Sunday, 9 February 2014

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Book 6 of Kate Daniels series

Shapeshifters loose many of their own in childhood, and there is a medicine that can help. However, it is rare and only available in Europe.  
Curran has been asked to act as a protector over clan fights in europe and despite it being dangerous, he does it for the chance to get the drugs they need to save more children.
Kate, Curran and a few others from the pack are drawn into violent battles between to clans but the situation is worse when they find out that Hugh ( her fathers trained killer)  runs the show and makes the meds they need. He has lured Kate over to Europe to test her and kill her mate.  

They also come across a new type of shapeshifter, that is especially dangerous.
Lots of great fighting, and a few hard hitting moments, as much loved characters are badly hurt or killed. 
Kate is allowed to flex her fighting skills and magical skills as she tries to save Curran, and her pack from Hugh, which I really enjoyed.

Rating 4/5

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Unholy Awakening by Michael Gregorio

A mystery in the town of Lotingen, Prussia.  A body is found on the grounds of a house rented by Emma Rimmele and Hanno Stiffeniis - the town Magister - is the one investigating.
The dead woman has strange markings on her neck, that starts a fever of fear - about Vampires.
However, a French Investigator turns up to tell of similar killings in another Town, of French Soldiers. This deepens the mystery has to who or what is behind the killings. And why Emma Rimmele has a strange affect on all the men she comes across. 
And interesting tale, based in the late 1700's.  Well crafted characters, and written in a modern, easy style. I was hooked to the end, unsure of what or who was committing the various killings.

Rating 4 / 5

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Double Take by Rob Thurman

Book 7 of Cal and Niko Leandros Series

Cal and Nik's lives have got very complicated as family comes to visit. 
Cal finds out that one of the other halfbreeds survived, his name is Grimm, and he wants to populate the world with half breeds.  And needs Cal to do his bit too. 
Cal isnt too keen on that idea and the two go into battle.  But Cal isnt as strong or fast as Grimm. 
Also, there is Nik's father. Who abandoned him as a child and not wanted anything to do with Nik or Cal since. He comes asking for help to deal with Janus - a killing  machine. 
However, Nik soon finds out just how devious his father is, and what his true motives are behind his visit. 
All about the boys lost family members, none of which are very pleasant and bring lots of mayhem into their lives.  There are some interesting elements, especially the fight scenes. However, not as good as other books in the series, too much attitude from Cal.  The previous book has a similar feel, which I didn’t find nice reading. For me the series feel has changed, and not for the better. Im not sure I will continue to read anymore books in this series the characters are becoming too harsh

Rating 2.5 / 5

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Woman in Black by Susan Hill

After watching the movie I decided to try this book to read.

It is a little different from the movie, and to be honest I preferred the ending in the book.

Arthur Kripps is a young solicitor that is sent to sort out the affairs of the deceased Mrs Alice Drablow
She lived on a remote island on the English Moors, and Arthur stumbles upon a family tragedy during his investigation into her life.

The villagers have also suffered, that live close to the old house of the Drablow's.  Due to the hauntings of the Woman in Black.  Arthur finds out the identy of the woman and about the fate of her young son killed on the Marshes.

Not a long book, but still a nice creepy feel to the old house of the Drablow's.  Arthur's character is well written, his reactions to the hauntings is scary and the ending of the story is quite tragic.
The other characters in this book were not as fleshed out as I would of liked. There was more history to their backstories that I think could of added interest and more tragedy to this book.  A missed opportunity there.
I think the  movie did a better job with these side characters and think a better book would of been a mix of the original and the movie.

Still a good book if you dont have a lot of time to read, easy to get read in one sitting really. 

