Alex Kava’s Black Friday is the kind of book that makes the blurb seem totally inadequate. It starts slow but steadily builds upon itself. EverythingAlex Kava’s Black Friday is the kind of book that makes the blurb seem totally inadequate. It starts slow but steadily builds upon itself. Everything is nice and normal for the five college students who enter that mall on the day after Thanksgiving. They just plan on causing a little ruckus, but little do they know that they have been duped in to carrying out a massive terrorist plot. But surely with Agent O’Dell on the case everything will be fine, right? Even with her temporary boss playing politics and seemingly pushing her to fail? Even when one of the students is her own brother?
It has become a given for me that Maggie O’Dell will be not only an awesome tough girl lead, but also as effective as any other agent in the series. But it is also a given that, at some point in the story, Kava is going to hit her main character with something emotionally off putting. That at some point in the story something bad will happen to someone or something that O’Dell cares about so that she will be just that little bit off balance for the rest of the novel. In this case having her half-brother involved in the bombing and a new boss were great ways to split O’Dell’s focus, and they lasted for the entire novel.
My only big complaint with Black Friday is that the meetings between O’Dell and Nick Morrelli are starting to feel really contrived. At this rate by the tenth book he’s going to have left law enforcement entirely and will wind up as a plumber fixing O’Dell’s drain while she saves the day....more
When I got the chance to pre-read and review J.R. Parker’s Kestrel’s Midnight Song, I jumped at the chance. It describes itself as being an adventureWhen I got the chance to pre-read and review J.R. Parker’s Kestrel’s Midnight Song, I jumped at the chance. It describes itself as being an adventure novel for younger readers, but seems to be more about the journey than the ultimate goal. The characters were a motley bunch, and could feel irrational mush of the time. The hero is but a lowly shepherd, his only goal is to get to the palace to deliver his sheep to the king’s weaver. Micah sets off on his journey unaware of the flute, the Marauders, or his own part in a conspiracy of epic proportions. James Kestrel, High Captain of the Marauders, is to be hanged and only he knows the location of the mysterious Caelum Flute. An item of power so great that supposedly its owner could wreak terrible destruction upon the world, the flute is much sought after by everyone from the Marauders to simple thieves. It is up to Micah, tavern girl Robbyn, and the giant Drift to discover and stop the Marauders’ plot. Micah is either courageous and dedicated to his mission and his sheep, or rather dull and driven by a fear of his master and the world around him. His entire journey prior to meeting Robbyn and Drift seemed to consist of taking care of his sheep and stumbling into trouble after trouble. Many of his mannerisms and behaviors are heroic, but in the situations he finds himself in just come across as foolhardy. Robbyn and Drift seem to be written more as two halves of the same character than as two separate beings. Robbyn is the leader, the brain, and the emotions. She directs Drift’s actions to a grand degree but has to be rescued on a regular basis, seemingly to maintain a sense of action within the novel. Drift provides the brawn of the pair, he is impulse and strength and sheer will. He pulls along the action scenes that Micah cannot win with wit. The three fit well together, but lack the cohesiveness of many other fantasy parties. The writing felt nearly poetic in some parts, but stilted and flat in others. Several points of dialogue were typed in such a way that it felt wrong for the character speaking. Everyone seemed to roar out lines, even physically small characters that shouldn’t have the voice for it. My biggest problem was probably that about one hundred pages from the end, everyone suddenly got religion. There was no lead up to its inclusion, and it felt awkward after it had been introduced. The use of religion seemed to be there more to wrap up the ending than to give a real message. Given the problems I had while reading, I can still honestly say that I had a good time reading it. I would probably suggest it to an audience younger than myself, and for those who enjoy soft fantasy with a touch of the dark. ...more
I have to admit, I'm a bit of a horror story nut. The stories here were great when I was younger playing off of near nonexistent worries about thingsI have to admit, I'm a bit of a horror story nut. The stories here were great when I was younger playing off of near nonexistent worries about things the go bloom in the night and disappearing identities. Even now they're kind of fun to read, but more in a "bad eighties comedy/horror movie" way....more
