Tag Archives: published: 2015-04

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Rolling in the Deep

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant

Published by: Subterranean Press on April 6, 2015
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

The Imagine Network delivers the next generation of reality programming. They embrace that reality television doesn’t really reflect reality. And to add to the drama, they often stage events to hook their viewers.

The voyage of the Atargatis is to be one of Imagine Network’s great successes. They’ve set out to prove the existence of mermaids, after all. Of course, the only mermaids they expect to discover are the costumed ones they have on board.

Perhaps the network’s executives never heard that one should aways “be careful what you wish for…”

Another story with mermaids, continuing what has become quite the trend over the past couple of years in science fiction. I’d ask if it’s something readers are really fascinated with, but we keep seeing it, so there must be enough interest out there. And while I’d like to see some more variety, I have to admit this one is well-written.

This isn’t a long story, and it actually reads shorter than it is. The pacing is excellent–never dragging and varied enough to keep the reader hooked. I read it in e-book format, so I was surprised when I went back and looked at the official word count. If you look for books that are quick and engaging, this one should be on your list.

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman Malik

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman Malik

Published by: Tor.com on April 22, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)

As a child, Sal was always fascinated by the stories his grandfather would tell of his life in Pakistan.  And the story he loved more than any other was the one of the Mughal princess. Her family’s protector was a jinn who lived in a eucalyptus tree. And even though few people believed her, Sal’s grandfather wasn’t a big skeptic. And though Sal’s grandfather never said it, Sal always felt there was something more to the story.

When Sal’s grandfather dies, he feels compelled to go check out the source of the stories. Even his girlfriend, Sarah, can see that he seems distracted. Perhaps if he goes to Lahore, he can put the fantastic stories to rest. But instinct is a powerful force, and there may just be more waiting for Sal than he expected.

This is a novella, and I often find reviewing short fiction to be difficult. One of the biggest reasons is that it’s hard to give a synopsis without giving too much away. And because I tend to review based on my reaction, it’s harder to keep from spoiling key parts of the story.

What I did like about this particular story is the way it’s framed. There are so many themes that one can see here: family, travel, exploring your past, fantasy, etc. But it’s woven together in a seamless way. I feel like this is one of those that is likely to mean something a bit different to each reader. And those are some of the best stories to read and share.

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn on Tor.com

The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston

The Silver Witch

Book Info

Title: The Silver Witch
Author: Paula Brackston
Published: April 21, 2015
Pages: 320
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publisher’s Website: link
Rating: ★★★

Review

It’s been a year since Tilda’s husband suddenly died, and she has decided to move into the house that was meant to be their home together. It’s secluded in a Welsh forest, and Tilda believes the serenity of the area will be exactly what she needs to refocus and find a way to move forward. While Tilda’s visions and nightmares of her husband’s death do start to become less common, they are replaced by new visions and feelings that leave Tilda both confused and a bit frightened. There’s a new power in her, and she’s not entirely sure what it is. And when her paths cross with Seren, a shaman who lived in the area centuries before, she quickly learns that her quaint cottage isn’t the safe getaway she imagined it would be…and there’s a danger lurking nearer to her than she could ever have imagined.

The concept here is actually quite interesting. The connection between these two women over hundreds of years and the awakening of old magic provide for an interesting backdrop to the story. The challenge I had, personally, is that there are many little things throughout the book that struck me as irrelevant. It wasn’t so much that it completely detracted from the story, but the plot could have been shored up just a bit to keep it even more engaging and focused on the action. That said, I did enjoy this title, and I think it would be of interest to fantasy fans…especially those more interested in the modern or urban fantasy idea.

Seeking the Storyteller by Jessica Walsh & Briana Lawrence

Seeking the Storyteller

The Details

Title: Seeking the Storyteller (Hunters, Book 1)
Author: Jessica Walsh & Briana Lawrence
Published: March 16, 2015
Pages: 321
Publisher: Jessica Walsh & Briana Lawrence
Authors’ Website: link
Rating: ★★★★☆

The Review

Alix Andre DeBenit and Randall Fagan are hunters. Yes, hunters–of the demon hunter variety. They track down and rid the world of those forces that don’t belong here, those sinister forces that threaten all of us. But for Alix, the motivation to be a hunter is quite personal. And when a captured demon tells him of a being that might be able to give him exactly what he wants and undo all of his pain, that motivation becomes a singular focus. But Alix and Fagan are called on to help a friend–Fagan’s former hunting partner–and quickly find out there might be more to demons (and the world they come from) than either of them ever could have imagined.

