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Search tags: Paranormal-mixture
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review 2018-05-16 21:24
Review: Keeper
Keeper - Kim Chance

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

First time I’ve ever been approved by anything from Flux...and sad to say I really didn’t like the book. The cover caught my eye on this one and it sounds like the kind of cheesy  kind of YA paranormal romance I usually really like (even if the plot is rather silly).

 

The premise of this one was interesting enough, study mad Lainey is attending some sort of convention with her pop culture obsessed best friend, she has a strange encounter with seeing someone -  a woman in what looks to her like a costume - starts feeling sick and dizzy, and decides to bail. Also, an encounter with a cute guy she just brushes off. 

 

Her parents are deceased so she lives with her uncle Gareth and his odd new agey wife. Heading home Lainey has another encounter with the strange woman, who calls herself Josephine...and seems to be drawn into her memories.

 

The idea was fairly interesting. Lainey was a reasonably likeable main character, there was nothing particularly off about her. She’s fairly smart, quite logical. The writing itself isn’t bad. The story picks up and starts taking shape with chapters from Josephine’s point of view several centuries ago. 

 

Josephine is last in a line of very powerful witches tasked with protecting an ancient Grimoire the bad guy really wants to get his hand on and isn’t afraid to kill or do whatever he has to do make sure he gets it. Josephine is having none of it. Lainey through some bizarre connection is watching all this unfold...and finds her own life getting stranger and stranger. The cute guy she had a brief encounter shows up again, Ty, and she finds herself getting to know him quite well. 

 

A fair amount of action, not too much focus on the inevitable romance. There’s a battle between good and evil, and an ordinary girl thrown in who discovers she may be the key to everything. I didn’t find there was much emotional depth (at least not for my taste) but there’s enough mystery and enough questions to keep the reader interested and wanting to know what’s going on. 

 

What really spoiled this book for me was the romance angle, Ty, who was flat and boring as hell and completely uninteresting. Though of course with twisty REASONS for his actions. The other thing that drove me up the wall was Maggie, Lainey’s best friend. Maggie was constantly spurting out pop culture references - comic books, TV shows - ALL. THE. TIME. It was fucking annoying. And every time something happens she comes out with her signature phrase “Holy crapkittens!” Which pissed me off to no end. Every time she said it - which was a lot - I wanted to slap her silly and tell her to shut the fuck up. 

 

Though to be fair, Maggie did stick by Lainey’s side throughout the whole thing, when Lainey discovers secrets about herself and her family that her Uncle had hidden from her, was on hand to listen and be there. (She must really be a good friend - she’s the one who’s magic/paranormal/superhero obsessed and her best friend is the one who gets the superpowers? And she’s not even a little bit put out or jealous?) Just such a shame she had such an irritating personality. Combined with her and Ty who were a major part of the story it really let it down for me. 

 

The revelations were kind of silly and eye rolling as the novel got to the end. It’s left quite open but it doesn’t look like there’s a sequel. There could be. I’m not sure I will be rushing out to get it if it does come.

 

It was okay, the novel had it’s moments and a fun concept, but in the end just not to my taste I guess.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Flux for approving my request to view the title. 

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review 2018-04-09 11:49
Between the Blade and the Heart
Between the Blade and the Heart - Amanda Hocking

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This book was fun. An action packed paranormal adventure.

 

First book I read by this particular author, and I enjoyed it. The world building was a little haphazard, in this world there are all sorts of supernatural creatures around, all governed by Norse gods, and kept in control by Valkyries. Seemed to be a vaguely futuristic kind of society. A little unclear on when it was set. A little bit of history on the species and the set the governing body and the jobs of Valkyries.  When your time is up, a Valkyrie is sent to dispatch you to the next plane of existence. Valkyries only go through the female line, Marin is training to follow in her mother Marlow’s footsteps and is in the final steps of her training to become an official Valkyrie as well as attending a supernatural academy for classes.

 

Marin was tough and spunky, relatively sensible and a likeable MC. Also extra points – she was bisexual. She had a relationship with another female Valkyrie, Quinn. Which didn’t end brilliantly but they remained sort of friends.  Marin lives with her best friend, witch Oona and her beloved pet, some sort of a hybrid creature a little like a dog but not quite.

