Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Review: Don't Kill the Messenger by Eileen Rendahl

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Title: Don't Kill The Messenger

Author: Eileen Rendahl

Series: Messenger #1

Publisher: Ace

Publication date: 28 Feb 2012

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: Adult | Urban Fantasy

Goodreads



Melina Markowitz is a Messenger, a go-between for the paranormal forces and supernatural creatures that move unseen among 'normal' human beings. Problem is, when a girl's an intermediary, it's hard not to get caught in the middle…


If Melina doesn't deliver, the stakes are life and death. So when ninjas steal an envelope from her, she must find it at all costs. It contains talismans created by Taoist priests to control the kiang shi - Chinese vampires unearthed from tombs beneath the Bok Kai Temple - who are attacking rival gang members in an attempt to spark a street war.


He may look more like a surfer than a cop but Ted Goodnight is dead serious about investigating the surge in gang violence, only he doesn't believe in the supernatural. It's up to Melina to change his mind - without blowing her cover…



My thoughts:


I'm a big fan of urban fantasy so I was very excited when I came round to reading this. In the more enjoyable reads, there's a whole lot of world building involved where I can get lost on the best of days. Then there's a ton of great characters that make me wish they were real and we could have big hangouts where we share the latest gossip. Who needs real friends right?


Unfortunately though, Don't Kill The Messenger fell short on quite a few things. It became a little bit of a chore to sit and read it after a while. I didn't find it a bad read necessarily, it was still an okay read, but it fell short of the mark to make it one of those books I can keep coming back to.


What it came down to, for me, was the characters. I couldn't take Melina seriously half the time. I really liked her at first - she had the whole hard done by attitude but she still did what she had to in order to get by. She seemed really mature, working three jobs, avoiding things that go bump in the night and giving an all round great impression. But when it came down to her making decisions that would essentially affect every character in the story, she had the common sense of a teenager. Even a teenager is pushing it to be honest.


I also don't understand what point in the story vampires and werewolves became her best friends. It was yet another case of me getting the wrong impression. I was excited by the prospect of reading a book where the vampires and other creatures typical to this type of read were not of the friendly and 'I'm a normal person I just happen to feed on arteries or turn into a big cuddly dog' variety. That all changed though when they turned into the 'I'm a normal person I just happen to feed on arteries or turn into a big cuddly dog' variety. I had none of the feel of spine tingly goosebumps I usually associate with urban fantasy reads.


The plot wasn't anything special. There were no twists that pulled me further into the story, nor were there characters in mortal peril to make me anxious for their wellbeing. It was okay - the gangs and the police aspect of the plot was a little cliched for my liking but there was plenty of action to keep me going.


What I did like about this book was the general idea of it. I really loved the idea of a Messenger going between vampires and werewolves e.t.c. It made a lot of sense and I thought it had so much potential. It wasn't really developed until the plot got underway, so that was a little disappointing, but I enjoyed that aspect of the story. Especially the imp with the flute - that was really funny.


Overall, I thought this book was okay. If you're new to the urban fantasy genre, I definitely wouldn't recommend starting off with this book but as usual, this is just my opinion, you may really enjoy this read.

 

My rating: 5/10

 

Eileen Rendahl:

Goodreads 

 

Messenger:

  1. Don't Kill The Messenger
  2. Dead on Delivery
  3. Dead Letter Day

Friday, 2 September 2016

Review: The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting

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Title: The Last Echo

Author: Kimberly Derting

Series: The Body Finder #3

Publisher: Headline

Publication date: 29 Mar 2012

Format: Paperback | 368 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal

Goodreads


 

 IN THE BEGINNING

Violet's morbid ability to sense echoes from the dead led her to uncover dark murders and long-buried secrets. The only people she told were her supportive parents and boyfriend Jay.


NOW SHE CAN FINALLY BE HONEST

Violet hopes that working with a special investigative team will give her the chance to actually save lives - or at least catch more killers. But the instant connection she feels with mysterious partner, Rafe, is both confusing and unsettling and their unique bond creates tension with Jay.


IN THE END, ALL THAT'S LEFT IS AN ECHO

When she discovers the body of a student murdered by 'the collector', Violet is determined to solve the case. With her own relationship on the line, Violet doesn't realise that the serial killer is looking to add to his collection, and that she may have caught his eye.


