Friday, August 18, 2017

The Inquisition (Summoner, #2)The Inquisition by Taran Matharu

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy

With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction…or die trying.

The Inquisition was a good follow up to The Novice. The book starts out a year after the last one left off with a trial soon following. Once we get through the trial and all that, Fletcher and his friends are sent on a mission deep into orc territory along with others who are not so friendly. They are divided up into four different teams. The teams get divided up pretty predictably, with each given a guide to lead them through the jungle. During the quest, to make things even more dangerous, there is a someone who keeps trying to kill Fletcher, obviously trying to frame the Dwarfs. There are a few revelations in this book that are not all that surprising. I predicted most of them, but maybe younger readers will not.

This as a simplified fantasy, that's definitely written for YA readers, but still quite enjoyable. The characters are pretty black and white and plot-wise, the story follows a traditional route with nothing really new added. I did like the addition of the gremlins. The idea of the goblins coming from a cross between gremlins and orcs was new to me. I loved poor Blue and wish we could have seen even more of him and his group. Once again my favorite aspect of the book are the demon pets that the mages have. Who doesn't love a Gryphon or an Alicorn or one of the many others?

Just like the last book, this one ends with a cliffhanger-like ending. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

SunshineSunshine by Robin McKinley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy

There are places in the world where darkness rules, where it's unwise to walk. But there hadn't been any trouble out at the lake for years, and Sunshine just needed a spot where she could be alone with her thoughts. Vampires never entered her mind.

Until they found her...

I really liked this vampire novel. This is a rare adult novel written by Robin McKinley, and it was also the first book I read by her. The book is pretty clean except for one almost sex scene that uses a couple of very coarse words that I could have done without. The other love scenes are more fade to black.

One of the things I really liked about this book and found to be a welcome difference from other vampire books is that this vampire is not a beautiful creature. At one point in the book he turns himself human looking for a little while and he is rather ugly as a human. How refreshing that he isn't mesmerizingly beautiful.

I only wish there had been a sequel. This could have been the start of a pretty awesome urban fantasy series, with Sunshine teaming up with the vampire. Constantine from time to time to help him out with problems of the supernatural variety. Unfortunately Robin McKinley has said that she has no interest in writing one. It is fine as a stand-alone novel though.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Dystopia, Fantasy

So I've been reading this book, or supposed to be for three weeks now and I still have not finished it, and I have zero desire to get back to reading it. Let me tell you why...

The plot is not all that compelling to me. It's Willy Wonka in a virtual reality loving, dystopian future. That really doesn't appeal to me. I know this is going to be an unpopular opinion because just about every one of my friends seemed to absolutely love this book, but sorry, I just don't.

If you are in love with 80s pop culture then you might love this book. I was a teen in the 80s, it was ok, but nothing to worship. And this kid clearly worships at the altar of 80s pop culture. For me it started to feel like the author was just name dropping 80s thing after 80s thing to prove that the main character here was really into the 80s. The list went on and on and on. It got old. How in the world has he had time to play every one of those games, watch every one of those TV shows and movies, etc.? It would take a person years. More years than this kid has been alive.

The virtual reality world in the book was interesting, but not enough for me to want to keep reading. So I'm dumping this book for now. I don't really foresee a time that I will actually want to pick it up and finish it, but who knows, maybe something crazy will happen and I will one day. Honestly though, I just don't think it's for me.

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Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dead To Me (Detective Kate Matthews, #1)Dead To Me by Stephen Edger

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Thriller

How do you catch a killer who knows your every move?

Dead To Me is the first book in a new detective series. This is the first time I've read a book by this author and I thought it was just ok. The good thing about it is that I was completely wrong about who I thought was behind the murders. The bad thing about it is that I felt like it sort of came out of left field.

For me a well-plotted mystery points clues at multiple people, while still leaving you surprised at the end, but feeling like you should have seen that coming. I didn't feel that way when I read this. I felt like there were really no clues pointing to the culprit here. The reasoning behind why he did some of the things he did were not explained either. Why the creepy cyber stalking? Sending her the messages the instant she signed up on the dating website was way too coincidental. And the thing with Kate's mother didn't seem to have any reason behind it either, other than to cause her distress.

