Romance isn’t necessary sometimes…

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

It has been nearly two decades since the breakout of the Third World War, and Manhattan is now a prisoner-of-war camp ruled by island native Rolladin, who controls the city’s survivors with an iron fist. For Skyler Miller, Manhattan is a cage that keeps her from the world beyond the city’s borders. But for Sky’s younger sister, Phee, the Central Park POW camp is the only home she’d ever want. When strangers arrive in the park, carrying a shocking message, Sky and Phee discover there’s more to Manhattan—and their family—than either of them had imagined. As disturbing secrets about the island begin to surface, Sky and Phee have no choice but to break the rules to uncover the full truth of their long-shrouded history. When their search for answers erupts into violence, the girls must flee into Manhattan’s depths, where their quest for a better future will force them to confront the island’s dark and shocking past. (From Goodreads)

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

This book was pretty good for a dystopia. The background story on how it came to be was interesting and set it apart from other stories of this genre where most of the time it’s vague and no one remembers a thing because it was that many years later. So this was nice to read about. The plot alternates between Sky and Phee, but also some parts here and there from present to the past. I prefer reading about Phee because she’s the all around tough girl who can hold her own whereas Sky is more on the romantic idealistic side of things.

The flow of the story is good with stops here and there for character development and plot hooks. It’s engaging and interesting for a good part of the book until you read a little more than half of the novel. This is where the eye rolling instances come on. You knew the love triangle was going to happen. It got pretty nauseating and petty (but then again, Ryder was practically the only guy these two girls have met that they actually liked) and it severely hampered the plot. I didn’t care for this too much as it brought the plot to a complete halt and made reading it not as enjoyable. I begged for something better to come along.

To be fair, it got more interesting towards the final story arc, where you find out more truths about Sky and Phee’s family, and what happened in the past. Everything came to a nice close towards the end. The cheesy romance was still there and induced more eye rolls, but it was toned down for the latter part of the book.

Character wise, Phee would have to be the most interesting as she’s more aggressive of the two sisters and of a more stronger personality. She wasn’t a good match for Ryder anyway as they were just two very different people and completely incompatible but you kinda wish she found someone who’s just as tough as she is.

The romance nearly killed the book for me in this one. I’m glad I went through it as it proved to pick up the pace and went back on track. It’s a hidden gem and if you can get past the obvious, you’ll find a good dystopian story worth reading.

I give it 7 out of 10.

Advertisements

The Anomaly wasn’t what I thought it was going to be…

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

Nolan sets out to retrace the steps of an explorer from 1909 who claimed to have discovered a mysterious cavern high up in the ancient rock of the Grand Canyon. And, for once, he may have actually found what he seeks. Then the trip takes a nasty turn, and the cave begins turning against them in mysterious ways. Nolan’s story becomes one of survival against seemingly impossible odds. The only way out is to answer a series of intriguing questions: What is this strange cave? How has it remained hidden for so long? And what secret does it conceal that made its last visitors attempt to seal it forever? (From Goodreads)

What was enjoyable about this book was it could be a movie. Imagery in the book was pictured clearly and the plot was good enough to make you think ‘This should be a movie’

The plot was all right. It’s enjoyable and makes for quick reading. It’s not overly complicated and the action scenes provide a good thrill here and there. It flowed and kept things interesting, however around the midway mark of the book things slow down and not much happens. Things do pick up quickly in the latter half. I didn’t expect the outcome to turn out as it is. I was looking forward to more of a plot like the movie “The Descent” with more thrills and horror. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

The characters on the other hand, don’t have much to them. They’re pretty much flat and are just there to keep the story going. Although I admit I rather liked Ken throughout the book. He was brash and hotheaded. Everything was either a complaint or an insult which made him stand out from the others. Although Nolan was the ‘leader’ in this group there really wasn’t much to him. There was a small background story to Nolan to give him more substance but it really isn’t much.

There’s a lot of intrigue and some bits of thrilling scenes to enjoy, some mystery in the end but overall I can’t really say it’s something I would gush about. Perhaps because I was expecting this to be more of a horror than anything else. Which is too bad, it had potential to be better but it fell short. I’d say take it or leave it. There’s no regrets reading it but don’t expect it to be gripping and exciting. It’s…meh.

I give it a 6 out of 10.

A Messed up anti-hero in a Dark Setting

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

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

Bleak atmosphere but the writing and storytelling are excellent

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

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

 

Couldn’t Put This One Down

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

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!

0373210426.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

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.