In 1990, Nora O’Reilly is fifteen years old with an unruly temper that gets her into farMy rating: 1.5 of 5 stars
*spoilers are hidden in spoiler tags*
In 1990, Nora O’Reilly is fifteen years old with an unruly temper that gets her into far more trouble than would be otherwise necessary. Being angry at the poor situation her family finds itself in, a murdered father, a mother that can’t put down the bottle, and a brother that is the sole breadwinner, Nora takes it upon herself to start selling pills in order to make some side cash. Cash that will hopefully one day get her family out of Ireland and away from the ongoing war for freedom. The only thing it does it get her into more trouble than her temper ever did and before long, she’s signed up to be a member of the Irish Republican Army, and won’t manage to leave Ireland for another 10 years. Flash forward to the year 2004, Nora is now thirty years old and has been spending the last several years of her life as a relief worker in various foreign countries. She’s been having strange dreams for many months which feature the same man who never actually says anything to her yet leaves her with a sense of urgency that has her puzzled. When she dreams of him one night and he actually speaks, asking her to go to a town in Ireland because he needs her help, she brushes it off as nothing but a dream but she can’t completely shake off the pull to follow through on his request. When she does as the man in her dream requested, she ends up on an adventure through time itself, ending up in the year 1923.
Bury the Living was initially tempting to me because it’s a time travel adventure and marketed to fans of Outlander. It’s an understandable similarity, yet, Bury the Living falls undeniably short of living up to the comparison. The writing was enjoyable and kept me reading till the end but the characters themselves really blurred together after a point, except for the main character who seemed to have never grown out of her teenage temper. There’s an extensive focus on the historical detailing of the time as well as a romance, but the confusing aspects of the time travel itself, the inclusion of some puzzling fantasy aspects, and the lack of a logical plot made any positive aspects of this story fall by the wayside.
The historical detailing: This was the best part of the story. This is all information I had to take at face value because I knew little to nothing about the history of Ireland and the wars and strife they went through for decades. It was terrible yet fascinating but quite clear that the author did a lot of research for this book.
The romance: There isn’t a Claire and Jamie type of love, although, they’re truly incomparable. The building blocks were established for the romance in this first installment of the planned series, but I can’t say I felt any sort of chemistry between our two supposed love birds. I expect that will come later.
The time travel: After Nora’s dreams send her to a church in Kildare to find ‘Brigid’, a nun there is prepped and ready because she also had been having dreams warning her of Nora’s impending arrival. With the help of an ancient relic (view spoiler)[a finger bone. An actual finger bone. (hide spoiler)] from Saint Brigid herself, Nora is sent back to the year 1923. I don’t know, it was all just a little too methodical for my liking.
The fantasy aspects/Plot: The majority of this is quite spoilery so I’ll just include these bits in spoiler tags. (view spoiler)[For her to have been sent back in time to change the history of Ireland is one thing, but for it to mainly have been about her breaking the curse of an 1,800 year old man is just ridiculous. Especially since a goddess was the one to send some random mortal back in time to break the curse. Just a little too far-fetched for me to find credible. Then there was the fact that I felt that not enough actually happened. Nora attempts to change things she thinks will be vital in determining the future but quickly realizes that nothing actually changed. What she did had no effect on what ends up happening in some way shape or form. I appreciated this aspect, that it was harder to change the past than one might think, but when change didn’t occur their decision was to go further back in time thinking that would matter. That things were already set in motion, which does make sense. But mostly led to me feeling this book led to nowhere because they resolved nothing. (hide spoiler)]
Bury the Living is an informative time travel adventure through the arduous 1920s of Ireland. It’s evident this is the first installment of a planned series and the ending definitely leaves you hanging whether Nora will ever manage to accomplish her goal of changing the future. Unfortunately, I doubt I’ll be picking up the next book to find out.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
The Voodoo Killings is a brand new Urban Fantasy series by Kristi Charish which introduces Kincaid Strange, a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle, WThe Voodoo Killings is a brand new Urban Fantasy series by Kristi Charish which introduces Kincaid Strange, a voodoo practitioner living in Seattle, Washington. Struggling to make ends meet after losing her job with the Seatle PD and now that raising zombies is technically illegal, Kincaid resorts to making the rent by performing seances. Her roommate, a deceased Seattle grunge rocker by the name of Nate Cade, occasionally assists her with these but it’s often difficult for her to persuade him to stop playing video games to do so. When a local bar owner calls to inform her that an abandoned zombie was discovered in his alley, Kincaid Strange becomes his temporary guardian while she tries to not only find out who turned him and why but to keep others from finding out, mainly her ex-boyfriend Aaron who still works for the Seattle PD.