This was a definite page-turner for me–well, in so far as my Kindle has pages. It’s a great little urban fantasy story that does a great job of presenting two worlds–both our world and the world of the demons. The characters are dynamic, including–and sometimes especially–the secondary characters, who really add quite a bit to the story. There’s a hint of realism (because, let’s face it, there is a part of fantasy and science fiction that still needs to seem authentic), and a great balance between the fantastical and the mundane. The story isn’t overly complicated, and that’s a good thing with the number of characters and entities that come popping in and out between the pages.

Definitely worth a read for those interested in fantasy, paranormal stories, and especially urban fantasy.

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.]

Secret Funding by S.M. May

Secret Funding by S.M. MayTitle: Secret Funding (Secret Agreements, Book 1)
Author: S.M. May
Published: October 15, 2015 (Originally published April 2, 2015 in Italian)
Pages: 155
Publisher: S.M. May
Author’s Page (Goodreads): link
Rating:★★★☆☆

Noah Kress is an investment broker who is not afraid to make bold choices in his dealings. And he’s not afraid to do the same in his private life, moonlighting as Master Noah at a local BDSM club. When one of his investments ends up on shaky ground, he is approached with an offer he finds very difficult to refuse. But accepting it means he will have to confront the few things he is actually afraid of–and it may mean that nothing will ever be the same again…

I found this to be an interesting concept. I don’t read a great deal of BDSM, but when I do, the doms and masters are always presented as being so tough and hardened. Even when they’re not, the need for an outward appearance is so strong they fight so hard to show any weakness and it gets in the way of an authentic story. Here, we get something different. Noah knows and accepts his limitations, despite those pressures that demand perfection and strength at all times.

There were some scenes that struck me as a bit awkward and/or unnecessary, but the overall story arc kept me reading. The changes that the main characters experience make for an engaging book and it pulls them to the foreground. This was quick read, it was paced well, and it flowed quite nicely. I think I might be curious enough to find out what happens in the next book…

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.]

 

What You Left Behind by Samantha Hayes

22747926Title: What You Left Behind
Author: Samantha Hayes
Published: April 24, 2014 – re-released April 14, 2015
Pages: 320
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

Detective Inspector Lorraine Fisher is off on holiday to visit her sister, whose husband has just left her. Lorraine is used to helping her sister through things like this, but she is hardly prepared for everything waiting for her when she arrives in Radcote. The village saw a spate of youth suicides just two years ago, and there are fears it may be starting again as another young man has died in an apparent suicide. On top of that, Lorraine’s nephew, Freddie, has been acting strangely and his mother is concerned about him. And when a second suicide is reported not long after Lorraine’s arrival, she can’t help but try to get to the bottom of what’s going on in the village.

I’d never read a book by Samantha Hayes before this, but something tells me this won’t be the last one. I found myself lost in the world of Radcote, quickly invested in the characters’ lives, and trying to figure out the truth. And some of the twists here, I did not see coming at all. Once revealed, they made perfect sense, but I wasn’t on the right track for a few of them. And to me, that’s the mark of a well-written mystery. I give this a solid recommendation for fans of mystery, but also for fans of literary fiction in general.

There are some heart-wrenching moments and there’s obviously some scenes of violence and discussions of bullying and suicide–just as a bit of a warning. But there’s nothing particularly gratuitous or too graphic, at least by my personal standards.

Tour: Book Review & Giveaway: Ignite the Shadows by Ingrid Seymour

IgniteTheShadowsTourBanner1

Title: Ignite the Shadows
Author: Ingrid Seymour
Published: April 23, 2015
Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Websites: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Marci Guerrero is one of the best teen hackers in Seattle. However, she’d give up all her talents to know she isn’t crazy.

Marci feels possessed by what she perceives as shadowy spectres that take control of her body and make her do crazy things. While spying on the clandestine group known as IgNiTe, she’s confronted by the leader, James McCray. His presence stirs the spectres inside her brain into a maddening frenzy. Her symptoms and ability to control them don’t go unnoticed by James, who soon recruits her and shows her the awful truth.

Half of the world’s population is infected by sentient parasites. They bind themselves to the human brain and replace the pathways for all thoughts and actions. The creatures then morph their hosts into grotesque monsters with extraordinary strengths. Winged, clawed, fanged half-humans become living nightmares. Now Marci wishes she was crazy, because the truth is worse.

She’s infected.


