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review 2018-08-17 02:41
ARC Review: Sky Full Of Mysteries by Rick R. Reed
Sky Full Of Mysteries - Rick R. Reed

This isn't a romance novel as much as it is an exploration of love and loss, and the difference between young love and mature love. It's also a bit of a character study for the MC Cole and explores how a traumatic loss can influence the rest of your life.

Cole and Rory are young and in love, having just moved into their first apartment together, in Chicago in the late 90s. They are somewhat opposites, but perfect for each other, and oh so in love. On a night when Cole has to work late, Rory decides to have dinner in a small restaurant close to the nearby college campus. A couple of beers and a burger later, Rory is on his way home, when a mass appears in the sky above him, a white light blinds him, and he finds himself leaving the ground. While this strongly hints at alien abduction, we're left to fill in many blanks, and it doesn't actually matter for the plot of this book how Rory disappears for so many years - it really only matters that he does.

Cole returns after work to an empty apartment. The author vividly describes his fear, his panic, his search for Rory, as hours turn into days into weeks into months, without a trace of Rory to be found. Cole's despair is palpable, and we see him slowly fall into a black hole of grief and pain. Most of the first half or so of the book deals with Cole searching for Rory, wondering what happened to him, and his reactions felt absolutely realistic. I watched a young, happy, carefree man become withdrawn and a shell of his former self. It is only through an almost accidental connection with Tommy, a law student and friend of the waitress who served Rory his last meal and comes forward with that information, that Cole doesn't fully drown in his grief. 

I felt that Tommy was a clutch for Cole, even as we find them dating and then together, eventually married, for 20 years. They're comfortable in their large apartment, with Tommy being a prolific author, and Cole taking care of the house, neither of them leaving their four walls much. While I believed that Cole loved Tommy and that their relationship was a happy one, it so very obviously lacked the exuberance of Cole's first love for Rory. He hides himself away from the world, something that suits Tommy just fine, but I felt as if Cole didn't really live at all after losing Rory. That he had lost his spark, that piece that made him uniquely Cole. 

Tommy is a nice guy, and he understands that Cole never got over losing Rory. He tolerates it, and he hides his hurt from Cole, loving the other man so much that he's willing to deal with being second place. I wondered if loving someone like Tommy loved Cole would explain why he was such a doormat and put up with Cole's eccentricities around Rory's memory.

At its core, the book pits young, passionate love with endless possibilities against the kind of love that grows over time, the kind that's as comfortable as a well-worn pair of jeans, the kind that has matured over the years, the kind that's familiar and deep and lasting. 

And then out of the blue Rory returns. And Cole has to make a choice. 

The ending - I am grateful that the author chose to go that route, because if Cole had made a different choice, I would have been really angry. I still have some questions, but I also understand that the author chose to be intentionally vague on some of the details, leaving some things to the reader's imagination. Truly, the ending as written here is the only one that made sense, the only one that was palatable to me. 

When I closed the book, I sat for a while wondering - what choice would I make if faced with the same decision Cole had to make? I examined my own feelings, comparing my first love to the love I share with the man I married, and how different my life might have turned out if I had made different choices at different times in my life. Which then spawned the question - how different would Cole's life have turned out if Rory hadn't left the apartment that night to eat dinner elsewhere? How would their young, exuberant love have fared through the years to come? Would they have made it? Would it have ended in tears and heartache as they grew up, matured, and potentially grew apart? Or would they have stayed together and grown old together? 

This is a masterfully crafted story, with an unusual plot, and utterly riveting. I could hardly put it down for any length of time. And any book that makes me think like this one did is surely deserving of the five stars it got. 

Recommended.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-08-16 21:21
Book Review of Sentinel (Book One of the Sentinel Trilogy) by Joshua Winning
Sentinel - Joshua Winning

This is a fantastic start to what looks like an exciting trilogy! I loved it!

Nicholas Hallow is a fantastic character. I liked him very much; and felt extremely sorry for him, as he dealt with a tragedy that destroyed his world. When he is sent to live with his godmother, Nicholas has no idea what mystery and danger awaits him.

This is an exciting, danger-filled YA Fantasy novel set it Cambridge, England. I found myself completely hooked from the first page! The characters come alive as the tale unfolds. Samuel Wilkins is Nicholas's parents friend. I liked his spirit! At 71 years old, he's still got a lot of it! Nicholas's godmother seemed a bit flighty to me, but when I read the full story of how she became that way, I could understand why. She's a powerful witch, but emotionally damaged by an event in her past. Isabel is a unique character, and her snarky and sarcastic comments had me giggling! I liked her very much! It's amazing what havoc a misfired spell can do to your perspective! However, there is one character that sent chills down my back, and her name is Malika. She is a creepy and dangerous individual! Well, I suppose you would have to be, working for a demon!