Rating 4/5

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A Perfect Blood by Kim Harrison

Book 10 of Rachel Morgan Series

It’s a few months since Rachel's return and her been cut off from most of her magical abilities. She has no status as a Demon and hates having to have a body guard as she can't protect herself.  However, when she gets called into a murder case by the IS she learns that Humans are trying to turn witches into Demon's and its her blood that would make the difference.  Despite the dangers she goes after the human group.  This puts herself and her friends in danger. I liked that Rachel wasn’t so tough in this book, and we see that Ivy and Jent are getting on with their lives regarding other friends.  She still finds herself attracted to Trent and finds he has become more protective of her too.  Interesting to see how she deals with her Demon status and Al coming back on the scene and focusing on the elf children probably leaves things open for a show down with the demons and elf's

Rating 4/5

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pale Demon by Kim Harrison

Book 9 of Rachel  Morgan series

Rachel has to attend the Annual Witches conference to clear her name and not end up trapped living with Al in the ever-after.  A few days before the trip, Trent asks if she will get him to a place near the conference, to attempt an Elf Quest.  The Witches try to stop Rachel from getting to the meeting, and Trent is also attacked by Elves, who want him to fail. So eventually Rachel, Ivy, Jenk and Trent end up on a road trip trying to get to the individual locations.  Things are made worse when Trent releases a Sun walking Demon, that was created by Demon's, but went insane.  This creature doesn’t like Rachel for what she represents, and tries to kill her too.  Trent's character is more in focus and his relationship with Rachel and Jenk becomes stronger.  In the end he risks much to save Rachel's life.
Did enjoy this book, and its almost like things have been reset for Rachel at the end, but not sure if that will stay the same by the next book.
Also nice to see another side to Trent.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Ghost Story by Jim Butcher

Book 12 of Dresden Files

Harry finds himself in the path of a train, and is dragged from its path by Carmichael, and dead friend.  Needless to say, he's not happy to find even in death he is facing trouble.  He gets to meet Murphy's father, who tells him his friends are in danger and his shade (ghost) needs to return to Chicago to try and help them and find his killer.
Harry the ghost returns to Chicago and goes to the only person he know that can help, Mort.  He soons finds out that Mort was a lot more powerful than realised and that he now needs to relearn how to be strong when he comes up against a Grey Ghost throwing magic around and using wraiths and other creatures to kill people. 
The rest of the plot is how Harry finds a way to use his emotions and fight as a ghost, to help his friend.  How his death affects them, prays on his mind, especially in Molly's case. She's become a force to fear, the Rag Lady! As with all Dresden stories, there is lots of creepy dark creatures, lots of fighting, and Harry using magic to fight the bad guys. Not sure I liked reflection of his past, especially as I had never considered Harry as a bad guy, yet his darker decisions are what the plot tends to reflect upon.  However, the humour is back and I do like Harry's humour. Interesting ending, and one that means more books.  This instalment was better than the previous one, infact I was pleasantly surprised.  Good to see Dresden sorting out the bad guys again.

Rating 4.5 / 5

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Changes by Jim Butcher

Book 12 of Dresden Files

Harry discovers he has a daughter, with his estrange lover Susan - Maggie.  Maggie has been kidnapped by the Red Vampires and they are planning a curse that will kill all Maggie's bloodlines.  Harry is up against powerfull foes, the worst he's ever tried to beat.  On the trail for his daughter, he looses most of his possessions, his home, his car, his staff.  Eventually he has to make a decision to call on one of the bad guys that have offered him power in the past, for his soul.  He has to pay the ultimate price, for the power to be able to safe Maggie.  All his friends, as well has his brother stand with him in the battle against the Red Vampires.  All the usual action scenes are thoroughout this storyline, There isnt as much humour in this story either and I didn’t care much for how it ended.

Rating 3 / 5

Friday, 15 February 2013

Bane of Souls by Thaddeus White

This story starts by introducing us to a few main characters.
Francis, a beggar, living in The Axe, the poorest area of Dennish.
He finds himself dangling over the Axe river, after a run in with a thug. A Mage comes to his aid saving him from drowning.  He comes across a Queer Mage, who helps him reclaim funds, after being robbed by the thug.
Horst is another character, a Kuhrisch, travelling with is Uncle to Dennish to trade goods.
The mages Lucia also helps Horst Uncle with a difficult customer and notices something in Horst that catches the young Kuhrisch imagination.
The plot them focuses on the main characters, their stories and their lives.  Francis becoming friends with the spirit, who helped save him.  Horst tests with the Mages regarding is abilities, only to find he is a shape shifter as well as having other gifts.

