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Review – Dark Seduction July 4, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy, Horror.
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Title: Dark Seduction

Author: Shaun Jeffrey

Publisher:  Deshca Press

Publication Date: April 14, 2012

ASIN: B007UILHAW

Available at: Amazon

From Goodreads:

Forced into accepting a bet by a group of mysterious card players, Zen Barker soon discovers that there is a world beyond ours. A place of nightmare where the monsters are real: The Shadowland.

The rules of the wager? Kill or be killed. The target? A woman named Melantha who wields a sinister power called the Glamour that allows her to bewitch anyone she meets. She intends using it to take vengeance against the descendents of those who have persecuted her gypsy clan through the ages. But in doing so she risks creating a disturbance in the infrastructure, and if that happens, then the monsters that reside in the Shadowland will be released.

Now the fate of the world rests on the shoulders of a disgruntled anarchist. God help us.

Review:

This novella was a little discombobulating at first as it jumped from Zen to Verity’s points of views. It gained more cohesiveness towards the end though as the two joined forces to end Melantha’s vendetta against the gadje, those who wronged her gypsy tribe.

Nonetheless, the character development was still good. Zen was an inveterate gambler who got in too deep and made a desperate gamble to get out of debt.  He learns the price is too high in the end. Verity was an estranged daughter who wanted to mend fences with her father only to find she was too late. Their paths cross when she goes on a search for the woman who may have caused the death of her father.

The Shadowland Zen learns of is inventive and horrific. At times I wondered if this book was more horror novel then fantasy. I think it was a combination of the two.

The end was very abrupt and unsatisfying. It felt like the story got chopped off at the knees. Maybe there will be more stories about Zen, maybe there won’t. It kind of felt like this was a teaser. Then again maybe it wasn’t. It was very bewildering.

Despite the fast-paced, inventive plot I can’t be completely happy with this story. Even though it left me unsettled like a good horror story should, I can’t be satisfied with the way the story ended or started off.

 *This story does contain some steamy sexual content.

Review – Duplicity July 1, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Duplicity

Author: Nikki Jefford

Publisher: Nikki Jefford

Publication Date:  May 20, 2012

ASIN: B0084V0L7E

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

If Graylee Perez thought sharing a body with her twin sister was bad, dealing with a duplicate of herself is two times worse. Gray the second doesn’t seem to get that Lee’s boyfriend, Raj McKenna, is off limits. Then there’s the problem of Adrian Montez. He expects one of the Grays to be his.

Nearly a year later, the council is onto them for past misdeeds; Lee, along with the rest of the coven, has lost control of her powers; and Gray is being stalked by what looks like the Grim Reaper.

If they work together, they may stand a chance of setting things right and making it out alive.

Review:

I wasn’t in love with this second book as much as I was with the first book. The jokes fell flat and it felt like Lee was pouting a lot of the time. It also felt like Gray was sulking. I realize they were in a tough situation but instead of taking the hard knocks they seemed to act like spoiled teenagers part of the time. Not all of the time, just part of the time.

Some of those situations, such as the strange contact who shows up looking like the Grim Reaper, was rather unrealistic and corny. I also thought the instance where Raj kissed the second, duplicate Gray was inevitable yet cliched. The romance between Marney, Gray and Lee’s Mom, and Mr. Morehouse, Lee’s guardian was also rather predictable.

Adrian as a villain didn’t ring true. He didn’t come off as powerful or formidable. I know he was meant to show a soft spot, but I think his soft spot showed too much of a weakness. Instead he just floundered as an intimidating warlock.

Still, the book was well-written for all it’s flaws. I enjoyed it as light-hearted fun. I was able to withhold my judgment somewhat and immerse myself in its superficial pleasures. It was not without its rewards. I would recommend this series for anyone who’s not looking for something serious or who’s looking for something fun.

Review – Legend June 27, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi, Young Adult.
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Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Publisher: Putnam Juvenille

Publish date: November 29, 2011

ISBN-10: 039925675X

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

June is a military prodigy. Day is the Republic of America’s most wanted Criminal. They have nothing in common but their worlds will collide when Day murders June’s brother. June will be tasked with hunting Day down.

Review:

In the beginning of this book I had a lot of unanswered questions. The book takes place in Los Angeles so which lake are they near? How is Los Angeles sectioned into sectors? Who and what are the Colonies that the Republic have been at war with so long? None of my questions were ever answered but they didn’t become very important after awhile as the story evolved.

The novel is written in alternating perspectives between Day and June. It could be confusing, but it works. You’re given glimpses into two very disparaging worlds. The elite and the very poor. I still didn’t get a very good grasp of the world, but I was sufficiently gripped by the characters to keep reading.

Day is able to scale buildings in a matter of seconds. June is able to do likewise. They play a very intriguing cat and mouse game that held me breathless. There were a lot of twists in the plot. Enough to keep you guessing.

Day is motivated to find plague medicine for his family. June is determined to find her only brother’s killer, the only family she had left. They’re both extremely sympathetic characters which made it hard to cheer on just one person in the chase.

Even though the world building is lacking, the character development makes up for it. It’s still a worthwhile read.

Review – Drowning Mermaids June 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy.
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Title: Drowning Mermaids

Author: Nadia Scrieva

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publish Date: January 15, 2012

ISBN-10: 1469932733

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Aazuria lives deep under Arctic waters. She’s forced to regroup with her sisters in Alaska when danger of war looms over her ice kingdom.

Captain Trevain Murphy meets the mysterious Aazuria and invites her and her sisters into his home to live. What he doesn’t understand is that she’s not quite from his world and that he’ll have to open his mind and his heart to her.

Review*:

I wasn’t sure what I’d make of this book. I’ve read mermaid books before and they’ve disappointed me with unrealistic inconsistencies like talking underwater. This book surprised me. Instead of using vocal chords underwater, they use hand signals. I give full marks to the author for thinking that up.

I also liked the fact that instead of just using regular land guns underwater, she specified that they used underwater assault guns. It’s these types of attention to detail that make a book much more believable and easier to delve into.

Aazuria and her sisters were charming. They weren’t as multi-layered as they could have been but they were adequately portrayed. Each of them had their endearing qualities. Elandria was my favorite with the way she didn’t speak.  Corallyn was still sweet with her impish ways.

Trevain and Aazuria’s romance was different because of their seeming age difference. She appeared as a girl of eighteen or nineteen and he was fifty. She was in actuality something like six hundred years old. It was still a little odd because he kept acting fatherly towards her so I kept thinking of him as fatherly or avuncular. It took a little getting used to the apparent age difference and  I could have gotten over that.

What I didn’t like was the way Trevain got violent towards Aazuria. I wouldn’t have tolerated that type of behavior and I don’t think any woman should. I don’t see how that kind of thing can be forgiven or condoned without a thought. For Aazuria to simply forgive and forget is sending the wrong message no matter the context.

The story moved along at a nice pace and I had a good enough time with it. There wasn’t a whole lot of action in the beginning of the book but there was enough happening to keep me interested. The end was rather too neat and pat. It led into the next book rather too predictably. It was still mostly an enjoyable and fun read, but I doubt I’ll look for the next book in the series. Mostly because the violence towards Aazuria by Trevain turned me off so much.

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

Review – Taunt June 14, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: Taunt

Author: Claire Farrell

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Publisher: Claire Farrell

Publish Date: May 21, 2011

ASIN: B005232SDW

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From the publisher:

All Ava wants to do is forget about the vampires, but they won’t leave her alone. Between her failing business, angry landlord, disloyal friends, and vampire stalkers, life is starting to feel pretty stressful. When Ava finally deals with her biggest problem, she is caught up in the chain of events it triggers and taken along a path she can’t escape from.

Ava has to figure out what exactly is her biggest threat: the humans, the vampires, the Council—or her true heritage.

Review:

The second book of the Ava Delaney series starts out strong. She’s down on her luck with rent money and she’s being stalked by vampires. Suddenly she’s taken in by the Council to stand trial.

Unfortunately it’s all downhill from there. Ava turns into a petulant, sulky teenager. She whines and she bemoans her fate. She lashes out at everyone. She’s anything but the spunky and strong heroine I had come to love in Thirst.

The rest of the cast even remonstrates her for it yet she continues to act out as if she’s only sixteen. I’m not sure what the author set out to achieve with such behavior but it only served to turn me off.

There were tantalizing bits of plot to keep me reading though. Bits of action that kept me interested. I had to see what would happen next. What would be revealed at the Council trial? I had to know!

I also had to know whether or not Peter would smack Ava. Unfortunately he didn’t. What did happen was a huge revelation in the end that made it worth my while after all. It was enough of a teaser for me to eagerly read on to book three.

Review – His Dark Embrace June 12, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: His Dark Embrace

Author: Amanda Ashley

Publisher:  Kensington

Publication Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN-10: 1420121332

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Tall, dark, mysterious—and with a faint scar on his cheek that only makes him more gorgeous—Kaiden Thorne is one schoolgirl obsession Skylynn never forgot. Now, returning to her childhood home after eight years, she can’t believe her reclusive neighbor is still living across the street—and hotter than ever. Skylynn doesn’t know how Kaiden manages to stay so young, virile, and impossibly attractive. But she knows she wants him…even if he harbors a fearful secret he refuses to tell her.

When Kaiden sees the beautiful young woman Skylynn has become, he can no longer control the bloodlust that is his true nature. Once he pulls Skylynn into his arms, presses his lips against hers—and accidentally draws blood—he longs for more. Only she possesses what he wants and what he needs. Only she can save him or destroy him. But once Skylynn agrees to help Kaiden battle his darkest desires, there is no turning back…

Review:

I don’t normally read Paranormal Romances but I happened to be in the mood for one and this one caught my eye. It’s a good one.

Skylynn is grieving for her recently deceased grandfather and is wrapping up his affairs in his house. Across the street is her old neighbor, Kaiden. All her old schoolgirl crush feelings come roaring back when she sees him again.

Kaiden has watched Skylynn grow up into a beautiful woman. A beautiful desirable woman. Only he has a dark secret. He’s a vampire. How she reacts when she finds out he’s a vampire is entirely realistic, but you know what they say! Love conquers all!

Skylynn’s brother Sam gets thrown into the picture in an intriguing plot mix making the story interesting and all the more fast-paced. He wasn’t the most charming character I’ve ever read but he was a good addition to the story.

There are good plot twists and I liked the way the story’s pace moved. There were some new paranormal elements on vampires that I haven’t read before. Desmairis, the novel’s villain was a little corny but he did make you hate him a bit. He added a lot of the plots thrills.

In fact there was more then one instance where the book got a little corny, but I didn’t mind. It still made for a good story. I had a good time with Kaiden and Skylynn. It was a nice romance with some fun paranormal components to it.

Review – Molly's Soap Parlor May 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Steampunk.
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Title: Molly’s Soap Parlor

Author: Stacey James

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: Stacey James

Publish Date: March 18, 2012

Available at: Amazon

From Amazon:

Steam and soap powder rule in 1895 Whiskey Falls!

Spunky twenty one year old tinkering laundress, Molly Watkins, can clean more than just sap and coal stains out of overalls; she can clean house with anyone that sets an unwelcomed foot on her new establishment- Molly’s Soap Parlor. That would include scoundrels, thugs, and pirates.

But Molly has no time for twittering- not even with a handsome wilderness scout named Arrow. His elusive ways annoy her, yet together they create a chemistry that Molly cannot account for.

Meanwhile, Molly’s latest contraptions land her in a world of hurt. Gadgets, torpedoes and a modified Henry rifle quickly become a feisty laundress’ best friend in Whiskey Falls in the winter time.

Having narrowly escaped the foothills of North Dakota without her dog sled team, Molly made her way east to Whiskey Falls in order to enter her new contraption, a cycle fly rod, in an annual ice fishing derby. The rod is only one of Molly’s latest inventions. But not everyone is rooting for the independent Molly Watkins…

It turns out there is more than just soap brewing in Molly’s peculiar steam-powered laundry contraption.

Review:

For an 83 page novella, this story packs a lot of punch.  A lot happens in a short amount of time. It’s fun and fast-paced. The characters are lively and colorful. The contraptions are intriguing and are an integral part of the story.

The romance is sweet and heart-warming if somewhat predictable. Arrow was also a bit predictable and formulaic. Molly’s responses were just as predictable. I still enjoyed them though.

I thought it was strange for Molly to respond to Arrow with a “no worries”. There were other spots of dialogue I had a hard time getting a feel for.

I thought it was rather corny that her soap powder was so sought after. If you put aside that fact, it was an entertaining read. While I’m not quite certain this quite fits in the Steampunk genre as it takes place in the Wild West and this certainly is no literary gem, I”ll still look for the next in the series.

Review – Molly’s Soap Parlor May 29, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Steampunk.
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2 comments

Title: Molly’s Soap Parlor

Author: Stacey James

Genre: Steampunk

Publisher: Stacey James

Publish Date: March 18, 2012

Available at: Amazon

From Amazon:

Steam and soap powder rule in 1895 Whiskey Falls!

Spunky twenty one year old tinkering laundress, Molly Watkins, can clean more than just sap and coal stains out of overalls; she can clean house with anyone that sets an unwelcomed foot on her new establishment- Molly’s Soap Parlor. That would include scoundrels, thugs, and pirates.

But Molly has no time for twittering- not even with a handsome wilderness scout named Arrow. His elusive ways annoy her, yet together they create a chemistry that Molly cannot account for.

Meanwhile, Molly’s latest contraptions land her in a world of hurt. Gadgets, torpedoes and a modified Henry rifle quickly become a feisty laundress’ best friend in Whiskey Falls in the winter time.

Having narrowly escaped the foothills of North Dakota without her dog sled team, Molly made her way east to Whiskey Falls in order to enter her new contraption, a cycle fly rod, in an annual ice fishing derby. The rod is only one of Molly’s latest inventions. But not everyone is rooting for the independent Molly Watkins…

It turns out there is more than just soap brewing in Molly’s peculiar steam-powered laundry contraption.

