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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 2017-04-12 14:28
Review: The Edge of Everything
The Edge of Everything - Jeff Giles

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I think this was something I requested on a whim. It was quite some time ago, I remember only glancing at the synopsis on Netgalley. Admittedly I went into this one remembering nothing on what it was about. I had it in my mind for some reason it was a dystopian.

 

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Starts off with teen Zoe at home at the start of a snow storm looking for her younger brother who’s gone out to play with their two dogs. But he doesn’t appear to be answering her calls to come inside before the storm really gets going. The storm is getting worse by the minute so Zoe goes out looking for him. During her search Zoe stumbles into the path of nasty piece of work Stan who is robbing their neighbour’s house. The neighbours having died recently. The confrontation is bad. Warning – Stan really hurts the two dogs. It’s brutal and unpleasant.

 

Zoe and her brother are rescued by a mysterious figure who arrives and kicks the crap out of Stan. The mysterious benefactor is hell bent on destroying Stan for his evil deeds and seems to have some sort of superpowers. But of course nothing goes quite so smoothly. Not once he starts actually interacting with Zoe.

 

The figure, who later becomes known as X has come from a sort of hell dimension known as The Lowlands and is a bounty hunter sent to reap souls of evil doers. Stan is his target. Though Zoe’s interaction with him is brief, he learns something of mercy. Which sets in motion a big ass chain of events.

 

X has very little concept of how to interact with Zoe. Not completing his mission has left him in dire-straights and great pain until the job is done. He collapses in a nearby house –which just happens to be Zoe’s. With the help of Zoe, her mom and her younger brother they help X pull himself together.

X’s dialogue is quite stilted and almost boarding on cheesy, but there’s something quite fascinating about how he copes with Zoe. He’s grown up in this hell dimension with only other damaged souls to guide him, so has very little sense of morality or anything.

 

While Zoe is your average teenager – she lives with her mom and younger brother and is struggling to cope with the recent death of her father. Zoe’s mom is one of the more likeable, believable adults of YA fiction. She’s involved without being over the top involved, and seems to know when to back off. The mom has some secrets which come out later on in the novel, while it’s not of the pleasant nature, it’s doesn’t actually make her any less likeable as a character, I thought the twists added dimension and believability to the mom character.

 

Zoe herself is an immensely likeable character, there was something delightful about the way she was written that made me as a reader connect with her immediately. I liked her tone of voice and her dialogue.

 

She handled the increasingly weird situation very well. Her relationship with X grows, and as they became equality fascinated and enamoured with each other can be described as instalovey, although the novel is so well written and both characters are so interesting – it’s instalove but instalove that actually works.

 

And they’re both smart enough to know there will be consequences for their actions. X has to deal with the Lowlands and the consequences of revealing his secrets and not completing his mission. There appears to be a hierarchy of demons or “Lords” who are the rulers and X has royally pissed off one of the worst who is determined to make an example of him. This particular Lord is a real asshole and his actions and dialogue is so over the top in the vain of I’m so evil and you’re so crap and you must suffer because I say so. It’s almost like a cartoon villain and kind of ridiculous but at the same time kind of amusing in a weird way.

 

Zoe learns some uncomfortable truths about her father’s past and certain things she was never meant to know. It’s quite emotional. Her dad was a caver and taught her how, and there’s an incredibly moving scene where she goes caving with a friend as a result of some of the secrets she learns. Exceptinonally moving and very tense in parts.

 

A wonderful mix of action and romance, a very unique plot and not at all what I was expecting. I really loved this one.  I loved this one so much I bought a finished hardback.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ).

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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 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 - 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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