Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: A Darker Domain

A Darker Domain A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow!
Complicated, long winded and twisted story. Could not guess most of the twists and although long it was still very gripping and suspenseful. And tragic.
The reality of the miner-strike integrated very well as the background for this novel.
Highly recommended. Standalone - Val McDermid at her possible best, but I still like her series even more, even though some books drag a little in the middle.



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Review: Where The Dead Ones Play: A Supernatural Horror

Where The Dead Ones Play: A Supernatural Horror Where The Dead Ones Play: A Supernatural Horror by Kyle M. Scott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Just started it for breakfast (I read everywhere and often during eating), language is rich.
Slow start, with more tell and no show (so far).
At 38% and 37 min. reading time left (which is unreliable) I hope to finish this soon, also to start something more suspenseful or even interesting.
Although the horror starts to built, so far not twists, more musings from a loving father and a boring son, who I would gladly kill off where this my book, to write something interesting.
As at least two persons whose reviews I follow liked this book, I am still hoping for a surprise twist and as this has not happened yet, I see a meager 2 stars coming, 1 of them for the language, but that does not save it, yet.

Rate this 2.5 Stars, rounded down to 2.
Language was rich and very good descriptions, but also too much from the MC inner musings, which where boring. Nice fight scenes and a little supernatural Horror, and while I did not guess the twists, I was also not gripped as other by this book. This also shows in the reading time, I started up (and finished some) a few different books, while this is a not a long book, it took me to long as I found it boring, while it gets brutal, bloody and cruel, I could not connect to any of the (few) people in the book, and could not care less if some other explanation had been written. A little past romance, a little explicit lonely sex-scene. Could in my view probably still rated for YA, not very adult. Would not recommend this to anyone, as I found it not really scary, but younger teens (12-14 yrs) might find this better, but probably not the intended target group.

In end, most everything is neatly solved. The language was great, very vivid descriptions, but also at times too much, nearly repetitive, and the father-boy relationship was way overplayed.

In comparison to one of the last books I read: Lost Girls, a solid 5 star, that one is as horrific, and even more realistic as it does not stray into the fantastic. As this book is outside of my normal reading genre, I am not too surprised (should read Lovecraft again, to see wether I still like him, maybe that also has changed, as it could have been 1990 or earlier since I last read him), I wanted to see how I like this, well, this is answered.

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Review: Blue Labyrinth

Blue Labyrinth Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review to follow, sorry, that I am late in writing reviews.
To lazy and too late to write a real review.
Too obvious, therefore only 4 stars.
Getting bored of Pendergast.

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Review: White Fire

White Fire White Fire by Douglas Preston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

.Review to follow, sorry, that I am late in writing reviews..
While still good, I think the series should come to an end.
This books is with Corrie Swanson, which is more interesting, the next books tend to be more of the same Pendergast stories and I am more interested in Corrie S. than in Pendergast nowadays.

Still recommended, although other reviews speak of factual or logic errors, bad sign if that is true, that I overlooked them.

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Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Not having seen the movie (yet, waiting for the Blu-ray), I pre-ordered this book August 31, 2016 and think it is a wortwhile, very good adaption, as stated by the publisher with additional scenes giving more insight.
Well, that remains to be seen, when compared to the movie. Will add to this review then, or add that as a comment.

Dark, so far as I remember from the official Star Wars movies/books the highest body-count. Body-count being counted as viewed deaths on-screen, so killing and showing 10 people during combat counts, blowing up a city or a moon does not count, as you do not see the people die.

Reasonably fast read, also as I did only know the other parts of the story (Princess Leia, RIP Carrie Fisher meeting R2D2/C-3Po etc.), only few things where obvious. Some twists where not, and the newly introduced persons where complex and well written, mostly. The blind Jedi was a bit repetitive with his chanting and musings, and could have been deeper and more developed.

Recommended, even for non-Star Wars-fans. But normal fans will get more out of this book.



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Review: Snarl

Snarl Snarl by Celina Grace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The best so far in this series. Also feels like in the UK most of the time, only very little romance and I think the book is better that way, some sex mentioned, but no explicit or long scenes, also rather tame, nothing kinky.

