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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 2017-04-03 19:50
Review: Dead Souls
Dead Souls: A Novel - J. Lincoln Fenn

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Almost a week after finishing this book, I’m still not sure I really know what to make of it. I sort of liked it. Certainly an interesting read. A supernatural horror story telling the story of Fiona who thinks her boyfriend is cheating on her, gets drunk at a bar and winds up chatting with a stranger and winds up selling her soul to the devil. The following morning is a boatload of regrets – but oh fuck, it actually happened.

 

Fiona is not a particularly likable character. She has a huge chip on her shoulder thanks to a bad childhood, growing up with drug addict parents who shoved her out the door at seventeen to make her own way in the world. Which she did, she moved to New York, and made herself a successful marketing career. She’s obnoxious, blunt and kind of a massive bitch. Though she has a very direct manner of saying what she thinks regardless of what anyone else may think. Amusing, but gets a little tiring after a while.  

 

The concept of the novel was an interesting one, after a drunken night and chatting with a guy calling himself Scratch, Fiona realises it’s not just a big con after all, he’s left a card – one favour to be called in at any time in exchange for the gift she requested in selling her soul. To make things worse, she gets a big shock when she finds out what her boyfriend was really up to. Nothing like what she thought and now she’s sold her soul and the devil can get her do any sort of “favour” when he feels like.

 

Though Fiona finds out she’s not the only one who sold her soul, and there’s a group of them, calling themselves “Dead Souls” others who are waiting for their favours to be called in. The discussion that obviously comes up – is there a way out of this deal? And the rest of the novel focuses on Fiona figuring out a way to double cross the devil to save herself and her boyfriend.

 

Fiona’s marketing skills come in handy in quite an interesting way, it’s quite fascinating as she figures it out, using a marketing degree in how to get one over on the devil. Of course, nothing is as it appears and the favours start coming in one by one and really gruesome things start happening.

 

It’s pretty grim stuff. But kind of addictive in the way that even though I didn’t really like hardly any of the characters in the book (with maybe the exception of Fiona’s boyfriend Justin, who was actually a pretty good guy and put up with a hell of a lot of shit from her) I still wanted to know what happened, and if Fiona was able to pull off the plan she put in motion.

 

But of course, when you’re dealing with the devil nothing is ever straightforward or simple. It all got rather gory and weird towards the end. I was with the plot until the very last chapter. I reread it twice before I got it, and admittedly it did kind of make me grin in a morbid way.

 

Don’t think I would read this again, but would definitely read another book by this author.

 

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

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review 2015-12-29 14:07
Review: Dream a Little Dream
Dream a Little Dream (The Silver Trilogy) - Kerstin Gier,Anthea Bell

I must have bought this one before I read the first Ruby Red book by the same author, which was probably a good thing. I didn’t like Ruby Red at all, I most likely wouldn’t have picked something up by the same author. But the UK cover of this book is shiny and silver and very pretty and has been on my shelf for a while so I figured what the hell. I’d give it a shot and if I hated it, I hated it and would then know that this author is really not to my taste.

 

As it turned out I was pleasantly surprised by how much I really enjoyed this book. I read the first 50 pages or so, I liked the premise. The characters were okay, though the tone of the novel seemed to be pretty young, not quite towards the older end of YA, the main character is only 15, though some of the themes hinted at seemed to be a little mature for middle grade. It tell the story of Liv and her younger sister Mia who are moving to London with their mother, who’s job requires her to move around a lot, except now she’s taken a prestigious new job which means a little more stability. Dad has been out of the picture for several years now.  So Liv, Mia and their au pair, Lottie, are off to London. Only when they arrive things are not as they seem, they’re moving somewhere different, and Mom has been seeing someone, a wealthy man Earnest, who has two teenage children a little older than Liv.

 

Liv and Mia are not thrilled about this. On top of that they are now starting a new school, a very posh one. Complete with its own Gossip Girl type blog of school scandals, romances and secrets by someone anonymous who calls themselves Secret. Liv and Mia love mysteries, so they’re intrigued to find out who’s behind the blog. Which is only really a side plot. The main plot involves Liv discovering she can walk through dreams. She meets four handsome boys in her dream doing some weird sort of ritual thing. Dismissing it as a weird dream, Liv is stunned when she finds all these boys go to her new school and one of them is Earnest’s son and going to become her step brother.

 

I was a little worried that this was going to be very Raven Boy like, one girl becomes involved with four handsome boys who each have something different and remarkable about them. Thankfully, it was nothing like that. It was fun, as Liv continues to find herself going through different dreams and getting to know these boys. There’s very little world building explaining how Liv can walk through different dreams, but I found that it was one of those rare cases where the book is so well written, the characters and the plot itself is so much fun and so enjoyable, that lack of world building doesn’t really matter.

