This Book Had It’s Moments…

1616203536.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgWhen a building collapses around five teenagers and they just barely escape they know something strange is going on. Little by little, the group pieces together a theory: Their parents are working together to kill them all. Is it true? And if so, how did their parents come together and why? And, most importantly, how can the five of them work together to save themselves? With an unlikely group of heroes, sky-high stakes, and two budding romances, this gripping murder mystery will keep readers guessing until the last page (From Goodreads)

 

I have to agree, this was indeed a page turner. It started off with a bang and it was one event after another until our four characters started putting the pieces together. It got really thrilling at certain moments of the book and even you are left wondering what the heck is going on and you’re feeling just as lost and confused as the characters.

The plot itself in general was all right. Be prepared for some predictable scenes. It didn’t bother me as much as it was expected but there were plenty of moments in the book where you were blindsided with surprise which makes up for some of the predictability.

The characters were well done and complimented each other as a group despite each one having their differences. The narration done throughout the novel is by Caleb and Saralinda. Both characters are likable to an extent. I prefer reading Caleb’s side of the story instead of Saralinda only because she got annoying towards the second half of the novel. I thought she was trying too hard to be the happy nerdy girl with the forceful jokes. (You certainly CANNOT be thinking of first kisses and romance while you have the police and your murderous parents after you…seriously now?)

The read was all right. Some thrilling moments here and there and an ending that’s enough to close the story. Would I recommend this? Not really. I’d say more along the lines of: take it or leave it.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

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Jackaby is Eccentric but fun

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Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny. (From Goodreads)

 

This book was a little slow to start. However I find that because the characters are so interesting and have their own quirks you find yourself sticking to the story because they’re so fascinating.

When I was reading about Jackaby and his character he bears the resemblance of an unorthodox detective whose social skills are rather lacking (speaks his mind without realizing he’s offending) but who happens to be brilliant at what he does and those in the police force grudgingly accept his help because they have no one else to turn to. So in turn you can see why Abigail is needed in this partnership. She provides the social skills and provides insight on things that Jackaby might miss. Which is why they make an interesting team.

Although he’s eccentric and Abigail may come off as ‘normal’ they both are similar because they both don’t stick to the social norms that society at the time (18th century USA) which is why they make good teamwork. Not to mention, Abigail is also searching for adventure and working with Jackaby provided just that.

The world building is interesting and good. There’s supernatural elements and creatures throughout the city in hiding. Those with special vision (Jackaby) would be able to spot them whereas Abigail accepts this – a little too accepting but going with the notion that she needed to find employment right away to survive, I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. It still ended up being the right choice anyway.

Other secondary characters (Jenny and Douglas) are good fillers to provide more substance to Jackaby’s world. I enjoyed reading about Charlie and I hope he makes another appearance in the next novel.

I would say, stick to the story because of the characters that you end up liking as the book progresses. It does get exciting in the last third of the book despite the lack of momentum in the beginning. It was still an enjoyable read.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

Bookmarked for Death by Lorna Barrett (Booktown Mystery #2)

0316182885.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgWhat do a stone book and a stabbed cake have to do with Zoë Carter’s death?  Once a struggling town, Stoneham, New Hampshire is now enjoying a renaissance–thanks to booksellers like Tricia Miles, proprietor of Haven’t Got a Clue. It’s a great place to find a good mystery to read–or to solve ….  To celebrate her bookstore’s anniversary, Tricia Miles hosts a book signing for bestselling author Zoë Carter. But the event takes a terrible turn when the author is found dead in the washroom. Before long, both police and reporters are demanding the real story. So far, the author’s obnoxious assistant/niece is the only suspect. And with a sheriff who provides more obstacles than answers, Tricia will have to take matters into her own hands–and read between the lines to solve this mystery…. (From Goodreads)

***Possible spoilers***

The first book was a great read. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it’s light. Same goes for this one as well. It may help reading them in order, as it would be nice to know who’s who and how were they introduced in the book.

What I love the most about these particular series is Booktown itself. It’s such a quaint little place and it’s written up so nicely it makes you feel like you want to visit this place yourself. The characters themselves give the setting a nice tone even though they’re a little more than just cookie cutter characters. Tricia is likable and her staff are always nice to read through. Angelica can get on your nerves like any sibling would. However when it’s all said and done they add to the quaint setting.