Nicole Peeler’s Tempest Rising, is one of those books that I’d seen a few times at the bookstore but hadn’t thought much of. Later I picked it up at aNicole Peeler’s Tempest Rising, is one of those books that I’d seen a few times at the bookstore but hadn’t thought much of. Later I picked it up at a sale as part of a “buy x, get one” deal. It had a good review from an author that I already knew that I liked, and the blurb had me expecting something along the lines of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods mixed with a romantic suspense novel. When I started reading it, I was struck by the narrator. Meet Jane True, your protagonist and narrator for the evening, she enjoys going on nightly swims in the freezing cold ocean near a whirl pool. When she discovers a body in the Old Sow, she gets thrown into a world that she never knew existed. Enter hot vampire Ryu, an investigator for the supernatural world’s ruling body. Suddenly it turns out that many of the people who were kind to her aren’t human. The following investigation leads Jane further and further into her mother’s world, and closer to Ryu. Because Jane is the narrator, we spend the entirety of the book in her head. This gives the reader a great view of her interests, her opinions on other characters, and a ton of self-pity. Jane’s thoughts do seem to fit those of an actual young adult, unfortunately this leads to her hitting the same idea a dozen different ways. At the same time, she is brave, she is clever, but she also seems to get side tracked quite a bit. Add in Ryu, Jane’s love interest. He’s attractive, he’s protective, he’s romantic, but he also tends towards trying to protect Jane from things that she really should be aware of. My only real problem with the book was some of the word use. . Peeler writes almost exactly like I would expect an English professor to. She tends to use large words where smaller, more common ones would do, and seems to be trying too hard to get her twenty something protagonist to sound twenty something. Jane used words in her thoughts that I don’t think I have ever heard anyone use in real life and used a couple of words in rather odd ways. The story was fairly solid, with a pretty good mix of plot and action, but I had some trouble with some of the descriptions due to them being offered in the form of movie comparisons. In a rather strange turn I found myself repeatedly reminded of Twilight, but then found that subverted in the next few lines. For example, Ryu is described as being really well put together, hotter than a match head, the whole nine yards. He also frustrates Jane a number of times and tends to seem rather temperamental. The two leads fall for each other almost immediately, but Jane doesn’t call it “true love” or obsess about Ryu. The series could very easily fall into clichés, but manages not to by mocking some of those very clichés. I will definitely be reading the next book when it comes out. ...more
In true Dean Koontz Frankenstein fashion, Victor Frankenstein (previously Helios) is building a new race of super humans to overthrow the "old race".In true Dean Koontz Frankenstein fashion, Victor Frankenstein (previously Helios) is building a new race of super humans to overthrow the "old race". Deucalion is mysterious and heroic. Jocko is creepy but endearing. Erica 5 is motherly. And Carson and Michael do their human best to save the day and find really good food.
This one was quite a bit darker than I remember the first three being, with most of the humor being of the "oh shit" variety and a sneaking suspicion every time a new character is introduced. It's odd, but it really feels like almost nothing happened here, and the Lost Souls was just setting the stage for the next book. I was expecting better than that, and it disappointed me when I found my self reminded of a few mid-trilogy movies in regard to actual content.
That said, and while the series could have ended satisfactorily with the last book rather than continuing, it was fun. The characters were true to their preestablished selves, the new "new race" were suitably creepy as hell, and the story moved at a satisfying clip right until the end....more
Vampire hunter Dee finds herself fighting a so called "born" vampire, a vampire that was always a vampire rather than being bitten. Less than ten pageVampire hunter Dee finds herself fighting a so called "born" vampire, a vampire that was always a vampire rather than being bitten. Less than ten pages in she's saved from a shot by Mr. Tall Mysterious and Hansom, Simon Chase. They fall in lust. The books fall into several rounds of the two of them running from/fighting the bad guys and having stubborn sexual tension/sex. There were a few painfully obvious plot twists that pushed the story along, the characters out side of Dee and Simon were fairly stock, and Simon seems a bit overly obsessed to be an actual love interest.
Problems aside, the book was a decent "turn off your brain" fun read. No real thoughts necessary, but if one starts to think too much about some of the character's behaviors (particularly Chase's) get rather squicky. He is obsessed with Dee, and the bits from his point of view have points where it just feels like Eden was trying to combine the "vampires can't love, only obsess" from Carmilla and the "I love you but I am dangerous and cannot tell you" from many other vampire romances. It constantly felt a bit like he was going to turn out to be one of the bad guys. His trickery at the start of the book also made him a rather good red herring for the real big bad.
I will probably read more books by this author, but chances are I'll look for them at the library or local used bookstores until I have a better feel for Eden's writing style. Not a must read, but still worth the time....more