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review 2018-06-18 08:00
The Last Donut Shop Of The Apocalypse
The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse - Nina Post

Like its predecessor, The Last Donut Shop of the Apocalypse is a lot of fun. Nothing complicated, but a fun bunch of characters, an absurd story and an urban fantasy that doesn't take itself too seriously. Two sisters, both Gorgons and owners of the two best Donut shops still standing in Pothole City, fight over a dispute, and Kelly, who now also happens to be the interim manager of Amenity Tower has to step in.

I won't write too much about it, for fear of spoiling the fun. But I found it a quick, fun and easy read, perfect to relax after a hard day's work.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-06-17 07:24
Destroyed
Destroyed - Nicole Hewitt,L.A Starkey

So, I read Deceived recently, and while it didn't really live up to my expectations, the immersion in Greek mythology kept me reading into the second book, Destroyed. It takes up right where the first book ended, and it basically continues the story. Marcus and Nick are still fighting over Sam, but there might be a way to change the prophecy, if only they can stop fighting long enough to look for it.

This book took forever, or so it seemed. The pacing was really slow and when I'm looking back at what happened in this book, I thought it was not so much. What also didn't help was that to me it seems like Sam made up her mind about which brother she likes ages ago, so that is not exciting to read either. This series isn't really for me, so with Destroyed it will end for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review 2018-06-17 07:00
Emissary
Emissary - Thomas Locke

This was a difficult read for me that I had a hard time getting into. Emissary felt at the same time too long and missing details about the characters, mainly the main character Hyam, who for some reason only at 21 finds out he has magical powers, after first enjoying his simple life as a farmer.

The rest is a pretty standard fantasy story, where Hyam will prove everyone rather quickly why he is such a special boy and fights some battles. The problem is that even though Hyam is really at the core of the story, I didn't feel like I got to know him at all. Also, the romantic angle I didn't care for.

I won't be continuing this series, it was not for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-06-16 22:04
The Moor by Sam Haysom
The Moor - Sam Haysom

The Moor by Sam Haysom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Taking part in a school trip, five teenagers and their teacher set out on a long walk across Rutmoor, thinking it to be a fun experience with friends. What they don’t expect is odd noises in the dead of night, and dead animals placed outside their tents. When tensions and tempers arise, the group soon begins to fall apart, until a dramatic turn leads them to fear for their very lives.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I never thought as I started reading this one, that I’d get so much enjoyment out of it. It took me by surprise; one of those moments that make this hobby so worth it. It all began with clippings from newspapers, written in a way that suggested they were merely pieces of a puzzle. Indeed, that set my mind ablaze with theories that wouldn’t subside throughout the entire book. I loved how it gave me a new perspective over the characters, how they interacted with each other, and in general how they were presented. Haysom was clever enough to give enough of a tease that pulled me in, made me want to know more, and I very much appreciated it. As I believe it, this is a debut novel, yet I wouldn’t have guessed. Many of the pitfalls new authors fall into - such as a lack of sufficient editing and typical horror tropes that are almost painfully overused at this point - were largely absent, giving an almost fresh take.

The atmosphere of Rutmoor, of how utterly miserable and arduous the travel became, it created vivid imagery in my head, and induced a very strong aversion to hiking. I can now say it's not something I want to do ever, in my lifetime. Honestly, the dynamic of the hiking group was a highlight; it had that pinch of realism to it. Each individual offered something unique with their personality, and like any real life circle, they all differed and even clashed together. Sometimes it was ugly, other times sweet, but most of all, their friendships were authentic. My favourite had to be Tom; undoubtedly the most sensible of the lot, followed by Matt and James. Even despite the young age of each, I was still able to relate. Yes, there was some immaturity - pretty much what you'd expect from teens, but it wasn't to the extreme.

