The Eric Carter series is bloody awesome. Review of Broken Souls by Stephen Blackmoore

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When necromancer Eric Carter returned to Los Angeles after fifteen years on the run he knew things were bad, but he never imagined how bad they could get. Sister murdered, best friend dead, married to the patron saint of death, Santa Muerte. And things are just getting worse. His link to the Aztec death goddess is changing his powers, changing him, and he’s not sure how far it will go. He’s starting to question his own sanity, wonder if he’s losing his mind. No mean feat for a guy who talks to the dead on a regular basis. While searching for a way to break Santa Muerte’s hold over him, Carter finds himself the target of a psychopath who can steal anyone’s form, powers and memories. Identity theft is one thing, but the guy does it by killing his victims and wearing their skins like a suit. He can be anyone. He can be anywhere. Now Carter has to change the game, go from hunted to hunter. All he has for help is a Skid Row Bruja and a ghost who’s either his dead friend Alex or Carter’s own guilt-fueled psychotic break. If things go right, he just might survive a week where everything is trying to kill him and nothing is as it seems. (From Goodreads)

FYI for those of you who haven‘t read the first one. It’s best to do so.

***Spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned***

It amazes me how much Eric Carter can take. It makes sense now, because of his new found powers and his recent unsteady alliance with Santa Muerte. But in the last book? He was thrown about like a rag doll and still managed to do the dirty deed with the lady friend. (I’d rather plop down and sleep for an eternity and lick my wounds but everyone’s different right?.

Like the first one, there’s lots of action in the book. It’s one thing after another with moments of insanity in between. I really thought Eric was losing his mind there. You probably would after seeing all the stuff he’s seen in a lifetime. He’s still a jerk and isn’t apologetic about it and his character does not develop much – although physical aspects to his character changes quite a bit thanks to the manipulation of the Gods.

Which brings me to the main plot. Eric is caught in between two Gods who are pretty much using him to their advantage and manipulating him into getting the ball rolling. I enjoyed this part of the book. It until the last third of the book where one finds out to what extent the manipulation goes to. Then Eric is ready to go out for more blood. Oh yes. Bring me book number three!!! (A notable scene which sticks with me is when Eric is stuck with two demons in a room. Loved that fighting scene. Perfectly written, demons were grotesque, and one just happened to take the guise of a child.)

We also have the addition of la Bruja (Gabriela) who I really enjoyed reading. She’s tough, with a heart of gold, isn’t afraid of telling Eric he’s an a-hole, and has a following willing to fight with her. I loved reading about her. She’s a tough cookie and does help Eric out, even though there’s trust issues (understandably so). I think Eric found a great ally here with Gabriela.

This was just as enjoyable to read as the first one. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Eric the next time. I hope this series continues! It’s got so much potential to keep as an ongoing series.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

 

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The Moon is a Creepy Place isn’t it? #bookreview

0316182885.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgThree teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2. (from Goodreads)

 

I only grabbed this book because I thought cover looked interesting. I didn’t put two and two together until I finished the book. Creepy and at the same time a good horror sci fi in the YA section.

To be fair, the pace of the book starts off a little slow at first. Think of it as a very slow introduction to the characters and establishing the setting, and where they’re going to be headed to on their space journey.

Then hell breaks loose when they’re on the moon

And wow, the pace picks up considerably and it instantly becomes a page turner. Now I understand there needs to be a mystery aspect to the novel – whether that’s necessary to establish the plot or not, that I’m not too sure. I welcomed it regardless because everything starting coming together and you find yourself racing through the novel to find out what’s going to happen next.

Considering this is a YA sci fi novel, you’re not going to come across anything astronomically complicated when it comes to the science aspect of it all. No physics lessons or rocket science (literally.) It’s not meant to be a complex read so it’s ideal when one doesn’t want to bother with NASA lingo.

Be prepared for a twist at the end. I was completely floored and it made the read incredibly enjoyable.

