A Messed up anti-hero in a Dark Setting

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THE DEPARTED HAVE ARRIVED. The world is not the way it was. The dead have risen, and the living are under attack. The powerful Church of Real Truth, in charge since the government fell, has sworn to reimburse citizens being harassed by the deceased. Enter Chess Putnam, a fully tattooed witch and freewheeling ghost hunter. She’s got a real talent for banishing the wicked dead. But Chess is keeping a dark secret: She owes a lot of money to a murderous drug lord named Bump, who wants immediate payback in the form of a dangerous job that involves black magic, human sacrifice, a nefarious demonic creature, and enough wicked energy to wipe out a city of souls. Toss in lust for a rival gang leader and a dangerous attraction to Bump’s ruthless enforcer, and Chess begins to wonder if the rush is really worth it. Hell, yeah. (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers you’ve been warned***

I really enjoyed the world building in this book and wished there was a little more explanation about it. You do get snippets here and there on what happened with the world and why the Church came on top and in charge of the city. The setting is wonderful though. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s survival. It’s what you might see from a cyberpunk novel without the futuristic theme.

The plot itself is interesting thanks to the setting. It’s a nice blend of old and new. I say old because of the way the characters talk. It’s meant to be a form of street slang, but it also sounds a mixture of old english and modern. It’s interesting and fun to read (if you have a crush on Lex you’d like it). There is an element of mystery and I like the magic used. It’s a nice blend of using tattoos and actual spell components.

Chess is likable as a character. She’s hard working and is good at what she does, despite her faults and vices. The vices do play a big part on her behavior and takes a hold of her life. She still manages to soldier through her tasks and proves to be a fighter.

There is an aspect of a love triangle in the book although I’m not sure if it could be called that. I don’t see Terrible as a love interest at all, I see him more as a loyal friend and the muscle of the duo. Lex on the other hand – so swoon worthy if you’re into the bad boys. He’s self serving and most likely not a good thing for Chess but they both got this spark. Maybe it’s because of their backgrounds and they’re similar but they get along so well and Lex has this subtle charm about him (let’s not even compare him to Doyle)

This is a must read for urban fantasy fans. It’s got a bit of everything and Chess is such a great character to follow through the journey. Will definitely go onto the second book of the series.

I give it a 9 out of 10

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Bleak atmosphere but the writing and storytelling are excellent

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Inspector Erlendur returns in this gripping Icelandic thriller When a skeleton is discovered half-buried in a construction site outside of Reykjavík, Inspector Erlendur finds himself knee-deep in both a crime scene and an archeological dig. Bone by bone, the body is unearthed, and the brutalizing history of a family who lived near the building site comes to light along with it. Was the skeleton a man or a woman, a victim or a killer, and is this a simple case of murder or a long-concealed act of justice? As Erlendur tries to crack this cold case, he must also save his drug-addicted daughter from self destruction and somehow glue his hopelessly fractured family back together. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers you have been warned***

I loved Jar City because of the dark bleak mood setting that’s described in Erlandur’s world. This one proves to be just the same. Coupled with a well written mystery that goes back into the past, this one lived up to the previous.

The book goes back and forth in time. It features on the past of a woman and her family and the horrendous abuse she endures. It leads up to the mystery surrounding the body found in the present. It’s good background storytelling and put in the missing pieces gradually as you progress in the book. Then as it goes forward to present day, you have Erlandur and his crew attempting to figure out the mystery but it also focuses on Erlandur’s past, and his attempt at patching things up with Eva Lind as she’s in a coma at the hospital.

Don’t expect twists and turns or any special revelations in this novel. It’s a subtle mystery but so well written that it’s a quick read and you’re so immersed into the book that the pages do fly by. It’s the writing style that makes it so good. The mood and setting is again, dark as usual. It’s more bleak than the previous one due to the subject matter and with what Erlandur experiences.

Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone. The physical, mental, emotional abuse featured in this book is hard to read. You sympathize with the mother and her children and Grimur is just one awful piece of garbage. Erlandur’s ghosts from the past is also revealed in this book and he’s got quite a lot of baggage on his shoulders (not including his ex wife and Eva Lind) but it gives his character more substance and he’s not just a presence in the novel. You also learn more about his colleagues (although I’d like to learn more about Elinborg) as they have their lives as well. I like this aspect of the novel as it shows what they do out of duty and gives them a more realistic human feel to the book.

Not much of a mystery but makes for really good reading, not only do the characters flesh out more but the writing is so well done. Recommended and I’ll be moving onto the next book after this one.

I give it an 8.5/10

 

Unique Blogger Award!

Now that I finally have the time to sit down and play catch up on the blog I got tagged and got this lovely award from The Bibliophagist! and I’m honored to participate in this!

 

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RULES:

  • Display the award!
  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Answer the questions they’ve written for you!
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers and give them three questions in the spirit of sharing love and solidarity within our blogging family!

 

My Questions to answer:

  1. What’s a book that you wish got more attention?
  2. What are your hobbies aside from reading and blogging?
  3. What’s your most anticipated release for the rest of the year?

