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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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text 2016-09-30 02:29
In Other Worlds By Sherrilyn Kenyon $1.99
In Other Worlds (Paranormal Romance (Berkley)) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (2010-07-06) - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Fire and Ice
On the run, a beautiful virgin crosses paths with a sexy ex-assassin.

Knightly Dreams
The dashing hero of a novel comes to life.

Dragonswan
A woman must help a shape-shifting dragon trapped between two worlds.

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review 2016-09-06 14:52
Review: Nightstruck
Nightstruck - Jenna Black

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

This is another one I’m not entirely sure what to make of. It’s described on Netgalley as “the start of a spooky yet romantic dark paranormal horror”. There is nothing romantic whatsoever in this book, at least not to this reader. It certainly managed the dark paranormal horror bit well. It starts off with a scary incident, and the dark creepiness doesn’t let up at all. Not even at the end. 

 

Becket lives in Center City in Philadelphia. She sees something strange in an alley, hears a cry that might be an abandoned baby whilst walking her dog Bob. All her instincts are telling her to run away and never look back but morality wins out. But that single incident is the start of a host of catastrophic events that change Becket’s world forever. It’s subtle changes that barely register at first. 

 

Her dad is the police commissioner and seems to be under the idea that all teenagers are vandals and morons and only out to do no good. Even his sensible daughter. Her best friend is Piper, one of the most popular girls at school. I loathed Piper. Piper is so popular that Becket practically has to make appointments to hang out with her when she can “fit into Piper’s schedule”. Not exactly my idea of a best friend no matter how nice they might be when you hang out. Piper comes from a very rich family and seems to do whatever the hell she wants to regardless of any consequences. 

 

She’s also dating Becket’s neighbor Luke, who unknown to Piper, Becket has had a big old crush on Luke, like, forever, just never done anything about it. She’s too shy. Becket follows the rules, is a good student and generally does what she’s supposed to. Even though occasionally Piper helps her rebel which usually goes wrong. Her police commissioner father is always harsh with the punishments (he doesn’t like Piper at all)

 

The city seems to be having a rash of violent crimes and bizzare incidents happening. A few of these are described in single chapters from the victim’s view points. Becket’s dad’s nerves are stretched to the breaking point. Becket starts noticing weird things herself and doesn’t know what to think, she’s either going crazy or something really really freaky could be happening. Since that baby incident. She rationalises every possibility that it could be, tries taking pictures of uncomfortable weird things she spots. Anything to prove that it’s not something supernaturally dark or weird. 

 

As a main character Becket is actually very likable. She’s strong, smart and despite bad taste in best friends, a capable girl who thinks things through and doesn’t jump to stupid conclusions. Even when things take a turn for the worst. Thankfully she’s not the only one who’s noticed things are weird and scary out in the world, particularly when the sun goes down. She’s hanging out with Luke at one point and points things out to him - he’s noticed it too. 

 

So what does it all mean? To make things worse Piper’s behavior is getting worse. She’s more callous, she flaunts the rules more than ever and speaks with little regard to what she’s saying or who she might be hurting. Luke’s fed up with her, even Becket is getting irritated. All the while at night things are getting more dark more scary and more violent out in the city.

 

It soon becomes a city wide epidemic of catastrophic chaos, violence, death, murder and darkness. Though once the sun comes up, things turn to normal. Becket is smart enough to protect herself when the chaos starts going down. I suppose the romance part comes from her feelings for Luke developing throughout, even though he’s supposedly with Piper, even after Piper’s personality hits rock bottom and she becomes part of the people involved in creating chaos in the night. (There are reasons for this of course). It’s a well done relationship starting off slow and a where are we going does this mean anything, what’s happening here? Despite the unravelling madness of the city, Becket has some pretty good teenage crush moments. Kind of a relief from the darkness and unpleasant atmosphere the novel creates. 

 

It has all the makings for a pretty good book, but there was just something about it that didn’t work for me. The unending parade of violence and bizarre acts just bothered me. I actually like horror novels, and horror movies. I’ve seen my fair share of very violent horror movies and read some very disturbing books where the horror and the gore just doesn’t let up. I actually really liked Becket as a main character, I even liked Luke. I even liked the grownups in this novel.

 

There was just something in this one I just did not like. I didn’t like the end much at all. I’m glad though I read that it was the start of a series according to the Netgalley page on this title because as a standalone I would have dropped the rating. While I wasn’t overly impressed with this book, if there is a sequel I’m still interested enough to know where this story is going. 

 

Thank you Netgalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for approving my request to view the title. 

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review 2016-07-05 11:33
Review: The Outliers
The Outliers - Kimberly McCreight

 I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I can’t remember what it was that caught my eye about this title. It was on my wishlist for a while, so when I saw it pop up on Netgalley, I took a chance and figured what the hell. I’d give it a shot. I’d already seen Goodreads reviews pop up and the ones from the blogs and reviewers I follow were a mix, some loved it, some hated it.

