Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Audio Book Review: Scorch

Title: Scorch by Gina Damico
Publisher: Audible Studios
Format: Audible Audio Book
Length: 8hrs 17 min
Narrator: Jessica Almasy
Genre: YA

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to Damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home. To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all - but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?

(60) Review: I love love love this series.  This sequel picks up very soon after the last book ends.  Lex wants to go back to Croak but feels weird about leaving now that her twin sister was killed.  Her father gives her his blessing to go and find the person who did this.

As she returns to Croak, Lex finds herself an outcast her Uncle under fire from some of the townspeople and Zara is continuing to kill and damn people and now she is turning her sights to Croak.  Can Lex find a way to clear her name and save her new town?

This 2nd book in the Croak series packs all the same humor, suspense and mystery.  New characters are introduced and play an active role in the story line.  The plot is getting more complicated, with more intensity and more at stake.

I just can't say enough about how creative, and inventive this series is. Gina Damico has found the voice of so many teens and packed them into this riviting, mysterious series.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Audio Book Review: Croak

Title: Croak by Gina Damico
Publisher: Audible Studios
Format: Audible
Length: 8 hours 16 minutes
Narrator: Jessica Almasy
Genre: YA Sci/Fi

Synopsis: Fed up with her wild behavior, 16-year-old Lex’s parents ship her off to upstate New York to live with her Uncle Mort for the summer, hoping that a few months of dirty farm work will whip her back into shape. But Uncle Mort’s true occupation is much dirtier than shoveling manure. He’s a Grim Reaper. And he’s going to teach Lex the family business.

She quickly assimilates into the peculiar world of Croak, a town populated by reapers who deliver souls from this life to the next. But Lex can’t stop her desire for justice - or is it vengeance? - whenever she encounters a murder victim, craving to stop the attackers before they can strike again. Will she ditch Croak and go rogue with her reaper skills?

(59) Review: I really enjoyed this book.  The narrator Jessica Almasy is fabulous at reading, she really helps put you in the book and helps to keep your attention.  I loved the premise of this book, it reminded me a bit of the Showtime series Dead Like Me only the girl in that show had died, where in this series Lex is still alive, she just has a gift for taking life.

This is Gina Damico's debute novel, and it definitely breaks some molds.  The main character Lex is not the most likeable, she is a straight A wonderful girl who all of a sudden turned into the school bully.  She is biting kids, breaking bones and sending people to the hospital.  Fed up she is sent to spend the summer with her Uncle in the small town of Croak.

In Croak Lex discovers that she has the gift of being a grim reaper, in fact her Uncle, the mayor of Croak is one as well as are all the inhabitants of Croak.  I loved the way Damico describes the afterlife, and the fun quirky way she has established the politics of Croak and the the death business.

Lex starts to calm down and realize how much she likes Croak and she is finding that she actually fits in with this bunch of weirdos.  The story has a light tone that takes some of the morbidity away, but underlying is a mystery. There are mysterious deaths happening and no one can figure out what is going on. The story slowly builds toward a conclusion regarding these deaths and Damico does this masterfully until the final showdown when she kicks us in the gut. I'm not gonna give it away but WOW.

Of course there is the inevitable romance that it seems all YA books require.  Driggs lives with her Uncle and is Lex's Grim partner. He culls the souls that she releases.  He is mysterious and witty and doesn't stand for any of Lex's antics.  They are a good match.

This is a fabulous start to the series.  I can't wait to read book 2 Scorch.

Monday, August 24, 2015

ARC Review: Eden

Title:Eden (An Archer & Bennett Thriller) by Candice Fox
Publisher; Kensington Books
Format: I receive this book as an advanced ebook from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review.
Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Thriller

This book is due to be released on August 25, 2015

Synopsis: Most homicide detective teams run on trust, loyalty, and the shared desire to put killers behind bars. Frank Bennett's partner, Eden Archer, thrives on darkness and danger. She has a rare talent for catching killers - but her idea of justice has little to do with courtrooms.

Now three girls are missing, and Eden is going undercover to a remote farm where the troubled go to hide and blood falls more often than rain. Frank’s job is to keep an eye on his partner while she's there - but is it for Eden's protection, or to protect others from her? Walking a tightrope between duty and desperation,  Frank confronts a threat from Eden’s past—the sadistic crime lord Hades, who raised her. Suddenly, the hunter is the hunted. And a killer’s vicious desires are about to be unleashed . . .

(58) Review: After reading only a few pages I realized that this book was the second in a series and the characters were so intriguing that I had to pick up the first book.  Despite not having read book 1 I plunged ahead and fell in love with Hades, Eden and Frank.

This book is fast paced and full of mystery.  I loved it.  I couldn't put it down, and there is a bit of a cliff hanger in the epilogue that left me desperate for the next book and this one just came out!

