Blood Rose Books

 

 

Blood Rose Books, is a book review website that provides review for the Mystery, Action Adventure, Thriller, Paranormal, Dark Paranormal and Horror genres. All the reviews are honest and yes that does mean a some bad reviews as well.

Blood Rose Books, tries to get readers interested in books and genres that someone may not have thought of trying before. As well as get people interested in not only mainstream published authors, but the wealth of indie authors that are out there as well.

Please feel free to comment on here, or on any of the reviews on the website Blood Rose Books 

 
I hope that I am able to lead you to your next great author and read.

Cheers,

J9

Sarah J. Maas: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

Sorry it has been a few weeks, I was off on a vacation and attending a wedding in Japan and was not able to find time to read, let alone write some reviews. Japan was amazing. the people, food, culture, weather all amazing in their own right and ways. Highly recommended as a place to visit. If you are thinking of going or already planning on going send me a message and I'll share with you some of the things i learned while I was over there. Now onto the real reason you're here a review :)

 

In the first of a series, Sarah J. Maas explores what happens when a human enters the world of the faerie:

Feyre is the sole provider of her family, she does the hunting, the meal preparations as well as preparing the hides for market, her two sisters and father rely on her. When she gets a chance to kill a wolf she makes sure not to miss, but this shot will change her life forever. This act leads her to be dragged into the magical kingdom on the Faerie and the land of Tamlin, who is everything that Feyre has been told to fear about the faeries. As Feyre grows closer to Tamlin dark forces emerge who want to keep them apart and Feyre soon learns that she may be the key to save them all from a cursed fate.

Alright, I will admit that I am slow to the party that are Maas' books. This is the first that I have read in any of her series, and overall I was really impressed with this book which had me hooked from the opening pages. From the character development to world building there is not one point that Maas seems to fail at in this book. All of the characters are interesting with their own flaws, the romance/relationship never seemed forced (although you know its going to lead to it) and the drama/darkness that Maas builds into the book is beautifully done. I will admit that did question what I had gotten into with the beginning of the book as the first half is very slow. However, the further you read in the book you realize that Maas did this on purpose as she needed to build the relationship between Feyre and Tamlin as it is a key aspect of the plot and everything else hinders upon it. Normally I would not be a fan of a book that is based upon a romance, but Maas really could not have written this book any other way with the same result.

Within the second half of the book the true plot begins to unfold, this is what the first half has been building up to the "fall" and trial of Feyre and Tamlin's relationship. This is where the book takes a turn towards the Darkness as Feyre is put to on trial and must face a series of tests as well as be humiliated and paraded around like some sort of prize to be won. Here is where we get to see what Feyre is made of and she has to determine who she can trust, who is manipulating her and who can she manipulate.

If I was going to nit pick (and you know I will, lol) I personally found the riddle easy to solve, so I was confused why Feyre was not able to do so maybe it is an age thing.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book I feel like

I know that there is going to be a love triangle coming up and that's really not my thing and way over done these days (thank you Twilight and the Hunger Games)

(show spoiler)

. So right now I'm not sure I will read the next book in this series, unless someone can tell me otherwise (and I really hope you can tell me differently).

Enjoy!!!

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Angela Marsons: Fatal Promise

Fatal Promise (D.I. Kim Stone #9) - Angela Marsons

This is the 9th book in Angela Marsons' DI Kim Stone series so you will want to read the previous 8 books before this one (Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls, Play Dead, Blood Lines, Dead Souls, Broken Bones and Dying Truth), especially book 8 as there is a connection between the two.

Angela Marsons bring back DI Kim Stone but everything has changed yet the killers still keep coming:

Who Lives, Who Dies? You only need to choose. When a doctor is discovered murdered in a local woodland plus he has a connection to a previous case that the team has worked on, it is all hands on deck. The the doctors son is killed in a supposed car accident could it just be a coincidence. Then a woman is discovered dead and Kim discovers the only thing that connects them is the Russells Hall Hospital. Is that too little of a connection? All they know is a serial killer is on the loose; Kim and her team are at their worst but they need to get ahead of this case as the body count continues to rise.

Marsons has been my go to author for a bit now for great detective mystery reads but authors cannot get it right all the time. This is the second book in this series where I found it was just okay. I did not have that edge of my seat feeling at all from this book and honestly compared to the book before this it took me way too long to read this one.

I didn’t really find either of the cases in this book interesting but if I had to choose between the two cases I found Stacey’s case the more interesting even though I was able to guess what was going on before she was. Although with Kim's case I liked the connection to the previous book and I did not guess who the killer was, I just felt like these was nothing new in that case and that Marsons herself had done something similar before. It felt like this book relied a bit too much on an increased body count to move the mystery along instead of following Kim's gut to move the cases and therefore the mystery along.

