Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Jezebel by Saskia Walker

Title: The Jezebel

Author: Saskia Walker

Published: Harlequin HQN, 26 March 2013

Pages: 336

Series: Book 3, Taskill Witches

Purchase Links:
Book Depository*

Summary: On the run from her powerful benefactor whose unscrupulous interest in her magic has forced her to flee, Margaret Taskill has never needed a hero more. So in order to gain passage from England to her homeland in Scotland, she plans to win over a rugged sea captain with the only currency she has: her virginity.

Maisie submits to Captain Roderick Cameron's raw sexuality in search of protection, their initial attraction growing into unbridled desire and unleashing devastating powers within her. But the journey threatens to take a dangerous turn, forcing Maisie to keep close the secret truth aboutwhat she is, and keep the superstitious crew—unhappy at having a woman on board—at bay.
With Maisie's wealthy sponsor giving chase, Roderick must stay one step ahead of the British Navy before Maisie's seductive magic causes a full-scale mutiny. He may believe he has full command of his ship, but he's about to get much more than he bargained for.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: The Jezebel is the third book relating to the Taskill witches but I read it after I read The Harlot and without reading the second one so I don’t think that publication order dictates when you should be reading the books as it doesn’t make too much of a difference.  The ending is spoiled if you haven’t read the first two books in the series but it didn’t bother me because they were endings I kind of expected anyway.

I really liked how different Maisie was from Jessie as it made the book feel like a different book other than just a rehashing of The Harlot.  Maisie was strong and intelligent and I really loved that.  Roderick was amazing too.  I loved his rugged character and could see what Maisie saw in him.

There are quite a lot of steamy scenes in this one, as expected and let me just say that Saskia Walker is very talented at wording those sorts of scenes just right.

The story line is a pretty simple one but I liked it, it was in a different setting to the other types of books that I read.

The ending was a nice and good ending which featured the other Taskill siblings.  I did have a different idea of how the book would end in mind but I guess that ending is not to be.  I was still happy with the end result though so all in all I would say that The Jezebel is a good read.

Source: NetGalley

Monday, March 25, 2013

Iron Angel by Alan Campell

Title: Iron Angel

Author: Alan Campbell

Published: Tor Books, 2008

Pages: 500

Series: Book 2, Deepgate Codex

Thoughts: Order has collapsed in Deepgate. The chained city is now in ruins, and the Deadsands beyond are full of fleeing refugees. Meanwhile, the Spine militia is trying to halt the exodus of panicking citizens through brutal force. Rachel and the young angel Dill are dragged off to the Temple torture chambers . . . but strange things start to happen as a foul red mist rises from the abyss beneath the city. For the god Ulcis's death has left the gates to Hell unguarded, and certain forces in the fathomless darkness beneath Deepgate have noticed an opportunity.

Only the offspring of the dread goddess Ayen understand this new danger. Already, Cospinol, god of brine and fog, is coming to save his brother's temple -- and to hunt down Ulcis's murderers. His foul, fog-wreathed skyship has already reached Sandport, bringing along its own version of hell.
By now, Rachel just wants to keep her companion alive. Escaping their prison, and with enemies closing in on all sides, she is forced to undertake a perilous journey across the Deadsands towards the distant land of Pandemeria. But there the battlefield at Coreollis is fated to witness a clash of powers -- a contest between men and gods and archons and slaves, all forced into desperate alliances.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After reading the first book in the series last year I was definitely interested in reading the second book in the Deepgate Codex.  While I did enjoy Iron Angel I didn’t think it was on the same level as its predecessor Scar Night.

The story line more or less picks up after the events of Scar Night and adds in a few more characters that I found to be quite interesting.  When thinking about what actually happened in the book I feel like there was a lot going on but at the same time not a lot actually happened.  There was so much going on and I felt that the end goal was a little disappointing.

Once again both Dill and Rachel are featured within the book but I felt as though we didn’t get a lot of time with them.  I am curious about Mina Greene though as she does definitely sound like an intriguing character.
I really enjoy the world building and the descriptions that Alan Campbell gives within the book.  It’s so unique and different to other books that I have read that I’m really curious to know more about the world and its dynamic and that sort of thing.