Greatly recommended and well worth the read. We need more like this in the YA section! (and if you do find one, please let me know! I’m open to reading more of this!)

I give it a 9.5 out of 10

 

Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry

Dust and Decay

Dust and Decay

Six months have passed since the terrifying battle with Charlie Pink-eye and the Motor City Hammer in the zombie-infested mountains of the Rot & Ruin. It’s also been six months since Benny Imura and Nix Riley saw something in the air that changed their lives. Now, after months of rigorous training with Benny’s zombie-hunter brother Tom, Benny and Nix are ready to leave their home forever and search for a better future. Lilah the Lost Girl and Benny’s best friend Lou Chong are going with them. But before they even leave there is a shocking zombie attack in town, and as soon as they step into the Rot & Ruin they are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, and insane murderers, and face the horrors of Gameland—where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all…could the evil Charlie Pink-eye still be alive? In the great Rot & Ruin, everything wants to kill you—and not everyone in Benny’s small band of travelers will survive…. (From Amazon.ca)

**Caution: Spoilers! Read at your risk!**

Loved Rot and Ruin. This book was also ten times better than Rot and Ruin. Everything just got better when I read this book.

The characters got better (except Nix, for some reason I just can’t get myself to like her). There were moments of close calls for these characters and some nail biting moments. I absolutely loved the introduction of the different hunters (the Surfers were awesome! and Sally Two Knives!). The humor is back again in this book, I loved the banter between Benny and Chong. I also loved the banter between Lilah and Chong. I’m so happy they eventually became a couple. It’s an odd couple nevertheless, but given the circumstances of what’s happening around them, it goes hand in hand.

The writing style and character development is excellent. There’s a handful of characters to keep track of but the main core would be Benny and his friends. Benny’s group including himself develop, and you see them grow up mentally. After what Nix experiences, she’s matured but through no choice of her own. However whenever you do read the banter between the friends, they act just like kids do and in a sense, it’s comforting because they can still act like their age despite what’s going on around them.

The plot itself was excellent, and keep in mind it follows right after the events of Rot and Ruin, so it’s best if you read in order. The final third of the book is filled with action and an epic fighting scene. Unfortunately some characters do have to leave. I didn’t want this particular one to go and was absolutely blindsided with this turn of events. I was so attached to this particular character, I have to admit, I cried. This shows though, that Maberry’s writing and characters are very well done, because we get attached to them emotionally and we cheer them on.
Definitely a good follow up to Rot and Ruin, and it looks like it’s a great series so far. An absolute must read for zombie YA readers.

I give it a 9.5/10

Dominion by C J Sansom

Dominion

Dominion

1952. Twelve years have passed since Churchill lost to the appeasers, and Britain surrendered to Nazi Germany after Dunkirk. As the long German war against Russia rages on in the east, the British people find themselves under dark authoritarian rule: the press, radio and television are controlled; the streets patrolled by violent auxiliary police and British Jews face ever greater constraints. There are terrible rumours too about what is happening in the basement of the German Embassy at Senate House. Defiance, though, is growing. In Britain, Winston Churchill’s Resistance organisation is increasingly a thorn in the government’s side. And in a Birmingham mental hospital an incarcerated scientist, Frank Muncaster, may hold a secret that could change the balance of the world struggle forever. Civil Servant David Fitzgerald, secretly acting as a spy for the Resistance, is given by them the mission to rescue his old friend Frank and get him out of the country. Before long he, together with a disparate group of Resistance activists, will find themselves fugitives in the midst of London’s Great Smog; as David’s wife Sarah finds herself drawn into a world more terrifying than she ever could have imagined. And hard on their heels is Gestapo Sturmbannfuhrer Gunther Hoth, brilliant, implacable hunter of men . . (from Goodreads)

It’s been a while since I’ve read a real good alternate history book. This one really got me turning the pages and got me wanting to stay up late to finish it (despite it being about the size of a tome).

