Tag Archives: mystery

Is it Bad that I liked Allegiant?

 

What would you rate this book?

This book gets 3.5 stars about everywhere you look. To me that indicates a bad rating. I don’t know about you, I don’t typically buy something on amazon with 3.5 stars. I understand why some people hated how this book ended. I mean HATED it, some of those reviews come off livid, even offended at how the author could write what she wrote.

I wasn’t offended, nor did I hate, the acts of the story that ruined it for others. Tris’s big ending was very appropriate for her head strong, ill advised decision making character. I don’t want to spoil it if you have not read it (but we can certainly talk about it in the comments!)

SOOOOOO is it weird that I enjoyed it? Yeah the story has some holes, characters just don’t think things through, I can get past that. Some reviewers said tone and having 2 narrators was an issue, and a means to an end; reviews said the characters sounded exactly the same, but I don’t agree…… well let me add that I listened to the whole series on CD, and I think this might help attribute to why I enjoyed the book so much.  A male narrator was added for Four in addition to the Tris narrator. Both narrator really capture the voice of their perspective characters very well.

I particularly love how Roth writes scenes. She has this knack for using smell to perfectly set a scene. Smell is such an underused sense in writing, and when it is used it is not often used well. I marvel at her ability to tap into this unused literary sense so keenly.

 

 

 

 

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Hybrid

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The 1-line Review:

Great characters and plot within an exciting story, but with some structural issues.

The longer review:

I really like the story, characters, and the new take on well used fantasy roles, but give the book a tough critique when it comes to structure.

Hybrid is the debut novel from author Venus Morales. Its a fresh take on fantasy with a uniquely  diverse array of characters; Greek Gods, Vampires, Demons, Angels, and a new take on phoenixes attribute to a cast of characters I have never seen together. I really enjoyed the authors portrayal of the Greek Gods, Ares and Hera. Greek Gods have been dominated by Rick Riordan fiction (some of my favorite books), and Morales created Godly characters I didn’t expect.

Ultimately, Hybrid is a love story and concentrates on Ari, the main character, and her relationship struggles with others and within herself.  Ari, is a kick butt, do-what-I-want-when-I-want-t0 loner type. She kills demons to let off steam and has no problem doing it with her god-vampire-phoenix ancestry. She has  an inner evil alter ego, Rheain, who is in a constant fight for control of Ari. The back and forth relationship between the two of them was my favorite in story relationship. They can’t live with each other, but can’t live without, and at times they get the best of each other.

There is a love triangle relationship that Ari has to come to terms with through the novel. I don’t want to give more away here, you’ll have to read to see who wins in this Edward vs. Jacob relationship struggle.

I think the middle of the book was the strongest. And there is an excellent story arc where Ari has to fight for the right to remain phoenix royalty while fighting her own demons. I think this middle piece had the chops to be it’s own story.

Bottom Line:

I think this is a strong showing from a new author, and believe the next book in the series will be an even stronger sequel.

….Where the book lost a stars:

This is the hard part, I liked the book plot and story line over all, but felt it had structure weaknesses.

While the story content had a YA feel, I think the writing and verbiage fit better into the juvenile fiction genre. (The book is definitely not meant for the juvenile age range though.)

The books starts with a blunt and unnecessary  prologue. It gave way too much detail away. The prologue could have been left out entirely and the reader would have been able to discover all that info naturally.

While the middle of the book was very strong over all. The beginning happened suuuuuper quick and i felt the ending was rushed.

Alaris- he was supposed to be supreme evil, but I never got more that a bad boy from the wrong side of town vibe from him. His evilness really didn’t develop enough.

I think Alaris was introduced (very quickly) and the main antagonist in the first few pages. Through the middle of the story he all but disappeared.  The middle story are I referred  to as strong is the fight for Ari’s nobility. It felt like a really good story within a story. During it I kept wondering if the Alaris thing was going to resolve at the end. The ending came back to Alaris, but ended very quickly.

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A Badass with Yellow Wings

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The 1-line Review:

A completely unique story and super thrilling read.

The longer review:

 Fledgling is very captivating and hooked me from the beginning. The plot instantly stood out as unique and is different remind me of anything I have read before. Quick spoil free plot- Murdered girl turned archangel in training on quests to save innocents by mind dumping conscious(es) into  evil doers. Cool, right? Author Katrina Copes spin on angels was a real refresher on you typical archetype.