ItSRating:
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

What an intriguing world that the author has created. There’s a unique richness to the characters, the setting, and the story that I really appreciated as a reader. Furthermore, there’s some refreshing originality in the way the plot rolls out that I felt was a bit different than other YA sci-fi. (Yes, there is still the whole cliche of the female protagonist having romantic angst, but at least it didn’t end up becoming the sole focus of Marci’s motivation here as has been the larger trend of late.)

Overall, I found this to be a very interesting read. It was quick for its length and easy to understand. It wasn’t difficult to get immersed in this world, either. Recommended for YA sci-fi fans, for sure.

TOUR-WIDE GIVEAWAY

As a part of this tour, you can enter and win an ebook copy of Ignite the Shadows and a $25 Amazon gift card!  (Open internationally)  To enter, see this Rafflecopter giveaway.

Lessons for Suspicious Minds by Charlie Cochrane

18588535Title: Lessons for Suspicious Minds (Cambridge Fellows, Book 10)
Author: Charlie Cochrane
Published: re-released on April 20, 2015
Pages: 255
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

Cambridge professors Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith have quite a reputation for sleuthing.  And their relationship makes them a rather formidable pair.  When an invitation to stay with a friend of the Stewart family uncovers two suspicious apparent suicides, the two simply can’t help trying to solve the case.  But there are aspects of this one that hit a personal nerve and uncovering the truth may be a bit more challenging than they expect.

A rather enjoyable read.  It’s one part Sherlock Holmes, one part Poirot, and one part romance.  The mystery is really what drives the plot, but the setting and characters really bring it to life.  I definitely foresee myself reading more of these two in the future.

Snowcroft Safehouse by Christi Snow

24528173Title: Snowcroft Safehouse (Snowcroft, Book 2)
Author: Christi Snow
Published: April 24, 2015
Pages: 235
Publisher: Christi Snow
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

[I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Declan ‘Dex’ Jasper was the lead singer if the immensely popular Black Rainbows until a year ago when tragedy struck. An explosion during one of their concerts left the entire band dead with a member of an organized crime family to blame. But what the world doesn’t know is that Dex survived and has been hidden away in witness protection. That hasn’t been the best of journeys for him, either, leaving him now transferred to the protection of an FBI agent who has secured him a cover story as a middle school band teacher in a small New Mexico town. Dex isn’t thrilled about the prospect, but he’ll do what it takes to be able to testify at the upcoming trial to get justice for the friends he lost. Keeping a low profile might be much harder than he expected once he realizes how invested the town is in the band program and when he meets Jack, the proprietor of the town’s bar and grill. Jack is everything Dex never knew he wanted in a man. But will getting involved with Jack risk Dex being found out? Could hit put Jack and his daughter Kelsey in danger?

I loved the first book in this series. It was one of my favorite books of last year, so I was certainly very excited to go back to Snowcroft once again. I will say this book did not disappoint in that regard. It’s got a different feel to it than the first book, but I think that’s largely due to the focus of the story (there’s no real mystery to solve here). I was glad to see Law back–and I would have like to see more of him, but I understand there’s a third book coming for him–as well as the Snowcroft locals that popped up in the first book. Getting to know Jack better, was also a welcome bonus, too.

This doesn’t need to be read after the first book; the stories aren’t strictly connected. It can be helpful to have some of the backstory of the town and others, but it’s not necessary.

I am definitely looking forward to book three…

Nobody’s Hero by J. Leigh Bailey

24637092Title: Nobody’s Hero
Author: J. Leigh Bailey
Published: April 27, 2015
Pages: 209
Publisher: Carina Press
Author Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Brad has left his family and what many would see as a privileged life behind. Now, he’s arrived in his college town at the beginning of the summer with no place to stay and the hope of a job. But the night before his interview he helps out a guy in trouble in the parking lot of the diner where he was sleeping in his truck. Danny is interested–and Brad is, too, to be honest–but Brad can’t go down that road. He did once before and it ended badly for everyone. He’s in town for school, and that’s it. He’s not looking for complications. But complications are exactly what he finds when he gets the job and it comes with a place to stay above the boss’s garage–and Danny is the boss’s son…

Wonderful. I really enjoyed this and I found myself rooting for both Brad and Danny at every single turn. These two are such so adorable and they’ve both been through so much that one just can’t help hoping they get what they need. Brad’s family is infuriating–to say the very least–and is such a stark contrast to Danny’s. Well-written and engaging, I found myself easily engrossed in this story set in a town not far from where I grew up. And it all just rings so true.