This book didn’t even make it onto my radar (and I compile an entire list of book releases on my blog so I don’t know how I missed this) but thankfully a blogger friend (Thanks, Tammy!) brought this to my attention and I’m so very glad. I knew next to nothing about this story or the author, only discovering it was about zombies (and ghosts!) and I immediately was all on board. With an intriguing form of magic in addition to a fascinating mystery and a most charming cast of characters, The Voodoo Killings was enticing and incredibly entertaining.
“I mean, there’s hell freezing over, pigs flying, and then there’s me and responsibility.”
It’s so refreshing to read about a heroine that is not only a total badass but has flaws and power limitations and isn’t some perfect superhuman, and that’s exactly how Kincaid Strange is written. She’s brazen, headstrong, and isn’t afraid of handling business. In addition to a lead character that can hold her own, her roommate Nate is all that was needed to make up the perfect dynamic duo. But wait, there’s more! The zombies practically adopts, Cameron, fits right into the group. Kindcaid is constantly finding herself in a bind (or three) and her two sidekicks have her back and are constantly keeping her out of trouble. And even better, there is zero romantic inclinations, just pure, unadulterated friendship.
I loved the characters far more than I expected, but I really relished the intricate details of Charish’s magical world. Rather than your typical post-apocalyptic world where some virus has been unleashed causing the existence of zombies, these zombies only come alive because a voodoo practitioner makes it so. The added details regarding the dead being brought back to life to solve land disputes or to discover who murdered them was an amusing concept. Just as long as they consumed a steady supply of brains (animals brains worked in a pinch but human brains really did the trick) they remained fairly coherent for the most part. Additional interesting tidbits included details about different bindings as well as much discussion about Otherside or the energy Kindcaid draws from which comes from the land of the dead.
It was an incredibly compelling story and I enjoyed every minute of it and I do mean every minute in the literal sense. I listened to the audiobook and Susannah Jones’ narration was absolutely brilliant. I am not a night owl at all but I found myself staying up till 1:30am one night because I couldn’t stop listening. Her various voices and accents for both male and female was phenomenal and she no doubt made this already fantastic story into something even better.
Urban Fantasy fans, don’t let this one go unnoticed! The Voodoo Killings possesses a mystery that will keep you guessing, a cast of character you wish you could call friends, and a unique magic system. The ending will leave you hoping there was a second installment ready and waiting. Alas, there isn’t yet. I definitely wont be letting that one fly under my radar though.
It’s a bit difficult to find a copy of this one considering it was published by Random House Canada and currently the only format that can be purchased in the US is the audible version (but I highly recommend the audio!)...more
At one point his life, Conor McBride was a successful concert violinist, but he’s reverted back to his roots and has gone homMy rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
At one point his life, Conor McBride was a successful concert violinist, but he’s reverted back to his roots and has gone home to Ireland to care for his mother and the family farm. This life change came after his brother, Thomas, was involved in an international case of fraud that just so happened to involve Conor after he signed documents that he didn’t bother to review. Thomas disappeared and Conor spent the next several years living a life of simplicity, paying the fines that the McBride family became stuck with. Five years go by and a gentleman from the British intelligence agency knocks on Conor’s door requisitioning his assistance in locating the brother he presumed was long gone. Suddenly, his life of simplicity gets very complicated.
While Deceptive Cadence is a fast paced spy thriller, however, the real essence of the story centers around family and the lengths that you would go for them regardless of history. The idea of a simple farmer (or even musician) being commissioned to become a member of MI6 at the drop of the hat may be far fetched, but Conor McBride is one of those individuals that catch on quick but the fact that he has to do well in order to protect his brother is never far from his mind. His fast-paced training takes him out of the villages in Ireland and thrusts him into a new world. While searching for his brother he experiences religious retreats known as ashrams in Rishikesh India to the cities of Mumbai.