 

 

One book that I wish got more attention? oh gee I don’t really know honestly. I think all books should get their due now if you asked me which book shouldn’t get attention that’s a different story…but that would be mean wouldn’t it?

 

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My hobbies aside from reading and blogging?

Gaming. When I do have the time I play on the PC and the world around me dissolves. I do other types of gaming as well. I love board games and my most recent hobby I picked up is playing Magic the Gathering. I started off in a casual tournament and got the hang of it. Now I’m onto building my first two decks 🙂

 

The most anticipated release of the year already happened, it was Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri.

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But! I do have another one to look forward to:

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At the Wolf’s Table by Rosella Postorino looks so good and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. You can read about it here and tell me what you think 🙂

 

There you have it! my answers.

My Questions for those that would like to pick this up and participate (and please let me know so I can see your answers)

  1. Take the closest book to you and tell me where our next adventure is at.
  2. Give me one book character that’s more dashing and charming than  Nikolai from the Grishaverse (because..well he’s Nikolai and a huge book crush for me)
  3. Do you listen to music while reading? if so what?

 

Enjoy! looking forward to your answers!

 

Couldn’t Put This One Down

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When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in. And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene. But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him. When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared. And that’s when Joe receives the first message (From Goodreads)

This one was a complete page turner for me! I enjoyed every bit of it and the large twist at the end was superb.

It already starts off with you questioning with what’s going on in the very first few chapters. Things don’t start to add up but you try to find the gaps and holes to try and figure it out like Joe was trying to do. You’re rooting for him all throughout the novel and you feel for him because what he goes through is enough to make someone snap.

The plot is full of guesswork and twists here and there. You think Joe is close to finding out only to realize he’s close but he’s missing things that don’t quite fit the picture. It’s a fast moving plot with Joe snowballing into worse possible scenarios you could think of. Just when you think you had it figured out, and who it was behind everything, the twist at the end puts a different spin on things and you’re left wide eyed. It was very well done!

Joe is definitely someone you cheer for in the story, he’s likable albeit some of his choices are a bit on the foolish side (perhaps impulsive might be the more appropriate term here) but without his drive to find answers the book definitely wouldn’t have its’ readability. Sometimes when you have nothing to lose, you just go for it regardless of the consequences.

Definitely would recommend to thriller readers. It’s a very fast read with an intriguing plot. It will keep you guessing and just when you have the answer it’s not what you think. It’s a beautifully done surprise.

I give it 8.5 out of 10.

Thank you St Martin’s Press for the review copy!

Anti Heroes and Fantasy are just what I needed!

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Five hundred years ago, the world was destroyed in the celestial Godswar. Seeking to throw off the shackles of the deities who created them, a cabal of mages rose up and made war upon the Gods. Though they won out, it was at a great cost: the ensuing cataclysm brought forth the Age of Ruin to the world. Five hundred years later, the world limps on, seemingly winding down to an inevitable end. Dystopian city states have arisen, each presided over by one of the Magelords who first made war. Corrupted, near-immortal, and far too powerful, those wizards who once sought to free the world now make war upon each other, while the helpless populace limp on from day to day. Into this blighted world, steps Davarus Cole, a boy obsessed with notions of heroism and adventuring, who burns to do great deeds. One night, in a reckless act, Cole gets himself into a brawl with the authorities. He quickly finds himself sent away from the city, where the world still groans from the ancient cataclysm, and the corpses of Gods lie deep beneath the bedrock, leaking wild, uncontrolled magic into the world. (From Goodreads)

***Spoilers ahead you’ve been warned***

It’s been a while since a good fantasy has come by my way and with anti heroes! It’s different and nice to see even though the world building and plot is typical fantasy but it’s written so well that it’s enjoyable and with some occasional funny parts you’re left with a memorable book and want to keep going in the series.

The world building is well done. Mages are dictators of their own cities and have the general populace under their thumb. Magic is pretty much only done by Magelords (not including the band of sorceresses that are mentioned). Dorminia is protected by Augmentors (elite units that have enhanced magical items) which is a fine idea. The mindhawks (birds that can read your mind to see if you’re thinking thoughts to overthrow the Magelord) is also a really neat concept that I liked.

The plot itself is intricate and it takes time to get fully immersed in it. Once you’re familiar with the world and setting it’s well worth the time invested and although it may be a bit hard to keep track of everyone at first, the action scenes are well written, the dialogue is real albeit vulgar at times (but it keeps it real), and the battle at the end is epic. Everything is somewhat interconnected and once the pieces all come together it makes for one great story.

The characters are a mixed bag and you have a variety to choose as a favorite. Cole seems to be the butt of many jokes despite his main role in the story. I found myself bursting out laughing at some moments that featured him – although I have to add, he’s not a very likable character. He’s naive, arrogant, and a bit of a dolt. But that’s what makes his role more interesting. Even I had to agree with Jerek when he said: “The boy’s a hero after all.”

My favorite would be Brodar and Jerek. Their background stories are interesting and they compliment each other. Brodar is the cool headed fighter who’s going on past his prime, whereas Jerek is the hot headed one that has a constant chip on his shoulder. They make a great duo and even while fighting together it makes for an exciting battle scene to read.