It’s sort of hard to write down what I thought of Iron Angel because in general, I thought it was an entertaining read but I’m still a little bit lost with the plot.  I just feel like Alan Campbell tried to cram a lot of new story into the book and it didn’t do it any favours.  I also feel like I may have missed something somewhere as I feel like the plot had a hole or two in it.  I will however, continue on reading the series and I look forward to picking up God of Clocks in the near future.

Source: Purchased

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: Feiwel & Friends, 2012

Pages: 387

Series: Book 1, Lunar Chronicles

Summary: Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I like fairytale retellings but I feel as though I almost never actually read any.  After talking to my sister who had read the book she suggested that I read it so I did.  I do like Cinderella, I remember spending hours when I was younger reading the book so I was fairly interested in reading Cinder.

The story was quite interesting but because it’s a retelling of Cinderella the things to concentrate on are the settings and the characterisation.  I thought that the setting was definitely intriguing.  It’s Beijing in the future and there are a species of people from the moon known as Lunars who have these powers that are really interesting.  I’d be interested to learn a bit more about these Lunars.

I thought that Cinder was an awesome protagonist, she was strong and independent which just made her that much more of a lovable character.  I liked her stepsister Peony too, I thought she was a good friend to Cinder.  Really, I thought that all of the good characters were written really well and that all the ‘bad’ characters were written well too.  Each one was in their place and you really knew that someone was antagonistic and that someone was good.

I liked how there were the vague references to things that were in the original story such as the slipper/foot and the coach to the ball.  It was just little things like that, that really made me enjoy the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Cinder and I thought it was a really interesting and well-done retelling.  I think if anyone likes retellings and novels set in the future then I think that you’ll quite enjoy this one.  I’m curious as to how the rest of the season will go as there seemed to be some hinting at other characters who might later appear.

Source: Own copy

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Title: The Stranger

Author: Albert Camus

Published: Vintage International, 1989

Pages: 123

Summary: Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed "the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I had been wanting to read a book by Camus ever since reading Youth in Revolt by C. D. Payne and so one day I purchased The Stranger and it has sat on my shelf for a few months, until now when I have decided that in 2013 I should read through my own pile of books and that I should also read some more engaging texts.

I chose this version of the book because I thought the cover looked really cool when I saw it online.  However after receiving said book in the mail I will admit that while the cover is fascinating this version is definitely headache inducing and will really mess with your eyes if you look at it for too long.

Either way, I picked up The Stranger and read it really easily within two sittings.  It’s really short and the writing is pretty simplistic so it is easy to read through but the message in the book is definitely one for ponderance.

Our protagonist is a very interesting and atypical sort of character.  I was surprised by his attitude as he sort of takes things as they come and doesn’t care if good or bad things happen because in the end we all die anyway.  I could see his viewpoint and it raises the topic of why do we do the things we do when we are going to die and should it matter if we die sooner rather than later.

I feel like the end of the book is there to leave you to dwell in your own thoughts about life and death and that Mersault provides an interesting perspective on the matter.  I imagine that my reading of The Stranger will have me considering this for a few weeks.  That being said, if this is how Camus’ books are then I will definitely be picking up the rest.

Source: Purchased

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler

Title: The Hypnotist

Author: Lars Kepler

Published: McLelland and Stewart, 2011

Series: Book 1, Joona Linna

Pages: 503

Summary: Tumba, Sweden.
A triple homicide, all of the victims from the same family, captivates Detective Inspector Joona Linna, who demands to investigate the grisly murders -- against the wishes of the national police. The killer is at large, and it appears that the elder sister of the family escaped the carnage; it seems only a matter of time until she, too, is murdered. 
But where can Linna begin? 
The only surviving witness is an intended victim -- the boy whose mother, father, and little sister were killed before his eyes. Whoever committed the crimes intended for this boy to die: he has suffered more than one hundred knife wounds and Lapsed into a state of shock. He's in no condition to be questioned. Desperate for information, Linna sees one mode of recourse: hypnotism. He enlists Dr. Erik Maria Bark to mesmerize the boy, hoping to discover the killer through his eyes. It's the sort of work that Bark had sworn he would never do again-ethically dubious and psychically scarring. When he breaks his promise and hypnotizes the victim, a long and terrifying chain of events begins to unfurl.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I have such mixed feelings about The Hypnotist that I really don’t know what to think and so my discussion of this book is probably going to be a little rambling as the thoughts I have on this book keep spinning around in my head.  I just have so much to say on the matter and no idea where to begin.