 

Unfortunately, I was in the hated it group. Well, I didn’t actually hate it, I didn’t like it much. It was stupid – but in a this is so stupid why the hell am I still reading this – what’s going to happen next? I need to know! Kind of way.

 

The whole thing was ludicrous convoluted mess. It starts with Wylie struggling to get over the death of her mother. Her twin brother whom she doesn’t really get on with is a genius and not very helpful, her dad is some sort of research scientist who works with emotional perceptions. Wylie has terrible anxiety, hasn’t left the house in months. Her dad and her doctor are trying to convince her it’s time to get back to things and go back to school and help the healing process and moving on with her life.

 

Wylie is grumpy, moody and not having any of it. Then her former BFF’s Cassie’s mom turns up asking if Wylie has heard from Cassie. Cassie and mom had a huge fight and Cassie’s been MIA ever since. Wylie and Cassie have sort of stopped speaking, Cassie’s become involved with the popular kids at school who are into partying and drinking, Cassie’s dating a guy, Jasper, who Wylie dislikes intensely (even though she’s never met the guy, she’s just going on rumours and what she perceives his attitude to be from seeing him around high school). While the parents are talking Wylie texts Cassie and gets a worrying response.

 

So while the parents go and look around town for Cassie, Wylie is home alone and Jasper shows up at Wylie’s house, Cassie sends more cryptic texts. And next thing we know, even though she doesn’t like him or trust him in the slightest, Wylie and Jasper are gathering supplies and heading off to find Cassie as per her text instructions.

 

Bear in mind Wylie hasn’t left the house in months, can’t deal with people at the best of times, and the reader learns has fallen out with Cassie and they’re not even really friends anymore. In one way it’s kind of admirable that even though things have gone south in the friendship Wylie can put aside the problems that have kept her housebound to the best she can and go off to find her former BFF on very little words.

 

On the other hand the grown up in me is rolling my eyes and their stupidity. They don’t tell anyone, other than leaving a note for Wylie’s dad telling him not to worry. Of course her dad is going to fucking worry! She’s not left the house in months and she’s going off with some guy she barely knows for a girl she’s not even been speaking to and she’s expecting all the grownups involved to just be okay with this?!?!?!?!

 

So off Wylie and Jasper go on a road trip through winter in New Hampshire at night without telling anyone and only the barest of info from Cassie’s texts to go on. And things rapidly go downhill from there.  Car trouble, help from people who turn out to be dangerous, when the police finally get involved, they’re not interested in helping, Cassie’s cryptic texts get more and more alarming. Wylie’s dad is worried and furious and has told Wylie her doctor has called the police and if Wylie is caught he will have her committed which makes Wylie pissed off.

 

Though it turns out Jasper’s not as bad as she thinks he is. He’s actually the more sensible of the two of them, and a pretty decent guy. Wylie is a whiny pain in the ass. Though she does seem to get her head around the danger they are in and at least at one point is smart enough to protect herself with a sharp knife and do some damage.

 

So the novel progresses on the search for Cassie as one thing after another goes wrong. Despite the utter stupidity of the plot, it is actually quite compelling. As I said earlier, even though it’s stupid, you still find yourself wanting to know what the hell is going on and why is this happening. Where is Cassie?

 

The explanations are some convoluted nonsense to do with covert special ops groups wanting Wylie’s scientist Dad’s research. Something to do with people with extra sensory abilities. Which of course tie massively into Wylie. Cassie has secrets of her own. Everyone’s got twisty secrets and nothing is as it seems. And just when you think it’s going to be okay…warning bells go off when mysterious agents claiming to be from Homeland Security appear, and...there’s a big ass cliffhanger and that’s the end.

 

And even though I loathed Wylie and Cassie, I will probably find myself wanting to read the next one.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK Children’s for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-05-13 11:40
DNF: Midnight Taxi Tango
Midnight Taxi Tango - Daniel José Older

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

Not for me. DNF at page 69. Initially the blurb in this one got my attention, I haven't come across any new adult urban fantasy in a while and this sounded pretty good. I didn't realise that it was the second book in a series (but then again I've gone in on book 7 of urban fantasy series before and just about got the gist of what was going on). I did end up purchasing a copy of the book as well because by the time I got around to reading it, the kindle file I had from netgalley had weird formatting and title had already been archived.

 

It was certainly one of the most creative and diverse urban fantasies I have come across in a long time. Highly original concepts and characters and a brilliant sense of place and setting. Unfortunately, I just don't like it. As good as it is, and brilliantly as it's written it feels like there is far too much going on and I can't seem to connect or get a particular liking for any character enough to continue.

 

So DNFing. Definitely an author I would read again, I already have another book of his to read at some point in the future, but this particular series is not for me.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for approving my request to view the title.

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