Archive | August 2013

Freaky Friday – Tamed by Douglas R. Brown

tamedReading Tamed didn’t give me nightmares or make me afraid to walk downstairs after dark.  So, why is it freaky?  Because people in this book think it’s okay to have a werewolf as a pet.  Ummm, no.  That’s not a good idea.

The basic premise of the story is that a wealthy businessman finds a tribe of werewolves and he massacres them.  Some of the women are taken to a secret breeding facility (they can’t be around the men on a regular basis because they cause “problems”.)  One man/wolf is kept as THE FIRST and others are turned by him.  Then, they are tortured until they become submissive and can be sold as pets by the WereHouse.  Or, even more exciting, they can go into the fighting ring and people pay to see them kill each other.  Wonderful, no?

Ok…all kidding aside…the overall story isn’t bad and was fairly original.  But, there were some execution problems for me.  SPOILERS AHEAD:

  • “This day wasn’t that day.”  Am I wrong or shouldn’t this be: “This wasn’t that day.”???
  • Werg – what company would name their profitable WerePets “Werg?”  Strange.
  • People are told that they are just animals and most don’t realize that they are humans who have been turned.  A chip has been implanted to keep them from being able to shift forms. When one of the company’s rouge wolf hunters finds out that they are actually human, he immediately says that he wants to take down the WereHouse.  I get that he is a good guy but it happened in the blink of an eye.  And, he had almost no proof.  I would think after years of working for them he would at least investigate a little.
  • Some of the other details didn’t add up for me.  For example, one man went to a fight and became very excited about buying a Were pet for his son.  He was really kind of perverted in his excitement.  Later in the book, he figures out what is going on and tries to do the right thing.  Honestly, the guy from the first scene wouldn’t care that these were humans.  He was a psycho.  It seemed like two different characters.
  • Were…when you hear that what do you think?  How did no one suspect that these were shifters and not just another breed of dog or something?  This is making even less sense to me as I type it.
  • Towards the end, THE FIRST plays a huge role in the action.  THE FIRST is a savage.  THE FIRST appears in almost every sentence and is always called THE FIRST.  I really hate when a person’s full name or nickname is used constantly in writing like THE FIRST.

Not a bad book but it wasn’t for me.  2/5 stars.  Thank you to the publisher for providing an e-book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review – The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

the cuckoo's callingEveryone knows that J.K. Rowling wrote this book.  Rowling handled the disclosure with such grace and class.  I know there are a good number of reviews out there comparing it to Harry Potter.  I am going to review this book as the author intended – as written by Robert Galbraith.  Rowling wanted this book judged on its’ own merits and I really tried to go in with an open mind.

Our main character, Cormoran Strike, is a private investigator who lost part of a leg in Afghanistan.  His life is an absolute mess both personally and professionally.  The new temp secretary, Robin, starts work on the same day that Cormoran is approached to investigate the death of Lula Landry, famous supermodel.  The police ruled it a suicide but there are unanswered questions.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a classic mystery with a flawed protagonist.  Familial relationships are examined including adoption (and some parents motivation to adopt children).  We see the end of romantic relationships along with the highs and lows of others.  Friendship, loyalty and integrity all play a part in this story.

Fame and wealth are not glamorized but shown through a clear lens.  Some of these people are good, some are bad and others are in the middle.  Drug use is fairly prevalent among this crowd and it also is shown for what it is – damaging and dangerous.

The writing is done well – not perfect but definitely done well.  There were some stretches to wrap everything up but it wasn’t bothersome.  Overall, the story is enjoyable and the characters were well flushed out.  I am looking forward to future Strike stories.

4/5 stars.

Review – Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews

magic burns“OH BOY.”  Yes, Kate, those are my sentiments exactly.

How much did I love Magic Bites?  So much that I had to immediately purchase Magic Burns to read next.  It was definitely worth the rush!

Magic has been coming to Atlanta in waves but now they are experiencing a flare.  This means that magical powers are amplified and all sorts of craziness can happen.

There is a lot going on in this world and specifically in this installment.  A good bit of god and goddess mythology was included: they can manifest themselves during a flare and some want to come to earth to wipe us out.  No biggie, right?  The pack is once again involved as their detailed maps of the city have been stolen as part of this battle.  There is a new nemesis, Bran, for Kate who has some pretty awesome powers.  And, of course, the People/vamps, Saiman and other magical creatures are along for the ride.

We also learn a little more about Curran’s growing feelings for Kate…very interested to see where this leads.  Most female readers love to read about alpha males softening up and finding their soul mate.  Curran shows no signs of softening and I’m hopeful that the writers are going to find a unique angle for this couple.

Kate picks up a shadow for most of the book – a little girl named Julie.  She, of course, has some special power.  The sisterly relationship between Julie and Kate was an important part of the story.  It allowed us to see that softer / maternal side of Kate that she doesn’t get to show in her everyday life.