There is also a string of murders that a causes panic in the city, all classes are affected and The Watchman have no idea who is behind them.  Horst comes close to the killer after an attack and finds himself involved in the search for the killer during his training with the Mages.

There is a lot of detail included as the various characters are introduced. Also the moving from the various characters storylines made it difficult to get into the plot.  I like to find a main character that draws me into the plot and shows me the world they live in. It took quite along time for me to find a character that I liked to enable me to be drawn into this story.

I found Horst storyline the most interesting, his training with the Mage’s was interesting and I liked how their magic worked.  Though as with all the storylines, it was heavy in detail, every thought and action is described in detail.  A style of writing I felt slowed down the pace.

It takes a little time, but the mystery does unfold, as to the killer, their nature and of course the goal.  For me the description style of writing made it difficult to engage with the story. I felt frustrated, I like a tightly written mystery with my magic. Those elements are here. The magic is interesting, the characters are interesting and solving the killings is interesting - there are all the elements of a good story. 
However, for me, the descriptive style of writing , the regular changing of character point of view and the regular dripping of detail, interfered with the pace too much for me to really enjoy the overall story. 

Rated 3 / 5

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes

This story is based in in the early 1900's, in London. The main character is the mysterious Edward Moon, that does a stage show at night, but much prefers a strange murder case to get his teeth into.  He is asked to investigate a strange murder, & him and his companion Somnabulist, go in search of a lizard like creature seen at the crime. 
Moon is a strange character, with weird tastes, which we also delve into.  The world of politics and the occult influence this investigation. He finds his life controlled by a secret service group, that work outside of the law and the main government.  He also crosses paths with a strange character, Cribbs, that implies he lives in the past and the future. 
I found the storyline of the investigation quite interesting and the writing style is compelling. You don’t learn who the narrator of the story is until near then end. 
A strange story, which is quite refreshing and a little difficult to get a grasp of its theme.
However, there are a few loose ends, some characters are never really explained.  The Somnambulist is a main character, but we never learn about his origins, or what happens to him in the end.  The members of the secret government group, are never really delved into either. They are pretty much left a mystery, despite hinting at very odd habits. 
And then there is the Prefects, they come into the storyline quite late, cause all kinds of carnage, but no hints to why they are so brutal  or their origins.  The storyline is easy to follow until half way though the plot, but then things do get very strange and left very much unresolved at the end.  I would of liked more of a conclusion to the investigation and more understanding about the strange characters brought up in the book

Rated 3.5 / 5

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Bone Dolls Twin by Lynn Flewelling

Book 1 of Tamir the Great

A fantasy with an interesting dark theme running through the plot.  A young girl is born and tied by magic to her dead brother, making her look like a boy.  This first book in the series focuses on Tobin, this young girl who doesn’t know she is a girl.  The characters are vivid and interesting.  I found the ghost element of the story nicely creepy, enjoying how the author developed those scenes.  All the characters were interesting, though I would have liked more examples of working magic from the wizards.  I enjoyed the relationship between Tobin and Ki, especially before they are sent to the city.  Their city life was clouded by politics and the story lost some of it's creepy atmosphere. However, the book ended well with lots of questions left to deal with and I was left eager to know what happens to Tobin and Ki

This was the first book I read by this author and I have read her others since. However, this for me is the best one she wrote.

Rating 4 / 5

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Voice of our Shadow by Jonathan Carroll

This story focuses on Joseph, and his relationship with this brother Ross.  The background story up until Ross's death is interesting enough, but the story is much better when Joe grows and moves away to Vienna.
There he meets Paul and India, who become integral parts of his life.  The story takes a sinster turn when Joe falls in love with India.  There arent any supernatural or fantasy elements until half way through the book.  Even then they are a small element, with the story mainly focusing on Joe's relationship with India and Paul.
The story is well written and characters well developed, an easy book to read.
However, I was a little disappointed in the lack of unusual elements, and the ending did seem strange.

Rating 3 / 5

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