Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Paula Hawkins: Girl on the Train

Paula Hawkins takes readers on a train ride (pun intended, you ride the train a lot in this book) of mystery and emotions, when you cannot quite remember what happened:

She rides the train in to London every day, just to cover up that she has lost her job and is no longer working. While on the train each day she starts it with a few drinks and watching the people who live along the train line. She passes her old residence where she had love and a future. Now there is a new happy couple living there and one of them is her ex-husband Tom. This is why she drinks, she cannot face the life that she now has when she once had the best life with Tom. the other house she notices is the one at the end of the street, where a new couple lives and she imagines them having a perfect life as they both look perfect. But when Megan goes missing, Rachel feels like she has seen something, knows something about her life that can find her. She wants to help the police but her own turmoil of a life put everything she knows and saw as well as her life at risk.

I tend to stay away from books that have a lot of hype around them (like fifty shades of grey) at least until the hype dies down a bit but I'll admit that I picked up this book because that it was being turned in to a movie and I always like to compare the book and movie. Based upon how amazing and awesome this book is being hailed, it took me way too long to finish it and I do not think that I should be able to figure out the "big" twist ect, fairly early in the book too, so this hindered my overall enjoyment of the book. I think that Hawkins does a good job of trying to lead the reader to different opinions on what not only happened to Megan but ultimately who is responsible, I just think her attempts were lacking in imagination.

I liked Rachel as a main character with all her flaws around alcoholism, blackouts and her bipolar disorder. This adds real dimension to her character as she tries to muddle through what happened to her that night. All these flaws make her character not only damaged but also interesting. As her mind is pretty jumbled chapters about her and from her point of view can be frustrating as a reader as you really just want her to remember. Her decision making process is also not the greatest too and she end up getting herself in trouble more than once with the decisions she makes, but it is her overall eagerness to help that makes her endearing and the character you cheer for.

I think that I must have a different idea of what a thriller is supposed to be but for me other than the last quarter of the book I did not have this feeling. For me a thriller needs to leave me on the edge of my seat, have me staying up late to read just one more chapter and this did not achieve this for me. It was an interesting who-done-it type of book, but thriller it is not.

For me this book was a disappointment due to all the hype associated with it and the fact that it was being turned in to a movie. I would read another book by Hawkins as I think that she explored some interesting aspects in the book especially around Rachel's alcoholism.

Enjoy!!!
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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Darynda Jones: Third Grave Dead Ahead

If you want to start this series, you will want to read the first two book before this one, First Grave on the Right and Second Grave on the Left.

In the Third book in her Grim Reaper series, Darynda Jones takes the reader on a ride from Reyes to a missing person case:

Charley Davidson, aka Grim Reaper (though not the cloaked skull looking one) did not know what the consequences would be by binding Reyes to his physical body. She certainly did not see it leading to her not sleeping for 14 days straight. It's hard for her to function or do work in her private investigators business but she trudges ahead. When a strange missing person case comes to Charley she has to drink as much caffeine as possible in order to stay on her game as it sounds to her that this missing person case is about to become a homicide.

It was about 2013 the last time I read a book in this series, it was one that I remembered enjoying but for some reason stopped reading it. So I decided to pick it up again, and I will say that it is funny how taste can change over a few years. You basically get hit with a sex scene right from the beginning (not my favourite thing in books) and this set the main tone for the majority of this book. I will say that it was easy to pick back up in this series even after three years as Jones does a good job of rehashing the major points from the previous two books in the series

I'm a sucker for a Grim Reaper. I personally have not read too many books that feature a Grim Reaper so I am always interested in seeing different authors interpretation of that character. I find that Charlie is the portal to heaven interesting and I wonder if that aspect can be developed further later in the series. I also find it interesting that Charley does not know the extent of her powers, other than talking to the departed, and that she has not taken the time to really learn what she can do. I also hope that her additional powers are developed later in the series.

I can say that I am not fan of Charley for the most part of the book, I just found her pretty whiny and maybe a little too much of a smart ass. Maybe all her snarky comments was just Jones playing up her lack of sleep in the book. I cannot remember her in the previous books and what she was like, but I do remember liking her, so it is possible that Jones is really trying to make Charley as real as possible. I know I would be barely (and I really mean not) hanging on without sleeping for 14 days. However, Charley does have her redeeming characteristics of putting herself in the line of danger so that others can survive or do not get hurt. Can you enjoy a book and not really like the main character? I would say in this instance yes, as I did find myself enjoying the book, just with more eye rolls that usual as I read it when Charley would have a very immature, stupid or extremely bad timed comment.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, minus the main character, so I'll see how things goes in the fourth book to really help me decide if I will go on from there (I checked and there are eight books so far in this series, that is serious commitment if I do not like the main character).

Enjoy!!
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Angela Marsons: Blood Lines


Normally with this series it is not necessary to read the previous books in the series (Silent Scream, Evil Games, Lost Girls and Play Dead), but this book is the exception. At the very least you need to read Evil Games in order to understand the cat and mouse game that Kim and Alex have going on. That book really set the past history that they have. That said all the books are really good reads and I think you will want to continue on after you read the first book Silent Scream.