I think the most interesting part of this book was seeing how the team reacts and has changed from the events of the previous book especially Kim. It constantly felt like she was off her game and in a way showed some real emotions that Kim does not normally reveal to others as well as how much she cares. As stated before Kim doesn't seem to be able to trust her gut or won't trust her gut and is just going through the motions. Additionally, the team dynamics also changed and Bryant was even more stepping on Kim's toes and trying to "keep her in line".

For me this was one of the weaker books in this series so I hope this is just a bump along the way. Of course I’ll be reading the next book in this series, authors can’t get it right all the time, right? And really Marsons is one of my favourite authors out there.

Enjoy!!!

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Holly Blakc: The Cruel Prince

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air) - Holly Black

In the first in a new series Holly Black shows just how far one will go to shape a Kingdom.

Jude and Taryn are forced from their home when they are seven, their mother and Step father murdered and they are forced to live with the murderer in the High Court of Faerie. it has been ten years and although they try to keep their heads down, they are always reminded that they are humans in this Fey world. Jude wants nothing more that to belong in this world despite her mortality but there are many fey who despise humans and only see them as slaves. A new ruler is about to be chosen and Jude must see that things go in her favour. The faerie court is one of deception, trickery and bloodshed, Jude needs to learn quickly if she going to survive the change change in rule.

This is the first book that I have read by Black and I really enjoyed the majority of elements, characters that she presented and developed in this book. The world building is extremely well done and beautifully written. I know where this world/reality sit in regards to our own world, as well I did not find the different children of the King confusing and who were all vying for the crown, well except Prince Cardan. You really feel the differences between the two worlds and the struggle that Jude and her twin sister Taryn feel to try to fit in but also keep their heads down as well (Taryn succeeds at this much better than Jude does). The identical twin aspect is also interesting, how two people who are the same on the outside have such different personalities and Black highlights this every chance that she gets, especially in regards to the bullying that the girls suffer.

I personally would classify this book as a fantasy political intrigue, as Jude is doing everything that she can to support a cause that she believes in as well as trying to find her spot and purpose in this Fae world. She begins to learn the art of a spy and the trading of secrets. She is realizing just how valuable her human nature makes her. As with any good spy book this one was much darker than I expected it to be and often there were moments of brutality that once again I did not expect and some of them even come from Jude herself.

Okay I normally post spoiler free reviews but with this book, I feel like i have to say something about the relationship that occurs in this one. So if you are looking to read this book, don't read any further, as what I'm about to write does occur later in the book.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I feel like this has a really poor relationship between Cardan and Jude. Their relationship at the beginning is one of bullying verging on torment because of what is done to her. And there is an almost rape that occurs that takes things to a whole different level. Yet Cardan supposedly is obsessively in love with her and does all of these bad/rude/embarrassing/dangerous things because of it and Jude accepts this. I mean WHAT? How can this even be a thing. Black is a well known author even though this is the first book I have read by her, these books are rated YA (which I also have issue with but that is probably not the authors doing). Why do books like this and I believe the Twilight series (I've never the series, just basing it on what others have said) promote such unhealthy relationships and make it seem normal and alright? Alright spoilers and rant over.

So will I read the next book in this series? Yes. The ending was really well done and I liked how every other aspect in the book was shaped by Black. I am interested in seeing where relationships are taken what this new world under a new King will look like.

Enjoy!!!

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Karen Hamilton: The Perfect Girlfriend

The Perfect Girlfriend - Karen  Hamilton

In her debut novel Karen Hamilton shows what it takes to be the Perfect Girlfriend:

Juliette loves Nate and follows him where ever he goes, she knows that they are destine to be together, but Nate just doesn't know it yet. The fact that Nate broke up with her six months ago has only strengthened her resolve that they are meant to be together. She is giving him the space he wants, makes herself into more of the girl that Nate wants and make him fall back in love with her. What could go wrong, she is the perfect girlfriend and love can hurts and all is fair in love and war.

I had high hopes for this book, it sounded interesting and was something a bit different than what I normally read. This book is full of manipulation and what the main character thinks love is. You follow Juliette/Lily as she proves to the man that she loves Nate, that she is the perfect one for him and lets just say that she takes way too far constantly. She finds out everything there is to know about Nate and is family, from spying to pretending to being someone else. Juliette really is a master manipulator.