Will the next life Violet has to save be her own?



My thoughts:


I've said this so much, but sometimes, I really hate the fact that I love reading series. I seriously need to read more stand-alones. I haven't picked up this book because I loved the first two books of the Body Finder series - it doesn't even make sense to my own ears! I was so worried it wouldn't live up to the expectations I'd built up for it in my own mind. The sad thing is, it didn't. 


I wasn't disappointed per se, but I thought it didn't live up to its potential. I wanted to see something different in the story, a big addition. There was for sure, there was Sara's team complete with Rafe and the rest of the gang which I can tell has a lot more to give. I'm sure the next book will focus on them entirely. But, this big addition to the Body Finder series took away from the main story I think. I hated not seeing more of Violet's friends, especially Jay. What happened to Jay? It wasn't the same.


I also didn't find Rafe to be a believable character. I understand what was supposed to happen - he was obviously the bad boy, mysterious type as opposed to Jay's outgoing, heart on his sleeve nature. It didn't work for me. If what I think is going to happen actually happens in the next book I'll be one unhappy reader.


The only other gripe I had was the ending. Towards the end is where the suspense kicks in and things take a very dramatic turn. It was great in that sense. The problem I had was that it was so similar to what had happened in the last two books. It got predictable and that took most of the suspense out of the ending.


Aside from all that, it had all the great attributes the past two reads have had. Violet is a great character and top off that with the addition of new characters that I grew to really like, I found the read really enjoyable. It still had all the creepy suspense I now associate with this series and the added crime solving part brought a lot of crazy action into the story. I liked it.


All in all I enjoyed this read but I thought the past two books were a lot better. I still like this series and I'll definitely be picking up the next book soon.


My rating: 6/10


Kimberly Derting:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter


The Body Finder:

  1. The Body Finder
  2. Desires of the Dead
  3. The Last Echo
  4. Dead Silence

Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole

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Title: Arcana Rising

Author: Kresley Cole

Series: The Arcana Chronicles #4

Publisher: Valkyrie Press

Publication date: August 15th 2016

Format: Kindle 

Genre: YA | Fantasy | Dystopia

Goodreads



Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestseller Kresley Cole. 


When the battle is done . . . 

The Emperor unleashed hell and annihilated an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind--but Circe struck back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies. 


And all hope is lost . . . 

With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter's reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare. 


Vengeance becomes everything. 

To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future--and her chilling past--will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter's ashes, stronger than ever before?




My thoughts:


That ending. Whaaaaaat. I’m just blown away right now. 
 
 
I was scared I would be disappointed with this book considering so much has happened over the series so far. I just couldn’t imagine much more happening. But no, stuff happened. Stuff happened and it blew my mind.


This book was a perfect blend of character and plot development. While not as much happened in term of the fight between the Arcana, new alliances were formed in unexpected ways and a lot was revealed about the characters.


I do have to mention that I’m so glad I read Day Zero before this. It made such a big difference to the story to know what went on with each character before they made an appearance in Arcana Rising. Some new characters made an appearance and it was so much less confusing having already read their situation.


I am a little disappointed that Cole didn’t reveal a secret that I’m sure a lot of readers are wondering about…Jack. I need to know! I’m so much more excited for the next book because of Jack. I need to know what his deal is. I won’t say anymore for fear of spoilers but there are so many questions after reading this. I need my answers.


Also, this book ends on a cliffhanger. Guys, I think Evie has issues. I’m so intrigued as to what’s happened with her. It’s so weird - I was reading just assuming Evie was her usual self and then just BAM - nope turns out everything has just been turned on its head.


I honestly have no idea where this series is going to go from here. I love it.


My rating: 10/10 


Kresley Cole:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Day Zero by Kresley Cole

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Title: Day Zero

Author: Kresley Cole 

Series: The Arcana Chronicles #3.5

Publisher: Valkyrie Press

Publication date: August 1st 2016

Format: Kindle | 174 pages

Genre: YA | Fantasy | Paranormal

Goodreads



Arcana means secrets, and these Arcana Chronicles short stories from #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole are filled with them. Experience firsthand the beginning of the end and behold the apocalypse through the eyes of characters you only thought you knew. 