What is the connection between a local caring upstanding social worker and a local drug addict have in common. Kim and her team are baffled as the only connection is the same precise stab wound to the heart. To make matters worse Kim is off her game with the return of Alex Thorne, who is not done with Kim yet. As the body count continues to grow, Kim cannot seem to focus on the case as Alex is forever in her mind, trying but failing Kim becomes more and more wrapped up in her "Game".

Mike Drop....Pen Drop....Book Drop..... Not sure which one applies to books, but I was extremely excited when I saw that Alex was going to be back in this book. Alex is one of my favourite antagonist in a mystery series. Alex is not only the master of manipulation but an actor who is able to become the person that you want her to be. It is very interesting that Alex is able to understand emotions but not feel them. Although Alex is not able to manipulate Kim as much as should would like in this book (face to face time is hard when you're in prison), we are still able to the resources that Alex has and her reach even when she was in prison were astounding. Her planning and forethought really point to the sociopath that she is, and well as you can probably tell I just loved having her back. Alex is not even the main issue/case in this book, Alex really acts as a diversion to Kim and really takes a toll on Kim mentally that her work is suffering. The main mystery is also interesting and I will say that the diary entries will make more sense at the end of the book.

It was nice to see that Kim has changed from the first book and has made strides since the very first book. Her growth has been slow but Marsons does allow some milestones in her personality and relationships. You can really see this with her relationship with Bryant. We also see more of her haunting past, and while we had some of the information in previous books, there was more elaboration of the events.
I'm not sure if I just never noticed it in the previous books in this series, but Stacey's slang really bothered me in this book. It just seemed more pronounced and constant and well just annoying to me. It is something very minor overall in the book but I guess it was there enough that I really began to notice it.

This is one of my favourite thriller/mystery series that I read and I was so excited when Alex was back in this book. I cannot wait for Marsons to release another book in this series.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, December 12, 2016

Keri Arthur: Winter Halo

You will need to read the first book, City of Light, in order to fully grasp what is going on within this book as the whole plot and a large part of the word building is done there. Additionally, I think that it was a really good read so you should just pick the book up.

The world thought that all the d├ęchet were massacred during the last war, but Tig has survived and her secret is now out. Although many do not trust her, they have to put their faith in her to find the missing children. When all signs lead to a pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo, Tig needs to infiltrate the company. What she finds will scar her forever and it is going to take all her special abilities and gifts in order to come out not only alive but in one piece.

You never know how the second book in a series is going to go. There are some that are just as good as the first and (which happens more often) pale in comparison to the first book. I am happy to report that this book is in the first category and a really good follow up book to the first book and there were aspects in this book that I liked more. I found that this book was not only darker but more descriptive in those parts. The whole king of body farm aspect/human experimentation was completely creepy and Arthur really did not hold back here.

I'm glad that Arthur introduced additional information about rifts as this was one of the aspects in the world building that I found under explained in the first book and a bit confusing; especially the major role that the rifts have had in both books. Now I have a whole new set of ideas of what is really going on and what the rifts are, what they accomplishes. I think that the rifts are some sort of magic from another dimension or planet something to that affect. They are there to really weed out the weak from the strong as well as act as portals for these other creatures that made the portal to come through, and i think that is what those creatures are trying to create for them; a perfect army to take over. No idea if my thoughts are right, complete speculation on my part, but that is the feeling/ide, just glad that i'm able to get to this point instead of just scratching my head about them.

I found that the sex scenes were shorter, which I appreciated, I think this may be due to the fact that Tig was doing it more as an investigative part than reliving times with a close friend. However, there were times that I questioned whether Tig needed to follow that avenue of investigation and maybe Arthur was just using it to have sex scenes in the book but the more I thought about it, this is where Tig is supposed to excel. Not every avenue of investigation is going to get the result or outcomes that you hope it will and when I take that in to consideration I understand why Arthur had these scenes. Plus hey they were shorter, so major points in my book.

Still love Tig as a main character. She uses her strengths to the best of her ability even if that does mean sex, but she is a great fighter as well and she has not wasted her time alone in learning how to fight, even if this goes against what she was created to do. I would love to have some ghosts of my own to help me out, I think this is one of the more interesting aspects in this series. I just love Cat and Bear and their ability to help out Tig and I think that with some of the events that happened in this book things can only get more interesting.

This book lived up to the first one and while I still have questions, Arthur was able to keep me on the edge of my seat and of course wanting more. I am very interested and excited to see how this trilogy is going to play out.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, November 28, 2016

Noah Hawley: Before the Fall

Noah Hawley explores the many aspects of what happens when tragedy strikes:

Eleven people board a plane, one of them is a painter, Scott, who has had a rough past and the other 10 are from a privileged background and Scott knows that he is lucky to be on this plane. Sixteen minutes after the flight takes off, it crashes into the Ocean and everyone dies except for Scott and a young boy. Scott is being hailed as a hero, but there are some who do not believe his story and have questions they want answered, especially why was he on that plan as he clearly did not belong there. Here is the story of Scott and the other passengers Before the Fall as we explore what caused the plane to crash.

