Friday, March 13, 2015

COVER REVEAL! Archangel's Enigma by Nalini Singh

Nalini Singh revealed the cover for her next installment of the Guild Hunter series and I LOVE IT! I'm currently working my way through this series and so far I really like it. Archangel's Enigma is book #8 and is projected to be released September 1st of this year. So, what do you think of the cover?


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

GRAPHIC NOVEL REVIEW: Dead Irons by James Kuhoric

Title: Dead Irons
Author: James Kuhoric (author), Jason Shawn Alexander and Jae Lee (artists)
Series: Dead Irons
Genre: Horror Graphic Novel
Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment (September 15, 2009)
Source: Scribd ebook
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: Three undead bounty hunter siblings blaze a path of death and destruction across the Old West as a lone tortured soul tracks them, hoping to put an end to the curse upon his family. Written by James Kuhoric (Freddy vs Jason vs Ash), illustrated by Jason Alexander (BPRD), and based on character designs and covers by Jae Lee (The Dark Tower).

On the Storyline: While I can appreciate the idea behind 4 siblings all with a different type of curse (one a vampire, one a werewolf, one possessed by a demon, and one a zombie) it would have been nice had we seen them actually cursed. The author used flashbacks several times to establish the background dynamics of the Irons family yet we never actually saw the pivotal moment that each of them was changed. In addition if it weren't for the rundown of each chapter at the end of the ebook I wouldn't have had any clue what curse plagued Annie Belle. It isn't clear from the art work. I thought she was a vampire through most of the book to tell the truth.

On the Art Work: I usually love graphic novel art work but in this case the horror aspect of this book is portrayed in the art by making virtually every person look like a monster. There is a messy feel to the pictures that made some of them indistinguishable too.

In a Nutshell: From the synopsis I was expecting a family of bad-ass bounty hunters. I knew they were not good people but I expected them to have some sort of bounty hunter decree. Similar to Dexter Morgan's...sure he's a serial killer but he only kills other killers. However, this graphic novel is about a family who pretty much just kills whoever they want just because they can. It was a bit of a disappointment.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Title: Written in Red
Author: Anne Bishop
Series: The Others
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Roc; 1 edition (March 5, 2013)
Source: Purchased
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: As a cassandra sangue, or blood prophet, Meg Corbyn can see the future when her skin is cut—a gift that feels more like a curse. Meg’s Controller keeps her enslaved so he can have full access to her visions. But when she escapes, the only safe place Meg can hide is at the Lakeside Courtyard—a business district operated by the Others.

Shape-shifter Simon Wolfgard is reluctant to hire the stranger who inquires about the Human Liaison job. First, he senses she’s keeping a secret, and second, she doesn’t smell like human prey. Yet a stronger instinct propels him to give Meg the job. And when he learns the truth about Meg and that she’s wanted by the government, he’ll have to decide if she’s worth the fight between humans and the Others that will surely follow.

My Thoughts: Going into this book I had high expectations because so many of my trusted bookie friends loved it and recommended it. They were so right! I not only loved this book but I found myself unable to rush through it. I took my time to savor it and I don't regret it one bit.

The Good Stuff: The world building was top notch. Bishop has created a world beyond the typical Urban Fantasy world. In most UF books werewolves, vampires, etc live in our world. A world the humans created. One where the bump in the night beings are "allowed" to live in. In this book the Others created the world. The humans are allowed to be in the world...mostly to be food...but also to create things the Others never felt necessary (like technology). Because the Others are in control of everything it does make for extremely interesting dynamics when it comes to the characters.

The Really Good Stuff: The characters are amazeballs. Bishop did a fantastic job of creating them. Meg is complex and Beta enough that I never expected her to be able to stand up for herself but was pleasantly surprised to see her growth through the book. Simon is pure Alpha Wolf. His confusion on how to deal with a human he actually liked was comical and endearing. I could gush on and on about the characters but just know that even the secondary characters made an impact on me.

In a Nutshell: I cannot wait to see where the author takes us next. The main storyline was wrapped up nicely with several underlying plots left open for future books. Normally this would annoy me but in this case it excites me. I seriously am excited to see what happens next to "The Meg".


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Title: Cold Cold Heart
Author: Tami Hoag
Series: Standalone
Genre: Mystery
Dutton; First Edition first Printing edition (January 13, 2015)
Source: NetGalley eArc
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: (compliments of Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until a notorious serial killer tried to add her to his list of victims.  Nearly a year has passed since surviving her ordeal, but the physical, emotional, and psychological scars run deep.  Struggling with the torment of post-traumatic stress syndrome, plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as dark as the heart of a killer, Dana returns to her hometown in an attempt to begin to put her life back together.  But home doesn’t provide the comfort she expects.