Ashes to ashes . . .


Evie Greene’s story of the Flash is just one of many. All over the world, those connected in some way to the lethal Arcana game—like Death, Jack, and Fortune—must first survive a horrifying night of blood and screams. 


We all fall down.


Some will have to grapple with new powers; all will be damned to a hellish new existence of plague, brutality, desolation, and cannibalism. Find out who they lost, why they endure, and what they sacrificed in order to live past Day Zero. . . .



My thoughts:


I’m a serious fan of the Arcana Chronicles. Like big time, jump around when I find out another book is coming out, hold my breath when a character is in danger until I almost pass out kind of fan. Love these books.


Now that I’ve got that out of the way, when I saw that Day Zero was going to give us a little bit of an insight into each Arcana’s Flash story I got really excited. 


For those not familiar with this series, the Flash is what Cole called the event that ultimately led to an apocalypse type environment. Fire raining down, oceans drying up, disease spreading like wildfire - you get the drill. Each of the characters in this series has their own story and it was, in part, why I liked them so much.


Before I even fully get into this novella I loved getting to know more about the main players. There are so many characters at play in this series that it’s amazing how all of them are so essential. I love most of these characters for one reason or another so to find out more about them and to have them be made even more three dimensional was brilliant. 


Since this is a novella it makes for a really quick but interesting read for fans of the series. There are some characters included that we hardly know anything about, but now I know I won’t be able to read the next book without some heartstrings being tugged at.


My favourite story was The World’s experience. Also known as Tess, she came across as kind of a weakling in the last book even though her powers are not to be laughed at. She didn’t have much control over anything but also, she didn’t have much of a presence in the story apart from one instance. I love Tess. Oh my God I’m already dreading what’s going to happen to her. She’s so sweet.


Joules ( The Tower) and Finn ( The Magician ) were both big surprises. Where Tess proved her strength, Finn and Joules came across as so much more sensitive than before. The emotion that came from both of those characters really touched me. Both of them are putting up a huge front and it’s amazing.


The only criticism I have is that I wanted something a little different from Evie’s perspective. Instead it was a recap of how the Flash went down in Poison Princess and while it was nice to think back and realise how much things have changed in a few books, I would have liked something different.


For fans of this series, I definitely recommend you read this novella. It will definitely change how you see the characters. For those of you who haven’t picked up this series yet, please do it’s brilliant.


My rating: 9/10 


Kresley Cole:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Friday, 20 May 2016

Review: Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari

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Title: Artichoke Hearts

Author: Sita Brahmachari

Series: N/A

Publisher: MacMillan

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: Children's | YA | Contemporary

Goodreads



Mira Levenson's family is always chaotic - with a little brother and baby sister, busy parents and her artistic, outspoken grandma. She loves them all, but sometimes it feels like nothing is private and there's nowhere for Mira to just be herself. And the thing is…Mira does have secrets - her beloved Nana Josie is dying, she's drifting away from her best friend, and she can't stop thinking about mysterious, confident Jide Jackson, who is definitely keeping some secrets of his own.


Everything's spinning out of control…can Mira let someone into her heart when it feels like it's about to break?



My thoughts:


Told from 12 year old Mira's point of view, Artichoke Hearts is a coming of age story focusing on a young girl's thoughts and feelings as she waits for her grandmother to die.


I don't usually read books like this one. I was a little apprehensive when I saw that the main character is so much younger than me. Not that I don't read books with teens as the protagonists, it is in most YA, but Mira is young even for most YA. I was unsure, but I just decided to give it a go anyway.


As the book went on I liked Mira more and more. She was very down to earth, especially with what her character was going through, and her thoughts about her experiences were something every reader should relate to in some way. I loved how realistic the character's reactions to everything were - there were no huge breakdowns and 'how will I live after this' kind of attitude, it was all reasonable reactions that would happen to everyone. In a way, that made it all the more emotional.


I thought the book had a pretty slow start. It seemed so different in the beginning too, there was so much focus on art and all that good stuff and then things suddenly took a depressing turn. I realise that's how it should be, but I thought there wasn't really a transition in between. It kind of jumped from Nana Josie still being so enthusiastic to do whatever she needs to, and then next thing you know she's in a hospice. Yes, things can happen that quickly, but the way it read just didn't sit right with me.