The premise of this book sounded so amazing.  I wanted to read something a little out of my comfort zone so I picked this one up last year and it sat on my shelf until the end of December.  It took me a couple of weeks to get through this book when I finally did get around to it.

It wasn’t all that I thought it would be considering the killer is revealed in under 100 pages and this book has over 500 pages so of course there had to be more to it.  I feel like the synopsis is pretty misleading as it made me thing that the book was solely focused on this family’s murder and piecing together what happened in order to find the killer and also why they did it.  Ummm yeah, that is not what this book is actually about.  It is for the first few pages but then it takes its own turns.  The main story given in the synopsis is abandoned for a good portion of the book and only resolved near the end as if the author realised they had forgotten all about that angle earlier on.

I wasn’t so keen on the drama between Erik and Simone as I found it rather unpalatable and just kind of annoying.  I really did not like either of them for their flaws.  Erik just lied all the time and it just made things so much worse that I felt like grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him hard until he started to tell the truth.  Then Simone was so untrusting and she refused to co-operate with Erik half the time, not to mention she had her own misgivings.

The ending was a little weird.  I felt like there was some closure but barely any.  Like, are we meant to expect that things just ended the way that they did and that’s just fine?  The mystery was solved but there were still so many loose ends to do with the characters that it feels incomplete.

Not to mention this book is meant to be part of a series about Joona Linna who, while he is in the book is not really all that prominent.  Sure, he’s there but for someone who is meant to be some amazing detective I sure wasn’t picking up on any of that.  I was a little confused at some of his behaviour as well.  He has a girlfriend but I was confused about his relationship with another person, was he leading this other woman on or was it a joke between them, I have no idea.

The positive is that there were some chapters that absolutely sucked me into the story and held my attention for a while.  These were scattered in amongst the parts that made me squirm in my seat.  I loved those bits so much.

Overall, I feel like The Hypnotist tried to cram too much into too little.  Yeah the book was 500 pages but a lot of it is forgettable, random dialogue and storyline that don’t really lead anywhere.  I was hoping for a mystery and while there is mystery instead of the main characters really resolving it, things kind of resolved themselves.  There is a sequel to this book and I am still so undecided on whether or not to read it.  I feel like The Hypnotist had so much potential to be amazing and it just didn’t do that for me.  I think I’ll give The Nightmare a go and see if it is any better than The Hypnotist.

Source: Purchased

Monday, March 11, 2013

Damned by Chuck Palahniuk

Title: Damned

Author: Chuck Palahniuk

Published: Doubleday Canada, 2011

Pages: 256

Summary: The newest Palahniuk novel concerns Madison, a thirteen year old girl who finds herself in Hell, unsure of why she will be there for all eternity, but tries to make the best of it.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: This book wasn’t exactly what I had expected but then again, with Chuck Palahniuk is anything ever what you expect it to be?  Probably not.  Either way, what I actually mean this time, is that it just wasn’t as good as previous novels by Palahniuk.  Not that I am an expert but of the books I’ve read by him I just felt this one wasn’t the same.

I’m not so sure how I feel about Damned as a whole, the story was interesting but it wasn’t that interesting.  There were aspects to the story that I found intriguing and those were the bits that kept me reading but then some parts were weird in that they felt a little off.

I liked Madison’s voice throughout the book.  It was just nice and it made all the terrible things in hell seem not so bad.

Hell was definitely an interesting kind of place. I thought it was cool that there were these little rules about what could get you into hell.  It seems like it would be incredibly difficult to ever get into heaven.

I learned that there will be a sequel to Damned which is to be expected given how Damned ended and I have to say that I will probably check it out for my own morbid curiosity more than anything else.

Source: Library

Friday, March 8, 2013

Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway

Title: Precinct 13

Author: Tate Hallaway

Published: Berkely Trade, 2012

Pages: 308

Summary: Recent college grad Alex Conner is thrilled to have landed a job as the Hughes County coroner/medical examiner in Pierre, South Dakota. But when her first day on the job ends with a missing corpse, Alex starts to wonder if she would have been better off collecting unemployment...

