The Salt Line Falls Too Short…

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In an unspecified future, the United States’ borders have receded behind a salt line–a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what’s left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.

Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks–and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line. (From Goodreads)

The first third of the book had lots of promise. I was intrigued and thrilled to read it. It had the perfect introduction of the characters you’ll stay with throughout the book and you already had a sense of who your favorite characters are.

The world building was certainly interesting and the explanation of how the ticks took over the country and divided it was well done. The breakdown in stages on what happens when you get a tick bite is done in good detail and the idea of the Stamp (which is a harsh form of an epi pen) is great and also well written. However, when I went halfway to the book it started falling short.

The plot started losing its’ momentum and slows to a crawl. The characters then start losing their personalities and start becoming flat and two dimensional. I’d have to say the only two characters that were the most interesting to read were Marta and Wes. Understandably so, because they were key characters throughout this book. But their chemistry together and personalities just seemed to flow together and I enjoyed reading them the most.

Edie, well it took a trip like this for her to see the light about Jesse. Although I wouldn’t say she’s really likeable. She has her moments where her compassion shines towards the last third of the novel which is admirable. But there’s just nothing to her personality. She just happens to be a page filler.

By the last third of the book, you could already smell that there’s going to be a possible sequel as some aspects of the characters go on unexplained or incomplete. It’s almost eye rolling when this book really should have been completed in just one volume.

If there ever is going to be a sequel, it would have to be ten times much better than this one and a vast improvement on plot and characters. I’d probably pick it up only if it focused a lot more on Marta and Wes.

The book had a lot of promise, but it just fell short which is disappointing. It was such a great idea for a plot and the setting was well done.

I give it a 5 out of 10.

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Vampire Empire is a Superb Series So Far…

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Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance’s horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria. As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele’s beloved Greyfriar. (From Goodreads)

 

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

It is greatly recommended you read The Greyfriar before jumping into this novel. You’d be pretty much lost if you started reading out of order.

This one was just as good as the first one and better. I enjoyed reading Adele’s development throughout the book! I never thought of her as a whiny damsel in distress even though there were times when she wasn’t sure what to do but in this book she went from a strong character to someone even  stronger. She immediately knew what to do and there were times when she didn’t take no as an answer (and the empress in her came out! That was fun to watch!)

You now have a more developed plot and you also get to see who’s on who’s side and who has a private agenda (Yes Mamoru, we’re talking about you.) I used to like Mamoru so much until the last third of this book. Wow. I understand where the hatred is coming from but it goes to show how blinding it can be and the way it can twist someone around.

Also: Everybody needs a friend like Colonel Anhalt. You need a loyal friend like that in life. No kidding. He’s become one of my favorite characters in the series because of his loyalty, despite discovering who the Greyfriar really is. He adores and cherishes Adele so much I loved reading about him. She treats him just the same way and they both are the best match when it comes to a good loyal friendship, in fact it’s almost a father daughter relationship.

Speaking of fathers. The deaths of both Constantine and Dmitri just tore me up. It’s interesting how they died similarly. Both heartbreaking, and wanting you out there crying for revenge because of the way they died.

So who do I dislike more? Cesare? Or Senator Clark? I’d go with Cesare on this one. He’s cunning, ruthless but there’s something slimy about him that you just want to sink a stake into his heart and watch him disintegrate. Senator Clark on the other hand is just an uncouth baboon that’s funny when he’s upset. You can’t help but laugh at his antics even though he’s a jerk.

The plot in the book is evenly paced as for the majority of it you follow the Greyfriar and Adele through their journey (GARETH THE WEDDING CRASHER! I LOVED IT!) their romance is well written and it’s not sappy or too sweet. It’s just right. They have their funny moments, and their sad ones, and ones where it was a close call to ending them. I rather wish they had more moments on Cesare and his plotting but he’s sporadically featured here and there throughout the book. Not enough though (there’s just something about villains that you want to read more about anyway…)

I definitely can’t wait to read the third one! I want to see what’s going to happen now that Adele is using her skills as a Geomancer and she’s getting more training on it (although there’s a downside to that as well.) Can’t wait to see what’s in store for them next!

I give it an 8 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.

 

Slow moving plot in different character views #bookreview #mystery

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A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return. With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present. Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath. (From Goodreads)

First thing: I haven’t read The Girl on the Train so I picked up this book and just went in because I felt like a good mystery.

So was it any good?

Yes and no. There were several story arcs going on in this novel which was alright and easy to follow. I’d rather enjoyed reading most of them. I didn’t enjoy reading about Julia though. It’s not because I don’t sympathize with what she went through, it must have been horrible. I just didn’t really like her much as a character. There were moments where she was completely weak and useless. However, I’m glad of her outcome and of her development. Of all the characters;  Lena and Julia developed the most.

In the beginning of the novel, I found it a little hard to follow at first. Each chapter is told in the point of view of another character and rotates all throughout the story. So you have to be aware of who’s who early in the story. There’s also flashbacks involved (those aren’t hard to follow though.)

I’d have to say, the character I enjoyed reading the most was Lena because of her fiery personality and her attitude (typical teenage angst but it was well done.) The rest of the characters were all right to read but don’t really produce enough of a presence to make such a huge impact on the book. Patrick, Mark, and Sean make your teeth grind though. The three of them being odious spineless bastages who need to get their due. Unfortunately…well…one of them gets their due. (Won’t spoil it any further.)

