Monday, February 19, 2018

Girl Gone Rogue

Title: A Girl Gone Rogue
Author: Forrest Kane
Genre: Thriller, Psychological thriller
Source: eBook
Rating: 3 out of 5

Waking up in a psych ward with little memory of her past, Iraq veteran Dominique Wolfe must come to terms with her demons as she works through her troubling, psychotic history. Dominique is unsure if she can trust her own mind: it has been tainted by several bad choices she has made since coming home from deployment. As flashbacks help her begin to put the pieces of the puzzle together, Dominique realizes that sometimes, things are not always as they seem.

This debut novel from Forrest Kane is very well written and keeps the readers guessing.  After reading this the reader will have the understanding that this novel is not like any other thriller or psychological novel out there.  It breaks the mold and sets a new standard as far as storyline and character development goes.  There are a few moments when the author repeats something he already said for example:

"The room has nothing inside, no windows, no objects I can use to escape with.  The place is utterly empty..."

It doesn't take away from the story and gives the reader an idea of what the character is thinking right off the bat, but at the same the reiteration is not necessarily needed.  Some parts don't make sense or make the reader wonder how did that happen:

"my attempts to turn the doorknob appear to be futile, which is, in fact, secure from the outside."  So the door to the room is locked from the outside correct?  just a paragraph later:

"I peer down the hallway and do not see anyone coming."  If the door was secure and there are no windows, how did the narrator be able to peer down the hallway?

Despite the few inconsistencies, this was an enjoyable book to read as we watch Dominique piece together the fragmented portions of her life.  Readers cannot piece together the whole puzzle  until Dominique discovers something new, which makes this novel fun and engaging as readers want to know what will happen next.  What will she figure out next about her life. 

It is an interesting look at memory fragments, and psychosis.  It is a novel that makes you think and ponder some of the more challenging aspects of one's own mind.  There is a lot of emotion throughout this book as the character slowly discovers different aspect of herself and her past.

I would recommend this novel if you enjoy psychological thrillers and are looking for something that is a little different from the normal. If you want something new and different, then definitely check out this novel.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Magicians

Title: The Magicians
Author: Lev Grossman
Genre: Fantasy
Source: eBook
Rating: 4 out of 5

Quentin is your typical high school student who loves a series of books call "Fillory and Further."  On the day he is supposed to have an interview for college, he enters to find his interviewer laying dead. As he walks in a daze he finds himself on the campus for a different school and takes an odd series of entrance exams for what he finds out later is for a school called Brakebills.  What is different about Brakebills is that it is a school for magic. Quentin finds out magic is a lot harder than he has anticipated.  During their third year, students find themselves separated into Disciplines and Quentin finds himself in with the Physical Kids even though he technically does not have a Discipline.  Upon graduation the students find themselves striving to find a purpose and stumble upon Fillory.  There they discover "The Beast" and find themselves in an epic battle for survival. After the fight Quentin's love Alice sacrifices herself to kill the Beast, Penny loses the use of his hands and an injured Quentin is under the care of some centaurs.  All the while Eliot and Janet become the king and queen of Fillory.

I had a little bit of a harder time getting into this one because I have seen the show on sci-fi, and while I know the show is nothing like the book there are some similarities and the expectations I had for some characters were skewed by how the show portrays them.  That being said, I did enjoy the book, there were many things that were different or portrayed differently.  Grossman took magic and gave it and adult feel, while i have read this book described as a very adult version of Harry Potter, I would say it is VASTLY different from that series and would not compare the two. Each book addresses magic differently.

Quentin was rather boring and difficult to like in the book, he came off as a dumbling fool who just kind of stumbled into magic.  Granted his character gets better as the novel progresses, but it's far easier to like other characters better such as Eliot or even Penny once he returns to the story.  Q didn't have much depth to him at first or even halfway through novel. The story itself seemed to drag on about the activities of school and the years the group spends there.  It isn't until book 2 which is a little over halfway through the novel that it begins to pick up and some action begins to happen.  It took a long time to build up to the ultimate battle and discovery of Fillory. 