Its all about angels, but I wouldn’t call it christian fiction. This is definitely a 13 and up read due to gruesome fight scenes.Cope really paints each scene very vividly in your brain, and that includes very detailed fight scenes. You can definitely feel the action jump off the page. The bone crunching and cartilage ripping pushed my (relatively low) limits for that kind of action sequence, some will like the realness of it, the faint of heart might, well… faint.

The main angel (no name dropping, kind of a mini spoiler. You’ll understand when you read it) is likable in that annoying kind of way. Her haste and haphazard choices really turn the pages. I can tell if I loved not liking her, or hated liking her. Either way she kept the story going.

Bottom Line:

Great scenes, excellent action.  Highly entertaining, very engaging page turner. Could be the start to a a very worth-reading series.

Where the book lost a half star:

Main angel was the most real feeling character, but she became a bit one tracked, especially in her decision making. One male angel had some decent enough depth. The rest of the small character cast were ambiguous (some by design) or felt very one dimensional.

The gruesomeness pushed the limits a bit. Like I said above, some will love it.

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The Atlantis Deception

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The 1-line Review:

The last 4 words were the most thrilling. There was too much ambiguity to get deeply invested.

The longer review:

 This is a ‘Don’t read the last page first’ kind of story. Some people peak, but don’t; otherwise it kills the whole story. I have not read any other story in this series, and this story is readable if it is your first one. While this story is a good read for a sci-fi/thriller, it didn’t make me so invested as to want to read others from the series.

The ARC, essentially an alien collection vessel  and mobile habitat, was filled with creatively dangerous species from a newly discovered planet. The crew member get trapped inside the recreated habitat and have to traverse the region in its entirety to get to a maintenance door and exit. The ship is cool, the creatures are cool. The action scenes and suspense are nice, but there is an amount of ambiguity from start to finish that kept me from getting deep into the story.

I think over-engineered technology drives the plot. That is to say, there would have been no danger if engineers had put door handles on all the automatic doors. Normally I don’t like when the storyline hinges on something so little. In this case I like it because it sheds some light on the way we are designing technology now. (Like key-less entry cars with electronic backup systems to open them in case of failure. If the electronics totally fail, you cant open the car…) Anyway the engineer in me is digressing…

Bottom Line:

 Props to Thracker for writing this story in a month. If you like his work, I would say this book was better than Golden Crystal but not as good as The Depths. (Have not read Enigma Strain yet, so cant judge that one.)

Where the book lost a half star:

Why even enter the zoo in the first place. The team could have figured away to defend against one species in the conference room. And Malai (the one team member not trapped) could have blown open the conference door, rather than the door he actually blew up. Common sense wise, it dint make sense.

The team of explorers about the ARC (spaceship) refer to their specie’s traits and how they do or do not resemble those traits. But never do we get an inkling of what this species looks like. So I ended up thinking about them all as humans who talked kind of nerdy. All the actions they take sound human; walk, sit at tables, eat soup, sleep lying down, etc. All of that is entirely human, nothing stood out as different. However all the other species in this book were clearly set apart from earth species.

Every species was designated a number and no name. Makes sense, but at times I have to stop and think which were which because you can forget when every name is a number.

While the over-ingenuity lucked out as being a plus, the team suffered from single personality disorder. With maybe one or two exceptions, the essence of almost every team member was the same; logical to a fault, stick to protocol, little creativity, meticulous. The team was very ISTJ when an advanced society capable of space travel should be able to get a more diverse team together.

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Dream Boy by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg- Review

 

I got the chance to read Dream Boy as an uncorrected proof though NetGalley.com. The Scheduled release date is July of this year (2014)
The Quick Review:
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was not at all what I expected. Dream Boy started out with some mystery and anticipation and ended like a thriller. The books combination of love, action, and other components would be comparable to the composition of the Twilight series. The book was especially exciting in the ending third when everything finally came together for the main character Annabelle.

The Longer Review:
This is a book that I could easily recommend for female fiction/fantasy readers. It is not on a level where I would put it in the romance genre, which is where I thought it would be. It breaks the mold of the current YA fiction genre by not including a vampire or werewolf as a character. Instead, the authors take a refreshing twist on the concept of dreams instead. The authors did a better job incorporating dreams and dreaming into Dream Boy than I have seen in a while. They refreshed a fictional device that has been getting stale and rehashed for too long.
Mary and Madelyn create a parallel world to earth that is intriguing and original. I could see this realm working well for a number of story lines across mystery, adventure, and other fiction genres. I would like to see Dream Boy branch out into more stories.
The cast of characters was good, but I wouldn’t go as far to say great. Annabelle, Will, and Martin were well enough developed for the story and I liked the side relationship between Will and Annabelle’s younger brother. Annabelle was overly stubborn toward the end. She seems to be naturally stubborn, but at some point you have to call an apple an apple and stop forcing yourself to believe it is an orange.
The villain character was creative. She was an ominous character; not overly scary, but more of a creepy and powerful kind of vibe.
The remaining cast had varying degrees of background and depth. Amongst my thoughts on the characters who played significant enough roles: I thought Stephanie Gonzales was too much of a cookie cutter “mean girl” and needed more depth, and Paolo was vague. I think the authors intended these characters to be this way, but it detracts a small amount of reality from the book.