Would have liked a deeper look or more meat around the story of the main baddy. The twist with the crime as revealed in the end could not be guessed, and I was rather sad to see the story ending there. Would have liked more of that, and the nearly always unanswered question what happens after the crime is solved? While the storyline as presented was so far the best of all the Kate Redman books (some I read out of order), the ending left me unsatisfied. Given that, I normally like it, that the books in the series are short novels, and a fast read, but this could have been longer
for me.

Highly recommended, with 4 stars, would have been 5 one or more of my problems would have been adressed. Just to be sure, I state it again: for me so far the best in the series.

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Review: Lost Girls

Lost Girls Lost Girls by Angela Marsons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Unicorns jump through Rainbows, light Music is playing in the background, while you stroll barefoot through grass and savor the wet feeling from the morning dew. HEA all around. SCREEEETCH the sound of fingernails on the
chalkboard
, sorry, took a wrong turn.

Trigger-warning: children, psychological and physical torture promised and short torture-scenes, but not too explicit or drawn out. Cruelty to animals. No rape, little to no romance, no sex.

Nearly read this great page-turner in a day, only sleep and the need to cook and eat something prevented that - although I usually read while eating. This was also fueled by great pacing, no dull times in the middle and a lot of relatively short chapters - you always think, you can read just one more ... .

Gritty, horrific, dark tale, and I tried to guess the mastermind, but was wrong twice.

The hint at a coming romance in the last book was not pursued. Great storytelling, great women, betrayal, the whole lot.

Ending is it a bit much, but believable written in the situation with Kim running towards the end-fight. Nicely done, and she is not entirely alone this time.

Very highly recommended page-turner, as good as the last book, and I do not regret that I already bought all available books in the series. Just have to keep myself from reading them back-to-back, as there are only two left and sometimes (James Patterson, I am looking at you!) I get fed up with too much writing in the same style from the same author.

After a few disappointments, or series which tend to offer too much Romance (Celina Grace - Kate Redman Mysteries, which I still consider good, but not supergood 3-4 stars), this is even better than Robert Bryndza - Detective Erika Foster, which so far only features 3 books.

In 2016 these 3 series (Kim Stone, Erika Foster, Kate Redman) where all new to me, and while comparable, Kim and Erika score the highest points in (to me) new crime-thriller-mystery, fiction, non-SF, non-Fantasy. Not as far out as Mo Hayder, who also had some lesser books (Pig Island, Tokyo/Devil of Nanking dragged in places), not as epic as Val McDermid.
Angela Marsons is an author I will probably buy other books without hesitation and without checking reviews or blurbs first (until I get burned).

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Review: The Braque Connection

The Braque Connection The Braque Connection by Estelle Ryan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Snatched this up for free, as I was not too satisfied with the last book, I would not have bought this.
Not sure, if and when I will read it.
Not recommended. A few short suspenseful scened (the beginning) could not save it, without spoiling it, it is dangerous to say more. Not enough twists, and I think there should have been more people killed. Would have liked to be surprised, but sadly I was not, it plays out like I expected from nearly the beginning, and even that could been more interesting. The little group huddles together and manage to somehow solve the crime, not very convincing. While the idea was good and different in the first book, now it is worn out for me and too much of the same is not very interesting. Still regard the second book as the best so far in the series (the crime was better). Sex is mentioned, romance is advancing, but no details, which I think is ok for this story, explicit (or kinky) sex-scenes would have been nice, but would not have saved the book and would not have fit in the feeling from the first two books.
Took me too long to read it, as I had to force myself to finish it. Thought about DNFing it, but my Kindle displayed a supposed 90min. reading time left, which did not warrant it to DNF for me. That said, the 90 min. was stretched into 3 days while looking in other books and doing other things.
Glad I did not pay for it, may not even read the next books if the they are free for me.

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Review: Silent Scream

Silent Scream Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On a lark and as the price was ok, I bought the (current) rest of the series, having already bought this one in 2015 and the fourth book June 2016.
Setting is in the UK (hm, for some reason I thought Ireland, not sure where that came from).
This is comparable to the Kate Redman series and the Erika Foster series.
So what is the difference or why should you read it - or not)?
First you might read this review of the third Erika Foster, a clear 5 star and this review if Imago (Kate Redman).