It is defintely a novel that portrays wanting something badly, building a grand idea of it and never being able to fully reaching it or finding it and discovering the disappointment of it not being what you have built it up to be.  If you are going into this book thinking it will be a light and airy series, don't it is darker than expected.  Regardless it was a good read.  If you have seen the show, it may be difficult to read but still worth it.  I recommend it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Bone Curse

Title: The Bone Curse
Author: Carrie Rubin
Genre: Thriller, Supernatural, Medical
Source: eBook via Netgalley
Rating: 3 out of 5

While in the catacombs in Paris, med student Ben Oris gets cut by a old bone .  His friend Laurette feels there is danger and evil lingering in his blood because the wound will not heal.  She believes he is cursed.  Ben scoffs at the idea of a curse and heads home to resume his life as normal.  When people in his life are suddenly falling gravely, terminally ill Ben begins to wonder if there is some truth to Laurette's fears.  He agrees to meet with Laurette's friends and family who practice Vodu (not to be confused with Vodoo) to find a cure for the disease he unwittingly has unleashed.  All the while he must fend off a dark priest who wants to use Ben's blood for his own evil purposes.

I will start this off with that I received this novel from Netgalley for an honest review.  That being said the cover and synopsis drew me into the story.  The occult is something that I find interesting and fascinating  and Carrie Rubin does a good job at bringing it alive in her novel.  You honestly don't know what you are getting into when you begin this book.

What i liked about this book is that it dealt with something a little different from somethings I have read in the past.  When Voodoo is mentioned in novels is portrayed in a specific way, Carrie Rubin does it differently and makes it a point to have Laurette express the difference between Voodoo and Vodou and the spiritual aspect of it.  When Laurette expressed her fears about the curse, the reader feels that fears. I found it interesting that it seemed the book was portraying the idea that the search of knowledge does not being with what you do or don't know but what you are willing to accept.  Until Ben was willing to accept the idea of a curse and Vodou was he able to appropriately begin his search for answers.

The story takes a little while to develop as it takes a while for Ben to come to terms with the idea of the occult and the possibility that curses exist.  Carrie Rubin does a great job at bringing his skeptism alive as he searches for medical answers to why his cut won't heal, or why people in his life are conveniently become ill with a mysterious disease.  The characters are interesting enough, but I am not sure if there is much character development within them.  They appear to be somewhat of one dimensional, but then again the focus of the novel is on the curse not so much the characters themselves.  Almost as if the curse itself was a character.  

It is one of those books that pulls you into the story and makes you wonder where the story is headed and what roles certain elements will play later in the novel. If you are looking for something a little different than the normal, something that goes outside the typical subject of the occult then pick this book up.  If you enjoy medical thrillers, then give this one a shot.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Romance Novels Perfect For Valentine's Day

How quickly time is flying by!  It is almost Valentine's Day, which means the perfect time to snuggle with a good romance novel..or even that special someone.  Throughout my years of reading I have come across a lot of different romance novels that I  have come to love and enjoy.  I have gone through series like Lords of The Underworld by Gena Showalter or the Dark Hunters by Sherrilyn Kenyon and I have gone through stand alone novels as well.  Here are a few romance novels that are perfect for the Valentine season (is it a season?)

Bowman's Inn is a collection of short stories from some amazing authors  The idea is that all the stories correlate with the Bowman Inn, where folks help Anteros find love.  Each story deals with magic, myths and legends, love at first sight and more.  You will find yourself pulled into each of the stories wanting more from the characters.  Because it is a collection of short stories, it is easy to put the book down and pick it back up where you left off without feeling like you missed out on something.  I am not one for short story collections, but I do love this book and highly recommend it.  It is a great way to discover new romance authors that you will be sure to fall in love with, I know I did.  I look forward to other installments of the Bowman's Inn and find myself looking for books by some of the authors included.

Speaking of authors included in Bowman's Inn, it's only appropriate that I mention RA Winter's series Kiowa in Love.  It starts with Little Sparrow which follows Karen as she returns home for the holidays and meets Richard, a man she ended up in bed with and vowed it would be a one time thing.  When she arrives home, low and behold there is Richard!  What are the odds.  Thanksgiving turns into a fiasco with a multitude of personalities and Grandfather who tries to play matchmaker for his granddaughter.  I love this series, I love this author.  She writes in a way that is beautiful and graceful, with a hint of naughtiness.  This novel does not focus on the sexual aspect of a relationship but rather the bond one needs to build.  The emotional intimacy rather than the physical.  Every time RA comes out with a new book or story, I find I have to jump on it to add to my collection.