 

The dialogue was witty and bantery and delightful. It’s not all smooth sailing fun as Liv finds out there is a fairly serious side when she gets to know the boys a little more and finds out there’s a ritual involving releasing some sort of demon that makes wishes come true – for a price. One of the boy’s previous girlfriend has been involved and something really bad has happened. They need Liv to help complete the ritual.

 

Liv might not have been the brightest blub in the box, but I did find I really liked her as a main character. She had a strong, believable voice and a good personality. She gets a romance of her own (which turned out differently than I thought it would and was actually quite pleased about – there were some reading between the lines hints of something possibly happening between Liv and the stepbrother to be, but thankfully, it didn’t appear to go down that road.)

 

It had a few dark and dramatic moments towards the end, and most interestingly, the identity of Secret who writes the school gossip blog, was never revealed. Hints were dropped of possibilities (I have my suspicions) but I have a feeling this question won’t be answered until the end of the trilogy.

 

Different, and a lot of fun, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next one.

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review 2015-11-24 16:56
DNF: The Girl and the Gargoyle
The Girl and the Gargoyle - Pauline Gruber

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Sadly this is a DNF at 31% for me. I really really liked the first book in the series, and was actually looking forward to the sequel. However, it has now been well over a year and a half since I read the first one, and I remember absolutely nothing about the plot. And to be honest, I really just don't feel like going and rereading the first one again to be able to catch up on the second. 

 

It's actually a really good Ya paranormal series, it's got likeable characters, great world building and unique take on witches demons and gargoyles. It's well written, the only thing that bugged me was the use of "mundanes" to describe humans by paranormal creatures. Which anyone who has ever read a Cassandra Clare book will tell you that phrase is already in use in a YA paranormal romance series. Other than that, there is nothing wrong with the series, it's just not for me at this time. 

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review 2015-11-21 14:16
Review: Shadows
Shadows - Paula Weston

I initially snagged a copy of this title from Netgalley. It's one of those books I've heard of and probably had on my TBR list at some point but never got around to reading it. Since it was available on Netgalley (either with read it now or auto approval, I can't remember) I figured great time to give it a chance.

However, by the time I got round to reading it, the file was badly corrupted, words missing, letting missing and it made the whole narrative rather confusing. Unfortunately the title had already been archived, but I liked enough of what I read so I purchases a used paperback copy from Amazon.

I honestly don't quite know what to make of this novel. I didn't love it, but I didn't flat out hate it either. I'm rather ambivalent on it, really. On the one had, the dialogue was snarky and delicious, and I really did love the angel/demon mythology. Not something particularly new in its concepts but the way the novel was told took a familiar concept and made it its own with a fresh and different take. My problem was it was lack of emotional depth and the characters.

I failed to connect to any of the characters. Most of them felt rather two dimensional, I wasn't blown away by anyone, really. I found the storyline interesting enough, the main character Gaby is struggling to get over her twin brother Jude's death, she has a good, supportive best friend, Maggie, whom she lives with. Gaby has horrible dreams about battling demons in clubs and writes pretty gruesome short stories about it. Which attract some unwanted attention when weird things start happening at a local bar they hang out in.

One of the guys in Gaby's dreams is literally there at the bar. He talks to her like he knows her and knows her well, and Gaby's world is thrown into chaos when more people show up to more or less do battle with her. All these new people are pretty thrown when Gaby remembers nothing about them, and apparently knows nothing about her true self. Or what she really is.

Which is where the angel mythology comes into play. I really did like the world building. It takes familiar concepts of fallen angels and Nephilim and gives them it's own twist. And as I mentioned the dialogue between the characters was brilliant. Snarky, snappy, and wickedly fun. Even though Gaby's going through some immense changes in discovering everything she knew was a lie and two different groups of paranormal beings are now trying to force her to remember things she can't....there was something missing for me.

The actual plot of Gaby trying to ascertain what the hell was going on was what kept me reading, but I felt nothing for character or the background histories we learn as the story progresses. There were some truly epic action scenes throughout the novel, and one bit of pretty hot romance towards the end. I did kind of like that the romance angle wasn't really played out that much throughout the novel. it certainly came into the story when Gaby learns who she was with before she lost her memories and why different people were surprised to see her with one guy instead of the other.

I don't see myself racing out to buy all the other books in the series immediately, (unless they were on sale somewhere maybe) though I am probably curious enough to continue the series at some point, if only to find out of Gaby ever recovers all her memories.

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