jump to navigation

Review – Sprite June 1, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 2.5 stars, Fantasy, Young Adult.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Title: Sprite

Author: Leigh Michael

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publish Date: April 30, 2012

ISBN-10: 1468184415

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

From Goodreads:

Annabelle Walsh thought she had it all. She was the star of her swim team, had a loving family, a great boyfriend, and to top it off, she’d be starting at UCLA in the fall. One day, she’d be referred to as Dr. Annabelle Walsh.

She was living every girl’s dream – until her life was turned upside down. All starting with finding out that she’s not just a human, but also a water spirit. Half-human, half-sprite to be exact. Although not just any sprite, Annabelle is prophesied to be the only one who can save both the sprites and mankind.

With a mix of current events, anecdotes from Greek mythology, tidbits of folklore, and Leigh’s own imagination, we join Annabelle in her journey to restore order beneath the sea. Each step of the way her mind, body, and soul are pushed to the limit begging the question, how much can one half-human, half-sprite take?


The Good:

I thought this story flowed evenly. It moved along nicely. The rhythm alone could have kept my interest up. The action was quick-paced and there was never a dull moment.

It had some interesting concepts to the story. There were some mythology points that I’m not sure were true or not but they were still interesting.  There were some character types that were interesting like the encantado, men who turn into dolphins, to selkies, men who could turn into seals.

The Bad:

I had a lot of problems suspending belief in this short novella. This story takes place underwater, yet they talk. With their vocal chords. You need air moving through your vocal chords to speak which is why I have such a hard time believing this is possible.

Another thing I had a hard time believing was when she saw someone’s tear falling down their face underwater. Wouldn’t that tear simply be lost in all the water?

Then there was the incident with her writing a letter with a pen underwater. How do you get a pen to work underwater? I suppose they have special pens and papers. I suppose I can let that one go for the sake of the story.

I also had problems with character development. Annabelle had a tendency to use sarcasm in all the wrong spots causing her to sound like a petulant child. The other characters weren’t very well developed causing them to appear shallow and one dimensional.

Finally there was the cliffhanger. The story just ends with no real resolution. You’re left with only questions left unanswered.

All in all a most unsatisfactory read.


Review: Children of the Cross May 17, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 2.5 stars, Paranormal.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Title: Children of the Cross

Genre: Paranormal

Author: Lawrence Van Hoof

Published: April 2012

Publisher: Lawrence Van Hoof

Available at: Amazon   – Smashwords

A golden fireball crashes into the Walters’ car during their drive to the cottage for summer vacation. Thirteen-year-old Cora survives without a scratch. Her twin brother, Nathan, spent two weeks in critical care and endures months of rehabilitation.

Nine years later, Cora works as a high-end call girl in Toronto and looks after her brother, who began suffering from schizophrenia during their last year of high school. On the streets, meanwhile, a supernatural mafia hunts for the Light. None of them knows where it will manifest. None of them knows how it will manifest. But their leader, Teresa, believes the Light is her only chance to destroy their progenitor before he wakes from his centuries-long sleep.

When their search finally bears fruit, Cora’s daily struggles explode into one for the twins’ very survival, perhaps requiring the ultimate sacrifice of all.

I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

The Good:

The character development in this book was well done. You got a definite sense of each person.

I don’t necessarily find fault with the author’s style of writing. It’s very easy and smooth. He transitions from the view point of Cora the call girl to her brother Nathan to Alex, a soldier in the “supernatural mafia” well.

The author is also good at visual descriptions. I could picture the streets they walked very well. I could picture the dresses Cora wore. I could see Nathan’s apartment. It all came vividly to life.

This is a great dark and gritty novel. It gets into the harsh world of what it means to be a call girl. No illusions are left for the reader as to what a hard life Cora leads as she takes care of her schizophrenic brother.

The same can be said for Alex. As he fights off the nightmarish psychic hold of “the Father” with alcohol, his life is nothing but hardship. All his friends and loved ones have died or been taken away from him. This is starkly laid before you.

The Bad:

If anything, this book was too dismal and depressing. there wasn’t a single ray of hope until the very end. Reading it took extreme effort.

Cora’s life was so hard, I didn’t understand why she didn’t throw in the towel and run away. Instead we are given to understand she is some sort of church-going angel that sticks to what she believes is her duty no matter what.

If it weren’t for the blurb, I would have really had to puzzle out that Nathan was her twin. It barely mentions that fact. Yes, he’s her brother but her twin? No, that fact was only glanced at.

As for Alex? What a lost cause! He was running around town on some hell bent mission that I never did end up figuring out. I think it was revenge but he was also looking for “The Light”.  All the while he’s chugging beer after beer after beer in an effort to drown out “the Father”.   I got sick of his throwing beer bottles at the walls and his search for the next beer.

Then there was “the Mistress” and her hopelessly devoted soldiers. She was unstintingly cruel and spoiled. Yet she commanded the devotion of all these men? It just seemed skewed and wrong. She didn’t seem like the head of a “supernatural mafia” so much as a spoiled child given a bevvy of servants.

What about Paul? There are a whole lot of unanswered questions about him. So many I can’t enumerate them here without giving away too much of the story in case you do decide to read it.

And what about those weird sexual dreams Cora kept having? What was the point of those? Were they just meant to unsettle the reader? They seemed wildly divergent and off the mark. Not to mention disturbing.

The climax and resolution were chaotic and confusing. I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on. There was a kidnapping. They confronted “the Father”. People died. There was a big showdown. There was a happy ending? What? What just happened?

This book was like a buffet where you were just given an end table.

My experience with this book was most unfortunate. Your experience might be different. If it is, I’m willing to have a discussion.

Review – The Tattoo Murder Case March 15, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 2.5 stars, Foreign, Mystery/Thriller.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Tattoo Murder Case

by Akimitsu Takagi

A female’s limbs and head are found in a locked bathroom, and all the doors and windows of the house are locked. The dismembered body is discovered by two admirers, Professor Heishiro Hayakawa, a collector of tattoo skins, and Kenzo Matsushita, the naive, lovestruck younger brother of Detective Chief Inspector Daiyu Matsushita. The police’s problems are compounded by two additional murders. A tattooed man?the brother of the first victim?is found dead and has been skinned, and victim number three, the jealous lover of the woman, is found dead from a gunshot to the head. Frustrated by their inability to solve these crimes, the brothers Matsushita, who have joined forces, enlist the services of Kyosuke Kamizu, the “Boy Genius.” Kamizu methodically analyzes the deaths, interviews the prime suspects, and quietly solves the case. Intermingled among the twisted plot is the Japanese tradition of myth and superstition, ritual, male and female relationships, the strong tradition of family and family honor, and the relationships of younger brothers to older brothers.

This book was hard to read. I bought the Kindle version and it was filled with typographic errors. There were too many to count. It was ridiculous and extremely frustrating. I think it colored my enjoyment of the book itself.

As for what I could make out of the book, it wasn’t a very decent mystery. You have what was supposed to be a perplexing crime that stumps the local crime force. It’s steeped in exotic undercurrents of the forbidden tattoo world. Then along comes the “Boy Genius” Kyoskuke Kamizu who solves it in little under a week or so.

It kind of reeked of a Sherlock Holmesian typecast setting. It just seemed ripped out of the pages of an Sir Ian Doyle novel then placed in a Japanese cultural setting. This might have been refreshing if the characters had been anything but two-dimensional.

The whodunnit was fairly obvious from the get-go. The only question for me was how. So that kept me reading until the end. On the whole though, it was a very unsatisfying read. It had me rolling my eyes and muttering under my breath.