Jacob is the veterinarian for a circus, Marlena is the star of the show.  When the circus takes on an elephant Marlena becomes the rider of the animal and Jacob must train her.  A bond forms between the man and woman as well as the humans and animal.  This is a romantic story with a little bit more added into it.  This was one of those books that is difficult to put down.  I know it's not as popular now, but I still think it was a fantastic novel to read and a great movie to watch (though I prefer the book).  It is one of those books that you find yourself on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next with Jacob and Marlena as well as with the elephant. The characters are one that will stick with you well after finishing the novel.  Rosie is as much a character as the humans were and provides humor and heart warming moments.  

The next is a series: the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilynn Kenyon.  Any one of these books would make for a great read.  I will say that the earlier novels are much better than some of the more recent ones.  The series revolves around a group of immortal warriors who live to serve Artemis and protect the world.  Each book focuses on a different hunter and him finding the love of his life and his freedom from Artemis.  What I love about this series is that it adds an interesting twist to traditional mythology that I am used to.  While there are some sex scenes, a lot of the books are action base and develop the relationships to show why each scene is so steamy and hot. I have read just about every novel in this series and find myself completely addicted to it.  Even though I didn't like the last novel, I find myself wanting to read more.

 This is one that is still on my to read list.  From the synopsis it is about a college girl who find herself drawn to the bad boy Travis who is tattooed, spends his nights fighting and charming women across campus.  he ends up making a bet with Abby that if she wins he's abstinent for a month if he wins she lives with him for a month.  Interesting bet.  I am not sure what the book holds or what type of romance novel this is.  I am interested in seeing what it holds, and look forward to checking it out, so you may see a review of it in the future!  If you happen to have read it or read it soon, let me know what you think of it.

There are many great novels out there that it's hard to touch upon all of them and give an adequate recommendation for novels of any genre.  These are just a few that I have enjoyed and one that I am looking forward to reading.  What are some romance novels you would recommend?  Leave your recommendations in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Misanthrope

Title: The Misanthrope
Author: S.M Boyce
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Kindle Ebook
Rating: 4 out of 5

This is the story of how Stone became, well...Stone.  Prior to being the first vagabond, prior to training Kara he was a servant boy named Terric.  As a young boy he was intent on learning more and reading as many books as he could steal from his master, but when he is caught and tries to run away he is captured by someone else who stabs him with something and then drowns him.  Upon his death Terric meets, Death himself who gives him a option to return to life but as a being known as an Isen.  But with the catch that he is under the control of Niccoli his new master.  Terric gains the name Stone and spends his lifetime trying to figure out how to survive without making new Isens or how to make them without painfully killing them, and how he can escape Niccoli.  Will Stone be able to learn how to defy Niccoli and finally be free from a life of servitude?

I have been waiting for a story about Stone.  I love his character, I craved more of his backstory, while this one was interesting to read, it didn't capture me as much as S.M. Boyce's other novels.  It was a lot of backstory and I understand we may have more from Stone's story and I am eagerly waiting to see what else is in store him and how he figures out how to escape Niccoli's commands.  He is a character that doesn't just blindly follow his master, he questions things and tries to do things differently than his master.  I like the character of Stone because of that, because he doesn't blindly follow Niccoli and does whatever he says for the sake of obedience.  While he is still a slave of sorts he is still his own man with his own mind and desires.

S.M Boyce has created this world of Ourea filled with unknown magic and creatures that completely unique to her vision.  She creates empathy for her characters in a way that remains with the readers throughout the story.  I love that all her characters remain true to themselves even some of the minor characters remain who they are and you have a slight insight to who they were prior to becoming Isen.  This book shows readers the importance of these characters while in Grimoire Saga we see them as "evil", Boyce shows that not all of them are, and readers gain a sense of sympathy for them through this story.  I am eager to read what is next in this series and can't wait to begin Deidra's story!

So far I have read I think 4 of Boyce's novels and she has  yet to disappoint.  Each novel seems to surpass the last, and I expect that to continue with this series.  I  highly recommend anything by SM Boyce and look forward to seeing more of her amazing writing in the future.  Pick yourself up a copy and see her magical writing for yourself.  You won't be able to stop from getting another one.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Jar City

Title: Jar City
Author: Arnaldur Indridason
Genre: Mystery, thriller
Source: Hardback
Rating: 4 out of 5

An older gentleman is found dead in his apartment, the clues detectives find hint to murder, with a cryptic note say "I am HIM"  What could it mean?  That is the question Inspector Erlendur is determined to discover.  His search leads him to a decades old case involving the murder victim and rape which in turn leads to a missing person case.  This tangle web of mystery leads Inspector Erlendur all over Iceland trying to get to the bottom of this case and discover how the cold cases are related.  Is it all connected?  Or are these cases just coincidently involving the same people?