I didn't find any of the characters all that likable, not even Kate, and she did some really stupid things. She was also a lousy deadbeat mom. I was happy in the end that Kate realized she needed to be a mother to her daughter. She redeemed herself somewhat after that. As for the other characters, all of the detectives kept getting into pissing contests with each other and the cases they were solving seemed more about their personal egos than about finding justice for the victims. I hope this isn't the way most real detectives behave.

Although I liked that the book kept me guessing, I just didn't care for the overall plot of the story and the killer's behavior felt a little all over the place. For those reasons I think I will pass on reading the rest of this series. Thanks NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me a copy of this book for review.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

 The Black Lung Captain (Tales of the Ketty Jay, #2)The Black Lung Captain by Chris Wooding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk

Deep in the heart of the Kurg rainforest lies a long-forgotten wreck. On board, behind a magically protected door, an elusive treasure awaits. Good thing Darian Frey, captain of the airship Ketty Jay, has the daemonist Crake on board. Crake is their best chance of getting that door open—if they can sober him up.

In this installment of Tales of the Ketty Jay, Darian Frey is back to his old tricks. He's robbing an orphanage in the beginning of this book, and that didn't endear him to me much. By the end of the last book Frey had learned a few things and for a little while I thought he had forgotten every one of them, but he ended up proving me wrong. Yet again Chris Wooding surprises me with the character growth of not only the main character, but all of them. Even the cat, Slag gets a tiny part of a chapter in his point of view. I still dislike Pinn to a great extent, but even he ended up better by the end of this book. Crake and Jez in particular have great story arcs where they face their demons and come to grips with themselves. Crake's efforts to restore Bess is an especially emotional one. Speaking of Bess, whenever I read about her I can't help but think of Fullmetal Alchemist.


That's how I picture Bess.

Not only is the whole crew of the Ketty Jay present here, but Frey's former love and nemesis, Trinica Dracken is back, as well as the Century Knights. I liked the story arc with Trinica and also would love to read more of the Century Knights in the next books. We also learn a lot of interesting things about the Mane and The Awakeners. In general there is a much deeper level of emotion involved with the characters this time around, which is something that was missing in the first book. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Lethal Bayou Beauty (Miss Fortune Mystery #2)Lethal Bayou Beauty by Jana Deleon

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Category: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Comedy

No one in Sinful liked Pansy Arceneaux, but who hated her enough to kill her?

Lethal Bayou Beauty is the sequel to Louisiana Longshot. This time around Pansy Arceneaux, ex-beauty queen and aspiring actress returns to her hometown, Sinful Louisiana to help with the beauty pageant portion of the Summer Festival. No one likes Pansy, who has been through almost every guy in town, even the married ones, so when she ends up dead no one is surprised.

While Lethal Bayou Beauty was amusing at times, I didn't like it quite as much as Louisiana Longshot, which did actually make me laugh out loud once. Mostly I feel like this series relies too much on dumb humor derived from unbelievable situations. There are too many bumbling mistakes made by the main character and she is completely unprepared to pose as an ex-beauty queen/librarian. What kind of spy would fail to do her homework to make the role convincing? Also who in the world doesn't know who Lady Gaga is? You'd have to be living under a rock to have never heard of her. Fortune would also have to at least know of some TV shows. Maybe Fortune had her head buried in the sand when she was playing assassin in the Middle East. This series has completely failed to convince me that Fortune is a CIA agent or a real person at all for that matter.

Despite my complaints I like other things about this series enough to give it another chance, like the Louisiana charm and Ida Belle and Gertie, the outrageous ladies of the Geritol mafia, so I'm still keeping this series on my to-read list for now.

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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1)A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Category: Adult, Christian
Genre: Historical Romance

A Name Unknown is a Christian historical romance set in the Edwardian period on the cusp of WWI. The main character is a thief who accepts a job from a mysterious man who calls himself Mr. V. The job involves getting hired on by a man with German ancestry and finding information that will prove he is a traitor to England. I enjoyed reading about the time period a lot and I liked the characters of Rosemary and Peter. The slow buildup of the friendship and then romance that developed between them was one of the best things about the book. The Christian aspect of the book was well done as well and was nicely woven into the story. The only thing I felt was missing was actually being able to read the letters that Rosemary and Peter wrote to each other every day. I really would have liked if they had been included in the book. I think it would have given us as readers more insite into their developing friendship.

This is the first of a series and I am interested in continuing on. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Bethany House for giving me a copy of this book for review.

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