Dana’s harrowing story and her return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend, Casey Grant, who disappeared without a trace the summer after their graduation from high school.  Terrified of truths long-buried, Dana reluctantly begins to look back at her past.  Viewed through the dark filter of PTSD, old friends and loved ones become suspects and enemies.  Questioning everything she knows, refusing to be defined by the traumas of her past and struggling against excruciating odds, Dana seeks out a truth that may prove too terrible to be believed…

My Thoughts: While this book is marketed as a standalone it does loosely tie in to her Kovac/Liska series whereas the main character, Dana Nolan, makes an appearance in the 4th book of that series The 9th Girl. I've not read that series and can state that you do not have to read any other Hoag book to understand what is going on in this one. However, if you do not like spoilers, this book gives the name of the killer in The 9th Girl. Just an FYI.

The Good Stuff: I think what really shines in this book is the character development. I've never read a book of fiction that portrays the struggles of a person with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) with such accuracy. In addition to TBI, Dana also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is also handled exceptionally well. From Dana's struggles to relearn everything from talking to walking to realizing her day would now consist of various Post It notes to remind her to do things like brush her teeth. In addition to Dana's struggles to return to a somewhat normal existence we see how her family struggles with the "After Dana." This is the term Dana came up with to separate who she was before the TBI (Before Dana) to who she is now (After Dana). Not only does she have to learn the basics all over again she has to define who she is again. A person takes years to develop their personalities and likes/dislikes. In Dana's case she didn't know if she liked, let's say, broccoli so she'd have to experience it again for the first time to make that kind of determination. Yet her mom would make a meal because it was "Dana's Favorite" only to get upset that it no longer appealed to the After Dana. Dana's frustrations, her confusion, and her anger were all just so spot on. It amazed me.

The Not so Good Stuff: I think for me, the stuff that wasn't quite as good (not bad, mind you...just not as impacting as the good stuff) was the suspense behind the cold case that Dana happened to help solve while trying to remember certain aspects of her past. In all actuality 2 cold cases were solved but neither really garnered as much appreciation as the TBI part did. Because I wasn't fully invested in the plot of the book (essentially the what happened to Dana's high school best friend) I really didn't care if it was solved or not other than it was interesting to see how the After Dana kept pushing for answers when the Before Dana really didn't.

In a Nutshell: The author's notes after the conclusion of the book was enlightening. To know that Tami Hoag suffered a TBI early in her life really solidified Dana's struggles to me. I think character driven people will appreciate Dana and enjoy this book. However, plot driven people may find the pace very slow once the hard impacting prologue ends. In addition, those who enjoy Hoag's romances will be disappointed that there is no romance whatsoever here. Despite my love of romances I'm glad there wasn't one to muddy the rest of the story.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

Title: Mean Streak
Author: Sandra Brown
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Grand Central Publishing (August 19, 2014)
Source: Library eBook
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis:(from Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her.

While police suspect Jeff of "instant divorce," Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won't even tell her his name. She's determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive.

Unexpectedly, however, the two have a dangerous encounter with people who adhere to a code of justice all their own. At the center of the dispute is a desperate young woman whom Emory can't turn her back on, even if it means breaking the law. Wrong becomes right at the hands of the man who strikes fear, but also sparks passion.

As her husband's deception is revealed, and the FBI closes in on her captor, Emory begins to wonder if the man with no name is, in fact, her rescuer from those who wish her dead - and from heartbreak.

My Thoughts on The Good Stuff: Sandra Brown does a great job of filling this book with multiple layers. Sure you get  suspenseful story and a romance but you also get a multifaceted view of right and wrong. Sometimes it's not all black and white. A killer can actually be a hero and a mass murder can also be a victim. I really think this concept was delivered exceptionally well in the book. In addition to this I really liked Brown's way of slowly revealing bits and pieces to promote suspense. Oh and I think her addition of the ramifications (PTSD) of police officer involved shootings was brilliant. Very few rom/susp books even mention this even though in many of them someone is usually shot and killed by someone in one agency or another.

My Thoughts on the Bad Stuff: The romance could have been much better. Because Emory's savior is also her captor (by design or doesn't really matter) her attraction to him feels way to much like"Stockholm Syndrome" and he comes across as a creepy stalker which compromises any tender moments the characters have together. She is attracted to a man she suspects of bashing her in the head and kidnapping her. He has collected a trinket that he finds with her unconscious body on the running trail, so he can have a piece of her forever after knowing her, like, a day. Um....not quite romantic is it? In addition to this, there are so many silly reasons for things to have happened. For example: The reason the FBI has spent 4 years hunting Mystery Man down, the reason Mystery Man's sister goes into hiding with an alias, how someone could sneak up behind a runner (who is running) to hit them on the head multiple times and the reason Mystery Man had to hang around Emory after delivering her to safety to name a few.

In a Nutshell: Overall the bad stuff could have easily overshadowed the good stuff but I don't think it did. The suspense was delivered very well and Sandra Brown does pull of some good twists which makes this a decent thriller. However, if you are looking for more romance in your books this would not be a good direction to go.