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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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2 comments

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.

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along Week 2 October 17, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk, Read Along.
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It’s Week 2 of the Something Strange and Deadly Read Along! I’m on time with my questions this week!

1. On page 101, Eleanor is reading Elijah’s letter where he mentions the mysterious Gas Ring and how once they see their errors, “Father will be most proud” – Eleanor corrects the tense by saying he would have been proud, not will be and that Elijah never got used to referring to their father in the past tense once he passed away. What do you make of this “mistake”? Is there more to this mistake than Eleanor realizes or was it just an innocent oversight?

I’m not sure what to make of this. At first I thought that “Oh wow! This could be big!” I thought maybe the necromancer was actually Eleanor and Elijah’s father. Except he was a supplier by trade. I’m not sure that makes him into a necromancer. I guess I’ll have to read on before I find out whether or not that has any real significance.

2. We first hear about the grimoires in this section which Jie explains are books of black magic. What roles do you think these books will play in the story? Since Elijah has clearly involved with grimoires, do you think it’s for the side of good or the side of evil?

The grimoires seemed to be a big clue to something. I’m just not sure what. I just feel like I need a little more information before I can really figure out what their deal is.

Elijah probably started studying grimoires with the best of intentions but he might have ended up with a hot mess on his hands. In other words, he might have knowledge that lands on this side of evil. That might be what got him into trouble.

3. We start to question a lot of Clarence’s actions at motives in this section of chapters. Do you think he has it in for the Spirit-Hunters? Why does Daniel warn Eleanor against him, and what business does he have with Peger?

Clarence is obviously no friend to the Spirit-Hunters. I honestly have no idea why Daniel warned Eleanor away from Clarence. I do think that Clarence is using Peger to monitor the Spirit-Hunters activities and whereabouts though.

4. Eleanor and Jie discuss the roles and limited freedoms of women, especially regarding clothes and “proper behavior”. We know that Jie has been disguising herself as a boy so she will not have to abide by the silly rules that women are supposed to follow. When asked, Eleanor says that she has no choice but to obey, and Jie tells her “You always have a choice” (p166). We’ve come along way since Eleanor’s time in the nineteenth century, but do you think certain “rules” like these still exist? Women and men are equal in today’s Western societies, but are there any “norms” that women are still restricted from that men have full freedom to pursue?

I don’t think women and men are equal in today’s society. I think that there’s still a prevalent prejudice that women ultimately want children and marriage over a career and/or a single life. Women have the freedom to pursue a career and a single life, but the expectation to have children and to get married is still there.

4. Chapter 14 ends with quite the cliffhanger! What do you think this spirit is all about? Do you think it’s connected to the Dead at all or is this a separate entity? Why is it specifically connected with Eleanor?

I think it might be a separte entity that isn’t connected to the dead. Maybe it’s her father or maybe it’s Elijah. I’m not sure. There are so many ways this could go. This is why this is such a good book. The mystery is so good!

Those are my answers to this week’s questions! See you here next week!

Something Strange and Deadly Read Along – Week 1 October 14, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk, Read Along.
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It’s time for the first week of questions for the read along. I’m actually late for it. I’ll try to be more timely next week!

Week 1 Questions:

Character impressions: Clarence
What are your first impressions of Clarence? Does he seem like a trustworthy person, or is he hiding ulterior motives behind good looks?

I think he’s too polished for me. I don’t trust him at all. It also seems like he’s trying too hard to charm Eleanor. He’s obviously hiding something and I don’t think it’s something good. I can never trust a character that’s all charm and good looks.

Character impressions: Eleanor Fitt
What are your first impressions of Eleanor? It seems like her mother always wants to put her family’s reputation above all else. How do you think Eleanor feels about this?

I thought Eleanor was very brave and resourceful. She withstood the Dead attack very well, but I don’t like the way she sways under her mother’s thumb. I wish she’d stand up to her mother a bit more. I think she feels that she needs to carry the weight of the family’s reputation and the family’s fortune on her shoulders. That’s too much responsibility for one girl.

Character impressions: Daniel
Daniel is quite brash with Eleanor when they first meet in the Spirit-Hunter’s lab. Do you see potential for a friendship? For a romance?

Daniel is everything Eleanor isn’t. He’s lower class and he’s uncultured. The way the two clashed made me think that they were bound for an opposites attract type of relationship. I can just see the set up for that.

