Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Review: Exhume

Exhume Exhume by Danielle Girard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Got this cheap, less than half the normal price, cannot remember why, and had this for a few months on my virtual bought-TBR-pile of ebooks.
Needed a break from Not Alone (although I should gritt my teeth and read the last 45min. or so to end that finally), this was updated on my Kindle January 21st, 2017 so I started it that day.
Most of the story is suspenseful and interesting idea - the heroine, Anna, is separated from her abusive husband, named Spencer, for 7 years now, he is not signing the divorce papers. Instead he stalks her.
The story of her having no proof for the abuse and how she lived a few years in that kind of marriage, her own mother standing by his side and not knowing what happened to her own daughter, is entirely belivable and rings of a sad truth. The situation supported by laws and society where they live, making divorce difficult without proof of abuse, playing in his hands.

This part gets 4 solid stars from me, others later would get 3 stars, with an uncertain ending, so I settle for 3.5 stars, for a good first one in a series rounded up to 4.

Main reason for maybe getting 3 stars is the plan to get him convicted, steering clear into illegal ideas, and at least one time thinking about killing Spencer. At the time this plan is hatched, there is no proof he directly killed anyone, and even if he ordered it, others might get free because of that plan.
Description of places, animals, plants where good, and not too much, a plus for me, as remember a few books which lost steam because of the descriptions (Dark Places comes to mind). Then Anna has a medical problem, which gets a bit much, but is very well integrated in the plot, leaving it open how it plays out and wether somehow Spencer was responsible.
Medical things where also very well done, this is for me (I am no expert, though!) on par with Kathy Reichs and others. This info from the blurb was what probably got me into buying that book, as I have no notes of a recommendation or review (if someone did, sorry).

Also, while the case itself is not entirely solved, he had people doing things for him and that situation is open in the end - this may all be solved in the next book, meaning this is not to be read as a standalone. As the second is yet to be published Excise on August 22nd 2017 as per Goodreads, I will reserve judgement until then - but am not too sure that I will buy that book and read it.

Thinking about it, there where entirely to many threads unsolved, so I would advise to read this with the second book available or near its publishing date, to read them back to back.
Wether this really warrants the 4 stars I gave it, remains to be seen. If and when I read the second the book, I will add a comment here and review the second book accordingly.

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Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: Deliver Us From Evil

Deliver Us From Evil Deliver Us From Evil by Allison Brennan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ending ovious, not enough twists. Could have been cheaper.
Recommended as a sexy romance book with supernatural story-line.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Shy Girls Write it Better

Shy Girls Write it Better Shy Girls Write it Better by May Sage
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nice fluffy romance with no errors, a little kink, but not much, and a few sex-scenes which could have been longer or more explicit.
As with some other (sel-published?) books, too many previews (3) throw the supposed remaining reading displayed by the Kindle of, when the book ended, there where 29 min. of my reading speed left. Needles to say, I only skimmed the chapters.
Recommended for a rainy weekend-afternoon or two alone on the couch with something warm to drink, as the weather rains cats and dogs outside and howls sleet against the windows. Might read more of this series sometime, then again, maybe not, whatever.

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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Review: Evil Games

Evil Games Evil Games by Angela Marsons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great Villain!
Superperb idea. One of the best Villains I have read in all my books so far! Would love to see this filmed as a TV-series ("Wire in the blood" was cancelled too soon).

Would like to read more about her. For different reasons I place her right up there with Gretchen from
Chelsea Cain (Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell series).

Very highly recommended, the good writing from the first book keeps getting better.

For a deeper insight in this series see my review for "Lost Girls - Kim Stone #03"

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Review: Nerve

Nerve Nerve by Jeanne Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Switched the edition on Goodreads to the Movie-tie-in-Cover (Kindle-Version).
Hope to finish it 2016, today being December 30th, 2016. Reading this together with the Circle, an incredibly boring book, which covers some of the same problems (no privacy, paranoia, etc.) with a different premise, which sounded interesting, but the writing is so bad, I will probably never start a book by Dave Eggers again.
Both books have also been filmed so there is more to compare, I already bought Nerve as a Blu-ray, will probably try to watch Circle as cheap as possible (Netflix/Prime or a used Blu-ray).

Finished the book just minutes after Midnight December 31st, 2016.
Wanted to watch the movie after breakfast, but my Blu-ray player shows wrong region, which I will switch later and watch another movie instead.

