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review 2017-05-09 18:11
The Ashes (The Rebecca Underhill Trilogy Book 2) by Vincent Zandri
The Ashes (The Rebecca Underhill Trilogy) (Volume 2) - Vincent Zandri

This is the 2nd book in the Rebecca Underhill trilogy. I did not read the 1st book but will be soon. Even though I had not read the 1st book I had no real problems following this this book as it can be read as a stand alone. Mr Zandri does give you enough of a back story to let you easily follow along. I think if you had read the 1st book the amount of backstory would just give you enough of a refresher but not to much to bore you.

I love horror so this book was right up my alley. There were some blood and gore but not very much so it would be great for someone not into that as well. This is more of a creepy physiological book. It is a real page turner. It kept me on the edge of my seat and in a few places had me looking over my own shoulder. You don't want to read this book in the dark and some may not want to read it while alone either.

This book takes place 8 years after Rebecca's harrowing ordeal in a wooded cabin. Rebecca narrowly escaped a deranged killer then, but now has bigger problems as "The Skinner" is after her.

Rebecca's original boogeyman Joseph William Whalen who is dead, had a cell mate while in prison. Lawrence Frederick Hanover AKA The Skinner. The skinner has escaped prison and is now after Rebecca, but instead of going straight for her he has decided to get her where it really hurts, Her Kids.

Rebecca may be weak in some aspects but when it comes to the dark she is strong. She must save her kids as well as herself.
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review 2017-04-24 00:26
Ashes Reborn (Souls of Fire #4) by Keri Arthur
Ashes Reborn (A Souls of Fire Novel) - Keri Arthur

Emberley has already suffered losses in the battle against the Red Vampire plague – and has only just managed to resurrect her fellow Phoenix Rory from his ashes.

 

But even with the leader of the Red Vampires dead, the threat continues – rebel vampire Rinaldo is threatening to use them as a weapon against the city – and one city block has already been destroyed in the last conflict.

 

Still seeking the research which may be the cure to this threat, Embrley and Jackson have to work with the secret Paranormal Police Force, PIT to try and survive and stop the bodies piling up: and their own being among them

 

 

 

This series has so many original elements I love – starting first and foremost with the whole concepts of the phoenixes as protagonists. The whole concept of them as beings that resurrect and reincarnate but are far from without flaws or weaknesses is interesting how it’s done.

 

Emberley’s relationship with Rory is fascinating. There are so many stories out there where we have couples forced into a sexual relationship because of woo-woo. It’s an inevitable storyline which has two people who hate each other forced into a romance, with lots of anger and resistance followed by them finally giving and in and twu love follows. I’m not a fan.

 

So to have this –have Emberley and Rory care for each other – but not romantically. How they accept their bond happily, not as a burden or something which always drags them down; it’s really refreshing. That this is not pushing them towards romance nor is it some desperate dark sadness that dogs both of them with angst and tragedy

 

Not that there isn’t angst in the life of Emberley – but I also like how this broken relationship with Max is treated. Normally when I see that a protagonist’s love life is cursed I turn and run so far because oh my gods the angst that will follow! But here? Not so much. Oh it hurts Emberley and she’s not happy about it – but that doesn’t mean she can’t work with Max and isn’t quite happy pursuing other relationships rather than moping all alone hoping Max comes back to her. She likes Jackson, she has a good time with him. It is a bit overly sex focused (when, my gods, sometimes I just want them to get on with the plot and stop worrying about Jackson’s dick) and she has fun and a life even if her romantic life has all fallen apart that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a life.

 

The main characters, their conflicts and the world really make this book worth reading. And I really like the take on the elves and if anything needs expanding then it’s definitely the different kinds of elves and the powers and cultures they have.

 

 

I really feel that this series really does need to trim some characters and concepts. We have so many sides: we have the Syndicati vampires, we have the Red Vampires and the wizard, we have apparently new big-bad     Rinaldo . We have the wererats. We have the werewolves. We have our heroes. We have PIT who are now kind of working with our heroes

 

We have scientists and lost notes on the virus, we have a gang of rogue vampires looking for a home, we have a wandering telepath. And we have some kind of ominous big dark apparently lurking in the future.

 

It’s all so crowded and confused that I’ve kind of forgotten big chunks. Like I get that Emberly and Jackson are now working somewhat co-operatively with PIT but I can’t quite remember how smoothly that happened. I know they have a beef with the rats but it’s all a little fuzzy as to why because so much has happened

 

This also tends to make the story lacking impact and focus. After shifting most of the focus to Rinaldo as the big bad and the threat, that underlying fear about the Red Vampire virus gets kind of lost. There’s this fear of a plague of raging red vampires taking over the city but it’s all kind of banished into the background and it’s all more about which group is threatening Emberly and Jackson at the moment, finding tokens (which could be anything at this point) to placate each faction and generally trying to stay alive. They keep chasing down this scientific research but I’m not even sure why half the factions even need or want this research any more.

 

 

Read More

 

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2017/04/ashes-reborn-souls-of-fire-4-by-keri.html
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review 2017-04-13 15:31
Ashes of London
Ashes of London - Andrew Taylor

This, ladies and gentlemen, is an official DNF.

 

I don't make those very often; mostly I let a book marinate in my "currently reading" pile, because I might get back to it.  I save DNF for a book that I know I will never "get back to."

 

Ashes of London is one of those.  And I'm disappointed, because I was looking forward to this one.  Mystery thriller set in the Great Fire of London and the aftermath!  Just my type of thing.