Normally when I find an author that is transferring from the small or big screen to writing a fiction novel, their books have fallen flat. I find that you can tell they are used to writing something for a visual audience not one where the audience sees with their mind not their eyes. However, I do not think that this is the case with Hawley. I found that this book was well written and descriptive. I think that this had to do with the main character (I say main character as we have the most POV from Scott) being an artist by trade and Hawley uses this to his advantage when we are inside Scott's head. The book becomes more dimensional in it's world building and what is occurring because of Scott.

I enjoyed how Hawley went back and forth between the past and present but it was kind of  morbid and sad in a way as you get to know some of the other characters in the book, whether you like them or dislike them, but you know that these are going to be their final moments, especially that of the children (though we do not get their perspective). This was extremely well done, very interesting, and I personally have not read a book that took in to account the perspectives of those who have died before.

It was nice to really have a hero in this book who was just a regular guy who thrown into these specific set of circumstances he is able to save his life and that on a little boy. I think that Scott portrayed a very realistic sense of the people who are every day hero, in which they do not think of themselves as such and that people just want to be part of their limelight (even if they do not want it) plus

I enjoyed the main antagonist in this book Bill Cunningham who was so concerned in finding out the "truth" and pointing out the flaw of our hero that he goes out of his way to break the law. Cunningham also reminded me of Trump in a way as he would make a mountain out of a mole hill especially in regards to Scott going in to hiding and not wanting the media attention on him.

Overall, was an interesting read, but was not quite the thriller I was expecting, more a mystery and exploration in to human behaviour, which it what I really enjoyed. I did find it slow at times but I think Hawley did this on purpose because there were so many people to explore and not all of them can live an interesting life, have sort of scandal or skeleton in their closet (there are just normal people out there too). I would read another book by Hawley and I'm excited to see what he comes up with next.

Enjoy!!!
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Monday, November 14, 2016

J.F. Lewis: Staked

In the first of a series, J. F. Lewis shows the reader just how wrong the vampire making process can go:

Eric wakes up covered in blood, which normally would not be that bad of a thing being a vampire, but it is never a good thing when you don't remember whose blood is all over you, who you have killed and most of all being outside this close to sunrise (unless you have a death wish). These are just a few of Eric's overall issues. Add in that his girlfriend desperately wants him to turn her into a vampire and a religious based lycanthrope group wants to kill him, it's no wonder that Eric is "slightly" insane. Now he just has to survive long enough to figure all these aspects out. They never said being a vampire would be easy and it sure beats the alternative of being dead.

The cover of the book does not do this book justice, and does not portray this book accurately as I think the book is way better than the cover dictates. However, this book was published in 2008 so that probably had something to do with it as it was covers like this one that sold back then. Really other than the main character owning a stripper joint (good place to get money and blood) the cover has nothing to do with the darker, funny and action orientated story that is on the inside. I'm not kidding this book seemed like such a contradiction to the cover that I was surprised with the book inside (but in my opinion it was a good surprise). Also the main character in this book is male, so I find it weird that it is possible Tabitha is the main focus the cover.

Have you ever wondered what would happen to someone who was going through becoming a vampire only to be thought dead and embalmed part way through? I know I never ever thought of it, but Lewis did and lets just say what comes out isn't entirely whole and pretty quirky too. This is Eric's creation story, and i think this is one of my main reason why I liked him and this book as he is very different. You can really see that the embalming has had an affect on him, not so much physically but mentally for sure; in fact he is kind of insane at times (most times really), lacks any type of for thought and judgement and his memory is horrible though I guess his blackout moments do not help. Eric is loyal to a fault (well except when it comes to the women he is dating, but to his friends, children and those he has made into vampires, he is very loyal to them even when he shouldn't be).

There were times when I liked Tabitha but I found more often than not she acted like a spoiled brat. Maybe this was Lewis' intention to really show the age difference between Eric and Tabitha as well as Marilyn and Tabitha but she was just whiny to me. I personally would have chose to have Greta more as the feature female in this story over Tabitha but you can tell that Lewis has big plans for her and really Greta seems a little bit crazy in her own right so I can understand Lewis not wanting two insane people for the leads.

This book did have some flaws in the mystery aspect falls flat and the conclusion that takes Eric and his team/friends, forever to come to is really obvious (I mean really really obvious). So this was a bit of a let down for me in this book. Mystery was for sure not the high point of this book, where Lewis excelled though was in his creation of Eric.  

For me there was too much sex in the book, but that is just personal preference, as the scenes were not that long, just a few too many of them for my taste. Additionally, i did become annoyed with all the times that both Eric and Tabitha thought about sex or how hot some guy or girl was, but once again this is just personal preference.

Although the mystery was lacking in this book, I was really intrigued with Eric as a character and the overall plot layout of the book that I ended up enjoying this book. I am looking forward to reading the next book and learning more about Eric.

Enjoy!!!
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