1. Mrs. Fitt decides to hold a seance as a last minute fill-in for the party’s entertainment. How would you feel about this if you were a guest at the party? Do you think that’s wise with the Dead running around?

I thought she was crazy! With all that psychic energy running around? To hold a seance? Maybe she thought that nothing would happen but it was extremely foolish and I would have stopped her. I would have literally shook some sense into that silly woman. All she could think of was impressing her guests and she had no thought to the consequences.

2. Eleanor lives with only her mother and the live-in help since her father passed away and her brother is in New York and possibly taken by the Dead. I feel like the absent family member – especially a parent – is a theme I see a lot in YA novels. Why do you think that is? What aspect does this add to the story?

I think divorce is common these days and I think that authors try to address that in books these days. I think authors try to help young adults not only relate to the characters their portraying in their books, but also to cope with their situations.

3. We first see the steampunk feel when Eleanor wanders into the Centennial Exhibition to find the Spirit-Hunters. What do you think of machines and science fighting the zombies and paranormal?

I love machines and science joining the fight! I think it adds a new dimension to a story. I think we’ve seen it in other stories with vampires and werewolves, but I don’t remember it with zombies.

4. What do you think really happened to Elijah? Do you think he was captured by the Dead, or are there more secrets hidden behind his disappearance?

I do think there is more to the mystery then there appears to the naked eye. I have a sneaking suspicion that Clarence has something to do with it one way or another but we’ll have to see how that plays out. I’m eager to see if my hunch rings true th0ugh!

That’s it for this week’s read along questions! I hope you enjoyed it. Next week we’ll be reading Chapters 8-14 (through page 178). I hope to see on Wednesday (Oct 17th.)!

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 – Sisters Red September 5, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Sisters Red

Author: Jackson Pearce

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April 5, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0316068673

Available at: Amazon Kindle Barnes and Noble

Summary:

Scarlett March lives for two things: fighting the werewolves that killed her grandmother and protecting her sister Rose. Rose owes her life to her sister Scarlett. She’d sacrifice everything for her, but what happens when Rose starts to fall for the woodsman that they’ve known all their lives? Will Rose lose her sister?

Review:

Scarlett and Rose are all alone in the world. Scarlett’s one true objective in this life is to hunt werewolves. The very same werewolves that took their beloved grandmother away from them. The two of them hunt the Fenris with them help of Silas, a woodsman. As the story moves along the hunt for Fenris becomes more complicated, leading them from a small town to Atlanta.

I had a hard time swallowing Scarlett. While I understand she was very passionate about hunting the werewolves, she came off more like a female Rambo. She’s obsessed with the hunt. She’s like an addict. It was a little hard to read. I felt like she needed a twelve step program. Scarlett got more then a little self-righteous at times as well.

Rose wanted more then the hunt. She wanted to do things other outside of it and Silas encouraged it. I applauded her for it. For all that, Scarlett made them feel guilty for that. Like the only thing they should want to do is sleep, eat, and breathe the hunt. I understand it was part of the story but I found it very abrasive instead.

The Fenris weren’t very scary or menacing. They were like comic book monsters. The change they underwent made them seem like half-finished play-dough creations. Unfortunately, I was never fully horrified by them.

The highlight of the book was the romance of Silas and Rose. Silas is a sensitive and sexy guy. He isn’t attracted to your normal pretty girl. He sees beyond the trappings of society’s norms. Instead, he found Rose’s strength and mellow temper alluring. Watching their romance blossom was refreshing and sweet. It definitely wasn’t insta-love either. It grew from a friendship and I loved that about this book.

While I had problems with the Fenris and Scarlett, the action and pacing of the book was swift and engaging. It’s non-stop from beginning to end. The writing was absorbing and I was able to immerse myself in the book without a problem. The end of the book took me by surprise. I was a little confused and I felt Pearce took the easy way out, but it was still a satisfactory conclusion. Besides those quibbles, this was still an enjoying book.

Review – Death's Inception August 21, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Death’s Inception

Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: June 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1477424087

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Kyle Ulysses Hart and his team of scientists mapped the human genome in the year 2010. As Brain Impulse Technology came online… so did the long arm of the United States government. A covert, military-driven regime was born with genetic manipulation the key to future widespread control.

When pharmaceutical laboratories, funded by the Graysheets, discover a way to unlock paranormal potential through compulsive inoculation, their exploitative dream is realized.