You will not like the main character in this book. Yes, there are times where you will feel sorry for the main character she does have some horrible events in her past but she lets them define her entire adult life and she never grows out of this. The thing is that she is smart and probably could have a great life if she was not so obsessed with the past. By 80% I was sick of the main character and all her complaining and as we do not get any other point of view that hers it was a struggle to finish this book. She just could not see what she was doing was wrong and that she could have so much more if she could move on from him.

 I thought this book would have more of a deadly twists to it, but it really was more of stalking and manipulation which Juliette takes to the extreme. I will also give this book high marks for not having a cookie cutter ending, but I could just not get past the main character, her lack of growth and constant complaining really turned me off this book.

Cheers!!!

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Keri Arthur: Unlit

Unlit - Keri Arthur

In the first in a new series Keri Arthur takes the readers on journey of discovery and treachery:

Neve March is one of the members of the Nightwatch, she is Unlit (has no magic) but is also stained as well a deformity that is looked down upon by the witches in power. Neve may not love her life all the time but she is happy being a solider serving in the Nightwatch. But Neve has a secret she can hear the whispers of the wind, something she should be able to do and her secret power is about to be put to the test. When Neve is sent out to investigate a strange light she did not expect to discover a woman who has been missing for 12 years but also evidence of an ancient enemy that was believed to be dead.

The Word of this book is DESIRE. He desires me, I desire him, he makes me feel desire, I'll make him feel desire and so on and so on, you get the picture. It would be the perfect drinking game book. Everyone drinks when the author uses the word desire. You'd be quite tipsy in a chapter or two. I was about to put this book down thinking that it was going to be more of a sci-fi romance book similar to some of the other series that Arthur writes. However, this aspect does change in the second half of the book, there is more action and the mystery surrounding the returning woman takes the forefront. Although desire is the word for this book, Arthur does not go into too much detail with her sex scenes most of the events happen behind closed doors, which I was surprised about.

I really liked Neve as a character, she is always a solider first and has unwavering loyalty to those that she loves. Even when she is told not to help or protect her brother/sister in arms she takes it into her own hands to do so. I also liked that she showed an appreciation for the old ways, in terms of weapons, and wanting to know more about them. Neve is Unlit and Stained but has heard the whispering of the wind, which she shouldn't be able to do but she keeps this secret to herself. It was interesting to watch Neve really find out her powers and there limits as often times this was in the middle of a battle.

I found that world building was a bit lacking for this, yes I understand he witches part and different houses, but where I got a bit confused is how the world ended up this way and really why the Unlit or Stained are seen as second class citizens (maybe I just got mixed up in everything but I think it has something to do with having power and not having power). So I guess I would like more of a back story for this world and how it became to be this way.

By the end of this book I was hooked and wanted to know more not only about Neve but also the world (which I want to know more about) so I'm looking forward to picking up the second book in this series.

Enjoy!!

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Victoria Jenkins: The Girls in the Water

The Girls in the Water: A completely gripping serial killer thriller with a shocking twist (Detectives King and Lane) (Volume 1) - Victoria Jenkins

In her debut novel Victoria Jenkins introduces Detective King and Constable Lane and a deadly killer:

Detective Alex King and Constable Chloe Lane are assigned to horrific murder of a woman found in the water, bound hands, fingernails missing, clear signs of torture. The victims is a woman with a troubled past but King and Lane can not find any enemies or reason for her to be targeted. Then another body is found in the water and King and Lane find a disturbing connection between the two. But Lane is distracted, she is pursuing a historical case that is personal to her and is she is not careful she could not only lose her job but her life too.

This was a good debut novel and I really appreciated Jenkins writing style. I also enjoyed that she decided to take on a lot by have two cases interwoven in the narrative. However, overall I did not have that edge of my seat feeling or thrills that I was expecting while reading this book. The mystery was well thought out and executed but just not that interesting at times, in that it seemed like it had all been done before.
 
I liked that it was two female officers that were partners as this is against the norm for some reason. A lot of the books that have a female detective lead are normally portrayed as not easy to work with, going against authority but don't worry they have a male counterpart to smooth things over as this is normally a male dominated profession (honestly, some of my favourite authors in this genre have this and it took this book for me to realize that). So I appreciated the fact that Jenkins had two female police officers that at one point or another are looking out for the other one and don't have the judgement against them for being female. It was also interesting to see some of the sexism that came out with regards to Lane's past.

I felt that there was a previous book to this that explained more of King and Lane's history together. You can tell throughout their conversions in this book that this is not the first case that they have worked together and while Lane may be the rookie/new recruit on the team she did not have that rookie feel to her character. Additionally, King made statements about how Lane was not up to usual professionalism which also made it appear that they had worked sometime together.

I'm going to continue on with this series as I really did enjoy King and Lane's relationship and I think that Jenkins has a great ability to tell a good mystery story I just hope there is something a bit less farther from the norm next time around.
Enjoy!!!