The mystery itself was good. Although the crime is done ‘off stage’ things that happen to Tricia are a little more graphic than what I’m used to seeing in cozy mysteries. Which is not a bad thing. You’d have to wonder though, if it’s like this in every book, Tricia is in for a lot of surprises. There’s a mild twist in it but not enough to wow the reader.

I don’t like what’s going on between Tricia and Russ. In fact I don’t really see the appeal in Russ at all. He’s not that great, he doesn’t have much of a personality and what’s happening between him and Tricia isn’t really fireworks either. I’m not expecting something incredibly romantic between the two of them. But, some chemistry would be nice at this point. There’s nothing like that between them.

Overall, it’s still good for a fast quick read. Cozy mystery lovers would enjoy this one. I’m a sucker for the recipes in the back as well.

I give it a 7 out of 10.

 

Review of Rebel Heart by Moira Young

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Saba thought her world would return to normal after they defeated the Tonton and rescued her kidnapped brother Lugh. The family head west for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But a formidable enemy is on the rise. What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? (From Goodreads)

 

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

First, it’s recommended you read Blood Red Road before you jump into this one. It starts off a little later in the storyline but it’s best to get your background information so you can better understand the second one of the series.

I notice with the second book of almost every series I’ve read, they hit a bump in the plotline and it either goes very well, or sometimes it goes not so good, or terribly bad. In this case, it went a little lackluster. However it wasn’t the best, but it wasn’t the worst either. I suppose sometimes it’s hard to live up to the how high the bar is set when the first novel was written and released. As readers, we expect the same kind of emotional excitement.

So what I notice is a trend in the second book of the series as well, the main character always, (almost always) have their emo moments. This brings the plot down and establishes a lull and you’re left with this mopey character who’s on a complete pity trip while things are hitting the fan everyone around them. For crying out loud Saba. Seriously? I did not expect this from you. Sure, we’re all entitled our own moments but what ever happened to the pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and carry on motto? We need more of that instead of ‘woe is me the world is against me, I can’t take this anymore’ sort of thinking. So I’d have to say this aspect of the novel, I didn’t like so much.

I wasn’t expecting Saba to meet DeMalo so soon in the series. But oh my goodness he’s bloody insane. His way of thinking of his purpose makes you want to slug him one but you understand given the circumstances and the living conditions of the setting, yeah. It’s enough to make you go completely batshit crazy and think of these things as a way of survival or a way of life in order to make things ‘better’. What baffles me is….she ends up sleeping with him and just wow….seriously? Sleeping with the enemy doesn’t give you any bonus points here Saba darling. So…why? Just why? Don’t give me this emotional fragility crap. That’s getting old and useless.

The pace of the plot is noticeably slower given that perhaps this second book is going to be geared towards character development. Lugh’s still a twit and he wasn’t that likable in the first place – plus you feel like asking what the heck his problem is because he’s just so filled with resentment and anger. Jack is hardly anywhere in the book. He disappears and doesn’t interact with Saba. Still a mystery character with no answers. Sort of made me wonder, then why was he mentioned so much in the first one, to have no place in this one? Frustrating considering he played a big part and his character was one of the most likable in the story.

So overall, it’s okay. Second books in series always go through ruts and patches. I’m reading through this series because I really did like the first one and I’ll finish this one hoping the ending will go with an awesome bang so I can forget Rebel Heart.

I give it an 7 out of 10.

Review of Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

0425184056.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgTen years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back…and prisoners, including Kate’s uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train. Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace. The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft. (from Goodreads)

The story was pretty interesting and had a neat concept with the “Skilled”. I also liked the setting with the Graveyard city. So this is what rather kept me going for a bit while reading. The magic system itself was interesting and somewhat different from what I’ve read in the past. That kept the flow of reading along. Somewhat. The world building was alright although I wanted more detail and more explanation. What type of world was this? Yes it’s got magic in it but am I looking at fantasy with a Graveyard city? Is it a steampunk setting? What am I looking at here?

Now let’s move onto the characters.