The format of the plot struck me as quite different, in that rather than waiting until the end to reveal the big twist, it was just after fifty percent that it came into play. I can’t say it was unexpected - in fact, I had my suspicions much earlier, but I adored it regardless. You see, I much prefer when the direction of the story changes so drastically from my initial assumptions. If it’s done well, like it so wonderfully was in this case, then I feel like I’m kept on my toes, like I don’t have time to even look away. The question of survival played a significant part, as due to the parallel running chapters of present day (2015 to be precise), those that endured the horrors of the moor were made known, thus it was not the matter of who’s going to survive, but how do they survive.

The only thing that I found quite awkward, was the continual switch of past / present tense in the style of writing, however I understand it was used as a tool - to obviously convey the period of time, and perhaps even to alleviate confusion. Nevertheless, it was a bit of a challenge to get used to it.

In conclusion: I considered it a great story, and to be completely truthful, it soared above my expectations. With a slow beginning of character and atmosphere building, the story exploded into a creepfest that kept my attention. My applause goes to Haysom, and his impressive debut novel.

Notable Scene:

The rabbit's body was a mangled pulp of flesh, bone and hair. Its eyeless, earless face stared up at him from the grass. Patches of drying blood lay on the grass around it.
From somewhere behind Gary, a tree branch snapped.


© Red Lace 2018


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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/06/16/the-moor-by-sam-haysom
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review 2018-06-16 17:58
Stray Magic by Kelly Meding
Stray Magic - Kelly Meding

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shiloh is a U.S. Marshall in the Paranormal Investigation Unit. Her have to be available at all hours job makes relationships difficult, to say the least. However, her current boyfriend Vincent has her wondering if maybe more could be on the horizon, until a Vampire decides to take over a trailer park.
It is all on Shiloh as her boss goes missing, black magic is creeping around, and enemies and allies get switched around. 
 
First in a new Urban Fantasy series, Stray Magic doesn't mess around in dropping you into the world, so much so, I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed in the beginning. This is the first in the series but I couldn't help feeling I was missing some background in regards to character relationships. There are some info dumps for the world building but with references to super computers and advanced technology alongside a video rental store and flip phones, it was hard to set the story in a time and place. The acknowledgment of some supernatural and paranormal beings, being known to the world, is just that, a brief acknowledgement. I would have liked a more thorough explanation of the world; this feeling was tied into feeling like this wasn't the start of the series. 
 
Told in first person from our heroine Shiloh's point-of-view, she is our leader through the story. She is half djinn half human with abilities to grant three wishes and has Quarrel pheromones that are hard for her to control. She is tough, snarky, and fun to follow along with but it was hard to feel her emotional connection to the other characters, thus, making secondary characters feel vaguer. 
 
This story is basically Shiloh trying to solve a mystery with supernatural beings and seemingly involved in, not a love triangle, but love quad. Shiloh has her boyfriend Vincent, who, she keeps saying, she wants more with, the vampire Tennyson who she spends the most time with and while it seems there may be more on his side, there are leanings from her, and her co-worker and ex, Jaxon. What we get from her thoughts about Jaxon are mostly, her observations about how hot he looks, how pretty his eyes are, and remembering how much she liked him in the bedroom; it doesn't feel deep. There seems to be or was a deeper relationship between them but we never see it and I never felt it. 
 
The mystery/thriller angle of investigating who is behind the necromancy and black magic was fun to follow along with but we barely got to know the villain and the wrap-up of that part was rushed. There are some shocking twists along the way but some felt unsupported making the plot threads feel wild and loosely thrown about. 
 
Shiloh was a solid character but emotional connections to secondary characters helping us get to know them and create a setting and world was lacking. There was an outline of the supernatural world but random components (Shiloh's quarrel pheromones, Crux sexual transport) were thrown out there and never really integrated with the story and characters. There are loose ends at the end of the story with part of the mystery not solved and the quad love angle getting a twist. If looking for a female lead urban fantasy with supernatural beings running amok, this would fit the bill, just be prepared for this to feel more like a dry first reading and hope for emotional connections/understandings/payoffs to come in the second.

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