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Kiersten White: Slayer

Slayer - Kiersten White

In the first in a new series Kiersten White takes readers back to the world of The Slayers but from a whole new perspective:

Nina and her twin sister Artemis have lived a far from normal life and though they may look alike they are very different people. They are growing up in The Watcher Academy, or whats left of it since Buffy ended magic. Nina has carved out a place for herself as a Medic but everything changes in one instant when she places herself in danger to save others. Nina becomes a Slayer, the last slayer every to be, and now Nina has to wrestle with not only being a Slayer but questioning everything she knows not only about herself but the Watchers place in this new world. Things are never easy for a Slayer and as the bodies start to pile up Nina has to make some hard decision that could affect the world.

So this book is basically calling all Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans which I totally am but of the TV series, I was not into reading at the time of the end of the show so I never kept up with the graphic novels that followed. This is where White makes a few assumptions. First you’re here because you loved and enjoyed Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, as stated that is why I picked up this book so you have the general understanding of the slayer and watchers, vampires demons etc, so if you never watched this series you may be a bit lost as to the world that was built and everything that really came before. Second it assumes that you continued on with the graphic novels/comic books after the tv series ended which I did not so there are plenty of events that happened in these media forms that I was not aware of. So there were times, especially at the beginning of the book, where I felt a bit lost.

This book was quite a bit darker than I thought that it would be; From the type of demons that are introduced, death of some of the characters and illegal demon fighting, this book does cover quite a bit of dark ground. These are all traits that were embraced by the TV show so I am glad that White kept to these traits. White also does a good job of integrating the mystery and teen genres in this books as well (though at times there was a little bit too much teen aspects for me).

There is a lot of Buffy bashing. To say the main character does not like Buffy and blames her for many of the wrongs in the world and her life is an understatement (She even makes this statement more than once throughout the book). However, Nina who is the main character of this book, does grow and develop as a character and begins to see a different side to the slayer aspect. I really appreciated that White had Nina grow as a character, this was one of the high points of this book.

I was able to figure out one of the big twists but did not see the second one coming which was a great surprise, so I appreciate that White was able to do this. Nonetheless, I am unsure if I will continue on in this series, there were aspects that I liked but there was a bit too much teen drama for me, which probably a teenager would enjoy but reading as an adult it was a bit much.

Enjoy!!!

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Walter Mosley: Down the Rivert Unto The Sea

Down the River unto the Sea - Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley takes readers on a journey where a former police officer turned PI is not only investigating a case to save a man's life but also looking to redeem the life he lost:

When Joe King Oliver is sent to arrest a car thief he never thought that it would land him in prison and then solitary confinement on Rikers Island. He knew he had been set up but he could never prove it. Over a decade later King is now a private investigator running his own agency with the help of his teenage daughter who acts as his assistant. When he receives a letter in the mail from the woman that admits she framed him and was paid to do so by a cop, King has no choice now that to take on his own case to try to stop the corruption that is running within the NYPD. The thing about corruption is it tends to run deep and King's case is not the only one out there.

This is the first book that I have read by Mosley and honestly I had never heard of him before this book, which I now think is crazy as he has written over 43 books and quite a few of them are mystery based. I guess I should now just count myself lucky to have discovered him and have 42 more books to look forward to.

There are many aspects that I enjoyed about this book. Mosley has a way of writing that just draws you into King's life and story. Mosley does not sugar coat anything and there are times where King goes down a dark path pursuing information or protecting himself or those he loves. This book also has a police procedural feel to it as King used to be a police officer so he knows how to work a case and try to uncover evidence/clues to lead him to the next step. One thing you can say about King is that he is fairly methodical in his work process and he tries to see things from many angles. 

King is a great character to who a main flaw, his love of women and that is what lead him to be incarcerated at Rikers Island. He seems to have put all women behind him but he does comment more than once about a lovely lady that he encounters or sees. King is now also suffering from PTSD so there are times when this interrupts his thought process but this just makes him feel more like a real person. King still bleeds blue even though he knows he was betrayed by them, but the still has friends inside the force that will help him. One thing you can say about king is that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Another character I really liked was Mel. I would like to see more from him if this book were to become a series or really just a book about Mel as he was such an interesting character; criminal, sociopath but also lives by a certain code, I mean I feel like that book could just write itself, lol.

I guess my one negative in this book was that I was able to figure one of the big twists pretty early on, I personally felt it was a bit obvious but maybe that was just me.