I struggled to put this book down, and couldn't wait to get back to it when I had to! There are several twists and turns in this book that I didn't see coming, but they just added to a totally enthralling read! By the end of the book I still had some questions that needed to be answered, such as: Why were the Sentinels created/formed? Who or what is Esus? And, what will happen next? I am now looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy as soon as I can!

Joshua Winning has written a debut novel that had me sitting on the edge of my seat! I loved his fast paced writing style, which made the story flow beautifully. This author is one to watch. If he's not careful, he'll be on my favourite authors list in no time at all! 

As this book is a Young Adult fantasy, I highly recommend this book to young readers aged 12+, and adults who love YA stories filled with witches, demons, supernatural beings, danger and adventure! - Lynn Worton

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review 2018-08-15 02:03
ARC Review: Camwolf by JL Merrow
Camwolf - J.L. Merrow

This was an interesting take on the shapeshifter sub-genre, and a much darker tale than what I'm used to from this author.

Dr. Nick Sewell is a professor at Cambridge university. He's also a werewolf, bitten and turned by an ex-boyfriend, and still struggling a bit with the wolfy parts of him.

Julian, a new student from Germany, causes an immediate reaction in Nick, even more so when Nick realizes the younger man is also a wolf. Nick is all alpha-wolf, which works well since Julian is more submissive in nature. 

Nick is still angry with the ex-boyfriend - he didn't ask to be bitten and turned, and the ex disappeared on him, more or less, so Nick has had to figure out pretty much on his own how to deal with the pull of the moon and the change. And now he's all growly and jealous and finds that he has this urge to be near the new student as much as possible, even though that creeps him out and he knows he sticks out like a sore thumb. 

Julian's backstory comes out slowly, and there were moments when what I found out made me so. fucking. mad! 

The author did a fine job with her characters - both are complex and flawed, polar opposites at first glance, but in many instances more alike deep down than they realize. The book is told from Nick's POV, switching with Julian's friend Tiffany's POV, which I found unusual and somewhat unfitting, since I really didn't have much interest in Tiffany, but the more I thought about her narrative, the more I realized that she actually brought some depth to Julian's character that may not have been as clear if we'd only heard from Nick. 

The thing that bothered me the most was how the situation with Julian's father's Beta turned out - and how his father seemed unapologetic for what he put his child through. Julian's mother seemed very weak, but we only saw her through Nick's eyes, and those were a bit biased. What didn't help was that there was a distinct lack of world-building - the werewolf lore used wasn't really explained, for one, and while Nick learns a bit more about changing into a wolf, he didn't really delve any deeper than what Julian told him. 

And it raised additional questions - like, is Crack fully human? And will he get his own book?

It's a rather dark novel, much darker than I expected, but I enjoyed reading it. I am German by birth, and most of the German used in this book was accurate. A few things were, while spelled properly, not exactly how a German would express themselves (at least not one from where I grew up).


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-08-14 10:00
Release Day Review! Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland #1) Chloe Neill!
Wild Hunger - Chloe Neill

 

 

In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

 

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

 


“Wild Hunger” is an excellent and fascinating start to the “Chicagoland Vampires” spin off series “Heirs of Chicagoland” It continues with the fascinating and well developed world with the brilliant mix of characters from the previous series and new ones. All of which are all really strong, compelling characters that easily draw readers in and hold them captive throughout the book.

 

Elisa has a dark secret and the only person she trusts with that secret is Gabriel Keene, who she has always had a sort of frienemy relationship. That relationship adds romance to the story as they both slowly realize that there may just be more between them and readers can practically feel the chemistry sizzling between them, but the relationship has a few obstacles which keeps readers in suspense of just what will become of that attraction.

 

The smooth flowing plot is fast paced and full of twists that surprise readers during all of the thrills and excitement that takes place during the story, starting with the assassination of a diplomat and continuing with lots of intrigue, unknown enemies, rising tensions between the supernaturals and magical mysteries and battles which ensures that the readers never have a chance to become bored. There is also additional intrigue and interest involving Elisa and her dark secret and also with Lulu and her magic which further draws readers in and ensures that they want to know more.

 

There was no way that I could put “Wild Hunger” down, once I began reading and I really excited about that because this was one highly anticipated book and it seems that this new series will live up to the fascinating and wonderful world of the previous one. “The Heirs of Chicagoland” is off to a thrilling start and it definitely ensures that readers will want more.



Wild Hunger

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36457735-wild-hunger

 

Author - http://www.chloeneill.com/?page_id=7513

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/wild-hunger-by-chloe-neill

 

 

is the 1st book in the Heirs of Chicagoland series

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/204973-heirs-of-chicagoland

 

Author - http://www.chloeneill.com/?page_id=7471

 


which is connected to the Chicagoland Vampires series.

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/series/46147-chicagoland-vampires

 

Author - http://www.chloeneill.com/?page_id=6900

 

 

 

Wild Hunger is available in print & ebook at:

 

Amazon - http://amzn.to/2yLXTc0

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wild-hunger-chloe-neill/1127236661?ean=9780399587092

 

BaM - http://www.booksamillion.com/p/Wild-Hunger/Chloe-Neill/9780399587092?id=7174590629051

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/sv/book/wild-hunger/id1296613526?l=en&mt=11

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/wild-hunger-6

 

GPlay - https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Chloe_Neill_Wild_Hunger?id=9PY5DwAAQBAJ

 

 

Chloe Neill is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Devil’s Isle, Chicagoland Vampires, and Dark Elite series. She was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. When not writing, she bakes, knits, Pins, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys–her favorite landscape photographer/husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout. (Both she and the photographer understand the dogs are in charge.)

 

Chloe is represented by Lucienne Diver of The Knight Agency. Chloe is a member of the Romance Writers of America.


Website - http://chloeneill.com/

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/authors/chloe-neill

 

Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1857564.Chloe_Neill

 

 

Twitter –
 http://twitter.com/chloeneill

 

 http://twitter.com/housecadogan

 

Facebook –
http://facebook.com/authorchloeneill


https://www.facebook.com/thechicagolandvampires

 

Pintrest - http://pinterest.com/chloeneill

 

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Chloe-Neill/e/B002BO9VW6/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

InstaGram - http://instagram.com/chloeneill

 

 

 

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review 2018-08-14 09:19
Munteres Geschichten-Stapeln
Girl of Nightmares - Kendare Blake

Im Frühling 2016 wurde bekannt, dass Kendare Blake die Filmrechte von „Anna Dressed in Blood“ an Stephenie Meyer verkaufte. Die Produktionsfirma der „Twilight“-Autorin legte sofort los, benannte Regisseurin, Drehbuchautorin und einen Teil des Casts. Seitdem wurde es still um das Projekt. Vielleicht wurde „Anna Dressed in Blood“ einfach nur hinter Meyers Serien-Realisierung ihres Romans „The Chemist“ zurückgestellt – vielleicht wurde die Verfilmung aber auch gecancelt. Wir haben ja schon oft erlebt, dass solche Projekte im Sande verlaufen. Für mich hat der Film allerdings ohnehin keine Priorität, obwohl ich mir vorstellen könnte, ihn mir anzusehen. Die Fortsetzung „Girl of Nightmares“ war definitiv wichtiger.

 

Cas, Carmel und Thomas verdanken ihre Leben einem Geist: Anna Korlov, besser bekannt als Anna Dressed in Blood. Sie opferte sich, um die drei zu schützen und zog den schrecklichen Obeahman hinab in die Hölle. Cas weiß, dass Carmel und Thomas die beängstigenden Ereignisse dieser Nacht hinter sich lassen möchten, doch er kann nicht vergessen, was Anna für sie getan hat. Er kann nicht aufhören, an sie zu denken. Er träumt oft von ihr – blutige, unheimliche Albträume. Als er beginnt, Anna auch tagsüber zu sehen, zweifelt er an seinem Verstand. Die Visionen sind verstörend; sie wirkt gequält, gehetzt und verzweifelt. Ist es möglich, dass es sich gar nicht um Halluzinationen handelt? Versucht Anna, um Hilfe zu rufen? Sofort ist Cas fest entschlossen, Anna zu retten. Die einzigen, die ihm einen Weg in die Hölle weisen können, sind die Mitglieder des mysteriösen Ordens, der sein Athame erschuf. Diese verfolgen allerdings ganz eigene Pläne, für die Cas nicht unbedingt überleben muss. Und in der Hölle wartet schon der Obeahman auf ihn…

 

Überflüssig. Hätte man auch sein lassen können. Ich hatte keine hohen Erwartungen an „Girl of Nightmares“, weil mich bereits der erste Band „Anna Dressed in Blood“ nicht vom Hocker riss. Aber ich habe schon angenommen, dass sich einige Fragen, die der Vorgänger offengelassen hatte, klären würden. Beispielsweise, welch merkwürdige Beziehung Cas‘ Familie zu dem Athame hat und ob sie die einzigen Jäger auf der Welt sind. Gibt es nur Geister und Hexen, oder auch Monster? Vampire, Werwölfe, Banshees? Und wie kann es eigentlich sein, dass Cas‘ Mutter einverstanden ist, ihren minderjährigen Sohn auf Geisterjagd zu schicken und ihn ihr Leben bestimmen zu lassen? „Girl of Nightmares“ beantwortet keine dieser Fragen zufriedenstellend. Es fügt der Geschichte nichts hinzu, was ich hätte wissen müssen, beleuchtet keine Hintergründe und fühlte sich irritierend losgelöst vom ersten Band an. Obwohl die Handlung an „Anna Dressed in Blood“ anknüpft, hatte ich den Eindruck, Kendare Blake hätte einfach nur eine weitere Geschichte auf die erste gestapelt, statt erläuternde Verbindungen zwischen den Bänden herzustellen, die das Verständnis erweitern. Vielleicht wollte sie das gar nicht, vielleicht wollte sie zwei weitgehend eigenständige Geschichten erzählen, doch ich hatte mit unter der Fortsetzung eben etwas anderes vorgestellt. Unsere Prioritäten liegen offenbar recht weit auseinander. Während ich Hintergrundwissen als deutlich wichtiger als Action einstufe, scheint Blake handfeste Szenen zu lieben und schreibt lieber übernatürliche Prügeleien, anstatt Details in einen Kontext zu setzen. Trotz dessen bemühte sie sich, die Horroraspekte der Fortsetzung eher aus der psychischen, als aus der physischen Perspektive anzugehen. Es gelang ihr, eine ansatzweise gruselige Atmosphäre heraufzubeschwören, die meine Vorstellungkraft allerdings nicht auf eine Achterbahnfahrt des Grauens schickte. Für meinen Geschmack ging sie definitiv zu zaghaft vor. Als Cas beginnt, Visionen von Anna zu haben, besucht sie ihn eines Nachts. Ein gequälter, gefolterter Geist steht plötzlich an seinem Bett. Doch statt das unheimliche Potential der Situation voll auszuspielen, lässt Kendare Blake die beiden reden. Sie reden! Schnarch. Ich fand „Girl of Nightmares“ aufgrund solcher Szenen ziemlich langweilig und war enttäuscht, dass sich meine Schwierigkeiten mit Cas, die ich im ersten Band kritisiert hatte, leider nicht legten. Ich halte ihn noch immer für einen arroganten Kotzbrocken. Es ist ja ganz toll, dass er mittlerweile erkannte, dass Freunde eine praktische Sache sind, aber sein Mangel an Demut stieß mir weiterhin sauer auf. Er interessiert sich nur für Anna, die Schicksale anderer Geister sind ihm so gut wie gleichgültig. Außerdem verstehe ich einfach nicht, was an ihm so besonders ist. Er hat keine speziellen Kräfte, sein einziges Ass im Ärmel ist das Athame, das jeder andere Mensch ebenfalls führen könnte. Was qualifiziert ausgerechnet ihn als Geisterjäger? Kendare Blake schaffte es nicht, mich von seinem Sonderstatus zu überzeugen, weshalb ich das gesamte Buch in Frage stellte. Nicht einmal der finale Showdown, für den die Autorin wieder den Obeahman als Endgegner hervorzerrte, vermochte die Lektüre für mich zu retten. Das offene Ende war schlicht unbefriedigend, weil es die Geschichte nicht wirklich abschließt. Wir erfahren nicht, was aus Cas und seinem Familienauftrag wird. Kendare Blake dreht sich einfach um und geht.

 

Wenn ihr „Girl of Nightmares“ mit der Erwartungshaltung lest, lediglich ein weiteres Abenteuer mit dem Geisterjäger Cas zu erleben zu wollen, kann euch diese Fortsetzung sicher glücklich stimmen. Erwartet ihr hingegen Erklärungen, wie es bei mir der Fall war, wird euch das Buch enttäuschen. Die Handlung bietet zwar durchaus neue Informationen, aber ein Erkenntniszuwachs blieb aus. Es fühlte sich an, als hätte Kendare Blake Neues begonnen, bevor das Alte abgearbeitet war, was dadurch unter den Tisch fallen musste. Ich mochte diese Herangehensweise nicht. Daher verabschiede ich mich jetzt kurz, schmerzlos und unzeremoniell von der „Anna“-Dilogie und widme mich wieder dem Original. Supernatural, ich komme.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/14/kendare-blake-girl-of-nightmares
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