There was a huge variation in characters which I adored. Every character, whether they played a huge part or not, made a really big difference to the story. There were characters that were only mentioned once or twice and they still managed to make my heart hurt. Whether I enjoyed the story or not, an author who can give a character that depth is very talented.


All in all I really liked this read. It was a little slow at times but the characters were wonderful and the plot was very touching. I would definitely recommend it.


My rating: 7/10


Sita Brahmachari:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

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Title: The Madman's Daughter

Author: Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman's Daughter #1

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication date: 11/04/2013

Format: Paperback | 368 pages

Genre: YA | Science Fiction | Historical

Goodreads



To uncover the truth means risking all…


London, 1894, Juliet Monreau has built a life for herself working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.


Yet what she finds on the island is twisted beyond all imagining, and out of her father's control. As the island rapidly descends into chaos, she must escape the horrors of her father's creations, but not before she discovers the true extent of her father's genius - and madness - in her own blood.



My thoughts:


After Juliet's father is accused of horrendous crimes, Juliet is forced to make do with any job that will keep her off the streets. Working as a maid in the hospital, Juliet comes across something that may mean her father is still alive. Determined to find out if the accusations were true, Juliet hitches a ride with an old friend to an island filled with unnatural creatures and a dangerous murderer that leaves three claw marks as his calling card.


Wow this book had some creepy characters. I loved every minute of it. Seriously.


I'm a big fan of creepy reads - not necessarily horror but something that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. From the very first page, I could tell that this book would be a good one. The writing immediately had a feel of suspense and dark drama that was bound to creep me out. It did just that. There were creepy characters, a murderer that had everyone afraid to leave the house and bucket loads of suspense. I couldn't stop reading.


The characters were great. I loved how mysterious they were - nothing but their basic personality and history was revealed until close to the end of the read where everything got turned on its head. I found myself starting to doubt everyone, even Juliet. Were they who they said they were? Characters who seemed perfectly innocent beforehand were seen in a new light.


By the way, I loved Montgomery he was totally steamy.


The plot with Juliet and her father was amazing. He was definitely a character I won't be able to get out of my head for awhile. Totally insane. I really liked how he still managed to get into Juliet's head even when she'd decided he wasn't worth listening to - you know, because of the fact that he's a total creep who enjoys inflicting pain in the name of science.


All in all I loved this book tremendously and I can't wait to get the sequel, especially with the way it ended. Never would have called it!


My rating: 10/10


 Megan Shepherd:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter



The Madman's Daughter:

  1. The Madman's Daughter
  2. Her Dark Curiosity
  3. A Cold Legacy

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

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Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 10 May 2012

Format: Paperback | 272 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary

Goodreads



When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.


On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a blood-thirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.



My thoughts:


After being dumped by his 19th girlfriend, all of whom were named Katherine, Colin is persuaded by best friend Hassan to go on a road trip to take his mind off his heartbreak. Being the prodigy he is, Colin is on a mission to save everyone the trouble of relationship break ups by creating a formula to predict who will be the dumper and who will be the dumpee.


What I liked most about this read was that it constantly had me laughing, either that or it left me with a huge grin on my face. There was just something about the characters that got to me. Colin's so clever and yet he manages to be so clueless about a whole lot of things, especially relationships. Hassan just has these great one liners that never failed to make me crack up laughing. Colin was cute but Hassan was just downright hilarious.


The plot to this book is pretty simple. It's all about character development, friendship and a little bit of romance thrown in. It's all carried by the characters in my opinion. With such brilliant characters who are truly great friends, you can't help but wish them to figure out where they're going and to make the best of what they've got. And they do. There was a very realistic ending that left a lot open to the imagination but the characters had gotten to where they needed to be. I thought the ending was perfect.

 

I do think that this book would be a hit and miss with a lot of people. I can imagine Hassan and Colin getting on some people's nerves if they're not into books that don't have such a clear direction.

 

Generally I really enjoyed this read, aside from it being a little slow at times, I loved how awkward it was and the situations the characters got into really did make me laugh. It was a good time.

 

My rating: 8/10

 

 John Green:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter