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Review – Death Weeps October 30, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Paranormal, Young Adult.
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Title: Death Weeps

Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Publisher: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Publication Date: May 18, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1475200867

Available at: Amazon Kindle

From Goodreads:

Caleb faces possible jail time for using Clyde as a undeadly weapon. When he’s exonerated with probation lasting a year, Caleb has to watch his every action. Tensions run high when after the death of Jade’s only relatives, she must live with an undesirable foster family who are anything but what they seem….

Life gets complicated for everyone when the scientists responsible for the paranormal manifestation threaten a parellel world to Caleb’s own. In a bid to stop the destruction of their world, while saving his own, Caleb must defend two peoples against the long arm of the Graysheets.

Time begins to run against him when he discovers through an unlikely source that his friends have been given a drug that causes progressive insanity. Can he find the antidote in time to save them? To save Jade?

Review:

I’m not sure where to begin this review or what to say. I loved this book so much! If you do read this book, you should read Blodgett’s Savage series because there is crossover. If you happened to read my review of Savage Vengeance or if you read the book, then you know a little bit of what happened. Read my review here. In Death Weeps, we get the story from Caleb’s point of view and more information about the crossover.

What I love about Blodgett’s writing is that in this book it becomes more polished while maintaining its original flavor. There were moments when the book got a little over the top but that’s what makes it great! It’s what I’ve come to expect of these books. It’s like a comic book with a big balloon word that says “pow!” You expect a little over the top punch.

Caleb and the gang have gotten older and their maturity has reflected such a change. It was a job well done. Their growth was seamlessly integrated into the story as there was a lot of action to absorb.

Clyde’s character was also more fully developed. If you haven’t read the novella, Death Inception then do. It gives you a more in depth look into his past and how he became a zombie. I kind of fell a little in love with Clyde when I read Death Inception.

The Graysheets, the evil government agents, are more heinous then ever. I grew to hate them even more. As the book wore on, Caleb’s purpose in life became even more clear and he may be meant for more then simply escaping the clutches of the Graysheets.

If you haven’t picked up this series, what are you waiting for? It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s romantic. The final book is coming out soon. I’m both looking forward to it and dreading it as I don’t want this series to end.

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Review – The Raven Boys October 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Paranormal, Young Adult.
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Title: The Raven Boys

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Publication Date: September 18, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0545424929

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Review:

This story is pretty straightforward with the focus on the hunt for Gwendower, a lost king who has magical powers. It still had unexpected twists and turns. There was also a lot of emphasis on the relationship between the boys and then the boys and Blue. I thought that each point was well done. You could really feel Gansey’s obsession with his quest and that added tension to the book.

Blue had been warned away from Gansey and the rest of his friends but she persists in getting to know them. It’s Gansey’s quest for Gwendower and his sheer personality that holds the group together. Gansey took care of his friends as if they were his brothers. They were his family.

Blue is fiercely independent and refuses to take any handouts from the other boys even though they are so much better off then she is. I liked how comfortable she was with the boys being the only girl. Yet she managed to maintain her own femininity. I also liked how she managed to be both eccentric yet sensible.

All of the Aglionby boys had distinct personalities with their own stories to tell. I won’t recap them, I’d rather let you discover them for yourselves. I thought that Stiefvater did a masterful job of encompassing each boys’ story within the book and making it complete. Yet none of that detracted from the main objective of the book. It all meshed very nicely.

All the subplots of this book managed to meld together with the book’s plot in a seamless cohesion. Making this book a real pleasure to read. I did have a lot of unanswered questions in the end of the book. Hopefully they’ll be answered in the sequel. It wasn’t by any means a cliffhanger. It was simply a mystery left to be solved in subsequent books.

Review – Mockingbird September 18, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Paranormal.
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Title: Mockingbird

Author: Chuck Wendig

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publish Date: August 23, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-0857662323

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Miriam is trying. Really, she is.

But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis–who’s on the road half the time in his truck–is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.

It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability–to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them–in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.

Review:

In this second book of the series Miriam hasn’t changed much. She still gets in trouble with her wise ass comments and she still has a hard time settling down. Despite trying to hold down a job for Louis she ends up losing it in brilliant fashion.

Eventually she agrees to use her gift on a schoolteacher. Once there she encounters a young girl that she brushes up against. That one touch gives Miriam a glimpse of her horrible death by a serial kilter.

As Miriam fights to save the girl more of her raw character shows through. She’s almost visceral in nature. She’s beyond blunt and painfully honest with everyone as she fights to get what she wants and even when she doesn’t. Occasionally she will show that she does possess a soft side. While those times are rare it does offer a glimpse into what makes her tick.

The writing is engaging and the plot is fast paced. There are plenty of action scenes to keep a near continuous thrill ride going. I had a difficult time with the surprise end. It was disappointing and something of a let down even if the action did keep up. I’m still glad I read it for the sake of spending more time with Miriam.

