“Girl From Above: Betrayal (The 1000 Revolution #1)” by Pippa DaCosta

3 stars

This novella had an interesting premise. Very rich people pay to be “injected” into synthetic bodies after death. They are sort of like advanced robots with real blood running in their veins, along with memories of their past lives. This story is about synthetic #1001, who goes against her “programming” and gets caught up with someone she knew from her past life.

Caleb is the captain of the ship she ends up on and Fran is his pilot and second-in-command. There was a lot of fun sci-fi action, but for some reason, I couldn’t really get into the characters or story. A lot of it felt like setup and background, so maybe the second book will get more into a meatier adventure? I feel somewhat interested in finding out what happens next. I liked it, but didn’t love it.

ok

Review also at: Goodreads.

I received a copy of this from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Advertisements

“Day Shift” (Midnight #2) by Charlaine Harris

Maybe 3.5 stars? This is sort of a conflicted review. I’m not exactly sure how to review this.

up-down

Review also found at Goodreads

I liked it. I enjoyed it a little more than Midnight Crossroad (my review on that one is here). However, not enough to round up to 4 stars by any means. The mystery is simple and some of the resolution occurs off-page! After all we went through, we didn’t even get a big action scene in the end to resolve the main mystery! We are just told the police find the item in question. I felt kind of cheated, personally.

The whole cast of characters from the deserted town of Midnight, Texas is back, but this time different characters have bigger roles. Mainly, Olivia and then Joe and Chuy. We found out some surprises about them, which was cool. Manfred still has a big role. He seems a bit more likeable in this one. I am not sure if it is intentional to make all the characters ambiguous. Maybe that is part of the “mystery?” I don’t really feel that any of these Midnight characters are truly nice. I don’t think I would want to be friends with any of them except maybe Fiji, Bobo, and Joe and Chuy. Manfred is kind of self-centered, although he does show loyalty to the Midnight folks in this. It’s like a weird little town where you protect your own, but no one is too chummy or social. They only get together when something is wrong and other than that, like to be left alone. Eh.

In this one, Manfred gets caught up in some legal issue and Olivia is “tasked” to help him. That’s pretty much the basic premise of the entire thing. And then, as a side story, an old motel re-opens mysteriously and everyone wonders why. Eh.

I wasn’t bored with this, but could put it down easily and do other things and read other books. This is a solid 3-star book, but nothing overly special. It was a light mystery. Don’t expect anything complicated. Things fall neatly into place and you’ll probably guess what’s coming (or at least you won’t be surprised much). Lemuel was hardly in it. Bobo hardly had a role at all. Fiji was a bit player as well. But I’ll still probably read the next one when my library gets it.

And now for the Sookie Stackhouse spoilers. Don’t read unless you intend to read this and don’t want to be spoiled.

There are some characters who show up here and if you have followed the author’s blogs and interviews, we all knew it was coming. So read on if you don’t care about being spoiled. Honestly, it’s nothing spectacular.

Barry the Bellboy (never a favorite character of mine from the Sookie books to begin with) shows up. His grandfather is staying at the motel that mysteriously opens up for no good reason. So he ends up playing a pretty significant side role in this and helps Manfred and Olivia out. It didn’t do anything for me. Barry does not seem like a very good guy. He is just helping them for money and of course is paranoid about vampires.

Incidentally, day sitters/watchers DO come looking for him due to his history in Texas and his telepathic abilities, which makes the reasoning in the last Sookie book ridiculous… that vampires would leave Sookie alone. They haven’t left Barry alone. And the excuse that Eric Northman’s deal made her safe is stupid also. Barry’s case proves that logic does not hold.

Also, Quinn shows up with his young son who is old enough to transition into his tiger form. That was another side plot, which was interesting, in that we got to see Quinn’s son, Diederik, and the Rev interact with the people in Midnight and see what happens as Diederik “hits puberty.” Quinn was hardly in it and his page time was unsatisfactory, in my view. He didn’t do anything bad-ass or heroic. In fact, he was made to look like a crappy dad. So, for you Quinn fangirls, don’t be expecting any sexy Quinn here.

Overall, the Sookie tie-ins were nothing special, but did raise the book half a star in my book just for sentimentality.

“The Red Mohawk” by Anonymous

5 stars!

Apparently, this book already has film rights optioned by Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures. I can definitely see why. This book is begging to be turned into a movie.

Let me set the scene a bit for you. The cast of characters:

– Jack Munson and Milena Fonseca, the FBI duo
– Baby, the young prostitute at The Beaver Palace
– The Red Mohawk, psycho killer
– Silvio Mellencamp, owner of The Beaver Palace
– The police of B Movie Hell
– The women at The Beaver Palace
– Various other citizens of B Movie Hell

Remember Billy Bob Thornton from Oliver Stone’s movie, U Turn

U Turn

Well, he would fit right in the town of B Movie Hell. This guy would also probably live there.