This book was nominated by the MWA for the best book award 2019, so if you're into reading books from those type of shortlists make sure to pick this up. And if you're not into reading from awards lists, still pick this book up it is a great mystery crime read. I know I'm going to be on the hunt for more of Mosley's novels.

Enjoy!!!

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Nicholas Sansbury Smith: Ords II Stranded

Orbs II: Stranded: A Science Fiction Thriller - Nicholas Sansbury Smith

You will want to read the first book in the series Orbs in order to understand the Aliens and world that this series is based upon.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith is back with the second book in his Orb series, where water is becoming more and more scarce:

The Alien invasion has wiped out most of the life on Earth by sucking the water not just out of the ground but also out of every living thing they can find. The Oceans are slowly being drained and the survivors within the biosphere make a horrific discovery human farms where the Aliens appear to be slowly draining the life of humans that have been captured. When one of their own is captured by the Aliens, they enter into an all out mission to find him and bring him home, but nothing prepares them what has been happening outside of the biosphere.

I liked this better than the first not sure why but I was really drawn into the story and characters in this book when compared to the first. Maybe it is due to the fact that these are the people who survived the first wave and we get to know a few of the survivors better. Sansbury Smith pull no punches on descriptions of deaths (they are pretty gruesome as the Aliens want the water from any lifeforms' body) and who is alive at the end of the book, lets just say they all do not make it out in the end. Sansbury Smith knows how to keep this series both frightening, disturbing and entertaining all at the same time.

Really like the development of Alexia the AI in the biosphere as a character in this book. She changes and almost develops feelings which I find very interesting due to the fact that she is AI as well as her attachment to the humans who she watches over. Another character that was better fleshed out in this book was Sergeant Overton. He really shows a different side of himself I found in this book, as he is very much lets take the fight to them as so what if we die trying while in the first book it was more about trying to survive. But the one thing that you respect the most about Sergeant Overton is that his is completely loyal to his men and is not willing to ask them to do anything that he is not willing to do himself.

As us one of my favourite authors out there right now Sansbury Smith is one of my go to authors. I know I will be continuing on with this series to see where he takes it.

Enjoy!!!

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Robert Bryndza: The Girl in the Ice

The Girl in the Ice: A gripping serial killer thriller (Detective Erika Foster crime thriller novel Book 1) - Robert Bryndza

In the first of a series Robert Bryndza takes the reader on a true game of cat and mouse:

The body of a young beautiful and rich socialite is found beneath the ice in South London. Detective Erika Foster is called back from leave to lead the case. The victim appears to have lived the perfect life and had nonenemies or obstacles that would have lead her to this death. Erika soon find a connection to other murders of prostitutes that were found with similar injuries and cause of death. But as Erika gets closer to discovering the killer the killer is stalking Erika and closing in on her with each minute. Who is going to survive in this deadly game?

This was a good read but not great one. I found that I was not sitting on the edge of my seat while I was reading it and I found a few aspects within the book predictable and nothing new for this genre if that makes sense. I'm all for crazy family dynamics and the secrets the rich try to keep from everyone else as well as the power/influence they have and this book shows all these aspects again and again (but this also not something new in this genre)

Erika is a great main character and the main reason I kept reading this book even when I was not enthralled with it. I particularly liked that she never gave up on the case even when she is forced to. She is a strong woman despite the trauma in her recent past, she does seem to still know her weaknesses, but one flaw she does seem to have is she is not aleays a team player however there are reason for this. I say all this but I feel like this was the second book in a series or we missed out on some vital parts about what makes Erika, Erika. I know we get her backstory of what she went through but that did not really seem like enough. I wish that this was the second book in the series and there was a first book that created and expanded on the backstory that was presented here.

Was not able to figure everything out in relation to the plot and murders as Bryndza did a good job in leaving red herrings along the way so i did flip flop over who was responsible. I always fun when you as the reader have to decide along with the main detective which are the truths and which are the lie associated with Andrea's death.

I do not comment on the covers of book often but this one is simply awesome, totally captured my attention and made me want to pick up this book and read it. I do question this touting itself as a serial killer novel as the focus is mainly on Andrea's murder and the connection to historical deaths so if ou are expecting crime scene after crime scene then that is not going to happen here. However, there is a cat and mouse game that is entered into and that aspect was interesting.

Although I only thoight this book was okay I do look forward to reading further in this series. I think Bryndza shows great potential as a storyteller and I really liked Erika as a main character.

Enjoy!!!

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Mercedes Lackey: Elite

Elite: A Hunter novel - Mercedes Lackey

You will want to read the first book in this series Hunter, not only does it set up the world building and character but is an excellent read.