Bottom Line:
Dream boy is a good example of a book not to be judged by its cover or title. It is a good mix of fiction and romance. I would highly recommend it for fans of the Twilight and Beautiful Creatures series.

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Killer Instinct by Robert W. Walker- Review

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The Quick Review:

Killer instinct is an excellent murder-mystery, and the first in what should be a very strong series.  This is my first murder-mystery, and I believe anyone not common with the genre would do well to start here.   I felt like I was reading a good ‘cop show.’  I pictured the main character to be very much like Kate Beckett from Castle, but in more of CSI type of story.  I could see the entire series potentially coming back to events in this story, this story sets the pace for the Instinct series to go very far and get more thrilling throughout the series

The Longer Review:

Robert Walker writes a very realistic, full depth character in Dr. Jessica Coran.  The murder scenes in Killer Instinct leave little to the imagination and really give you a shocking picture in your head. The story seemed uncharacteristic for a first in a series.  The murder takes on a very supernatural persona and is not the typical serial killer. Turn of events for both Dr. Coran and Detective Otto Boutine take surprising turns at the end of the novel. This story line would be one I expect later in a series, but Walker digs deep and puts his characters to the test in the very first novel.

The story has a lot of focus on the politics of the fictional FBI. Dr. Coran being a strong woman in a man’s world makes for a good, realistic character. At times I though too many of the male characters felt crotchety, yet even these characters opinions change as the story goes.

I have 2 big critiques. First, most of the story seemed in the realm of possibility, even if a real expert would deem the actions inaccurate to what actually happens. However, Dr. Coran going to a house completely alone…in a taxi… just didn’t work for me. It set up a very dark and exciting ending that I enjoyed very much. I just didn’t like how the story led up to it when Dr. Coran went at it alone.

Second critique is the relationship between Dr. Coran and Otto just didn’t connect for me. I am perfectly fine with a relationship with a big age gap; I just couldn’t understand why Jessica Coran found Otto so appealing. It felt like her emotions really played the pity card, like she fell for a wounded puppy. She is young and a stunner and Otto is near retirement and nothing special in the looks department, so physical attraction is not a factor for Jessica. She didn’t really seem to fall for him because of his status or out of respect. She seemed to care for him based on proximity to each other and because she felt bad for him in his current relationship status. The relationship could have been left at a close friendship with no detriment to the story. A relationship with JT would have struck me as more believable and interesting.

The Story:

(Taken from Goodreads) Dr. Jessica Coran, a brilliant and determined FBI medical examiner, was an expert student of the criminal mind who thought she could face anything. That was before Wisconsin. Before she saw one of his victims… The FBI had a special code name for his unusual method of torture: Tort 9, the draining of the victim’s blood. The newspapers called him the Vampire-Killer. But his own twisted love letters were signed ‘Teach’…and were addressed to the one woman he wanted most of all: His hunter, his prey, Dr. Jessica Coran

The Writing:

Walker creates excellent, graphic visuals. At times I cringed because I can stand to see some of the crime scene visuals; and I did feel like I could see them.

He creates perspective from both the FBI and killer POV’s, which makes for better understanding of the ‘why’ behind the ‘who’ of the story. Most of the story is set from the POV of Dr. Coran, and much of the story progress as if we are in her head and can hear what she is thinking

The Characters:

Walker’s main cast has very deep backgrounds and depth. Dr. Jessica Coran’s and Otto Boutine’s characters are very in depth right from the beginning, while their progression really layers them as the story progresses. Dr. Coran is going to make for a great main series character moving forward. I can see her being taken in a variety of different directions and am interested to see how her story unfolds.

Walker brought a level of understanding to his murderer. Not enough to sympathize with him, but enough to understand him and really help round out the story. This particular killer has the potential to come back over and over, opening many avenues for the series.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this book. It is not what I normally read, yet kept me entertained. I think first time murder-mystery readers will really get hooked to the series and potentially the genre after reading Killer Instant.

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