I sympathize with Barandas even though he was for the ‘bad guys’. He was loyal to a fault and was your model soldier. But he had a nice likable personality and although he was loyal to the Magelord you had to admire that in him. He’s good at his job and he was also trying to set things right. It made me sad on his demise. It was worth reading his one on one fight with Brodar.

There are so many questions to be answered! Lots of things were left hanging and I am looking forward to reading book two of this series. If you like a good fantasy with anti heroes with various flaws, some bits of dark humor,  hefty battle scenes and blood coming from all over this is definitely for you.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

PS: Lordy, Eremul went through a lot of suffering didn’t he? Poor guy. lol. 

Slow building suspense with a great ending

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgThey call themselves the May Mothers—a collection of new moms who gave birth in the same month. Twice a week, with strollers in tow, they get together in Prospect Park, seeking refuge from the isolation of new motherhood; sharing the fears, joys, and anxieties of their new child-centered lives. When the group’s members agree to meet for drinks at a hip local bar, they have in mind a casual evening of fun, a brief break from their daily routine. But on this sultry Fourth of July night during the hottest summer in Brooklyn’s history, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is abducted from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but the May Mothers insisted that everything would be fine. Now Midas is missing, the police are asking disturbing questions, and Winnie’s very private life has become fodder for a ravenous media. Though none of the other members in the group are close to the reserved Winnie, three of them will go to increasingly risky lengths to help her find her son. And as the police bungle the investigation and the media begin to scrutinize the mothers in the days that follow, damaging secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are formed and fractured.  (From Goodreads)

So I joined the Book of the Month Club. (Husband cringes because apparently I have too many books.) This was my very first book when I first subscribed. I heard a lot of good things about this one which was why I chose it for my subscription. That being said, I’d have to say it was a pretty good choice indeed!

Don’t be overwhelmed by the substantial amount of characters in this book. Some are just stand by, you’ll want to focus on: Francie, Colette, Nell, and Winnie. (Maybe Token on the side but he’s more a supportive role) it may seem haphazard and all over the place which is why it’s best to just focus on these four moms.

The chapters switch from different points of view and there’s that one lone chapter that’s presented in first person. It’s a mystery as to who that is until much later, but it certainly does keep you guessing on who that person could be. It may seem obvious at first and during the reading you feel so sure you know who that is and what’s behind the entire story but the blind side moment comes fast in the last few chapters and you’re left with a shock.

The plot slowly builds to a good mystery and suspense. The thrilling bits get you at the end. It’s a satisfying read, the characters grate on you (Francie and Nell are the ones I disliked the most), but it’s the suspense and the ‘keeping you guessing’ bits that get the reading going.

So although it may seem like it’s all over the place, give the book a chance and read. It’s well worth it with the superb ending.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10.

When Living Doesn’t Become Living No More..

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Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.  But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms. In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world. (From Goodreads)

I enjoyed the world building and setting here in this book. It’s set in the future, people now live much longer than normal. They are pumped up with various implants (e.g. Diamondskin) and follow a strict diet and exercise program, and even go as far as to reducing various activities that activate cortisol levels that put them on overdrive. It may seems appealing, because you live longer than the normal life span and you’re looking like a supermodel but at the same time there’s an underlying dictatorial tone where you have to follow the rules or you’ll be seen ‘different’ and won’t be qualified to have these perks anymore. Everything is dictated by the “Ministry” and once you fall off the path you’ll be observed by the men in black which could lead to potentially drastic results.

It’s an interesting world, where suddenly everything that you thought was normal isn’t anymore and is frowned upon. These special perks are not always granted to everyone because it’s also based on your genetics, your job, and your social standing as well. It’s appealing but at the same time it doesn’t sound so fun and it feels like you’re a drone.

The plot itself was interesting and follows two points of view. Lea and Anja. I prefer Anja’s point of view because she’s part of the underground Suicide Club movement for various reasons. She’s a carefree spirit who does what she wants despite society and its’ demands because she’s seen the other side of things and how it’s affected people she cares about (her mom in this instance). The two characters offer two very different perspectives in the novel and it all comes together nicely and seamlessly.

I rather enjoyed the part with Lea and Kaito on the boat. You feel the emotion and the sadness of what’s to come. You feel the regret of moments missed in life and although it can’t be made up in just one sitting, that one moment together still creates a powerful memory that stays with you – which no one can take away. It’s a bittersweet moment and the most memorable in the book.

Although the plot flowed through nicely, I can’t really say I like the writing style. It drags in some parts and it shows an attempt to be lyrical and poetic with way too many descriptions of smells and sights. I understand the point of it being that instead of becoming a drone like everyone else, stop and just live the moment and take in your surroundings. However it bogs down the reading flow and I found myself struggling to keep the pace. Less lyrical prettiness and let’s just get down to the basics shall we? It would have made the reading more enjoyable.

Overall, a great interesting idea and a good deep read. Worth the time to go through.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

Thank you Henry Holt and Co for the review copy!