The writing works very well.  Honestly, with so much going on, it might have been easy for a reader to become lost or confused.  BUT – it is written in such a way that you are able to follow the story and keep track of all of the characters while still having fun along the way.  So far, I am extremely impressed with the series and plan to continue the journey.

5/5 stars.

Freaky Friday – NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Does it get any freakier than an old man/vampire who preys on children?

NOS4A2 is one of the most disturbing books I’ve read in a while.  While it is a classic-type horror story, it is most effective because it hits on a fear so many adults have – a predator who goes after a child.

Charlie Manx versus Vic McQueen = one of my favorite reads this year (even thought it scared the pants off me.)

Check out the alternative covers and tell me which one you prefer.   For me, the creepy moon on the 3rd cover is freak-a-licious.

nos4a2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alternate NOS4A2 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

alternate NOS4A2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What books have you read recently that touched on a fear the you have in real life?  Share in the comments below.

HAPPY FRIDAY!!

 

 

 

Review – Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews

magic bitesMagic Bites is the first book in the Kate Daniels urban fantasy series.  I LOVED IT! 

In an alternate Atlanta, magic is slowly taking over.  It’s unpredictable but there are times when technology works (phones, elevators, cars).  Other times, when magic hits, the tech goes out and you have to use other options.  Lucky for Kate that she has magic in her blood. 

As a mercenary for hire, she is hired for magical jobs that include recovery and bodyguard work.  She’s good at her job but has a lot of secrets.  When her former guardian is murdered, she involves herself in the investigation to find justice for him.  Both the PEOPLE (who control vamps – still need more info on this) and the PACK (shapeshifters) have been hit by this killer.  She works with the pack and their leader, Curran, to solve the murders.  Curran is a shapeshifter whose form is a large lion – see cover.   

Magic Bites is one of my favorite reads so far this year.  The authors found the right balance of humor and tension to keep it interesting.  The world-building was done well and most of the characters were well rounded.  We can see something sparking between Curran and Kate but they didn’t push a romance down our throats.  Kate is a strong protagonist who doesn’t care that she can’t wear fancy clothes and that she doesn’t have a model-thin body.  She likes the fact that she is physically strong and wants to keep it that way.  There is definitely more to Kate than meets the eye and all of our questions about her aren’t answered here.  I trust that we will learn more about her with each installment and am looking forward to the journey.

The copy I purchased included a bonus prequel that told the story of Kate’s first meeting with Saiman, another paranormal creature.  We also got to read Curran’s POV for a few scenes (his first meeting with Kate when she says “here kitty, kitty” – love it!) and her date with Crest where she runs into Curran with his date.  These additions were a lot of fun. 

5/5 stars.  If you enjoy urban fantasy, READ THIS NOW!

Review – Declan’s Cross by Carla Neggers

declan's crossDeclan’s Cross is the third book in the Sharpe and Donovan series by Carla Neggers.  While I haven’t read the first two, I have read other books by the author in the past.

The good news is that you don’t need to read the first books in the series but it might help with a little background information on the characters.

I wanted to like Declan’s Cross.  Set in Ireland with some mystery and some romance.  Alas, it just didn’t work for me.  My two main issues were the details of the storyline and the pacing.  The story is about a young woman who is found dead on the cliffs near the house where she was supposed to meet a friend.  We all knew that she was murdered (how else would you have a story) but for the majority of the novel, it’s still “probably an accident”.  I also felt that the continued forcing of a connection between current events and an art robbery that happened several years ago was unnecessary.

This goes to my issue with pacing.  The story rehashed what we knew about this murder, what we knew about the art robbery and relationship issues between the major couples – OVER and OVER and OVER.  I was sick of hearing about Andy not wanting to commit, Julianne feeling like she shouldn’t have fallen for him, Colin not knowing what to do about his FBI future, Emma unsure about her long-term plans with Colin, Sean and Kitty.  Blah, blah, blah.  For page after page there was no forward movement with the story.  I found myself just wanting it to end.

2/5 stars for a great description of the beauty of Ireland but a disappointing story.

Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review – The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson

the whole enchiladaThe Whole Enchilada is the 17th book in the Goldy Schulz Culinary Mystery Series.  I recently ranted about authors who seem to become bored with their own characters and series.  It’s refreshing that Ms. Davidson still seems to enjoy writing this series and has a lot of fun with Goldy.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with the series, Goldy Shulz is a caterer in Colorada who is married to a policeman.  Each novel is based on a crime that has taken place in their town with some connection to Goldy or a friend of hers.  Goldy loves to ‘help’ solve the mystery and trouble ensues.

Yes, it is pretty formulaic.  And the twists and turns aren’t earth-shattering.  But, boy, is it fun to read about her adventures.  Her long-suffering and devoted husband works well as a secondary character along with her best friend (and ex-husband’s ex-wife?!?!?) Marla.

Is The Whole Enchilada going to change your life?  Nope.  However, I really liked the easy reading and relaxed nature of this installment.  3.5/5 stars and recommended as a good cozy mystery.

I won an ARC of The Whole Enchilada through the Goodreads Firstreads program and thank them!!