Review:

For an 83 page novella, this story packs a lot of punch.  A lot happens in a short amount of time. It’s fun and fast-paced. The characters are lively and colorful. The contraptions are intriguing and are an integral part of the story.

The romance is sweet and heart-warming if somewhat predictable. Arrow was also a bit predictable and formulaic. Molly’s responses were just as predictable. I still enjoyed them though.

I thought it was strange for Molly to respond to Arrow with a “no worries”. There were other spots of dialogue I had a hard time getting a feel for.

I thought it was rather corny that her soap powder was so sought after. If you put aside that fact, it was an entertaining read. While I’m not quite certain this quite fits in the Steampunk genre as it takes place in the Wild West and this certainly is no literary gem, I”ll still look for the next in the series.

Review – Heaven 2.0 May 22, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Sci-Fi.
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Title: Heaven 2.0

Author: Scott Haworth

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Scott Haworth

Publish Date: March 1, 2012

Available at: AmazonBarnes and NobleSmashwords 

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

Summary:

Mike Kepler is an extractor, bringing back people from the 21st century to the 28th century. There they face judgment in the courts of the Taipei Corporation that will decide if they will spend their immortal lives in an artificial Heaven or Hell.

Mike learns that the system is rigged. Many of the people sentenced to an eternity of Hell do not deserve it.

Review: (There are possible spoilers in this review.)

I thought this book had some innovative ideas. It wasn’t overly wrought in religious dogma. There were some outrageous moments for me though. Such as the moment when it was stated that in the 28th century they had successfully stamped out the “homosexual disease”. It was just another instance of proving what a dystopic society it truly was though.

The trips back in time were enjoyable diversions, but I think they took away from the main character. I think we could have done with less of the diversions and more character development.

This book was only 161 pages and the brevity showed in the character development. Mike was a great character, except he ultimately lacked a certain emotional depth that I would normally have found in a longer novel. I actually got more of a sense of who some of the supporting cast members were rather then who Mike Kepler was.

Another problem I had was when the rebels attacked they were armed with steak knives. Against guns. Obviously they had no chance.  Steak knives against guns? I have an issue with that. Needless to say the rebels got captured. How they thought they’d have a chance I have no idea.

Parts of the climax of the story was interesting. Although it didn’t sound very plausible. It just seemed too neat and pat. It also felt a little rushed. I wasn’t entirely happy with the end either, but that’s just my personal taste.

Overall, I did enjoy this story despite its flaws. I enjoyed the innovative ideas. I enjoyed the characters of Nicole and Paul from the 21st century.  They had a depth to them that I couldn’t find in the 28th century characters.

There were some humorous moments I liked, but they were few and far between. I liked the idea of time traveling. The idea of an artificial Heaven was interesting. I don’t think it was my idea of Heaven, but I suppose it might serve for some.

So this wasn’t a bad novella. It just wasn’t great.

Review – Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict May 16, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Fantasy.
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Title: Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

Author: Laurie Viera Rigler

Genre: Fantasy/Romance

Publisher: Plume

Publication Date: June 25, 2009

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

In this sequel to “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict“, Miss Jane Mansfield finds herself in the body of Courtney Stone in the year 2009. This 19th century girl needs all the help she can get from such friends as Wes, the sexy website developer. As she grapples with the transition from 19th century life to 21st century life, she also finds herself wondering if Courtney made the right decision to break the engagement with Frank.

I really enjoyed what was essentially a parallel novel to “Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict“. Jane’s reactions to 21st century life appeared very realistic.  I delighted in Jane’s adventures while at the same time felt quite anxious for her adjustment to all the changes.

What was particularly wrenching was her realization of the sexual revolution. You can imagine her shock and horror over what she imagine was the ruination of her ‘reputation’ after she learned she had slept with her ex-fiancee. All the more chagrined was she when she learned that Wes knew about it, to put it mildly.

Seeing her evolve into an independent, modern woman was a joy. While we may romanticize the 19th century, life for them wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. It made me appreciate the freedoms I have. Maybe I won’t take for granted what is so common to women these days.

There were pockets of predictability and repetition that kept me from completely enjoying and immersing myself in Jane’s world. Her reactions became a broken record at times. It wasn’t often and it wasn’t always the same situation, but it was enough to give me pause.

There was also the matter of the mysterious fortune-teller with her sage advice and her magical tricks. I thought the matter of her reappearing in this book was a little too snug for my liking. I think Jane accepted her too much at face value. I’m not too sure a 19th century girl would just accept what is essentially a witch so sagaciously.

The end of this book makes the end of the other book much more clear. All my questions are answered and I’m satisfied in that respect, but the resolution felt rushed and hurried. It was also too neat and pat, but I suppose that could be typical of romances which I’m not all that used to reading.

Despite its speed bumps, I still enjoyed myself!