Mercedes Lackey is back with Joy and the city of Apex Central and Joy is about to discover the conspiracy of a Lifetime:

Joy has made it to the status of Elite hunter, but with this new status comes new responsibilities and additional targets on her back. She has been given a covert mission, to patrol the sewers of Apex Central to determine how the monsters are breaking through the barriers. Monsters are one thing but when she fines the corpse of a Psimon with no apparent cause of death. After reporting the incident she comes under greater scrutiny of PsiCorp's, which she does not want and they do not appear to want her help in solving the case. When Joy discovers another body she knows something more sinister is going on, but does it have something to do with PsiCorp, the folk mages or something else entirely, Joy knows she needs to find out before those she cares about are put in danger as well.

Elite is a really great follow up to the first book in the series and I think it was just as good as the first which often doesn’t not happen especially in the YA genre for me.When I was reading this book the third book in the series had yet to be released so I found that that this was one of those rare books where you don't want to put it down as you are enthralled with the story but at the same time you want to put it down so that it extends the time that you get to read the book. For me there are very few series where I have felt this, so I guess you could say I loved this book and series so far.

I liked getting to know more about Psimons are such an intriguing concept in this book so I was really glad that there was more explanation on the way that they work and what they have to offer, as well as they very secretive ways that just makes them more and more interesting. One aspect that is lacking information is "Joy's" folk mage that continues to appear. This is one of the most underutilized concepts in the book as well as not explained at all. These folk mages seem to be a big player in everything that is happening outside of Apex Central and the reason they have hunters but there is still so much of these characters and their world the is not explained.

Still love Joy as a character, she is one of the few female teenage characters that I have read that is not boy obsessed and realizes the importance of doing her job first. Yes, she has the whole relationship thing with Josh however, it takes a backseat to her job of protecting the city. Joy is also very much a team player, she knows when to take orders and when to be the leader, this to me just shows the overall strength of Joy as a character (and a positive one at that, she doesn't pretend to know it all). Also love her "Hounds" though there seems to be getting a few too many, if I can say that, so there are times when I get them messed up a bit about who can do what etc.

Honestly, when I get my hands on the next book in this series it is going to be me stopping everything I am doing and cracking it open (and I will say that nothing did stop me as I have now read the third book in this series as well).

Enjoy!!!

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Steve Hamilton: The Second Life of Nick Mason

The Second Life of Nick Mason (A Nick Mason Novel) - Steve Hamilton

Steven Hamilton introduces readers to Nick Mason who is about to start the second chapter of his life, just not quite the second chapter he was hoping for;

Nick Mason has spent the past 5 years in prison when an offer comes that he cannot refuse, he can get out 20 years early. For Nick this means h can once again be part of his daughter's life, he can try to be a new man on the outside. Nick doesn't fully understand the terms of his release until the first call comes in, he has to follow the orders, there is no yes or no answer he must do what he is told. He is now being controlled by  Darius Cole who is a criminal mastermind and rules his organization from his prison cell. Nick is forced to commit even more serious crimes than the one that he was originally put away for, but he cannot renege on agreement. He wants to go straight but in order to do so he has to risk everything and become ruthless in the process.
 
I really enjoyed this book it was fast paced and gritty with interesting main character. What stands out in this book is that Hamilton did not shy away from the grit that needed to be in this book to make this book not only believable but also unputdownable. This is fully a character driven book, yes there is some mystery as to why Nick is being asked to complete these tasks and who is this Darius Cole guy (he is explained in the book) but it more about Nick readjusting to being outside, trying to stay there and adapting to his new life and the tasks he is asked to complete. Now with many books where the main character is released from prison there are some cliche found here but even though they are cliche I think they hold a ring of real world truth, like the wife divorcing him and wanting to remarry or regretting the choices he made that landed him in prison. Sure similar books have this too but I think this just adds to the realism of the book.

Mason is an interesting anti-hero. He is willing do to anything to protect those he loves (he's loyal to a fault) and that includes murder, yep you read that right straight out murder, but he tries to keep to a certain type of rules and code to. Obviously this code/rules is hard to stick to when someone other than himself is giving the orders. The one thing that I did not get out of Nick’s personality was he goes from thief/robber to cold blooded murderer. Maybe Cole saw something in Nick that we as the reader are not aware of but it just doesn’t fit his previous profile. However, it is intriguing to see how much Nick does change from the beginning to the end of the book and it was quite a ride.

I’m extremely happy this did not have a cookie cutter ending where everything works out, if it did not only would I have liked the book less but in the scheme of the plot it would not have made sense to be tied up nicely in the end. I’m really looking forward to continuing on with this series.

Great start to a series. Nick is an awesome character who really is the main focus of this book and Hamilton does him justice in his development and story. I will unqestionalby be picking up the second book in this series.

