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review 2018-10-17 21:28
Hush little baby, don't say a word and never mind that noise you heard...it's just a beast under your bed...in your closet, in your head.
Pack - Mike Bockoven

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~BOOK BLURB~

Pack

Mike Bockoven

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Cherry, Nebraska, population 312, is just off the highway between the sticks and the boonies. It’s where Dave Rhodes and his friends have lived all their lives. They own businesses, raise families, pay taxes, deal with odd neighbors, and, once or twice a month--just like their fathers before them--transform into wolves.

 

It’s not a bad life, but when one of the group members goes astray, it sets in motion a series of events that will threaten to destroy the delicate balance that has kept Dave and his clan off the radar. Between a son getting ready for his first transformation--called The Scratch--a wife with sordid secrets, a new sheriff who knows nothing of the creatures in his midst, and a mysterious man in a bow tie with a shady agenda, the middle of nowhere is about to get very dangerous.

 

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~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~

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I don't like most of the Shifters novels out there, but this one is different.  I like that it was different.  This felt like it came from the real-world with a supplement of paranormal elements…rather than coming from the paranormal world supplemented with real-world elements.  If that makes sense…it's also very graphic, especially the shifting scenes. 

 

Overall though, I felt like it lacked heart, or maybe it just needed a tad less testosterone…I'm not really sure.  Also, there are a few plot inconsistencies where things didn't get fully explained.  Other than that, while not as terrific as Fantasticland, Pack is still a mostly enjoyable listen.  The dialogue was easily digestible and well done in Audio format, but it would have been even better with additional narrators.   Oh yeah, there is also a shout-out to Metallica...gotta love that.

 

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~MY RATING~

3.3STARS - GRADE=B-

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~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~

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Plot~ 3/5

Characters~ 3.3/5

The Feels~ 3/5

Pacing~ 3.2/5

Addictiveness~ 3.5/5

Theme or Tone~ 3.5/5

Flow (Writing Style)~ 3.7/5

Backdrop (World Building)~ 4/5

Originality~ 4/5

Ending~ 3.2/5 Cliffhanger~ hmmm…sort of…

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Book Cover~ Love it!

Narration~ 4 for Peter Simonelli, he wasn't half bad…I just wasn't really into his exceptionally deep voice.

Setting~ Cherry, Nebraska

Source~ I Own Audible Audiobook

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I used this for Shifters Square in Halloween Bingo 2018

 

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review 2018-10-17 12:18
More magic, more supernatural events, and plenty of wonder in the second novel of the series.
Atonement in Bloom - Teagan Riordain Geneviene

I was offered an ARC copy of this novel, that I had been after for some time, and I enthusiastically decided to review it as soon as I was able to.

I have followed Teagan Geneviene’s blog for a few years and have long been amazed by her creativity and her power to weave stories from the most unlikely jumble of elements, always rising to the challenges set by her readers, and writing by the seat of her pants. I am inclined to think there is some kind of magic at work, and I am not surprised by the genre she has chosen for her novels.

I have read and reviewed several of her books (you can check my most recent review of one of her serials here) and have long been a fan of her first-novel, Atonement, Tennessee (you can check my review, here). I had been waiting for the next instalment of the series for some time and had eagerly read any stories and snippets the author has shared in her blog about the Atonement universe. And I jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC copy of this novel, the second one in the series.

The author has tried to make this book stand alone, to ensure that anybody who started reading the series at this point would be given enough background to follow the events and enjoy the narrative, without slowing down those of us familiar with the story. Having read the first novel a while back and having reread it recently, I am probably not the best person to comment, but, in my opinion, she succeeds, although I would recommend anybody considering the purchase of this novel to go ahead and get the whole series, as they will be able to more fully appreciate the plot twists and the character development that take place in the series. And there are some companion stories available that you will enjoy as well.

The story is told from two different points of view, as was the case with the first novel. We have Lilith, Esmeralda’s (Ralda for short) calico cat, whose narrative is told in the third-person, and whose personality (her likes and dislikes, her strong opinions, and, indeed, her all-appropriate curiosity) shines through even more than in the first novel. She is witness to a number of events that allow the reader to be slightly ahead of Ralda at some points, but also increase the suspense and the expectations. She is not a human narrator and her understanding of events is often puzzling for us, so her clues are a bit like cryptic crossword prompts, familiar and alien at the same time. She gets involved in some hair-raising adventures of her own, and the end of the novel hints at many interesting things to come for our favourite feline narrator.