 

Not so much.  We start with the fire well under way - with the collapse of Old St Paul's Cathedral, the great medieval hulk, begun by William the Conqueror, that towered over the London of Charles II.  But we don't get a dead body, or anything like a crime.  (You would expect one by 15% in, which is about as far as I got.)

 

Aside from the fire, we don't really get a sense of 1666 at all.  I read historical fiction to get a sense of the past.  I didn't get that feel here.  This could have been any pre-modern time with a big fire.

 

The writing is bland.  We get no real sense of 1666.  The characters are fairly flat.  And we have two protagonists.  (I dislike multiple protagonists, particularly uncharacterized multiple protagonists.  Instead of giving us two flat narrators, how about giving us one interesting and developed one?)

 

So now I'm about 15% in, and nothing is really exciting me about this one.  And then

Taylor decides to start the characterization of our female narrator by having her mustachio-twisting cousin (he fairly screams "I am evil!") rape her

(spoiler show)

, and I am out.  I will never pick up this book again.

 

Because first I was bored, there was neither a sense of the past or a visible mystery to solve, and I didn't care about the characters (I can't even be bothered to remember their names), and then I was offended.  And now I am gone.

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review 2017-03-29 17:10
A Handful of Ashes
A Handful of Ashes - Rob McCarthy

I was the BIGGEST fan of book one in this series (more details below if you missed it) and with “A Handful of Ashes” I can honestly say this has moved up to favourite series status on my bookish wishlist – one of a handful I’m going to be hotly anticipating every year for as long as they continue. Long may that be…

 

I’m a sucker for a good medical drama and an even bigger one for a good crime drama – with the Harry Kent series Rob McCarthy brings the two together in a fast, addictive, well considered thriller that just had me blasting through it with little thought to anything else around me. Don’t you love those ones?

 

In this story we have a suspicious “suicide”, a possible hospital cover up, grieving parents, danger lurking around every corner and our (anti) hero Dr Kent slowly falling apart at the seams whilst trying to help our (anti) heroine Frankie Noble solve the conundrum. She’s not exactly the most grounded police officer ever but both of them are superbly engaging, inevitably flawed but so beautifully described in sheer force of personality that you just get pulled along with them. The plot is  thoroughly twisted, highly charged emotionally and has an ending that had me on the floor. I loved it.

 

I’d like to give a nod to at least one beautifully written thrilling scene in this involving a fight to save a life – as I came to the end of that chapter I found myself quite literally sitting on the edge of my seat (not that easy in a giant swivel chair) I had to sit and have a nice cup of tea before continuing on. That is not the only genuinely immersive bit of scene setting in A Handful of Ashes but it’s probably the one that will stay with me – What is great about it is that these moments are interspersed with quieter more considered moments and the author digs deep into the multiple layers that make up his characters, insightful writing that means you really feel for everything they go through.

 

Both the medical and the procedural elements that make up the story feel highly authentic, I am definitely one for the tortured souls in fiction therefore Harry Kent holds my attention (I may be a little in fictional love) and overall this is terrific writing, terrific plotting and well, just plain terrific.

 

Highly Recommended.

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text 2017-03-28 17:43
2016 Year in Review
A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers) - Becky Chambers
The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin
The Countess Conspiracy - Courtney Milan
Midnight Taxi Tango - Daniel José Older
White Trash Zombie Gone Wild: A White Trash Zombie Novel by Rowland, Diana(October 6, 2015) Mass Market Paperback - Diana Rowland
The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars) - Ian ... The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars) - Ian Tregillis
Babylon's Ashes - James S.A. Corey
The Core of the Sun - Johanna Sinisalo
The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin,Robin Miles
The Winged Histories: a novel - Sofia Samatar

Last year, I failed to do any summary posts about what I had read in 2015. I think I just kept putting it off until it was so late in the year that it seemed not worth the bother. Of course, I see so many "best books of the year" posts in November of the year in discussion that sometimes January seems like it is too late. So March isn't even that late, really.

 

My breakdown of the 76 "books" I finished in 2016:

anthologies: 1
collections: 0
Adult novels: 41
YA novels: 5
MG novels: 13
graphic novels: 1
art book: 0
comic omnibus: 11
magazine issues: 0
children's books: 2
nonfiction: 2

Of those 76, only 20 were published in 2016. I abandoned 3 titles without finishing. I also counted Final Formula as 1 book even though it was 2 novels and a short, and decided to consider the serial box stories an anthology instead of individual books. 
 
I did read some other miscellaneous short fiction in various magazines, but I don't shelve magazines unless I'm reviewing the issue. And I don't shelve individual stories because I am lazy.
 
Across all categories:
  Written by Women: 55 (72%, up from 2014)
  Written by POC's: 13 (17%, down from 2014)
  Written by Transgender authors: 1 (1%)
  Written by Non-binary authors: 1 (1%)
 
I'm a bit unhappy with how little of my reading was by POC's, both because it was a decrease from last time I checked, and because if I counted unique authors, I'd have even fewer. Apparently 2016 was the year I read lots of white ladies. I added 2 new demographic categories, which I know I'll need for the 2017 counts as well. I included the 1 transgender author in both that category and in the category she self identifies as. 
 
My favorite book from 2016 was A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers) - Becky Chambers, just barely edging out The Obelisk Gate - N.K. Jemisin and The Core of the Sun - Johanna Sinisalo because I needed comfort more than truth. All the novels I rated 5 stars are included in the ribbon. My favorite new-to-me writers were Noelle Stevenson and Daniel José Older, who both write awesome women.
 
I reviewed 72 titles read in 2016. That has to be a new high for me, even with the website issues here at BL.
 
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