So what is this book? As a first in a series, and because I feel like it, I gave 4 stars. The UK-feeling is bit better than, in "Imago", but still not as good as in the "Erika Foster" books. But that may change with the next books, for better or worse. What is also comparable are the the heroines, Kim vs. Erika vs. Kate, all are strong willed, flawed and do their own thing, being single, mostly keeping to themself and getting reprimanded despite their success-rate.

Interesting twists, which although clues where given (I did not check back, but believe they where given), most I did not see coming, one is rather surprising, one I did see coming, it was just too obvious, but I cannot write about it, without spoiling the story. As most twists where near the end, it became a bit much, and one felt like a break in the story, not being built-up to it, just directly after the first reveal.
Also in the middle (as I find a lot of crime books, even Val McDermid at times) it dragged a little, with suspense highest in the beginning and the last third. So it was not entirely a page-turner and took me too long, but that may also be because of other duties beside reading.

Highly recommended, I do not believe that will change with the next books, but wether they warrant 4 or even 5 stars remains to be seen.

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Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A collection of short stories or novellas centering around one of my favourite characters from The Mortal Instruments: Simon Lewis. Being a geek/nerd myself, this is the character I can most relate to.

Most stories are very good, all offer more insight in some of background of what happened, even going back two centuries with a tale from Tessa about London in the late 19th Century, although not having read Clockwork Prince nor (obviously) Clockwork Princess I was mildly spoiled by what I did not know yet (but guessed from other books) about Tessa.

The next to last story "Born to Endless Night" was the one I disliked most, while a surprise, it was not what I wanted to read, also I am no fan of Magnus Bane, have not yet bought nor read some of his extra stories, and am not sure I will.

This is not really functioning as a standalone, and regarding the spoilers, you should already have read all 6 books from the Mortal Instruments and all 3 from the Infernal devices.

As I thought this was somewhat mild, not much happening, it went out with a bang, although I guessed that twist, it was still surprising.

Still, even with the story I did not like, highly recommended.

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Review: The Lost Girls

The Lost Girls The Lost Girls by Allison Brennan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pre-Ordered (as is the next one in this excellent series) this as soon as it was possible.
Another one in my favorite "Lucy Kincaid"-series by Allison Brennan.
This might just work as a standalone, but I advice against it.

Excellent twists and turns, although one twist was obvious for me, I will not mention it, so as not to spoil it. Romance between Lucy/Sean takes a left turn, while in the beginning planning the marriage.
Complicated, and with Lucy a bit over the top, both her inner turmoil and her actions. So what, it is very well written, as always and even with the distressing themes a real page-turner.
Highly recommended, but it helps to have read some or all of the books in the Lucy Kincaid-series, or even some of the others in the Universe of Kincaid/Rogan.

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Review: Bitter Moon

Bitter Moon Bitter Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! As dark as it gets, with horrifying crimes committed and described in detail.
Alternating POV between Cara (Past) and Agent Roarke (Present), who takes the same path which Cara took Age 14, growing up and killing IT whenever she can, IT being people with the evil inside, like a demon or the devil in disguise. The FBI-Agent is on sabbatical in the beginning of the book, but gets sucked into Cara's past and is as conflicted about her, as ever.
Page-turner if you can stand it. My guess is, this will be an easy 5star recommended for hard-core readers, who have read Mo Hayder, Simon Beckett, Michael Slade etc. . Can be read as a standalone, and out of order, as most what happened is hinted or repeated during the telling, without being boring or repeating too much - granted it has been a rather long time since I read the last book in the series, so I maybe wrong.
Extremely recommended, one of my favourite books this year, 5stars strong and easily.
Not too much action, but the search for one of the killers and the decision wether to kill him or not and how the story may go on in the next book (there is strong indication that there will be next book), keeps this real and I like the way the decision falls. The Cara - Roarke relationship is together with Chelsea Cain's Archie - Gretchen one of the strongest and best pairs in crime, as unusual as female serial-killers are (wether Cara is one may be up for debate). My only regret is the waiting time till the next book.

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Review: Matt Helm - The Intimidators

Matt Helm - The Intimidators Matt Helm - The Intimidators by Donald Hamilton
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not the book I searched for.

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