Deliverance

And the police? Well, they’re pretty much like these guys from Pulp Fiction.

Pulp Fiction

It’s a real special kind of place.

I don’t want to give too much away because you just have to read it and find out for yourself. It’s that good. But it centers around a serial killer wearing a mask and the people trying to stop him. Throw in an ex-porn producer who bought out the town, his “escort service,” and the townsfolk who do whatever he says – or else.

I loved all the 80s movie and music references. This was just a hilarious read and I found myself smiling a lot in general at the over-the-top shenanigans and humor. It’s part slasher horror movie, part 80s mashup, and part Quentin Tarantino.

The only criticism I have is the British spellings and occasional phrasing was a bit distracting with the redneck setting. I would have (personally) Americanized the spelling and edited a few bits of dialogue only because of how extremely low class and unintelligent the people in B Movie Hell were. But it didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment of the book. I pretty much thought it was brilliant.

Review also at Goodreads.

I received a copy of this from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!! I love it when you score a gem like this from Netgalley.

Dirty Dancing

Under the Empyrean Sky (The Heartland Trilogy, #1) by Chuck Wendig

4 stars

So here we have a trilogy with evil, mutant corn!

corn

But really the story is about Cael and his family and friends, who are basically no more than slaves and animals to the Empyreans. The Empyreans are the elite controllers who live on flotillas in the sky. The dirty mangy humans live on the ground, where they are expected to farm the mutant corn, which gives them tumors and birth defects.

The corn isn’t even edible. It’s used to make fuel for the flotillas and as additives. The Empyreans control seeds and do not allow anyone to grow fruit trees or vegetables or even have animals that don’t eat the corn. If they see a farm animal without tumors on it, they kill it. Yes, they’ve evil. McDonald’s would be the equivalent of an organic nutritious feast to these people.

corn2

Once a year, there is an Obligation ceremony, where the 17 year olds are promised to one another for marriage, randomly of course. You don’t get to pick your mate in this world. Pffft.

There are similarities to other dystopians. You’ve got the male lead character who is repressed and seeks a way out to better himself and his people. His romantic interest is taken from him. I mean, if you read YA dystopian novels, you will draw comparisons. However, I think this was an enjoyable read and I want to see what happens next. The supporting characters were really good – Proctor Simone Agrasanto is the type of villain you just want to die a horrible death, same for the Mayor and his son.

corn3

Cael’s family and friends are likeable and I found myself rooting for them. Cale himself was a little meh, but we’ll see what happens.

I think it’s fairly safe to say this is sort of a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of GMOs (Monsanto) and a worst case scenario involving that subject. I personally find that a compelling argument, so that was another positive factor for me. I definitely want to find out what happens next. This ended up being a page-turner for me.

I received a copy of this from Netgalley and Skyscape for an honest review. Thanks!


Review also found at Goodreads.

“Death Rejoices” (The Marnie Baranuik Files #2) by A.J. Aalto

I really don’t want to be giving this book 2 stars, but I don’t see how I can justify giving it more. I loved Touched and raved about it in my review. I thought I had found a new favorite series.

img

First, the good. HARRY. Harry, who I picture as Tom Hardy.

img

I love every scene he is in. Not enough Harry. Oh wait, we’re talking about the good things first. Yes, Harry. The zombies story was kind of cool and there was some good world-building where that was concerned. Welp, that’s about it for the good.

Oh, one more good thing: Marnie is trying to learn how to defend herself more, she trains and runs and is trying to be more of a bad-ass. THANK GOD FOR SMALL MIRACLES.

Now for the bad. This might get a little ragey, but I can’t help it. 😦 In the first book, I loved Marnie’s spunk, sass, and endless supply of one-liners and banter. Here, it is so over-done and tiresome. Marnie is not likeable to me in this book.

The love triangle is getting SO ANNOYING. So freaking annoying. Marnie and Batten both work for a police-type agency, so they can’t date and “fraternize” because they work jobs together all the time. So in this one, Batten is ready to say screw it (hehe pun) and he wants to be with Marnie, but Marnie is trying to be mature and stay professional (which is hilarious because she is the most immature and unprofessional person ever). Anyway, every single time Marnie sees Batten, the first thing she brings up is sex, then she turns it on him and shoots him down and is a bitch about it! Needless to say, there is no resolution at the end of this either, so I guess we will get more of the same in book 3.

img

– Marnie is dumb. She does stupid horror movie shit where the victim walks right into situations they should know better about.

