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review 2018-01-17 23:31
Dead Eye (Tiger's Eye Mystery #1) by Alyssa Day
Dead Eye (A Tiger's Eye Mystery) (Volume 1) - Alyssa Day

Jack Shepherd, soldier, weretiger, veteran, is returning home to Dead End, a tiny town in isolated rural Florida, to handle his dead uncle’s affairs. And his pawn shop

 

A shop part owned by Tess, a young woman who is determined to keep the business going, is good at what she does and has little time for him

 

Whatever conflicts they may have can’t be spared any time though when a body appears on the shop’s doorstep: and it’s not the fist. No-one told Jack how his uncle died.






Looking at this cover I was struck by an overwhelming sense of Sookie Stackhouse Series. Now, normally I shy away from comparisons to other book series as it inevitably tends to cast the books your talking about in a shadow: but I’m going here because a) I don’t think many authors are going to dispute the dominance of the Sookie Stackhouse series in the genre and b) I’m comparing favourably

 

Because it has many of the interesting themes of that series - the small town and close community feeling. A character who is very much an every-person without being the specialist-special-person of supreme Sueness. A world that is extremely magically diverse with magic and wereanimals and witches and hints of many things more. It takes a nice small town setting we don’t often see in books (in this case a pawn shop - and doesn’t that have the chance for so many supernatural shinies to show up?)

 

But it also has many elements that improve the concept: we have characters getting involved in a murder investigation for an actual legitimate reason rather than just randomness (considerable suspicion of the law enforcement and their collusion with the big bad). We have a small town that suggests and actual reason for the supernatural to be there - with it’s own not-defined-but-often mentioned independent history and hidden supernatural community suggests there’s a good reason why the supernatural is here. And a similar reason why outsider authority doesn’t run in

 

The world is aware of the supernatural- but this has been developed into more than “there are vampires”. There’s suggestion of a broader history, wars, cultural context all from the revelations of the supernatural to the world (which I believe have been covered in different books by the same author). But this book very carefully focuses on the town - we have a wonderful sense of the greater, wider world but this town is what is relevant at the moment.

 

Tess isn’t a character defined by either super powers or Spunky Agency, she rarely makes decisions that makes me despair and she doesn’t hate all other women! Her best friend, Molly, is clearly a big part of her life, competent, accomplished and fun. She loves her aunt and uncle who she lives with (and despite not living with her parents isn’t overwhelmed by her Tragic Past) and has a fun female co-worker at the pawn shop (despite her lack of gun skills). She seems to respect the other characters around her, her neighbours in general and generally be a pretty decent character rather than use her internal monologue as a way to try and establish why she doesn’t belong or is superior to those around her

 

 

She and Jack are pretty much doomed to fall into a relationship and they do have the Obligatory I-don’t-like-you-because-it’s-a-romance-and-people-who-like-each-other-can’t-fall-in-love. Why oh why I don’t know but it’s a rule. Romantic partners must hate each other at least a little. But they get over it and beyond a little unseemly drooling they manage to work together in a way that maintains respect, isn’t overwhelmed with attraction when they’re trying to find murderers and manages to avoid both her doing the “hey I’m going to charge into danger alone and unarmed to show my strength!” and him avoiding the “I am going to lock you in a small cage to prove my protective devotion!” tropes.

 

The story comes together as an excellent introduction nicely balanced between character setting, world setting, character build up and setting out how these characters meet. Since we know where Jack goes from here, this is almost like a prologue to the main series rather than a book in and of itself, but it works as a prologue. It sets everything out and lays down the style which is appealling and gives a real sense of what these books will be, what they’ll be about and how these characters came to be who they are and how they forged the connection

 

 

Read More

 

Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2018/01/dead-eye-tigers-eye-mystery-1-by-alyssa.html
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review 2018-01-17 00:39
MY RATING~ 4.5/5 STARS - GRADE=A-
The Dead List - Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

 

~MY THOUGHTS~

 

I recently read an arc with a similar story to this…Pretty Dead Girls…I didn't really like that one, and this had a similar feel to it in the beginning, minus the mean girls.  I was worried but it wasn't long before I realized this was different in a lot of ways.  This only had me eye-rolling a couple moments and the other had me constantly eye-rolling.  In this, the mystery surprised me, actually.  The characters were likable…and the best part…when the MC is being chased down by the bad guy, she actually does the smart thing, at least 80% of the time.  My issue and this could be a tad spoiler-ish, is with the promiscuity of 17-year-olds. I can't read explicit sex scenes when the MC's are under 18.  It's just weird.  If she had just left that out of the book, it would have been a 5-star all the way.

 

 

 

~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Plot~ 4.5/5

Main Characters~ 4.5/5

Secondary Characters~ 4/5

The Feels~ 5/5

Pacing~ 5/5

Addictiveness~ 4.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 4/5 could have used a proofreader…

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.5/5

Ending~ 5/5  Cliffhanger~  Nope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Book Cover~  Compelling, and it kept me guessing as to how it fits with the story

Setting~ Martinsburg, West Virginia

Source~ Kobo eBook

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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review 2018-01-14 20:36
"Dead Lions - Slough House #2" by Mick Herron
Dead Lions - Mick Herron

"Dead Lions" is the second book in this series about members of MI5  judged to be subpar and cast into the outer darkness of Slough House to rot or resign. I enjoyed the first book in the series, "Slow Horses" but I found "Dead Lions" to be much more accomplished and certain of itself.

 

The tone of the writing modulates from whimsical through to darkly comic with a default setting of quiet desperation.

 

The plot is like a Swiss wristwatch: beautifully crafted to a complex but elegant design and assembled in dense layers that work together to drive you forward second by second.

 

The story starts with the assassination of the memorably named Dickie Bow, an ex-MI5 irregular, a veteran of Berlin during the cold war, by a man he believes to have been a Russian spy. His murder goes undetected until Jackson Lamb, mercurial head of Slough House, who served with Dickie Bow in Berlin, takes a closer look. The foul play he discovers turns out to be only one of several layers of the plot, that are nested inside one another like Matryoshka dolls. The discovery of each doll changed what I thought was going on so fast that I gave up trying to find the lady and just enjoyed the skill of the sleight of hand.

 

"Dead Lions" does a splendid job evoking the Cold War world-of-mirrors mindset and setting it in a thoroughly convincing frame of modern British Counter-Intelligence.

Slough House is populated with characters that are depressingly real yet capable of being believably surprising. The plot amplifies the characters but is not driven by them.

 

The pace is perfect, cutting between parallel plot lines in a way that cranks up the tension while demonstrating how deviously everything is connected to everything else.

I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

 

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review 2018-01-14 02:50
Audio Book Review: EverRealm
EverRealm (Level Dead Book 1) - Jake Bib... EverRealm (Level Dead Book 1) - Jake Bible

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The human world has ended. Humans and animals are now the undead and own the world. Steve is one of nine who have created virtual worlds that join at the place they call Center. They plan to live in their own Domains for eternity, as long as the main power keeps going. But, when they arrive at the Center there are two of the nine missing. Trying to help his friend, then warn others, Henry brings the nightmare of the real world to them when he thought he could filter the infection out while transitioning to where they were to be safe. Now they need to find the infected that's loose in their worlds...somewhere...

When I go into an audiobook knowing Jeff's the narrator, I have high expectations. I look for different voices and personalities to come to life. And I get them. I love listening to Jeff voice all the characters differently. It's entertaining for me in listening along with makes it easy to differentiate everyone. When a voice actor puts this much effort into a piece, it shows and makes the book along with his work shine. Sometimes the small things make the book all the better, like overlaying several voices at one time when all speak. Jeff does that, and it's totally cool. He really makes me feel as though it's a show and live.

Let me talk about the world creation. I wasn't sure how it was all going to relate at the beginning. Jake gives us the ground work as to why and how this is done, though it's quick to not slow the pacing of the story. I followed it all easily and found it interesting to see it come together when I get into the Center with Steve and others. And what we learn through the book in how the worlds are connected.

Undead, gaming worlds of different structure... action has to happen! Cool combo!

Steve's relationships with each of the characters grows more as they fight together to save the worlds they've created for themselves. And we get to know his friends as we go. I like the humor Steve's written with. And felt bad for him because when he tried to make a joke or state anything he was wrong in his doing in EverRealm it Always seeming to cause problems.

Speaking of problems... wow, do things really get messed up here in EverRealm. With the undead and with what Steve and friends do. It's crazy! But it all works together and somehow works out in the end. For me, the story felt smooth in flow with these problems. It all fit the world, characters, and situations.

Another cool creation for the LitRPG world in books. I really like that they are leaving the "real" world behind for virtual ones, and the reason behind it all. This gives the solid reason for coming to the gaming worlds in my mind. We get the explanations of how it's done, but it's not over science-y to lose us. It's just what it is.

I will say this is a game RPG setting, but I don't feel like I'm in a "game". The RPG setting is actually to be their homes. That makes the world real and important to them. What they do here has an impact and they try to live knowing that. Also, we aren't always grasping for our tool bar to see supplies and stats. Steve does do it, but it's not a constant thing.

I'm really enjoying the LitRPG books I've been getting lately. Jeff's voice acting is fun and fits the worlds and characters so well. And the stories are alive and feel more than just a "gaming" atmosphere. Well done with this one Jake!

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review 2018-01-12 14:30
Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch (Texas Rangers, Men Who Wear the Star Book 1) - Anne Greene

Mystery at Dead Broke Ranch by Anne Greene
Have read other works by the author and have enjoyed the reads.
This one starts out with Ashley, a special ed therapist and she needs a man. She is strong and lives on the ranch with Zach her brother in a wheelchair.
The job is still available: work at the ranch and the man riding up on the motorcycle wants it, Stone Hunter. He's done all kinds of jobs, interesting hearing about them all throughout the book.
She needed him to work because if they didn't have ramps for Zach and other things he'd go back to foster homes. They still have not solved the murder of her grandfather... She just wants a Christian man.
Her twin sisters are moving in and one is to be married at Christmas. Love the work she does with the horses for handicap kids.
Stone just wants to find what he left behind and get out of there...
Past events are brought forward and she recalls why Zach is confined to the chair.
He tells the family the truth then he has to leave and he hopes to clear his past before returning... So many leads and clues as to who killed her grandfather...
There is so much more to learn about the characters and their careers, can't wait to read more about them. Handful of characters but easy to keep them straight.
Lots of action and more mystery and the authors other works are highlighted at the end.
I was given the book by the author via Book Fun (The Book Club Network) and this is my honest review

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