So the book is mostly told in three different character narratives. David, Frank, or Sarah. The three characters have issues of their own, (David and Sarah sharing a personal tragedy) each of them having their own way of developing their character throughout the story. Suffice to say, all three of them are stronger than how they started off in the book. Frank, I would have to say, ends up being the strongest one of them all. Of the three I’d have to say it’s a close tie between Sarah and Frank as my favorite. Frank especially, after all that he goes through and with a superb background story. I liked Sarah a lot because although she was going through so many marital issues with David, she got it all together in the end and was able to face the danger and she managed to save face and stand head to head to Natalia (whom I found rather odious and extremely unlikable). Good for Sarah, on top of that instead of breaking down like a poor sod with her marriage issues she met them straight on and told David exactly how she felt. Sarah darling, I’m holding a torch for you.

David would be my least favorite character – but a step above Syme and Natalia (oh goodness, yes I put Syme and Natalia in the same boat here). He was okay until this thing with Natalia come up and he suddenly became a likeable very helpful and loyal character to a lovesick poor twit who behaved like a dumb cow. Get over it buddy. You have much more IMPORTANT things to do but noooooooo you got the one track mind going on here (the scene with saying goodbye on the boat just about had me wanting to push David off of it. Seriously!?! your wife is looking at you and while she’s surviving on her own without any help from you, you’re too busy looking for Natalia arrghhh!!! You don’t deserve Sarah!!!!!!)

The plot overall was excellent and well written. It gives a good alternate history of a ‘what if’ scenario and does it well. It nice both sides (German and Resistance) are portrayed here. I sort of felt sorry for Gunther, but on the other hand I didn’t because he was your typical Nazi with those silly political views which induces eye rolling throughout certain parts of the book but you can also feel a sort of weariness in him as if he’s really tired of it all.

The author’s note in the back provides good insight and information that deserves a walk through. Overall I was very pleased and happy with the book and am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it. Greatly recommended and I’m definitely going to check out C J Sansom’s other works.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Thank you so much for the review copy! I apologize the review is late!

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano

A most peculiar circumstanceMiss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women’s suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn’t need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor. Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton’s sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit’s end. When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can’t be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love. (From Amazon.ca)

Starting to really enjoy these inspirational romances. Not only do they give me my little romance fix that I crave once in awhile but they turn out to be real entertaining and fun to read!

So, I didn’t know this was the second book in the series. It can be read perfectly as a stand alone. But! because I enjoyed reading this one so much I will be getting the first book. The plot itself is well written and provided a good mix of romance, comedy, and a bit of action moments. The romance and comedy do make up the bulk of the story but nevertheless it’s still a fun and entertaining read.

Arabella and Theodore make such an excellent couple. Their banter was fun to read and the way they just drive each other insane was absolutely hilarious. Although Arabella was first seen as a typical ‘bluestocking’ fighting for women’s rights and not being your typical stay at home and be pretty woman, she’s really just a girly girl! her chemistry with Theodore was definitely there and although he was unbearable at first, he does grow on the reader and on Arabella. Eventually.

Although I liked Arabella, I liked Katherine as well. There’s one particular scene where she just irritates Theodore and almost makes him see red which was one of my most favorite scenes. I guess it’s because you could just see her do the action and it suits her personality and character. I liked her character throughout the book. She went from unhappy wife to someone who suddenly did not become afraid of speaking of her mind and standing up to her husband when she was unhappy and voiced her opinion on it.

The action part of the book was good. Definitely enjoyed the last bit of the book although I wish there was just more background information on the women disappearing. I understand perhaps, not much should be said, as then the book would take a darker turn than the light read it should be. But it was just as if criminal was just dumped on in the plot in the last 20 pages and I was hoping there would be more to that than just those last few pages.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the book. The characters were excellently written and make the book a great read. Definitely recommended.