Ralda is the other narrator, and she tells the story in the first person. Those of us who have read the first novel know that she is a Southerner at heart, although she has spent many not-very-happy years in Washington DC. Atonement, Tennessee proves to be anything but the quiet and charming little town she imagines at first, secrets and supernatural events abound, and most of them centre on her house and her family line. She is a woman of strong intuition, but there is more to the events unfolding around her than a sixth sense. If the first novel saw her teetering between real-world difficulties (the move, the state of her house, the problems of her new-found friends), and some strange and decidedly supernatural events, in this second novel she at first suspects, and later comes to realise, that in Atonement, Tennessee, there is no clear separation between the “normal” and the “supernatural”. One of the things that make her a very compelling character, apart from her lack of ego and her self-deprecating sense of humour, is her open spirit and her ability to experience the wonder of the world around her. By her own confession, she has suffered the nasty side of things and people, and she at times appears overcautious and paranoid, but she is unable to say no to anybody needing help, and no matter how hard she resists, she finds it difficult to believe the worst of anybody. She might hesitate, but she will get in harm’s way if any of those close to her are in danger (and that includes Lilith, of course).

As for the plot… After taking stock of what happened in the first novel, things start getting interesting very soon. Some of the characters we thought we knew are revealed not to have been how they looked like at first (some for the better, some for the worse), and we have quite a few new characters turn up, some supernatural without a doubt (including my beloved glowing pigs), and others… well, I’ll leave you to see what you think. But there are unrequited loves, magical objects (one of my favourite things, both in fantasy and in the horror genre), some very Shakespearian turns of events, kidnappings, natural (or supernatural) wonders, and a fantastic battle scene (and I won’t reveal anything else).

Although the storyline is complete in itself and the events that unfold during the book get a resolution (and a more than satisfying one, I might add), there are mysteries still to be solved, some new ones hinted at, and I can’t wait to read the next book. If you love fantasy, supernatural events, folklore, myths and legends, Shakespeare, and appreciate a wild-tale full of imagination, you’ll be delighted by this book. I know I was.

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review 2018-10-15 17:34
Demon Road, Derek Landy
Demon Road - Derek Landy

The best novel I've read by Landy! It also has the best reason to get rid of the parents I've ever come across in teen fantasy. I suspect its inspiration resides heavily in the TV show, Supernatural, and the level of explicit horror was startling. Trade-mark Landy quiping and comic-relief idiot are all present and correct, though toned down compared to early Skulduggery Pleasant.

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review 2018-10-11 20:58
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury for Creepy Carnivals
Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

The prologue begins with an opening line reminiscent of A Christmas Carol: "First of all, it was October, a rare time for boys."

 

Forty or so years ago I read this and identified with the boys, of course I did. This time I couldn't. So it was just a bunch of wordplay and monologuing and there was no horror to it anywhere, just an ad for an imaginary place I wouldn't be welcome. He did say some nice things about libraries, though, so I'm giving it a couple of stars.

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review 2018-10-10 19:53
Book Review: Winter Rising by Richard Amos
Winter Rising (Coldharbour Chronicles #1)Winter Rising by Richard Amos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was weirdly wonderful and I can't wait for Book 2!

Jake Winter is a man who has lost everything; his husband had been murdered and the killer had gotten away. The only 'good' thing that came from it was that Jake got clean, kicked his heroin addiction, stopped smoking and drinking, and started getting into shape. He had a killer to kill and a husband to avenge. On the one year anniversary of his husband's death Jake confronted the 'white eyed' bastard who'd destroyed his life. And had his entire existence turned upside down and inside out.

A deadly game of Cat and Mouse (with Jake the unwitting mouse) leads our hero to Coldharbour, a town shrouded from the rest of the world by magic, sealed by a curse and supposedly inaccessible. And yet the White-Eyed bastard had led him straight into the town through a crack in the magic, and then saved his life. Why would he do then when he'd robbed Jake of everything precious to him? And why the hell was he calling Jake a 'gift' and a 'weapon'?

Coldharbour is a place where evil entities known as 'beast' have broken through from their own realm. It is a town of goblins, trolls, werewolves, vampires, witches and fae (or half fae). It is a place where Jake can tip the balance and save the world from Beast if he can learn how to harness the power within him. Along with his four chosen guardians, Jake battles the Beast on the streets of Coldharbour, hoping to end the war before it bleeds into the rest of the world. Oh yeah, and in between all that Jake really needs to figure out why he turns into a complete idiot around his hot, half-fae guardian.

But what does the White-Eyed bastard want with him and why does he keep saving Jake?

This book was a spine tingler from start to finish. I admit, I was a little leery at first, it was a bit hodge podge and didn't really make sense until a few chapters in. I'm probably dating myself here but it reminded me of that animated fantasy movie, Heavy Metal, the one that jumped from scene to scene with no discernible connection - at first. But by the end you were like 'aha! I get it, I see the connection!' The writing was slick and sharp and full of vibrancy. I found myself sucked into the story, not wanting to put the book down even when I knew I should. The world building Richard does is impressive and seamless. He sets up his reality and makes it plausible. I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the sequel!.

View all my reviews

 

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