‘For the first time his senses began to register the exotic, heady atmosphere of Mumbai…the odors most insistently demanded his attention. There were layers upon layers of them, all present at once but individually distinct. They shifted in strength and character with the ocean breeze that blew soft, irregular gusts across his face. First came the sharp tang of engine fuel mingled with an even more acrid burning smell, as though something unnatural had been set alight to blanket the city with a smoldering stench. A shift in the air’s direction brought a fresher aroma of salt and brine floating in from the sea. It gave way to the hot smell of spices frying in oil, which in turn incongruously merged with the subtle reek of garbage.’
The authors clear research into this part of the globe takes the reader on a fascinating journey to far off parts of the world and describes Conor’s surroundings in fantastic detail. Conor was an enjoyable character that managed to contribute a dash of whimsy to a story that could have been nothing but dark and mysterious.
‘His instructions for the flight had been unequivocal. He was to remain quiet and anonymous, avoiding unnecessary conversation and making every effort to appear as invisible as possible. He presumed this meant someone had ensured that the aisle seat would remain empty. Surely an intelligence expert of any quality – particularly a British one – would not expect an Irishman to sit next to someone for nine hours without talking.’
In addition to a compelling main character and an enticing storyline, the Ireland born audiobook narrator, Wayne Farrell, only further impressed me with his storytelling ability. If you’re a fan of John le Carré and/or spy-thrillers, Deceptive Cadence could be an unexpected treat.
I received this book free from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first‘All of them were in a state of metamorphosis. Tails became legs. Fins sank into flesh. Gills vanished, causing their owners to choke on their first breaths of air. There were elderly creatures, babies, teenagers, and families, all climbing onto the beach, eyeing us with wide-eyed wonder. At first they numbered in the hundreds, then thousands, until eventually I could no longer see the sand for all the bodies.’
Three years ago, a mysterious species of ocean-dwellers emerged from the depths of the sea to take their place on land. Since those three years, the creatures that call themselves the Alpha have set up camp on the beaches of Coney Island leaving the humans in the dark as to their intentions. In an attempt to integrate the Alphas into society and to hopefully suppress the ongoing intolerance they face, the government has negotiated that some of their children attend public schools. Lyric Walker has a secret which has caused her to keep a low profile in an attempt to avoid close scrutiny. The disclosure of this secret could mean her death yet when she’s assigned to personally work with the prince of the Alphas she becomes fearful that her secret won’t be secret for very long.
Undertow is strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite movies, District 9, where a race of aliens arrive on Earth in an attempt to find refuge. It’s nothing like you would expect since it focuses less on the invasion itself and more on the prejudices and hatred that this different species faces. The injustices that they suffer. Undertow takes a similar route with these creatures that are immediately forced to undergo an intolerance that no species should ever have to endure. It was also reminiscent of the racial desegregation during the American Civil Rights Movement when black students became allowed to attend “white schools”, just with another species of course. Regardless of who the “foreigner” is though it showcased just how rampant xenophobia can become in our narrow-minded society.
‘Its skin is swamp brown and highlighted in eggplant purple; its mouth is a huge gaping hole. Teeth lean in all directions like tombstones in an abandoned cemetery. Its empty eyes are calm and black, offering little evidence of life or intelligence, and a long, wormlike appendage dangles from the top of its head to its bottom lip, ending in a bright, glowing bulb. It grunts and clicks and barks at us.’
The most interesting aspect of this tale were the descriptions and detailing of the sea creatures which only added to their alluring mystery. There are various different clans among the Alphas which are basically different forms of the same species and they’re all interesting (and sometimes terrifying) in their own way. The Alphas were fierce and ferocious creatures and the mystery surrounding their appearance on land remains a mystery for the greater part of the novel. That mystery possessed an interesting twist that I thoroughly enjoyed and can’t wait to see how it pans out in the next installment.
Undertow is more than some science fiction invasion story. It’s a story about family and honor, of respect and deference. And about overcoming prejudices and not standing for intolerance. Undertow was a most appealing tale and a tenacious start to this trilogy.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more