The book is a reasonable fast read and I strongly recommend to read in a few days. As I did not, the prologue was lost on me, after I finished the book, I skimmed it again, to check the names and put it into the context. As I do not remember names too well (sometimes I am a numbers kind of guy, but mostly I just do not remember, getting old...), I thought the person in the prologue was "V" - the MC, but it was not, my bad. Also later in the book they talk about part of what happened in the prologue, but tell mostly what happened exactly after the prologue which muddled it for me.

In the book, something that sure will come to pass in a short while, the viewers are aptly called Watchers and film the tasks with their smartphones or cameras, for the chance to get credit or things they crave. This also true for participants in the NERVE-game, they do it for getting expensive things or services (like payed for education) they crave.

Recommended for the fair warning about the direction shows like Big Brother and the like might go. As I do not watch a lot current live TV, and I hate shows like "Candid Camera" -German "Verstehen sie Spass?" says it all, roughly translated as "Do you understand fun?", not my kind of show, I do not consider this kind of pranks fun and cannot laugh about that, so my answer is a firm "No" with capital "N", this confirmed my worst fears: I just see someone pick this up as a manual and develops a show like it.
Probably only money reasons and the fact that nearly everything is traceable nowadays will stop them, but other shows are not too far from it - "I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!" comes to mind, I think, as far as I know about that show.
While I can see the appeal for some viewers, even participating with voting per internet or phone, I find that whole lot absolute cringe-worthy.

That also made it a little harder for me to read this fast, I cringed the whole book, fearing for the next task. So while well written and technically correct and imho today not even a bit SF, I think all is possible, it was a little by-the numbers and gets only 4 stars from me.
Recommended and way better - as a warning - than The Circle.
As for the warning, though going in a quite different direction, I suggest ZERO (look for english translation).

Information or a comparison with the movie will be added after viewing that, hopefully today or tomorrow (wah, that would be next year...).

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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
, 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: Play Dead

Play Dead Play Dead by Angela Marsons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, nearly forgot to mention it, this is about a (new, in the UK) Body Farm.
The first Body Farm is in Tenessee. So expect there to be some gruesome descriptions, maggots and flies.

Not quite 5 stars, dragged a little in the middle, and I did not really like one of the characters (Tracy), although her development and what happened to her both as a child and later was very well done. Bit much though what with all the bullying - this being the main reason and background theme in this book.
The ending was fantastic, not Kim alone fighting this time, also being against vigilante killings:
"In truth she believed xxx deserved to die for what xxx had done to no-name-no-spoiler. But she would never believe their punishment to be the prerogative of anyone other than the justice system."
Exactly, while some books (and MC's) tend to overlook self-metered justice by the unwashed public, or even condone it, this is my kind of heroine and thinking.
So, not entirely 5 stars, more like 4.5 for dragging a bit in the middle, but still better than a lot of other thrillers.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: Finding Miranda

Finding Miranda Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ebook discovery Freebie, wanted to end 2016 and start the new year with something sexy and light, after I did not manage to torture myself through the last third of The Circle.
No sex (!), bad sign for a romance, and could have done with some hot, steamy sex, for me at least. Romance was ok, but for me also not very good.
A few unexpected killings/deaths, some quite gruesome.
Also in one case the culprit gets away and someone other frames, not something I like.
Romance was also not that fluffy. Not my usual, but if I wanted some crime-romance-mystery, I could have read early Lisa Gardner or re-read early Tess Gerritsen, which is what I would suggest instead of picking up this book.
female MC was ok, but not overwhelming - I had picked up this book because I like the type "glasses wearing librarian" (yup, I am that shallow).
No errors, some southern (?) slang, and all rounded nicely saved it from getting 1 star. So not recommended, 2 stars it is.
My suggestion still, even if it is free, stay away from it, there should be better, fluffy reads available and preverably without hard crime, vigilantes, deaths and killings.
Some of the supporting cast where a bit uneven and also most of the time card-board like (Annabelle!).

Given the cover and the blurb I did not suspect what happened in this book, nor did I want to (crime, gruesome killings).

One thing to note: on my Kindle (Voyage) remaining reading time in chapters stopped working (I think! it worked for first few chapters, but maybe wrong). Also I could not jump to a chapter, as the menu on the Kindle did not show them, only the title.

And the time remaining reading for the whole book was skewed, as 20-30% of the whole text are preview chapters for other books (if I remember 3-4 books and each with 3 preview chapters). All in all way too much, and for that it seemed like a filler to suggest a longer book, for the people who pay for it. Where it not skewed, I would have finished it sooner, realizing I was near the end. So, I had to push myself to read this for more than 5 min. .

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