Review – Blackbirds June 20, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal.
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Title: Blackbirds

Author: Chuck Wendig

Genre: Paranormal

Publisher: Angry Robot

Publish Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN-10: 0857662295

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Miriam Black can see the last minutes and seconds of a person’s life, but she can’t do anything to stop their death. She lives on the fringes of society, robbing the dead. When she meets Louis, a truck driver, she sees him die a horrible death and she’s involved. If she’s to survive she needs to somehow find a way to stop Fate and save Louis and in so doing, save herself.

Review:

Miriam is a damaged soul. Whenever she touches someone skin on skin, she sees their last moments on Earth. This drives her a little crazy. She somehow ends up in Louis’ truck and he’s not like most of the road scum she meets. He’s decent and kind. She doesn’t expect that, but when she sees his death she catapults out of his truck and into the arms of Ashley.

Ashley turns out to be a con-artist who has been on her trail for months. He found out about her and he manipulates her into a partnership. Unfortunately he has bad guys after him.

Just the interplay between Ashley, Louis, and Miriam could have withstood a book on its own. Ashley is a conniving, manipulative, opportunistic character. Miriam is still attracted to him because he’s charming, but at the same time she’s repulsed by him. Especially when she finds out what he’s really all about.

Whereas Louis is the epitome of the knight in shining armor. He’s a hulk of man yet he’s gentle and kind. He treats Miriam with nothing but respect and she’s not used to that. I think that throws her for a loop. She’s used to be treated like garbage yet here she is being treated like a lady. Add to that the fact that she thinks he’s going to die in a horrible fashion in about a month. She ends up rejecting him.

Miriam is a complex character. She’s tortured by the death scenes she sees every time she touches someone. She drowns them out with alcohol and she smokes too much. But she’s a survivor. Miriam manages to get out of one tough situation after another. She also feels terrible guilt for what she’s doing, but she manages to talk herself out of it time and again. That’s another reason why she keeps drinking.

The story was a bang bang action packed adventure. Between Miriam’s penchant for trouble and the torturing bad guys there was never a dull moment. Miriam was always on the run. From her visions, from the bad guys, from her past. The only question was when was everything going to catch up with her.

This story was dark and thrilling. A thoroughly enjoyable ride!

Review: Children of the Cross May 17, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 2.5 stars, Paranormal.
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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 – Timeless March 18, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal, Steampunk.
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Timeless 

by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

I was sad to learn that this is the last book of the series, but if ever was there a series to go out with a bang then this one was it! There are surprises in store in the end! I won’t go into them for fear of spoiling the story, but I had a really fun time.

Prudence, Alexia’s child, was adorable and I’m not generally a fan of little people. She was precocious without being bratty. She also had intriguing powers and idiosyncrasies.  It was quite enjoyable just to read about her. I think that Carriger is doing a series about Prudence sometime in the future and that should be fun.

Alexia was her indubitable self, strutting out her irrefutable logic in the face of each crisis at every turn. Even if it was done before I didn’t get tired of reading about it.

Biffy was further developed in this story and how I loved that he was. He was always one of my favorite characters. I won’t go into those developments. I think it’s best I leave those surprises to those who will read the book unsaid.

This was a great read. It had me wondering what on earth was going on and where the story was going. It kept me reading until the late hours of the night, anxious to know what would happen next. It had me laughing. It had my heart in my throat. All in all, a really wonderful book.

Death Screams January 19, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Paranormal.
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Death Screams

by Tamara Rose Blodgett

(also available on NOOK)

This is the third novel in the Death Series and it’s normallywritten in the first person through the eyes of the protagonist Caleb. This one starts off with Jade’s perspective. The book continues to take sporadic leaps off of Caleb’s narrative into other people’s perspective. I found this a bit dizzying, disconcerting, and bumpy.

Otherwise I thought this book was as much fun as the first two books. It was a fun, frolicking ride with a bunch of teenagers with paranormal powers in a futuristic setting.

There are very bad guys. Despicable to the bone. One of them is preying on Astral Projection students. When they’re in the Realm he attacks them at their most vulnerable.

If that’s not enough, Jade, Caleb’s girlfriend is becoming an emancipated adult and her abusive father is making threatening moves towards her. Carson and Brett, the antagonist jerks from previous years are back to their old tricks. Finally, Parker, the extraordinary government Grey Sheet necromancer keeps showing up at inopportune times with his zombies.

There’s a kick-ass grandpa. He made me wish he was my own.

Caleb is a sympathetic hero even if he’s prone to machismo that tends towards sexism. His intentions are good. If truth be told his girlfriend really does tend to be the helpless sort, which is frustrating to say the least.

More often then not, it does come off as being sweet. So it’s easier to swallow.

It’s a fast-paced book, filled with not only fun adventures but serious mayhem. I’ll admit that Blodgett is one of my favorite easy-to-read, fun-for-an-afternoon-escape Indie writers. I was looking forward to the release of this book for quite awhile and I wasn’t disappointed by it.

4 of  5 stars