Enjoy!!!!

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Amanda Stevens: The Visitor

The Visitor (Graveyard Queen) - Amanda Stevens

This is the fourth book in the series so you will want to read the first three (The Restorer, The Kingdom and The Prophet) in order to understand Amelia her powers and rules as well as how her relationship with Devlin developed. Plus The Restorer is a great read and interesting story and I highly recommend it.

Amelia Gray is known as The Graveyard Queen for a reason; she is a professional graveyard restorer, restoring lost and abandoned cemeteries and cemeteries is where she feels most at home. When legend of the Krill cemetery enters into Amelia's life she knows that she needs to solve the endless amount of puzzles that it holds as it is unlike any cemetery she has ever been in before. However, unravelling the secrets that this cemetery holds will come at a terrible price and hit closer to home than Amelia ever thought possible.

I will be the first to admit that it has been many years since I have read the first three books in this series but other than a few relationship events with Devlin, that I could not quite remember, I did not find that I was lost in the content of the story as Stevens did a good job of reintroducing information and Amelia, her ability, the rules and the ghosts without feeling that she was rehashing the previous three books.

I have not read a ghost based story in some time and I was re-enthralled with this series, I really enjoyed this book. It had twists, turns, ghost, suspense and mystery all thrown into it and fit did not need a recent body count to achieve this (though not for lack of trying at times this book is more centered on the mass sucided that ocurred decades ago. With this there were some fairly dark elements that are slightly glazed over at times, that you may blink and miss them, but I appreciated that they were there. I think that Stevens did an amazing job with showing that it is not just the ghosts and demons that cause all the pain and suffering but there is a human element to it all as well. I also was not able to figure everything it with all the twists and red herrings that Stevens has throughout the plot so when I am unable to figure everything out I always enjoy the book more.

The previous two books have hinted that Amelia has more power that she knows, but this book really sets that in to motion. Amelia finally feels ready to accept these gifts and additional powers even if it means giving up the rules that she has lived with her whole life. I cannot wait to see what additional "powers" that Amelia has. Devlin and Amelia's relationship struggles quite a bit in this one and I will say that this is something that all readers of this series knew was going to happen eventually as they has such different points of view. I'm glad that Stevens decided to address it sooner rather than later in the series.

Although it has been a few years I really am looking forward to continuing on with the next book in this series to see where Stevens takes it. Stevens has re-hooked me into this series.

Enjoy!!!!

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B.A. Paris: Bring Me Back

Bring Me Back: A Novel - B.A. Paris

B.A. Paris takes the reader to the on a journey where one man must decide between his first love and his new love:

Finn and Layla were young (though she was quite a  few years younger than him) and in love but on a drive home from a vacation they stop at a rest stop to use the washroom and when Finn comes out Layla is no where to be found. There is no sign of a struggle, no sign of where she could have gone, she has disappeared forever. Ten years later Finn is no engaged to Layla's sister Ellen who were drawn together over their grief of Layla's disappearance. Finn knows it must seem strange to people that he would be with his previous girlfriends sister but Finn also still feels close to Layla when he is with Ellen. Everything changes with one phone call where a person says they have seen Layla. So begins the strange events that start happening, finding Russian dolls every where and emails from a mysterious account that claims to be Layla. Finn doesn't know what to do or what to believe, could his long lost love really be back? What about Ellen the? Or is someone just playing an awful trick on him? Finn needs to figure everything out quick before he loses everything.

This is the third book that I have read by Paris and in my opinion it is the weakest of the three books. This is not to say I did not enjoy this book but I found that it was fairly slow, took me a bit to get into the overall plot and lacked the suspense of the previous two books. This book is mainly becomes a love triangle with the main character Finn and two sisters both of whom he loves but in different ways and at different times in his life. It comes to the point where he is forced to choose between them. So basically a love triangle with deadly consequences and so twist and turns along the way (thought I did figure out what was going to happen) but a love triangle nonetheless.

This does have classic Paris format where she goes between past and present which allows us to see the differences not only between Finn's relationship with Layla and Ellen  but also how different the two women are. We also get points of view from both Layla and Finn in the past and the course of events that takes Finn to his current predicament. 

It is hard to like Finn as how terrible he is towards many people in his current life especially his current fiance but I honestly don't think you are supposed to like him. Actually it is hard to like really any of the three main characters for many of the choices they have made and the actions they have taken against each other in both the past and present. It was really hard to choose someone to cheer for, I mean there are many times you feel sorry for Ellen but at the same time you want her to grow a backbone and take it Finn for the things that he does.