 

Lots of action, though I did find some of the characters to be a little flat, there didn’t seem to be much back story to hardly anyone other than Marin herself. There was very little seen of the academy she attends, there’s a few classes mentioned, and a rivalry with a classmate she doesn’t get on with. Though later on in the novel they do have a fairly interesting discussion about fate and destiny – which was about as deep as the novel got.

 

Mostly it was all action packed. Marin’s world is thrown into chaos when a handsome stranger breaks into her apartment demanding information on her mother. Something that was supposed to have happened didn’t and as a result people are being killed. Marin is stunned and furious, and with the stranger, Asher, by her side sets off to confront Marlow about what happened.

 

She’s shocked at the revelations and she and Asher decide to try and put things right and stop the killings. The supernatural beasties Marin is hunting are getting stronger, she’s feeling pain when she shouldn’t and it could all be a result of what went wrong many years ago. She gets help from witchy Oona and Quinn appears a few times saving her butt and becomes part of the group who work to find the bad guy and solve the mystery.

 

Of course, Marin is starting to develop feelings for Asher and finds herself getting closer again with Quinn, trying to understand why their relationship failed – something to do with something that’s been ingrained into Marin about Valkyries and love and how it never works. So Marin is struggling to come to terms with her feelings on top of this manhunt for a bad guy getting nastier and stronger as the time goes by.

 

A surprise death half way through doesn’t help at all.

 

 

A surprising twist at the end as well, as it turns out the bad guy they’re hunting is small fries and there’s an even bigger bad on the way. Left at cliff hanger of course.

(spoiler show)

 

 

Not particularly moving, while the world building wasn’t brilliant (in my opinion) it was interesting and it’s been a long time since I’ve found a paranormal adventure I’ve liked so much. Decent characters, and a fun read.

 

Looking forward to the next one in the duology.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Pan McMillan for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-09-07 11:40
Review: Daughter of the Burning City
Daughter of the Burning City - Amanda Foody

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had no idea what to expect with this one, and was pleasantly surprised to find out I completely loved this book. Definitely on my top ten for this year so far. Its premise and characters are so unique and interesting, and it appears to be a stand-alone, which is rare in YA fantasy.

 

This fantasy novel tells the story of Sorina, an illusion worker at the Gommorah travelling circus. Sorina has no eyes but she can see. She creates illusions. The illusions she creates are so real they have become almost as real as real people, to her, they are her family, and together they perform the carnival freak show. Each illusion has it’s own special ability. Sorina has also the adopted daughter of the festival proprietor. She is the heir and will take over running the whole show one day.

 

The festival is travelling across their land, they are from Down Mountain and travelling Up Mountain. The Up Mountain people appear to be the rich snobby people. There’s a war brewing between the two factions hinted at throughout the novel. Sorina’s illusions are being murdered. Each stop a different illusion dies and the novel tells the story of Sorina’s investigation into the Murderers and the truth behind the Gommorah Festival.

 

The writing is incredible, it’s quite a dark fantasy really. Sorina becomes enamoured with another illusion worker – a poison worker, Luca who’s unique talents make him impossible to kill. His show involves festival goers paying to try to kill him. The characters are all so different and well written. The plot is very twisty and impossible to predict. I was very surprised when the truth was revealed.  Sorina learns quite a few shocking home truths as her investigation progresses. The family connection was brilliant, how they all came together, not without drama and plenty of emotion wound through as various family members were brutally murdered.

 

Not a lot to recap as it would be really spoilery. There was hints of a romance but it wasn’t the sole focus of the plot and the characters were all delightfully diverse as well. Really interesting world building as well. A political undercurrent later on as the war brewing takes alarming shape. Morally questionably acts. It was quite violent in parts.

 

Over all it was excellently written. A fantastic read. I loved it so much I bought a finished hardback.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Stories for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-06-13 11:45
Review: The Turn
The Turn: The Hollows Begins with Death - Kim Harrison

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Since The Hollows is one of my favourite urban fantasy series, and probably one the series that got me hooked on urban fantasy in the first place, a prequel to the Hollows was a must have. I put in a Netgalley request as soon as I saw it. (Even though I’m only up to book 7 in the series).

 

Though after reading it, I can’t honestly say I liked it all that much. It was okay, somewhere between a two and a three star read for me. The first half of the book was full of science stuff that I found incredibly boring and a slog to get through. I’ve never DNFed a Kim Harrison book before, so series and author love made me determined to finish it.

 

 I found it quite confusing, it didn’t help also that I could have sworn there was a Trent Kalamak in the Rachel Morgan series. It was only when I was reading reviews on Goodreads and saw the questions about this book section that someone else had asked the same thing that was puzzling me. Not the same character, two different characters (though there was a ding! moment towards the end of the book that made me go aaaah, that’s why).

 

One or two familiar characters also popped up, demon Algaliarept (who’s name I can’t pronounce to save my life) was his usual delightfully obnoxious (and somewhat amusing in a snarky way) self and Quen.  One of the vampires makes an appearance towards the end as well.

 

This is all about two dark elf scientists who are fighting it out for funding, Trent and Trisk, both of whom hate each other, Trisk’s created a genetically engineered tomato that will supposedly end third world hunger. Forced to work together each have their own separate agendas. As I said, the first half was all very technical and the two of them playing off each other to get to their own goals. (I had to keep reminding myself this was set in the 60s as well). Favourite classic songs are on the radio as new music.

 

But of course, jealousy rears its ugly head and one thing leads to another, something goes hideously wrong. This resulting in a wide spread disease that nearly wipes out the human race, bringing out the fear and repercussions of a bunch of vampires, witches and other species trying their best to get head of it and survive as well.  While at the same time Trisk and a companion, the Dr who created the virus in the first place, there’s links to her genetic tomato, and Trent trying to keep on top of things.

 

The second half was much more exciting as things went from bad to worse and Trisk and her friends try to fix the problem. There’s something – satisfying is not the word I’d use – but there’s definitely a so that’s how it all happened feeling about now knowing how The Hollows all started, but it’s certainly not a favourite novel. Though I am glad I read it, and would certainly recommend to Hollows fans.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-12-07 11:39
DNF: Cast in Angelfire
Cast in Angelfire: An Urban Fantasy Romance (The Mage Craft Series Book 1) - SM Reine

I received a copy from Netgalley.

Since I can't find an approval request email (I always save those so I can thank the publisher when I finish) I wonder if I got this one as a read it now. I really can't remember.

Unfortunately, this is one for the DNF list. Didn't capture my attention at all and after 21% I don't really have any desire to go back and finish it. The world building is confusing, it seems to be dystopia mixed with urban fantasy. For starts there's confusion around the heroine's age, it states in the blurb she's eighteen, but there are several references to the start of the book that peg her as seventeen. This could be because she's got no memory and no one really seems to be able to identify her. But it still didn't sit right with me that the text says one thing and the blurb says another, though I'm not interested in the actual plot enough to find out one way or another.

The novel starts with the premise of two assassins hunting a girl with a huge bounty on her head. Paranormal creatures are clearly part of the every day norm for the world this book is set in. The girl kicks their asses easily with some sort of super powers. Then the next thing we know she's waking up in hospital with no memory of how she got there.

Another thing I found confusing is that the heroine claims at one point when she wakes up in hospital that she only speaks French, and the doctor who helps her uses a translator app to speak to her. Smart! Though she seems to develop a very quick attachment to this doctor. She won't let the nurses help or take any blood or do any of her lab work - this one doctor only! She seems very blunt for someone with no memory and seems to think she can order people about. The doctors and nurses are clearly used to treating paranormal beings.  I just didn't like this girl. There's clearly still a bounty on her, the cute doctor helps her escape and unless I missed something (which is entirely possible because this novel annoyed me so much I didn't pay that much attention to it) she and the doctor seem to be conversing in English. One minute she can only speak French and then suddenly English?

Don't buy it. And don't have any interest in picking this one up again.

Thank you Netgalley and Red Iris Books, but this one wasn't for me.

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