This is my first novel y Arnaldur Indridason, and technically my first Nordic Noir.  I picked it up from the library as part of the Popsugar challenge I am doing with my group on Goodreads.  I fell in love with the cover and every time I thought of what book to read for this category, I was consistently drawn to this one.  I am so glad I picked it up.  I found it interesting how things translated from Icelandic to English and how the same things were worded differently or expressions used differently.  I had to chuckle a few times throughout because Inspectors consistently referred to the case as a "typical Icelandic murder."

I found the story to be very interesting and engaging.  I wanted to see where the story would go with all the other cases that were tied into this one.  There was nothing that was predictable with this book.  When I thought I had it figured out, something would happen that would change my thoughts and ideas.  WIth the other aspects of the case the story becomes more and more complex and dark.  One would think so many aspects of the storyline would make it too hard to follow but that is not the case here.  There are parts that go into Erlendur's family which only adds to the depth of the character and makes him someone you can relate to and feel for as you are reading through the story.

After reading this book I wondered if there was a movie, and surprise there is!  I haven't gotten the chance to watch it yet, but I intend to find it and buy it to watch and see how it compares to the book.  I feel instantly in love with Arnaldur Indridason's writing and story-telling skills, I intend to find other books in the series and devour them as well.  I would highly suggest this book to anyone who enjoys a great mystery without a lot of gore or sex.  This is a mystery that indeed focuses on the mystery, and the clues involved directing the inspector along even if others are unable to see what he sees.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Book of Killowen

Title: Book of Killowen
Author: Erin Hart
Genre: Mystery
Source: Library Book: Hardback
Rating: 4 out of 5

When a ancient body is found in the trunk of a car buried in bog located in Killowen Ireland, archeologists Nora Gavin and Cormac Maguire are asked to assist with the scene.  It is then that a second modern body is found and the mystery grows deeper.  The case takes the detectives and archeologist to an artists "Retreat" not far in search of answers, but everyone seems to be hiding something.  The further the archeologists dig the further into an ancient mystery they go.  Could the recent murder have something to do with the legendary Book of Killowen?  The other man found in the bog, could he have been a scribe or a monk of old?  Nora and Cormac embark on a journey into the past in order to solve the mystery of the present.  As they do so they begin to put their lives in more danger.

Medieval manuscripts, a bog in Ireland's beautiful countryside and a possible murder, what more could a girl possibly ask for?  I randomly picked this book up at the library because the cover caught my eye, and then when I read the synopsis, I felt the need to read more.  I am glad I found it or else I would not have discovered this author.  Erin's writing enthralled me from the beginning with the discovery of the bog man in the trunk of a car, then finding out he was centuries old! It was a great start to the novel.  I love how she incorporated history, art, philosophy, and a little bit of religion into the story.  She masterfully weaved her tale together that made it more than interesting.  I would say I would prefer her writing and stories over that of Dan Brown.

This is the fourth book in a series and I didn't feel like I was missing anything or felt lost when reading about the characters.  There are some things about Nora that may have been explained and happened in previous novels, but they don't affect the effect of the story.  If anything I want to go back and read the older novels as well.  I loved her character and how eager she was to learn and find out new things and how excited she got when she learned something new.  It felt like I was a part of her character because I love this sort of thing, well not murder but the archeology.  Honestly this book re-sparked my interest in archeology.  It is evident that Erin Hart did research and knew what she was talking about especially with wax tablets, ancient philosophers, the region her story takes place.  So much so, that it made me want to research Killowen and see if there really was a monastery there and add it to my list of places to visit.

The book is unpredictable, when things begin to get revealed you are astonished because the people involved are people you wouldn't have suspected.  Hart does a wonderful job at keeping things a secret and revealing just a small bit at a time.  She leaves her readers spellbound by the story, setting, characters, everything about her book leaves readers craving for more.  I looked into her and it seems there has been anything written since Book of Killowen, but I know I will go back and search for the other books in this series.  I need more of Nora Gavin!  I highly recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for a good story.