Out of all of them, Silas even though he was pretty much your typical villain, was actually the most interesting. Even though he was the most interesting though, he wasn’t really that likable (understandably so, he’s a villain BUT I  always root for the bad guy). He wasn’t really part of the “cool bad guy” crowd I suppose for lack of a better explanation.

Edgar, who is Kate’s friend, meh. Not sure if I really liked him. He was a wuss. Sure, he had some few good moments. Otherwise though he just wasn’t that great at all. Kate was okay. She was a typical strong girl character you see in most YA novels like these.

In summary though, I’d have to say these characters in the book are ho hum. There’s not much feeling to them, they’re not likable, and they’re just…blah. Because of this and the lack of world building I just didn’t feel that much into the book and didn’t grab my attention. Sure, there were good points in the book but it just wasn’t quite enough to get me into the book like some others have. I’m not sure I’m going to go further into the series. I’d say take it or leave it with this one. I’ve seen other reviews where some have really enjoyed the book. Unfortunately much as I wanted to, I didn’t so much.
I give it a 7 out of 10.

Gunpowder Green by Laura Childs

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Tea shop owner Theodosia Browning knows that something’s brewing in the high society of Charleston—something other than her newest tea… The Indigo Tea Shop, Charleston’s favorite spot of tea, has just come out with its latest flavor: Gunpowder Green. Theodosia Browning cannot wait to hear its praises as it is unveiled at the annual yacht race. But when she hears the crack of an antique gun meant to end the race, a member of Charleston’s elite falls dead. Theodosia has a hunch that his demise was no accident—and will go out of her way to prove it. But if she doesn’t act fast, Theo will find herself in hot water with some boiling-mad Charlestonians—and more than a little gun-chai… (From Goodreads)

So this is book two of the Tea Shop Mystery series (Cozy Mysteries). I’m liking this! It’s quaint, it’s light with the same characters you’ve got to know and become attached to in the first one. What the reader will love besides a nice lighthearted mystery, is the nice descriptive setting of Charleston. Also, if you’re a tea lover, you’ll enjoy the various descriptions of teas.  One particular part that stood out for me was the “mystery tea” event. This scene stood out because the atmosphere and feeling was extremely well done and written. It was like the reader was part of the setting and taking a part in the event.

The one thing I do have to mention regarding this book, although the characters are extremely likable, and they’re well rounded out, the plot itself was a bit predictable and one could be able to guess who the culprit was. I hope this doesn’t happen in the next one as I’ll definitely continue reading this series.

Perfect choice for tea and mystery cozy lovers alike. It’s a great continuation after the first novel and I hope the others following will be just as good.
I give it a 7 out of 10

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist

0312604521.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_Something very peculiar is happening in Stockholm. There’s a heatwave on and people cannot turn their lights out or switch their appliances off. Then the terrible news breaks. In the city morgue, the dead are waking up… (From Goodreads.com)

Before you actually dive into this book expecting mad rabid zombies trying to get into your house, while the characters try to survive and scrounge whatever resources they can to make it out into a world turned upside down, you’re not going to find it here. Yes it was disappointing. Is it worth a try? Maybe…maybe not.

In this case, besides the fact that the dead have risen. They’re shells of their former self. Not rabid things we’re so used to seeing. They feed and react to the living’s feelings. (For example if you react with disgust, or hatred, they’ll lash out). Seems interesting. Certainly a different approach. Zombie purists out there probably wouldn’t give this book a second glance. I like trying out different things (just like food!) as there are times when you do come across a gem. Do I consider this one a gem? Not really.

Although it deals with several issues; such as the loss and acceptance of a loved one, or how far would someone go to protect the love one had for someone who was deceased. So in a sense, it’s a book that does make you think (well that mixed with zombies? Sacrilege!) so if you want something for the action fast paced plot, you’re not going to find it here. You want something to slowly digest (har!), read on character development and thinking, and for something to think about then maybe, just maybe this is for you.

My view on this book, take it or leave it. I found it all right. Not the best read, certainly but worth a try just to have a book that actually makes you think about what would really happen in scenarios such as this. Would you sacrifice everything? Or curl up and cry on the floor as the world burns? It’s worth to mull over. Those that want something with raging undead at your doorstep, skip this and go to the next one.

I give it a 7 out of 10