I know my review does not sound glowing but I did enjoy this book, it was one big soap opera and overall it is good read once you get into the story. But Paris has come out with yet has been as good as Behind Closed Doors, however, I will continue to read Paris' books as I do find myself enjoying them.

Enjoy!!!

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Ezekiel Boone: Zero Day

Zero Day: A Novel (The Hatching Series) - Ezekiel Boone

This is the third book in a trilogy so you are going to want to pick up those up first (The Hatching and Skitter) before you read this book and you'll probably not want to read this review either as there will be spoilers.

Ezekiel Boone is back with the conclusion of his Trilogy and its an all out battle of Humans vs Spiders:

The world is on the brink of total destruction, human are no longer the Apex predators on Earth, Spiders have invaded almost every part of the world now. The American government has started to take drastic measures in order to try to ensure Humanity's survival, but it all may just lead to them destroying themselves. There is a next step in the Spiders; plan, the release of the Queens, but the Queens may also hold the secret to saving them all. With everything on the brink of total collapse a few brave women and men attempt the impossible trying to save the human race from not only spiders but from other humans as well.

Personally I think that this book is the weakest of the three, which is really disappointing as I have enjoyed the previous two books. This is not to say that I did not enjoy reading this book I just felt like this story wrapped up too neatly. Sure there are some battles between the Humans and the Spiders, but we never really get to see the true power of any of the Queens. The Queens never get released to make their own havoc on the Human race. There was so much potential there and different directions that I wish Boone would have taken. Boone could have thrown a twist there in the end. Part way through the book you realize how well (and basically easy) this is going to work out that it becomes less suspenseful. I wish that Boone would have been a little more free with some of his characters to add to the suspense of who is going to get out alive. I was really missing the thrills and chills that the first two books in this series had.

This books had a lot less fewer points of view in the book the pets have mainly been condensed down to only a handful of people now. However, Boone does a good job of showing where these people are by the end of the book, even if it really no different than where they were the last book. One of my favourite additions to this book when it comes to perspectives is the Spiders. The Spider Queens knew what was occurring around them, some sort of their overall plan that they could share with each and their ability to learn as well. Often times we as humans think we are the apex predators, well these spiders show that that is not always true. This is why I wish the Queens really would have been unleashed

This book also explored some interesting political perspectives, initiatives and attempted overthrow of the government. It also showed how things can become divided very easily within the government as well especially on the military sides of things.

I really wanted to enjoy this book for the ending of a horror trilogy there was more that I wanted from this. I wanted more action, more uncertainty about the outcome to keep me guessing till the end. All that said I would read other books by Boone as well as series as the first two books here really do make your spine crawl.

Enjoy!!!

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Maureen Johnson: Truly Devious

Truly Devious - Maureen Johnson

In the first of a new series, Maureen Johnson takes readers to an elite school that is shrouded in myth, mystery and murder:

In Vermont there is a school for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists; Ellingham Academy. Not only is the school for the brightest but the grounds and buildings were built in the 1920s by Albert Ellingham who was always found of riddles and games. Shortly after the school is opened Albert is faced with a deadly riddle after his daughter and wife are kidnapped, sadly this is one game that where the crimes will go unsolved and Truly Devious is never found. Enter present day and True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell who is determined to be the first to solve the mystery.But Stevie was not prepared not only for the demands of school but for Truly Devious to make return and soon Stevie as more than one crime to solve.

This is the first book that I have read by Johnson so I was interested in seeing where she tool the premise of the book and how well it would unfold in the YA genre. This book was a joy to read as well as an easy read and hit me at the right time as I was looking for something along these line that was not all doom and gloom. This book really is a light read considering it is center around murders but I think how Johnson decides to tell the story made it feel this way.Johnson decided to give the information about the murder and missing persons case from the 1920, a mixture of events told from that time, interviews as well as the video production that Stevie finds herself a part of.

This book has your typical high school students stereotypes in it but a times takes them to the extreme as this school is supposed to have the best of the best in each subject or career path, so there are times when I found some of the secondary characters a bit annoying. Additionally as this book is based in high school you do have the moodiness of youth that age as well as some teenage drama with the main character, Stevie. I found that at times these events/emotions took away from what should be the primary premise of solving the 1930s murder and then the present day one as well. I think there is a part of Stevie that we as readers will all like and relate to. I mean isn't trying to solve the mystery in each book we read true crime or not part of the joy of reading? I know it is for me, this is why I really liked Stevie as a character Teen Drama and all.

Of course this book ended on a cliffhanger so that means that I am wanting to read the next book in the series, The Vanishing Star which is coming out later this year (2019). Even if there wasn't a big cliffhanger I would continue on just for Stevie.

Enjoy!!!

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