Clyde and Caleb’s lives are predestined to intertwine as they cross paths, his history becoming Caleb’s future.

A lone teenager named Jeffrey Parker, falls prey when he manifests the rare, Affinity for the Dead.The Graysheets abandon all pretense of stewardship, ripping him from his family for their nefarious purposes.

Can Jeffrey remain who he was destined to be in an environment exclusively built for mass control?

Review:

This prequel to the Death series was enlightening and revealed a lot about Clyde and Jeffrey Parker. I’m a big fan of Tamara and her writing. This novella was no exception to how much I love her work.

When Jeffrey’s life falls apart as his paranormal powers start to awaken, his life falls apart. The Graysheets take control of his life and he’s changed forever. It was particularly tragic seeing how the Graysheets took over Jeffrey’s life.

I was really excited to get a glimpse of Jeffrey as a teenager. He’s exceptionally smart and precocious. He has to become incredibly tough because of all the trauma he’s gone through. He’s also extremely determined. Jeffrey showed a side of himself that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

Seeing Clyde when he was alive was surprising and delightful. Clyde was a great character to explore. On one hand you want his story to have a happy ending on the other hand you know it doesn’t end well. It was tough. I still thought his story was sweet.

I thought the transitions from one story to another were smooth. There was never a sense of being jarred out of your senses or of their being a stilted conversation lag. There’s also romance in the story, but I’ll leave you to read it to find out whose romance it is.

Although I wanted to read even more once the book was through, I didn’t get the sense of an incomplete story. I think all good books leave you with the sense of wanting to prolong the experience no matter what, just like this one did.

Review – Death’s Inception August 21, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Paranormal Romance.
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Title: Death’s Inception

Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publication Date: June 17, 2012

ISBN-13: 978-1477424087

Available at: Amazon Barnes and Noble

From Goodreads:

Kyle Ulysses Hart and his team of scientists mapped the human genome in the year 2010. As Brain Impulse Technology came online… so did the long arm of the United States government. A covert, military-driven regime was born with genetic manipulation the key to future widespread control.

When pharmaceutical laboratories, funded by the Graysheets, discover a way to unlock paranormal potential through compulsive inoculation, their exploitative dream is realized.

Clyde and Caleb’s lives are predestined to intertwine as they cross paths, his history becoming Caleb’s future.

A lone teenager named Jeffrey Parker, falls prey when he manifests the rare, Affinity for the Dead.The Graysheets abandon all pretense of stewardship, ripping him from his family for their nefarious purposes.

Can Jeffrey remain who he was destined to be in an environment exclusively built for mass control?

Review:

This prequel to the Death series was enlightening and revealed a lot about Clyde and Jeffrey Parker. I’m a big fan of Tamara and her writing. This novella was no exception to how much I love her work.

When Jeffrey’s life falls apart as his paranormal powers start to awaken, his life falls apart. The Graysheets take control of his life and he’s changed forever. It was particularly tragic seeing how the Graysheets took over Jeffrey’s life.

I was really excited to get a glimpse of Jeffrey as a teenager. He’s exceptionally smart and precocious. He has to become incredibly tough because of all the trauma he’s gone through. He’s also extremely determined. Jeffrey showed a side of himself that we wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

Seeing Clyde when he was alive was surprising and delightful. Clyde was a great character to explore. On one hand you want his story to have a happy ending on the other hand you know it doesn’t end well. It was tough. I still thought his story was sweet.

I thought the transitions from one story to another were smooth. There was never a sense of being jarred out of your senses or of their being a stilted conversation lag. There’s also romance in the story, but I’ll leave you to read it to find out whose romance it is.

Although I wanted to read even more once the book was through, I didn’t get the sense of an incomplete story. I think all good books leave you with the sense of wanting to prolong the experience no matter what, just like this one did.

Review – Dark Seeker July 25, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3 stars, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult.
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Title: Dark Seeker

Author: Taryn Brown

Publisher: CreateSpace

Publish Date: October 4, 2011

ASIN: B005QEPZIM

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Janie Grey comes from a line of Seekers, a group that hunts the undead. One night she meets Kai, who she mistakes for a Daychild, a half-demon, half-vampire. Only he isn’t like a Daychild. Not only does he have human traits, soon he’s breaking down the walls around her heart.