– There is NO reason for this book to be so long. 424 pages. Not that much happened really. Yes, there were a few action scenes, but the zombie attacks started to be repetitive, and a lot of it was just dumb scenes with Marnie acting dumb. It really dragged on and that is probably why I didn’t rate this 3 stars. It was just too damn long and for no good reason.

img

– I don’t see any growth whatsoever for Marnie except she is doing physical training to be stronger (which is a good thing). Maturity-wise, zero growth, and it was seriously annoying and contributed to the book just rambling on and seeming overly long.

– The scene with the demon Asmodeus seriously annoyed me. He is described as such:

“…if angels had nightmares, this was the face that made them shudder awake in their infinite thread-count sheets.”

Yet, she says things to him like:

…”are you calling me a fakey-fake faker?” and “what are you, 12?”

I guess in a way, you could just say she has balls of steel, yet it comes across as her just having foot-in-mouth disease and being an idiot.

But I loved when Asmodeus told her, “Do what you do best, toots. Self-interest. It comes natural to you.” That sums Marnie up perfectly.

– It’s very contradictory how Harry is always talking about killing Batten, yet gave him a two million dollar car. It’s like, either he learns to tolerate him or he doesn’t, but the back and forth thing is annoying, just like the way Marnie acts with Batten. Honestly, just get rid of Batten. You have Chapel still. Batten seems pretty unnecessary at this point, in my view.

All right, I’m done. I will probably give the third book a chance because I have hope and WANT to love this series because I loved the first book so much. But I won’t be seeking it out any time soon. If Marnie doesn’t have some growth, I will have to sadly abandon this series. She needs to tone it down. Keep some of the banter and wise-ass cracks, but grow the eff up a little bit,

    please!

img

Mind Games (The Disillusionists Trilogy #1) by Carolyn Crane

4 stars

I went into this not knowing what it was about. There’s a twenty-something woman named Justine who is a hypochondriac and is crippled by it, always having to go to the emergency room because she thinks she is dying. It affects her relationships and takes over her life, no matter how hard she tries to control and fight it.

hypochondriac

She meets a man named Packard, the leader of a secret group called disillusionists, who invites her to join his team. What they do is find really bad people (murderers, rapists, the scum of the scum) and break them down emotionally and psychologically by using “mutant” mental abilities. The team is made up of neurotics, gamblers, alcoholics, people with extreme anger, fear, angst, etc. They push those neuroses into those people’s energy fields and this inevitably causes the murderer or whoever to reach a point of emotional and psychological devastation, where they realize their wrongs and then turn over a new leaf and live a better life.

the end

Well, there was actually a bunch more stuff that happened, but I thought this was a refreshing premise for an urban fantasy book. There were a few flaws. Mainly, the romances. There were actually 3 romantic interests for the main character, Justine. I didn’t think any of them were developed very well. Things happened too fast and I didn’t really feel any spark. Packard and Otto were written pretty hot, but for me, it was really Justine that was the problem. I didn’t really care for her. I felt a bit meh where she was concerned. She did some stupid things, which I guess can be justified because she was a beginner. I’m just tired of having to use that excuse for heroines in urban fantasies.

The supporting characters were fantastic and made the book, in my view. I totally want Shelby as my BFF. Simon was complex and a lot deeper than he seemed. Packard was mysterious and sexy. You’re not sure if he’s a good guy or not. Same for Otto. I think the secondary characters and unique premise made me rate this higher than I would have.

I definitely liked it enough to want to continue the series.

thumbs up

Review can also be found at: Goodreads

Buddy read with Buddies Books and Baubles.

Kate Daniels re-read, “Magic Bleeds” by Ilona Andrews

Re-read with the Ilona Andrews Addicts (IAA) group.

FIRST READ: OCTOBER 2014 (4 stars)
SECOND READ: JUNE 2015 (4 stars)

New thoughts: This one was a bit tougher to get through on the second read, but I’ll keep my original rating (although the first half of the book was more of a 3 star rating for me). There was a lot of really great world-building and character development. I did enjoy reading the Kate and Curran sections more. Kate’s aunt is a real bitch, but I loved all her scenes. What a great villain. There was some great banter between her and Kate. Overall, not the strongest book in the series, especially coming off of book 3, which is my favorite.

Original review at Goodreads:

So Kate’s got a cray-cray Aunt that comes to town to bring end of the world catastrophes and diseases to humans and shape-shifters alike. Just another day in the life.

Erra

This was a good book. A lot really happens here, esp. involving Kate and Curran. Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. I know I’m reading this one after the fact and most people have already devoured it and moved on, but in my view, Ilona Andrews really knows how to do the world-building thing. Other urban fantasy authors are really gonna have to step their game up now that this formidable writing team is around and here to stay.

Loved it!

happy dance