I give it a 9.5 out of 10.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs

Mine is the nightStepping from a battered coach on a rainy April eve, newly widowed Elisabeth Kerr must begin again, without husband or title, property or fortune. She is unafraid of work and gifted with a needle, but how will she stitch together the tattered remnants of her life? And who will mend her heart, torn asunder by betrayal and deception? Elisabeth has not come to Selkirk alone. Her mother-in-law, Marjory Kerr, is a woman undone, having buried her husband, her sons, and any promise of grandchildren. Dependent upon a distant cousin with meager resources, Marjory dreads the future almost as much as she regrets the past. Yet joy still comes knocking, and hope is often found in unexpected places. Then a worthy hero steps forward, rekindling a spark of hope. Will he risk his reputation to defend two women labeled as traitors to the Crown? Or will a wealthy beauty, untainted by scandal, capture his affections? (From Amazon.ca)

I have read books with wonderful writing, and this is one of them. For the length it is (it’s long in my standards) I managed to finish it in record time because the writing in this is beautifully done. Descriptions of the setting and the atmosphere were good, the character’s emotions were easily represented, but the characters themselves. Wow, you formed an attachment to them quickly and easily!

I liked reading both about Marjory and Elisabeth. They were both equally very strong women and their attempts to overcome their difficulties were admirable. My favorite would be Elisabeth though. It felt as if nothing would stand in her way and she did manage to help herself and others come out of the state she was in when the story began. The chemistry between herself and Jack was wonderful! I loved how their love for each just grew gradually as the novel progressed. I can’t even begin to describe Jack. Everything about him was nice. He was definitely one of the strong silent types but once you went underneath that front, he really is a supportive gentlemanly character to love!

The overall plot of this book was really good. Marjory and Elisabeth encountered a lot of hostility at first, and things just happened one event after another but I liked how their strength pulled them through and they worked so well together despite their hardships. The pace is even and smooth so the reading ends up being quicker than usual and you’ll find yourself wanting to stay up late to finish. The ending was also well done as it closed up all loose ties rather nicely. Not sure if there is going to be another book following this, it doesn’t leave anything open but there could be a possibility of something in the future if you were to look it that way.

I would say the only thing that did bother me was the language issue. I don’t know Scottish lingo and although this is a glossary/dictionary in the back there were a few phrases that I just could not make out. It can be distracting to readers but luckily enough most of it is easy and straight forward. Those that aren’t religious may or may not be put off with all the bible/proverb quoting. It didn’t bother me at all. Other than those two minor details, I can’t think of anything wrong with this book.

Even though I’m not religious, I enjoyed reading this book. It’s certainly a ‘feel-good’ clean romantic historical fiction that I think others who aren’t religious could enjoy. Yes there’s lots of quotes from from the bible, and other proverbs but would that really bother you if all you’re looking for is a good solid plot with beautifully written characters? I say give this book a try if you like historical fiction. I have no regrets.

I give it a 9.5/10

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay. When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home. But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas’s life.
(From Amazon.ca)

This book has everything you want in the paranormal genre. This book was slightly different as it has a male protagonist instead of a female one (that makes up the majority of YA paranormal books) so that was a nice change. Plus, Cas is everything you want in a protagonist. He’s got the personality, he’s got the wit and the humor. He’s like the high school version of the Winchester brothers from Supernatural (except there’s only one of him, and two sidekicks).

The plot of this book is quite dark and has its moments of creepiness but it lightens up whenever Cas puts in a thought or two (his humor really is quite good). The description of Anna’s house and Anna herself are well done, other beings are also included and they’re just as creepy. The paranormal aspect of the novel was also well done. Anna is a ghost with personality, and as you get to know her through Cas, you start to like her as well. I really liked how she was written, despite her being a ghost, she was ‘fleshed out’ and didn’t have a cardboard personality. The other characters in the book are also fun to read, and all are likable. (Of the secondary characters, I liked Cas’ mom.)

I loved the ending of the book and it did catch me by surprise. Which is why I can’t wait to get my hands on the second one. This book was a great read, and nice to see a male protagonist lead, with a well written ghost story to accompany it. Most definitely recommended for YA readers.

9.5 out of 10.