Review:

The opening fight scenes almost completely turned me off of this book. They were so corny! The dialogue was completely laughable and hard to believe. I kept on plugging though and the book got better. Soon I became more invested in the characters as I got to know them. The bad lines happened less and less often. I was able to concentrate on the storyline a lot more even if the storyline wasn’t much better then the corny dialogue.

Basically Janie’s life is centered on her Seeker duties of killing the undead. The undead being all vampires and vampire/demon hybrids or Daychildren. Then she meets Kai who throws those definitions out the window and her life into confusion. The ensuing romance commences as they find out that a new breed of vampire is trying to be created by the Daychildren.

Janie was a somewhat likable character. She wasn’t that smart though. She took on a lair of Daychildren by herself and she was ill-equipped. I don’t consider that smart. Kai had to rescue her. It’s hard to get behind a girl who can’t really take care of herself.

Kai was pretty blind himself. Every other minute he’s rescuing her from one scrape or another then he’s saying “What am I thinking? You can take care of yourself.” That’s a contradiction. Obviously she can’t take care of herself if you have to swoop in on your motorcycle and save her every time you turn around.

Janie  could still kick ass though. She had some mean fighting skills and she could hold her own in an evenly matched fight. She showed an independence of spirit I admired even if it was reckless to the point of stupidity. I admired her independence not her recklessness. She also showed a willingness to let her guard down when the time called for it.

Kai was sexy as all get out. There was a love triangle with Matt, the wresting captain, but Matt didn’t stand a chance. I mean, c’mon! Kai had that dark mysterious past going on for him. He was also very sweet when he wanted to be. And there was no denying the fire between Janie and Kai.

A big obstacle came between Kai and Janie. I won’t say what it was for fear of spoiling the book, but I find it hard to believe that Janie would ever just forgive and forget so easily. I had a really hard time suspending belief.

On the whole, it was a light and fun read that I enjoyed. I’ll look forward to reading the next in the series and I already plan on reading the prequel!

Review – The Ravenous Dead July 11, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 3.5 stars, Urban Fantasy.
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Title: The Ravenous Dead

Author: Natasha Hoar

Series: Lost Souls

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: July 16, 2012

ASIN: B00814JT1I

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Goodreads: This time the dead are hungry…

Rachel Miller doesn’t just see dead people, she rescues them. As a member of The Order of Rescue Mediums, she spends most of her time helping stubborn spirits move on from the world. But after she learns the details of three brutal murders, she knows the culprit can only be a reaper, an undead monster that relentlessly stalks its victims to feed on their souls.

A reaper once consumed the soul of Rachel’s mentor as she watched frozen in fear. Now, Rachel is in the role of teacher to Kit Elkeles, a rodach just learning to control his wraithlike powers. After Kit and Rachel rescue a half-vampire, they work to protect him while searching for a way to stop the reaper. But when Rachel realizes who the monster is really after—and just what kind of dark magic she’ll need to stop it—will she be able to do what is necessary before it devours one of her friends…or even herself?

Review: (If you haven’t read Book #1 this review may contain some spoilers.)

The Ravenous Dead is a story with a kick. Kit, the Rodach and Rachel, the Rescue Medium make an unexpected team. Kit is something of a protege to Rachel and she feels very protective towards him. Yet at the same time he provides her with some much needed friendship and he could provide her with something more.

Luke of the Upper Coven adds new tension to the mix. Whether or not the author does more with the love triangle in the next book is something we’ll have to see. Whether or not she does a good job of it is also something we’ll have to see as well. I”m not normally a fan of love triangles. I didn’t particularly care for this one either although I’ve read worse.

Luke’s backstory was vaguely sinister. It provided you with enough mystery to make you wonder. At the same time it felt rather cliched with the cloak and dagger routine. I’d have liked to have seen a different execution. It was like a bit of Bourne Identity thrown in the middle of the book. In the end, I was intrigued by what they were saying so much that I wasn’t as annoyed by their delivery.

The reaper in this story is an exceptional multi-layered character. He’s both a sympathetic and a horrific figure. I truly felt for his plight but was revolted by his actions. I think it’s a rare villain in which so many emotions are evoked.

The adventures were kept up at a brisk pace. It kept going at a steady stream and didn’t let up. It was a fantastic ride with magic and paranormal action. It kept me reading on!

On the whole this was a strong book. It just had a couple of minor flaws. I’m intrigued enough to look forward to reading the next book in the series!

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