The story delves into Hades past, where he came from and how he came to be what he is, and also where his passion for art came about.  Living in a garbage dump Hades still helps people take care of "trash" but he has his scruples.  His business is being compromised by someone watching him, someone who wants payback for the past, something that he swears he didn't do.

Meanwhile Eden, Hades daughter goes undercover to try to solve a murder and may be underestimating the killer.  Her back up is falling in love with her and Eden being the predator she is doesn't really have time for this. Jack seems torn between Hades, his need to help his partner and trying to get over the death of his girlfriend.

The characters are all really well developed, dark and broken but realistic.  This is definately a series to keep your eyes on, because I have a feeling its only going to get better.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Audio Book Review: Conspiracies - A Repairman Jack Novel Book 3

Title: Conspiracies: A Repairman Jack Novel, Book 3 by F. Paul Wilson
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Format: Audio Book through Audible
Narrator: Christopher Price
Length: 11 hours 28 minutes
Genre: mystery/ supernatural

Synopsis: Looking for clues to the mysterious disappearance of leading conspiracy theorist Melanie Ehler, Jack attends a convention of bizarre and avid conspiracy theorists. It’s a place where aliens are real, the government is out to get you, and the world is hurtling toward an inevitable war of good versus evil incarnate.

Jack finds that nobody can be trusted - and that few people are what they seem. Worse yet, Jack’s been having vivid dreams that make him wonder whether he’s headed for a clash with his own past - maybe The Tomb’s evil rakoshi beasts aren’t through with him quite yet.

(57) Review: Jack always finds himself entangled in mysteries that start out normal and quickly turn into something else.  Because of this I find myself being reminded of John Connelly's Charlie Parker series particularly because of the good vs. evil aspect of these novels. Jack is starting to question his choice of business and if he wants to continue or if he should try to go straight and just spend time with his girlfriend Gia and her daughter Vicki.

In this book Jack attends a convention on conspiracy theories  in order to find a conspiracy theorist who disappeared and left a message for her husband that said to find Jack and that Jack is the only one who could help.  The description of the convention and the people who attend it were spot on what you would expect at one of these convention and the stories are hilarious. Despite a brutal murder at the convention and a missing body the convention itself leads only to more questions and Jack's dry sense of humor keeps the book moving as the mystery gets weirder.

While Jack is searching for Melanie he starts getting strange packages that show up in his hotel room without anyone having brought them.  The scars he got in The Tomb (Adversary Cycle/Repairman Jack) book 1 also take center stage in this book.  Do the Rakoshi have something to do with this womans disappearance?

These books are constantly evolving and changing and keep getting better. Jack's rye and sarcastic sense of humor and comments just make me chuckle and keep the weird and brutal on a lighter level.

Monday, August 17, 2015

ARC Review: The Collector

Title: The Collector by Anne-Laure Thieblemont
Publisher: Le French Book
Format: Advanced e-copy from the publisher through in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 211 pages
Genre: Mystery

This book was released on August 11, 2015

Synopsis: In the merciless microcosm of Paris art auctions and galleries, some people collect art, while others collect trouble. Marion Spicer spends her days examining auction catalogues and searching for stolen works of art. She is a top-notch investigator when it comes to eighteenth-century art. But for her it's just a job and her life is well ordered. All this changes when she inherits a huge and very prestigious collection of pre-Columbian art from a father she never knew. There are conditions attached: she must first find three priceless statues. That is when her troubles begin. Her father’s death sparked much greed, and Marion finds herself facing sharks, schemes, fences, traps, scams, and attacks. Her quest draws her into a world where people will kill for a love of beauty.

(56)Review: If you have a day to yourself you could probably breeze through this book.  It was intriguing and moved at a slightly slower pace than many American mysteries but still kept you interested.  I liked that it slowly unraveled Marion's fathers life, and wound down different corners of intrigue. By the end I thought the mystery of the statues was revealed but an epilogue left you with more to ponder.

Very well researched and detailed the book brings you into the world of high priced art and the collectors who buy it.  What lengths are people willing to go to, in order to achieve their prize and what happens when winning isn't enough.  In the end you are left wondering about some of the characters. What will happen to them after all they went through, was all the death and deceit worth it to Marion in the end? She may think so now but will it turn out to really be that way in the end? Does money bring happiness or does it bring its own perils.  Did she burn too many bridges along the way? I believe this is the start to a new series so it will be interesting to see where the author goes with it.

My biggest criticism of the book was near the end when it seemed that the Detective who didn't seem to know too much all of a sudden had more answers than anyone else.  We never really learn how all of a sudden he not only caught up with what was happening but how he jumped ahead of the game and new everyone's role in it.  Maybe we learn more about that as this series moves on but that was my disappointment with this book.

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