Plot wise, it’s a subtle slow moving mystery. The reader is kept guessing and although it may seem obvious as to who has done it, there’s more to just a whodunit. There’s a reasoning behind the deed that has taken place. There were few elements of some sort of supernatural characteristics in the plot but it’s nothing to be in awe about and it doesn’t really put any depth into the story or make the plot go further. It could be considered as just to fill in the blanks into the novel. Which I wasn’t too crazy about.

I ended up finishing it because it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t the best I’ve read either. Would I recommend it? Not really. Worth the read? It’s all right. Some people may like this type of story some might not. (It has a feeling of a TV movie to it, in my opinion.)

I give it a 5 out of 10.

 

 

 

Why do I Keep Reading This Stuff? (#bookreview)

0425184056.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpgAs the Resistance attempts to overthrow their vampiric alien masters, elite Cat force member David Valentine embarks on a terrifying journey in search of a long-lost weapon that will guarantee their victory-and the end of the Kurian Order’s domination of Earth. (From Goodreads)

 

 

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

Why do I torture myself by reading this? It seems I have a love/hate relationship with the Vampire Knight series. I can’t help but reading it because the action is pretty awesome and the vampires in it are what you want. Bad, evil, tyrannical, ruling the world, pretty much all seeing and all knowing.Yes I’m rooting for the bad guy in this one. I have an affinity for vampires.

So where does all the hate come from? Valentine himself. He’s not swoonworthy. He’s not that big of a badass even though he has his moments. I’ve seen better. I’ve read better. A newbie jedi knight has a better chance at being a badass than this guy.

And somehow the ladies love him.

And I quote:

“Is that some kind of crack?” (female character asking)

He explored further with his fingers.

“No but this is”

Yes ladies and gentlemen, vampires and ghouls, that above actually happened in the book. Pardon me while I go into this insane rabid rage and nearly throw this book across the room. I don’t know about you but someone having a hand on my bum crack isn’t my exact idea of lovely and romantic and could possibly emit a hard slap across the face or a good knee in the groin from me. Not even my fiance could get away with this type of behavior on me.

And lo behold Carrasca is also pregnant. For crying out loud when are we going to advocate birth control in novels like these? Did they cease to exist?

If this is some kind of idea of romance then this is exactly why I can’t stand romance in novels. It ruins everything. I’ll accept it in YA novels. But this? Not in an action packed book. Please. For the love of humanity don’t put things like this in novels. It’s tacky, ridiculous and just all around wrong.

I cannot fathom why. What the heck is so attractive about this piece of meat with barely any personality but is basically used as a tank. I would seriously cheer on for the vampire who can take this POS on and just have a feast.

I digress.So besides the action, what the heck do I like about the novel?

The secondary characters are really what lets me hang onto this for dear hope that this story will turn into something tolerable and readable. The action is just really great to read and as long as I ignore Valentine’s odious personality and character and just see him for a cardboard stick character that just goes through the motions, yes it’s a tolerable read. Yes the action is really damn good. Yes read it for the vampires and the fighting scenes.

Despite all this, am I going to read the next novel?

Because of the bloody cliffhanger ending. Yes.

Valentine, please for the love of all things human (because there’s a few in the book and there’s going to be fewer if the vampires have their way) stop saying stupid nonsense and stop impregnating the female locals. Seriously. Just stop. Slay the evil guy and stay that way or at least, have them feast on you while I cackle with evil glee.

I give it a 6.5 out of 10.

 

Review of Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore

0425184056.01._SX142_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn’t as simple as it seems—she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts. But she also understands that “normal” doesn’t mix with magic, and she’s worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect any hope of ever having a normal life. Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin, aren’t alone. There’s someone in the house with them—and it’s not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door. It’s a ghost, and it’s more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back. This is the summer when the wall between Amy’s worlds is going to come crashing down. (From Goodreads)

First I have to add, what a beautiful cover this is. Normally we never “judge a book by it’s’ cover” but this one is so eye catching and lovely so, yes, I am guilty of this. Just for this one.

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a book that made me laugh as much as this one! Amy is such a likable character, one that you can relate to and instantly befriend if she were in your class/neighborhood/work place. It makes the story enjoyable to read, and adds more personality to the book. Supporting cast around Amy also do a great job and are fun to read as well. Her sister Phin is such a great laugh and fun to read. Amy has a pretty kooky family to begin with which adds more to her imperfections and makes her all the more likable.

The romance aspect was cute and fun to read. To be expected as the main central theme is seen with a comedic light. Loved Amy and Ben hating each other first and then it grows to love. Yes it sounds pretty cliche and very Harlequin Romance. It’s over done isn’t it? I’ll accept it for this time. If it’s done with likable characters, then it makes the romance bearable.

Onto the plot itself. It was well done. A mystery with supernatural elements to it. It’s a well rounded book with plenty of other elements drawn in without making the plot confusing or all over the place. It’s well written, and enjoyable. I couldn’t really compare this with anything else that I have read in the past although Nancy Drew with supernatural powers comes pretty close. Although the plot was great and everything in it was a joy to read, 400 and more pages is just a little too much. Maybe there was just too many ‘fillers’ in the book added to make it this long. It’s not necessary. Short books are okay too, we have a huge pile to go through as readers. 🙂

Overall worth a read. Love it for the comedy factor and a well written murder mystery with paranormal elements. Also love it for the well written characters featured.

I give it an 8.5 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.