Ikenna has the skills and abilities to back them up, so she is pretty kickass. I found Ikenna's interesting and one we do not see very often, very Kate Daniels like but extra and extreme at times.

Lots and lots of racism and misogyny in this book and while the main lead does not “handle” it well all the time, I mean who would, she is amazing how she navigates through this world. She must prove herself more for not only being black but also a woman and she takes the measure of all those around her both friends and foe.

I think my criticism with this book is that i found it a little predictable, right from the beginning and I am a little bit confused on the world building. I am not completely sure about all the countries involved and why the Mareen are seen as the "best" of the countries, probably just a self-title as they are mainly white people, but as you read farther and farther into the book that does not seem to be the case. I also was confused of all the power that Ikenna's grandfather held and how he was able to hold the peace between so many countries, they say he was good with words, but that alone would not have been enough to hold peace as the way the Mareen treat most people is just horrible 

I really enjoyed this book, it was a lot darker that I thought it was going to be as death and trails is a big part of this book. Ikenna is a character that may be frustrating at times, but still someone you cheer for throughout especially everything that she has to go through. I cannot wait to read the next book in this duology. 


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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Lana Ferguson: The Nanny

In her debut novel Lana Ferguson explores what happens when you finally meet the person you have been “chatting” with online:

Cassie Evans is on the verge on an eviction after losing her job, she has two options: get a new job or bring back her OnlyFans account, something she really does not want to do. When she sees a posting for a live in Nanny position that pays extremely well, she feels like she can get ahead, until she meets her would be employer, Aiden Reid. Aiden is not quite who Cassie thought she would meet for her interview as he is a younger attractive man but Aiden is determined to hire Cassie as she has amazing qualifications. The more that Cassie and Aiden hang out, Cassie son realizes that Aiden is the man who she used to communicate with (and more) on Onlyfans. Cassie doesn’t know what to do, as both them feel the pull towards each other.  

This is the first book that I have read by Ferguson and it was a cute quick read that did have a spicy scene or two thrown in, which may be unexpected with the pretty cute cover. I actually like that this book was more than one would expect, and the relationship between Aiden and Cassie is one that you are invested in right from the beginning.

I feel like this book is very now and on trend with the use of OnlyFans for how they met, and I liked that they had snippets of their interaction at the beginning of each chapter and how they used the site more than just what that site was intended for. I think it would be funny to have a Epilogue about how they finally told Sophie about how they met.

I was not a fan of the third act, I wanted to throw something against the wall. The whole drama in the third act was forced and unnecessary, it just pissed me off. Everything could have been settled with one adult conversation at the hospital and this is it. There was no need to add even more drama to the story.

This was a cute story for the first two third but the third act ruined it for me, I just can't get past the third act break up trope especially when it is something so trivial, the rest of the book was cute and enjoyable but that third act took this book right down for me. I would read another book by Ferguson as I did enjoy the relationship she created here.

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