When the cops made some cryptic comments about being careful with the body they brought in, Alex just thought the boys in blue were messing with her. That is, until something freaky happens that no amount of med school could have prepared her for. By the time Alex gets herself together, the body has disappeared and the other residents of the morgue start talking her ear off.
After working up the courage to report the missing body, Alex is transferred to the mysterious Precinct 13 where she discovers that her new co-workers—including a cute technomage named Jack—are paranormals just like her. Now, Alex is being encouraged to use her ability to speak to the dead to solve crimes. And despite being in the middle of nowhere, Hughes County sure does have a lot of paranormal activity…  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I am really loving urban fantasy at the moment and Precinct 13 was really good in satisfying my hunger for more urban fantasy.

I really liked the world in this book, it was our world but there were people who didn’t believe in magic and others who didn’t.  Tate introduced a theory that could possibly explain how the magic works in that world and I thought that was quite interesting. 

I really liked Alex, I thought she was pretty cool.  I liked her friends/co-workers in the book too.  Jack, Valentine, Devon and Stone all hold a special place in my heart because they are all just so awesome!  I have to say that the mystery surrounding Valentine had me really intrigued for quite a while too.

The mystery in the book was very interesting because like Alex, I really wanted to know what on earth was going on and I found it interesting the way that things were handled.  I found the mystery of this one to be different to other mysteries as you kind of already knew who the bad guy was you just didn't know where to find him or how any bizarre events fit together.

It saddens me that there will be no more books in the series as I really enjoyed Precinct 13 and thought it was a great start to a promising series.  Either way, the book works well as a stand-alone as well so I strongly recommend this one!

Source: Purchased

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

February Book Haul

These are the books that I got this month.  I am trying to reduce my tbr pile but unfortunately I just keep buying even more books.  Anyway, these are the books that I received this month.

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder

Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived.

Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head?

When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels keeps the peace in Atlanta for the Order, humans caught between the vampire controlling People led by her biological father and best kept secret, Roland, and the shape-shifter Pack, led by her mate-to-be Curran, the Lord of the Beasts. But her look-alike aunt Erra, Babylon's god of chaos and terror, has come to town controlling seven naked warriors: Deluge (flood water), Tremor (earth quake), Gale (hurricane wind), Torch (fire inferno), Venom (disease poison), Beast (animal monster), and Darkness (overpowering dread).

Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Plagued by a war between magic and technology, Atlanta has never been so deadly. Good thing Kate Daniels is on the job.

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name, and many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate.

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. Turns out this is not an isolated incident, and Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price . . .

Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost

Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she's only imagined in her worst nightmares.

At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master vampire who thought he'd seen it all. Then Kira appears, this fearless, beautiful . . . human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life. Yet sending her away is unthinkable.

But with danger closing in, Mencheres must choose either the woman he craves, or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.

How to Lie With Statistics by Darrell Huff

Darrell Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way the results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to fool rather than inform.

Dying Bites by D. D. Barant

Her job description is the “tracking and apprehension of mentally-fractured killers.” What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek’s brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman’s work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day…

Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she’s the best there in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David’s world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box office draw than Bruce Willis and every full moon is Mardi Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again…

*All descriptions taken from Goodreads.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Title: Ten

Author: Gretchen McNeil

Published: Balzer + Bray, 2012

Pages: 304

Summary: It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.
Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Having recently read And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie I was keen to read this retelling.  I have to say for a YA retelling of the book it was quite well done.

Sure, it wasn’t perfect but nothing ever is.  For the first quarter of the book I was so confused as to who was Meg and who was Minnie, it was hard to distinguish the two when their names were so similar.  I eventually managed to figure it out but it was really annoying at the start of the book.

I really liked how the book made you feel like you were reading one of those cheesy horror films, it was pretty cool.  I enjoy watching those films every now and then so it was cool to experience it in a reading format.

I was curious as to who the bad guy could be.  I knew roughly the formula for what would happen but that didn’t tell me who the bad guy could be and I have to say that I was guessing right up until the very end and I was a little surprised by who it was.

Overall, I thought that Ten was quite an enjoyable read and it didn’t take me too long to read through either.  If you’re a fan of horror then you will probably enjoy Ten by Gretchen McNeil.

Source: Purchased